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Title: History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Volume 4
Author: Gibbon, Edward, 1737-1794
Language: English
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Edward Gibbon, Esq.

With notes by the Rev. H. H. Milman

Vol. 4

1782 (Written), 1845 (Revised)

Chapter XXXIX: Gothic Kingdom Of Italy.--Part I.

     Zeno And Anastasius, Emperors Of The East.--Birth,
     Education, And First Exploits Of Theodoric The Ostrogoth.--
     His Invasion And Conquest Of Italy.--The Gothic Kingdom Of
     Italy.--State Of The West.--Military And Civil Government.--
     The Senator Boethius.--Last Acts And Death Of Theodoric.

After the fall of the Roman empire in the West, an interval of fifty
years, till the memorable reign of Justinian, is faintly marked by the
obscure names and imperfect annals of Zeno, Anastasius, and Justin, who
successively ascended to the throne of Constantinople. During the same
period, Italy revived and flourished under the government of a Gothic
king, who might have deserved a statue among the best and bravest of the
ancient Romans.

Theodoric the Ostrogoth, the fourteenth in lineal descent of the royal
line of the Amali, [1] was born in the neighborhood of Vienna [2] two
years after the death of Attila. [2111] A recent victory had restored
the independence of the Ostrogoths; and the three brothers, Walamir,
Theodemir, and Widimir, who ruled that warlike nation with united
counsels, had separately pitched their habitations in the fertile though
desolate province of Pannonia. The Huns still threatened their revolted
subjects, but their hasty attack was repelled by the single forces of
Walamir, and the news of his victory reached the distant camp of his
brother in the same auspicious moment that the favorite concubine of
Theodemir was delivered of a son and heir. In the eighth year of his
age, Theodoric was reluctantly yielded by his father to the public
interest, as the pledge of an alliance which Leo, emperor of the East,
had consented to purchase by an annual subsidy of three hundred pounds
of gold. The royal hostage was educated at Constantinople with care and
tenderness. His body was formed to all the exercises of war, his mind
was expanded by the habits of liberal conversation; he frequented the
schools of the most skilful masters; but he disdained or neglected
the arts of Greece, and so ignorant did he always remain of the first
elements of science, that a rude mark was contrived to represent
the signature of the illiterate king of Italy. [3] As soon as he had
attained the age of eighteen, he was restored to the wishes of
the Ostrogoths, whom the emperor aspired to gain by liberality and
confidence. Walamir had fallen in battle; the youngest of the brothers,
Widimir, had led away into Italy and Gaul an army of Barbarians, and the
whole nation acknowledged for their king the father of Theodoric. His
ferocious subjects admired the strength and stature of their young
prince; [4] and he soon convinced them that he had not degenerated from
the valor of his ancestors. At the head of six thousand volunteers, he
secretly left the camp in quest of adventures, descended the Danube as
far as Singidunum, or Belgrade, and soon returned to his father with
the spoils of a Sarmatian king whom he had vanquished and slain. Such
triumphs, however, were productive only of fame, and the invincible
Ostrogoths were reduced to extreme distress by the want of clothing and
food. They unanimously resolved to desert their Pannonian encampments,
and boldly to advance into the warm and wealthy neighborhood of the
Byzantine court, which already maintained in pride and luxury so many
bands of confederate Goths. After proving, by some acts of hostility,
that they could be dangerous, or at least troublesome, enemies, the
Ostrogoths sold at a high price their reconciliation and fidelity,
accepted a donative of lands and money, and were intrusted with the
defence of the Lower Danube, under the command of Theodoric, who
succeeded after his father's death to the hereditary throne of the
Amali. [5]

[Footnote 1: Jornandes (de Rebus Geticis, c. 13, 14, p. 629, 630, edit.
Grot.) has drawn the pedigree of Theodoric from Gapt, one of the Anses
or Demigods, who lived about the time of Domitian. Cassiodorus, the
first who celebrates the royal race of the Amali, (Viriar. viii. 5, ix.
25, x. 2, xi. 1,) reckons the grandson of Theodoric as the xviith
in descent. Peringsciold (the Swedish commentator of Cochloeus,
Vit. Theodoric. p. 271, &c., Stockholm, 1699) labors to connect this
genealogy with the legends or traditions of his native country. * Note:
Amala was a name of hereditary sanctity and honor among the Visigoths.
It enters into the names of Amalaberga, Amala suintha, (swinther means
strength,) Amalafred, Amalarich. In the poem of the Nibelungen written
three hundred years later, the Ostrogoths are called the Amilungen.
According to Wachter it means, unstained, from the privative a, and malo
a stain. It is pure Sanscrit, Amala, immaculatus. Schlegel. Indische
Bibliothek, 1. p. 233.--M.]

[Footnote 2: More correctly on the banks of the Lake Pelso,
(Nieusiedler-see,) near Carnuntum, almost on the same spot where Marcus
Antoninus composed his meditations, Jornandes, c. 52, p. 659. Severin.
Pannonia Illustrata, p. 22. Cellarius, Geograph. Antiq. (tom. i. p.

[Footnote 2111: The date of Theodoric's birth is not accurately
determined. We can hardly err, observes Manso, in placing it between
the years 453 and 455, Manso, Geschichte des Ost Gothischen Reichs, p.

[Footnote 3: The four first letters of his name were inscribed on a gold
plate, and when it was fixed on the paper, the king drew his pen through
the intervals (Anonym. Valesian. ad calcem Amm. Marcellin p. 722.) This
authentic fact, with the testimony of Procopius, or at least of the
contemporary Goths, (Gothic. 1. i. c. 2, p. 311,) far outweighs
the vague praises of Ennodius (Sirmond Opera, tom. i. p. 1596) and
Theophanes, (Chronograph. p. 112.) * Note: Le Beau and his Commentator,
M. St. Martin, support, though with no very satisfactory evidence, the
opposite opinion. But Lord Mahon (Life of Belisarius, p. 19) urges the
much stronger argument, the Byzantine education of Theodroic.--M.]

[Footnote 4: Statura est quae resignet proceritate regnantem, (Ennodius,
p. 1614.) The bishop of Pavia (I mean the ecclesiastic who wished to be
a bishop) then proceeds to celebrate the complexion, eyes, hands, &c, of
his sovereign.]

[Footnote 5: The state of the Ostrogoths, and the first years of
Theodoric, are found in Jornandes, (c. 52--56, p. 689--696) and Malchus,
(Excerpt. Legat. p. 78--80,) who erroneously styles him the son of

A hero, descended from a race of kings, must have despised the base
Isaurian who was invested with the Roman purple, without any endowment
of mind or body, without any advantages of royal birth, or superior
qualifications. After the failure of the Theodosian life, the choice of
Pulcheria and of the senate might be justified in some measure by the
characters of Martin and Leo, but the latter of these princes confirmed
and dishonored his reign by the perfidious murder of Aspar and his sons,
who too rigorously exacted the debt of gratitude and obedience. The
inheritance of Leo and of the East was peaceably devolved on his infant
grandson, the son of his daughter Ariadne; and her Isaurian husband, the
fortunate Trascalisseus, exchanged that barbarous sound for the Grecian
appellation of Zeno. After the decease of the elder Leo, he approached
with unnatural respect the throne of his son, humbly received, as
a gift, the second rank in the empire, and soon excited the public
suspicion on the sudden and premature death of his young colleague,
whose life could no longer promote the success of his ambition. But the
palace of Constantinople was ruled by female influence, and agitated by
female passions: and Verina, the widow of Leo, claiming his empire as
her own, pronounced a sentence of deposition against the worthless and
ungrateful servant on whom she alone had bestowed the sceptre of the
East. [6] As soon as she sounded a revolt in the ears of Zeno, he
fled with precipitation into the mountains of Isauria, and her brother
Basiliscus, already infamous by his African expedition, [7] was
unanimously proclaimed by the servile senate. But the reign of the
usurper was short and turbulent. Basiliscus presumed to assassinate the
lover of his sister; he dared to offend the lover of his wife, the vain
and insolent Harmatius, who, in the midst of Asiatic luxury, affected
the dress, the demeanor, and the surname of Achilles. [8] By the
conspiracy of the malecontents, Zeno was recalled from exile; the
armies, the capital, the person, of Basiliscus, were betrayed; and his
whole family was condemned to the long agony of cold and hunger by the
inhuman conqueror, who wanted courage to encounter or to forgive his
enemies. [811] The haughty spirit of Verina was still incapable of
submission or repose. She provoked the enmity of a favorite general,
embraced his cause as soon as he was disgraced, created a new emperor
in Syria and Egypt, [812] raised an army of seventy thousand men, and
persisted to the last moment of her life in a fruitless rebellion,
which, according to the fashion of the age, had been predicted by
Christian hermits and Pagan magicians. While the East was afflicted by
the passions of Verina, her daughter Ariadne was distinguished by the
female virtues of mildness and fidelity; she followed her husband in his
exile, and after his restoration, she implored his clemency in favor of
her mother. On the decease of Zeno, Ariadne, the daughter, the mother,
and the widow of an emperor, gave her hand and the Imperial title to
Anastasius, an aged domestic of the palace, who survived his elevation
above twenty-seven years, and whose character is attested by the
acclamation of the people, "Reign as you have lived!" [9] [911]

[Footnote 6: Theophanes (p. 111) inserts a copy of her sacred letters to
the provinces. Such female pretensions would have astonished the slaves
of the first Caesars.]

[Footnote 7: Vol. iii. p. 504--508.]

[Footnote 8: Suidas, tom. i. p. 332, 333, edit. Kuster.]

[Footnote 811: Joannes Lydus accuses Zeno of timidity, or, rather, of
cowardice; he purchased an ignominious peace from the enemies of the
empire, whom he dared not meet in battle; and employed his whole time
at home in confiscations and executions. Lydus, de Magist. iii. 45, p.

[Footnote 812: Named Illus.--M.]

[Footnote 9: The contemporary histories of Malchus and Candidus are
lost; but some extracts or fragments have been saved by Photius,
(lxxviii. lxxix. p. 100--102,) Constantine Porphyrogenitus, (Excerpt.
Leg. p. 78--97,) and in various articles of the Lexicon of Suidas. The
Chronicles of Marcellinus (Imago Historiae) are originals for the reigns
of Zeno and Anastasius; and I must acknowledge, almost for the last
time, my obligations to the large and accurate collections of Tillemont,
(Hist. des Emp. tom. vi. p. 472--652).]

[Footnote 912: The Panegyric of Procopius of Gaza, (edited by Villoison
in his Anecdota Graeca, and reprinted in the new edition of the
Byzantine historians by Niebuhr, in the same vol. with Dexippus and
Eunapius, viii. p. 488 516,) was unknown to Gibbon. It is vague and
pedantic, and contains few facts. The same criticism will apply to the
poetical panegyric of Priscian edited from the Ms. of Bobbio by Ang.
Mai. Priscian, the gram marian, Niebuhr argues from this work, must have
been born in the African, not in either of the Asiatic Caesareas. Pref.
p. xi.--M.]

Whatever fear of affection could bestow, was profusely lavished by Zeno
on the king of the Ostrogoths; the rank of patrician and consul, the
command of the Palatine troops, an equestrian statue, a treasure in gold
and silver of many thousand pounds, the name of son, and the promise of
a rich and honorable wife. As long as Theodoric condescended to serve,
he supported with courage and fidelity the cause of his benefactor; his
rapid march contributed to the restoration of Zeno; and in the second
revolt, the Walamirs, as they were called, pursued and pressed the
Asiatic rebels, till they left an easy victory to the Imperial troops.
[10] But the faithful servant was suddenly converted into a formidable
enemy, who spread the flames of war from Constantinople to the Adriatic;
many flourishing cities were reduced to ashes, and the agriculture of
Thrace was almost extirpated by the wanton cruelty of the Goths, who
deprived their captive peasants of the right hand that guided the
plough. [11] On such occasions, Theodoric sustained the loud and
specious reproach of disloyalty, of ingratitude, and of insatiate
avarice, which could be only excused by the hard necessity of his
situation. He reigned, not as the monarch, but as the minister of a
ferocious people, whose spirit was unbroken by slavery, and impatient of
real or imaginary insults. Their poverty was incurable; since the most
liberal donatives were soon dissipated in wasteful luxury, and the most
fertile estates became barren in their hands; they despised, but they
envied, the laborious provincials; and when their subsistence had
failed, the Ostrogoths embraced the familiar resources of war and
rapine. It had been the wish of Theodoric (such at least was his
declaration) to lead a peaceful, obscure, obedient life on the confines
of Scythia, till the Byzantine court, by splendid and fallacious
promises, seduced him to attack a confederate tribe of Goths, who had
been engaged in the party of Basiliscus. He marched from his station in
Maesia, on the solemn assurance that before he reached Adrianople, he
should meet a plentiful convoy of provisions, and a reenforcement of
eight thousand horse and thirty thousand foot, while the legions of Asia
were encamped at Heraclea to second his operations. These measures were
disappointed by mutual jealousy. As he advanced into Thrace, the son of
Theodemir found an inhospitable solitude, and his Gothic followers, with
a heavy train of horses, of mules, and of wagons, were betrayed by their
guides among the rocks and precipices of Mount Sondis, where he was
assaulted by the arms and invectives of Theodoric the son of Triarius.
From a neighboring height, his artful rival harangued the camp of the
Walamirs, and branded their leader with the opprobrious names of child,
of madman, of perjured traitor, the enemy of his blood and nation. "Are
you ignorant," exclaimed the son of Triarius, "that it is the constant
policy of the Romans to destroy the Goths by each other's swords?
Are you insensible that the victor in this unnatural contest will be
exposed, and justly exposed, to their implacable revenge? Where are
those warriors, my kinsmen and thy own, whose widows now lament that
their lives were sacrificed to thy rash ambition? Where is the wealth
which thy soldiers possessed when they were first allured from their
native homes to enlist under thy standard? Each of them was then master
of three or four horses; they now follow thee on foot, like slaves,
through the deserts of Thrace; those men who were tempted by the hope
of measuring gold with a bushel, those brave men who are as free and as
noble as thyself." A language so well suited to the temper of the Goths
excited clamor and discontent; and the son of Theodemir, apprehensive of
being left alone, was compelled to embrace his brethren, and to imitate
the example of Roman perfidy. [12] [1211]

[Footnote 10: In ipsis congressionis tuae foribus cessit invasor, cum
profugo per te sceptra redderentur de salute dubitanti. Ennodius then
proceeds (p. 1596, 1597, tom. i. Sirmond.) to transport his hero (on
a flying dragon?) into Aethiopia, beyond the tropic of Cancer. The
evidence of the Valesian Fragment, (p. 717,) Liberatus, (Brev. Eutych.
c. 25 p. 118,) and Theophanes, (p. 112,) is more sober and rational.]

[Footnote 11: This cruel practice is specially imputed to the Triarian
Goths, less barbarous, as it should seem, than the Walamirs; but the son
of Theodemir is charged with the ruin of many Roman cities, (Malchus,
Excerpt. Leg. p. 95.)]

[Footnote 12: Jornandes (c. 56, 57, p. 696) displays the services of
Theodoric, confesses his rewards, but dissembles his revolt, of which
such curious details have been preserved by Malchus, (Excerpt. Legat.
p. 78--97.) Marcellinus, a domestic of Justinian, under whose ivth
consulship (A.D. 534) he composed his Chronicle, (Scaliger, Thesaurus
Temporum, P. ii, p. 34--57,) betrays his prejudice and passion: in
Graeciam debacchantem ...Zenonis munificentia pene pacatus...beneficiis
nunquam satiatus, &c.]

[Footnote 1211: Gibbon has omitted much of the complicated intrigues of
the Byzantine court with the two Theodorics. The weak emperor attempted
to play them one against the other, and was himself in turn insulted,
and the empire ravaged, by both. The details of the successive
alliance and revolt, of hostility and of union, between the two
Gothic chieftains, to dictate terms to the emperor, may be found in

In every state of his fortune, the prudence and firmness of Theodoric
were equally conspicuous; whether he threatened Constantinople at the
head of the confederate Goths, or retreated with a faithful band to the
mountains and sea-coast of Epirus. At length the accidental death of the
son of Triarius [13] destroyed the balance which the Romans had been so
anxious to preserve, the whole nation acknowledged the supremacy of the
Amali, and the Byzantine court subscribed an ignominious and oppressive
treaty. [14] The senate had already declared, that it was necessary
to choose a party among the Goths, since the public was unequal to the
support of their united forces; a subsidy of two thousand pounds of
gold, with the ample pay of thirteen thousand men, were required for the
least considerable of their armies; [15] and the Isaurians, who guarded
not the empire but the emperor, enjoyed, besides the privilege of
rapine, an annual pension of five thousand pounds. The sagacious mind of
Theodoric soon perceived that he was odious to the Romans, and suspected
by the Barbarians: he understood the popular murmur, that his subjects
were exposed in their frozen huts to intolerable hardships, while their
king was dissolved in the luxury of Greece, and he prevented the painful
alternative of encountering the Goths, as the champion, or of leading
them to the field, as the enemy, of Zeno. Embracing an enterprise worthy
of his courage and ambition, Theodoric addressed the emperor in the
following words: "Although your servant is maintained in affluence by
your liberality, graciously listen to the wishes of my heart! Italy, the
inheritance of your predecessors, and Rome itself, the head and mistress
of the world, now fluctuate under the violence and oppression of Odoacer
the mercenary. Direct me, with my national troops, to march against
the tyrant. If I fall, you will be relieved from an expensive and
troublesome friend: if, with the divine permission, I succeed, I shall
govern in your name, and to your glory, the Roman senate, and the part
of the republic delivered from slavery by my victorious arms." The
proposal of Theodoric was accepted, and perhaps had been suggested, by
the Byzantine court. But the forms of the commission, or grant,
appear to have been expressed with a prudent ambiguity, which might be
explained by the event; and it was left doubtful, whether the conqueror
of Italy should reign as the lieutenant, the vassal, or the ally, of the
emperor of the East. [16

[Footnote 13: As he was riding in his own camp, an unruly horse threw
him against the point of a spear which hung before a tent, or was fixed
on a wagon, (Marcellin. in Chron. Evagrius, l. iii. c. 25.)]

[Footnote 14: See Malchus (p. 91) and Evagrius, (l. iii. c. 35.)]

[Footnote 15: Malchus, p. 85. In a single action, which was decided by
the skill and discipline of Sabinian, Theodoric could lose 5000 men.]
[Footnote 16: Jornandes (c. 57, p. 696, 697) has abridged the great
history of Cassiodorus. See, compare, and reconcile Procopius, (Gothic.
l. i. c. i.,) the Valesian Fragment, (p. 718,) Theophanes, (p. 113,) and
Marcellinus, (in Chron.)]

The reputation both of the leader and of the war diffused a universal
ardor; the Walamirs were multiplied by the Gothic swarms already engaged
in the service, or seated in the provinces, of the empire; and each
bold Barbarian, who had heard of the wealth and beauty of Italy, was
impatient to seek, through the most perilous adventures, the possession
of such enchanting objects. The march of Theodoric must be considered as
the emigration of an entire people; the wives and children of the
Goths, their aged parents, and most precious effects, were carefully
transported; and some idea may be formed of the heavy baggage that now
followed the camp, by the loss of two thousand wagons, which had
been sustained in a single action in the war of Epirus. For their
subsistence, the Goths depended on the magazines of corn which was
ground in portable mills by the hands of their women; on the milk and
flesh of their flocks and herds; on the casual produce of the chase, and
upon the contributions which they might impose on all who should
presume to dispute the passage, or to refuse their friendly assistance.
Notwithstanding these precautions, they were exposed to the danger, and
almost to the distress, of famine, in a march of seven hundred miles,
which had been undertaken in the depth of a rigorous winter. Since the
fall of the Roman power, Dacia and Pannonia no longer exhibited the
rich prospect of populous cities, well-cultivated fields, and convenient
highways: the reign of barbarism and desolation was restored, and the
tribes of Bulgarians, Gepidae, and Sarmatians, who had occupied the
vacant province, were prompted by their native fierceness, or the
solicitations of Odoacer, to resist the progress of his enemy. In many
obscure though bloody battles, Theodoric fought and vanquished; till at
length, surmounting every obstacle by skilful conduct and persevering
courage, he descended from the Julian Alps, and displayed his invincible
banners on the confines of Italy. [17]

[Footnote 17: Theodoric's march is supplied and illustrated by Ennodius,
(p. 1598--1602,) when the bombast of the oration is translated into the
language of common sense.]

Odoacer, a rival not unworthy of his arms, had already occupied the
advantageous and well-known post of the River Sontius, near the ruins of
Aquileia, at the head of a powerful host, whose independent kings [18]
or leaders disdained the duties of subordination and the prudence of
delays. No sooner had Theodoric gained a short repose and refreshment to
his wearied cavalry, than he boldly attacked the fortifications of the
enemy; the Ostrogoths showed more ardor to acquire, than the mercenaries
to defend, the lands of Italy; and the reward of the first victory was
the possession of the Venetian province as far as the walls of Verona.
In the neighborhood of that city, on the steep banks of the rapid
Adige, he was opposed by a new army, reenforced in its numbers, and not
impaired in its courage: the contest was more obstinate, but the event
was still more decisive; Odoacer fled to Ravenna, Theodoric advanced
to Milan, and the vanquished troops saluted their conqueror with loud
acclamations of respect and fidelity. But their want either of constancy
or of faith soon exposed him to the most imminent danger; his vanguard,
with several Gothic counts, which had been rashly intrusted to
a deserter, was betrayed and destroyed near Faenza by his double
treachery; Odoacer again appeared master of the field, and the invader,
strongly intrenched in his camp of Pavia, was reduced to solicit the
aid of a kindred nation, the Visigoths of Gaul. In the course of
this History, the most voracious appetite for war will be abundantly
satiated; nor can I much lament that our dark and imperfect materials do
not afford a more ample narrative of the distress of Italy, and of the
fierce conflict, which was finally decided by the abilities, experience,
and valor of the Gothic king. Immediately before the battle of Verona,
he visited the tent of his mother [19] and sister, and requested, that
on a day, the most illustrious festival of his life, they would adorn
him with the rich garments which they had worked with their own hands.
"Our glory," said he, "is mutual and inseparable. You are known to the
world as the mother of Theodoric; and it becomes me to prove, that I am
the genuine offspring of those heroes from whom I claim my descent."
The wife or concubine of Theodemir was inspired with the spirit of the
German matrons, who esteemed their sons' honor far above their safety;
and it is reported, that in a desperate action, when Theodoric himself
was hurried along by the torrent of a flying crowd, she boldly met them
at the entrance of the camp, and, by her generous reproaches, drove them
back on the swords of the enemy. [20]

[Footnote 18: Tot reges, &c., (Ennodius, p. 1602.) We must recollect
how much the royal title was multiplied and degraded, and that the
mercenaries of Italy were the fragments of many tribes and nations.]

[Footnote 19: See Ennodius, p. 1603, 1604. Since the orator, in the
king's presence, could mention and praise his mother, we may conclude
that the magnanimity of Theodoric was not hurt by the vulgar reproaches
of concubine and bastard. * Note: Gibbon here assumes that the mother
of Theodoric was the concubine of Theodemir, which he leaves doubtful in
the text.--M.]

[Footnote 20: This anecdote is related on the modern but respectable
authority of Sigonius, (Op. tom. i. p. 580. De Occident. Impl. l. xv.:)
his words are curious: "Would you return?" &c. She presented and almost
displayed the original recess. * Note: The authority of Sigonius would
scarcely have weighed with Gibboa except for an indecent anecdote.
I have a recollection of a similar story in some of the Italian

From the Alps to the extremity of Calabria, Theodoric reigned by the
right of conquest; the Vandal ambassadors surrendered the Island of
Sicily, as a lawful appendage of his kingdom; and he was accepted as
the deliverer of Rome by the senate and people, who had shut their
gates against the flying usurper. [21] Ravenna alone, secure in the
fortifications of art and nature, still sustained a siege of almost
three years; and the daring sallies of Odoacer carried slaughter and
dismay into the Gothic camp. At length, destitute of provisions and
hopeless of relief, that unfortunate monarch yielded to the groans of
his subjects and the clamors of his soldiers. A treaty of peace was
negotiated by the bishop of Ravenna; the Ostrogoths were admitted into
the city, and the hostile kings consented, under the sanction of an
oath, to rule with equal and undivided authority the provinces of Italy.
The event of such an agreement may be easily foreseen. After some days
had been devoted to the semblance of joy and friendship, Odoacer, in the
midst of a solemn banquet, was stabbed by the hand, or at least by the
command, of his rival. Secret and effectual orders had been previously
despatched; the faithless and rapacious mercenaries, at the same moment,
and without resistance, were universally massacred; and the royalty
of Theodoric was proclaimed by the Goths, with the tardy, reluctant,
ambiguous consent of the emperor of the East. The design of a conspiracy
was imputed, according to the usual forms, to the prostrate tyrant; but
his innocence, and the guilt of his conqueror, [22] are sufficiently
proved by the advantageous treaty which force would not sincerely have
granted, nor weakness have rashly infringed. The jealousy of power,
and the mischiefs of discord, may suggest a more decent apology, and
a sentence less rigorous may be pronounced against a crime which was
necessary to introduce into Italy a generation of public felicity.
The living author of this felicity was audaciously praised in his own
presence by sacred and profane orators; [23] but history (in his time
she was mute and inglorious) has not left any just representation of the
events which displayed, or of the defects which clouded, the virtues of
Theodoric. [24] One record of his fame, the volume of public epistles
composed by Cassiodorus in the royal name, is still extant, and has
obtained more implicit credit than it seems to deserve. [25] They
exhibit the forms, rather than the substance, of his government; and
we should vainly search for the pure and spontaneous sentiments of the
Barbarian amidst the declamation and learning of a sophist, the wishes
of a Roman senator, the precedents of office, and the vague professions,
which, in every court, and on every occasion, compose the language of
discreet ministers. The reputation of Theodoric may repose with
more confidence on the visible peace and prosperity of a reign of
thirty-three years; the unanimous esteem of his own times, and the
memory of his wisdom and courage, his justice and humanity, which was
deeply impressed on the minds of the Goths and Italians.

[Footnote 21: Hist. Miscell. l. xv., a Roman history from Janus to the
ixth century, an Epitome of Eutropius, Paulus Diaconus, and Theophanes
which Muratori has published from a Ms. in the Ambrosian library,
(Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. i. p. 100.)]

[Footnote 22: Procopius (Gothic. l. i. c. i.) approves himself an
impartial sceptic. Cassiodorus (in Chron.) and Ennodius (p. 1604) are
loyal and credulous, and the testimony of the Valesian Fragment (p.
718) may justify their belief. Marcellinus spits the venom of a Greek
subject--perjuriis illectus, interfectusque est, (in Chron.)]

[Footnote 23: The sonorous and servile oration of Ennodius was
pronounced at Milan or Ravenna in the years 507 or 508, (Sirmond, tom.
i. p. 615.) Two or three years afterwards, the orator was rewarded with
the bishopric of Pavia, which he held till his death in the year 521.
(Dupin, Bibliot. Eccles. tom. v. p. 11-14. See Saxii Onomasticon, tom.
ii. p. 12.)]

[Footnote 24: Our best materials are occasional hints from Procopius and
the Valesian Fragment, which was discovered by Sirmond, and is published
at the end of Ammianus Marcellinus. The author's name is unknown,
and his style is barbarous; but in his various facts he exhibits the
knowledge, without the passions, of a contemporary. The president
Montesquieu had formed the plan of a history of Theodoric, which at a
distance might appear a rich and interesting subject.]

[Footnote 25: The best edition of the Variarum Libri xii. is that of
Joh. Garretius, (Rotomagi, 1679, in Opp. Cassiodor. 2 vols. in fol.;)
but they deserved and required such an editor as the Marquis Scipio
Maffei, who thought of publishing them at Verona. The Barbara Eleganza
(as it is ingeniously named by Tiraboschi) is never simple, and seldom

The partition of the lands of Italy, of which Theodoric assigned the
third part to his soldiers, is honorably arraigned as the sole injustice
of his life. [2511] And even this act may be fairly justified by the
example of Odoacer, the rights of conquest, the true interest of the
Italians, and the sacred duty of subsisting a whole people, who, on the
faith of his promises, had transported themselves into a distant land.
[26] Under the reign of Theodoric, and in the happy climate of Italy,
the Goths soon multiplied to a formidable host of two hundred thousand
men, [27] and the whole amount of their families may be computed by the
ordinary addition of women and children. Their invasion of property,
a part of which must have been already vacant, was disguised by the
generous but improper name of hospitality; these unwelcome guests
were irregularly dispersed over the face of Italy, and the lot of
each Barbarian was adequate to his birth and office, the number of
his followers, and the rustic wealth which he possessed in slaves and
cattle. The distinction of noble and plebeian were acknowledged; [28]
but the lands of every freeman were exempt from taxes, [2811] and he
enjoyed the inestimable privilege of being subject only to the laws
of his country. [29] Fashion, and even convenience, soon persuaded the
conquerors to assume the more elegant dress of the natives, but they
still persisted in the use of their mother-tongue; and their contempt
for the Latin schools was applauded by Theodoric himself, who gratified
their prejudices, or his own, by declaring, that the child who had
trembled at a rod, would never dare to look upon a sword. [30] Distress
might sometimes provoke the indigent Roman to assume the ferocious
manners which were insensibly relinquished by the rich and luxurious
Barbarian; [31] but these mutual conversions were not encouraged by the
policy of a monarch who perpetuated the separation of the Italians and
Goths; reserving the former for the arts of peace, and the latter for
the service of war. To accomplish this design, he studied to protect his
industrious subjects, and to moderate the violence, without enervating
the valor, of his soldiers, who were maintained for the public defence.
They held their lands and benefices as a military stipend: at the sound
of the trumpet, they were prepared to march under the conduct of their
provincial officers; and the whole extent of Italy was distributed into
the several quarters of a well-regulated camp. The service of the palace
and of the frontiers was performed by choice or by rotation; and
each extraordinary fatigue was recompensed by an increase of pay and
occasional donatives. Theodoric had convinced his brave companions,
that empire must be acquired and defended by the same arts. After his
example, they strove to excel in the use, not only of the lance and
sword, the instruments of their victories, but of the missile weapons,
which they were too much inclined to neglect; and the lively image of
war was displayed in the daily exercise and annual reviews of the Gothic
cavalry. A firm though gentle discipline imposed the habits of modesty,
obedience, and temperance; and the Goths were instructed to spare
the people, to reverence the laws, to understand the duties of civil
society, and to disclaim the barbarous license of judicial combat and
private revenge. [32]

[Footnote 2511: Compare Gibbon, ch. xxxvi. vol. iii. p. 459, &c.--Manso
observes that this division was conducted not in a violent and
irregular, but in a legal and orderly, manner. The Barbarian, who could
not show a title of grant from the officers of Theodoric appointed for
the purpose, or a prescriptive right of thirty years, in case he had
obtained the property before the Ostrogothic conquest, was ejected from
the estate. He conceives that estates too small to bear division paid
a third of their produce.--Geschichte des Os Gothischen Reiches, p.

[Footnote 26: Procopius, Gothic, l. i. c. i. Variarum, ii. Maffei
(Verona Illustrata, P. i. p. 228) exaggerates the injustice of the
Goths, whom he hated as an Italian noble. The plebeian Muratori crouches
under their oppression.]

[Footnote 27: Procopius, Goth. l. iii. c. 421. Ennodius describes (p.
1612, 1613) the military arts and increasing numbers of the Goths.]

[Footnote 28: When Theodoric gave his sister to the king of the Vandals
she sailed for Africa with a guard of 1000 noble Goths, each of whom
was attended by five armed followers, (Procop. Vandal. l. i. c. 8.) The
Gothic nobility must have been as numerous as brave.]

[Footnote 2811: Manso (p. 100) quotes two passages from Cassiodorus to
show that the Goths were not exempt from the fiscal claims.--Cassiodor,
i. 19, iv. 14--M.]

[Footnote 29: See the acknowledgment of Gothic liberty, (Var. v. 30.)]

[Footnote 30: Procopius, Goth. l. i. c. 2. The Roman boys learnt the
language (Var. viii. 21) of the Goths. Their general ignorance is not
destroyed by the exceptions of Amalasuntha, a female, who might study
without shame, or of Theodatus, whose learning provoked the indignation
and contempt of his countrymen.]

[Footnote 31: A saying of Theodoric was founded on experience: "Romanus
miser imitatur Gothum; ut utilis (dives) Gothus imitatur Romanum." (See
the Fragment and Notes of Valesius, p. 719.)]

[Footnote 32: The view of the military establishment of the Goths in
Italy is collected from the Epistles of Cassiodorus (Var. i. 24,
40; iii. 3, 24, 48; iv. 13, 14; v. 26, 27; viii. 3, 4, 25.) They are
illustrated by the learned Mascou, (Hist. of the Germans, l. xi. 40--44,
Annotation xiv.) Note: Compare Manso, Geschichte des Ost Gothischen
Reiches, p. 114.--M.]

Chapter XXXIX: Gothic Kingdom Of Italy.--Part II.

Among the Barbarians of the West, the victory of Theodoric had spread
a general alarm. But as soon as it appeared that he was satisfied with
conquest and desirous of peace, terror was changed into respect, and
they submitted to a powerful mediation, which was uniformly employed
for the best purposes of reconciling their quarrels and civilizing their
manners. [33] The ambassadors who resorted to Ravenna from the most
distant countries of Europe, admired his wisdom, magnificence, [34]
and courtesy; and if he sometimes accepted either slaves or arms, white
horses or strange animals, the gift of a sun-dial, a water-clock, or a
musician, admonished even the princes of Gaul of the superior art and
industry of his Italian subjects. His domestic alliances, [35] a wife,
two daughters, a sister, and a niece, united the family of Theodoric
with the kings of the Franks, the Burgundians, the Visigoths, the
Vandals, and the Thuringians, and contributed to maintain the harmony,
or at least the balance, of the great republic of the West. [36] It
is difficult in the dark forests of Germany and Poland to pursue the
emigrations of the Heruli, a fierce people who disdained the use of
armor, and who condemned their widows and aged parents not to survive
the loss of their husbands, or the decay of their strength. [37] The
king of these savage warriors solicited the friendship of Theodoric, and
was elevated to the rank of his son, according to the barbaric rites of
a military adoption. [38] From the shores of the Baltic, the Aestians
or Livonians laid their offerings of native amber [39] at the feet of
a prince, whose fame had excited them to undertake an unknown and
dangerous journey of fifteen hundred miles. With the country [40] from
whence the Gothic nation derived their origin, he maintained a frequent
and friendly correspondence: the Italians were clothed in the rich
sables [41] of Sweden; and one of its sovereigns, after a voluntary
or reluctant abdication, found a hospitable retreat in the palace of
Ravenna. He had reigned over one of the thirteen populous tribes
who cultivated a small portion of the great island or peninsula of
Scandinavia, to which the vague appellation of Thule has been sometimes
applied. That northern region was peopled, or had been explored, as high
as the sixty-eighth degree of latitude, where the natives of the polar
circle enjoy and lose the presence of the sun at each summer and winter
solstice during an equal period of forty days. [42] The long night of
his absence or death was the mournful season of distress and anxiety,
till the messengers, who had been sent to the mountain tops, descried
the first rays of returning light, and proclaimed to the plain below the
festival of his resurrection. [43]

[Footnote 33: See the clearness and vigor of his negotiations in
Ennodius, (p. 1607,) and Cassiodorus, (Var. iii. 1, 2, 3, 4; iv. 13;
v. 43, 44,) who gives the different styles of friendship, counsel
expostulation, &c.]

[Footnote 34: Even of his table (Var. vi. 9) and palace, (vii. 5.) The
admiration of strangers is represented as the most rational motive
to justify these vain expenses, and to stimulate the diligence of the
officers to whom these provinces were intrusted.]

[Footnote 35: See the public and private alliances of the Gothic
monarch, with the Burgundians, (Var. i. 45, 46,) with the Franks, (ii.
40,) with the Thuringians, (iv. 1,) and with the Vandals, (v. 1;) each
of these epistles affords some curious knowledge of the policy and
manners of the Barbarians.]

[Footnote 36: His political system may be observed in Cassiodorus,
(Var. iv. l ix. l,) Jornandes, (c. 58, p. 698, 699,) and the Valesian
Fragment, (p. 720, 721.) Peace, honorable peace, was the constant aim of

[Footnote 37: The curious reader may contemplate the Heruli of
Procopius, (Goth. l. ii. c. 14,) and the patient reader may plunge
into the dark and minute researches of M. de Buat, (Hist. des Peuples
Anciens, tom. ix. p. 348--396. * Note: Compare Manso, Ost Gothische Reich. Beylage, vi. Malte-Brun brings
them from Scandinavia: their names, the only remains of their language,
are Gothic. "They fought almost naked, like the Icelandic Berserkirs
their bravery was like madness: few in number, they were mostly of
royal blood. What ferocity, what unrestrained license, sullied their
victories! The Goth respects the church, the priests, the senate; the
Heruli mangle all in a general massacre: there is no pity for age, no
refuge for chastity. Among themselves there is the same ferocity: the
sick and the aged are put to death. at their own request, during a
solemn festival; the widow ends her days by hanging herself upon the
tree which shadows her husband's tomb. All these circumstances, so
striking to a mind familiar with Scandinavian history, lead us to
discover among the Heruli not so much a nation as a confederacy of
princes and nobles, bound by an oath to live and die together with their
arms in their hands. Their name, sometimes written Heruli or Eruli.
sometimes Aeruli, signified, according to an ancient author, (Isid.
Hispal. in gloss. p. 24, ad calc. Lex. Philolog. Martini, ll,) nobles,
and appears to correspond better with the Scandinavian word iarl
or earl, than with any of those numerous derivations proposed by
etymologists." Malte-Brun, vol. i. p. 400, (edit. 1831.) Of all the
Barbarians who threw themselves on the ruins of the Roman empire, it
is most difficult to trace the origin of the Heruli. They seem never to
have been very powerful as a nation, and branches of them are found in
countries very remote from each other. In my opinion they belong to the
Gothic race, and have a close affinity with the Scyrri or Hirri. They
were, possibly, a division of that nation. They are often mingled and
confounded with the Alani. Though brave and formidable. they were
never numerous. nor did they found any state.--St. Martin, vol. vi. p.
375.--M. Schafarck considers them descendants of the Hirri. of which
Heruli is a diminutive,--Slawische Alter thinner--M. 1845.]

[Footnote 38: Variarum, iv. 2. The spirit and forms of this martial
institution are noticed by Cassiodorus; but he seems to have only
translated the sentiments of the Gothic king into the language of Roman

[Footnote 39: Cassiodorus, who quotes Tacitus to the Aestians, the
unlettered savages of the Baltic, (Var. v. 2,) describes the amber for
which their shores have ever been famous, as the gum of a tree, hardened
by the sun, and purified and wafted by the waves. When that singular
substance is analyzed by the chemists, it yields a vegetable oil and a
mineral acid.]

[Footnote 40: Scanzia, or Thule, is described by Jornandes (c. 3, p.
610--613) and Procopius, (Goth. l. ii. c. 15.) Neither the Goth nor the
Greek had visited the country: both had conversed with the natives in
their exile at Ravenna or Constantinople.]

[Footnote 41: Sapherinas pelles. In the time of Jornandes they inhabited
Suethans, the proper Sweden; but that beautiful race of animals has
gradually been driven into the eastern parts of Siberia. See Buffon,
(Hist. Nat. tom. xiii. p. 309--313, quarto edition;) Pennant, (System of
Quadrupeds, vol. i. p. 322--328;) Gmelin, (Hist. Gen des. Voyages, tom.
xviii. p. 257, 258;) and Levesque, (Hist. de Russie, tom. v. p. 165,
166, 514, 515.)]

[Footnote 42: In the system or romance of Mr. Bailly, (Lettres sur les
Sciences et sur l'Atlantide, tom. i. p. 249--256, tom. ii. p. 114--139,)
the phoenix of the Edda, and the annual death and revival of Adonis and
Osiris, are the allegorical symbols of the absence and return of the sun
in the Arctic regions. This ingenious writer is a worthy disciple of
the great Buffon; nor is it easy for the coldest reason to withstand the
magic of their philosophy.]

[Footnote 43: Says Procopius. At present a rude Manicheism (generous
enough) prevails among the Samoyedes in Greenland and in Lapland, (Hist.
des Voyages, tom. xviii. p. 508, 509, tom. xix. p. 105, 106, 527, 528;)
yet, according to Orotius Samojutae coelum atque astra adorant, numina
haud aliis iniquiora, (de Rebus Belgicis, l. iv. p. 338, folio edition)
a sentence which Tacitus would not have disowned.]

The life of Theodoric represents the rare and meritorious example of a
Barbarian, who sheathed his sword in the pride of victory and the vigor
of his age. A reign of three and thirty years was consecrated to
the duties of civil government, and the hostilities, in which he was
sometimes involved, were speedily terminated by the conduct of his
lieutenants, the discipline of his troops, the arms of his allies, and
even by the terror of his name. He reduced, under a strong and regular
government, the unprofitable countries of Rhaetia, Noricum, Dalmatia,
and Pannonia, from the source of the Danube and the territory of the
Bavarians, [44] to the petty kingdom erected by the Gepidae on the ruins
of Sirmium. His prudence could not safely intrust the bulwark of Italy
to such feeble and turbulent neighbors; and his justice might claim the
lands which they oppressed, either as a part of his kingdom, or as the
inheritance of his father. The greatness of a servant, who was named
perfidious because he was successful, awakened the jealousy of the
emperor Anastasius; and a war was kindled on the Dacian frontier, by the
protection which the Gothic king, in the vicissitude of human affairs,
had granted to one of the descendants of Attila. Sabinian, a general
illustrious by his own and father's merit, advanced at the head of ten
thousand Romans; and the provisions and arms, which filled a long train
of wagons, were distributed to the fiercest of the Bulgarian tribes.
But in the fields of Margus, the eastern powers were defeated by the
inferior forces of the Goths and Huns; the flower and even the hope
of the Roman armies was irretrievably destroyed; and such was the
temperance with which Theodoric had inspired his victorious troops,
that, as their leader had not given the signal of pillage, the rich
spoils of the enemy lay untouched at their feet. [45] Exasperated by
this disgrace, the Byzantine court despatched two hundred ships and
eight thousand men to plunder the sea-coast of Calabria and Apulia:
they assaulted the ancient city of Tarentum, interrupted the trade and
agriculture of a happy country, and sailed back to the Hellespont, proud
of their piratical victory over a people whom they still presumed
to consider as their Roman brethren. [46] Their retreat was possibly
hastened by the activity of Theodoric; Italy was covered by a fleet of
a thousand light vessels, [47] which he constructed with incredible
despatch; and his firm moderation was soon rewarded by a solid and
honorable peace. He maintained, with a powerful hand, the balance of the
West, till it was at length overthrown by the ambition of Clovis; and
although unable to assist his rash and unfortunate kinsman, the king
of the Visigoths, he saved the remains of his family and people, and
checked the Franks in the midst of their victorious career. I am not
desirous to prolong or repeat [48] this narrative of military events,
the least interesting of the reign of Theodoric; and shall be content
to add, that the Alemanni were protected, [49] that an inroad of the
Burgundians was severely chastised, and that the conquest of Arles and
Marseilles opened a free communication with the Visigoths, who revered
him as their national protector, and as the guardian of his grandchild,
the infant son of Alaric. Under this respectable character, the king of
Italy restored the praetorian praefecture of the Gauls, reformed some
abuses in the civil government of Spain, and accepted the annual tribute
and apparent submission of its military governor, who wisely refused to
trust his person in the palace of Ravenna. [50] The Gothic sovereignty
was established from Sicily to the Danube, from Sirmium or Belgrade to
the Atlantic Ocean; and the Greeks themselves have acknowledged that
Theodoric reigned over the fairest portion of the Western empire. [51]

[Footnote 44: See the Hist. des Peuples Anciens, &c., tom. ix. p.
255--273, 396--501. The count de Buat was French minister at the
court of Bavaria: a liberal curiosity prompted his inquiries into the
antiquities of the country, and that curiosity was the germ of twelve
respectable volumes.]

[Footnote 45: See the Gothic transactions on the Danube and the
Illyricum, in Jornandes, (c. 58, p. 699;) Ennodius, (p. 1607-1610;)
Marcellmus (in Chron. p. 44, 47, 48;) and Cassiodorus, in (in Chron and
Var. iii. 29 50, iv. 13, vii. 4 24, viii. 9, 10, 11, 21, ix. 8, 9.)]

[Footnote 46: I cannot forbear transcribing the liberal and classic
style of Count Marcellinus: Romanus comes domesticorum, et Rusticus
comes scholariorum cum centum armatis navibus, totidemque dromonibus,
octo millia militum armatorum secum ferentibus, ad devastanda Italiae
littora processerunt, ut usque ad Tarentum antiquissimam civitatem
aggressi sunt; remensoque mari in honestam victoriam quam piratico ausu
Romani ex Romanis rapuerunt, Anastasio Caesari reportarunt, (in Chron.
p. 48.) See Variar. i. 16, ii. 38.]

[Footnote 47: See the royal orders and instructions, (Var. iv. 15, v.
16--20.) These armed boats should be still smaller than the thousand
vessels of Agamemnon at the siege of Troy. (Manso, p. 121.)]

[Footnote 48: Vol. iii. p. 581--585.]

[Footnote 49: Ennodius (p. 1610) and Cassiodorus, in the royal name,
(Var. ii 41,) record his salutary protection of the Alemanni.]

[Footnote 50: The Gothic transactions in Gaul and Spain are represented
with some perplexity in Cassiodorus, (Var. iii. 32, 38, 41, 43, 44, v.
39.) Jornandes, (c. 58, p. 698, 699,) and Procopius, (Goth. l. i.
c. 12.) I will neither hear nor reconcile the long and contradictory
arguments of the Abbe Dubos and the Count de Buat, about the wars of

[Footnote 51: Theophanes, p. 113.]

The union of the Goths and Romans might have fixed for ages the
transient happiness of Italy; and the first of nations, a new people of
free subjects and enlightened soldiers, might have gradually arisen from
the mutual emulation of their respective virtues. But the sublime merit
of guiding or seconding such a revolution was not reserved for the reign
of Theodoric: he wanted either the genius or the opportunities of a
legislator; [52] and while he indulged the Goths in the enjoyment of
rude liberty, he servilely copied the institutions, and even the abuses,
of the political system which had been framed by Constantine and his
successors. From a tender regard to the expiring prejudices of Rome,
the Barbarian declined the name, the purple, and the diadem, of the
emperors; but he assumed, under the hereditary title of king, the whole
substance and plenitude of Imperial prerogative. [53] His addresses
to the eastern throne were respectful and ambiguous: he celebrated,
in pompous style, the harmony of the two republics, applauded his own
government as the perfect similitude of a sole and undivided empire,
and claimed above the kings of the earth the same preeminence which he
modestly allowed to the person or rank of Anastasius. The alliance of
the East and West was annually declared by the unanimous choice of two
consuls; but it should seem that the Italian candidate who was named
by Theodoric accepted a formal confirmation from the sovereign of
Constantinople. [54] The Gothic palace of Ravenna reflected the image
of the court of Theodosius or Valentinian. The Praetorian praefect,
the praefect of Rome, the quaestor, the master of the offices, with the
public and patrimonial treasurers, [5411] whose functions are painted in
gaudy colors by the rhetoric of Cassiodorus, still continued to act
as the ministers of state. And the subordinate care of justice and the
revenue was delegated to seven consulars, three correctors, and five
presidents, who governed the fifteen regions of Italy according to
the principles, and even the forms, of Roman jurisprudence. [55] The
violence of the conquerors was abated or eluded by the slow artifice
of judicial proceedings; the civil administration, with its honors and
emoluments, was confined to the Italians; and the people still preserved
their dress and language, their laws and customs, their personal
freedom, and two thirds of their landed property. [5511] It had been the
object of Augustus to conceal the introduction of monarchy; it was the
policy of Theodoric to disguise the reign of a Barbarian. [56] If his
subjects were sometimes awakened from this pleasing vision of a Roman
government, they derived more substantial comfort from the character of
a Gothic prince, who had penetration to discern, and firmness to pursue,
his own and the public interest. Theodoric loved the virtues which
he possessed, and the talents of which he was destitute. Liberius was
promoted to the office of Praetorian praefect for his unshaken fidelity
to the unfortunate cause of Odoacer. The ministers of Theodoric,
Cassiodorus, [57] and Boethius, have reflected on his reign the lustre
of their genius and learning. More prudent or more fortunate than his
colleague, Cassiodorus preserved his own esteem without forfeiting the
royal favor; and after passing thirty years in the honors of the world,
he was blessed with an equal term of repose in the devout and studious
solitude of Squillace. [5711]

[Footnote 52: Procopius affirms that no laws whatsoever were promulgated
by Theodoric and the succeeding kings of Italy, (Goth. l. ii. c. 6.) He
must mean in the Gothic language. A Latin edict of Theodoric is still
extant, in one hundred and fifty-four articles. * Note: See Manso, 92.
Savigny, vol. ii. p. 164, et seq.--M.]

[Footnote 53: The image of Theodoric is engraved on his coins: his
modest successors were satisfied with adding their own name to the head
of the reigning emperor, (Muratori, Antiquitat. Italiae Medii Aevi, tom.
ii. dissert. xxvii. p. 577--579. Giannone, Istoria Civile di Napoli tom.
i. p. 166.)]

[Footnote 54: The alliance of the emperor and the king of Italy
are represented by Cassiodorus (Var. i. l, ii. 1, 2, 3, vi. l) and
Procopius, (Goth. l. ii. c. 6, l. iii. c. 21,) who celebrate the
friendship of Anastasius and Theodoric; but the figurative style of
compliment was interpreted in a very different sense at Constantinople
and Ravenna.]

[Footnote 5411: All causes between Roman and Roman were judged by the
old Roman courts. The comes Gothorum judged between Goth and Goth;
between Goths and Romans, (without considering which was the plaintiff.)
the comes Gothorum, with a Roman jurist as his assessor, making a kind
of mixed jurisdiction, but with a natural predominance to the side of
the Goth Savigny, vol. i. p. 290.--M.]

[Footnote 55: To the xvii. provinces of the Notitia, Paul Warnefrid the
deacon (De Reb. Longobard. l. ii. c. 14--22) has subjoined an xviiith,
the Apennine, (Muratori, Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. i. p. 431--443.)
But of these Sardinia and Corsica were possessed by the Vandals, and the
two Rhaetias, as well as the Cottian Alps, seem to have been abandoned
to a military government. The state of the four provinces that now form
the kingdom of Naples is labored by Giannone (tom. i. p. 172, 178) with
patriotic diligence.]

[Footnote 5511: Manso enumerates and develops at some length the
following sources of the royal revenue of Theodoric: 1. A domain, either
by succession to that of Odoacer, or a part of the third of the lands
was reserved for the royal patrimony. 1. Regalia, including mines,
unclaimed estates, treasure-trove, and confiscations. 3. Land tax. 4.
Aurarium, like the Chrysargyrum, a tax on certain branches of trade.
5. Grant of Monopolies. 6. Siliquaticum, a small tax on the sale of all
kinds of commodities. 7. Portoria, customs Manso, 96, 111. Savigny (i.
285) supposes that in many cases the property remained in the original
owner, who paid his tertia, a third of the produce to the crown, vol. i.
p. 285.--M.]

[Footnote 56: See the Gothic history of Procopius, (l. i. c. 1, l. ii.
c. 6,) the Epistles of Cassiodorus, passim, but especially the vth and
vith books, which contain the formulae, or patents of offices,) and
the Civil History of Giannone, (tom. i. l. ii. iii.) The Gothic counts,
which he places in every Italian city, are annihilated, however, by
Maffei, (Verona Illustrata, P. i. l. viii. p. 227; for those of Syracuse
and Naples (Var vi. 22, 23) were special and temporary commissions.]

[Footnote 57: Two Italians of the name of Cassiodorus, the father (Var.
i. 24, 40) and the son, (ix. 24, 25,) were successively employed in
the administration of Theodoric. The son was born in the year 479: his
various epistles as quaestor, master of the offices, and Praetorian
praefect, extend from 509 to 539, and he lived as a monk about thirty
years, (Tiraboschi Storia della Letteratura Italiana, tom. iii. p.
7--24. Fabricius, Bibliot. Lat. Med. Aevi, tom. i. p. 357, 358, edit.

[Footnote 5711: Cassiodorus was of an ancient and honorable family; his
grandfather had distinguished himself in the defence of Sicily against
the ravages of Genseric; his father held a high rank at the court of
Valentinian III., enjoyed the friendship of Aetius, and was one of the
ambassadors sent to arrest the progress of Attila. Cassiodorus
himself was first the treasurer of the private expenditure to Odoacer,
afterwards "count of the sacred largesses." Yielding with the rest of
the Romans to the dominion of Theodoric, he was instrumental in the
peaceable submission of Sicily; was successively governor of his
native provinces of Bruttium and Lucania, quaestor, magister, palatii,
Praetorian praefect, patrician, consul, and private secretary, and, in
fact, first minister of the king. He was five times Praetorian praefect
under different sovereigns, the last time in the reign of Vitiges. This
is the theory of Manso, which is not unencumbered with difficulties.
M. Buat had supposed that it was the father of Cassiodorus who held
the office first named. Compare Manso, p. 85, &c., and Beylage, vii. It
certainly appears improbable that Cassiodorus should have been count of
the sacred largesses at twenty years old.--M.]

As the patron of the republic, it was the interest and duty of the
Gothic king to cultivate the affections of the senate [58] and people.
The nobles of Rome were flattered by sonorous epithets and formal
professions of respect, which had been more justly applied to the merit
and authority of their ancestors. The people enjoyed, without fear or
danger, the three blessings of a capital, order, plenty, and public
amusements. A visible diminution of their numbers may be found even in
the measure of liberality; [59] yet Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily, poured
their tribute of corn into the granaries of Rome an allowance of bread
and meat was distributed to the indigent citizens; and every office was
deemed honorable which was consecrated to the care of their health and
happiness. The public games, such as the Greek ambassador might politely
applaud, exhibited a faint and feeble copy of the magnificence of the
Caesars: yet the musical, the gymnastic, and the pantomime arts, had not
totally sunk in oblivion; the wild beasts of Africa still exercised
in the amphitheatre the courage and dexterity of the hunters; and the
indulgent Goth either patiently tolerated or gently restrained the
blue and green factions, whose contests so often filled the circus with
clamor and even with blood. [60] In the seventh year of his peaceful
reign, Theodoric visited the old capital of the world; the senate and
people advanced in solemn procession to salute a second Trajan, a new
Valentinian; and he nobly supported that character by the assurance of
a just and legal government, [61] in a discourse which he was not afraid
to pronounce in public, and to inscribe on a tablet of brass. Rome, in
this august ceremony, shot a last ray of declining glory; and a saint,
the spectator of this pompous scene, could only hope, in his pious
fancy, that it was excelled by the celestial splendor of the new
Jerusalem. [62] During a residence of six months, the fame, the person,
and the courteous demeanor of the Gothic king, excited the admiration of
the Romans, and he contemplated, with equal curiosity and surprise, the
monuments that remained of their ancient greatness. He imprinted the
footsteps of a conqueror on the Capitoline hill, and frankly confessed
that each day he viewed with fresh wonder the forum of Trajan and his
lofty column. The theatre of Pompey appeared, even in its decay, as a
huge mountain artificially hollowed, and polished, and adorned by human
industry; and he vaguely computed, that a river of gold must have been
drained to erect the colossal amphitheatre of Titus. [63] From the
mouths of fourteen aqueducts, a pure and copious stream was diffused
into every part of the city; among these the Claudian water, which
arose at the distance of thirty-eight miles in the Sabine mountains, was
conveyed along a gentle though constant declivity of solid arches, till
it descended on the summit of the Aventine hill. The long and spacious
vaults which had been constructed for the purpose of common sewers,
subsisted, after twelve centuries, in their pristine strength; and these
subterraneous channels have been preferred to all the visible wonders
of Rome. [64] The Gothic kings, so injuriously accused of the ruin of
antiquity, were anxious to preserve the monuments of the nation whom
they had subdued. [65] The royal edicts were framed to prevent the
abuses, the neglect, or the depredations of the citizens themselves;
and a professed architect, the annual sum of two hundred pounds of gold,
twenty-five thousand tiles, and the receipt of customs from the Lucrine
port, were assigned for the ordinary repairs of the walls and public
edifices. A similar care was extended to the statues of metal or marble
of men or animals. The spirit of the horses, which have given a modern
name to the Quirinal, was applauded by the Barbarians; [66] the brazen
elephants of the Via sacra were diligently restored; [67] the famous
heifer of Myron deceived the cattle, as they were driven through the
forum of peace; [68] and an officer was created to protect those works
of rat, which Theodoric considered as the noblest ornament of his

[Footnote 58: See his regard for the senate in Cochlaeus, (Vit. Theod.
viii. p. 72--80.)]

[Footnote 59: No more than 120,000 modii, or four thousand quarters,
(Anonym. Valesian. p. 721, and Var. i. 35, vi. 18, xi. 5, 39.)]

[Footnote 60: See his regard and indulgence for the spectacles of the
circus, the amphitheatre, and the theatre, in the Chronicle and
Epistles of Cassiodorus, (Var. i. 20, 27, 30, 31, 32, iii. 51, iv.
51, illustrated by the xivth Annotation of Mascou's History), who has
contrived to sprinkle the subject with ostentatious, though agreeable,

[Footnote 61: Anonym. Vales. p. 721. Marius Aventicensis in Chron. In
the scale of public and personal merit, the Gothic conqueror is at least
as much above Valentinian, as he may seem inferior to Trajan.]

[Footnote 62: Vit. Fulgentii in Baron. Annal. Eccles. A.D. 500, No. 10.]

[Footnote 63: Cassiodorus describes in his pompous style the Forum
of Trajan (Var. vii. 6,) the theatre of Marcellus, (iv. 51,) and the
amphitheatre of Titus, (v. 42;) and his descriptions are not unworthy
of the reader's perusal. According to the modern prices, the Abbe
Barthelemy computes that the brick work and masonry of the Coliseum
would now cost twenty millions of French livres, (Mem. de l'Academie
des Inscriptions, tom. xxviii. p. 585, 586.) How small a part of that
stupendous fabric!]

[Footnote 64: For the aqueducts and cloacae, see Strabo, (l. v. p. 360;)
Pliny, (Hist. Natur. xxxvi. 24; Cassiodorus, Var. iii. 30, 31, vi. 6;)
Procopius, (Goth. l. i. c. 19;) and Nardini, (Roma Antica, p. 514--522.)
How such works could be executed by a king of Rome, is yet a problem.
Note: See Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 402. These stupendous works are among
the most striking confirmations of Niebuhr's views of the early Roman
history; at least they appear to justify his strong sentence--"These
works and the building of the Capitol attest with unquestionable
evidence that this Rome of the later kings was the chief city of a great
state."--Page 110--M.]

[Footnote 65: For the Gothic care of the buildings and statues, see
Cassiodorus (Var. i. 21, 25, ii. 34, iv. 30, vii. 6, 13, 15) and the
Valesian Fragment, (p. 721.)]

[Footnote 66: Var. vii. 15. These horses of Monte Cavallo had been
transported from Alexandria to the baths of Constantine, (Nardini, p.
188.) Their sculpture is disdained by the Abbe Dubos, (Reflexions sur
la Poesie et sur la Peinture, tom. i. section 39,) and admired by
Winkelman, (Hist. de l'Art, tom. ii. p. 159.)]

[Footnote 67: Var. x. 10. They were probably a fragment of some
triumphal car, (Cuper de Elephantis, ii. 10.)]

[Footnote 68: Procopius (Goth. l. iv. c. 21) relates a foolish story of
Myron's cow, which is celebrated by the false with of thirty-six Greek
epigrams, (Antholog. l. iv. p. 302--306, edit. Hen. Steph.; Auson.
Epigram. xiii.--lxviii.)]

Chapter XXXIX: Gothic Kingdom Of Italy.--Part III.

After the example of the last emperors, Theodoric preferred the
residence of Ravenna, where he cultivated an orchard with his own hands.
[69] As often as the peace of his kingdom was threatened (for it was
never invaded) by the Barbarians, he removed his court to Verona [70]
on the northern frontier, and the image of his palace, still extant on
a coin, represents the oldest and most authentic model of Gothic
architecture. These two capitals, as well as Pavia, Spoleto, Naples, and
the rest of the Italian cities, acquired under his reign the useful
or splendid decorations of churches, aqueducts, baths, porticos,
and palaces. [71] But the happiness of the subject was more truly
conspicuous in the busy scene of labor and luxury, in the rapid increase
and bold enjoyment of national wealth. From the shades of Tibur and
Praeneste, the Roman senators still retired in the winter season to
the warm sun, and salubrious springs of Baiae; and their villas, which
advanced on solid moles into the Bay of Naples, commanded the various
prospect of the sky, the earth, and the water. On the eastern side
of the Adriatic, a new Campania was formed in the fair and fruitful
province of Istria, which communicated with the palace of Ravenna by an
easy navigation of one hundred miles. The rich productions of Lucania
and the adjacent provinces were exchanged at the Marcilian fountain,
in a populous fair annually dedicated to trade, intemperance, and
superstition. In the solitude of Comum, which had once been animated
by the mild genius of Pliny, a transparent basin above sixty miles in
length still reflected the rural seats which encompassed the margin of
the Larian lake; and the gradual ascent of the hills was covered by
a triple plantation of olives, of vines, and of chestnut trees. [72]
Agriculture revived under the shadow of peace, and the number of
husbandmen was multiplied by the redemption of captives. [73] The iron
mines of Dalmatia, a gold mine in Bruttium, were carefully explored,
and the Pomptine marshes, as well as those of Spoleto, were drained and
cultivated by private undertakers, whose distant reward must depend on
the continuance of the public prosperity. [74] Whenever the seasons were
less propitious, the doubtful precautions of forming magazines of corn,
fixing the price, and prohibiting the exportation, attested at least the
benevolence of the state; but such was the extraordinary plenty which an
industrious people produced from a grateful soil, that a gallon of wine
was sometimes sold in Italy for less than three farthings, and a quarter
of wheat at about five shillings and sixpence. [75] A country possessed
of so many valuable objects of exchange soon attracted the merchants of
the world, whose beneficial traffic was encouraged and protected by the
liberal spirit of Theodoric. The free intercourse of the provinces by
land and water was restored and extended; the city gates were never shut
either by day or by night; and the common saying, that a purse of gold
might be safely left in the fields, was expressive of the conscious
security of the inhabitants. [Footnote 69: See an epigram of Ennodius
(ii. 3, p. 1893, 1894) on this garden and the royal gardener.]

[Footnote 70: His affection for that city is proved by the epithet of
"Verona tua," and the legend of the hero; under the barbarous name of
Dietrich of Bern, (Peringsciold and Cochloeum, p. 240,) Maffei traces
him with knowledge and pleasure in his native country, (l. ix. p.

[Footnote 71: See Maffei, (Verona Illustrata, Part i. p. 231, 232, 308,
&c.) His amputes Gothic architecture, like the corruption of language,
writing &c., not to the Barbarians, but to the Italians themselves.
Compare his sentiments with those of Tiraboschi, (tom. iii. p. 61.)
* Note: Mr. Hallam (vol. iii. p. 432) observes that "the image of
Theodoric's palace" is represented in Maffei, not from a coin, but
from a seal. Compare D'Agincourt (Storia dell'arte, Italian Transl.,
Arcitecttura, Plate xvii. No. 2, and Pittura, Plate xvi. No. 15,)
where there is likewise an engraving from a mosaic in the church of St.
Apollinaris in Ravenna, representing a building ascribed to Theodoric in
that city. Neither of these, as Mr. Hallam justly observes, in the least
approximates to what is called the Gothic style. They are evidently the
degenerate Roman architecture, and more resemble the early attempts of
our architects to get back from our national Gothic into a classical
Greek style. One of them calls to mind Inigo Jones inner quadrangle
in St. John's College Oxford. Compare Hallam and D'Agincon vol. i. p.

[Footnote 72: The villas, climate, and landscape of Baiae, (Var. ix. 6;
see Cluver Italia Antiq. l. iv. c. 2, p. 1119, &c.,) Istria, (Var. xii.
22, 26,) and Comum, (Var. xi. 14; compare with Pliny's two villas, ix.
7,) are agreeably painted in the Epistles of Cassiodorus.]

[Footnote 73: In Liguria numerosa agricolarum progenies, (Ennodius, p.
1678, 1679, 1680.) St. Epiphanius of Pavia redeemed by prayer or ransom
6000 captives from the Burgundians of Lyons and Savoy. Such deeds are
the best of miracles.]

[Footnote 74: The political economy of Theodoric (see Anonym. Vales.
p. 721, and Cassiodorus, in Chron.) may be distinctly traced under the
following heads: iron mine, (Var. iii. 23;) gold mine, (ix. 3;) Pomptine
marshes, (ii. 32, 33;) Spoleto, (ii. 21;) corn, (i. 34, x. 27, 28, xi.
11, 12;) trade, (vi. 7, vii. 9, 23;) fair of Leucothoe or St. Cyprian in
Lucania, (viii. 33;) plenty, (xii. 4;) the cursus, or public post, (i.
29, ii. 31, iv. 47, v. 5, vi 6, vii. 33;) the Flaminian way, (xii. 18.)
* Note: The inscription commemorative of the draining of the Pomptine
marshes may be found in many works; in Gruter, Inscript. Ant.
Heidelberg, p. 152, No. 8. With variations, in Nicolai De' bonificamenti
delle terre Pontine, p. 103. In Sartorius, in his prize essay on the
reign of Theodoric, and Manse Beylage, xi.--M.]

[Footnote 75: LX modii tritici in solidum ipsius tempore fuerunt, et
vinum xxx amphoras in solidum, (Fragment. Vales.) Corn was distributed
from the granaries at xv or xxv modii for a piece of gold, and the price
was still moderate.]

A difference of religion is always pernicious, and often fatal, to the
harmony of the prince and people: the Gothic conqueror had been educated
in the profession of Arianism, and Italy was devoutly attached to the
Nicene faith. But the persuasion of Theodoric was not infected by
zeal; and he piously adhered to the heresy of his fathers, without
condescending to balance the subtile arguments of theological
metaphysics. Satisfied with the private toleration of his Arian
sectaries, he justly conceived himself to be the guardian of the
public worship, and his external reverence for a superstition which he
despised, may have nourished in his mind the salutary indifference of a
statesman or philosopher. The Catholics of his dominions acknowledged,
perhaps with reluctance, the peace of the church; their clergy,
according to the degrees of rank or merit, were honorably entertained
in the palace of Theodoric; he esteemed the living sanctity of Caesarius
[76] and Epiphanius, [77] the orthodox bishops of Arles and Pavia;
and presented a decent offering on the tomb of St. Peter, without any
scrupulous inquiry into the creed of the apostle. [78] His favorite
Goths, and even his mother, were permitted to retain or embrace the
Athanasian faith, and his long reign could not afford the example of an
Italian Catholic, who, either from choice or compulsion, had deviated
into the religion of the conqueror. [79] The people, and the Barbarians
themselves, were edified by the pomp and order of religious worship;
the magistrates were instructed to defend the just immunities of
ecclesiastical persons and possessions; the bishops held their synods,
the metropolitans exercised their jurisdiction, and the privileges of
sanctuary were maintained or moderated according to the spirit of the
Roman jurisprudence. [80] With the protection, Theodoric assumed the
legal supremacy, of the church; and his firm administration restored or
extended some useful prerogatives which had been neglected by the feeble
emperors of the West. He was not ignorant of the dignity and importance
of the Roman pontiff, to whom the venerable name of Pope was now
appropriated. The peace or the revolt of Italy might depend on the
character of a wealthy and popular bishop, who claimed such ample
dominion both in heaven and earth; who had been declared in a numerous
synod to be pure from all sin, and exempt from all judgment. [81] When
the chair of St. Peter was disputed by Symmachus and Laurence, they
appeared at his summons before the tribunal of an Arian monarch, and
he confirmed the election of the most worthy or the most obsequious
candidate. At the end of his life, in a moment of jealousy and
resentment, he prevented the choice of the Romans, by nominating a pope
in the palace of Ravenna. The danger and furious contests of a schism
were mildly restrained, and the last decree of the senate was enacted
to extinguish, if it were possible, the scandalous venality of the papal
elections. [82]

[Footnote 76: See the life of St. Caesarius in Baronius, (A.D. 508, No.
12, 13, 14.) The king presented him with 300 gold solidi, and a discus
of silver of the weight of sixty pounds.]

[Footnote 77: Ennodius in Vit. St. Epiphanii, in Sirmond, Op. tom. i.
p. 1672--1690. Theodoric bestowed some important favors on this bishop,
whom he used as a counsellor in peace and war.]

[Footnote 78: Devotissimus ac si Catholicus, (Anonym. Vales. p. 720;)
yet his offering was no more than two silver candlesticks (cerostrata)
of the weight of seventy pounds, far inferior to the gold and gems of
Constantinople and France, (Anastasius in Vit. Pont. in Hormisda, p. 34,
edit. Paris.)]

[Footnote 79: The tolerating system of his reign (Ennodius, p. 1612.
Anonym. Vales. p. 719. Procop. Goth. l. i. c. 1, l. ii. c. 6) may be
studied in the Epistles of Cassiodorous, under the following heads:
bishops, (Var. i. 9, vii. 15, 24, xi. 23;) immunities, (i. 26, ii. 29,
30;) church lands (iv. 17, 20;) sanctuaries, (ii. 11, iii. 47;) church
plate, (xii. 20;) discipline, (iv. 44;) which prove, at the same time,
that he was the head of the church as well as of the state. * Note: He
recommended the same toleration to the emperor Justin.--M.]

[Footnote 80: We may reject a foolish tale of his beheading a Catholic
deacon who turned Arian, (Theodor. Lector. No. 17.) Why is Theodoric
surnamed After? From Vafer? (Vales. ad loc.) A light conjecture.]

[Footnote 81: Ennodius, p. 1621, 1622, 1636, 1638. His libel was
approved and registered (synodaliter) by a Roman council, (Baronius,
A.D. 503, No. 6, Franciscus Pagi in Breviar. Pont. Rom. tom. i. p.

[Footnote 82: See Cassiodorus, (Var. viii. 15, ix. 15, 16,) Anastasius,
(in Symmacho, p. 31,) and the xviith Annotation of Mascou. Baronius,
Pagi, and most of the Catholic doctors, confess, with an angry growl,
this Gothic usurpation.]

I have descanted with pleasure on the fortunate condition of Italy; but
our fancy must not hastily conceive that the golden age of the poets,
a race of men without vice or misery, was realized under the Gothic
conquest. The fair prospect was sometimes overcast with clouds; the
wisdom of Theodoric might be deceived, his power might be resisted and
the declining age of the monarch was sullied with popular hatred and
patrician blood. In the first insolence of victory, he had been tempted
to deprive the whole party of Odoacer of the civil and even the natural
rights of society; [83] a tax unseasonably imposed after the calamities
of war, would have crushed the rising agriculture of Liguria; a rigid
preemption of corn, which was intended for the public relief, must
have aggravated the distress of Campania. These dangerous projects were
defeated by the virtue and eloquence of Epiphanius and Boethius, who, in
the presence of Theodoric himself, successfully pleaded the cause of
the people: [84] but if the royal ear was open to the voice of truth, a
saint and a philosopher are not always to be found at the ear of kings.

The privileges of rank, or office, or favor, were too frequently abused
by Italian fraud and Gothic violence, and the avarice of the king's
nephew was publicly exposed, at first by the usurpation, and afterwards
by the restitution of the estates which he had unjustly extorted from
his Tuscan neighbors. Two hundred thousand Barbarians, formidable even
to their master, were seated in the heart of Italy; they indignantly
supported the restraints of peace and discipline; the disorders of
their march were always felt and sometimes compensated; and where it was
dangerous to punish, it might be prudent to dissemble, the sallies of
their native fierceness. When the indulgence of Theodoric had remitted
two thirds of the Ligurian tribute, he condescended to explain the
difficulties of his situation, and to lament the heavy though inevitable
burdens which he imposed on his subjects for their own defence. [85]
These ungrateful subjects could never be cordially reconciled to the
origin, the religion, or even the virtues of the Gothic conqueror; past
calamities were forgotten, and the sense or suspicion of injuries was
rendered still more exquisite by the present felicity of the times.

[Footnote 83: He disabled them--alicentia testandi; and all Italy
mourned--lamentabili justitio. I wish to believe, that these penalties
were enacted against the rebels who had violated their oath of
allegiance; but the testimony of Ennodius (p. 1675-1678) is the more
weighty, as he lived and died under the reign of Theodoric.]

[Footnote 84: Ennodius, in Vit. Epiphan. p. 1589, 1690. Boethius de
Consolatione Philosphiae, l. i. pros. iv. p. 45, 46, 47. Respect,
but weigh the passions of the saint and the senator; and fortify and
alleviate their complaints by the various hints of Cassiodorus, (ii. 8,
iv. 36, viii. 5.)]

[Footnote 85: Immanium expensarum pondus...pro ipsorum salute, &c.; yet
these are no more than words.]

Even the religious toleration which Theodoric had the glory of
introducing into the Christian world, was painful and offensive to the
orthodox zeal of the Italians. They respected the armed heresy of the
Goths; but their pious rage was safely pointed against the rich and
defenceless Jews, who had formed their establishments at Naples, Rome,
Ravenna, Milan, and Genoa, for the benefit of trade, and under the
sanction of the laws. [86] Their persons were insulted, their effects
were pillaged, and their synagogues were burned by the mad populace of
Ravenna and Rome, inflamed, as it should seem, by the most frivolous or
extravagant pretences. The government which could neglect, would have
deserved such an outrage. A legal inquiry was instantly directed; and as
the authors of the tumult had escaped in the crowd, the whole community
was condemned to repair the damage; and the obstinate bigots, who
refused their contributions, were whipped through the streets by the
hand of the executioner. [8611] This simple act of justice exasperated
the discontent of the Catholics, who applauded the merit and patience of
these holy confessors. Three hundred pulpits deplored the persecution of
the church; and if the chapel of St. Stephen at Verona was demolished
by the command of Theodoric, it is probable that some miracle hostile to
his name and dignity had been performed on that sacred theatre. At
the close of a glorious life, the king of Italy discovered that he had
excited the hatred of a people whose happiness he had so assiduously
labored to promote; and his mind was soured by indignation, jealousy,
and the bitterness of unrequited love. The Gothic conqueror condescended
to disarm the unwarlike natives of Italy, interdicting all weapons
of offence, and excepting only a small knife for domestic use. The
deliverer of Rome was accused of conspiring with the vilest informers
against the lives of senators whom he suspected of a secret and
treasonable correspondence with the Byzantine court. [87] After the
death of Anastasius, the diadem had been placed on the head of a
feeble old man; but the powers of government were assumed by his nephew
Justinian, who already meditated the extirpation of heresy, and the
conquest of Italy and Africa. A rigorous law, which was published at
Constantinople, to reduce the Arians by the dread of punishment within
the pale of the church, 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. [8711]
At his stern command, the Roman pontiff, with four illustrious senators,
embarked on an embassy, of which he must have alike dreaded the failure
or the success. The singular veneration shown to the first pope who had
visited Constantinople was punished as a crime by his jealous monarch;
the artful or peremptory refusal of the Byzantine court might excuse an
equal, and would provoke a larger, measure of retaliation; 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; and the
life of Theodoric was too long, since he lived to condemn the virtue of
Boethius and Symmachus. [88]

[Footnote 86: The Jews were settled at Naples, (Procopius, Goth. l. i.
c. 8,) at Genoa, (Var. ii. 28, iv. 33,) Milan, (v. 37,) Rome, (iv. 43.)
See likewise Basnage, Hist. des Juifs, tom. viii. c. 7, p. 254.]

[Footnote 8611: See History of the Jews vol. iii. p. 217.--M.]

[Footnote 87: Rex avidus communis exitii, &c., (Boethius, l. i. p. 59:)
rex colum Romanis tendebat, (Anonym. Vales. p. 723.) These are hard
words: they speak the passions of the Italians and those (I fear) of
Theodoric himself.]

[Footnote 8711: Gibbon should not have omitted the golden words of
Theodoric in a letter which he addressed to Justin: That to pretend to a
dominion over the conscience is to usurp the prerogative of God; that
by the nature of things the power of sovereigns is confined to external
government; that they have no right of punishment but over those who
disturb the public peace, of which they are the guardians; that the most
dangerous heresy is that of a sovereign who separates from himself a
part of his subjects because they believe not according to his belief.
Compare Le Beau, vol viii. p. 68.--M]

[Footnote 88: I have labored to extract a rational narrative from the
dark, concise, and various hints of the Valesian Fragment, (p. 722, 723,
724,) Theophanes, (p. 145,) Anastasius, (in Johanne, p. 35,) and
the Hist Miscella, (p. 103, edit. Muratori.) A gentle pressure and
paraphrase of their words is no violence. Consult likewise Muratori
(Annali d' Italia, tom. iv. p. 471-478,) with the Annals and Breviary
(tom. i. p. 259--263) of the two Pagis, the uncle and the nephew.]

The senator Boethius [89] is the last of the Romans whom Cato or Tully
could have acknowledged for their countryman. As a wealthy orphan,
he inherited the patrimony and honors of the Anician family, a name
ambitiously assumed by the kings and emperors of the age; and the
appellation of Manlius asserted his genuine or fabulous descent from
a race of consuls and dictators, who had repulsed the Gauls from the
Capitol, and sacrificed their sons to the discipline of the republic. In
the youth of Boethius the studies of Rome were not totally abandoned;
a Virgil [90] is now extant, corrected by the hand of a consul; and the
professors of grammar, rhetoric, and jurisprudence, were maintained in
their privileges and pensions by the liberality of the Goths. But the
erudition of the Latin language was insufficient to satiate his ardent
curiosity: and Boethius is said to have employed eighteen laborious
years in the schools of Athens, [91] which were supported by the zeal,
the learning, and the diligence of Proclus and his disciples. The reason
and piety of their Roman pupil were fortunately saved from the contagion
of mystery and magic, which polluted the groves of the academy; but
he imbibed the spirit, and imitated the method, of his dead and living
masters, who attempted to reconcile the strong and subtile sense of
Aristotle with the devout contemplation and sublime fancy of Plato.
After his return to Rome, and his marriage with the daughter of his
friend, the patrician Symmachus, Boethius still continued, in a palace
of ivory and marble, to prosecute the same studies. [92] The church was
edified by his profound defence of the orthodox creed against the Arian,
the Eutychian, and the Nestorian heresies; and the Catholic unity was
explained or exposed in a formal treatise by the indifference of three
distinct though consubstantial persons. For the benefit of his Latin
readers, his genius submitted to teach the first elements of the arts
and sciences of Greece. The geometry of Euclid, the music of Pythagoras,
the arithmetic of Nicomachus, the mechanics of Archimedes, the astronomy
of Ptolemy, the theology of Plato, and the logic of Aristotle, with
the commentary of Porphyry, were translated and illustrated by the
indefatigable pen of the Roman senator. And he alone was esteemed
capable of describing the wonders of art, a sun-dial, a water-clock,
or a sphere which represented the motions of the planets. From these
abstruse speculations, Boethius stooped, or, to speak more truly, he
rose to the social duties of public and private life: the indigent were
relieved by his liberality; and his eloquence, which flattery might
compare to the voice of Demosthenes or Cicero, was uniformly exerted in
the cause of innocence and humanity. Such conspicuous merit was felt
and rewarded by a discerning prince: the dignity of Boethius was adorned
with the titles of consul and patrician, and his talents were
usefully employed in the important station of master of the offices.
Notwithstanding the equal claims of the East and West, his two sons were
created, in their tender youth, the consuls of the same year. [93] On
the memorable day of their inauguration, they proceeded in solemn pomp
from their palace to the forum amidst the applause of the senate
and people; and their joyful father, the true consul of Rome,
after pronouncing an oration in the praise of his royal benefactor,
distributed a triumphal largess in the games of the circus. Prosperous
in his fame and fortunes, in his public honors and private alliances,
in the cultivation of science and the consciousness of virtue, Boethius
might have been styled happy, if that precarious epithet could be safely
applied before the last term of the life of man.

[Footnote 89: Le Clerc has composed a critical and philosophical life
of Anicius Manlius Severinus Boetius, (Bibliot. Choisie, tom. xvi.
p. 168--275;) and both Tiraboschi (tom. iii.) and Fabricius (Bibliot
Latin.) may be usefully consulted. The date of his birth may be placed
about the year 470, and his death in 524, in a premature old age,
(Consol. Phil. Metrica. i. p. 5.)]

[Footnote 90: For the age and value of this Ms., now in the Medicean
library at Florence, see the Cenotaphia Pisana (p. 430-447) of Cardinal

[Footnote 91: The Athenian studies of Boethius are doubtful, (Baronius,
A.D. 510, No. 3, from a spurious tract, De Disciplina Scholarum,) and
the term of eighteen years is doubtless too long: but the simple fact
of a visit to Athens is justified by much internal evidence, (Brucker,
Hist. Crit. Philosoph. tom. iii. p. 524--527,) and by an expression
(though vague and ambiguous) of his friend Cassiodorus, (Var. i. 45,)
"longe positas Athenas intrioisti."]

[Footnote 92: Bibliothecae comptos ebore ac vitro * parietes, &c.,
(Consol. Phil. l. i. pros. v. p. 74.) The Epistles of Ennodius (vi. 6,
vii. 13, viii. 1 31, 37, 40) and Cassiodorus (Var. i. 39, iv. 6, ix. 21)
afford many proofs of the high reputation which he enjoyed in his own
times. It is true, that the bishop of Pavia wanted to purchase of him an
old house at Milan, and praise might be tendered and accepted in part of
payment. * Note: Gibbon translated vitro, marble; under the impression,
no doubt that glass was unknown.--M.]

[Footnote 93: Pagi, Muratori, &c., are agreed that Boethius himself was
consul in the year 510, his two sons in 522, and in 487, perhaps, his
father. A desire of ascribing the last of these consulships to the
philosopher had perplexed the chronology of his life. In his honors,
alliances, children, he celebrates his own felicity--his past felicity,
(p. 109 110)]

A philosopher, liberal of his wealth and parsimonious of his time, might
be insensible to the common allurements of ambition, the thirst of
gold and employment. And some credit may be due to the asseveration of
Boethius, that he had reluctantly obeyed the divine Plato, who enjoins
every virtuous citizen to rescue the state from the usurpation of vice
and ignorance. For the integrity of his public conduct he appeals to
the memory of his country. His authority had restrained the pride
and oppression of the royal officers, and his eloquence had delivered
Paulianus from the dogs of the palace. He had always pitied, and often
relieved, the distress of the provincials, whose fortunes were exhausted
by public and private rapine; and Boethius alone had courage to oppose
the tyranny of the Barbarians, elated by conquest, excited by avarice,
and, as he complains, encouraged by impunity. In these honorable
contests his spirit soared above the consideration of danger, and
perhaps of prudence; and we may learn from the example of Cato, that a
character of pure and inflexible virtue is the most apt to be misled by
prejudice, to be heated by enthusiasm, and to confound private enmities
with public justice. The disciple of Plato might exaggerate the
infirmities of nature, and the imperfections of society; and the mildest
form of a Gothic kingdom, even the weight of allegiance and gratitude,
must be insupportable to the free spirit of a Roman patriot. But the
favor and fidelity of Boethius declined in just proportion with the
public happiness; and an unworthy colleague was imposed to divide and
control the power of the master of the offices. In the last gloomy
season of Theodoric, he indignantly felt that he was a slave; but as his
master had only power over his life, he stood without arms and without
fear against the face of an angry Barbarian, who had been provoked to
believe that the safety of the senate was incompatible with his own. The
senator Albinus was accused and already convicted on the presumption of
hoping, as it was said, the liberty of Rome. "If Albinus be criminal,"
exclaimed the orator, "the senate and myself are all guilty of the same
crime. If we are innocent, Albinus is equally entitled to the protection
of the laws." These laws might not have punished the simple and barren
wish of an unattainable blessing; but they would have shown less
indulgence to the rash confession of Boethius, that, had he known of a
conspiracy, the tyrant never should. [94] The advocate of Albinus was
soon involved in the danger and perhaps the guilt of his client; their
signature (which they denied as a forgery) was affixed to the original
address, inviting the emperor to deliver Italy from the Goths; and three
witnesses of honorable rank, perhaps of infamous reputation, attested
the treasonable designs of the Roman patrician. [95] Yet his innocence
must be presumed, since he was deprived by Theodoric of the means of
justification, and rigorously confined in the tower of Pavia, while the
senate, at the distance of five hundred miles, pronounced a sentence of
confiscation and death against the most illustrious of its members. At
the command of the Barbarians, the occult science of a philosopher was
stigmatized with the names of sacrilege and magic. [96] A devout and
dutiful attachment to the senate was condemned as criminal by the
trembling voices of the senators themselves; and their ingratitude
deserved the wish or prediction of Boethius, that, after him, none
should be found guilty of the same offence. [97]

[Footnote 94: Si ego scissem tu nescisses. Beothius adopts this answer
(l. i. pros. 4, p. 53) of Julius Canus, whose philosophic death is
described by Seneca, (De Tranquillitate Animi, c. 14.)]

[Footnote 95: The characters of his two delators, Basilius (Var. ii. 10,
11, iv. 22) and Opilio, (v. 41, viii. 16,) are illustrated, not much
to their honor, in the Epistles of Cassiodorus, which likewise mention
Decoratus, (v. 31,) the worthless colleague of Beothius, (l. iii. pros.
4, p. 193.)]

[Footnote 96: A severe inquiry was instituted into the crime of magic,
(Var. iv 22, 23, ix. 18;) and it was believed that many necromancers had
escaped by making their jailers mad: for mad I should read drunk.]

[Footnote 97: Boethius had composed his own Apology, (p. 53,) perhaps
more interesting than his Consolation. We must be content with the
general view of his honors, principles, persecution, &c., (l. i. pros.
4, p. 42--62,) which may be compared with the short and weighty words of
the Valesian Fragment, (p. 723.) An anonymous writer (Sinner, Catalog.
Mss. Bibliot. Bern. tom. i. p. 287) charges him home with honorable and
patriotic treason.]

While Boethius, oppressed with fetters, expected each moment the
sentence or the stroke of death, he composed, in the tower of Pavia, the
Consolation of Philosophy; a golden volume not unworthy of the leisure
of Plato or Tully, but which claims incomparable merit from the
barbarism of the times and the situation of the author. The celestial
guide, whom he had so long invoked at Rome and Athens, now condescended
to illumine his dungeon, to revive his courage, and to pour into his
wounds her salutary balm. She taught him to compare his long prosperity
and his recent distress, and to conceive new hopes from the inconstancy
of fortune. Reason had informed him of the precarious condition of her
gifts; experience had satisfied him of their real value; he had enjoyed
them without guilt; he might resign them without a sigh, and calmly
disdain the impotent malice of his enemies, who had left him happiness,
since they had left him virtue. From the earth, Boethius ascended
to heaven in search of the Supreme Good; explored the metaphysical
labyrinth of chance and destiny, of prescience and free will, of
time and eternity; and generously attempted to reconcile the perfect
attributes of the Deity with the apparent disorders of his moral and
physical government. Such topics of consolation so obvious, so vague, or
so abstruse, are ineffectual to subdue the feelings of human nature. Yet
the sense of misfortune may be diverted by the labor of thought; and the
sage who could artfully combine in the same work the various riches
of philosophy, poetry, and eloquence, must already have possessed the
intrepid calmness which he affected to seek. Suspense, the worst of
evils, was at length determined by the ministers of death, who executed,
and perhaps exceeded, the inhuman mandate of Theodoric. A strong cord
was fastened round the head of Boethius, and forcibly tightened, till
his eyes almost started from their sockets; and some mercy may be
discovered in the milder torture of beating him with clubs till he
expired. [98] But his genius survived to diffuse a ray of knowledge over
the darkest ages of the Latin world; the writings of the philosopher
were translated by the most glorious of the English kings, [99] and the
third emperor of the name of Otho removed to a more honorable tomb the
bones of a Catholic saint, who, from his Arian persecutors, had acquired
the honors of martyrdom, and the fame of miracles. [100] In the last
hours of Boethius, he derived some comfort from the safety of his two
sons, of his wife, and of his father-in-law, the venerable Symmachus.
But the grief of Symmachus was indiscreet, and perhaps disrespectful:
he had presumed to lament, he might dare to revenge, the death of an
injured friend. He was dragged in chains from Rome to the palace of
Ravenna; and the suspicions of Theodoric could only be appeased by the
blood of an innocent and aged senator. [101]

[Footnote 98: He was executed in Agro Calventiano, (Calvenzano, between
Marignano and Pavia,) Anonym. Vales. p. 723, by order of Eusebius, count
of Ticinum or Pavia. This place of confinement is styled the baptistery,
an edifice and name peculiar to cathedrals. It is claimed by the
perpetual tradition of the church of Pavia. The tower of Boethius
subsisted till the year 1584, and the draught is yet preserved,
(Tiraboschi, tom. iii. p. 47, 48.)]

[Footnote 99: See the Biographia Britannica, Alfred, tom. i. p. 80, 2d
edition. The work is still more honorable if performed under the learned
eye of Alfred by his foreign and domestic doctors. For the reputation
of Boethius in the middle ages, consult Brucker, (Hist. Crit. Philosoph.
tom. iii. p. 565, 566.)]

[Footnote 100: The inscription on his new tomb was composed by the
preceptor of Otho III., the learned Pope Silvester II., who, like
Boethius himself, was styled a magician by the ignorance of the times.
The Catholic martyr had carried his head in his hands a considerable
way, (Baronius, A.D. 526, No. 17, 18;) and yet on a similar tale, a lady
of my acquaintance once observed, "La distance n'y fait rien; il n'y a
que lo remier pas qui coute." Note: Madame du Deffand. This witticism
referred to the miracle of St. Denis.--G.]

[Footnote 101: Boethius applauds the virtues of his father-in-law, (l.
i. pros. 4, p. 59, l. ii. pros. 4, p. 118.) Procopius, (Goth. l. i. c.
i.,) the Valesian Fragment, (p. 724,) and the Historia Miscella, (l.
xv. p. 105,) agree in praising the superior innocence or sanctity of
Symmachus; and in the estimation of the legend, the guilt of his murder
is equal to the imprisonment of a pope.]

Humanity will be disposed to encourage any report which testifies the
jurisdiction of conscience and the remorse of kings; and philosophy is
not ignorant that the most horrid spectres are sometimes created by the
powers of a disordered fancy, and the weakness of a distempered body.
After a life of virtue and glory, Theodoric was now descending with
shame and guilt into the grave; his mind was humbled by the contrast of
the past, and justly alarmed by the invisible terrors of futurity. One
evening, as it is related, when the head of a large fish was served on
the royal table, [102] he suddenly exclaimed, that he beheld the angry
countenance of Symmachus, his eyes glaring fury and revenge, and his
mouth armed with long sharp teeth, which threatened to devour him. The
monarch instantly retired to his chamber, and, as he lay, trembling
with aguish cold, under a weight of bed-clothes, he expressed, in broken
murmurs to his physician Elpidius, his deep repentance for the murders
of Boethius and Symmachus. [103] His malady increased, and after a
dysentery which continued three days, he expired in the palace of
Ravenna, in the thirty-third, or, if we compute from the invasion
of Italy, in the thirty-seventh year of his reign. Conscious of his
approaching end, he divided his treasures and provinces between his two
grandsons, and fixed the Rhone as their common boundary. [104] Amalaric
was restored to the throne of Spain. Italy, with all the conquests of
the Ostrogoths, was bequeathed to Athalaric; whose age did not exceed
ten years, but who was cherished as the last male offspring of the line
of Amali, by the short-lived marriage of his mother Amalasuntha with
a royal fugitive of the same blood. [105] In the presence of the dying
monarch, the Gothic chiefs and Italian magistrates mutually engaged
their faith and loyalty to the young prince, and to his guardian mother;
and received, in the same awful moment, his last salutary advice,
to maintain the laws, to love the senate and people of Rome, and to
cultivate with decent reverence the friendship of the emperor. [106]
The monument of Theodoric was erected by his daughter Amalasuntha, in a
conspicuous situation, which commanded the city of Ravenna, the harbor,
and the adjacent coast. A chapel of a circular form, thirty feet in
diameter, is crowned by a dome of one entire piece of granite: from the
centre of the dome four columns arose, which supported, in a vase of
porphyry, the remains of the Gothic king, surrounded by the brazen
statues of the twelve apostles. [107] His spirit, after some previous
expiation, might have been permitted to mingle with the benefactors of
mankind, if an Italian hermit had not been witness, in a vision, to the
damnation of Theodoric, [108] whose soul was plunged, by the ministers
of divine vengeance, into the volcano of Lipari, one of the flaming
mouths of the infernal world. [109]

[Footnote 102: In the fanciful eloquence of Cassiodorus, the variety of
sea and river fish are an evidence of extensive dominion; and those of
the Rhine, of Sicily, and of the Danube, were served on the table of
Theodoric, (Var. xii. 14.) The monstrous turbot of Domitian (Juvenal
Satir. iii. 39) had been caught on the shores of the Adriatic.]

[Footnote 103: Procopius, Goth. l. i. c. 1. But he might have informed
us, whether he had received this curious anecdote from common report or
from the mouth of the royal physician.]

[Footnote 104: Procopius, Goth. l. i. c. 1, 2, 12, 13. This partition
had been directed by Theodoric, though it was not executed till after
his death, Regni hereditatem superstes reliquit, (Isidor. Chron. p. 721,
edit. Grot.)]

[Footnote 105: Berimund, the third in descent from Hermanric, king
of the Ostrogoths, had retired into Spain, where he lived and died
in obscurity, (Jornandes, c. 33, p. 202, edit. Muratori.) See the
discovery, nuptials, and death of his grandson Eutharic, (c. 58, p.
220.) His Roman games might render him popular, (Cassiodor. in Chron.,)
but Eutharic was asper in religione, (Anonym. Vales. p. 723.)]

[Footnote 106: See the counsels of Theodoric, and the professions of his
successor, in Procopius, (Goth. l. i. c. 1, 2,) Jornandes, (c. 59, p.
220, 221,) and Cassiodorus, (Var. viii. 1--7.) These epistles are the
triumph of his ministerial eloquence.]

[Footnote 107: Anonym. Vales. p. 724. Agnellus de Vitis. Pont. Raven. in
Muratori Script. Rerum Ital. tom. ii. P. i. p. 67. Alberti Descrittione
d' Italia, p. 311. * Note: The Mausoleum of Theodoric, now Sante Maria
della Rotonda, is engraved in D'Agincourt, Histoire de l'Art, p xviii.
of the Architectural Prints.--M]

[Footnote 108: This legend is related by Gregory I., (Dialog. iv. 36,)
and approved by Baronius, (A.D. 526, No. 28;) and both the pope and
cardinal are grave doctors, sufficient to establish a probable opinion.]

[Footnote 109: Theodoric himself, or rather Cassiodorus, had described
in tragic strains the volcanos of Lipari (Cluver. Sicilia, p. 406--410)
and Vesuvius, (v 50.)]

Chapter XL: Reign Of Justinian.--Part I.

     Elevation Of Justin The Elder.--Reign Of Justinian.--I. The
     Empress Theodora.--II.  Factions Of The Circus, And Sedition
     Of Constantinople.--III.  Trade And Manufacture Of Silk.--
     IV. Finances And Taxes.--V. Edifices Of Justinian.--Church
     Of St. Sophia.--Fortifications And Frontiers Of The Eastern
     Empire.--Abolition Of The Schools Of Athens, And The
     Consulship Of Rome.

The emperor Justinian was born [1] near the ruins of Sardica,
(the modern Sophia,) of an obscure race [2] of Barbarians, [3] the
inhabitants of a wild and desolate country, to which the names of
Dardania, of Dacia, and of Bulgaria, have been successively applied. His
elevation was prepared by the adventurous spirit of his uncle Justin,
who, with two other peasants of the same village, deserted, for
the profession of arms, the more useful employment of husbandmen or
shepherds. [4] On foot, with a scanty provision of biscuit in their
knapsacks, the three youths followed the high road of Constantinople,
and were soon enrolled, for their strength and stature, among the guards
of the emperor Leo. Under the two succeeding reigns, the fortunate
peasant emerged to wealth and honors; and his escape from some dangers
which threatened his life was afterwards ascribed to the guardian angel
who watches over the fate of kings. His long and laudable service in
the Isaurian and Persian wars would not have preserved from oblivion the
name of Justin; yet they might warrant the military promotion, which in
the course of fifty years he gradually obtained; the rank of tribune,
of count, and of general; the dignity of senator, and the command of the
guards, who obeyed him as their chief, at the important crisis when the
emperor Anastasius was removed from the world. The powerful kinsmen whom
he had raised and enriched were excluded from the throne; and the eunuch
Amantius, who reigned in the palace, had secretly resolved to fix the
diadem on the head of the most obsequious of his creatures. A liberal
donative, to conciliate the suffrage of the guards, was intrusted
for that purpose in the hands of their commander. But these weighty
arguments were treacherously employed by Justin in his own favor; and as
no competitor presumed to appear, the Dacian peasant was invested with
the purple by the unanimous consent of the soldiers, who knew him to
be brave and gentle, of the clergy and people, who believed him to
be orthodox, and of the provincials, who yielded a blind and implicit
submission to the will of the capital. The elder Justin, as he is
distinguished from another emperor of the same family and name, ascended
the Byzantine throne at the age of sixty-eight years; and, had he been
left to his own guidance, every moment of a nine years' reign must have
exposed to his subjects the impropriety of their choice. His ignorance
was similar to that of Theodoric; and it is remarkable that in an age
not destitute of learning, two contemporary monarchs had never been
instructed in the knowledge of the alphabet. [411] But the genius of
Justin was far inferior to that of the Gothic king: the experience of
a soldier had not qualified him for the government of an empire; and
though personally brave, the consciousness of his own weakness was
naturally attended with doubt, distrust, and political apprehension.
But the official business of the state was diligently and faithfully
transacted by the quaestor Proclus; [5] and the aged emperor adopted the
talents and ambition of his nephew Justinian, an aspiring youth, whom
his uncle had drawn from the rustic solitude of Dacia, and educated at
Constantinople, as the heir of his private fortune, and at length of the
Eastern empire.

[Footnote 1: There is some difficulty in the date of his birth
(Ludewig in Vit. Justiniani, p. 125;) none in the place--the district
Bederiana--the village Tauresium, which he afterwards decorated with
his name and splendor, (D'Anville, Hist. de l'Acad. &c., tom. xxxi. p.

[Footnote 2: The names of these Dardanian peasants are Gothic, and
almost English: Justinian is a translation of uprauda, (upright;) his
father Sabatius (in Graeco-barbarous language stipes) was styled in
his village Istock, (Stock;) his mother Bigleniza was softened into

[Footnote 3: Ludewig (p. 127--135) attempts to justify the Anician name
of Justinian and Theodora, and to connect them with a family from which
the house of Austria has been derived.]

[Footnote 4: See the anecdotes of Procopius, (c. 6,) with the notes of
N. Alemannus. The satirist would not have sunk, in the vague and decent
appellation of Zonaras. Yet why are those names disgraceful?--and what
German baron would not be proud to descend from the Eumaeus of the
Odyssey! Note: It is whimsical enough that, in our own days, we should
have, even in jest, a claimant to lineal descent from the godlike
swineherd not in the person of a German baron, but in that of a
professor of the Ionian University. Constantine Koliades, or some
malicious wit under this name, has written a tall folio to prove Ulysses
to be Homer, and himself the descendant, the heir (?), of the Eumaeus of
the Odyssey.--M]

[Footnote 411: St. Martin questions the fact in both cases. The
ignorance of Justin rests on the secret history of Procopius, vol. viii.
p. 8. St. Martin's notes on Le Beau.--M]

[Footnote 5: His virtues are praised by Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c.
11.) The quaestor Proclus was the friend of Justinian, and the enemy of
every other adoption.]

Since the eunuch Amantius had been defrauded of his money, it became
necessary to deprive him of his life. The task was easily accomplished
by the charge of a real or fictitious conspiracy; and the judges were
informed, as an accumulation of guilt, that he was secretly addicted
to the Manichaean heresy. [6] Amantius lost his head; three of his
companions, the first domestics of the palace, were punished either with
death or exile; and their unfortunate candidate for the purple was cast
into a deep dungeon, overwhelmed with stones, and ignominiously thrown,
without burial, into the sea. The ruin of Vitalian was a work of more
difficulty and danger. That Gothic chief had rendered himself popular by
the civil war which he boldly waged against Anastasius for the defence
of the orthodox faith, and after the conclusion of an advantageous
treaty, he still remained in the neighborhood of Constantinople at the
head of a formidable and victorious army of Barbarians. By the frail
security of oaths, he was tempted to relinquish this advantageous
situation, and to trust his person within the walls of a city, whose
inhabitants, particularly the blue faction, were artfully incensed
against him by the remembrance even of his pious hostilities. The
emperor and his nephew embraced him as the faithful and worthy champion
of the church and state; and gratefully adorned their favorite with
the titles of consul and general; but in the seventh month of his
consulship, Vitalian was stabbed with seventeen wounds at the royal
banquet; [7] and Justinian, who inherited the spoil, was accused as the
assassin of a spiritual brother, to whom he had recently pledged his
faith in the participation of the Christian mysteries. [8] After the
fall of his rival, he was promoted, without any claim of military
service, to the office of master-general of the Eastern armies, whom it
was his duty to lead into the field against the public enemy. But, in
the pursuit of fame, Justinian might have lost his present dominion over
the age and weakness of his uncle; and instead of acquiring by Scythian
or Persian trophies the applause of his countrymen, [9] the prudent
warrior solicited their favor in the churches, the circus, and the
senate, of Constantinople. The Catholics were attached to the nephew
of Justin, who, between the Nestorian and Eutychian heresies, trod the
narrow path of inflexible and intolerant orthodoxy. [10] In the first
days of the new reign, he prompted and gratified the popular enthusiasm
against the memory of the deceased emperor. After a schism of
thirty-four years, he reconciled the proud and angry spirit of the Roman
pontiff, and spread among the Latins a favorable report of his pious
respect for the apostolic see. The thrones of the East were filled with
Catholic bishops, devoted to his interest, the clergy and the monks were
gained by his liberality, and the people were taught to pray for
their future sovereign, the hope and pillar of the true religion. The
magnificence of Justinian was displayed in the superior pomp of his
public spectacles, an object not less sacred and important in the eyes
of the multitude than the creed of Nice or Chalcedon: the expense of his
consulship was esteemed at two hundred and twenty-eight thousand pieces
of gold; twenty lions, and thirty leopards, were produced at the same
time in the amphitheatre, and a numerous train of horses, with their
rich trappings, was bestowed as an extraordinary gift on the
victorious charioteers of the circus. While he indulged the people of
Constantinople, and received the addresses of foreign kings, the nephew
of Justin assiduously cultivated the friendship of the senate. That
venerable name seemed to qualify its members to declare the sense of
the nation, and to regulate the succession of the Imperial throne: the
feeble Anastasius had permitted the vigor of government to degenerate
into the form or substance of an aristocracy; and the military officers
who had obtained the senatorial rank were followed by their domestic
guards, a band of veterans, whose arms or acclamations might fix in a
tumultuous moment the diadem of the East. The treasures of the state
were lavished to procure the voices of the senators, and their unanimous
wish, that he would be pleased to adopt Justinian for his colleague,
was communicated to the emperor. But this request, which too clearly
admonished him of his approaching end, was unwelcome to the jealous
temper of an aged monarch, desirous to retain the power which he was
incapable of exercising; and Justin, holding his purple with both his
hands, advised them to prefer, since an election was so profitable, some
older candidate. Not withstanding this reproach, the senate proceeded
to decorate Justinian with the royal epithet of nobilissimus; and their
decree was ratified by the affection or the fears of his uncle. After
some time the languor of mind and body, to which he was reduced by
an incurable wound in his thigh, indispensably required the aid of a
guardian. He summoned the patriarch and senators; and in their presence
solemnly placed the diadem on the head of his nephew, who was conducted
from the palace to the circus, and saluted by the loud and joyful
applause of the people. The life of Justin was prolonged about four
months; but from the instant of this ceremony, he was considered as dead
to the empire, which acknowledged Justinian, in the forty-fifth year of
his age, for the lawful sovereign of the East. [11]

[Footnote 6: Manichaean signifies Eutychian. Hear the furious
acclamations of Constantinople and Tyre, the former no more than
six days after the decease of Anastasius. They produced, the latter
applauded, the eunuch's death, (Baronius, A.D. 518, P. ii. No. 15.
Fleury, Hist Eccles. tom. vii. p. 200, 205, from the Councils, tom. v.
p. 182, 207.)]

[Footnote 7: His power, character, and intentions, are perfectly
explained by the court de Buat, (tom. ix. p. 54--81.) He was
great-grandson of Aspar, hereditary prince in the Lesser Scythia,
and count of the Gothic foederati of Thrace. The Bessi, whom he could
influence, are the minor Goths of Jornandes, (c. 51.)]

[Footnote 8: Justiniani patricii factione dicitur interfectus fuisse,
(Victor Tu nunensis, Chron. in Thesaur. Temp. Scaliger, P. ii. p.
7.) Procopius (Anecdot. c. 7) styles him a tyrant, but acknowledges
something which is well explained by Alemannus.]

[Footnote 9: In his earliest youth (plane adolescens) he had passed some
time as a hostage with Theodoric. For this curious fact, Alemannus (ad
Procop. Anecdot. c. 9, p. 34, of the first edition) quotes a Ms. history
of Justinian, by his preceptor Theophilus. Ludewig (p. 143) wishes to
make him a soldier.]

[Footnote 10: The ecclesiastical history of Justinian will be shown
hereafter. See Baronius, A.D. 518--521, and the copious article
Justinianas in the index to the viith volume of his Annals.]

[Footnote 11: The reign of the elder Justin may be found in the three
Chronicles of Marcellinus, Victor, and John Malala, (tom. ii. p.
130--150,) the last of whom (in spite of Hody, Prolegom. No. 14, 39,
edit. Oxon.) lived soon after Justinian, (Jortin's Remarks, &c., vol. iv
p. 383:) in the Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius, (l. iv. c. 1, 2, 3,
9,) and the Excerpta of Theodorus Lector, (No. 37,) and in Cedrenus,
(p. 362--366,) and Zonaras, (l. xiv. p. 58--61,) who may pass for an
original. * Note: Dindorf, in his preface to the new edition of Malala,
p. vi., concurs with this opinion of Gibbon, which was also that of
Reiske, as to the age of the chronicler.--M.]

From his elevation to his death, Justinian governed the Roman empire
thirty-eight years, seven months, and thirteen days.

The events of his reign, which excite our curious attention by their
number, variety, and importance, are diligently related by the secretary
of Belisarius, a rhetorician, whom eloquence had promoted to the rank of
senator and praefect of Constantinople. According to the vicissitudes of
courage or servitude, of favor or disgrace, Procopius [12] successively
composed the history, the panegyric, and the satire of his own times.
The eight books of the Persian, Vandalic, and Gothic wars, [13] which
are continued in the five books of Agathias, deserve our esteem as a
laborious and successful imitation of the Attic, or at least of the
Asiatic, writers of ancient Greece. His facts are collected from the
personal experience and free conversation of a soldier, a statesman, and
a traveller; his style continually aspires, and often attains, to the
merit of strength and elegance; his reflections, more especially in
the speeches, which he too frequently inserts, contain a rich fund of
political knowledge; and the historian, excited by the generous ambition
of pleasing and instructing posterity, appears to disdain the prejudices
of the people, and the flattery of courts. The writings of Procopius
[14] were read and applauded by his contemporaries: [15] but, although
he respectfully laid them at the foot of the throne, the pride
of Justinian must have been wounded by the praise of a hero, who
perpetually eclipses the glory of his inactive sovereign. The conscious
dignity of independence was subdued by the hopes and fears of a slave;
and the secretary of Belisarius labored for pardon and reward in the six
books of the Imperial edifices. He had dexterously chosen a subject of
apparent splendor, in which he could loudly celebrate the genius, the
magnificence, and the piety of a prince, who, both as a conqueror and
legislator, had surpassed the puerile virtues of Themistocles and Cyrus.
[16] Disappointment might urge the flatterer to secret revenge; and the
first glance of favor might again tempt him to suspend and suppress
a libel, [17] in which the Roman Cyrus is degraded into an odious and
contemptible tyrant, in which both the emperor and his consort Theodora
are seriously represented as two daemons, who had assumed a human
form for the destruction of mankind. [18] Such base inconsistency
must doubtless sully the reputation, and detract from the credit, of
Procopius: yet, after the venom of his malignity has been suffered to
exhale, the residue of the anecdotes, even the most disgraceful facts,
some of which had been tenderly hinted in his public history, are
established by their internal evidence, or the authentic monuments of
the times. [19] [1911] From these various materials, I shall now proceed
to describe the reign of Justinian, which will deserve and occupy
an ample space. The present chapter will explain the elevation and
character of Theodora, the factions of the circus, and the peaceful
administration of the sovereign of the East. In the three succeeding
chapters, I shall relate the wars of Justinian, which achieved the
conquest of Africa and Italy; and I shall follow the victories of
Belisarius and Narses, without disguising the vanity of their triumphs,
or the hostile virtue of the Persian and Gothic heroes. The series
of this and the following volume will embrace the jurisprudence and
theology of the emperor; the controversies and sects which still divide
the Oriental church; the reformation of the Roman law which is obeyed or
respected by the nations of modern Europe.

[Footnote 12: See the characters of Procopius and Agathias in La Mothe
le Vayer, (tom. viii. p. 144--174,) Vossius, (de Historicis Graecis,
l. ii. c. 22,) and Fabricius, (Bibliot. Graec. l. v. c. 5, tom. vi.
p. 248--278.) Their religion, an honorable problem, betrays occasional
conformity, with a secret attachment to Paganism and Philosophy.]

[Footnote 13: In the seven first books, two Persic, two Vandalic,
and three Gothic, Procopius has borrowed from Appian the division of
provinces and wars: the viiith book, though it bears the name of Gothic,
is a miscellaneous and general supplement down to the spring of the year
553, from whence it is continued by Agathias till 559, (Pagi, Critica,
A.D. 579, No. 5.)]

[Footnote 14: The literary fate of Procopius has been somewhat unlucky.

1. His book de Bello Gothico were stolen by Leonard Aretin, and
published (Fulginii, 1470, Venet. 1471, apud Janson. Mattaire, Annal
Typograph. tom. i. edit. posterior, p. 290, 304, 279, 299,) in his own
name, (see Vossius de Hist. Lat. l. iii. c. 5, and the feeble defence of
the Venice Giornale de Letterati, tom. xix. p. 207.)

2. His works were mutilated by the first Latin translators, Christopher
Persona, (Giornale, tom. xix. p. 340--348,) and Raphael de Volaterra,
(Huet, de Claris Interpretibus, p. 166,) who did not even consult the
Ms. of the Vatican library, of which they were praefects, (Aleman.
in Praefat Anecdot.) 3. The Greek text was not printed till 1607, by
Hoeschelius of Augsburg, (Dictionnaire de Bayle, tom. ii. p. 782.)

4. The Paris edition was imperfectly executed by Claude Maltret, a
Jesuit of Toulouse, (in 1663,) far distant from the Louvre press and
the Vatican Ms., from which, however, he obtained some supplements. His
promised commentaries, &c., have never appeared. The Agathias of Leyden
(1594) has been wisely reprinted by the Paris editor, with the Latin
version of Bonaventura Vulcanius, a learned interpreter, (Huet, p. 176.)

* Note: Procopius forms a part of the new Byzantine collection under the
superintendence of Dindorf.--M.]

[Footnote 15: Agathias in Praefat. p. 7, 8, l. iv. p. 137. Evagrius, l.
iv. c. 12. See likewise Photius, cod. lxiii. p. 65.]

[Footnote 16: Says, he, Praefat. ad l. de Edificiis is no more than a
pun! In these five books, Procopius affects a Christian as well as a
courtly style.]

[Footnote 17: Procopius discloses himself, (Praefat. ad Anecdot. c. 1,
2, 5,) and the anecdotes are reckoned as the ninth book by Suidas, (tom.
iii. p. 186, edit. Kuster.) The silence of Evagrius is a poor objection.
Baronius (A.D. 548, No. 24) regrets the loss of this secret history:
it was then in the Vatican library, in his own custody, and was first
published sixteen years after his death, with the learned, but partial
notes of Nicholas Alemannus, (Lugd. 1623.)]

[Footnote 18: Justinian an ass--the perfect likeness of
Domitian--Anecdot. c. 8.--Theodora's lovers driven from her bed by
rival daemons--her marriage foretold with a great daemon--a monk saw the
prince of the daemons, instead of Justinian, on the throne--the servants
who watched beheld a face without features, a body walking without a
head, &c., &c. Procopius declares his own and his friends' belief in
these diabolical stories, (c. 12.)]

[Footnote 19: Montesquieu (Considerations sur la Grandeur et la
Decadence des Romains, c. xx.) gives credit to these anecdotes,
as connected, 1. with the weakness of the empire, and, 2. with the
instability of Justinian's laws.]

[Footnote 1911: The Anecdota of Procopius, compared with the former
works of the same author, appear to me the basest and most disgraceful
work in literature. The wars, which he has described in the former
volumes as glorious or necessary, are become unprofitable and wanton
massacres; the buildings which he celebrated, as raised to the
immortal honor of the great emperor, and his admirable queen, either as
magnificent embellishments of the city, or useful fortifications for
the defence of the frontier, are become works of vain prodigality
and useless ostentation. I doubt whether Gibbon has made sufficient
allowance for the "malignity" of the Anecdota; at all events, the
extreme and disgusting profligacy of Theodora's early life rests
entirely on this viratent libel--M.]

I. In the exercise of supreme power, the first act of Justinian was to
divide it with the woman whom he loved, the famous Theodora, [20] whose
strange elevation cannot be applauded as the triumph of female virtue.
Under the reign of Anastasius, the care of the wild beasts maintained by
the green faction at Constantinople was intrusted to Acacius, a native
of the Isle of Cyprus, who, from his employment, was surnamed the master
of the bears. This honorable office was given after his death to another
candidate, notwithstanding the diligence of his widow, who had already
provided a husband and a successor. Acacius had left three daughters,
Comito, [21] Theodora, and Anastasia, the eldest of whom did not then
exceed the age of seven years. On a solemn festival, these helpless
orphans were sent by their distressed and indignant mother, in the garb
of suppliants, into the midst of the theatre: the green faction received
them with contempt, the blues with compassion; and this difference,
which sunk deep into the mind of Theodora, was felt long afterwards in
the administration of the empire. As they improved in age and beauty,
the three sisters were successively devoted to the public and private
pleasures of the Byzantine people: and Theodora, after following Comito
on the stage, in the dress of a slave, with a stool on her head, was
at length permitted to exercise her independent talents. She neither
danced, nor sung, nor played on the flute; her skill was confined to the
pantomime arts; she excelled in buffoon characters, and as often as the
comedian swelled her cheeks, and complained with a ridiculous tone
and gesture of the blows that were inflicted, the whole theatre of
Constantinople resounded with laughter and applause. The beauty of
Theodora [22] was the subject of more flattering praise, and the source
of more exquisite delight. Her features were delicate and regular; her
complexion, though somewhat pale, was tinged with a natural color; every
sensation was instantly expressed by the vivacity of her eyes; her easy
motions displayed the graces of a small but elegant figure; and
either love or adulation might proclaim, that painting and poetry were
incapable of delineating the matchless excellence of her form. But
this form was degraded by the facility with which it was exposed to the
public eye, and prostituted to licentious desire. Her venal charms were
abandoned to a promiscuous crowd of citizens and strangers of every
rank, and of every profession: the fortunate lover who had been promised
a night of enjoyment, was often driven from her bed by a stronger or
more wealthy favorite; and when she passed through the streets, her
presence was avoided by all who wished to escape either the scandal or
the temptation. The satirical historian has not blushed [23] to describe
the naked scenes which Theodora was not ashamed to exhibit in the
theatre. [24] After exhausting the arts of sensual pleasure, [25] she
most ungratefully murmured against the parsimony of Nature; [26] but her
murmurs, her pleasures, and her arts, must be veiled in the obscurity
of a learned language. After reigning for some time, the delight and
contempt of the capital, she condescended to accompany Ecebolus,
a native of Tyre, who had obtained the government of the African
Pentapolis. But this union was frail and transient; Ecebolus soon
rejected an expensive or faithless concubine; she was reduced at
Alexandria to extreme distress; and in her laborious return to
Constantinople, every city of the East admired and enjoyed the fair
Cyprian, whose merit appeared to justify her descent from the peculiar
island of Venus. The vague commerce of Theodora, and the most detestable
precautions, preserved her from the danger which she feared; yet once,
and once only, she became a mother. The infant was saved and educated in
Arabia, by his father, who imparted to him on his death-bed, that he
was the son of an empress. Filled with ambitious hopes, the unsuspecting
youth immediately hastened to the palace of Constantinople, and was
admitted to the presence of his mother. As he was never more seen,
even after the decease of Theodora, she deserves the foul imputation
of extinguishing with his life a secret so offensive to her Imperial
virtue. [2611]

[Footnote 20: For the life and manners of the empress Theodora see the
Anecdotes; more especially c. 1--5, 9, 10--15, 16, 17, with the learned
notes of Alemannus--a reference which is always implied.]

[Footnote 21: Comito was afterwards married to Sittas, duke of Armenia,
the father, perhaps, at least she might be the mother, of the empress
Sophia. Two nephews of Theodora may be the sons of Anastasia, (Aleman.
p. 30, 31.)]

[Footnote 22: Her statute was raised at Constantinople, on a porphyry
column. See Procopius, (de Edif. l. i. c. 11,) who gives her portrait
in the Anecdotes, (c. 10.) Aleman. (p. 47) produces one from a Mosaic at
Ravenna, loaded with pearls and jewels, and yet handsome.]

[Footnote 23: A fragment of the Anecdotes, (c. 9,) somewhat too naked,
was suppressed by Alemannus, though extant in the Vatican Ms.; nor has
the defect been supplied in the Paris or Venice editions. La Mothe
le Vayer (tom. viii. p. 155) gave the first hint of this curious and
genuine passage, (Jortin's Remarks, vol. iv. p. 366,) which he had
received from Rome, and it has been since published in the Menagiana
(tom. iii. p. 254--259) with a Latin version.]

[Footnote 24: After the mention of a narrow girdle, (as none could
appear stark naked in the theatre,) Procopius thus proceeds. I have
heard that a learned prelate, now deceased, was fond of quoting this
passage in conversation.]

[Footnote 25: Theodora surpassed the Crispa of Ausonius, (Epigram
lxxi.,) who imitated the capitalis luxus of the females of Nola. See
Quintilian Institut. viii. 6, and Torrentius ad Horat. Sermon. l. i.
sat. 2, v. 101. At a memorable supper, thirty slaves waited round the
table ten young men feasted with Theodora. Her charity was universal. Et
lassata viris, necdum satiata, recessit.]

[Footnote 26: She wished for a fourth altar, on which she might pour
libations to the god of love.]

[Footnote 2611: Gibbon should have remembered the axiom which he
quotes in another piece, scelera ostendi oportet dum puniantur abscondi

In the most abject state of her fortune, and reputation, some vision,
either of sleep or of fancy, had whispered to Theodora the pleasing
assurance that she was destined to become the spouse of a potent
monarch. Conscious of her approaching greatness, she returned from
Paphlagonia to Constantinople; assumed, like a skilful actress, a more
decent character; relieved her poverty by the laudable industry of
spinning wool; and affected a life of chastity and solitude in a small
house, which she afterwards changed into a magnificent temple. [27] Her
beauty, assisted by art or accident, soon attracted, captivated, and
fixed, the patrician Justinian, who already reigned with absolute sway
under the name of his uncle. Perhaps she contrived to enhance the value
of a gift which she had so often lavished on the meanest of mankind;
perhaps she inflamed, at first by modest delays, and at last by sensual
allurements, the desires of a lover, who, from nature or devotion, was
addicted to long vigils and abstemious diet. When his first transports
had subsided, she still maintained the same ascendant over his mind, by
the more solid merit of temper and understanding. Justinian delighted
to ennoble and enrich the object of his affection; the treasures of the
East were poured at her feet, and the nephew of Justin was determined,
perhaps by religious scruples, to bestow on his concubine the sacred and
legal character of a wife. But the laws of Rome expressly prohibited
the marriage of a senator with any female who had been dishonored by
a servile origin or theatrical profession: the empress Lupicina, or
Euphemia, a Barbarian of rustic manners, but of irreproachable virtue,
refused to accept a prostitute for her niece; and even Vigilantia, the
superstitious mother of Justinian, though she acknowledged the wit and
beauty of Theodora, was seriously apprehensive, lest the levity and
arrogance of that artful paramour might corrupt the piety and happiness
of her son. These obstacles were removed by the inflexible constancy of
Justinian. He patiently expected the death of the empress; he despised
the tears of his mother, who soon sunk under the weight of her
affliction; and a law was promulgated in the name of the emperor
Justin, which abolished the rigid jurisprudence of antiquity. A glorious
repentance (the words of the edict) was left open for the unhappy
females who had prostituted their persons on the theatre, and they were
permitted to contract a legal union with the most illustrious of
the Romans. [28] This indulgence was speedily followed by the solemn
nuptials of Justinian and Theodora; her dignity was gradually exalted
with that of her lover, and, as soon as Justin had invested his nephew
with the purple, the patriarch of Constantinople placed the diadem on
the heads of the emperor and empress of the East. But the usual honors
which the severity of Roman manners had allowed to the wives of princes,
could not satisfy either the ambition of Theodora or the fondness of
Justinian. He seated her on the throne as an equal and independent
colleague in the sovereignty of the empire, and an oath of allegiance
was imposed on the governors of the provinces in the joint names of
Justinian and Theodora. [29] The Eastern world fell prostrate before the
genius and fortune of the daughter of Acacius. The prostitute who, in
the presence of innumerable spectators, had polluted the theatre
of Constantinople, was adored as a queen in the same city, by grave
magistrates, orthodox bishops, victorious generals, and captive
monarchs. [30]

[Footnote 27: Anonym. de Antiquitat. C. P. l. iii. 132, in Banduri
Imperium Orient. tom. i. p. 48. Ludewig (p. 154) argues sensibly that
Theodora would not have immortalized a brothel: but I apply this fact to
her second and chaster residence at Constantinople.]

[Footnote 28: See the old law in Justinian's Code, (l. v. tit. v. leg.
7, tit. xxvii. leg. 1,) under the years 336 and 454. The new edict
(about the year 521 or 522, Aleman. p. 38, 96) very awkwardly repeals no
more than the clause of mulieres scenicoe, libertinae, tabernariae.
See the novels 89 and 117, and a Greek rescript from Justinian to the
bishops, (Aleman. p. 41.)]

[Footnote 29: I swear by the Father, &c., by the Virgin Mary, by the
four Gospels, quae in manibus teneo, and by the Holy Archangels Michael
and Gabriel, puram conscientiam germanumque servitium me servaturum,
sacratissimis DDNN. Justiniano et Theodorae conjugi ejus, (Novell.
viii. tit. 3.) Would the oath have been binding in favor of the widow?
Communes tituli et triumphi, &c., (Aleman. p. 47, 48.)]

[Footnote 30: "Let greatness own her, and she's mean no more," &c.
Without Warburton's critical telescope, I should never have seen,
in this general picture of triumphant vice, any personal allusion to

Chapter XL: Reign Of Justinian.--Part II.

Those who believe that the female mind is totally depraved by the loss
of chastity, will eagerly listen to all the invectives of private envy,
or popular resentment which have dissembled the virtues of Theodora,
exaggerated her vices, and condemned with rigor the venal or voluntary
sins of the youthful harlot. From a motive of shame, or contempt, she
often declined the servile homage of the multitude, escaped from the
odious light of the capital, and passed the greatest part of the year in
the palaces and gardens which were pleasantly seated on the sea-coast of
the Propontis and the Bosphorus. Her private hours were devoted to the
prudent as well as grateful care of her beauty, the luxury of the bath
and table, and the long slumber of the evening and the morning. Her
secret apartments were occupied by the favorite women and eunuchs, whose
interests and passions she indulged at the expense of justice; the most
illustrious person ages of the state were crowded into a dark and sultry
antechamber, and when at last, after tedious attendance, they were
admitted to kiss the feet of Theodora, they experienced, as her humor
might suggest, the silent arrogance of an empress, or the capricious
levity of a comedian. Her rapacious avarice to accumulate an immense
treasure, may be excused by the apprehension of her husband's death,
which could leave no alternative between ruin and the throne; and fear
as well as ambition might exasperate Theodora against two generals, who,
during the malady of the emperor, had rashly declared that they were not
disposed to acquiesce in the choice of the capital. But the reproach of
cruelty, so repugnant even to her softer vices, has left an indelible
stain on the memory of Theodora. Her numerous spies observed, and
zealously reported, every action, or word, or look, injurious to their
royal mistress. Whomsoever they accused were cast into her peculiar
prisons, [31] inaccessible to the inquiries of justice; and it was
rumored, that the torture of the rack, or scourge, had been inflicted in
the presence of the female tyrant, insensible to the voice of prayer
or of pity. [32] Some of these unhappy victims perished in deep,
unwholesome dungeons, while others were permitted, after the loss of
their limbs, their reason, or their fortunes, to appear in the world,
the living monuments of her vengeance, which was commonly extended to
the children of those whom she had suspected or injured. The senator or
bishop, whose death or exile Theodora had pronounced, was delivered to
a trusty messenger, and his diligence was quickened by a menace from her
own mouth. "If you fail in the execution of my commands, I swear by Him
who liveth forever, that your skin shall be flayed from your body." [33]

[Footnote 31: Her prisons, a labyrinth, a Tartarus, (Anecdot. c. 4,)
were under the palace. Darkness is propitious to cruelty, but it is
likewise favorable to calumny and fiction.]

[Footnote 32: A more jocular whipping was inflicted on Saturninus, for
presuming to say that his wife, a favorite of the empress, had not been
found. (Anecdot. c. 17.)]

[Footnote 33: Per viventem in saecula excoriari te faciam. Anastasius de
Vitis Pont. Roman. in Vigilio, p. 40.]

If the creed of Theodora had not been tainted with heresy, her exemplary
devotion might have atoned, in the opinion of her contemporaries, for
pride, avarice, and cruelty. But, if she employed her influence to
assuage the intolerant fury of the emperor, the present age will allow
some merit to her religion, and much indulgence to her speculative
errors. [34] The name of Theodora was introduced, with equal honor,
in all the pious and charitable foundations of Justinian; and the most
benevolent institution of his reign may be ascribed to the sympathy
of the empress for her less fortunate sisters, who had been seduced or
compelled to embrace the trade of prostitution. A palace, on the
Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, was converted into a stately and spacious
monastery, and a liberal maintenance was assigned to five hundred women,
who had been collected from the streets and brothels of Constantinople.
In this safe and holy retreat, they were devoted to perpetual
confinement; and the despair of some, who threw themselves headlong
into the sea, was lost in the gratitude of the penitents, who had been
delivered from sin and misery by their generous benefactress. [35] The
prudence of Theodora is celebrated by Justinian himself; and his laws
are attributed to the sage counsels of his most reverend wife whom he
had received as the gift of the Deity. [36] Her courage was displayed
amidst the tumult of the people and the terrors of the court. Her
chastity, from the moment of her union with Justinian, is founded on the
silence of her implacable enemies; and although the daughter of Acacius
might be satiated with love, yet some applause is due to the firmness
of a mind which could sacrifice pleasure and habit to the stronger sense
either of duty or interest. The wishes and prayers of Theodora could
never obtain the blessing of a lawful son, and she buried an infant
daughter, the sole offspring of her marriage. [37] Notwithstanding this
disappointment, her dominion was permanent and absolute; she preserved,
by art or merit, the affections of Justinian; and their seeming
dissensions were always fatal to the courtiers who believed them to be
sincere. Perhaps her health had been impaired by the licentiousness
of her youth; but it was always delicate, and she was directed by her
physicians to use the Pythian warm baths. In this journey, the empress
was followed by the Praetorian praefect, the great treasurer, several
counts and patricians, and a splendid train of four thousand attendants:
the highways were repaired at her approach; a palace was erected for her
reception; and as she passed through Bithynia, she distributed liberal
alms to the churches, the monasteries, and the hospitals, that they
might implore Heaven for the restoration of her health. [38] At length,
in the twenty-fourth year of her marriage, and the twenty-second of her
reign, she was consumed by a cancer; [39] and the irreparable loss was
deplored by her husband, who, in the room of a theatrical prostitute,
might have selected the purest and most noble virgin of the East. [40]

[Footnote 34: Ludewig, p. 161--166. I give him credit for the charitable
attempt, although he hath not much charity in his temper.]

[Footnote 35: Compare the anecdotes (c. 17) with the Edifices (l. i. c.
9)--how differently may the same fact be stated! John Malala (tom. ii.
p. 174, 175) observes, that on this, or a similar occasion, she released
and clothed the girls whom she had purchased from the stews at five
aurei apiece.]

[Footnote 36: Novel. viii. 1. An allusion to Theodora. Her enemies read
the name Daemonodora, (Aleman. p. 66.)]

[Footnote 37: St. Sabas refused to pray for a son of Theodora, lest he
should prove a heretic worse than Anastasius himself, (Cyril in Vit. St.
Sabae, apud Aleman. p. 70, 109.)]

[Footnote 38: See John Malala, tom. ii. p. 174. Theophanes, p. 158.
Procopius de Edific. l. v. c. 3.]

[Footnote 39: Theodora Chalcedonensis synodi inimica canceris plaga toto
corpore perfusa vitam prodigiose finivit, (Victor Tununensis in Chron.)
On such occasions, an orthodox mind is steeled against pity. Alemannus
(p. 12, 13) understands of Theophanes as civil language, which does not
imply either piety or repentance; yet two years after her death, St.
Theodora is celebrated by Paul Silentiarius, (in proem. v. 58--62.)]

[Footnote 40: As she persecuted the popes, and rejected a council,
Baronius exhausts the names of Eve, Dalila, Herodias, &c.; after which
he has recourse to his infernal dictionary: civis inferni--alumna
daemonum--satanico agitata spiritu-oestro percita diabolico, &c., &c.,
(A.D. 548, No. 24.)]

II. A material difference may be observed in the games of antiquity:
the most eminent of the Greeks were actors, the Romans were merely
spectators. The Olympic stadium was open to wealth, merit, and ambition;
and if the candidates could depend on their personal skill and activity,
they might pursue the footsteps of Diomede and Menelaus, and conduct
their own horses in the rapid career. [41] Ten, twenty, forty chariots
were allowed to start at the same instant; a crown of leaves was the
reward of the victor; and his fame, with that of his family and country,
was chanted in lyric strains more durable than monuments of brass and
marble. But a senator, or even a citizen, conscious of his dignity,
would have blushed to expose his person, or his horses, in the circus
of Rome. The games were exhibited at the expense of the republic, the
magistrates, or the emperors: but the reins were abandoned to servile
hands; and if the profits of a favorite charioteer sometimes exceeded
those of an advocate, they must be considered as the effects of popular
extravagance, and the high wages of a disgraceful profession. The race,
in its first institution, was a simple contest of two chariots, whose
drivers were distinguished by white and red liveries: two additional
colors, a light green, and a caerulean blue, were afterwards introduced;
and as the races were repeated twenty-five times, one hundred chariots
contributed in the same day to the pomp of the circus. The four factions
soon acquired a legal establishment, and a mysterious origin, and their
fanciful colors were derived from the various appearances of nature in
the four seasons of the year; the red dogstar of summer, the snows
of winter, the deep shades of autumn, and the cheerful verdure of
the spring. [42] Another interpretation preferred the elements to
the seasons, and the struggle of the green and blue was supposed to
represent the conflict of the earth and sea. Their respective victories
announced either a plentiful harvest or a prosperous navigation, and the
hostility of the husbandmen and mariners was somewhat less absurd
than the blind ardor of the Roman people, who devoted their lives and
fortunes to the color which they had espoused. Such folly was disdained
and indulged by the wisest princes; but the names of Caligula, Nero,
Vitellius, Verus, Commodus, Caracalla, and Elagabalus, were enrolled in
the blue or green factions of the circus; they frequented their stables,
applauded their favorites, chastised their antagonists, and deserved the
esteem of the populace, by the natural or affected imitation of their
manners. The bloody and tumultuous contest continued to disturb the
public festivity, till the last age of the spectacles of Rome; and
Theodoric, from a motive of justice or affection, interposed his
authority to protect the greens against the violence of a consul and
a patrician, who were passionately addicted to the blue faction of the
circus. [43]

[Footnote 41: Read and feel the xxiid book of the Iliad, a living
picture of manners, passions, and the whole form and spirit of
the chariot race West's Dissertation on the Olympic Games (sect.
xii.--xvii.) affords much curious and authentic information.]

[Footnote 42: The four colors, albati, russati, prasini, veneti,
represent the four seasons, according to Cassiodorus, (Var. iii. 51,)
who lavishes much wit and eloquence on this theatrical mystery. Of these
colors, the three first may be fairly translated white, red, and green.
Venetus is explained by coeruleus, a word various and vague: it is
properly the sky reflected in the sea; but custom and convenience
may allow blue as an equivalent, (Robert. Stephan. sub voce. Spence's
Polymetis, p. 228.)]

[Footnote 43: See Onuphrius Panvinius de Ludis Circensibus, l. i. c. 10,
11; the xviith Annotation on Mascou's History of the Germans; and Aleman
ad c. vii.]

Constantinople adopted the follies, though not the virtues, of ancient
Rome; and the same factions which had agitated the circus, raged with
redoubled fury in the hippodrome. Under the reign of Anastasius, this
popular frenzy was inflamed by religious zeal; and the greens, who
had treacherously concealed stones and daggers under baskets of
fruit, massacred, at a solemn festival, three thousand of their blue
adversaries. [44] From this capital, the pestilence was diffused into
the provinces and cities of the East, and the sportive distinction of
two colors produced two strong and irreconcilable factions, which shook
the foundations of a feeble government. [45] The popular dissensions,
founded on the most serious interest, or holy pretence, have scarcely
equalled the obstinacy of this wanton discord, which invaded the peace
of families, divided friends and brothers, and tempted the female sex,
though seldom seen in the circus, to espouse the inclinations of their
lovers, or to contradict the wishes of their husbands. Every law, either
human or divine, was trampled under foot, and as long as the party was
successful, its deluded followers appeared careless of private distress
or public calamity. The license, without the freedom, of democracy,
was revived at Antioch and Constantinople, and the support of a faction
became necessary to every candidate for civil or ecclesiastical honors.
A secret attachment to the family or sect of Anastasius was imputed to
the greens; the blues were zealously devoted to the cause of orthodoxy
and Justinian, [46] and their grateful patron protected, above five
years, the disorders of a faction, whose seasonable tumults overawed the
palace, the senate, and the capitals of the East. Insolent with royal
favor, the blues affected to strike terror by a peculiar and Barbaric
dress, the long hair of the Huns, their close sleeves and ample
garments, a lofty step, and a sonorous voice. In the day they concealed
their two-edged poniards, but in the night they boldly assembled in
arms, and in numerous bands, prepared for every act of violence and
rapine. Their adversaries of the green faction, or even inoffensive
citizens, were stripped and often murdered by these nocturnal robbers,
and it became dangerous to wear any gold buttons or girdles, or to
appear at a late hour in the streets of a peaceful capital. A daring
spirit, rising with impunity, proceeded to violate the safeguard of
private houses; and fire was employed to facilitate the attack, or
to conceal the crimes of these factious rioters. No place was safe or
sacred from their depredations; to gratify either avarice or revenge,
they profusely spilt the blood of the innocent; churches and altars were
polluted by atrocious murders; and it was the boast of the assassins,
that their dexterity could always inflict a mortal wound with a single
stroke of their dagger. The dissolute youth of Constantinople adopted
the blue livery of disorder; the laws were silent, and the bonds
of society were relaxed: creditors were compelled to resign their
obligations; judges to reverse their sentence; masters to enfranchise
their slaves; fathers to supply the extravagance of their children;
noble matrons were prostituted to the lust of their servants; beautiful
boys were torn from the arms of their parents; and wives, unless they
preferred a voluntary death, were ravished in the presence of their
husbands. [47] The despair of the greens, who were persecuted by their
enemies, and deserted by the magistrates, assumed the privilege of
defence, perhaps of retaliation; but those who survived the combat were
dragged to execution, and the unhappy fugitives, escaping to woods
and caverns, preyed without mercy on the society from whence they were
expelled. Those ministers of justice who had courage to punish the
crimes, and to brave the resentment, of the blues, became the victims of
their indiscreet zeal; a praefect of Constantinople fled for refuge to
the holy sepulchre, a count of the East was ignominiously whipped, and a
governor of Cilicia was hanged, by the order of Theodora, on the tomb of
two assassins whom he had condemned for the murder of his groom, and
a daring attack upon his own life. [48] An aspiring candidate may be
tempted to build his greatness on the public confusion, but it is the
interest as well as duty of a sovereign to maintain the authority of
the laws. The first edict of Justinian, which was often repeated,
and sometimes executed, announced his firm resolution to support the
innocent, and to chastise the guilty, of every denomination and color.
Yet the balance of justice was still inclined in favor of the blue
faction, by the secret affection, the habits, and the fears of the
emperor; his equity, after an apparent struggle, submitted, without
reluctance, to the implacable passions of Theodora, and the empress
never forgot, or forgave, the injuries of the comedian. At the accession
of the younger Justin, the proclamation of equal and rigorous justice
indirectly condemned the partiality of the former reign. "Ye blues,
Justinian is no more! ye greens, he is still alive!" [49]

[Footnote 44: Marcellin. in Chron. p. 47. Instead of the vulgar word
venata he uses the more exquisite terms of coerulea and coerealis.
Baronius (A.D. 501, No. 4, 5, 6) is satisfied that the blues were
orthodox; but Tillemont is angry at the supposition, and will not allow
any martyrs in a playhouse, (Hist. des Emp. tom. vi. p. 554.)]

[Footnote 45: See Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 24.) In describing the
vices of the factions and of the government, the public, is not more
favorable than the secret, historian. Aleman. (p. 26) has quoted a
fine passage from Gregory Nazianzen, which proves the inveteracy of the

[Footnote 46: The partiality of Justinian for the blues (Anecdot. c. 7)
is attested by Evagrius, (Hist. Eccles. l. iv. c. 32,) John Malala, (tom
ii p. 138, 139,) especially for Antioch; and Theophanes, (p. 142.)]

[Footnote 47: A wife, (says Procopius,) who was seized and almost
ravished by a blue-coat, threw herself into the Bosphorus. The bishops
of the second Syria (Aleman. p. 26) deplore a similar suicide, the guilt
or glory of female chastity, and name the heroine.]

[Footnote 48: The doubtful credit of Procopius (Anecdot. c. 17) is
supported by the less partial Evagrius, who confirms the fact, and
specifies the names. The tragic fate of the praefect of Constantinople
is related by John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 139.)]

[Footnote 49: See John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 147;) yet he owns that
Justinian was attached to the blues. The seeming discord of the emperor
and Theodora is, perhaps, viewed with too much jealousy and refinement
by Procopius, (Anecdot. c. 10.) See Aleman. Praefat. p. 6.]

A sedition, which almost laid Constantinople in ashes, was excited by
the mutual hatred and momentary reconciliation of the two factions. In
the fifth year of his reign, Justinian celebrated the festival of the
ides of January; the games were incessantly disturbed by the clamorous
discontent of the greens: till the twenty-second race, the emperor
maintained his silent gravity; at length, yielding to his impatience, he
condescended to hold, in abrupt sentences, and by the voice of a crier,
the most singular dialogue [50] that ever passed between a prince and
his subjects. Their first complaints were respectful and modest; they
accused the subordinate ministers of oppression, and proclaimed their
wishes for the long life and victory of the emperor. "Be patient and
attentive, ye insolent railers!" exclaimed Justinian; "be mute, ye Jews,
Samaritans, and Manichaeans!" The greens still attempted to awaken his
compassion. "We are poor, we are innocent, we are injured, we dare not
pass through the streets: a general persecution is exercised against our
name and color. Let us die, O emperor! but let us die by your command,
and for your service!" But the repetition of partial and passionate
invectives degraded, in their eyes, the majesty of the purple; they
renounced allegiance to the prince who refused justice to his people;
lamented that the father of Justinian had been born; and branded his son
with the opprobrious names of a homicide, an ass, and a perjured tyrant.
"Do you despise your lives?" cried the indignant monarch: the blues
rose with fury from their seats; their hostile clamors thundered in the
hippodrome; and their adversaries, deserting the unequal contest spread
terror and despair through the streets of Constantinople. At this
dangerous moment, seven notorious assassins of both factions, who
had been condemned by the praefect, were carried round the city, and
afterwards transported to the place of execution in the suburb of Pera.
Four were immediately beheaded; a fifth was hanged: but when the same
punishment was inflicted on the remaining two, the rope broke, they fell
alive to the ground, the populace applauded their escape, and the monks
of St. Conon, issuing from the neighboring convent, conveyed them in a
boat to the sanctuary of the church. [51] As one of these criminals was
of the blue, and the other of the green livery, the two factions were
equally provoked by the cruelty of their oppressor, or the ingratitude
of their patron; and a short truce was concluded till they had delivered
their prisoners and satisfied their revenge. The palace of the praefect,
who withstood the seditious torrent, was instantly burnt, his officers
and guards were massacred, the prisons were forced open, and freedom was
restored to those who could only use it for the public destruction.
A military force, which had been despatched to the aid of the civil
magistrate, was fiercely encountered by an armed multitude, whose
numbers and boldness continually increased; and the Heruli, the wildest
Barbarians in the service of the empire, overturned the priests and
their relics, which, from a pious motive, had been rashly interposed
to separate the bloody conflict. The tumult was exasperated by this
sacrilege, the people fought with enthusiasm in the cause of God; the
women, from the roofs and windows, showered stones on the heads of the
soldiers, who darted fire brands against the houses; and the various
flames, which had been kindled by the hands of citizens and strangers,
spread without control over the face of the city. The conflagration
involved the cathedral of St. Sophia, the baths of Zeuxippus, a part of
the palace, from the first entrance to the altar of Mars, and the long
portico from the palace to the forum of Constantine: a large hospital,
with the sick patients, was consumed; many churches and stately edifices
were destroyed and an immense treasure of gold and silver was either
melted or lost. From such scenes of horror and distress, the wise and
wealthy citizens escaped over the Bosphorus to the Asiatic side; and
during five days Constantinople was abandoned to the factions, whose
watchword, Nika, vanquish! has given a name to this memorable sedition.

[Footnote 50: This dialogue, which Theophanes has preserved, exhibits
the popular language, as well as the manners, of Constantinople, in the
vith century. Their Greek is mingled with many strange and barbarous
words, for which Ducange cannot always find a meaning or etymology.]

[Footnote 51: See this church and monastery in Ducange, C. P.
Christiana, l. iv p 182.]

[Footnote 52: The history of the Nika sedition is extracted from
Marcellinus, (in Chron.,) Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 26,) John Malala,
(tom. ii. p. 213--218,) Chron. Paschal., (p. 336--340,) Theophanes,
(Chronograph. p. 154--158) and Zonaras, (l. xiv. p. 61--63.)]

As long as the factions were divided, the triumphant blues, and
desponding greens, appeared to behold with the same indifference the
disorders of the state. They agreed to censure the corrupt management of
justice and the finance; and the two responsible ministers, the artful
Tribonian, and the rapacious John of Cappadocia, were loudly arraigned
as the authors of the public misery. The peaceful murmurs of the people
would have been disregarded: they were heard with respect when the city
was in flames; the quaestor, and the praefect, were instantly removed,
and their offices were filled by two senators of blameless integrity.
After this popular concession, Justinian proceeded to the hippodrome
to confess his own errors, and to accept the repentance of his grateful
subjects; but they distrusted his assurances, though solemnly pronounced
in the presence of the holy Gospels; and the emperor, alarmed by their
distrust, retreated with precipitation to the strong fortress of the
palace. The obstinacy of the tumult was now imputed to a secret
and ambitious conspiracy, and a suspicion was entertained, that the
insurgents, more especially the green faction, had been supplied with
arms and money by Hypatius and Pompey, two patricians, who could neither
forget with honor, nor remember with safety, that they were the
nephews of the emperor Anastasius. Capriciously trusted, disgraced, and
pardoned, by the jealous levity of the monarch, they had appeared as
loyal servants before the throne; and, during five days of the tumult,
they were detained as important hostages; till at length, the fears of
Justinian prevailing over his prudence, he viewed the two brothers in
the light of spies, perhaps of assassins, and sternly commanded them to
depart from the palace. After a fruitless representation, that obedience
might lead to involuntary treason, they retired to their houses, and in
the morning of the sixth day, Hypatius was surrounded and seized by the
people, who, regardless of his virtuous resistance, and the tears of
his wife, transported their favorite to the forum of Constantine, and
instead of a diadem, placed a rich collar on his head. If the usurper,
who afterwards pleaded the merit of his delay, had complied with the
advice of his senate, and urged the fury of the multitude, their first
irresistible effort might have oppressed or expelled his trembling
competitor. The Byzantine palace enjoyed a free communication with the
sea; vessels lay ready at the garden stairs; and a secret resolution was
already formed, to convey the emperor with his family and treasures to a
safe retreat, at some distance from the capital.

Justinian was lost, if the prostitute whom he raised from the theatre
had not renounced the timidity, as well as the virtues, of her sex. In
the midst of a council, where Belisarius was present, Theodora alone
displayed the spirit of a hero; and she alone, without apprehending his
future hatred, could save the emperor from the imminent danger, and his
unworthy fears. "If flight," said the consort of Justinian, "were
the only means of safety, yet I should disdain to fly. Death is the
condition of our birth; but they who have reigned should never survive
the loss of dignity and dominion. I implore Heaven, that I may never
be seen, not a day, without my diadem and purple; that I may no longer
behold the light, when I cease to be saluted with the name of queen. If
you resolve, O Caesar! to fly, you have treasures; behold the sea, you
have ships; but tremble lest the desire of life should expose you to
wretched exile and ignominious death. For my own part, I adhere to
the maxim of antiquity, that the throne is a glorious sepulchre." The
firmness of a woman restored the courage to deliberate and act, and
courage soon discovers the resources of the most desperate situation.
It was an easy and a decisive measure to revive the animosity of the
factions; the blues were astonished at their own guilt and folly, that
a trifling injury should provoke them to conspire with their implacable
enemies against a gracious and liberal benefactor; they again proclaimed
the majesty of Justinian; and the greens, with their upstart emperor,
were left alone in the hippodrome. The fidelity of the guards was
doubtful; but the military force of Justinian consisted in three
thousand veterans, who had been trained to valor and discipline in the
Persian and Illyrian wars.

Under the command of Belisarius and Mundus, they silently marched in
two divisions from the palace, forced their obscure way through narrow
passages, expiring flames, and falling edifices, and burst open at the
same moment the two opposite gates of the hippodrome. In this narrow
space, the disorderly and affrighted crowd was incapable of resisting on
either side a firm and regular attack; the blues signalized the fury of
their repentance; and it is computed, that above thirty thousand persons
were slain in the merciless and promiscuous carnage of the day. Hypatius
was dragged from his throne, and conducted, with his brother Pompey, to
the feet of the emperor: they implored his clemency; but their crime
was manifest, their innocence uncertain, and Justinian had been too much
terrified to forgive. The next morning the two nephews of Anastasius,
with eighteen illustrious accomplices, of patrician or consular rank,
were privately executed by the soldiers; their bodies were thrown
into the sea, their palaces razed, and their fortunes confiscated. The
hippodrome itself was condemned, during several years, to a mournful
silence: with the restoration of the games, the same disorders revived;
and the blue and green factions continued to afflict the reign of
Justinian, and to disturb the tranquility of the Eastern empire. [53]

[Footnote 53: Marcellinus says in general terms, innumeris populis in
circotrucidatis. Procopius numbers 30,000 victims: and the 35,000 of
Theophanes are swelled to 40,000 by the more recent Zonaras. Such is the
usual progress of exaggeration.]

III. That empire, after Rome was barbarous, still embraced the nations
whom she had conquered beyond the Adriatic, and as far as the frontiers
of Aethiopia and Persia. Justinian reigned over sixty-four provinces,
and nine hundred and thirty-five cities; [54] his dominions were blessed
by nature with the advantages of soil, situation, and climate: and the
improvements of human art had been perpetually diffused along the coast
of the Mediterranean and the banks of the Nile from ancient Troy to the
Egyptian Thebes. Abraham [55] had been relieved by the well-known
plenty of Egypt; the same country, a small and populous tract, was still
capable of exporting, each year, two hundred and sixty thousand
quarters of wheat for the use of Constantinople; [56] and the capital of
Justinian was supplied with the manufactures of Sidon, fifteen centuries
after they had been celebrated in the poems of Homer. [57] The annual
powers of vegetation, instead of being exhausted by two thousand
harvests, were renewed and invigorated by skilful husbandry, rich
manure, and seasonable repose. The breed of domestic animals was
infinitely multiplied. Plantations, buildings, and the instruments of
labor and luxury, which are more durable than the term of human life,
were accumulated by the care of successive generations. Tradition
preserved, and experience simplified, the humble practice of the arts:
society was enriched by the division of labor and the facility of
exchange; and every Roman was lodged, clothed, and subsisted, by the
industry of a thousand hands. The invention of the loom and distaff has
been piously ascribed to the gods. In every age, a variety of animal and
vegetable productions, hair, skins, wool, flax, cotton, and at length
silk, have been skilfully manufactured to hide or adorn the human body;
they were stained with an infusion of permanent colors; and the pencil
was successfully employed to improve the labors of the loom. In the
choice of those colors [58] which imitate the beauties of nature, the
freedom of taste and fashion was indulged; but the deep purple [59]
which the Phoenicians extracted from a shell-fish, was restrained to the
sacred person and palace of the emperor; and the penalties of treason
were denounced against the ambitious subjects who dared to usurp the
prerogative of the throne. [60]

[Footnote 54: Hierocles, a contemporary of Justinian, composed his
(Itineraria, p. 631,) review of the eastern provinces and cities, before
the year 535, (Wesseling, in Praefat. and Not. ad p. 623, &c.)]

[Footnote 55: See the Book of Genesis (xii. 10) and the administration
of Joseph. The annals of the Greeks and Hebrews agree in the early
arts and plenty of Egypt: but this antiquity supposes a long series of
improvement; and Warburton, who is almost stifled by the Hebrew calls
aloud for the Samaritan, Chronology, (Divine Legation, vol. iii. p.
29, &c.) * Note: The recent extraordinary discoveries in Egyptian
antiquities strongly confirm the high notion of the early Egyptian
civilization, and imperatively demand a longer period for their
development. As to the common Hebrew chronology, as far as such a
subject is capable of demonstration, it appears to me to have been
framed, with a particular view, by the Jews of Tiberias. It was not
the chronology of the Samaritans, not that of the LXX., not that of
Josephus, not that of St. Paul.--M.]

[Footnote 56: Eight millions of Roman modii, besides a contribution of
80,000 aurei for the expenses of water-carriage, from which the subject
was graciously excused. See the 13th Edict of Justinian: the numbers are
checked and verified by the agreement of the Greek and Latin texts.]

[Footnote 57: Homer's Iliad, vi. 289. These veils, were the work of the
Sidonian women. But this passage is more honorable to the manufactures
than to the navigation of Phoenicia, from whence they had been imported
to Troy in Phrygian bottoms.]

[Footnote 58: See in Ovid (de Arte Amandi, iii. 269, &c.) a poetical
list of twelve colors borrowed from flowers, the elements, &c. But it
is almost impossible to discriminate by words all the nice and various
shades both of art and nature.]

[Footnote 59: By the discovery of cochineal, &c., we far surpass the
colors of antiquity. Their royal purple had a strong smell, and a dark
cast as deep as bull's blood--obscuritas rubens, (says Cassiodorus, Var.
1, 2,) nigredo saguinea. The president Goguet (Origine des Loix et des
Arts, part ii. l. ii. c. 2, p. 184--215) will amuse and satisfy the
reader. I doubt whether his book, especially in England, is as well
known as it deserves to be.]

[Footnote 60: Historical proofs of this jealousy have been occasionally
introduced, and many more might have been added; but the arbitrary acts
of despotism were justified by the sober and general declarations of
law, (Codex Theodosian. l. x. tit. 21, leg. 3. Codex Justinian. l. xi.
tit. 8, leg. 5.) An inglorious permission, and necessary restriction,
was applied to the mince, the female dancers, (Cod. Theodos. l. xv. tit.
7, leg. 11.)]

Chapter XL: Reign Of Justinian.--Part III.

I need not explain that silk [61] is originally spun from the bowels of
a caterpillar, and that it composes the golden tomb, from whence a worm
emerges in the form of a butterfly. Till the reign of Justinian,
the silk-worm who feed on the leaves of the white mulberry-tree were
confined to China; those of the pine, the oak, and the ash, were common
in the forests both of Asia and Europe; but as their education is
more difficult, and their produce more uncertain, they were generally
neglected, except in the little island of Ceos, near the coast of
Attica. A thin gauze was procured from their webs, and this Cean
manufacture, the invention of a woman, for female use, was long admired
both in the East and at Rome. Whatever suspicions may be raised by the
garments of the Medes and Assyrians, Virgil is the most ancient writer,
who expressly mentions the soft wool which was combed from the trees of
the Seres or Chinese; [62] and this natural error, less marvellous than
the truth, was slowly corrected by the knowledge of a valuable insect,
the first artificer of the luxury of nations. That rare and elegant
luxury was censured, in the reign of Tiberius, by the gravest of the
Romans; and Pliny, in affected though forcible language, has condemned
the thirst of gain, which explores the last confines of the earth, for
the pernicious purpose of exposing to the public eye naked draperies and
transparent matrons. [63] [6311] A dress which showed the turn of the
limbs, and color of the skin, might gratify vanity, or provoke
desire; the silks which had been closely woven in China were sometimes
unravelled by the Phoenician women, and the precious materials were
multiplied by a looser texture, and the intermixture of linen threads.
[64] Two hundred years after the age of Pliny, the use of pure, or
even of mixed silks, was confined to the female sex, till the opulent
citizens of Rome and the provinces were insensibly familiarized with
the example of Elagabalus, the first who, by this effeminate habit, had
sullied the dignity of an emperor and a man. Aurelian complained, that a
pound of silk was sold at Rome for twelve ounces of gold; but the supply
increased with the demand, and the price diminished with the supply. If
accident or monopoly sometimes raised the value even above the standard
of Aurelian, the manufacturers of Tyre and Berytus were sometimes
compelled, by the operation of the same causes, to content themselves
with a ninth part of that extravagant rate. [65] A law was thought
necessary to discriminate the dress of comedians from that of senators;
and of the silk exported from its native country the far greater
part was consumed by the subjects of Justinian. They were still more
intimately acquainted with a shell-fish of the Mediterranean,
surnamed the silk-worm of the sea: the fine wool or hair by which the
mother-of-pearl affixes itself to the rock is now manufactured for
curiosity rather than use; and a robe obtained from the same singular
materials was the gift of the Roman emperor to the satraps of Armenia.

[Footnote 61: In the history of insects (far more wonderful than Ovid's
Metamorphoses) the silk-worm holds a conspicuous place. The bombyx of
the Isle of Ceos, as described by Pliny, (Hist. Natur. xi. 26, 27, with
the notes of the two learned Jesuits, Hardouin and Brotier,) may be
illustrated by a similar species in China, (Memoires sur les Chinois,
tom. ii. p. 575--598;) but our silk-worm, as well as the white
mulberry-tree, were unknown to Theophrastus and Pliny.]

[Footnote 62: Georgic. ii. 121. Serica quando venerint in usum
planissime non acio: suspicor tamen in Julii Caesaris aevo, nam ante non
invenio, says Justus Lipsius, (Excursus i. ad Tacit. Annal. ii. 32.) See
Dion Cassius, (l. xliii. p. 358, edit. Reimar,) and Pausanius, (l. vi.
p. 519,) the first who describes, however strangely, the Seric insect.]

[Footnote 63: Tam longinquo orbe petitur, ut in publico matrona
transluceat...ut denudet foeminas vestis, (Plin. vi. 20, xi. 21.) Varro
and Publius Syrus had already played on the Toga vitrea, ventus
texilis, and nebula linen, (Horat. Sermon. i. 2, 101, with the notes of
Torrentius and Dacier.)]

[Footnote 6311: Gibbon must have written transparent draperies and naked
matrons. Through sometimes affected, he is never inaccurate.--M.]

[Footnote 64: On the texture, colors, names, and use of the silk, half
silk, and liuen garments of antiquity, see the profound, diffuse, and
obscure researches of the great Salmasius, (in Hist. August. p. 127,
309, 310, 339, 341, 342, 344, 388--391, 395, 513,) who was ignorant of
the most common trades of Dijon or Leyden.]

[Footnote 65: Flavius Vopiscus in Aurelian. c. 45, in Hist. August.
p. 224. See Salmasius ad Hist. Aug. p. 392, and Plinian. Exercitat. in
Solinum, p. 694, 695. The Anecdotes of Procopius (c. 25) state a partial
and imperfect rate of the price of silk in the time of Justinian.]

[Footnote 66: Procopius de Edit. l. iii. c. 1. These pinnes de mer are
found near Smyrna, Sicily, Corsica, and Minorca; and a pair of gloves of
their silk was presented to Pope Benedict XIV.]

A valuable merchandise of small bulk is capable of defraying the expense
of land-carriage; and the caravans traversed the whole latitude of
Asia in two hundred and forty-three days from the Chinese Ocean to the
sea-coast of Syria. Silk was immediately delivered to the Romans by the
Persian merchants, [67] who frequented the fairs of Armenia and Nisibis;
but this trade, which in the intervals of truce was oppressed by avarice
and jealousy, was totally interrupted by the long wars of the rival
monarchies. The great king might proudly number Sogdiana, and even
Serica, among the provinces of his empire; but his real dominion was
bounded by the Oxus and his useful intercourse with the Sogdoites,
beyond the river, depended on the pleasure of their conquerors,
the white Huns, and the Turks, who successively reigned over that
industrious people. Yet the most savage dominion has not extirpated the
seeds of agriculture and commerce, in a region which is celebrated as
one of the four gardens of Asia; the cities of Samarcand and Bochara are
advantageously seated for the exchange of its various productions; and
their merchants purchased from the Chinese, [68] the raw or manufactured
silk which they transported into Persia for the use of the Roman empire.
In the vain capital of China, the Sogdian caravans were entertained as
the suppliant embassies of tributary kingdoms, and if they returned in
safety, the bold adventure was rewarded with exorbitant gain. But the
difficult and perilous march from Samarcand to the first town of Shensi,
could not be performed in less than sixty, eighty, or one hundred days:
as soon as they had passed the Jaxartes they entered the desert; and the
wandering hordes, unless they are restrained by armies and garrisons,
have always considered the citizen and the traveller as the objects of
lawful rapine. To escape the Tartar robbers, and the tyrants of Persia,
the silk caravans explored a more southern road; they traversed the
mountains of Thibet, descended the streams of the Ganges or the Indus,
and patiently expected, in the ports of Guzerat and Malabar, the annual
fleets of the West. [69] But the dangers of the desert were found less
intolerable than toil, hunger, and the loss of time; the attempt was
seldom renewed, and the only European who has passed that unfrequented
way, applauds his own diligence, that, in nine months after his
departure from Pekin, he reached the mouth of the Indus. The ocean,
however, was open to the free communication of mankind. From the great
river to the tropic of Cancer, the provinces of China were subdued and
civilized by the emperors of the North; they were filled about the time
of the Christian aera with cities and men, mulberry-trees and their
precious inhabitants; and if the Chinese, with the knowledge of the
compass, had possessed the genius of the Greeks or Phoenicians, they
might have spread their discoveries over the southern hemisphere. I
am not qualified to examine, and I am not disposed to believe, their
distant voyages to the Persian Gulf, or the Cape of Good Hope; but their
ancestors might equal the labors and success of the present race, and
the sphere of their navigation might extend from the Isles of Japan to
the Straits of Malacca, the pillars, if we may apply that name, of an
Oriental Hercules. [70] Without losing sight of land, they might sail
along the coast to the extreme promontory of Achin, which is annually
visited by ten or twelve ships laden with the productions, the
manufactures, and even the artificers of China; the Island of Sumatra
and the opposite peninsula are faintly delineated [71] as the regions
of gold and silver; and the trading cities named in the geography of
Ptolemy may indicate, that this wealth was not solely derived from the
mines. The direct interval between Sumatra and Ceylon is about three
hundred leagues: the Chinese and Indian navigators were conducted by the
flight of birds and periodical winds; and the ocean might be securely
traversed in square-built ships, which, instead of iron, were sewed
together with the strong thread of the cocoanut. Ceylon, Serendib,
or Taprobana, was divided between two hostile princes; one of whom
possessed the mountains, the elephants, and the luminous carbuncle, and
the other enjoyed the more solid riches of domestic industry, foreign
trade, and the capacious harbor of Trinquemale, which received and
dismissed the fleets of the East and West. In this hospitable isle, at
an equal distance (as it was computed) from their respective countries,
the silk merchants of China, who had collected in their voyages aloes,
cloves, nutmeg, and sandal wood, maintained a free and beneficial
commerce with the inhabitants of the Persian Gulf. The subjects of the
great king exalted, without a rival, his power and magnificence: and the
Roman, who confounded their vanity by comparing his paltry coin with
a gold medal of the emperor Anastasius, had sailed to Ceylon, in an
Aethiopian ship, as a simple passenger. [72]

[Footnote 67: Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 20, l. ii. c. 25; Gothic.
l. iv. c. 17. Menander in Excerpt. Legat. p. 107. Of the Parthian or
Persian empire, Isidore of Charax (in Stathmis Parthicis, p. 7, 8, in
Hudson, Geograph. Minor. tom. ii.) has marked the roads, and Ammianus
Marcellinus (l. xxiii. c. 6, p. 400) has enumerated the provinces. *
Note: See St. Martin, Mem. sur l'Armenie, vol. ii. p. 41.--M.]

[Footnote 68: The blind admiration of the Jesuits confounds the
different periods of the Chinese history. They are more critically
distinguished by M. de Guignes, (Hist. des Huns, tom. i. part i. in
the Tables, part ii. in the Geography. Memoires de l'Academie des
Inscriptions, tom. xxxii. xxxvi. xlii. xliii.,) who discovers the
gradual progress of the truth of the annals and the extent of the
monarchy, till the Christian aera. He has searched, with a curious eye,
the connections of the Chinese with the nations of the West; but
these connections are slight, casual, and obscure; nor did the Romans
entertain a suspicion that the Seres or Sinae possessed an empire not
inferior to their own. * Note: An abstract of the various opinions of
the learned modern writers, Gosselin, Mannert, Lelewel, Malte-Brun,
Heeren, and La Treille, on the Serica and the Thinae of the ancients,
may be found in the new edition of Malte-Brun, vol. vi. p. 368,

[Footnote 69: The roads from China to Persia and Hindostan may be
investigated in the relations of Hackluyt and Thevenot, the ambassadors
of Sharokh, Anthony Jenkinson, the Pere Greuber, &c. See likewise
Hanway's Travels, vol. i. p. 345--357. A communication through Thibet
has been lately explored by the English sovereigns of Bengal.]

[Footnote 70: For the Chinese navigation to Malacca and Achin, perhaps
to Ceylon, see Renaudot, (on the two Mahometan Travellers, p. 8--11,
13--17, 141--157;) Dampier, (vol. ii. p. 136;) the Hist. Philosophique
des deux Indes, (tom. i. p. 98,) and Hist. Generale des Voyages, (tom.
vi. p. 201.)]

[Footnote 71: The knowledge, or rather ignorance, of Strabo, Pliny,
Ptolemy, Arrian, Marcian, &c., of the countries eastward of Cape
Comorin, is finely illustrated by D'Anville, (Antiquite Geographique de
l'Inde, especially p. 161--198.) Our geography of India is improved by
commerce and conquest; and has been illustrated by the excellent maps
and memoirs of Major Rennel. If he extends the sphere of his inquiries
with the same critical knowledge and sagacity, he will succeed, and may
surpass, the first of modern geographers.]

[Footnote 72: The Taprobane of Pliny, (vi. 24,) Solinus, (c. 53,) and
Salmas. Plinianae Exercitat., (p. 781, 782,) and most of the ancients,
who often confound the islands of Ceylon and Sumatra, is more clearly
described by Cosmas Indicopleustes; yet even the Christian topographer
has exaggerated its dimensions. His information on the Indian and
Chinese trade is rare and curious, (l. ii. p. 138, l. xi. p. 337, 338,
edit. Montfaucon.)]

As silk became of indispensable use, the emperor Justinian saw with
concern that the Persians had occupied by land and sea the monopoly
of this important supply, and that the wealth of his subjects was
continually drained by a nation of enemies and idolaters. An active
government would have restored the trade of Egypt and the navigation of
the Red Sea, which had decayed with the prosperity of the empire; and
the Roman vessels might have sailed, for the purchase of silk, to the
ports of Ceylon, of Malacca, or even of China. Justinian embraced a more
humble expedient, and solicited the aid of his Christian allies,
the Aethiopians of Abyssinia, who had recently acquired the arts of
navigation, the spirit of trade, and the seaport of Adulis, [73] [7311]
still decorated with the trophies of a Grecian conqueror. Along the
African coast, they penetrated to the equator in search of gold,
emeralds, and aromatics; but they wisely declined an unequal
competition, in which they must be always prevented by the vicinity of
the Persians to the markets of India; and the emperor submitted to the
disappointment, till his wishes were gratified by an unexpected event.
The gospel had been preached to the Indians: a bishop already governed
the Christians of St. Thomas on the pepper-coast of Malabar; a church
was planted in Ceylon, and the missionaries pursued the footsteps of
commerce to the extremities of Asia. [74] Two Persian monks had long
resided in China, perhaps in the royal city of Nankin, the seat of a
monarch addicted to foreign superstitions, and who actually received an
embassy from the Isle of Ceylon. Amidst their pious occupations,
they viewed with a curious eye the common dress of the Chinese, the
manufactures of silk, and the myriads of silk-worms, whose education
(either on trees or in houses) had once been considered as the labor of
queens. [75] They soon discovered that it was impracticable to transport
the short-lived insect, but that in the eggs a numerous progeny might be
preserved and multiplied in a distant climate. Religion or interest had
more power over the Persian monks than the love of their country: after
a long journey, they arrived at Constantinople, imparted their project
to the emperor, and were liberally encouraged by the gifts and promises
of Justinian. To the historians of that prince, a campaign at the foot
of Mount Caucasus has seemed more deserving of a minute relation than
the labors of these missionaries of commerce, who again entered China,
deceived a jealous people by concealing the eggs of the silk-worm in a
hollow cane, and returned in triumph with the spoils of the East. Under
their direction, the eggs were hatched at the proper season by the
artificial heat of dung; the worms were fed with mulberry leaves;
they lived and labored in a foreign climate; a sufficient number of
butterflies was saved to propagate the race, and trees were planted
to supply the nourishment of the rising generations. Experience and
reflection corrected the errors of a new attempt, and the Sogdoite
ambassadors acknowledged, in the succeeding reign, that the Romans were
not inferior to the natives of China in the education of the
insects, and the manufactures of silk, [76] in which both China and
Constantinople have been surpassed by the industry of modern Europe. I
am not insensible of the benefits of elegant luxury; yet I reflect
with some pain, that if the importers of silk had introduced the art of
printing, already practised by the Chinese, the comedies of Menander and
the entire decads of Livy would have been perpetuated in the editions of
the sixth century.

A larger view of the globe might at least have promoted the improvement
of speculative science, but the Christian geography was forcibly
extracted from texts of Scripture, and the study of nature was the
surest symptom of an unbelieving mind. The orthodox faith confined the
habitable world to one temperate zone, and represented the earth as an
oblong surface, four hundred days' journey in length, two hundred in
breadth, encompassed by the ocean, and covered by the solid crystal of
the firmament. [77]

[Footnote 73: See Procopius, Persic. (l. ii. c. 20.) Cosmas affords some
interesting knowledge of the port and inscription of Adulis, (Topograph.
Christ. l. ii. p. 138, 140--143,) and of the trade of the Axumites along
the African coast of Barbaria or Zingi, (p. 138, 139,) and as far as
Taprobane, (l. xi. p. 339.)]

[Footnote 7311: Mr. Salt obtained information of considerable ruins of
an ancient town near Zulla, called Azoole, which answers to the position
of Adulis. Mr. Salt was prevented by illness, Mr. Stuart, whom he sent,
by the jealousy of the natives, from investigating these ruins: of their
existence there seems no doubt. Salt's 2d Journey, p. 452.--M.]

[Footnote 74: See the Christian missions in India, in Cosmas, (l. iii.
p. 178, 179, l. xi. p. 337,) and consult Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. (tom.
iv. p. 413--548.)]

[Footnote 75: The invention, manufacture, and general use of silk in
China, may be seen in Duhalde, (Description Generale de la Chine, tom.
ii. p. 165, 205--223.) The province of Chekian is the most renowned both
for quantity and quality.]

[Footnote 76: Procopius, (l. viii. Gothic. iv. c. 17. Theophanes Byzant.
apud Phot. Cod. lxxxiv. p. 38. Zonaras, tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 69. Pagi
tom. ii. p. 602) assigns to the year 552 this memorable importation.
Menander (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 107) mentions the admiration of the
Sogdoites; and Theophylact Simocatta (l. vii. c. 9) darkly represents
the two rival kingdoms in (China) the country of silk.]

[Footnote 77: Cosmas, surnamed Indicopleustes, or the Indian navigator,
performed his voyage about the year 522, and composed at Alexandria,
between 535, and 547, Christian Topography, (Montfaucon, Praefat. c.
i.,) in which he refutes the impious opinion, that the earth is a globe;
and Photius had read this work, (Cod. xxxvi. p. 9, 10,) which displays
the prejudices of a monk, with the knowledge of a merchant; the most
valuable part has been given in French and in Greek by Melchisedec
Thevenot, (Relations Curieuses, part i.,) and the whole is since
published in a splendid edition by Pere Montfaucon, (Nova Collectio
Patrum, Paris, 1707, 2 vols. in fol., tom. ii. p. 113--346.) But the
editor, a theologian, might blush at not discovering the Nestorian
heresy of Cosmas, which has been detected by La Croz (Christianisme des
Indes, tom. i. p. 40--56.)]

IV. The subjects of Justinian were dissatisfied with the times, and with
the government. Europe was overrun by the Barbarians, and Asia by the
monks: the poverty of the West discouraged the trade and manufactures of
the East: the produce of labor was consumed by the unprofitable servants
of the church, the state, and the army; and a rapid decrease was felt in
the fixed and circulating capitals which constitute the national wealth.
The public distress had been alleviated by the economy of Anastasius,
and that prudent emperor accumulated an immense treasure, while he
delivered his people from the most odious or oppressive taxes. [7711]
Their gratitude universally applauded the abolition of the gold of
affliction, a personal tribute on the industry of the poor, [78] but
more intolerable, as it should seem, in the form than in the substance,
since the flourishing city of Edessa paid only one hundred and forty
pounds of gold, which was collected in four years from ten thousand
artificers. [79] Yet such was the parsimony which supported this liberal
disposition, that, in a reign of twenty-seven years, Anastasius saved,
from his annual revenue, the enormous sum of thirteen millions sterling,
or three hundred and twenty thousand pounds of gold. [80] His example
was neglected, and his treasure was abused, by the nephew of Justin. The
riches of Justinian were speedily exhausted by alms and buildings,
by ambitious wars, and ignominious treaties. His revenues were found
inadequate to his expenses. Every art was tried to extort from the
people the gold and silver which he scattered with a lavish hand from
Persia to France: [81] his reign was marked by the vicissitudes or
rather by the combat, of rapaciousness and avarice, of splendor and
poverty; he lived with the reputation of hidden treasures, [82] and
bequeathed to his successor the payment of his debts. [83] Such a
character has been justly accused by the voice of the people and of
posterity: but public discontent is credulous; private malice is bold;
and a lover of truth will peruse with a suspicious eye the instructive
anecdotes of Procopius. The secret historian represents only the vices
of Justinian, and those vices are darkened by his malevolent pencil.
Ambiguous actions are imputed to the worst motives; error is confounded
with guilt, accident with design, and laws with abuses; the partial
injustice of a moment is dexterously applied as the general maxim of a
reign of thirty-two years; the emperor alone is made responsible for the
faults of his officers, the disorders of the times, and the corruption
of his subjects; and even the calamities of nature, plagues,
earthquakes, and inundations, are imputed to the prince of the daemons,
who had mischievously assumed the form of Justinian. [84]

[Footnote 7711: See the character of Anastasius in Joannes Lydus de
Magistratibus, iii. c. 45, 46, p. 230--232. His economy is there said to
have degenerated into parsimony. He is accused of having taken away
the levying of taxes and payment of the troops from the municipal
authorities, (the decurionate) in the Eastern cities, and intrusted it
to an extortionate officer named Mannus. But he admits that the imperial
revenue was enormously increased by this measure. A statue of iron had
been erected to Anastasius in the Hippodrome, on which appeared one
morning this pasquinade. This epigram is also found in the Anthology.
Jacobs, vol. iv. p. 114 with some better readings. This iron statue
meetly do we place To thee, world-wasting king, than brass more
base; For all the death, the penury, famine, woe, That from thy
wide-destroying avarice flow, This fell Charybdis, Scylla, near to thee,
This fierce devouring Anastasius, see; And tremble, Scylla! on thee,
too, his greed, Coining thy brazen deity, may feed. But Lydus, with no
uncommon inconsistency in such writers, proceeds to paint the character
of Anastasius as endowed with almost every virtue, not excepting the
utmost liberality. He was only prevented by death from relieving
his subjects altogether from the capitation tax, which he greatly

[Footnote 78: Evagrius (l. ii. c. 39, 40) is minute and grateful, but
angry with Zosimus for calumniating the great Constantine. In collecting
all the bonds and records of the tax, the humanity of Anastasius was
diligent and artful: fathers were sometimes compelled to prostitute
their daughters, (Zosim. Hist. l. ii. c. 38, p. 165, 166, Lipsiae,
1784.) Timotheus of Gaza chose such an event for the subject of a
tragedy, (Suidas, tom. iii. p. 475,) which contributed to the abolition
of the tax, (Cedrenus, p. 35,)--a happy instance (if it be true) of the
use of the theatre.]

[Footnote 79: See Josua Stylites, in the Bibliotheca Orientalis of
Asseman, (tom. p. 268.) This capitation tax is slightly mentioned in the
Chronicle of Edessa.]

[Footnote 80: Procopius (Anecdot. c. 19) fixes this sum from the report
of the treasurers themselves. Tiberias had vicies ter millies; but far
different was his empire from that of Anastasius.]

[Footnote 81: Evagrius, (l. iv. c. 30,) in the next generation, was
moderate and well informed; and Zonaras, (l. xiv. c. 61,) in the xiith
century, had read with care, and thought without prejudice; yet their
colors are almost as black as those of the anecdotes.]

[Footnote 82: Procopius (Anecdot. c. 30) relates the idle conjectures
of the times. The death of Justinian, says the secret historian, will
expose his wealth or poverty.]

[Footnote 83: See Corippus de Laudibus Justini Aug. l. ii. 260, &c.,
384, &c "Plurima sunt vivo nimium neglecta parenti, Unde tot exhaustus
contraxit debita fiscus." Centenaries of gold were brought by strong men
into the Hippodrome, "Debita persolvit, genitoris cauta recepit."]

[Footnote 84: The Anecdotes (c. 11--14, 18, 20--30) supply many
facts and more complaints. * Note: The work of Lydus de Magistratibus
(published by Hase at Paris, 1812, and reprinted in the new edition of
the Byzantine Historians,) was written during the reign of Justinian.
This work of Lydus throws no great light on the earlier history of the
Roman magistracy, but gives some curious details of the changes and
retrenchments in the offices of state, which took place at this time.
The personal history of the author, with the account of his early and
rapid advancement, and the emoluments of the posts which he successively
held, with the bitter disappointment which he expresses, at finding
himself, at the height of his ambition, in an unpaid place, is an
excellent illustration of this statement. Gibbon has before, c. iv. n.
45, and c. xvii. n. 112, traced the progress of a Roman citizen to the
highest honors of the state under the empire; the steps by which Lydus
reached his humbler eminence may likewise throw light on the civil
service at this period. He was first received into the office of the
Praetorian praefect; became a notary in that office, and made in one
year 1000 golden solidi, and that without extortion. His place and the
influence of his relatives obtained him a wife with 400 pounds of gold
for her dowry. He became chief chartularius, with an annual stipend
of twenty-four solidi, and considerable emoluments for all the various
services which he performed. He rose to an Augustalis, and finally
to the dignity of Corniculus, the highest, and at one time the most
lucrative office in the department. But the Praetorian praefect had
gradually been deprived of his powers and his honors. He lost the
superintendence of the supply and manufacture of arms; the uncontrolled
charge of the public posts; the levying of the troops; the command of
the army in war when the emperors ceased nominally to command in person,
but really through the Praetorian praefect; that of the household
troops, which fell to the magister aulae. At length the office was so
completely stripped of its power, as to be virtually abolished, (see de
Magist. l. iii. c. 40, p. 220, &c.) This diminution of the office of the
praefect destroyed the emoluments of his subordinate officers, and Lydus
not only drew no revenue from his dignity, but expended upon it all the
gains of his former services. Lydus gravely refers this calamitous, and,
as he considers it, fatal degradation of the Praetorian office to the
alteration in the style of the official documents from Latin to Greek;
and refers to a prophecy of a certain Fonteius, which connected the ruin
of the Roman empire with its abandonment of its language. Lydus chiefly
owed his promotion to his knowledge of Latin!--M.]

After this precaution, I shall briefly relate the anecdotes of avarice
and rapine under the following heads: I. Justinian was so profuse that
he could not be liberal. The civil and military officers, when they were
admitted into the service of the palace, obtained an humble rank and a
moderate stipend; they ascended by seniority to a station of affluence
and repose; the annual pensions, of which the most honorable class was
abolished by Justinian, amounted to four hundred thousand pounds; and
this domestic economy was deplored by the venal or indigent courtiers as
the last outrage on the majesty of the empire. The posts, the salaries
of physicians, and the nocturnal illuminations, were objects of more
general concern; and the cities might justly complain, that he usurped
the municipal revenues which had been appropriated to these useful
institutions. Even the soldiers were injured; and such was the decay
of military spirit, that they were injured with impunity. The emperor
refused, at the return of each fifth year, the customary donative
of five pieces of gold, reduced his veterans to beg their bread, and
suffered unpaid armies to melt away in the wars of Italy and Persia. II.
The humanity of his predecessors had always remitted, in some auspicious
circumstance of their reign, the arrears of the public tribute, and they
dexterously assumed the merit of resigning those claims which it was
impracticable to enforce. "Justinian, in the space of thirty-two years,
has never granted a similar indulgence; and many of his subjects have
renounced the possession of those lands whose value is insufficient to
satisfy the demands of the treasury. To the cities which had suffered by
hostile inroads Anastasius promised a general exemption of seven years:
the provinces of Justinian have been ravaged by the Persians and Arabs,
the Huns and Sclavonians; but his vain and ridiculous dispensation of a
single year has been confined to those places which were actually
taken by the enemy." Such is the language of the secret historian, who
expressly denies that any indulgence was granted to Palestine after the
revolt of the Samaritans; a false and odious charge, confuted by the
authentic record which attests a relief of thirteen centenaries of gold
(fifty-two thousand pounds) obtained for that desolate province by the
intercession of St. Sabas. [85] III. Procopius has not condescended to
explain the system of taxation, which fell like a hail-storm upon the
land, like a devouring pestilence on its inhabitants: but we should
become the accomplices of his malignity, if we imputed to Justinian
alone the ancient though rigorous principle, that a whole district
should be condemned to sustain the partial loss of the persons or
property of individuals. The Annona, or supply of corn for the use
of the army and capital, was a grievous and arbitrary exaction, which
exceeded, perhaps in a tenfold proportion, the ability of the farmer;
and his distress was aggravated by the partial injustice of weights and
measures, and the expense and labor of distant carriage. In a time
of scarcity, an extraordinary requisition was made to the adjacent
provinces of Thrace, Bithynia, and Phrygia: but the proprietors, after
a wearisome journey and perilous navigation, received so inadequate a
compensation, that they would have chosen the alternative of delivering
both the corn and price at the doors of their granaries. These
precautions might indicate a tender solicitude for the welfare of the
capital; yet Constantinople did not escape the rapacious despotism of
Justinian. Till his reign, the Straits of the Bosphorus and Hellespont
were open to the freedom of trade, and nothing was prohibited except the
exportation of arms for the service of the Barbarians. At each of these
gates of the city, a praetor was stationed, the minister of Imperial
avarice; heavy customs were imposed on the vessels and their
merchandise; the oppression was retaliated on the helpless consumer; the
poor were afflicted by the artificial scarcity, and exorbitant price
of the market; and a people, accustomed to depend on the liberality of
their prince, might sometimes complain of the deficiency of water and
bread. [86] The aerial tribute, without a name, a law, or a definite
object, was an annual gift of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds,
which the emperor accepted from his Praetorian praefect; and the means
of payment were abandoned to the discretion of that powerful magistrate.

IV. Even such a tax was less intolerable than the privilege of
monopolies, [8611] which checked the fair competition of industry, and,
for the sake of a small and dishonest gain, imposed an arbitrary burden
on the wants and luxury of the subject. "As soon" (I transcribe the
Anecdotes) "as the exclusive sale of silk was usurped by the Imperial
treasurer, a whole people, the manufacturers of Tyre and Berytus, was
reduced to extreme misery, and either perished with hunger, or fled to
the hostile dominions of Persia." A province might suffer by the
decay of its manufactures, but in this example of silk, Procopius has
partially overlooked the inestimable and lasting benefit which the
empire received from the curiosity of Justinian. His addition of one
seventh to the ordinary price of copper money may be interpreted with
the same candor; and the alteration, which might be wise, appears to
have been innocent; since he neither alloyed the purity, nor enhanced
the value, of the gold coin, [87] the legal measure of public and
private payments. V. The ample jurisdiction required by the farmers of
the revenue to accomplish their engagements might be placed in an odious
light, as if they had purchased from the emperor the lives and fortunes
of their fellow-citizens. And a more direct sale of honors and offices
was transacted in the palace, with the permission, or at least with the
connivance, of Justinian and Theodora. The claims of merit, even those
of favor, were disregarded, and it was almost reasonable to expect,
that the bold adventurer, who had undertaken the trade of a magistrate,
should find a rich compensation for infamy, labor, danger, the debts
which he had contracted, and the heavy interest which he paid. A sense
of the disgrace and mischief of this venal practice, at length awakened
the slumbering virtue of Justinian; and he attempted, by the sanction of
oaths [88] and penalties, to guard the integrity of his government: but
at the end of a year of perjury, his rigorous edict was suspended, and
corruption licentiously abused her triumph over the impotence of the
laws. VI. The testament of Eulalius, count of the domestics, declared
the emperor his sole heir, on condition, however, that he should
discharge his debts and legacies, allow to his three daughters a decent
maintenance, and bestow each of them in marriage, with a portion of ten
pounds of gold. But the splendid fortune of Eulalius had been consumed
by fire, and the inventory of his goods did not exceed the trifling sum
of five hundred and sixty-four pieces of gold. A similar instance, in
Grecian history, admonished the emperor of the honorable part prescribed
for his imitation. He checked the selfish murmurs of the treasury,
applauded the confidence of his friend, discharged the legacies and
debts, educated the three virgins under the eye of the empress Theodora,
and doubled the marriage portion which had satisfied the tenderness
of their father. [89] The humanity of a prince (for princes cannot be
generous) is entitled to some praise; yet even in this act of virtue we
may discover the inveterate custom of supplanting the legal or natural
heirs, which Procopius imputes to the reign of Justinian. His charge is
supported by eminent names and scandalous examples; neither widows
nor orphans were spared; and the art of soliciting, or extorting, or
supposing testaments, was beneficially practised by the agents of
the palace. This base and mischievous tyranny invades the security of
private life; and the monarch who has indulged an appetite for gain,
will soon be tempted to anticipate the moment of succession, to
interpret wealth as an evidence of guilt, and to proceed, from the claim
of inheritance, to the power of confiscation. VII. Among the forms of
rapine, a philosopher may be permitted to name the conversion of Pagan
or heretical riches to the use of the faithful; but in the time of
Justinian this holy plunder was condemned by the sectaries alone, who
became the victims of his orthodox avarice. [90]

[Footnote 85: One to Scythopolis, capital of the second Palestine, and
twelve for the rest of the province. Aleman. (p. 59) honestly produces
this fact from a Ms. life of St. Sabas, by his disciple Cyril, in the
Vatican Library, and since published by Cotelerius.]

[Footnote 86: John Malala (tom. ii. p. 232) mentions the want of bread,
and Zonaras (l. xiv. p. 63) the leaden pipes, which Justinian, or his
servants, stole from the aqueducts.]

[Footnote 8611: Hullman (Geschichte des Byzantinischen Handels. p.
15) shows that the despotism of the government was aggravated by the
unchecked rapenity of the officers. This state monopoly, even of corn,
wine, and oil, was to force at the time of the first crusade.--M.]

[Footnote 87: For an aureus, one sixth of an ounce of gold, instead
of 210, he gave no more than 180 folles, or ounces of copper. A
disproportion of the mint, below the market price, must have soon
produced a scarcity of small money. In England twelve pence in copper
would sell for no more than seven pence, (Smith's Inquiry into the
Wealth of Nations, vol. i. p. 49.) For Justinian's gold coin, see
Evagrius, (l. iv. c. 30.)]

[Footnote 88: The oath is conceived in the most formidable words,
(Novell. viii. tit. 3.) The defaulters imprecate on themselves, quicquid
haben: telorum armamentaria coeli: the part of Judas, the leprosy of
Gieza, the tremor of Cain, &c., besides all temporal pains.]

[Footnote 89: A similar or more generous act of friendship is related by
Lucian of Eudamidas of Corinth, (in Toxare, c. 22, 23, tom. ii. p.
530,) and the story has produced an ingenious, though feeble, comedy of

[Footnote 90: John Malala, tom. ii. p. 101, 102, 103.]

Chapter XL: Reign Of Justinian.--Part IV.

Dishonor might be ultimately reflected on the character of Justinian;
but much of the guilt, and still more of the profit, was intercepted
by the ministers, who were seldom promoted for their virtues, and not
always selected for their talents. [91] The merits of Tribonian the
quaestor will hereafter be weighed in the reformation of the Roman law;
but the economy of the East was subordinate to the Praetorian praefect,
and Procopius has justified his anecdotes by the portrait which he
exposes in his public history, of the notorious vices of John of
Cappadocia. [92]

[921] His knowledge was not borrowed from the schools, [93] and his
style was scarcely legible; but he excelled in the powers of native
genius, to suggest the wisest counsels, and to find expedients in the
most desperate situations. The corruption of his heart was equal to the
vigor of his understanding. Although he was suspected of magic and
Pagan superstition, he appeared insensible to the fear of God or the
reproaches of man; and his aspiring fortune was raised on the death
of thousands, the poverty of millions, the ruins of cities, and the
desolation of provinces. From the dawn of light to the moment of dinner,
he assiduously labored to enrich his master and himself at the expense
of the Roman world; the remainder of the day was spent in sensual
and obscene pleasures, [931] and the silent hours of the night were
interrupted by the perpetual dread of the justice of an assassin. His
abilities, perhaps his vices, recommended him to the lasting friendship
of Justinian: the emperor yielded with reluctance to the fury of the
people; his victory was displayed by the immediate restoration of
their enemy; and they felt above ten years, under his oppressive
administration, that he was stimulated by revenge, rather than
instructed by misfortune. Their murmurs served only to fortify the
resolution of Justinian; but the resentment of Theodora, disdained a
power before which every knee was bent, and attempted to sow the seeds
of discord between the emperor and his beloved consort. Even Theodora
herself was constrained to dissemble, to wait a favorable moment, and,
by an artful conspiracy, to render John of Coppadocia the accomplice of
his own destruction. [932] At a time when Belisarius, unless he had been
a hero, must have shown himself a rebel, his wife Antonina, who
enjoyed the secret confidence of the empress, communicated his feigned
discontent to Euphemia, the daughter of the praefect; the credulous
virgin imparted to her father the dangerous project, and John, who might
have known the value of oaths and promises, was tempted to accept
a nocturnal, and almost treasonable, interview with the wife of
Belisarius. An ambuscade of guards and eunuchs had been posted by the
command of Theodora; they rushed with drawn swords to seize or to punish
the guilty minister: he was saved by the fidelity of his attendants; but
instead of appealing to a gracious sovereign, who had privately warned
him of his danger, he pusillanimously fled to the sanctuary of the
church. The favorite of Justinian was sacrificed to conjugal tenderness
or domestic tranquility; the conversion of a praefect into a priest
extinguished his ambitious hopes: but the friendship of the emperor
alleviated his disgrace, and he retained in the mild exile of Cyzicus
an ample portion of his riches. Such imperfect revenge could not satisfy
the unrelenting hatred of Theodora; the murder of his old enemy, the
bishop of Cyzicus, afforded a decent pretence; and John of Cappadocia,
whose actions had deserved a thousand deaths, was at last condemned
for a crime of which he was innocent. A great minister, who had been
invested with the honors of consul and patrician, was ignominiously
scourged like the vilest of malefactors; a tattered cloak was the sole
remnant of his fortunes; he was transported in a bark to the place of
his banishment at Antinopolis in Upper Egypt, and the praefect of the
East begged his bread through the cities which had trembled at his name.
During an exile of seven years, his life was protracted and threatened
by the ingenious cruelty of Theodora; and when her death permitted
the emperor to recall a servant whom he had abandoned with regret, the
ambition of John of Cappadocia was reduced to the humble duties of
the sacerdotal profession. His successors convinced the subjects of
Justinian, that the arts of oppression might still be improved by
experience and industry; the frauds of a Syrian banker were introduced
into the administration of the finances; and the example of the praefect
was diligently copied by the quaestor, the public and private treasurer,
the governors of provinces, and the principal magistrates of the Eastern
empire. [94]

[Footnote 91: One of these, Anatolius, perished in an
earthquake--doubtless a judgment! The complaints and clamors of the
people in Agathias (l. v. p. 146, 147) are almost an echo of the
anecdote. The aliena pecunia reddenda of Corippus (l. ii. 381, &c.,) is
not very honorable to Justinian's memory.]

[Footnote 92: See the history and character of John of Cappadocia in
Procopius. (Persic, l. i. c. 35, 25, l. ii. c. 30. Vandal. l. i. c. 13.
Anecdot. c. 2, 17, 22.) The agreement of the history and anecdotes is a
mortal wound to the reputation of the praefct.]

[Footnote 921: This view, particularly of the cruelty of John of
Cappadocia, is confirmed by the testimony of Joannes Lydus, who was in
the office of the praefect, and eye-witness of the tortures inflicted by
his command on the miserable debtors, or supposed debtors, of the state.
He mentions one horrible instance of a respectable old man, with whom he
was personally acquainted, who, being suspected of possessing money, was
hung up by the hands till he was dead. Lydus de Magist. lib. iii. c. 57,
p. 254.--M.]

[Footnote 93: A forcible expression.]

[Footnote 931: Joannes Lydus is diffuse on this subject, lib. iii. c.
65, p. 268. But the indignant virtue of Lydus seems greatly stimulated
by the loss of his official fees, which he ascribes to the innovations
of the minister.--M.]

[Footnote 932: According to Lydus, Theodora disclosed the crimes and
unpopularity of the minister to Justinian, but the emperor had not the
courage to remove, and was unable to replace, a servant, under whom his
finances seemed to prosper. He attributes the sedition and conflagration
to the popular resentment against the tyranny of John, lib. iii. c 70,
p. 278. Unfortunately there is a large gap in his work just at this

[Footnote 94: The chronology of Procopius is loose and obscure; but
with the aid of Pagi I can discern that John was appointed Praetorian
praefect of the East in the year 530--that he was removed in January,
532--restored before June, 533--banished in 541--and recalled between
June, 548, and April 1, 549. Aleman. (p. 96, 97) gives the list of his
ten successors--a rapid series in a part of a single reign. * Note:
Lydus gives a high character of Phocas, his successor tom. iii. c. 78 p.

V. The edifices of Justinian were cemented with the blood and treasure
of his people; but those stately structures appeared to announce the
prosperity of the empire, and actually displayed the skill of their
architects. Both the theory and practice of the arts which depend on
mathematical science and mechanical power, were cultivated under the
patronage of the emperors; the fame of Archimedes was rivalled by
Proclus and Anthemius; and if their miracles had been related by
intelligent spectators, they might now enlarge the speculations, instead
of exciting the distrust, of philosophers. A tradition has prevailed,
that the Roman fleet was reduced to ashes in the port of Syracuse,
by the burning-glasses of Archimedes; [95] and it is asserted, that a
similar expedient was employed by Proclus to destroy the Gothic
vessels in the harbor of Constantinople, and to protect his benefactor
Anastasius against the bold enterprise of Vitalian. [96] A machine
was fixed on the walls of the city, consisting of a hexagon mirror of
polished brass, with many smaller and movable polygons to receive and
reflect the rays of the meridian sun; and a consuming flame was darted,
to the distance, perhaps of two hundred feet. [97] The truth of these
two extraordinary facts is invalidated by the silence of the most
authentic historians; and the use of burning-glasses was never adopted
in the attack or defence of places. [98] Yet the admirable experiments
of a French philosopher [99] have demonstrated the possibility of such
a mirror; and, since it is possible, I am more disposed to attribute the
art to the greatest mathematicians of antiquity, than to give the merit
of the fiction to the idle fancy of a monk or a sophist. According to
another story, Proclus applied sulphur to the destruction of the Gothic
fleet; [100] in a modern imagination, the name of sulphur is instantly
connected with the suspicion of gunpowder, and that suspicion is
propagated by the secret arts of his disciple Anthemius. [101] A citizen
of Tralles in Asia had five sons, who were all distinguished in their
respective professions by merit and success. Olympius excelled in
the knowledge and practice of the Roman jurisprudence. Dioscorus and
Alexander became learned physicians; but the skill of the former
was exercised for the benefit of his fellow-citizens, while his more
ambitious brother acquired wealth and reputation at Rome. The fame
of Metrodorus the grammarian, and of Anthemius the mathematician and
architect, reached the ears of the emperor Justinian, who invited them
to Constantinople; and while the one instructed the rising generation
in the schools of eloquence, the other filled the capital and provinces
with more lasting monuments of his art. In a trifling dispute relative
to the walls or windows of their contiguous houses, he had been
vanquished by the eloquence of his neighbor Zeno; but the orator was
defeated in his turn by the master of mechanics, whose malicious,
though harmless, stratagems are darkly represented by the ignorance
of Agathias. In a lower room, Anthemius arranged several vessels or
caldrons of water, each of them covered by the wide bottom of a leathern
tube, which rose to a narrow top, and was artificially conveyed among
the joists and rafters of the adjacent building. A fire was kindled
beneath the caldron; the steam of the boiling water ascended through the
tubes; the house was shaken by the efforts of imprisoned air, and its
trembling inhabitants might wonder that the city was unconscious of the
earthquake which they had felt. At another time, the friends of Zeno, as
they sat at table, were dazzled by the intolerable light which flashed
in their eyes from the reflecting mirrors of Anthemius; they were
astonished by the noise which he produced from the collision of certain
minute and sonorous particles; and the orator declared in tragic
style to the senate, that a mere mortal must yield to the power of
an antagonist, who shook the earth with the trident of Neptune, and
imitated the thunder and lightning of Jove himself. The genius of
Anthemius, and his colleague Isidore the Milesian, was excited and
employed by a prince, whose taste for architecture had degenerated into
a mischievous and costly passion. His favorite architects submitted
their designs and difficulties to Justinian, and discreetly confessed
how much their laborious meditations were surpassed by the intuitive
knowledge of celestial inspiration of an emperor, whose views were
always directed to the benefit of his people, the glory of his reign,
and the salvation of his soul. [102]

[Footnote 95: This conflagration is hinted by Lucian (in Hippia, c. 2)
and Galen, (l. iii. de Temperamentis, tom. i. p. 81, edit. Basil.)
in the second century. A thousand years afterwards, it is positively
affirmed by Zonaras, (l. ix. p. 424,) on the faith of Dion Cassius,
Tzetzes, (Chiliad ii. 119, &c.,) Eustathius, (ad Iliad. E. p. 338,) and
the scholiast of Lucian. See Fabricius, (Bibliot. Graec. l. iii. c. 22,
tom. ii. p. 551, 552,) to whom I am more or less indebted for several of
these quotations.]

[Footnote 96: Zonaras (l. xi. c. p. 55) affirms the fact, without
quoting any evidence.]

[Footnote 97: Tzetzes describes the artifice of these burning-glasses,
which he had read, perhaps, with no learned eyes, in a mathematical
treatise of Anthemius. That treatise has been lately published,
translated, and illustrated, by M. Dupuys, a scholar and a
mathematician, (Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom xlii p.

[Footnote 98: In the siege of Syracuse, by the silence of Polybius,
Plutarch, Livy; in the siege of Constantinople, by that of Marcellinus
and all the contemporaries of the vith century.]

[Footnote 99: Without any previous knowledge of Tzetzes or Anthemius,
the immortal Buffon imagined and executed a set of burning-glasses, with
which he could inflame planks at the distance of 200 feet, (Supplement
a l'Hist. Naturelle, tom. i. 399--483, quarto edition.) What miracles
would not his genius have performed for the public service, with royal
expense, and in the strong sun of Constantinople or Syracuse?]

[Footnote 100: John Malala (tom. ii. p. 120--124) relates the fact; but
he seems to confound the names or persons of Proclus and Marinus.]

[Footnote 101: Agathias, l. v. p. 149--152. The merit of Anthemius as
an architect is loudly praised by Procopius (de Edif. l. i. c. 1) and
Paulus Silentiarius, (part i. 134, &c.)]

[Footnote 102: See Procopius, (de Edificiis, l. i. c. 1, 2, l. ii. c.
3.) He relates a coincidence of dreams, which supposes some fraud in
Justinian or his architect. They both saw, in a vision, the same plan
for stopping an inundation at Dara. A stone quarry near Jerusalem was
revealed to the emperor, (l. v. c. 6:) an angel was tricked into the
perpetual custody of St. Sophia, (Anonym. de Antiq. C. P. l. iv. p.

The principal church, which was dedicated by the founder of
Constantinople to St. Sophia, or the eternal wisdom, had been twice
destroyed by fire; after the exile of John Chrysostom, and during the
Nika of the blue and green factions. No sooner did the tumult subside,
than the Christian populace deplored their sacrilegious rashness; but
they might have rejoiced in the calamity, had they foreseen the glory
of the new temple, which at the end of forty days was strenuously
undertaken by the piety of Justinian. [103] The ruins were cleared away,
a more spacious plan was described, and as it required the consent of
some proprietors of ground, they obtained the most exorbitant terms
from the eager desires and timorous conscience of the monarch. Anthemius
formed the design, and his genius directed the hands of ten thousand
workmen, whose payment in pieces of fine silver was never delayed beyond
the evening. The emperor himself, clad in a linen tunic, surveyed
each day their rapid progress, and encouraged their diligence by his
familiarity, his zeal, and his rewards. The new Cathedral of St. Sophia
was consecrated by the patriarch, five years, eleven months, and ten
days from the first foundation; and in the midst of the solemn festival
Justinian exclaimed with devout vanity, "Glory be to God, who hath
thought me worthy to accomplish so great a work; I have vanquished thee,
O Solomon!" [104] But the pride of the Roman Solomon, before twenty
years had elapsed, was humbled by an earthquake, which overthrew
the eastern part of the dome. Its splendor was again restored by the
perseverance of the same prince; and in the thirty-sixth year of his
reign, Justinian celebrated the second dedication of a temple which
remains, after twelve centuries, a stately monument of his fame. The
architecture of St. Sophia, which is now converted into the principal
mosch, has been imitated by the Turkish sultans, and that venerable
pile continues to excite the fond admiration of the Greeks, and the more
rational curiosity of European travellers. The eye of the spectator is
disappointed by an irregular prospect of half-domes and shelving roofs:
the western front, the principal approach, is destitute of simplicity
and magnificence; and the scale of dimensions has been much surpassed by
several of the Latin cathedrals. But the architect who first erected
and aerial cupola, is entitled to the praise of bold design and skilful
execution. The dome of St. Sophia, illuminated by four-and-twenty
windows, is formed with so small a curve, that the depth is equal
only to one sixth of its diameter; the measure of that diameter is one
hundred and fifteen feet, and the lofty centre, where a crescent has
supplanted the cross, rises to the perpendicular height of one hundred
and eighty feet above the pavement. The circle which encompasses the
dome, lightly reposes on four strong arches, and their weight is firmly
supported by four massy piles, whose strength is assisted, on the
northern and southern sides, by four columns of Egyptian granite.

A Greek cross, inscribed in a quadrangle, represents the form of the
edifice; the exact breadth is two hundred and forty-three feet, and two
hundred and sixty-nine may be assigned for the extreme length from the
sanctuary in the east, to the nine western doors, which open into the
vestibule, and from thence into the narthex or exterior portico. That
portico was the humble station of the penitents. The nave or body of the
church was filled by the congregation of the faithful; but the two sexes
were prudently distinguished, and the upper and lower galleries were
allotted for the more private devotion of the women. Beyond the northern
and southern piles, a balustrade, terminated on either side by the
thrones of the emperor and the patriarch, divided the nave from the
choir; and the space, as far as the steps of the altar, was occupied by
the clergy and singers. The altar itself, a name which insensibly
became familiar to Christian ears, was placed in the eastern recess,
artificially built in the form of a demi-cylinder; and this sanctuary
communicated by several doors with the sacristy, the vestry, the
baptistery, and the contiguous buildings, subservient either to the
pomp of worship, or the private use of the ecclesiastical ministers.
The memory of past calamities inspired Justinian with a wise resolution,
that no wood, except for the doors, should be admitted into the new
edifice; and the choice of the materials was applied to the strength,
the lightness, or the splendor of the respective parts. The solid piles
which contained the cupola were composed of huge blocks of freestone,
hewn into squares and triangles, fortified by circles of iron, and
firmly cemented by the infusion of lead and quicklime: but the weight of
the cupola was diminished by the levity of its substance, which consists
either of pumice-stone that floats in the water, or of bricks from the
Isle of Rhodes, five times less ponderous than the ordinary sort. The
whole frame of the edifice was constructed of brick; but those base
materials were concealed by a crust of marble; and the inside of St.
Sophia, the cupola, the two larger, and the six smaller, semi-domes, the
walls, the hundred columns, and the pavement, delight even the eyes of
Barbarians, with a rich and variegated picture. A poet, [105] who beheld
the primitive lustre of St. Sophia, enumerates the colors, the shades,
and the spots of ten or twelve marbles, jaspers, and porphyries, which
nature had profusely diversified, and which were blended and contrasted
as it were by a skilful painter. The triumph of Christ was adorned with
the last spoils of Paganism, but the greater part of these costly stones
was extracted from the quarries of Asia Minor, the isles and continent
of Greece, Egypt, Africa, and Gaul. Eight columns of porphyry, which
Aurelian had placed in the temple of the sun, were offered by the piety
of a Roman matron; eight others of green marble were presented by the
ambitious zeal of the magistrates of Ephesus: both are admirable by
their size and beauty, but every order of architecture disclaims their
fantastic capital. A variety of ornaments and figures was curiously
expressed in mosaic; and the images of Christ, of the Virgin, of saints,
and of angels, which have been defaced by Turkish fanaticism, were
dangerously exposed to the superstition of the Greeks. According to the
sanctity of each object, the precious metals were distributed in thin
leaves or in solid masses. The balustrade of the choir, the capitals
of the pillars, the ornaments of the doors and galleries, were of
gilt bronze; the spectator was dazzled by the glittering aspect of the
cupola; the sanctuary contained forty thousand pounds weight of silver;
and the holy vases and vestments of the altar were of the purest gold,
enriched with inestimable gems. Before the structure of the church had
arisen two cubits above the ground, forty-five thousand two hundred
pounds were already consumed; and the whole expense amounted to three
hundred and twenty thousand: each reader, according to the measure of
his belief, may estimate their value either in gold or silver; but the
sum of one million sterling is the result of the lowest computation.
A magnificent temple is a laudable monument of national taste and
religion; and the enthusiast who entered the dome of St. Sophia might be
tempted to suppose that it was the residence, or even the workmanship,
of the Deity. Yet how dull is the artifice, how insignificant is the
labor, if it be compared with the formation of the vilest insect that
crawls upon the surface of the temple! [Footnote 103: Among the crowd
of ancients and moderns who have celebrated the edifice of St. Sophia,
I shall distinguish and follow, 1. Four original spectators and
historians: Procopius, (de Edific. l. i. c. 1,) Agathias, (l. v. p. 152,
153,) Paul Silentiarius, (in a poem of 1026 hexameters, and calcem Annae
Commen. Alexiad.,) and Evagrius, (l. iv. c. 31.) 2. Two legendary Greeks
of a later period: George Codinus, (de Origin. C. P. p. 64-74,) and the
anonymous writer of Banduri, (Imp. Orient. tom. i. l. iv. p. 65--80.)3.
The great Byzantine antiquarian. Ducange, (Comment. ad Paul Silentiar.
p. 525--598, and C. P. Christ. l. iii. p. 5--78.) 4. Two French
travellers--the one, Peter Gyllius, (de Topograph. C. P. l. ii. c. 3,
4,) in the xvith; the other, Grelot, (Voyage de C. P. p. 95--164, Paris,
1680, in 4to:) he has given plans, prospects, and inside views of St.
Sophia; and his plans, though on a smaller scale, appear more correct
than those of Ducange. I have adopted and reduced the measures of
Grelot: but as no Christian can now ascend the dome, the height is
borrowed from Evagrius, compared with Gyllius, Greaves, and the Oriental

[Footnote 104: Solomon's temple was surrounded with courts, porticos,
&c.; but the proper structure of the house of God was no more (if we
take the Egyptian or Hebrew cubic at 22 inches) than 55 feet in height,
36 2/3 in breadth, and 110 in length--a small parish church, says
Prideaux, (Connection, vol. i. p. 144, folio;) but few sanctuaries could
be valued at four or five millions sterling! * Note *: Hist of Jews, vol
i p 257.--M]

[Footnote 105: Paul Silentiarius, in dark and poetic language, describes
the various stones and marbles that were employed in the edifice of St.
Sophia, (P. ii. p. 129, 133, &c., &c.:)

1. The Carystian--pale, with iron veins.

2. The Phrygian--of two sorts, both of a rosy hue; the one with a white
shade, the other purple, with silver flowers.

3. The Porphyry of Egypt--with small stars.

4. The green marble of Laconia.

5. The Carian--from Mount Iassis, with oblique veins, white and red. 6.
The Lydian--pale, with a red flower.

7. The African, or Mauritanian--of a gold or saffron hue. 8. The
Celtic--black, with white veins.

9. The Bosphoric--white, with black edges. Besides the Proconnesian
which formed the pavement; the Thessalian, Molossian, &c., which are
less distinctly painted.]

So minute a description of an edifice which time has respected, may
attest the truth, and excuse the relation, of the innumerable works,
both in the capital and provinces, which Justinian constructed on a
smaller scale and less durable foundations. [106] In Constantinople
alone and the adjacent suburbs, he dedicated twenty-five churches to the
honor of Christ, the Virgin, and the saints: most of these churches
were decorated with marble and gold; and their various situation was
skilfully chosen in a populous square, or a pleasant grove; on the
margin of the sea-shore, or on some lofty eminence which overlooked
the continents of Europe and Asia. The church of the Holy Apostles at
Constantinople, and that of St. John at Ephesus, appear to have been
framed on the same model: their domes aspired to imitate the cupolas of
St. Sophia; but the altar was more judiciously placed under the centre
of the dome, at the junction of four stately porticos, which more
accurately expressed the figure of the Greek cross. The Virgin of
Jerusalem might exult in the temple erected by her Imperial votary on a
most ungrateful spot, which afforded neither ground nor materials to the
architect. A level was formed by raising part of a deep valley to the
height of the mountain. The stones of a neighboring quarry were hewn
into regular forms; each block was fixed on a peculiar carriage, drawn
by forty of the strongest oxen, and the roads were widened for the
passage of such enormous weights. Lebanon furnished her loftiest cedars
for the timbers of the church; and the seasonable discovery of a vein of
red marble supplied its beautiful columns, two of which, the supporters
of the exterior portico, were esteemed the largest in the world. The
pious munificence of the emperor was diffused over the Holy Land; and if
reason should condemn the monasteries of both sexes which were built or
restored by Justinian, yet charity must applaud the wells which he
sunk, and the hospitals which he founded, for the relief of the weary
pilgrims. The schismatical temper of Egypt was ill entitled to the
royal bounty; but in Syria and Africa, some remedies were applied to
the disasters of wars and earthquakes, and both Carthage and Antioch,
emerging from their ruins, might revere the name of their gracious
benefactor. [107] Almost every saint in the calendar acquired the
honors of a temple; almost every city of the empire obtained the
solid advantages of bridges, hospitals, and aqueducts; but the severe
liberality of the monarch disdained to indulge his subjects in the
popular luxury of baths and theatres. While Justinian labored for the
public service, he was not unmindful of his own dignity and ease. The
Byzantine palace, which had been damaged by the conflagration, was
restored with new magnificence; and some notion may be conceived of the
whole edifice, by the vestibule or hall, which, from the doors perhaps,
or the roof, was surnamed chalce, or the brazen. The dome of a spacious
quadrangle was supported by massy pillars; the pavement and walls were
incrusted with many-colored marbles--the emerald green of Laconia, the
fiery red, and the white Phrygian stone, intersected with veins of a
sea-green hue: the mosaic paintings of the dome and sides represented
the glories of the African and Italian triumphs. On the Asiatic shore of
the Propontis, at a small distance to the east of Chalcedon, the
costly palace and gardens of Heraeum [108] were prepared for the summer
residence of Justinian, and more especially of Theodora. The poets of
the age have celebrated the rare alliance of nature and art, the harmony
of the nymphs of the groves, the fountains, and the waves: yet the crowd
of attendants who followed the court complained of their inconvenient
lodgings, [109] and the nymphs were too often alarmed by the famous
Porphyrio, a whale of ten cubits in breadth, and thirty in length, who
was stranded at the mouth of the River Sangaris, after he had infested
more than half a century the seas of Constantinople. [110]

[Footnote 106: The six books of the Edifices of Procopius are thus
distributed the first is confined to Constantinople: the second includes
Mesopotamia and Syria the third, Armenia and the Euxine; the fourth,
Europe; the fifth, Asia Minor and Palestine; the sixth, Egypt and
Africa. Italy is forgot by the emperor or the historian, who published
this work of adulation before the date (A.D. 555) of its final

[Footnote 107: Justinian once gave forty-five centenaries of gold
(180,000 L.) for the repairs of Antioch after the earthquake, (John Malala,
tom. ii p 146--149.)]

[Footnote 108: For the Heraeum, the palace of Theodora, see Gyllius, (de
Bosphoro Thracio, l. iii. c. xi.,) Aleman. (Not. ad. Anec. p. 80, 81,
who quotes several epigrams of the Anthology,) and Ducange, (C. P.
Christ. l. iv. c. 13, p. 175, 176.)]

[Footnote 109: Compare, in the Edifices, (l. i. c. 11,) and in
the Anecdotes, (c. 8, 15.) the different styles of adulation and
malevolence: stripped of the paint, or cleansed from the dirt, the
object appears to be the same.]

[Footnote 110: Procopius, l. viii. 29; most probably a stranger and
wanderer, as the Mediterranean does not breed whales. Balaenae quoque
in nostra maria penetrant, (Plin. Hist. Natur. ix. 2.) Between the polar
circle and the tropic, the cetaceous animals of the ocean grow to the
length of 50, 80, or 100 feet, (Hist. des Voyages, tom. xv. p. 289.
Pennant's British Zoology, vol. iii. p. 35.)]

The fortifications of Europe and Asia were multiplied by Justinian; but
the repetition of those timid and fruitless precautions exposes, to a
philosophic eye, the debility of the empire. [111] From Belgrade to the
Euxine, from the conflux of the Save to the mouth of the Danube, a chain
of above fourscore fortified places was extended along the banks of the
great river. Single watch-towers were changed into spacious citadels;
vacant walls, which the engineers contracted or enlarged according to
the nature of the ground, were filled with colonies or garrisons; a
strong fortress defended the ruins of Trajan's bridge, [112] and several
military stations affected to spread beyond the Danube the pride of the
Roman name. But that name was divested of its terrors; the Barbarians,
in their annual inroads, passed, and contemptuously repassed, before
these useless bulwarks; and the inhabitants of the frontier, instead
of reposing under the shadow of the general defence, were compelled
to guard, with incessant vigilance, their separate habitations. The
solitude of ancient cities, was replenished; the new foundations of
Justinian acquired, perhaps too hastily, the epithets of impregnable
and populous; and the auspicious place of his own nativity attracted
the grateful reverence of the vainest of princes. Under the name of
Justiniana prima, the obscure village of Tauresium became the seat of
an archbishop and a praefect, whose jurisdiction extended over seven
warlike provinces of Illyricum; [113] and the corrupt appellation of
Giustendil still indicates, about twenty miles to the south of Sophia,
the residence of a Turkish sanjak. [114] For the use of the emperor's
countryman, a cathedral, a place, and an aqueduct, were speedily
constructed; the public and private edifices were adapted to the
greatness of a royal city; and the strength of the walls resisted,
during the lifetime of Justinian, the unskilful assaults of the Huns and
Sclavonians. Their progress was sometimes retarded, and their hopes
of rapine were disappointed, by the innumerable castles which, in the
provinces of Dacia, Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia, and Thrace, appeared
to cover the whole face of the country. Six hundred of these forts were
built or repaired by the emperor; but it seems reasonable to believe,
that the far greater part consisted only of a stone or brick tower, in
the midst of a square or circular area, which was surrounded by a wall
and ditch, and afforded in a moment of danger some protection to
the peasants and cattle of the neighboring villages. [115] Yet these
military works, which exhausted the public treasure, could not remove
the just apprehensions of Justinian and his European subjects. The
warm baths of Anchialus in Thrace were rendered as safe as they were
salutary; but the rich pastures of Thessalonica were foraged by the
Scythian cavalry; the delicious vale of Tempe, three hundred miles from
the Danube, was continually alarmed by the sound of war; [116] and no
unfortified spot, however distant or solitary, could securely enjoy the
blessings of peace. The Straits of Thermopylae, which seemed to protect,
but which had so often betrayed, the safety of Greece, were diligently
strengthened by the labors of Justinian. From the edge of the sea-shore,
through the forests and valleys, and as far as the summit of the
Thessalian mountains, a strong wall was continued, which occupied every
practicable entrance. Instead of a hasty crowd of peasants, a garrison
of two thousand soldiers was stationed along the rampart; granaries
of corn and reservoirs of water were provided for their use; and by
a precaution that inspired the cowardice which it foresaw, convenient
fortresses were erected for their retreat. The walls of Corinth,
overthrown by an earthquake, and the mouldering bulwarks of Athens and
Plataea, were carefully restored; the Barbarians were discouraged by
the prospect of successive and painful sieges: and the naked cities
of Peloponnesus were covered by the fortifications of the Isthmus of
Corinth. At the extremity of Europe, another peninsula, the Thracian
Chersonesus, runs three days' journey into the sea, to form, with the
adjacent shores of Asia, the Straits of the Hellespont. The intervals
between eleven populous towns were filled by lofty woods, fair pastures,
and arable lands; and the isthmus, of thirty seven stadia or furlongs,
had been fortified by a Spartan general nine hundred years before the
reign of Justinian. [117] In an age of freedom and valor, the slightest
rampart may prevent a surprise; and Procopius appears insensible of the
superiority of ancient times, while he praises the solid construction
and double parapet of a wall, whose long arms stretched on either side
into the sea; but whose strength was deemed insufficient to guard the
Chersonesus, if each city, and particularly Gallipoli and Sestus, had
not been secured by their peculiar fortifications. The long wall, as it
was emphatically styled, was a work as disgraceful in the object, as
it was respectable in the execution. The riches of a capital diffuse
themselves over the neighboring country, and the territory of
Constantinople a paradise of nature, was adorned with the luxurious
gardens and villas of the senators and opulent citizens. But their
wealth served only to attract the bold and rapacious Barbarians; the
noblest of the Romans, in the bosom of peaceful indolence, were led away
into Scythian captivity, and their sovereign might view from his palace
the hostile flames which were insolently spread to the gates of the
Imperial city. At the distance only of forty miles, Anastasius was
constrained to establish a last frontier; his long wall, of sixty miles
from the Propontis to the Euxine, proclaimed the impotence of his arms;
and as the danger became more imminent, new fortifications were added by
the indefatigable prudence of Justinian. [118]

[Footnote 111: Montesquieu observes, (tom. iii. p. 503, Considerations
sur la Grandeur et la Decadence des Romains, c. xx.,) that Justinian's
empire was like France in the time of the Norman inroads--never so weak
as when every village was fortified.]

[Footnote 112: Procopius affirms (l. iv. c. 6) that the Danube was
stopped by the ruins of the bridge. Had Apollodorus, the architect, left
a description of his own work, the fabulous wonders of Dion Cassius
(l lxviii. p. 1129) would have been corrected by the genuine picture
Trajan's bridge consisted of twenty or twenty-two stone piles with
wooden arches; the river is shallow, the current gentle, and the whole
interval no more than 443 (Reimer ad Dion. from Marsigli) or 5l7 toises,
(D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. i. p. 305.)]

[Footnote 113: Of the two Dacias, Mediterranea and Ripensis, Dardania,
Pravalitana, the second Maesia, and the second Macedonia. See Justinian
(Novell. xi.,) who speaks of his castles beyond the Danube, and on
omines semper bellicis sudoribus inhaerentes.]

[Footnote 114: See D'Anville, (Memoires de l'Academie, &c., tom. xxxi
p. 280, 299,) Rycaut, (Present State of the Turkish Empire, p. 97, 316,)
Max sigli, (Stato Militare del Imperio Ottomano, p. 130.) The sanjak of
Giustendil is one of the twenty under the beglerbeg of Rurselis, and his
district maintains 48 zaims and 588 timariots.]

[Footnote 115: These fortifications may be compared to the castles in
Mingrelia (Chardin, Voyages en Perse, tom. i. p. 60, 131)--a natural

[Footnote 116: The valley of Tempe is situate along the River Peneus,
between the hills of Ossa and Olympus: it is only five miles long, and
in some places no more than 120 feet in breadth. Its verdant beauties
are elegantly described by Pliny, (Hist. Natur. l. iv. 15,) and more
diffusely by Aelian, (Hist. Var. l. iii. c. i.)]

[Footnote 117: Xenophon Hellenic. l. iii. c. 2. After a long and tedious
conversation with the Byzantine declaimers, how refreshing is the truth,
the simplicity, the elegance of an Attic writer!]

[Footnote 118: See the long wall in Evagarius, (l. iv. c. 38.) This
whole article is drawn from the fourth book of the Edifices, except
Anchialus, (l. iii. c. 7.)]

Asia Minor, after the submission of the Isaurians, [119] remained
without enemies and without fortifications. Those bold savages, who had
disdained to be the subjects of Gallienus, persisted two hundred and
thirty years in a life of independence and rapine. The most successful
princes respected the strength of the mountains and the despair of
the natives; their fierce spirit was sometimes soothed with gifts,
and sometimes restrained by terror; and a military count, with three
legions, fixed his permanent and ignominious station in the heart of the
Roman provinces. [120] But no sooner was the vigilance of power relaxed
or diverted, than the light-armed squadrons descended from the hills,
and invaded the peaceful plenty of Asia. Although the Isaurians were
not remarkable for stature or bravery, want rendered them bold, and
experience made them skilful in the exercise of predatory war.
They advanced with secrecy and speed to the attack of villages and
defenceless towns; their flying parties have sometimes touched the
Hellespont, the Euxine, and the gates of Tarsus, Antioch, or Damascus;
[121] and the spoil was lodged in their inaccessible mountains, before
the Roman troops had received their orders, or the distant province had
computed its loss. The guilt of rebellion and robbery excluded them from
the rights of national enemies; and the magistrates were instructed,
by an edict, that the trial or punishment of an Isaurian, even on the
festival of Easter, was a meritorious act of justice and piety. [122] If
the captives were condemned to domestic slavery, they maintained, with
their sword or dagger, the private quarrel of their masters; and it was
found expedient for the public tranquillity to prohibit the service of
such dangerous retainers. When their countryman Tarcalissaeus or Zeno
ascended the throne, he invited a faithful and formidable band of
Isaurians, who insulted the court and city, and were rewarded by an
annual tribute of five thousand pounds of gold. But the hopes of fortune
depopulated the mountains, luxury enervated the hardiness of their minds
and bodies, and in proportion as they mixed with mankind, they became
less qualified for the enjoyment of poor and solitary freedom. After
the death of Zeno, his successor Anastasius suppressed their pensions,
exposed their persons to the revenge of the people, banished them from
Constantinople, and prepared to sustain a war, which left only the
alternative of victory or servitude. A brother of the last emperor
usurped the title of Augustus; his cause was powerfully supported by
the arms, the treasures, and the magazines, collected by Zeno; and the
native Isaurians must have formed the smallest portion of the hundred
and fifty thousand Barbarians under his standard, which was sanctified,
for the first time, by the presence of a fighting bishop. Their
disorderly numbers were vanquished in the plains of Phrygia by the valor
and discipline of the Goths; but a war of six years almost exhausted the
courage of the emperor. [123] The Isaurians retired to their mountains;
their fortresses were successively besieged and ruined; their
communication with the sea was intercepted; the bravest of their leaders
died in arms; the surviving chiefs, before their execution, were
dragged in chains through the hippodrome; a colony of their youth was
transplanted into Thrace, and the remnant of the people submitted to the
Roman government. Yet some generations elapsed before their minds were
reduced to the level of slavery. The populous villages of Mount Taurus
were filled with horsemen and archers: they resisted the imposition
of tributes, but they recruited the armies of Justinian; and his civil
magistrates, the proconsul of Cappadocia, the count of Isauria, and the
praetors of Lycaonia and Pisidia, were invested with military power to
restrain the licentious practice of rapes and assassinations. [124]

[Footnote 119: Turn back to vol. i. p. 328. In the course of this
History, I have sometimes mentioned, and much oftener slighted, the
hasty inroads of the Isaurians, which were not attended with any

[Footnote 120: Trebellius Pollio in Hist. August. p. 107, who lived
under Diocletian, or Constantine. See likewise Pancirolus ad Notit. Imp.
Orient c. 115, 141. See Cod. Theodos. l. ix. tit. 35, leg. 37, with a
copious collective Annotation of Godefroy, tom. iii. p. 256, 257.]

[Footnote 121: See the full and wide extent of their inroads in
Philostorgius (Hist. Eccles. l. xi. c. 8,) with Godefroy's learned

[Footnote 122: Cod. Justinian. l. ix. tit. 12, leg. 10. The punishments
are severs--a fine of a hundred pounds of gold, degradation, and even
death. The public peace might afford a pretence, but Zeno was desirous
of monopolizing the valor and service of the Isaurians.]

[Footnote 123: The Isaurian war and the triumph of Anastasius are
briefly and darkly represented by John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 106, 107,)
Evagrius, (l. iii. c. 35,) Theophanes, (p. 118--120,) and the Chronicle
of Marcellinus.]

[Footnote 124: Fortes ea regio (says Justinian) viros habet, nec in
ullo differt ab Isauria, though Procopius (Persic. l. i. c. 18) marks
an essential difference between their military character; yet in former
times the Lycaonians and Pisidians had defended their liberty against
the great king, Xenophon. (Anabasis, l. iii. c. 2.) Justinian introduces
some false and ridiculous erudition of the ancient empire of the
Pisidians, and of Lycaon, who, after visiting Rome, (long before
Aeenas,) gave a name and people to Lycaoni, (Novell. 24, 25, 27, 30.)]

Chapter XL: Reign Of Justinian.--Part V.

If we extend our view from the tropic to the mouth of the Tanais, we may
observe, on one hand, the precautions of Justinian to curb the
savages of Aethiopia, [125] and on the other, the long walls which
he constructed in Crimaea for the protection of his friendly Goths,
a colony of three thousand shepherds and warriors. [126] From that
peninsula to Trebizond, the eastern curve of the Euxine was secured by
forts, by alliance, or by religion; and the possession of Lazica, the
Colchos of ancient, the Mingrelia of modern, geography, soon became
the object of an important war. Trebizond, in after-times the seat of
a romantic empire, was indebted to the liberality of Justinian for a
church, an aqueduct, and a castle, whose ditches are hewn in the solid
rock. From that maritime city, frontier line of five hundred miles may
be drawn to the fortress of Circesium, the last Roman station on the
Euphrates. [127] Above Trebizond immediately, and five days' journey to
the south, the country rises into dark forests and craggy mountains,
as savage though not so lofty as the Alps and the Pyrenees. In this
rigorous climate, [128] where the snows seldom melt, the fruits are
tardy and tasteless, even honey is poisonous: the most industrious
tillage would be confined to some pleasant valleys; and the pastoral
tribes obtained a scanty sustenance from the flesh and milk of their
cattle. The Chalybians [129] derived their name and temper from the iron
quality of the soil; and, since the days of Cyrus, they might
produce, under the various appellations of Cha daeans and Zanians,
an uninterrupted prescription of war and rapine. Under the reign of
Justinian, they acknowledged the god and the emperor of the Romans, and
seven fortresses were built in the most accessible passages, to exclude
the ambition of the Persian monarch. [130] The principal source of
the Euphrates descends from the Chalybian mountains, and seems to flow
towards the west and the Euxine: bending to the south-west, the river
passes under the walls of Satala and Melitene, (which were restored
by Justinian as the bulwarks of the Lesser Armenia,) and gradually
approaches the Mediterranean Sea; till at length, repelled by Mount
Taurus, [131] the Euphrates inclines its long and flexible course to
the south-east and the Gulf of Persia. Among the Roman cities beyond the
Euphrates, we distinguish two recent foundations, which were named from
Theodosius, and the relics of the martyrs; and two capitals, Amida and
Edessa, which are celebrated in the history of every age. Their strength
was proportioned by Justinian to the danger of their situation. A ditch
and palisade might be sufficient to resist the artless force of the
cavalry of Scythia; but more elaborate works were required to sustain
a regular siege against the arms and treasures of the great king. His
skilful engineers understood the methods of conducting deep mines, and
of raising platforms to the level of the rampart: he shook the strongest
battlements with his military engines, and sometimes advanced to the
assault with a line of movable turrets on the backs of elephants. In
the great cities of the East, the disadvantage of space, perhaps of
position, was compensated by the zeal of the people, who seconded the
garrison in the defence of their country and religion; and the fabulous
promise of the Son of God, that Edessa should never be taken, filled the
citizens with valiant confidence, and chilled the besiegers with doubt
and dismay. [132] The subordinate towns of Armenia and Mesopotamia
were diligently strengthened, and the posts which appeared to have
any command of ground or water were occupied by numerous forts,
substantially built of stone, or more hastily erected with the obvious
materials of earth and brick. The eye of Justinian investigated every
spot; and his cruel precautions might attract the war into some lonely
vale, whose peaceful natives, connected by trade and marriage, were
ignorant of national discord and the quarrels of princes. Westward of
the Euphrates, a sandy desert extends above six hundred miles to the Red
Sea. Nature had interposed a vacant solitude between the ambition of two
rival empires; the Arabians, till Mahomet arose, were formidable only as
robbers; and in the proud security of peace the fortifications of Syria
were neglected on the most vulnerable side.

[Footnote 125: See Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 19. The altar of national
concern, of annual sacrifice and oaths, which Diocletian had created in
the Isla of Elephantine, was demolished by Justinian with less policy

[Footnote 126: Procopius de Edificiis, l. iii. c. 7. Hist. l. viii.
c. 3, 4. These unambitious Goths had refused to follow the standard of
Theodoric. As late as the xvth and xvith century, the name and nation
might be discovered between Caffa and the Straits of Azoph, (D'Anville,
Memoires de l'academie, tom. xxx. p. 240.) They well deserved the
curiosity of Busbequius, (p. 321-326;) but seem to have vanished in
the more recent account of the Missions du Levant, (tom. i.,) Tott,
Peysonnnel, &c.]

[Footnote 127: For the geography and architecture of this Armenian
border, see the Persian Wars and Edifices (l. ii. c. 4-7, l. iii. c.
2--7) of Procopius.]

[Footnote 128: The country is described by Tournefort, (Voyage au
Levant, tom. iii. lettre xvii. xviii.) That skilful botanist soon
discovered the plant that infects the honey, (Plin. xxi. 44, 45:) he
observes, that the soldiers of Lucullus might indeed be astonished at
the cold, since, even in the plain of Erzerum, snow sometimes falls in
June, and the harvest is seldom finished before September. The hills
of Armenia are below the fortieth degree of latitude; but in the
mountainous country which I inhabit, it is well known that an ascent of
some hours carries the traveller from the climate of Languedoc to that
of Norway; and a general theory has been introduced, that, under the
line, an elevation of 2400 toises is equivalent to the cold of the polar
circle, (Remond, Observations sur les Voyages de Coxe dans la Suisse,
tom. ii. p. 104.)]

[Footnote 129: The identity or proximity of the Chalybians, or
Chaldaeana may be investigated in Strabo, (l. xii. p. 825, 826,)
Cellarius, (Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. p. 202--204,) and Freret, (Mem. de
Academie, tom. iv. p. 594) Xenophon supposes, in his romance, (Cyropaed
l. iii.,) the same Barbarians, against whom he had fought in his
retreat, (Anabasis, l. iv.)]

[Footnote 130: Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 15. De Edific. l. iii. c. 6.]

[Footnote 131: Ni Taurus obstet in nostra maria venturus, (Pomponius
Mela, iii. 8.) Pliny, a poet as well as a naturalist, (v. 20,)
personifies the river and mountain, and describes their combat. See
the course of the Tigris and Euphrates in the excellent treatise of

[Footnote 132: Procopius (Persic. l. ii. c. 12) tells the story with the
tone, half sceptical, half superstitious, of Herodotus. The promise was
not in the primitive lie of Eusebius, but dates at least from the year
400; and a third lie, the Veronica, was soon raised on the two former,
(Evagrius, l. iv. c. 27.) As Edessa has been taken, Tillemont must
disclaim the promise, (Mem. Eccles. tom. i. p. 362, 383, 617.)]

But the national enmity, at least the effects of that enmity, had
been suspended by a truce, which continued above fourscore years. An
ambassador from the emperor Zeno accompanied the rash and unfortunate
Perozes, [1321] in his expedition against the Nepthalites, [1322] or
white Huns, whose conquests had been stretched from the Caspian to the
heart of India, whose throne was enriched with emeralds, [133] and whose
cavalry was supported by a line of two thousand elephants. [134] The
Persians [1341] were twice circumvented, in a situation which made valor
useless and flight impossible; and the double victory of the Huns was
achieved by military stratagem. They dismissed their royal captive
after he had submitted to adore the majesty of a Barbarian; and the
humiliation was poorly evaded by the casuistical subtlety of the Magi,
who instructed Perozes to direct his attention to the rising sun. [1342]
The indignant successor of Cyrus forgot his danger and his gratitude; he
renewed the attack with headstrong fury, and lost both his army and his
life. [135] The death of Perozes abandoned Persia to her foreign and
domestic enemies; [1351] and twelve years of confusion elapsed before
his son Cabades, or Kobad, could embrace any designs of ambition or
revenge. The unkind parsimony of Anastasius was the motive or pretence
of a Roman war; [136] the Huns and Arabs marched under the Persian
standard, and the fortifications of Armenia and Mesopotamia were, at
that time, in a ruinous or imperfect condition. The emperor returned
his thanks to the governor and people of Martyropolis for the prompt
surrender of a city which could not be successfully defended, and the
conflagration of Theodosiopolis might justify the conduct of their
prudent neighbors. Amida sustained a long and destructive siege: at
the end of three months the loss of fifty thousand of the soldiers of
Cabades was not balanced by any prospect of success, and it was in vain
that the Magi deduced a flattering prediction from the indecency of the
women [1361] on the ramparts, who had revealed their most secret charms
to the eyes of the assailants. At length, in a silent night, they
ascended the most accessible tower, which was guarded only by some
monks, oppressed, after the duties of a festival, with sleep and
wine. Scaling-ladders were applied at the dawn of day; the presence of
Cabades, his stern command, and his drawn sword, compelled the Persians
to vanquish; and before it was sheathed, fourscore thousand of the
inhabitants had expiated the blood of their companions. After the siege
of Amida, the war continued three years, and the unhappy frontier tasted
the full measure of its calamities. The gold of Anastasius was offered
too late, the number of his troops was defeated by the number of their
generals; the country was stripped of its inhabitants, and both the
living and the dead were abandoned to the wild beasts of the desert. The
resistance of Edessa, and the deficiency of spoil, inclined the mind of
Cabades to peace: he sold his conquests for an exorbitant price; and the
same line, though marked with slaughter and devastation, still separated
the two empires. To avert the repetition of the same evils, Anastasius
resolved to found a new colony, so strong, that it should defy the power
of the Persian, so far advanced towards Assyria, that its stationary
troops might defend the province by the menace or operation of offensive
war. For this purpose, the town of Dara, [137] fourteen miles from
Nisibis, and four days' journey from the Tigris, was peopled and
adorned; the hasty works of Anastasius were improved by the perseverance
of Justinian; and, without insisting on places less important, the
fortifications of Dara may represent the military architecture of the
age. The city was surrounded with two walls, and the interval between
them, of fifty paces, afforded a retreat to the cattle of the besieged.
The inner wall was a monument of strength and beauty: it measured sixty
feet from the ground, and the height of the towers was one hundred
feet; the loopholes, from whence an enemy might be annoyed with missile
weapons, were small, but numerous; the soldiers were planted along the
rampart, under the shelter of double galleries, and a third platform,
spacious and secure, was raised on the summit of the towers. The
exterior wall appears to have been less lofty, but more solid; and
each tower was protected by a quadrangular bulwark. A hard, rocky soil
resisted the tools of the miners, and on the south-east, where the
ground was more tractable, their approach was retarded by a new work,
which advanced in the shape of a half-moon. The double and treble
ditches were filled with a stream of water; and in the management of the
river, the most skilful labor was employed to supply the inhabitants,
to distress the besiegers, and to prevent the mischiefs of a natural or
artificial inundation. Dara continued more than sixty years to fulfil
the wishes of its founders, and to provoke the jealousy of the Persians,
who incessantly complained, that this impregnable fortress had been
constructed in manifest violation of the treaty of peace between the two
empires. [1371]

[Footnote 1321: Firouz the Conqueror--unfortunately so named. See St.
Martin, vol. vi. p. 439.--M.]

[Footnote 1322: Rather Hepthalites.--M.]

[Footnote 133: They were purchased from the merchants of Adulis who
traded to India, (Cosmas, Topograph. Christ. l. xi. p. 339;) yet, in
the estimate of precious stones, the Scythian emerald was the first,
the Bactrian the second, the Aethiopian only the third, (Hill's
Theophrastus, p. 61, &c., 92.) The production, mines, &c., of emeralds,
are involved in darkness; and it is doubtful whether we possess any of
the twelve sorts known to the ancients, (Goguet, Origine des Loix, &c.,
part ii. l. ii. c. 2, art. 3.) In this war the Huns got, or at least
Perozes lost, the finest pearl in the world, of which Procopius relates
a ridiculous fable.]

[Footnote 134: The Indo-Scythae continued to reign from the time of
Augustus (Dionys. Perieget. 1088, with the Commentary of Eustathius, in
Hudson, Geograph. Minor. tom. iv.) to that of the elder Justin, (Cosmas,
Topograph. Christ. l. xi. p. 338, 339.) On their origin and conquests,
see D'Anville, (sur l'Inde, p. 18, 45, &c., 69, 85, 89.) In the second
century they were masters of Larice or Guzerat.]

[Footnote 1341: According to the Persian historians, he was misled
by guides who used he old stratagem of Zopyrus. Malcolm, vol. i. p.

[Footnote 1342: In the Ms. Chronicle of Tabary, it is said that the
Moubedan Mobed, or Grand Pontiff, opposed with all his influence the
violation of the treaty. St. Martin, vol. vii. p. 254.--M.]

[Footnote 135: See the fate of Phirouz, or Perozes, and its
consequences, in Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 3--6,) who may be compared
with the fragments of Oriental history, (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p.
351, and Texeira, History of Persia, translated or abridged by Stephens,
l. i. c. 32, p. 132--138.) The chronology is ably ascertained by
Asseman. (Bibliot. Orient. tom. iii. p. 396--427.)]

[Footnote 1351: When Firoze advanced, Khoosh-Nuaz (the king of the Huns)
presented on the point of a lance the treaty to which he had sworn,
and exhorted him yet to desist before he destroyed his fame forever.
Malcolm, vol. i. p. 103.--M.]

[Footnote 136: The Persian war, under the reigns of Anastasius and
Justin, may be collected from Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 7, 8, 9,)
Theophanes, (in Chronograph. p. 124--127,) Evagrius, (l. iii. c. 37,)
Marcellinus, (in Chron. p. 47,) and Josue Stylites, (apud Asseman. tom.
i. p. 272--281.)]

[Footnote 1361: Gibbon should have written "some prostitutes." Proc
Pers. vol. 1 p. 7.--M.]

[Footnote 137: The description of Dara is amply and correctly given by
Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 10, l. ii. c. 13. De Edific. l. ii. c. 1,
2, 3, l. iii. c. 5.) See the situation in D'Anville, (l'Euphrate et le
Tigre, p. 53, 54, 55,) though he seems to double the interval between
Dara and Nisibis.]

[Footnote 1371: The situation (of Dara) does not appear to give
it strength, as it must have been commanded on three sides by the
mountains, but opening on the south towards the plains of Mesopotamia.
The foundation of the walls and towers, built of large hewn stone, may
be traced across the valley, and over a number of low rocky hills which
branch out from the foot of Mount Masius. The circumference I conceive
to be nearly two miles and a half; and a small stream, which flows
through the middle of the place, has induced several Koordish and
Armenian families to fix their residence within the ruins. Besides the
walls and towers, the remains of many other buildings attest the former
grandeur of Dara; a considerable part of the space within the walls is
arched and vaulted underneath, and in one place we perceived a large
cavern, supported by four ponderous columns, somewhat resembling the
great cistern of Constantinople. In the centre of the village are the
ruins of a palace (probably that mentioned by Procopius) or church, one
hundred paces in length, and sixty in breadth. The foundations, which
are quite entire, consist of a prodigious number of subterraneous
vaulted chambers, entered by a narrow passage forty paces in length. The
gate is still standing; a considerable part of the wall has bid defiance
to time, &c. M Donald Kinneir's Journey, p. 438.--M]

Between the Euxine and the Caspian, the countries of Colchos, Iberia,
and Albania, are intersected in every direction by the branches of Mount
Caucasus; and the two principal gates, or passes, from north to south,
have been frequently confounded in the geography both of the ancients
and moderns. The name of Caspian or Albanian gates is properly applied
to Derbend, [138] which occupies a short declivity between the mountains
and the sea: the city, if we give credit to local tradition, had been
founded by the Greeks; and this dangerous entrance was fortified by
the kings of Persia with a mole, double walls, and doors of iron. The
Iberian gates [139] [1391] are formed by a narrow passage of six miles
in Mount Caucasus, which opens from the northern side of Iberia, or
Georgia, into the plain that reaches to the Tanais and the Volga. A
fortress, designed by Alexander perhaps, or one of his successors,
to command that important pass, had descended by right of conquest or
inheritance to a prince of the Huns, who offered it for a moderate
price to the emperor; but while Anastasius paused, while he timorously
computed the cost and the distance, a more vigilant rival interposed,
and Cabades forcibly occupied the Straits of Caucasus. The Albanian and
Iberian gates excluded the horsemen of Scythia from the shortest and
most practicable roads, and the whole front of the mountains was covered
by the rampart of Gog and Magog, the long wall which has excited the
curiosity of an Arabian caliph [140] and a Russian conqueror. [141]
According to a recent description, huge stones, seven feet thick, and
twenty-one feet in length or height, are artificially joined without
iron or cement, to compose a wall, which runs above three hundred miles
from the shores of Derbend, over the hills, and through the valleys of
Daghestan and Georgia.

Without a vision, such a work might be undertaken by the policy of
Cabades; without a miracle, it might be accomplished by his son, so
formidable to the Romans, under the name of Chosroes; so dear to the
Orientals, under the appellation of Nushirwan. The Persian monarch held
in his hand the keys both of peace and war; but he stipulated, in every
treaty, that Justinian should contribute to the expense of a common
barrier, which equally protected the two empires from the inroads of the
Scythians. [142]

[Footnote 138: For the city and pass of Derbend, see D'Herbelot,
(Bibliot. Orient. p. 157, 291, 807,) Petit de la Croix. (Hist. de
Gengiscan, l. iv. c. 9,) Histoire Genealogique des Tatars, (tom. i.
p. 120,) Olearius, (Voyage en Perse, p. 1039--1041,) and Corneille le
Bruyn, (Voyages, tom. i. p. 146, 147:) his view may be compared with
the plan of Olearius, who judges the wall to be of shells and gravel
hardened by time.]

[Footnote 139: Procopius, though with some confusion, always denominates
them Caspian, (Persic. l. i. c. 10.) The pass is now styled Tatar-topa,
the Tartar-gates, (D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 119,

[Footnote 1391: Malte-Brun. tom. viii. p. 12, makes three passes: 1. The
central, which leads from Mosdok to Teflis. 2. The Albanian, more
inland than the Derbend Pass. 3. The Derbend--the Caspian Gates. But the
narrative of Col. Monteith, in the Journal of the Geographical Society
of London. vol. iii. p. i. p. 39, clearly shows that there are but
two passes between the Black Sea and the Caspian; the central, the
Caucasian, or, as Col. Monteith calls it, the Caspian Gates, and the
pass of Derbend, though it is practicable to turn this position (of
Derbend) by a road a few miles distant through the mountains, p.

[Footnote 140: The imaginary rampart of Gog and Magog, which was
seriously explored and believed by a caliph of the ninth century,
appears to be derived from the gates of Mount Caucasus, and a vague
report of the wall of China, (Geograph. Nubiensis, p. 267-270. Memoires
de l'Academie, tom. xxxi. p. 210--219.)]

[Footnote 141: See a learned dissertation of Baier, de muro Caucaseo,
in Comment. Acad. Petropol. ann. 1726, tom. i. p. 425-463; but it is
destitute of a map or plan. When the czar Peter I. became master of
Derbend in the year 1722, the measure of the wall was found to be 3285
Russian orgyioe, or fathom, each of seven feet English; in the whole
somewhat more than four miles in length.]

[Footnote 142: See the fortifications and treaties of Chosroes,
or Nushirwan, in Procopius (Persic. l. i. c. 16, 22, l. ii.) and
D'Herbelot, (p. 682.)] VII. Justinian suppressed the schools of Athens
and the consulship of Rome, which had given so many sages and heroes to
mankind. Both these institutions had long since degenerated from their
primitive glory; yet some reproach may be justly inflicted on the
avarice and jealousy of a prince, by whose hand such venerable ruins
were destroyed.

Athens, after her Persian triumphs, adopted the philosophy of Ionia
and the rhetoric of Sicily; and these studies became the patrimony of a
city, whose inhabitants, about thirty thousand males, condensed, within
the period of a single life, the genius of ages and millions. Our sense
of the dignity of human nature is exalted by the simple recollection,
that Isocrates [143] was the companion of Plato and Xenophon; that
he assisted, perhaps with the historian Thucydides, at the first
representation of the Oedipus of Sophocles and the Iphigenia of
Euripides; and that his pupils Aeschines and Demosthenes contended for
the crown of patriotism in the presence of Aristotle, the master of
Theophrastus, who taught at Athens with the founders of the Stoic
and Epicurean sects. [144] The ingenuous youth of Attica enjoyed the
benefits of their domestic education, which was communicated without
envy to the rival cities. Two thousand disciples heard the lessons of
Theophrastus; [145] the schools of rhetoric must have been still more
populous than those of philosophy; and a rapid succession of students
diffused the fame of their teachers as far as the utmost limits of the
Grecian language and name. Those limits were enlarged by the victories
of Alexander; the arts of Athens survived her freedom and dominion; and
the Greek colonies which the Macedonians planted in Egypt, and scattered
over Asia, undertook long and frequent pilgrimages to worship the
Muses in their favorite temple on the banks of the Ilissus. The Latin
conquerors respectfully listened to the instructions of their subjects
and captives; the names of Cicero and Horace were enrolled in the
schools of Athens; and after the perfect settlement of the Roman empire,
the natives of Italy, of Africa, and of Britain, conversed in the groves
of the academy with their fellow-students of the East. The studies
of philosophy and eloquence are congenial to a popular state, which
encourages the freedom of inquiry, and submits only to the force of
persuasion. In the republics of Greece and Rome, the art of speaking
was the powerful engine of patriotism or ambition; and the schools of
rhetoric poured forth a colony of statesmen and legislators. When the
liberty of public debate was suppressed, the orator, in the honorable
profession of an advocate, might plead the cause of innocence and
justice; he might abuse his talents in the more profitable trade of
panegyric; and the same precepts continued to dictate the fanciful
declamations of the sophist, and the chaster beauties of historical
composition. The systems which professed to unfold the nature of God, of
man, and of the universe, entertained the curiosity of the philosophic
student; and according to the temper of his mind, he might doubt with
the Sceptics, or decide with the Stoics, sublimely speculate with Plato,
or severely argue with Aristotle. The pride of the adverse sects had
fixed an unattainable term of moral happiness and perfection; but the
race was glorious and salutary; the disciples of Zeno, and even those
of Epicurus, were taught both to act and to suffer; and the death of
Petronius was not less effectual than that of Seneca, to humble a tyrant
by the discovery of his impotence. The light of science could not indeed
be confined within the walls of Athens. Her incomparable writers address
themselves to the human race; the living masters emigrated to Italy
and Asia; Berytus, in later times, was devoted to the study of the law;
astronomy and physic were cultivated in the musaeum of Alexandria; but
the Attic schools of rhetoric and philosophy maintained their superior
reputation from the Peloponnesian war to the reign of Justinian.
Athens, though situate in a barren soil, possessed a pure air, a free
navigation, and the monuments of ancient art. That sacred retirement was
seldom disturbed by the business of trade or government; and the last
of the Athenians were distinguished by their lively wit, the purity
of their taste and language, their social manners, and some traces, at
least in discourse, of the magnanimity of their fathers. In the
suburbs of the city, the academy of the Platonists, the lycaeum of
the Peripatetics, the portico of the Stoics, and the garden of the
Epicureans, were planted with trees and decorated with statues; and the
philosophers, instead of being immured in a cloister, delivered their
instructions in spacious and pleasant walks, which, at different hours,
were consecrated to the exercises of the mind and body. The genius
of the founders still lived in those venerable seats; the ambition of
succeeding to the masters of human reason excited a generous emulation;
and the merit of the candidates was determined, on each vacancy, by the
free voices of an enlightened people. The Athenian professors were paid
by their disciples: according to their mutual wants and abilities, the
price appears to have varied; and Isocrates himself, who derides the
avarice of the sophists, required, in his school of rhetoric, about
thirty pounds from each of his hundred pupils. The wages of industry
are just and honorable, yet the same Isocrates shed tears at the first
receipt of a stipend: the Stoic might blush when he was hired to preach
the contempt of money; and I should be sorry to discover that Aristotle
or Plato so far degenerated from the example of Socrates, as to exchange
knowledge for gold. But some property of lands and houses was settled by
the permission of the laws, and the legacies of deceased friends, on the
philosophic chairs of Athens. Epicurus bequeathed to his disciples the
gardens which he had purchased for eighty minae or two hundred and fifty
pounds, with a fund sufficient for their frugal subsistence and monthly
festivals; [146] and the patrimony of Plato afforded an annual rent,
which, in eight centuries, was gradually increased from three to one
thousand pieces of gold. [147] The schools of Athens were protected by
the wisest and most virtuous of the Roman princes. The library, which
Hadrian founded, was placed in a portico adorned with pictures, statues,
and a roof of alabaster, and supported by one hundred columns of
Phrygian marble. The public salaries were assigned by the generous
spirit of the Antonines; and each professor of politics, of rhetoric, of
the Platonic, the Peripatetic, the Stoic, and the Epicurean philosophy,
received an annual stipend of ten thousand drachmae, or more than three
hundred pounds sterling. [148] After the death of Marcus, these liberal
donations, and the privileges attached to the thrones of science, were
abolished and revived, diminished and enlarged; but some vestige of
royal bounty may be found under the successors of Constantine; and their
arbitrary choice of an unworthy candidate might tempt the philosophers
of Athens to regret the days of independence and poverty. [149] It is
remarkable, that the impartial favor of the Antonines was bestowed on
the four adverse sects of philosophy, which they considered as equally
useful, or at least, as equally innocent. Socrates had formerly been the
glory and the reproach of his country; and the first lessons of Epicurus
so strangely scandalized the pious ears of the Athenians, that by his
exile, and that of his antagonists, they silenced all vain disputes
concerning the nature of the gods. But in the ensuing year they
recalled the hasty decree, restored the liberty of the schools, and
were convinced by the experience of ages, that the moral character
of philosophers is not affected by the diversity of their theological
speculations. [150]

[Footnote 143: The life of Isocrates extends from Olymp. lxxxvi. 1. to
cx. 3, (ante Christ. 436--438.) See Dionys. Halicarn. tom. ii. p. 149,
150, edit. Hudson. Plutarch (sive anonymus) in Vit. X. Oratorum, p.
1538--1543, edit. H. Steph. Phot. cod. cclix. p. 1453.]

[Footnote 144: The schools of Athens are copiously though concisely
represented in the Fortuna Attica of Meursius, (c. viii. p. 59--73, in
tom. i. Opp.) For the state and arts of the city, see the first book
of Pausanias, and a small tract of Dicaearchus, in the second volume
of Hudson's Geographers, who wrote about Olymp. cxvii. (Dodwell's
Dissertia sect. 4.)]

[Footnote 145: Diogen Laert. de Vit. Philosoph. l. v. segm. 37, p. 289.]

[Footnote 146: See the Testament of Epicurus in Diogen. Laert. l. x.
segm. 16--20, p. 611, 612. A single epistle (ad Familiares, xiii. l.)
displays the injustice of the Areopagus, the fidelity of the Epicureans,
the dexterous politeness of Cicero, and the mixture of contempt and
esteem with which the Roman senators considered the philosophy and
philosophers of Greece.]

[Footnote 147: Damascius, in Vit. Isidor. apud Photium, cod. ccxlii. p.

[Footnote 148: See Lucian (in Eunuch. tom. ii. p. 350--359, edit.
Reitz,) Philostratus (in Vit. Sophist. l. ii. c. 2,) and Dion Cassius,
or Xiphilin, (lxxi. p. 1195,) with their editors Du Soul, Olearius, and
Reimar, and, above all, Salmasius, (ad Hist. August. p. 72.) A judicious
philosopher (Smith's Wealth of Nations, vol. ii. p. 340--374) prefers
the free contributions of the students to a fixed stipend for the

[Footnote 149: Brucker, Hist. Crit. Philosoph. tom. ii. p. 310, &c.]

[Footnote 150: The birth of Epicurus is fixed to the year 342 before
Christ, (Bayle,) Olympiad cix. 3; and he opened his school at Athens,
Olmp. cxviii. 3, 306 years before the same aera. This intolerant law
(Athenaeus, l. xiii. p. 610. Diogen. Laertius, l. v. s. 38. p. 290.
Julius Pollux, ix. 5) was enacted in the same or the succeeding year,
(Sigonius, Opp. tom. v. p. 62. Menagius ad Diogen. Laert. p. 204.
Corsini, Fasti Attici, tom. iv. p. 67, 68.) Theophrastus chief of
the Peripatetics, and disciple of Aristotle, was involved in the same

The Gothic arms were less fatal to the schools of Athens than the
establishment of a new religion, whose ministers superseded the exercise
of reason, resolved every question by an article of faith, and condemned
the infidel or sceptic to eternal flames. In many a volume of laborious
controversy, they exposed the weakness of the understanding and
the corruption of the heart, insulted human nature in the sages of
antiquity, and proscribed the spirit of philosophical inquiry, so
repugnant to the doctrine, or at least to the temper, of an humble
believer. The surviving sects of the Platonists, whom Plato would have
blushed to acknowledge, extravagantly mingled a sublime theory with the
practice of superstition and magic; and as they remained alone in the
midst of a Christian world, they indulged a secret rancor against the
government of the church and state, whose severity was still suspended
over their heads. About a century after the reign of Julian, [151]
Proclus [152] was permitted to teach in the philosophic chair of the
academy; and such was his industry, that he frequently, in the same day,
pronounced five lessons, and composed seven hundred lines. His sagacious
mind explored the deepest questions of morals and metaphysics, and he
ventured to urge eighteen arguments against the Christian doctrine of
the creation of the world. But in the intervals of study, he personally
conversed with Pan, Aesculapius, and Minerva, in whose mysteries he was
secretly initiated, and whose prostrate statues he adored; in the devout
persuasion that the philosopher, who is a citizen of the universe,
should be the priest of its various deities. An eclipse of the sun
announced his approaching end; and his life, with that of his scholar
Isidore, [153] compiled by two of their most learned disciples, exhibits
a deplorable picture of the second childhood of human reason. Yet the
golden chain, as it was fondly styled, of the Platonic succession,
continued forty-four years from the death of Proclus to the edict of
Justinian, [154] which imposed a perpetual silence on the schools of
Athens, and excited the grief and indignation of the few remaining
votaries of Grecian science and superstition. Seven friends and
philosophers, Diogenes and Hermias, Eulalius and Priscian, Damascius,
Isidore, and Simplicius, who dissented from the religion of their
sovereign, embraced the resolution of seeking in a foreign land the
freedom which was denied in their native country. They had heard, and
they credulously believed, that the republic of Plato was realized in
the despotic government of Persia, and that a patriot king reigned ever
the happiest and most virtuous of nations. They were soon astonished by
the natural discovery, that Persia resembled the other countries of the
globe; that Chosroes, who affected the name of a philosopher, was
vain, cruel, and ambitious; that bigotry, and a spirit of intolerance,
prevailed among the Magi; that the nobles were haughty, the courtiers
servile, and the magistrates unjust; that the guilty sometimes escaped,
and that the innocent were often oppressed. The disappointment of the
philosophers provoked them to overlook the real virtues of the Persians;
and they were scandalized, more deeply perhaps than became their
profession, with the plurality of wives and concubines, the incestuous
marriages, and the custom of exposing dead bodies to the dogs and
vultures, instead of hiding them in the earth, or consuming them with
fire. Their repentance was expressed by a precipitate return, and they
loudly declared that they had rather die on the borders of the empire,
than enjoy the wealth and favor of the Barbarian. From this journey,
however, they derived a benefit which reflects the purest lustre on the
character of Chosroes. He required, that the seven sages who had
visited the court of Persia should be exempted from the penal laws
which Justinian enacted against his Pagan subjects; and this privilege,
expressly stipulated in a treaty of peace, was guarded by the vigilance
of a powerful mediator. [155] Simplicius and his companions ended
their lives in peace and obscurity; and as they left no disciples,
they terminate the long list of Grecian philosophers, who may be justly
praised, notwithstanding their defects, as the wisest and most virtuous
of their contemporaries. The writings of Simplicius are now extant. His
physical and metaphysical commentaries on Aristotle have passed away
with the fashion of the times; but his moral interpretation of Epictetus
is preserved in the library of nations, as a classic book, most
excellently adapted to direct the will, to purify the heart, and to
confirm the understanding, by a just confidence in the nature both of
God and man.

[Footnote 151: This is no fanciful aera: the Pagans reckoned their
calamities from the reign of their hero. Proclus, whose nativity is
marked by his horoscope, (A.D. 412, February 8, at C. P.,) died 124
years, A.D. 485, (Marin. in Vita Procli, c. 36.)]

[Footnote 152: The life of Proclus, by Marinus, was published by
Fabricius (Hamburg, 1700, et ad calcem Bibliot. Latin. Lond. 1703.) See
Saidas, (tom. iii. p. 185, 186,) Fabricius, (Bibliot. Graec. l. v. c. 26
p. 449--552,) and Brucker, (Hist. Crit. Philosoph. tom. ii. p. 319--326)]

[Footnote 153: The life of Isidore was composed by Damascius, (apud
Photium, sod. ccxlii. p. 1028--1076.) See the last age of the Pagan
philosophers, in Brucker, (tom. ii. p. 341--351.)]

[Footnote 154: The suppression of the schools of Athens is recorded by
John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 187, sub Decio Cos. Sol.,) and an anonymous
Chronicle in the Vatican library, (apud Aleman. p. 106.)]

[Footnote 155: Agathias (l. ii. p. 69, 70, 71) relates this curious
story Chosroes ascended the throne in the year 531, and made his first
peace with the Romans in the beginning of 533--a date most compatible
with his young fame and the old age of Isidore, (Asseman. Bibliot.
Orient. tom. iii. p. 404. Pagi, tom. ii. p. 543, 550.)]

About the same time that Pythagoras first invented the appellation of
philosopher, liberty and the consulship were founded at Rome by the
elder Brutus. The revolutions of the consular office, which may be
viewed in the successive lights of a substance, a shadow, and a name,
have been occasionally mentioned in the present History. The first
magistrates of the republic had been chosen by the people, to exercise,
in the senate and in the camp, the powers of peace and war, which were
afterwards translated to the emperors. But the tradition of ancient
dignity was long revered by the Romans and Barbarians. A Gothic
historian applauds the consulship of Theodoric as the height of
all temporal glory and greatness; [156] the king of Italy himself
congratulated those annual favorites of fortune who, without the cares,
enjoyed the splendor of the throne; and at the end of a thousand years,
two consuls were created by the sovereigns of Rome and Constantinople,
for the sole purpose of giving a date to the year, and a festival to the
people. But the expenses of this festival, in which the wealthy and
the vain aspired to surpass their predecessors, insensibly arose to the
enormous sum of fourscore thousand pounds; the wisest senators declined
a useless honor, which involved the certain ruin of their families, and
to this reluctance I should impute the frequent chasms in the last age
of the consular Fasti. The predecessors of Justinian had assisted from
the public treasures the dignity of the less opulent candidates; the
avarice of that prince preferred the cheaper and more convenient method
of advice and regulation. [157] Seven processions or spectacles were
the number to which his edict confined the horse and chariot races,
the athletic sports, the music, and pantomimes of the theatre, and
the hunting of wild beasts; and small pieces of silver were discreetly
substituted to the gold medals, which had always excited tumult and
drunkenness, when they were scattered with a profuse hand among the
populace. Notwithstanding these precautions, and his own example,
the succession of consuls finally ceased in the thirteenth year of
Justinian, whose despotic temper might be gratified by the silent
extinction of a title which admonished the Romans of their ancient
freedom. [158] Yet the annual consulship still lived in the minds of the
people; they fondly expected its speedy restoration; they applauded the
gracious condescension of successive princes, by whom it was assumed in
the first year of their reign; and three centuries elapsed, after
the death of Justinian, before that obsolete dignity, which had been
suppressed by custom, could be abolished by law. [159] The imperfect
mode of distinguishing each year by the name of a magistrate, was
usefully supplied by the date of a permanent aera: the creation of the
world, according to the Septuagint version, was adopted by the Greeks;
[160] and the Latins, since the age of Charlemagne, have computed their
time from the birth of Christ. [161]

[Footnote 156: Cassiodor. Variarum Epist. vi. 1. Jornandes, c. 57, p.
696, dit. Grot. Quod summum bonum primumque in mundo decus dicitur.]

[Footnote 157: See the regulations of Justinian, (Novell. cv.,) dated
at Constantinople, July 5, and addressed to Strategius, treasurer of the

[Footnote 158: Procopius, in Anecdot. c. 26. Aleman. p. 106. In
the xviiith year after the consulship of Basilius, according to the
reckoning of Marcellinus, Victor, Marius, &c., the secret history was
composed, and, in the eyes of Procopius, the consulship was finally

[Footnote 159: By Leo, the philosopher, (Novell. xciv. A.D. 886-911.)
See Pagi (Dissertat. Hypatica, p. 325--362) and Ducange, (Gloss, Graec
p. 1635, 1636.) Even the title was vilified: consulatus codicilli..
vilescunt, says the emperor himself.]

[Footnote 160: According to Julius Africanus, &c., the world was created
the first of September, 5508 years, three months, and twenty-five days
before the birth of Christ. (See Pezron, Antiquite des Tems defendue,
p. 20--28.) And this aera has been used by the Greeks, the Oriental
Christians, and even by the Russians, till the reign of Peter I The
period, however arbitrary, is clear and convenient. Of the 7296 years
which are supposed to elapse since the creation, we shall find 3000
of ignorance and darkness; 2000 either fabulous or doubtful; 1000 of
ancient history, commencing with the Persian empire, and the Republics
of Rome and Athens; 1000 from the fall of the Roman empire in the West
to the discovery of America; and the remaining 296 will almost complete
three centuries of the modern state of Europe and mankind. I regret
this chronology, so far preferable to our double and perplexed method of
counting backwards and forwards the years before and after the Christian

[Footnote 161: The aera of the world has prevailed in the East since the
vith general council, (A.D. 681.) In the West, the Christian aera was
first invented in the vith century: it was propagated in the viiith by
the authority and writings of venerable Bede; but it was not till the
xth that the use became legal and popular. See l'Art de Veriner les
Dates, Dissert. Preliminaire, p. iii. xii. Dictionnaire Diplomatique,
tom. i. p. 329--337; the works of a laborious society of Benedictine

Chapter XLI: Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius.--Part I.

     Conquests Of Justinian In The West.--Character And First
     Campaigns Of Belisarius--He Invades And Subdues The Vandal
     Kingdom Of Africa--His Triumph.--The Gothic War.--He
     Recovers Sicily, Naples, And Rome.--Siege Of Rome By The
     Goths.--Their Retreat And Losses.--Surrender Of Ravenna.--
     Glory Of Belisarius.--His Domestic Shame And Misfortunes.

When Justinian ascended the throne, about fifty years after the fall of
the Western empire, the kingdoms of the Goths and Vandals had obtained
a solid, and, as it might seem, a legal establishment both in Europe and
Africa. The titles, which Roman victory had inscribed, were erased
with equal justice by the sword of the Barbarians; and their successful
rapine derived a more venerable sanction from time, from treaties,
and from the oaths of fidelity, already repeated by a second or third
generation of obedient subjects. Experience and Christianity had refuted
the superstitious hope, that Rome was founded by the gods to reign
forever over the nations of the earth. But the proud claim of perpetual
and indefeasible dominion, which her soldiers could no longer maintain,
was firmly asserted by her statesmen and lawyers, whose opinions
have been sometimes revived and propagated in the modern schools of
jurisprudence. After Rome herself had been stripped of the Imperial
purple, the princes of Constantinople assumed the sole and sacred
sceptre of the monarchy; demanded, as their rightful inheritance, the
provinces which had been subdued by the consuls, or possessed by the
Caesars; and feebly aspired to deliver their faithful subjects of the
West from the usurpation of heretics and Barbarians. The execution of
this splendid design was in some degree reserved for Justinian. During
the five first years of his reign, he reluctantly waged a costly and
unprofitable war against the Persians; till his pride submitted to
his ambition, and he purchased at the price of four hundred and forty
thousand pounds sterling, the benefit of a precarious truce, which, in
the language of both nations, was dignified with the appellation of the
endless peace. The safety of the East enabled the emperor to employ his
forces against the Vandals; and the internal state of Africa afforded
an honorable motive, and promised a powerful support, to the Roman arms.

[Footnote 1: The complete series of the Vandal war is related by
Procopius in a regular and elegant narrative, (l. i. c. 9--25, l. ii. c.
1--13,) and happy would be my lot, could I always tread in the footsteps
of such a guide. From the entire and diligent perusal of the Greek
text, I have a right to pronounce that the Latin and French versions
of Grotius and Cousin may not be implicitly trusted; yet the president
Cousin has been often praised, and Hugo Grotius was the first scholar of
a learned age.]

According to the testament of the founder, the African kingdom had
lineally descended to Hilderic, the eldest of the Vandal princes. A mild
disposition inclined the son of a tyrant, the grandson of a conqueror,
to prefer the counsels of clemency and peace; and his accession was
marked by the salutary edict, which restored two hundred bishops to
their churches, and allowed the free profession of the Athanasian creed.
[2] But the Catholics accepted, with cold and transient gratitude, a
favor so inadequate to their pretensions, and the virtues of Hilderic
offended the prejudices of his countrymen. The Arian clergy presumed to
insinuate that he had renounced the faith, and the soldiers more loudly
complained that he had degenerated from the courage, of his ancestors.
His ambassadors were suspected of a secret and disgraceful negotiation
in the Byzantine court; and his general, the Achilles, [3] as he was
named, of the Vandals, lost a battle against the naked and disorderly
Moors. The public discontent was exasperated by Gelimer, whose
age, descent, and military fame, gave him an apparent title to the
succession: he assumed, with the consent of the nation, the reins of
government; and his unfortunate sovereign sunk without a struggle from
the throne to a dungeon, where he was strictly guarded with a faithful
counsellor, and his unpopular nephew the Achilles of the Vandals. But
the indulgence which Hilderic had shown to his Catholic subjects had
powerfully recommended him to the favor of Justinian, who, for the
benefit of his own sect, could acknowledge the use and justice of
religious toleration: their alliance, while the nephew of Justin
remained in a private station, was cemented by the mutual exchange
of gifts and letters; and the emperor Justinian asserted the cause of
royalty and friendship. In two successive embassies, he admonished the
usurper to repent of his treason, or to abstain, at least, from any
further violence which might provoke the displeasure of God and of the
Romans; to reverence the laws of kindred and succession, and to suffer
an infirm old man peaceably to end his days, either on the throne of
Carthage or in the palace of Constantinople. The passions, or even the
prudence, of Gelimer compelled him to reject these requests, which were
urged in the haughty tone of menace and command; and he justified his
ambition in a language rarely spoken in the Byzantine court, by alleging
the right of a free people to remove or punish their chief magistrate,
who had failed in the execution of the kingly office.

After this fruitless expostulation, the captive monarch was more
rigorously treated, his nephew was deprived of his eyes, and the cruel
Vandal, confident in his strength and distance, derided the vain threats
and slow preparations of the emperor of the East. Justinian resolved to
deliver or revenge his friend, Gelimer to maintain his usurpation; and
the war was preceded, according to the practice of civilized nations, by
the most solemn protestations, that each party was sincerely desirous of

[Footnote 2: See Ruinart, Hist. Persecut. Vandal. c. xii. p. 589. His
best evidence is drawn from the life of St. Fulgentius, composed by
one of his disciples, transcribed in a great measure in the annals of
Baronius, and printed in several great collections, (Catalog. Bibliot.
Bunavianae, tom. i. vol. ii. p. 1258.)]

[Footnote 3: For what quality of the mind or body? For speed, or beauty,
or valor?--In what language did the Vandals read Homer?--Did he speak
German?--The Latins had four versions, (Fabric. tom. i. l. ii. c. 8,
p. 297:) yet, in spite of the praises of Seneca, (Consol. c. 26,) they
appear to have been more successful in imitating than in translating the
Greek poets. But the name of Achilles might be famous and popular even
among the illiterate Barbarians.]

The report of an African war was grateful only to the vain and idle
populace of Constantinople, whose poverty exempted them from tribute,
and whose cowardice was seldom exposed to military service. But the
wiser citizens, who judged of the future by the past, revolved in their
memory the immense loss, both of men and money, which the empire had
sustained in the expedition of Basiliscus. The troops, which, after
five laborious campaigns, had been recalled from the Persian frontier,
dreaded the sea, the climate, and the arms of an unknown enemy. The
ministers of the finances computed, as far as they might compute, the
demands of an African war; the taxes which must be found and levied to
supply those insatiate demands; and the danger, lest their own lives, or
at least their lucrative employments, should be made responsible for the
deficiency of the supply. Inspired by such selfish motives, (for we may
not suspect him of any zeal for the public good,) John of Cappadocia
ventured to oppose in full council the inclinations of his master. He
confessed, that a victory of such importance could not be too dearly
purchased; but he represented in a grave discourse the certain
difficulties and the uncertain event. "You undertake," said the
praefect, "to besiege Carthage: by land, the distance is not less than
one hundred and forty days' journey; on the sea, a whole year [4] must
elapse before you can receive any intelligence from your fleet. If
Africa should be reduced, it cannot be preserved without the additional
conquest of Sicily and Italy. Success will impose the obligations of new
labors; a single misfortune will attract the Barbarians into the heart
of your exhausted empire." Justinian felt the weight of this salutary
advice; he was confounded by the unwonted freedom of an obsequious
servant; and the design of the war would perhaps have been relinquished,
if his courage had not been revived by a voice which silenced the doubts
of profane reason. "I have seen a vision," cried an artful or fanatic
bishop of the East. "It is the will of Heaven, O emperor! that you
should not abandon your holy enterprise for the deliverance of the
African church. The God of battles will march before your standard, and
disperse your enemies, who are the enemies of his Son." The emperor,
might be tempted, and his counsellors were constrained, to give credit
to this seasonable revelation: but they derived more rational hope from
the revolt, which the adherents of Hilderic or Athanasius had already
excited on the borders of the Vandal monarchy. Pudentius, an African
subject, had privately signified his loyal intentions, and a small
military aid restored the province of Tripoli to the obedience of
the Romans. The government of Sardinia had been intrusted to Godas, a
valiant Barbarian he suspended the payment of tribute, disclaimed
his allegiance to the usurper, and gave audience to the emissaries of
Justinian, who found him master of that fruitful island, at the head of
his guards, and proudly invested with the ensigns of royalty. The forces
of the Vandals were diminished by discord and suspicion; the Roman
armies were animated by the spirit of Belisarius; one of those heroic
names which are familiar to every age and to every nation.

[Footnote 4: A year--absurd exaggeration! The conquest of Africa may
be dated A. D 533, September 14. It is celebrated by Justinian in the
preface to his Institutes, which were published November 21 of the same
year. Including the voyage and return, such a computation might be truly
applied to our Indian empire.]

The Africanus of new Rome was born, and perhaps educated, among the
Thracian peasants, [5] without any of those advantages which had formed
the virtues of the elder and younger Scipio; a noble origin, liberal
studies, and the emulation of a free state.

The silence of a loquacious secretary may be admitted, to prove that the
youth of Belisarius could not afford any subject of praise: he served,
most assuredly with valor and reputation, among the private guards of
Justinian; and when his patron became emperor, the domestic was promoted
to military command. After a bold inroad into Persarmenia, in which
his glory was shared by a colleague, and his progress was checked by an
enemy, Belisarius repaired to the important station of Dara, where he
first accepted the service of Procopius, the faithful companion,
and diligent historian, of his exploits. [6] The Mirranes of Persia
advanced, with forty thousand of her best troops, to raze the
fortifications of Dara; and signified the day and the hour on which the
citizens should prepare a bath for his refreshment, after the toils of
victory. He encountered an adversary equal to himself, by the new title
of General of the East; his superior in the science of war, but much
inferior in the number and quality of his troops, which amounted only to
twenty-five thousand Romans and strangers, relaxed in their discipline,
and humbled by recent disasters. As the level plain of Dara refused all
shelter to stratagem and ambush, Belisarius protected his front with
a deep trench, which was prolonged at first in perpendicular,
and afterwards in parallel, lines, to cover the wings of cavalry
advantageously posted to command the flanks and rear of the enemy. When
the Roman centre was shaken, their well-timed and rapid charge decided
the conflict: the standard of Persia fell; the immortals fled; the
infantry threw away their bucklers, and eight thousand of the vanquished
were left on the field of battle. In the next campaign, Syria was
invaded on the side of the desert; and Belisarius, with twenty thousand
men, hastened from Dara to the relief of the province. During the
whole summer, the designs of the enemy were baffled by his skilful
dispositions: he pressed their retreat, occupied each night their camp
of the preceding day, and would have secured a bloodless victory, if
he could have resisted the impatience of his own troops. Their valiant
promise was faintly supported in the hour of battle; the right wing was
exposed by the treacherous or cowardly desertion of the Christian Arabs;
the Huns, a veteran band of eight hundred warriors, were oppressed by
superior numbers; the flight of the Isaurians was intercepted; but
the Roman infantry stood firm on the left; for Belisarius himself,
dismounting from his horse, showed them that intrepid despair was their
only safety. [611] They turned their backs to the Euphrates, and their
faces to the enemy: innumerable arrows glanced without effect from the
compact and shelving order of their bucklers; an impenetrable line of
pikes was opposed to the repeated assaults of the Persian cavalry; and
after a resistance of many hours, the remaining troops were skilfully
embarked under the shadow of the night. The Persian commander retired
with disorder and disgrace, to answer a strict account of the lives of
so many soldiers, which he had consumed in a barren victory. But the
fame of Belisarius was not sullied by a defeat, in which he alone had
saved his army from the consequences of their own rashness: the approach
of peace relieved him from the guard of the eastern frontier, and
his conduct in the sedition of Constantinople amply discharged his
obligations to the emperor. When the African war became the topic of
popular discourse and secret deliberation, each of the Roman generals
was apprehensive, rather than ambitious, of the dangerous honor; but as
soon as Justinian had declared his preference of superior merit, their
envy was rekindled by the unanimous applause which was given to the
choice of Belisarius. The temper of the Byzantine court may encourage
a suspicion, that the hero was darkly assisted by the intrigues of
his wife, the fair and subtle Antonina, who alternately enjoyed the
confidence, and incurred the hatred, of the empress Theodora.

The birth of Antonina was ignoble; she descended from a family of
charioteers; and her chastity has been stained with the foulest
reproach. Yet she reigned with long and absolute power over the mind of
her illustrious husband; and if Antonina disdained the merit of conjugal
fidelity, she expressed a manly friendship to Belisarius, whom she
accompanied with undaunted resolution in all the hardships and dangers
of a military life. [7]

[Footnote 5: (Procop. Vandal. l. i. c. 11.) Aleman, (Not. ad Anecdot. p.
5,) an Italian, could easily reject the German vanity of Giphanius and
Velserus, who wished to claim the hero; but his Germania, a metropolis
of Thrace, I cannot find in any civil or ecclesiastical lists of the
provinces and cities. Note *: M. von Hammer (in a review of Lord Mahon's
Life of Belisarius in the Vienna Jahrbucher) shows that the name of
Belisarius is a Sclavonic word, Beli-tzar, the White Prince, and that
the place of his birth was a village of Illvria, which still bears the
name of Germany.--M.]

[Footnote 6: The two first Persian campaigns of Belisarius are fairly
and copiously related by his secretary, (Persic. l. i. c. 12--18.)]

[Footnote 611: The battle was fought on Easter Sunday, April 19, not
at the end of the summer. The date is supplied from John Malala by Lord
Mabon p. 47.--M.]

[Footnote 7: See the birth and character of Antonina, in the Anecdotes,
c. l. and the notes of Alemannus, p. 3.]

The preparations for the African war were not unworthy of the last
contest between Rome and Carthage. The pride and flower of the army
consisted of the guards of Belisarius, who, according to the pernicious
indulgence of the times, devoted themselves, by a particular oath of
fidelity, to the service of their patrons. Their strength and stature,
for which they had been curiously selected, the goodness of their horses
and armor, and the assiduous practice of all the exercises of war,
enabled them to act whatever their courage might prompt; and their
courage was exalted by the social honor of their rank, and the personal
ambition of favor and fortune. Four hundred of the bravest of the
Heruli marched under the banner of the faithful and active Pharas; their
untractable valor was more highly prized than the tame submission of the
Greeks and Syrians; and of such importance was it deemed to procure a
reenforcement of six hundred Massagetae, or Huns, that they were allured
by fraud and deceit to engage in a naval expedition. Five thousand horse
and ten thousand foot were embarked at Constantinople, for the conquest
of Africa; but the infantry, for the most part levied in Thrace and
Isauria, yielded to the more prevailing use and reputation of the
cavalry; and the Scythian bow was the weapon on which the armies of Rome
were now reduced to place their principal dependence. From a laudable
desire to assert the dignity of his theme, Procopius defends the
soldiers of his own time against the morose critics, who confined
that respectable name to the heavy-armed warriors of antiquity, and
maliciously observed, that the word archer is introduced by Homer [8]
as a term of contempt. "Such contempt might perhaps be due to the naked
youths who appeared on foot in the fields of Troy, and lurking behind
a tombstone, or the shield of a friend, drew the bow-string to their
breast, [9] and dismissed a feeble and lifeless arrow. But our archers
(pursues the historian) are mounted on horses, which they manage with
admirable skill; their head and shoulders are protected by a casque or
buckler; they wear greaves of iron on their legs, and their bodies are
guarded by a coat of mail. On their right side hangs a quiver, a sword
on their left, and their hand is accustomed to wield a lance or javelin
in closer combat. Their bows are strong and weighty; they shoot in every
possible direction, advancing, retreating, to the front, to the rear,
or to either flank; and as they are taught to draw the bow-string not to
the breast, but to the right ear, firm indeed must be the armor that
can resist the rapid violence of their shaft." Five hundred transports,
navigated by twenty thousand mariners of Egypt, Cilicia, and Ionia, were
collected in the harbor of Constantinople. The smallest of these vessels
may be computed at thirty, the largest at five hundred, tons; and the
fair average will supply an allowance, liberal, but not profuse, of
about one hundred thousand tons, [10] for the reception of thirty-five
thousand soldiers and sailors, of five thousand horses, of arms,
engines, and military stores, and of a sufficient stock of water and
provisions for a voyage, perhaps, of three months. The proud galleys,
which in former ages swept the Mediterranean with so many hundred oars,
had long since disappeared; and the fleet of Justinian was escorted only
by ninety-two light brigantines, covered from the missile weapons of
the enemy, and rowed by two thousand of the brave and robust youth
of Constantinople. Twenty-two generals are named, most of whom were
afterwards distinguished in the wars of Africa and Italy: but the
supreme command, both by land and sea, was delegated to Belisarius
alone, with a boundless power of acting according to his discretion,
as if the emperor himself were present. The separation of the naval and
military professions is at once the effect and the cause of the modern
improvements in the science of navigation and maritime war. [Footnote
8: See the preface of Procopius. The enemies of archery might quote the
reproaches of Diomede (Iliad. Delta. 385, &c.) and the permittere vulnera
ventis of Lucan, (viii. 384:) yet the Romans could not despise the
arrows of the Parthians; and in the siege of Troy, Pandarus, Paris, and
Teucer, pierced those haughty warriors who insulted them as women or

[Footnote 9: (Iliad. Delta. 123.) How concise--how just--how beautiful
is the whole picture! I see the attitudes of the archer--I hear the
twanging of the bow.]

[Footnote 10: The text appears to allow for the largest vessels 50,000
medimni, or 3000 tons, (since the medimnus weighed 160 Roman, or 120
avoirdupois, pounds.) I have given a more rational interpretation,
by supposing that the Attic style of Procopius conceals the legal
and popular modius, a sixth part of the medimnus, (Hooper's Ancient
Measures, p. 152, &c.) A contrary and indeed a stranger mistake has
crept into an oration of Dinarchus, (contra Demosthenem, in Reiske
Orator. Graec tom iv. P. ii. p. 34.) By reducing the number of ships
from 500 to 50, and translating by mines, or pounds, Cousin has
generously allowed 500 tons for the whole of the Imperial fleet! Did he
never think?]

In the seventh year of the reign of Justinian, and about the time of
the summer solstice, the whole fleet of six hundred ships was ranged in
martial pomp before the gardens of the palace. The patriarch pronounced
his benediction, the emperor signified his last commands, the general's
trumpet gave the signal of departure, and every heart, according to
its fears or wishes, explored, with anxious curiosity, the omens
of misfortune and success. The first halt was made at Perinthus or
Heraclea, where Belisarius waited five days to receive some Thracian
horses, a military gift of his sovereign. From thence the fleet pursued
their course through the midst of the Propontis; but as they struggled
to pass the Straits of the Hellespont, an unfavorable wind detained them
four days at Abydus, where the general exhibited a memorable lesson of
firmness and severity. Two of the Huns, who in a drunken quarrel had
slain one of their fellow-soldiers, were instantly shown to the army
suspended on a lofty gibbet. The national dignity was resented by their
countrymen, who disclaimed the servile laws of the empire, and asserted
the free privilege of Scythia, where a small fine was allowed to expiate
the hasty sallies of intemperance and anger. Their complaints were
specious, their clamors were loud, and the Romans were not averse to the
example of disorder and impunity. But the rising sedition was appeased
by the authority and eloquence of the general: and he represented to
the assembled troops the obligation of justice, the importance of
discipline, the rewards of piety and virtue, and the unpardonable
guilt of murder, which, in his apprehension, was aggravated rather than
excused by the vice of intoxication. [11] In the navigation from the
Hellespont to Peloponnesus, which the Greeks, after the siege of Troy,
had performed in four days, [12] the fleet of Belisarius was guided in
their course by his master-galley, conspicuous in the day by the redness
of the sails, and in the night by the torches blazing from the mast
head. It was the duty of the pilots, as they steered between the
islands, and turned the Capes of Malea and Taenarium, to preserve the
just order and regular intervals of such a multitude of ships: as the
wind was fair and moderate, their labors were not unsuccessful, and the
troops were safely disembarked at Methone on the Messenian coast, to
repose themselves for a while after the fatigues of the sea. In this
place they experienced how avarice, invested with authority, may sport
with the lives of thousands which are bravely exposed for the public
service. According to military practice, the bread or biscuit of the
Romans was twice prepared in the oven, and the diminution of one fourth
was cheerfully allowed for the loss of weight. To gain this miserable
profit, and to save the expense of wood, the praefect John of Cappadocia
had given orders that the flour should be slightly baked by the same
fire which warmed the baths of Constantinople; and when the sacks
were opened, a soft and mouldy paste was distributed to the army. Such
unwholesome food, assisted by the heat of the climate and season, soon
produced an epidemical disease, which swept away five hundred soldiers.
Their health was restored by the diligence of Belisarius, who provided
fresh bread at Methone, and boldly expressed his just and humane
indignation the emperor heard his complaint; the general was praised
but the minister was not punished. From the port of Methone, the pilots
steered along the western coast of Peloponnesus, as far as the Isle of
Zacynthus, or Zante, before they undertook the voyage (in their eyes a
most arduous voyage) of one hundred leagues over the Ionian Sea. As the
fleet was surprised by a calm, sixteen days were consumed in the slow
navigation; and even the general would have suffered the intolerable
hardship of thirst, if the ingenuity of Antonina had not preserved the
water in glass bottles, which she buried deep in the sand in a part
of the ship impervious to the rays of the sun. At length the harbor
of Caucana, [13] on the southern side of Sicily, afforded a secure and
hospitable shelter. The Gothic officers who governed the island in the
name of the daughter and grandson of Theodoric, obeyed their imprudent
orders, to receive the troops of Justinian like friends and allies:
provisions were liberally supplied, the cavalry was remounted, [14] and
Procopius soon returned from Syracuse with correct information of the
state and designs of the Vandals. His intelligence determined Belisarius
to hasten his operations, and his wise impatience was seconded by the
winds. The fleet lost sight of Sicily, passed before the Isle of Malta,
discovered the capes of Africa, ran along the coast with a strong gale
from the north-east, and finally cast anchor at the promontory of Caput
Vada, about five days' journey to the south of Carthage. [15]

[Footnote 11: I have read of a Greek legislator, who inflicted a double
penalty on the crimes committed in a state of intoxication; but it seems
agreed that this was rather a political than a moral law.]

[Footnote 12: Or even in three days, since they anchored the first
evening in the neighboring isle of Tenedos: the second day they sailed
to Lesbon the third to the promontory of Euboea, and on the fourth they
reached Argos, (Homer, Odyss. P. 130--183. Wood's Essay on Homer, p.
40--46.) A pirate sailed from the Hellespont to the seaport of Sparta in
three days, (Xenophon. Hellen. l. ii. c. l.)]

[Footnote 13: Caucana, near Camarina, is at least 50 miles (350 or 400
stadia) from Syracuse, (Cluver. Sicilia Antiqua, p. 191.) * Note *:
Lord Mahon. (Life of Belisarius, p.88) suggests some valid reasons for
reading Catana, the ancient name of Catania.--M.]

[Footnote 14: Procopius, Gothic. l. i. c. 3. Tibi tollit hinnitum apta
quadrigis equa, in the Sicilian pastures of Grosphus, (Horat. Carm. ii.
16.) Acragas.... magnanimum quondam generator equorum, (Virg. Aeneid.
iii. 704.) Thero's horses, whose victories are immortalized by Pindar,
were bred in this country.]

[Footnote 15: The Caput Vada of Procopius (where Justinian afterwards
founded a city--De Edific.l. vi. c. 6) is the promontory of Ammon in
Strabo, the Brachodes of Ptolemy, the Capaudia of the moderns, a long
narrow slip that runs into the sea, (Shaw's Travels, p. 111.)]

If Gelimer had been informed of the approach of the enemy, he must have
delayed the conquest of Sardinia for the immediate defence of his person
and kingdom. A detachment of five thousand soldiers, and one hundred and
twenty galleys, would have joined the remaining forces of the Vandals;
and the descendant of Genseric might have surprised and oppressed
a fleet of deep laden transports, incapable of action, and of light
brigantines that seemed only qualified for flight. Belisarius had
secretly trembled when he overheard his soldiers, in the passage,
emboldening each other to confess their apprehensions: if they were once
on shore, they hoped to maintain the honor of their arms; but if they
should be attacked at sea, they did not blush to acknowledge that they
wanted courage to contend at the same time with the winds, the waves,
and the Barbarians. [16] The knowledge of their sentiments decided
Belisarius to seize the first opportunity of landing them on the coast
of Africa; and he prudently rejected, in a council of war, the proposal
of sailing with the fleet and army into the port of Carthage. [1611]
Three months after their departure from Constantinople, the men and
horses, the arms and military stores, were safely disembarked, and five
soldiers were left as a guard on board each of the ships, which were
disposed in the form of a semicircle. The remainder of the troops
occupied a camp on the sea-shore, which they fortified, according to
ancient discipline, with a ditch and rampart; and the discovery of
a source of fresh water, while it allayed the thirst, excited the
superstitious confidence, of the Romans. The next morning, some of the
neighboring gardens were pillaged; and Belisarius, after chastising the
offenders, embraced the slight occasion, but the decisive moment, of
inculcating the maxims of justice, moderation, and genuine policy. "When
I first accepted the commission of subduing Africa, I depended much
less," said the general, "on the numbers, or even the bravery of my
troops, than on the friendly disposition of the natives, and their
immortal hatred to the Vandals. You alone can deprive me of this hope;
if you continue to extort by rapine what might be purchased for a little
money, such acts of violence will reconcile these implacable enemies,
and unite them in a just and holy league against the invaders of their
country." These exhortations were enforced by a rigid discipline,
of which the soldiers themselves soon felt and praised the salutary
effects. The inhabitants, instead of deserting their houses, or hiding
their corn, supplied the Romans with a fair and liberal market: the
civil officers of the province continued to exercise their functions in
the name of Justinian: and the clergy, from motives of conscience
and interest, assiduously labored to promote the cause of a Catholic
emperor. The small town of Sullecte, [17] one day's journey from the
camp, had the honor of being foremost to open her gates, and to resume
her ancient allegiance: the larger cities of Leptis and Adrumetum
imitated the example of loyalty as soon as Belisarius appeared; and he
advanced without opposition as far as Grasse, a palace of the Vandal
kings, at the distance of fifty miles from Carthage. The weary Romans
indulged themselves in the refreshment of shady groves, cool fountains,
and delicious fruits; and the preference which Procopius allows to these
gardens over any that he had seen, either in the East or West, may be
ascribed either to the taste, or the fatigue, or the historian. In
three generations, prosperity and a warm climate had dissolved the
hardy virtue of the Vandals, who insensibly became the most luxurious
of mankind. In their villas and gardens, which might deserve the Persian
name of Paradise, [18] they enjoyed a cool and elegant repose; and,
after the daily use of the bath, the Barbarians were seated at a table
profusely spread with the delicacies of the land and sea. Their silken
robes loosely flowing, after the fashion of the Medes, were embroidered
with gold; love and hunting were the labors of their life, and their
vacant hours were amused by pantomimes, chariot-races, and the music and
dances of the theatre.

[Footnote 16: A centurion of Mark Antony expressed, though in a more
manly train, the same dislike to the sea and to naval combats, (Plutarch
in Antonio, p. 1730, edit. Hen. Steph.)]

[Footnote 1611: Rather into the present Lake of Tunis. Lord Mahon, p.

[Footnote 17: Sullecte is perhaps the Turris Hannibalis, an old
building, now as large as the Tower of London. The march of Belisarius
to Leptis. Adrumetum, &c., is illustrated by the campaign of Caesar,
(Hirtius, de Bello Africano, with the Analyse of Guichardt,) and Shaw's
Travels (p. 105--113) in the same country.]

[Footnote 18: The paradises, a name and fashion adopted from Persia, may
be represented by the royal garden of Ispahan, (Voyage d'Olearius, p.
774.) See, in the Greek romances, their most perfect model, (Longus.
Pastoral. l. iv. p. 99--101 Achilles Tatius. l. i. p. 22, 23.)]

In a march of ten or twelve days, the vigilance of Belisarius was
constantly awake and active against his unseen enemies, by whom, in
every place, and at every hour, he might be suddenly attacked. An
officer of confidence and merit, John the Armenian, led the vanguard
of three hundred horse; six hundred Massagetae covered at a certain
distance the left flank; and the whole fleet, steering along the coast,
seldom lost sight of the army, which moved each day about twelve miles,
and lodged in the evening in strong camps, or in friendly towns. The
near approach of the Romans to Carthage filled the mind of Gelimer with
anxiety and terror. He prudently wished to protract the war till his
brother, with his veteran troops, should return from the conquest of
Sardinia; and he now lamented the rash policy of his ancestors, who, by
destroying the fortifications of Africa, had left him only the dangerous
resource of risking a battle in the neighborhood of his capital. The
Vandal conquerors, from their original number of fifty thousand, were
multiplied, without including their women and children, to one hundred
and sixty thousand fighting men: [1811] and such forces, animated with
valor and union, might have crushed, at their first landing, the feeble
and exhausted bands of the Roman general. But the friends of the captive
king were more inclined to accept the invitations, than to resist
the progress, of Belisarius; and many a proud Barbarian disguised
his aversion to war under the more specious name of his hatred to
the usurper. Yet the authority and promises of Gelimer collected a
formidable army, and his plans were concerted with some degree of
military skill. An order was despatched to his brother Ammatas, to
collect all the forces of Carthage, and to encounter the van of the
Roman army at the distance of ten miles from the city: his nephew
Gibamund, with two thousand horse, was destined to attack their left,
when the monarch himself, who silently followed, should charge their
rear, in a situation which excluded them from the aid or even the view
of their fleet. But the rashness of Ammatas was fatal to himself and his
country. He anticipated the hour of the attack, outstripped his tardy
followers, and was pierced with a mortal wound, after he had slain with
his own hand twelve of his boldest antagonists. His Vandals fled to
Carthage; the highway, almost ten miles, was strewed with dead bodies;
and it seemed incredible that such multitudes could be slaughtered by
the swords of three hundred Romans. The nephew of Gelimer was defeated,
after a slight combat, by the six hundred Massagetae: they did not
equal the third part of his numbers; but each Scythian was fired by
the example of his chief, who gloriously exercised the privilege of his
family, by riding, foremost and alone, to shoot the first arrow against
the enemy. In the mean while, Gelimer himself, ignorant of the event,
and misguided by the windings of the hills, inadvertently passed the
Roman army, and reached the scene of action where Ammatas had fallen. He
wept the fate of his brother and of Carthage, charged with irresistible
fury the advancing squadrons, and might have pursued, and perhaps
decided, the victory, if he had not wasted those inestimable moments
in the discharge of a vain, though pious, duty to the dead. While his
spirit was broken by this mournful office, he heard the trumpet of
Belisarius, who, leaving Antonina and his infantry in the camp, pressed
forwards with his guards and the remainder of the cavalry to rally his
flying troops, and to restore the fortune of the day. Much room could
not be found, in this disorderly battle, for the talents of a general;
but the king fled before the hero; and the Vandals, accustomed only to a
Moorish enemy, were incapable of withstanding the arms and discipline
of the Romans. Gelimer retired with hasty steps towards the desert of
Numidia: but he had soon the consolation of learning that his private
orders for the execution of Hilderic and his captive friends had been
faithfully obeyed. The tyrant's revenge was useful only to his enemies.
The death of a lawful prince excited the compassion of his people; his
life might have perplexed the victorious Romans; and the lieutenant of
Justinian, by a crime of which he was innocent, was relieved from
the painful alternative of forfeiting his honor or relinquishing his

[Footnote 1811: 80,000. Hist. Arc. c. 18. Gibbon has been misled by the
translation. See Lord ov. p. 99.--M.]

Chapter XLI: Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius.--Part II.

As soon as the tumult had subsided, the several parts of the army
informed each other of the accidents of the day; and Belisarius pitched
his camp on the field of victory, to which the tenth mile-stone from
Carthage had applied the Latin appellation of Decimus. From a wise
suspicion of the stratagems and resources of the Vandals, he marched the
next day in order of battle, halted in the evening before the gates of
Carthage, and allowed a night of repose, that he might not, in darkness
and disorder, expose the city to the license of the soldiers, or the
soldiers themselves to the secret ambush of the city. But as the fears
of Belisarius were the result of calm and intrepid reason, he was soon
satisfied that he might confide, without danger, in the peaceful
and friendly aspect of the capital. Carthage blazed with innumerable
torches, the signals of the public joy; the chain was removed that
guarded the entrance of the port; the gates were thrown open, and the
people, with acclamations of gratitude, hailed and invited their Roman
deliverers. The defeat of the Vandals, and the freedom of Africa, were
announced to the city on the eve of St. Cyprian, when the churches were
already adorned and illuminated for the festival of the martyr whom
three centuries of superstition had almost raised to a local deity. The
Arians, conscious that their reign had expired, resigned the temple to
the Catholics, who rescued their saint from profane hands, performed the
holy rites, and loudly proclaimed the creed of Athanasius and Justinian.
One awful hour reversed the fortunes of the contending parties. The
suppliant Vandals, who had so lately indulged the vices of conquerors,
sought an humble refuge in the sanctuary of the church; while the
merchants of the East were delivered from the deepest dungeon of the
palace by their affrighted keeper, who implored the protection of his
captives, and showed them, through an aperture in the wall, the sails
of the Roman fleet. After their separation from the army, the naval
commanders had proceeded with slow caution along the coast till they
reached the Hermaean promontory, and obtained the first intelligence of
the victory of Belisarius. Faithful to his instructions, they would have
cast anchor about twenty miles from Carthage, if the more skilful
seamen had not represented the perils of the shore, and the signs of
an impending tempest. Still ignorant of the revolution, they declined,
however, the rash attempt of forcing the chain of the port; and the
adjacent harbor and suburb of Mandracium were insulted only by the
rapine of a private officer, who disobeyed and deserted his leaders.
But the Imperial fleet, advancing with a fair wind, steered through the
narrow entrance of the Goletta, and occupied, in the deep and capacious
lake of Tunis, a secure station about five miles from the capital. [19]
No sooner was Belisarius informed of their arrival, than he despatched
orders that the greatest part of the mariners should be immediately
landed to join the triumph, and to swell the apparent numbers, of
the Romans. Before he allowed them to enter the gates of Carthage, he
exhorted them, in a discourse worthy of himself and the occasion, not to
disgrace the glory of their arms; and to remember that the Vandals had
been the tyrants, but that they were the deliverers, of the Africans,
who must now be respected as the voluntary and affectionate subjects of
their common sovereign. The Romans marched through the streets in close
ranks prepared for battle if an enemy had appeared: the strict
order maintained by the general imprinted on their minds the duty of
obedience; and in an age in which custom and impunity almost sanctified
the abuse of conquest, the genius of one man repressed the passions of a
victorious army. The voice of menace and complaint was silent; the trade
of Carthage was not interrupted; while Africa changed her master and her
government, the shops continued open and busy; and the soldiers, after
sufficient guards had been posted, modestly departed to the houses which
were allotted for their reception. Belisarius fixed his residence in
the palace; seated himself on the throne of Genseric; accepted and
distributed the Barbaric spoil; granted their lives to the suppliant
Vandals; and labored to repair the damage which the suburb of Mandracium
had sustained in the preceding night. At supper he entertained his
principal officers with the form and magnificence of a royal banquet.
[20] The victor was respectfully served by the captive officers of
the household; and in the moments of festivity, when the impartial
spectators applauded the fortune and merit of Belisarius, his envious
flatterers secretly shed their venom on every word and gesture which
might alarm the suspicions of a jealous monarch. One day was given to
these pompous scenes, which may not be despised as useless, if they
attracted the popular veneration; but the active mind of Belisarius,
which in the pride of victory could suppose a defeat, had already
resolved that the Roman empire in Africa should not depend on the chance
of arms, or the favor of the people. The fortifications of Carthage
[2011] had alone been exempted from the general proscription; but in
the reign of ninety-five years they were suffered to decay by the
thoughtless and indolent Vandals. A wiser conqueror restored, with
incredible despatch, the walls and ditches of the city. His liberality
encouraged the workmen; the soldiers, the mariners, and the citizens,
vied with each other in the salutary labor; and Gelimer, who had feared
to trust his person in an open town, beheld with astonishment and
despair, the rising strength of an impregnable fortress.

[Footnote 19: The neighborhood of Carthage, the sea, the land, and the
rivers, are changed almost as much as the works of man. The isthmus, or
neck of the city, is now confounded with the continent; the harbor is a
dry plain; and the lake, or stagnum, no more than a morass, with six
or seven feet water in the mid-channel. See D'Anville, (Geographie
Ancienne, tom. iii. p. 82,) Shaw, (Travels, p. 77--84,) Marmol,
(Description de l'Afrique, tom. ii. p. 465,) and Thuanus, (lviii. 12,
tom. iii. p. 334.)]

[Footnote 20: From Delphi, the name of Delphicum was given, both
in Greek and Latin, to a tripod; and by an easy analogy, the same
appellation was extended at Rome, Constantinople, and Carthage, to the
royal banquetting room, (Procopius, Vandal. l. i. c. 21. Ducange, Gloss,
Graec. p. 277., ad Alexiad. p. 412.)]

[Footnote 2011: And a few others. Procopius states in his work De Edi
Sciis. l. vi. vol i. p. 5.--M]

That unfortunate monarch, after the loss of his capital, applied himself
to collect the remains of an army scattered, rather than destroyed, by
the preceding battle; and the hopes of pillage attracted some Moorish
bands to the standard of Gelimer. He encamped in the fields of Bulla,
four days' journey from Carthage; insulted the capital, which he
deprived of the use of an aqueduct; proposed a high reward for the
head of every Roman; affected to spare the persons and property of his
African subjects, and secretly negotiated with the Arian sectaries
and the confederate Huns. Under these circumstances, the conquest of
Sardinia served only to aggravate his distress: he reflected, with the
deepest anguish, that he had wasted, in that useless enterprise, five
thousand of his bravest troops; and he read, with grief and shame, the
victorious letters of his brother Zano, [2012] who expressed a sanguine
confidence that the king, after the example of their ancestors, had
already chastised the rashness of the Roman invader. "Alas! my brother,"
replied Gelimer, "Heaven has declared against our unhappy nation. While
you have subdued Sardinia, we have lost Africa. No sooner did Belisarius
appear with a handful of soldiers, than courage and prosperity deserted
the cause of the Vandals. Your nephew Gibamund, your brother Ammatas,
have been betrayed to death by the cowardice of their followers. Our
horses, our ships, Carthage itself, and all Africa, are in the power of
the enemy. Yet the Vandals still prefer an ignominious repose, at the
expense of their wives and children, their wealth and liberty. Nothing
now remains, except the fields of Bulla, and the hope of your valor.
Abandon Sardinia; fly to our relief; restore our empire, or perish by
our side." On the receipt of this epistle, Zano imparted his grief to
the principal Vandals; but the intelligence was prudently concealed from
the natives of the island. The troops embarked in one hundred and
twenty galleys at the port of Caghari, cast anchor the third day on
the confines of Mauritania, and hastily pursued their march to join the
royal standard in the camp of Bulla. Mournful was the interview: the two
brothers embraced; they wept in silence; no questions were asked of the
Sardinian victory; no inquiries were made of the African misfortunes:
they saw before their eyes the whole extent of their calamities; and
the absence of their wives and children afforded a melancholy proof that
either death or captivity had been their lot. The languid spirit of the
Vandals was at length awakened and united by the entreaties of their
king, the example of Zano, and the instant danger which threatened their
monarchy and religion. The military strength of the nation advanced to
battle; and such was the rapid increase, that before their army reached
Tricameron, about twenty miles from Carthage, they might boast, perhaps
with some exaggeration, that they surpassed, in a tenfold proportion,
the diminutive powers of the Romans. But these powers were under the
command of Belisarius; and, as he was conscious of their superior merit,
he permitted the Barbarians to surprise him at an unseasonable hour.
The Romans were instantly under arms; a rivulet covered their front; the
cavalry formed the first line, which Belisarius supported in the centre,
at the head of five hundred guards; the infantry, at some distance, was
posted in the second line; and the vigilance of the general watched the
separate station and ambiguous faith of the Massagetae, who secretly
reserved their aid for the conquerors. The historian has inserted, and
the reader may easily supply, the speeches [21] of the commanders,
who, by arguments the most apposite to their situation, inculcated the
importance of victory, and the contempt of life. Zano, with the troops
which had followed him to the conquest of Sardinia, was placed in the
centre; and the throne of Genseric might have stood, if the multitude
of Vandals had imitated their intrepid resolution. Casting away their
lances and missile weapons, they drew their swords, and expected the
charge: the Roman cavalry thrice passed the rivulet; they were thrice
repulsed; and the conflict was firmly maintained, till Zano fell, and
the standard of Belisarius was displayed. Gelimer retreated to his camp;
the Huns joined the pursuit; and the victors despoiled the bodies of
the slain. Yet no more than fifty Romans, and eight hundred Vandals were
found on the field of battle; so inconsiderable was the carnage of a
day, which extinguished a nation, and transferred the empire of Africa.
In the evening Belisarius led his infantry to the attack of the camp;
and the pusillanimous flight of Gelimer exposed the vanity of his recent
declarations, that to the vanquished, death was a relief, life a burden,
and infamy the only object of terror. His departure was secret; but as
soon as the Vandals discovered that their king had deserted them, they
hastily dispersed, anxious only for their personal safety, and careless
of every object that is dear or valuable to mankind. The Romans entered
the camp without resistance; and the wildest scenes of disorder were
veiled in the darkness and confusion of the night. Every Barbarian who
met their swords was inhumanly massacred; their widows and daughters,
as rich heirs, or beautiful concubines, were embraced by the licentious
soldiers; and avarice itself was almost satiated with the treasures of
gold and silver, the accumulated fruits of conquest or economy in a long
period of prosperity and peace. In this frantic search, the troops, even
of Belisarius, forgot their caution and respect. Intoxicated with lust
and rapine, they explored, in small parties, or alone, the adjacent
fields, the woods, the rocks, and the caverns, that might possibly
conceal any desirable prize: laden with booty, they deserted their
ranks, and wandered without a guide, on the high road to Carthage; and
if the flying enemies had dared to return, very few of the conquerors
would have escaped. Deeply sensible of the disgrace and danger,
Belisarius passed an apprehensive night on the field of victory: at the
dawn of day, he planted his standard on a hill, recalled his guardians
and veterans, and gradually restored the modesty and obedience of the
camp. It was equally the concern of the Roman general to subdue the
hostile, and to save the prostrate, Barbarian; and the suppliant
Vandals, who could be found only in churches, were protected by his
authority, disarmed, and separately confined, that they might neither
disturb the public peace, nor become the victims of popular revenge.
After despatching a light detachment to tread the footsteps of Gelimer,
he advanced, with his whole army, about ten days' march, as far as Hippo
Regius, which no longer possessed the relics of St. Augustin. [22] The
season, and the certain intelligence that the Vandal had fled to an
inaccessible country of the Moors, determined Belisarius to relinquish
the vain pursuit, and to fix his winter quarters at Carthage. From
thence he despatched his principal lieutenant, to inform the emperor,
that in the space of three months he had achieved the conquest of

[Footnote 2012: Gibbon had forgotten that the bearer of the "victorious
letters of his brother" had sailed into the port of Carthage; and that
the letters had fallen into the hands of the Romans. Proc. Vandal. l. i.
c. 23.--M.]

[Footnote 21: These orations always express the sense of the times, and
sometimes of the actors. I have condensed that sense, and thrown away

[Footnote 22: The relics of St. Augustin were carried by the African
bishops to their Sardinian exile, (A.D. 500;) and it was believed, in
the viiith century, that Liutprand, king of the Lombards, transported
them (A.D. 721) from Sardinia to Pavia. In the year 1695, the Augustan
friars of that city found a brick arch, marble coffin, silver case, silk
wrapper, bones, blood, &c., and perhaps an inscription of Agostino in
Gothic letters. But this useful discovery has been disputed by reason
and jealousy, (Baronius, Annal. A.D. 725, No. 2-9. Tillemont, Mem.
Eccles. tom. xiii. p. 944. Montfaucon, Diarium Ital. p. 26-30. Muratori,
Antiq. Ital. Medii Aevi, tom. v. dissert. lviii. p. 9, who had composed
a separate treatise before the decree of the bishop of Pavia, and Pope
Benedict XIII.)]

Belisarius spoke the language of truth. The surviving Vandals yielded,
without resistance, their arms and their freedom; the neighborhood of
Carthage submitted to his presence; and the more distant provinces were
successively subdued by the report of his victory. Tripoli was confirmed
in her voluntary allegiance; Sardinia and Corsica surrendered to an
officer, who carried, instead of a sword, the head of the valiant Zano;
and the Isles of Majorca, Minorca, and Yvica consented to remain an
humble appendage of the African kingdom. Caesarea, a royal city, which
in looser geography may be confounded with the modern Algiers, was
situate thirty days' march to the westward of Carthage: by land, the
road was infested by the Moors; but the sea was open, and the Romans
were now masters of the sea. An active and discreet tribune sailed as
far as the Straits, where he occupied Septem or Ceuta, [23] which
rises opposite to Gibraltar on the African coast; that remote place
was afterwards adorned and fortified by Justinian; and he seems to have
indulged the vain ambition of extending his empire to the columns of
Hercules. He received the messengers of victory at the time when he was
preparing to publish the Pandects of the Roman laws; and the devout
or jealous emperor celebrated the divine goodness, and confessed, in
silence, the merit of his successful general. [24] Impatient to abolish
the temporal and spiritual tyranny of the Vandals, he proceeded,
without delay, to the full establishment of the Catholic church. Her
jurisdiction, wealth, and immunites, perhaps the most essential part of
episcopal religion, were restored and amplified with a liberal hand;
the Arian worship was suppressed; the Donatist meetings were proscribed;
[25] and the synod of Carthage, by the voice of two hundred and
seventeen bishops, [26] applauded the just measure of pious retaliation.
On such an occasion, it may not be presumed, that many orthodox prelates
were absent; but the comparative smallness of their number, which in
ancient councils had been twice or even thrice multiplied, most clearly
indicates the decay both of the church and state. While Justinian
approved himself the defender of the faith, he entertained an ambitious
hope, that his victorious lieutenant would speedily enlarge the narrow
limits of his dominion to the space which they occupied before the
invasion of the Moors and Vandals; and Belisarius was instructed
to establish five dukes or commanders in the convenient stations of
Tripoli, Leptis, Cirta, Caesarea, and Sardinia, and to compute the
military force of palatines or borderers that might be sufficient for
the defence of Africa. The kingdom of the Vandals was not unworthy
of the presence of a Praetorian praefect; and four consulars, three
presidents, were appointed to administer the seven provinces under his
civil jurisdiction. The number of their subordinate officers, clerks,
messengers, or assistants, was minutely expressed; three hundred and
ninety-six for the praefect himself, fifty for each of his vicegerents;
and the rigid definition of their fees and salaries was more effectual
to confirm the right than to prevent the abuse. These magistrates might
be oppressive, but they were not idle; and the subtile questions of
justice and revenue were infinitely propagated under the new government,
which professed to revive the freedom and equity of the Roman republic.
The conqueror was solicitous to extract a prompt and plentiful supply
from his African subjects; and he allowed them to claim, even in the
third degree, and from the collateral line, the houses and lands of
which their families had been unjustly despoiled by the Vandals. After
the departure of Belisarius, who acted by a high and special commission,
no ordinary provision was made for a master-general of the forces; but
the office of Praetorian praefect was intrusted to a soldier; the civil
and military powers were united, according to the practice of Justinian,
in the chief governor; and the representative of the emperor in Africa,
as well as in Italy, was soon distinguished by the appellation of
Exarch. [27]

[Footnote 23: The expression of Procopius (de Edific. l. vi. c. 7.)
Ceuta, which has been defaced by the Portuguese, flourished in nobles
and palaces, in agriculture and manufactures, under the more prosperous
reign of the Arabs, (l'Afrique de Marmai, tom. ii. p. 236.)]

[Footnote 24: See the second and third preambles to the Digest, or
Pandects, promulgated A.D. 533, December 16. To the titles of Vandalicus
and Africanus, Justinian, or rather Belisarius, had acquired a just
claim; Gothicus was premature, and Francicus false, and offensive to a
great nation.]

[Footnote 25: See the original acts in Baronius, (A.D. 535, No. 21--54.)
The emperor applauds his own clemency to the heretics, cum sufficiat eis

[Footnote 26: Dupin (Geograph. Sacra Africana, p. lix. ad Optat. Milav.)
observes and bewails this episcopal decay. In the more prosperous age of
the church, he had noticed 690 bishoprics; but however minute were the
dioceses, it is not probable that they all existed at the same time.]

[Footnote 27: The African laws of Justinian are illustrated by his
German biographer, (Cod. l. i. tit. 27. Novell. 36, 37, 131. Vit.
Justinian, p. 349--377.)]

Yet the conquest of Africa was imperfect till her former sovereign was
delivered, either alive or dead, into the hands of the Romans. Doubtful
of the event, Gelimer had given secret orders that a part of his
treasure should be transported to Spain, where he hoped to find a secure
refuge at the court of the king of the Visigoths. But these intentions
were disappointed by accident, treachery, and the indefatigable pursuit
of his enemies, who intercepted his flight from the sea-shore, and
chased the unfortunate monarch, with some faithful followers, to the
inaccessible mountain of Papua, [28] in the inland country of Numidia.
He was immediately besieged by Pharas, an officer whose truth and
sobriety were the more applauded, as such qualities could seldom be
found among the Heruli, the most corrupt of the Barbarian tribes. To his
vigilance Belisarius had intrusted this important charge and, after a
bold attempt to scale the mountain, in which he lost a hundred and
ten soldiers, Pharas expected, during a winter siege, the operation of
distress and famine on the mind of the Vandal king. From the softest
habits of pleasure, from the unbounded command of industry and wealth,
he was reduced to share the poverty of the Moors, [29] supportable only
to themselves by their ignorance of a happier condition. In their rude
hovels, of mud and hurdles, which confined the smoke and excluded the
light, they promiscuously slept on the ground, perhaps on a sheep-skin,
with their wives, their children, and their cattle. Sordid and scanty
were their garments; the use of bread and wine was unknown; and their
oaten or barley cakes, imperfectly baked in the ashes, were devoured
almost in a crude state, by the hungry savages. The health of Gelimer
must have sunk under these strange and unwonted hardships, from
whatsoever cause they had been endured; but his actual misery was
imbittered by the recollection of past greatness, the daily insolence
of his protectors, and the just apprehension, that the light and
venal Moors might be tempted to betray the rights of hospitality. The
knowledge of his situation dictated the humane and friendly epistle
of Pharas. "Like yourself," said the chief of the Heruli, "I am an
illiterate Barbarian, but I speak the language of plain sense and an
honest heart. Why will you persist in hopeless obstinacy? Why will
you ruin yourself, your family, and nation? The love of freedom and
abhorrence of slavery? Alas! my dearest Gelimer, are you not already the
worst of slaves, the slave of the vile nation of the Moors? Would it
not be preferable to sustain at Constantinople a life of poverty and
servitude, rather than to reign the undoubted monarch of the mountain
of Papua? Do you think it a disgrace to be the subject of Justinian?
Belisarius is his subject; and we ourselves, whose birth is not inferior
to your own, are not ashamed of our obedience to the Roman emperor. That
generous prince will grant you a rich inheritance of lands, a place
in the senate, and the dignity of patrician: such are his gracious
intentions, and you may depend with full assurance on the word of
Belisarius. So long as Heaven has condemned us to suffer, patience is a
virtue; but if we reject the proffered deliverance, it degenerates into
blind and stupid despair." "I am not insensible" replied the king of the
Vandals, "how kind and rational is your advice. But I cannot persuade
myself to become the slave of an unjust enemy, who has deserved my
implacable hatred. Him I had never injured either by word or deed: yet
he has sent against me, I know not from whence, a certain Belisarius,
who has cast me headlong from the throne into his abyss of misery.
Justinian is a man; he is a prince; does he not dread for himself a
similar reverse of fortune? I can write no more: my grief oppresses me.
Send me, I beseech you, my dear Pharas, send me, a lyre, [30] a sponge,
and a loaf of bread." From the Vandal messenger, Pharas was informed
of the motives of this singular request. It was long since the king of
Africa had tasted bread; a defluxion had fallen on his eyes, the effect
of fatigue or incessant weeping; and he wished to solace the melancholy
hours, by singing to the lyre the sad story of his own misfortunes. The
humanity of Pharas was moved; he sent the three extraordinary gifts; but
even his humanity prompted him to redouble the vigilance of his guard,
that he might sooner compel his prisoner to embrace a resolution
advantageous to the Romans, but salutary to himself. The obstinacy of
Gelimer at length yielded to reason and necessity; the solemn assurances
of safety and honorable treatment were ratified in the emperor's name,
by the ambassador of Belisarius; and the king of the Vandals descended
from the mountain. The first public interview was in one of the suburbs
of Carthage; and when the royal captive accosted his conqueror, he burst
into a fit of laughter. The crowd might naturally believe, that extreme
grief had deprived Gelimer of his senses: but in this mournful state,
unseasonable mirth insinuated to more intelligent observers, that the
vain and transitory scenes of human greatness are unworthy of a serious
thought. [31]

[Footnote 28: Mount Papua is placed by D'Anville (tom. iii. p. 92, and
Tabul. Imp. Rom. Occident.) near Hippo Regius and the sea; yet this
situation ill agrees with the long pursuit beyond Hippo, and the words
of Procopius, (l. ii.c.4,). * Note: Compare Lord Mahon, 120. conceive
Gibbon to be right--M.]

[Footnote 29: Shaw (Travels, p. 220) most accurately represents the
manners of the Bedoweens and Kabyles, the last of whom, by their
language, are the remnant of the Moors; yet how changed--how civilized
are these modern savages!--provisions are plenty among them and bread is

[Footnote 30: By Procopius it is styled a lyre; perhaps harp would have
been more national. The instruments of music are thus distinguished by
Venantius Fortunatus:-- Romanusque lyra tibi plaudat, Barbarus harpa.]

[Footnote 31: Herodotus elegantly describes the strange effects of grief
in another royal captive, Psammetichus of Egypt, who wept at the lesser
and was silent at the greatest of his calamities, (l. iii. c. 14.) In
the interview of Paulus Aemilius and Perses, Belisarius might study his
part; but it is probable that he never read either Livy or Plutarch; and
it is certain that his generosity did not need a tutor.]

Their contempt was soon justified by a new example of a vulgar truth;
that flattery adheres to power, and envy to superior merit. The chiefs
of the Roman army presumed to think themselves the rivals of a hero.
Their private despatches maliciously affirmed, that the conqueror of
Africa, strong in his reputation and the public love, conspired to
seat himself on the throne of the Vandals. Justinian listened with too
patient an ear; and his silence was the result of jealousy rather than
of confidence. An honorable alternative, of remaining in the province,
or of returning to the capital, was indeed submitted to the discretion
of Belisarius; but he wisely concluded, from intercepted letters and
the knowledge of his sovereign's temper, that he must either resign his
head, erect his standard, or confound his enemies by his presence
and submission. Innocence and courage decided his choice; his guards,
captives, and treasures, were diligently embarked; and so prosperous was
the navigation, that his arrival at Constantinople preceded any certain
account of his departure from the port of Carthage. Such unsuspecting
loyalty removed the apprehensions of Justinian; envy was silenced and
inflamed by the public gratitude; and the third Africanus obtained the
honors of a triumph, a ceremony which the city of Constantine had never
seen, and which ancient Rome, since the reign of Tiberius, had reserved
for the auspicious arms of the Caesars. [32] From the palace of
Belisarius, the procession was conducted through the principal streets
to the hippodrome; and this memorable day seemed to avenge the injuries
of Genseric, and to expiate the shame of the Romans. The wealth of
nations was displayed, the trophies of martial or effeminate luxury;
rich armor, golden thrones, and the chariots of state which had been
used by the Vandal queen; the massy furniture of the royal banquet, the
splendor of precious stones, the elegant forms of statues and vases, the
more substantial treasure of gold, and the holy vessels of the Jewish
temple, which after their long peregrination were respectfully deposited
in the Christian church of Jerusalem. A long train of the noblest
Vandals reluctantly exposed their lofty stature and manly countenance.
Gelimer slowly advanced: he was clad in a purple robe, and still
maintained the majesty of a king. Not a tear escaped from his eyes, not
a sigh was heard; but his pride or piety derived some secret consolation
from the words of Solomon, [33] which he repeatedly pronounced, Vanity!
vanity! all is vanity! Instead of ascending a triumphal car drawn by
four horses or elephants, the modest conqueror marched on foot at the
head of his brave companions; his prudence might decline an honor too
conspicuous for a subject; and his magnanimity might justly disdain
what had been so often sullied by the vilest of tyrants. The glorious
procession entered the gate of the hippodrome; was saluted by the
acclamations of the senate and people; and halted before the throne
where Justinian and Theodora were seated to receive homage of the
captive monarch and the victorious hero. They both performed the
customary adoration; and falling prostrate on the ground, respectfully
touched the footstool of a prince who had not unsheathed his sword, and
of a prostitute who had danced on the theatre; some gentle violence
was used to bend the stubborn spirit of the grandson of Genseric;
and however trained to servitude, the genius of Belisarius must have
secretly rebelled. He was immediately declared consul for the ensuing
year, and the day of his inauguration resembled the pomp of a second
triumph: his curule chair was borne aloft on the shoulders of captive
Vandals; and the spoils of war, gold cups, and rich girdles, were
profusely scattered among the populace. [Footnote 32: After the title of
imperator had lost the old military sense, and the Roman auspices were
abolished by Christianity, (see La Bleterie, Mem. de l'Academie, tom.
xxi. p. 302--332,) a triumph might be given with less inconsistency to a
private general.]

[Footnote 33: If the Ecclesiastes be truly a work of Solomon, and not,
like Prior's poem, a pious and moral composition of more recent times,
in his name, and on the subject of his repentance. The latter is the
opinion of the learned and free-spirited Grotius, (Opp. Theolog. tom.
i. p. 258;) and indeed the Ecclesiastes and Proverbs display a larger
compass of thought and experience than seem to belong either to a Jew or
a king. * Note: Rosenmuller, arguing from the difference of style from
that of the greater part of the book of Proverbs, and from its nearer
approximation to the Aramaic dialect than any book of the Old Testament,
assigns the Ecclesiastes to some period between Nehemiah and Alexander
the Great Schol. in Vet. Test. ix. Proemium ad Eccles. p. 19.--M.]

Chapter XLI: Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius.--Part III.

Although Theodatus descended from a race of heroes, he was ignorant of
the art, and averse to the dangers, of war. Although he had studied the
writings of Plato and Tully, philosophy was incapable of purifying his
mind from the basest passions, avarice and fear. He had purchased a
sceptre by ingratitude and murder: at the first menace of an enemy, he
degraded his own majesty and that of a nation, which already disdained
their unworthy sovereign. Astonished by the recent example of Gelimer,
he saw himself dragged in chains through the streets of Constantinople:
the terrors which Belisarius inspired were heightened by the eloquence
of Peter, the Byzantine ambassador; and that bold and subtle advocate
persuaded him to sign a treaty, too ignominious to become the foundation
of a lasting peace. It was stipulated, that in the acclamations of the
Roman people, the name of the emperor should be always proclaimed before
that of the Gothic king; and that as often as the statue of Theodatus
was erected in brass on marble, the divine image of Justinian should be
placed on its right hand. Instead of conferring, the king of Italy was
reduced to solicit, the honors of the senate; and the consent of the
emperor was made indispensable before he could execute, against a priest
or senator, the sentence either of death or confiscation. The feeble
monarch resigned the possession of Sicily; offered, as the annual
mark of his dependence, a crown of gold of the weight of three hundred
pounds; and promised to supply, at the requisition of his sovereign,
three thousand Gothic auxiliaries, for the service of the empire.
Satisfied with these extraordinary concessions, the successful agent of
Justinian hastened his journey to Constantinople; but no sooner had he
reached the Alban villa, [60] than he was recalled by the anxiety
of Theodatus; and the dialogue which passed between the king and the
ambassador deserves to be represented in its original simplicity. "Are
you of opinion that the emperor will ratify this treaty? Perhaps. If he
refuses, what consequence will ensue? War. Will such a war, be just
or reasonable? Most assuredly: every to his character. What is your
meaning? You are a philosopher--Justinian is emperor of the Romans: it
would all become the disciple of Plato to shed the blood of thousands
in his private quarrel: the successor of Augustus should vindicate his
rights, and recover by arms the ancient provinces of his empire." This
reasoning might not convince, but it was sufficient to alarm and subdue
the weakness of Theodatus; and he soon descended to his last offer,
that for the poor equivalent of a pension of forty-eight thousand pounds
sterling, he would resign the kingdom of the Goths and Italians, and
spend the remainder of his days in the innocent pleasures of philosophy
and agriculture.

Both treaties were intrusted to the hands of the ambassador, on the
frail security of an oath not to produce the second till the first had
been positively rejected. The event may be easily foreseen: Justinian
required and accepted the abdication of the Gothic king. His
indefatigable agent returned from Constantinople to Ravenna, with
ample instructions; and a fair epistle, which praised the wisdom and
generosity of the royal philosopher, granted his pension, with the
assurance of such honors as a subject and a Catholic might enjoy; and
wisely referred the final execution of the treaty to the presence and
authority of Belisarius. But in the interval of suspense, two Roman
generals, who had entered the province of Dalmatia, were defeated and
slain by the Gothic troops. From blind and abject despair, Theodatus
capriciously rose to groundless and fatal presumption, [61] and dared
to receive, with menace and contempt, the ambassador of Justinian;
who claimed his promise, solicited the allegiance of his subjects, and
boldly asserted the inviolable privilege of his own character. The march
of Belisarius dispelled this visionary pride; and as the first campaign
[62] was employed in the reduction of Sicily, the invasion of Italy is
applied by Procopius to the second year of the Gothic war. [63]

[Footnote 60: The ancient Alba was ruined in the first age of Rome. On
the same spot, or at least in the neighborhood, successively arose. 1.
The villa of Pompey, &c.; 2. A camp of the Praetorian cohorts; 3. The
modern episcopal city of Albanum or Albano. (Procop. Goth. l. ii. c. 4
Oluver. Ital. Antiq tom. ii. p. 914.)]

[Footnote 61: A Sibylline oracle was ready to pronounce--Africa capta
munitus cum nato peribit; a sentence of portentous ambiguity, (Gothic.
l. i. c. 7,) which has been published in unknown characters by
Opsopaeus, an editor of the oracles. The Pere Maltret has promised a
commentary; but all his promises have been vain and fruitless.]

[Footnote 62: In his chronology, imitated, in some degree, from
Thucydides, Procopius begins each spring the years of Justinian and of
the Gothic war; and his first aera coincides with the first of April,
535, and not 536, according to the Annals of Baronius, (Pagi, Crit. tom.
ii. p. 555, who is followed by Muratori and the editors of Sigonius.)
Yet, in some passages, we are at a loss to reconcile the dates of
Procopius with himself, and with the Chronicle of Marcellinus.]

[Footnote 63: The series of the first Gothic war is represented by
Procopius (l. i. c. 5--29, l. ii. c. l--30, l. iii. c. l) till the
captivity of Vitigas. With the aid of Sigonius (Opp. tom. i. de Imp.
Occident. l. xvii. xviii.) and Muratori, (Annali d'Itaia, tom. v.,) I
have gleaned some few additional facts.]

After Belisarius had left sufficient garrisons in Palermo and Syracuse,
he embarked his troops at Messina, and landed them, without resistance,
on the opposite shores of Rhegium. A Gothic prince, who had married the
daughter of Theodatus, was stationed with an army to guard the entrance
of Italy; but he imitated, without scruple, the example of a sovereign
faithless to his public and private duties. The perfidious Ebermor
deserted with his followers to the Roman camp, and was dismissed to
enjoy the servile honors of the Byzantine court. [64] From Rhegium to
Naples, the fleet and army of Belisarius, almost always in view of each
other, advanced near three hundred miles along the sea-coast. The people
of Bruttium, Lucania, and Campania, who abhorred the name and religion
of the Goths, embraced the specious excuse, that their ruined walls
were incapable of defence: the soldiers paid a just equivalent for
a plentiful market; and curiosity alone interrupted the peaceful
occupations of the husbandman or artificer. Naples, which has swelled to
a great and populous capital, long cherished the language and manners
of a Grecian colony; [65] and the choice of Virgil had ennobled this
elegant retreat, which attracted the lovers of repose and study, elegant
retreat, which attracted the lovers of repose and study, from the noise,
the smoke, and the laborious opulence of Rome. [66] As soon as the place
was invested by sea and land, Belisarius gave audience to the deputies
of the people, who exhorted him to disregard a conquest unworthy of
his arms, to seek the Gothic king in a field of battle, and, after
his victory, to claim, as the sovereign of Rome, the allegiance of the
dependent cities. "When I treat with my enemies," replied the Roman
chief, with a haughty smile, "I am more accustomed to give than to
receive counsel; but I hold in one hand inevitable ruin, and in the
other peace and freedom, such as Sicily now enjoys." The impatience of
delay urged him to grant the most liberal terms; his honor secured their
performance: but Naples was divided into two factions; and the Greek
democracy was inflamed by their orators, who, with much spirit and some
truth, represented to the multitude that the Goths would punish their
defection, and that Belisarius himself must esteem their loyalty and
valor. Their deliberations, however, were not perfectly free: the city
was commanded by eight hundred Barbarians, whose wives and children were
detained at Ravenna as the pledge of their fidelity; and even the Jews,
who were rich and numerous, resisted, with desperate enthusiasm, the
intolerant laws of Justinian. In a much later period, the circumference
of Naples [67] measured only two thousand three hundred and sixty three
paces: [68] the fortifications were defended by precipices or the sea;
when the aqueducts were intercepted, a supply of water might be drawn
from wells and fountains; and the stock of provisions was sufficient to
consume the patience of the besiegers. At the end of twenty days, that
of Belisarius was almost exhausted, and he had reconciled himself to the
disgrace of abandoning the siege, that he might march, before the winter
season, against Rome and the Gothic king. But his anxiety was relieved
by the bold curiosity of an Isaurian, who explored the dry channel of an
aqueduct, and secretly reported, that a passage might be perforated to
introduce a file of armed soldiers into the heart of the city. When the
work had been silently executed, the humane general risked the discovery
of his secret by a last and fruitless admonition of the impending
danger. In the darkness of the night, four hundred Romans entered
the aqueduct, raised themselves by a rope, which they fastened to an
olive-tree, into the house or garden of a solitary matron, sounded
their trumpets, surprised the sentinels, and gave admittance to their
companions, who on all sides scaled the walls, and burst open the
gates of the city. Every crime which is punished by social justice was
practised as the rights of war; the Huns were distinguished by cruelty
and sacrilege, and Belisarius alone appeared in the streets and churches
of Naples to moderate the calamities which he predicted. "The gold and
silver," he repeatedly exclaimed, "are the just rewards of your valor.
But spare the inhabitants; they are Christians, they are suppliants,
they are now your fellow-subjects. Restore the children to their
parents, the wives to their husbands; and show them by you, generosity
of what friends they have obstinately deprived themselves." The city was
saved by the virtue and authority of its conqueror; [69] and when the
Neapolitans returned to their houses, they found some consolation in
the secret enjoyment of their hidden treasures. The Barbarian garrison
enlisted in the service of the emperor; Apulia and Calabria, delivered
from the odious presence of the Goths, acknowledged his dominion; and
the tusks of the Calydonian boar, which were still shown at Beneventum,
are curiously described by the historian of Belisarius. [70]

[Footnote 64: Jornandes, de Rebus Geticis, c. 60, p. 702, edit. Grot.,
and tom. i. p. 221. Muratori, de Success, Regn. p. 241.]

[Footnote 65: Nero (says Tacitus, Annal. xv. 35) Neapolim quasi Graecam
urbem delegit. One hundred and fifty years afterwards, in the time
of Septimius Severus, the Hellenism of the Neapolitans is praised by
Philostratus. (Icon. l. i. p. 763, edit. Olear.)]

[Footnote 66: The otium of Naples is praised by the Roman poets, by
Virgil, Horace, Silius Italicus, and Statius, (Cluver. Ital. Ant. l.
iv. p. 1149, 1150.) In an elegant epistles, (Sylv. l. iii. 5, p. 94--98,
edit. Markland,) Statius undertakes the difficult task of drawing his
wife from the pleasures of Rome to that calm retreat.]

[Footnote 67: This measure was taken by Roger l., after the conquest
of Naples, (A.D. 1139,) which he made the capital of his new kingdom,
(Giannone, Istoria Civile, tom. ii. p. 169.) That city, the third in
Christian Europe, is now at least twelve miles in circumference,
(Jul. Caesar. Capaccii Hist. Neapol. l. i. p. 47,) and contains more
inhabitants (350,000) in a given space, than any other spot in the known

[Footnote 68: Not geometrical, but common, paces or steps, of 22 French
inches, (D' Anville, Mesures Itineraires, p. 7, 8.) The 2363 do not take
an English mile.]

[Footnote 69: Belisarius was reproved by Pope Silverius for the
massacre. He repeopled Naples, and imported colonies of African captives
into Sicily, Calabria, and Apulia, (Hist. Miscell. l. xvi. in Muratori,
tom. i. p. 106, 107.)]

[Footnote 70: Beneventum was built by Diomede, the nephew of Meleager
(Cluver. tom. ii. p. 1195, 1196.) The Calydonian hunt is a picture of
savage life, (Ovid, Metamorph. l. viii.) Thirty or forty heroes were
leagued against a hog: the brutes (not the hog) quarrelled with lady for
the head.]

The faithful soldiers and citizens of Naples had expected their
deliverance from a prince, who remained the inactive and almost
indifferent spectator of their ruin. Theodatus secured his person within
the walls of Rome, whilst his cavalry advanced forty miles on the Appian
way, and encamped in the Pomptine marshes; which, by a canal of nineteen
miles in length, had been recently drained and converted into excellent
pastures. [71] But the principal forces of the Goths were dispersed
in Dalmatia, Venetia, and Gaul; and the feeble mind of their king was
confounded by the unsuccessful event of a divination, which seemed to
presage the downfall of his empire. [72] The most abject slaves have
arraigned the guilt or weakness of an unfortunate master. The character
of Theodatus was rigorously scrutinized by a free and idle camp of
Barbarians, conscious of their privilege and power: he was declared
unworthy of his race, his nation, and his throne; and their general
Vitiges, whose valor had been signalized in the Illyrian war, was raised
with unanimous applause on the bucklers of his companions. On the first
rumor, the abdicated monarch fled from the justice of his country; but
he was pursued by private revenge. A Goth, whom he had injured in his
love, overtook Theodatus on the Flaminian way, and, regardless of his
unmanly cries, slaughtered him, as he lay, prostrate on the ground, like
a victim (says the historian) at the foot of the altar. The choice of
the people is the best and purest title to reign over them; yet such is
the prejudice of every age, that Vitiges impatiently wished to return to
Ravenna, where he might seize, with the reluctant hand of the daughter
of Amalasontha, some faint shadow of hereditary right. A national
council was immediately held, and the new monarch reconciled the
impatient spirit of the Barbarians to a measure of disgrace, which the
misconduct of his predecessor rendered wise and indispensable. The Goths
consented to retreat in the presence of a victorious enemy; to delay
till the next spring the operations of offensive war; to summon their
scattered forces; to relinquish their distant possessions, and to trust
even Rome itself to the faith of its inhabitants. Leuderis, an ancient
warrior, was left in the capital with four thousand soldiers; a feeble
garrison, which might have seconded the zeal, though it was incapable
of opposing the wishes, of the Romans. But a momentary enthusiasm of
religion and patriotism was kindled in their minds. They furiously
exclaimed, that the apostolic throne should no longer be profaned by the
triumph or toleration of Arianism; that the tombs of the Caesars
should no longer be trampled by the savages of the North; and, without
reflecting, that Italy must sink into a province of Constantinople,
they fondly hailed the restoration of a Roman emperor as a new aera
of freedom and prosperity. The deputies of the pope and clergy, of the
senate and people, invited the lieutenant of Justinian to accept their
voluntary allegiance, and to enter the city, whose gates would be thrown
open for his reception. As soon as Belisarius had fortified his new
conquests, Naples and Cumae, he advanced about twenty miles to the banks
of the Vulturnus, contemplated the decayed grandeur of Capua, and halted
at the separation of the Latin and Appian ways. The work of the censor,
after the incessant use of nine centuries, still preserved its primaeval
beauty, and not a flaw could be discovered in the large polished stones,
of which that solid, though narrow road, was so firmly compacted. [73]
Belisarius, however, preferred the Latin way, which, at a distance from
the sea and the marshes, skirted in a space of one hundred and twenty
miles along the foot of the mountains. His enemies had disappeared: when
he made his entrance through the Asinarian gate, the garrison departed
without molestation along the Flaminian way; and the city, after
sixty years' servitude, was delivered from the yoke of the Barbarians.
Leuderis alone, from a motive of pride or discontent, refused to
accompany the fugitives; and the Gothic chief, himself a trophy of the
victory, was sent with the keys of Rome to the throne of the emperor
Justinian. [74]

[Footnote 71: The Decennovium is strangely confounded by Cluverius (tom.
ii. p. 1007) with the River Ufens. It was in truth a canal of nineteen
miles, from Forum Appii to Terracina, on which Horace embarked in the
night. The Decennovium, which is mentioned by Lucan, Dion Cassius, and
Cassiodorus, has been sufficiently ruined, restored, and obliterated,
(D'Anville, Anayse de l'Italie, p. 185, &c.)]

[Footnote 72: A Jew, gratified his contempt and hatred for all
the Christians, by enclosing three bands, each of ten hogs, and
discriminated by the names of Goths, Greeks, and Romans. Of the first,
almost all were found dead; almost all the second were alive: of the
third, half died, and the rest lost their bristles. No unsuitable emblem
of the event]

[Footnote 73: Bergier (Hist. des Grands Chemins des Romains, tom. i. p.
221-228, 440-444) examines the structure and materials, while D'Anville
(Analyse d'Italie, p. 200--123) defines the geographical line.]

[Footnote 74: Of the first recovery of Rome, the year (536) is
certain, from the series of events, rather than from the corrupt, or
interpolated, text of Procopius. The month (December) is ascertained by
Evagrius, (l. iv. v. 19;) and the day (the tenth) may be admitted on
the slight evidence of Nicephorus Callistus, (l. xvii. c. 13.) For this
accurate chronology, we are indebted to the diligence and judgment
of Pagi, (tom, ii. p. 659, 560.) Note: Compare Maltret's note, in the
edition of Dindorf the ninth is the day, according to his reading,--M.]

The first days, which coincided with the old Saturnalia, were devoted to
mutual congratulation and the public joy; and the Catholics prepared to
celebrate, without a rival, the approaching festival of the nativity of
Christ. In the familiar conversation of a hero, the Romans acquired some
notion of the virtues which history ascribed to their ancestors; they
were edified by the apparent respect of Belisarius for the successor
of St. Peter, and his rigid discipline secured in the midst of war the
blessings of tranquillity and justice. They applauded the rapid success
of his arms, which overran the adjacent country, as far as Narni,
Perusia, and Spoleto; but they trembled, the senate, the clergy, and the
unwarlike people, as soon as they understood that he had resolved, and
would speedily be reduced, to sustain a siege against the powers of the
Gothic monarchy. The designs of Vitiges were executed, during the winter
season, with diligence and effect. From their rustic habitations, from
their distant garrisons, the Goths assembled at Ravenna for the defence
of their country; and such were their numbers, that, after an army had
been detached for the relief of Dalmatia, one hundred and fifty thousand
fighting men marched under the royal standard. According to the degrees
of rank or merit, the Gothic king distributed arms and horses, rich
gifts, and liberal promises; he moved along the Flaminian way, declined
the useless sieges of Perusia and Spoleto, respected he impregnable
rock of Narni, and arrived within two miles of Rome at the foot of
the Milvian bridge. The narrow passage was fortified with a tower, and
Belisarius had computed the value of the twenty days which must be lost
in the construction of another bridge. But the consternation of the
soldiers of the tower, who either fled or deserted, disappointed his
hopes, and betrayed his person into the most imminent danger. At the
head of one thousand horse, the Roman general sallied from the Flaminian
gate to mark the ground of an advantageous position, and to survey the
camp of the Barbarians; but while he still believed them on the other
side of the Tyber, he was suddenly encompassed and assaulted by their
numerous squadrons. The fate of Italy depended on his life; and the
deserters pointed to the conspicuous horse a bay, [75] with a white
face, which he rode on that memorable day. "Aim at the bay horse,"
was the universal cry. Every bow was bent, every javelin was directed,
against that fatal object, and the command was repeated and obeyed by
thousands who were ignorant of its real motive. The bolder Barbarians
advanced to the more honorable combat of swords and spears; and the
praise of an enemy has graced the fall of Visandus, the standard-bearer,
[76] who maintained his foremost station, till he was pierced with
thirteen wounds, perhaps by the hand of Belisarius himself. The Roman
general was strong, active, and dexterous; on every side he discharged
his weighty and mortal strokes: his faithful guards imitated his valor,
and defended his person; and the Goths, after the loss of a thousand
men, fled before the arms of a hero. They were rashly pursued to their
camp; and the Romans, oppressed by multitudes, made a gradual, and at
length a precipitate retreat to the gates of the city: the gates were
shut against the fugitives; and the public terror was increased, by the
report that Belisarius was slain. His countenance was indeed disfigured
by sweat, dust, and blood; his voice was hoarse, his strength was almost
exhausted; but his unconquerable spirit still remained; he imparted that
spirit to his desponding companions; and their last desperate charge was
felt by the flying Barbarians, as if a new army, vigorous and entire,
had been poured from the city. The Flaminian gate was thrown open to a
real triumph; but it was not before Belisarius had visited every post,
and provided for the public safety, that he could be persuaded, by his
wife and friends, to taste the needful refreshments of food and sleep.
In the more improved state of the art of war, a general is seldom
required, or even permitted to display the personal prowess of a
soldier; and the example of Belisarius may be added to the rare examples
of Henry IV., of Pyrrhus, and of Alexander.

[Footnote 75: A horse of a bay or red color was styled by the Greeks,
balan by the Barbarians, and spadix by the Romans. Honesti spadices,
says Virgil, (Georgic. l. iii. 72, with the Observations of Martin and
Heyne.) It signifies a branch of the palm-tree, whose name is synonymous
to red, (Aulus Gellius, ii. 26.)]

[Footnote 76: I interpret it, not as a proper, name, but an office,
standard-bearer, from bandum, (vexillum,) a Barbaric word adopted by
the Greeks and Romans, (Paul Diacon. l. i. c. 20, p. 760. Grot. Nomina
Hethica, p. 575. Ducange, Gloss. Latin. tom. i. p. 539, 540.)]

After this first and unsuccessful trial of their enemies, the whole army
of the Goths passed the Tyber, and formed the siege of the city, which
continued above a year, till their final departure. Whatever fancy may
conceive, the severe compass of the geographer defines the circumference
of Rome within a line of twelve miles and three hundred and forty-five
paces; and that circumference, except in the Vatican, has invariably
been the same from the triumph of Aurelian to the peaceful but obscure
reign of the modern popes. [77] But in the day of her greatness, the
space within her walls was crowded with habitations and inhabitants; and
the populous suburbs, that stretched along the public roads, were darted
like so many rays from one common centre. Adversity swept away these
extraneous ornaments, and left naked and desolate a considerable part
even of the seven hills. Yet Rome in its present state could send into
the field about thirty thousand males of a military age; [78] and,
notwithstanding the want of discipline and exercise, the far greater
part, inured to the hardships of poverty, might be capable of bearing
arms for the defence of their country and religion. The prudence of
Belisarius did not neglect this important resource. His soldiers were
relieved by the zeal and diligence of the people, who watched while they
slept, and labored while they reposed: he accepted the voluntary service
of the bravest and most indigent of the Roman youth; and the companies
of townsmen sometimes represented, in a vacant post, the presence of the
troops which had been drawn away to more essential duties. But his just
confidence was placed in the veterans who had fought under his banner in
the Persian and African wars; and although that gallant band was reduced
to five thousand men, he undertook, with such contemptible numbers,
to defend a circle of twelve miles, against an army of one hundred
and fifty thousand Barbarians. In the walls of Rome, which Belisarius
constructed or restored, the materials of ancient architecture may be
discerned; [79] and the whole fortification was completed, except in a
chasm still extant between the Pincian and Flaminian gates, which the
prejudices of the Goths and Romans left under the effectual guard of St.
Peter the apostle. [80]

[Footnote 77: M. D'Anville has given, in the Memoirs of the Academy
for the year 1756, (tom. xxx. p. 198--236,) a plan of Rome on a smaller
scale, but far more accurate than that which he had delineated in 1738
for Rollin's history. Experience had improved his knowledge and instead
of Rossi's topography, he used the new and excellent map of Nolli.
Pliny's old measure of thirteen must be reduced to eight miles. It
is easier to alter a text, than to remove hills or buildings. * Note:
Compare Gibbon, ch. xi. note 43, and xxxi. 67, and ch. lxxi. "It is
quite clear," observes Sir J. Hobhouse, "that all these measurements
differ, (in the first and second it is 21, in the text 12 and 345 paces,
in the last 10,) yet it is equally clear that the historian avers that
they are all the same." The present extent, 12 3/4 nearly agrees with
the second statement of Gibbon. Sir. J. Hobhouse also observes that the
walls were enlarged by Constantine; but there can be no doubt that the
circuit has been much changed. Illust. of Ch. Harold, p. 180.--M.]

[Footnote 78: In the year 1709, Labat (Voyages en Italie, tom. iii.
p. 218) reckoned 138,568 Christian souls, besides 8000 or 10,000
Jews--without souls? In the year 1763, the numbers exceeded 160,000.]

[Footnote 79: The accurate eye of Nardini (Roma Antica, l. i. c. viii.
p. 31) could distinguish the tumultuarie opere di Belisario.]

[Footnote 80: The fissure and leaning in the upper part of the wall,
which Procopius observed, (Goth. l. i. c. 13,) is visible to the present
hour, (Douat. Roma Vetus, l. i. c. 17, p. 53, 54.)]

The battlements or bastions were shaped in sharp angles a ditch, broad
and deep, protected the foot of the rampart; and the archers on the
rampart were assisted by military engines; the balistri, a powerful
cross-bow, which darted short but massy arrows; the onagri, or wild
asses, which, on the principle of a sling, threw stones and bullets of
an enormous size. [81] A chain was drawn across the Tyber; the arches of
the aqueducts were made impervious, and the mole or sepulchre of Hadrian
[82] was converted, for the first time, to the uses of a citadel. That
venerable structure, which contained the ashes of the Antonines, was a
circular turret rising from a quadrangular basis; it was covered with
the white marble of Paros, and decorated by the statues of gods and
heroes; and the lover of the arts must read with a sigh, that the works
of Praxiteles or Lysippus were torn from their lofty pedestals, and
hurled into the ditch on the heads of the besiegers. [83] To each of his
lieutenants Belisarius assigned the defence of a gate, with the wise and
peremptory instruction, that, whatever might be the alarm, they should
steadily adhere to their respective posts, and trust their general for
the safety of Rome. The formidable host of the Goths was insufficient to
embrace the ample measure of the city, of the fourteen gates, seven only
were invested from the Proenestine to the Flaminian way; and Vitiges
divided his troops into six camps, each of which was fortified with a
ditch and rampart. On the Tuscan side of the river, a seventh encampment
was formed in the field or circus of the Vatican, for the important
purpose of commanding the Milvian bridge and the course of the Tyber;
but they approached with devotion the adjacent church of St. Peter; and
the threshold of the holy apostles was respected during the siege by a
Christian enemy. In the ages of victory, as often as the senate decreed
some distant conquest, the consul denounced hostilities, by unbarring,
in solemn pomp, the gates of the temple of Janus. [84] Domestic war now
rendered the admonition superfluous, and the ceremony was superseded by
the establishment of a new religion. But the brazen temple of Janus was
left standing in the forum; of a size sufficient only to contain the
statue of the god, five cubits in height, of a human form, but with two
faces directed to the east and west. The double gates were likewise
of brass; and a fruitless effort to turn them on their rusty hinges
revealed the scandalous secret that some Romans were still attached to
the superstition of their ancestors.

[Footnote 81: Lipsius (Opp. tom. iii. Poliorcet, l. iii.) was ignorant
of this clear and conspicuous passage of Procopius, (Goth. l. i. c. 21.)
The engine was named the wild ass, a calcitrando, (Hen. Steph. Thesaur.
Linguae Graec. tom. ii. p. 1340, 1341, tom. iii. p. 877.) I have seen
an ingenious model, contrived and executed by General Melville, which
imitates or surpasses the art of antiquity.]

[Footnote 82: The description of this mausoleum, or mole, in Procopius,
(l. i. c. 25.) is the first and best. The height above the walls. On
Nolli's great plan, the sides measure 260 English feet. * Note: Donatus
and Nardini suppose that Hadrian's tomb was fortified by Honorius;
it was united to the wall by men of old, (Procop in loc.) Gibbon has
mistaken the breadth for the height above the walls Hobhouse, Illust. of
Childe Harold, p. 302.--M.]

[Footnote 83: Praxiteles excelled in Fauns, and that of Athens was his
own masterpiece. Rome now contains about thirty of the same character.
When the ditch of St. Angelo was cleansed under Urban VIII., the workmen
found the sleeping Faun of the Barberini palace; but a leg, a thigh, and
the right arm, had been broken from that beautiful statue, (Winkelman,
Hist. de l'Art, tom. ii. p. 52, 53, tom iii. p. 265.)]

[Footnote 84: Procopius has given the best description of the temple of
Janus a national deity of Latium, (Heyne, Excurs. v. ad l. vii. Aeneid.)
It was once a gate in the primitive city of Romulus and Numa, (Nardini,
p. 13, 256, 329.) Virgil has described the ancient rite like a poet
and an antiquarian.] Eighteen days were employed by the besiegers, to
provide all the instruments of attack which antiquity had invented.
Fascines were prepared to fill the ditches, scaling-ladders to ascend
the walls. The largest trees of the forest supplied the timbers of four
battering-rams: their heads were armed with iron; they were suspended by
ropes, and each of them was worked by the labor of fifty men. The
lofty wooden turrets moved on wheels or rollers, and formed a spacious
platform of the level of the rampart. On the morning of the nineteenth
day, a general attack was made from the Praenestine gate to the Vatican:
seven Gothic columns, with their military engines, advanced to the
assault; and the Romans, who lined the ramparts, listened with doubt and
anxiety to the cheerful assurances of their commander. As soon as the
enemy approached the ditch, Belisarius himself drew the first arrow; and
such was his strength and dexterity, that he transfixed the foremost of
the Barbarian leaders.

As shout of applause and victory was reechoed along the wall. He drew a
second arrow, and the stroke was followed with the same success and the
same acclamation. The Roman general then gave the word, that the archers
should aim at the teams of oxen; they were instantly covered with mortal
wounds; the towers which they drew remained useless and immovable, and
a single moment disconcerted the laborious projects of the king of the
Goths. After this disappointment, Vitiges still continued, or feigned
to continue, the assault of the Salarian gate, that he might divert the
attention of his adversary, while his principal forces more strenuously
attacked the Praenestine gate and the sepulchre of Hadrian, at the
distance of three miles from each other. Near the former, the double
walls of the Vivarium [85] were low or broken; the fortifications of the
latter were feebly guarded: the vigor of the Goths was excited by the
hope of victory and spoil; and if a single post had given way, the
Romans, and Rome itself, were irrecoverably lost. This perilous day was
the most glorious in the life of Belisarius. Amidst tumult and dismay,
the whole plan of the attack and defence was distinctly present to his
mind; he observed the changes of each instant, weighed every possible
advantage, transported his person to the scenes of danger, and
communicated his spirit in calm and decisive orders. The contest was
fiercely maintained from the morning to the evening; the Goths were
repulsed on all sides; and each Roman might boast that he had vanquished
thirty Barbarians, if the strange disproportion of numbers were
not counterbalanced by the merit of one man. Thirty thousand Goths,
according to the confession of their own chiefs, perished in this bloody
action; and the multitude of the wounded was equal to that of the slain.
When they advanced to the assault, their close disorder suffered not a
javelin to fall without effect; and as they retired, the populace of the
city joined the pursuit, and slaughtered, with impunity, the backs of
their flying enemies. Belisarius instantly sallied from the gates; and
while the soldiers chanted his name and victory, the hostile engines of
war were reduced to ashes. Such was the loss and consternation of the
Goths, that, from this day, the siege of Rome degenerated into a tedious
and indolent blockade; and they were incessantly harassed by the Roman
general, who, in frequent skirmishes, destroyed above five thousand of
their bravest troops. Their cavalry was unpractised in the use of the
bow; their archers served on foot; and this divided force was incapable
of contending with their adversaries, whose lances and arrows, at a
distance, or at hand, were alike formidable. The consummate skill of
Belisarius embraced the favorable opportunities; and as he chose the
ground and the moment, as he pressed the charge or sounded the retreat,
[86] the squadrons which he detached were seldom unsuccessful. These
partial advantages diffused an impatient ardor among the soldiers and
people, who began to feel the hardships of a siege, and to disregard the
dangers of a general engagement. Each plebeian conceived himself to be
a hero, and the infantry, who, since the decay of discipline, were
rejected from the line of battle, aspired to the ancient honors of the
Roman legion. Belisarius praised the spirit of his troops, condemned
their presumption, yielded to their clamors, and prepared the remedies
of a defeat, the possibility of which he alone had courage to suspect.
In the quarter of the Vatican, the Romans prevailed; and if the
irreparable moments had not been wasted in the pillage of the camp, they
might have occupied the Milvian bridge, and charged in the rear of the
Gothic host. On the other side of the Tyber, Belisarius advanced from
the Pincian and Salarian gates. But his army, four thousand soldiers
perhaps, was lost in a spacious plain; they were encompassed and
oppressed by fresh multitudes, who continually relieved the broken ranks
of the Barbarians. The valiant leaders of the infantry were unskilled
to conquer; they died: the retreat (a hasty retreat) was covered by the
prudence of the general, and the victors started back with affright from
the formidable aspect of an armed rampart. The reputation of Belisarius
was unsullied by a defeat; and the vain confidence of the Goths was not
less serviceable to his designs than the repentance and modesty of the
Roman troops.

[Footnote 85: Vivarium was an angle in the new wall enclosed for wild
beasts, (Procopius, Goth. l. i. c. 23.) The spot is still visible in
Nardini (l iv. c. 2, p. 159, 160,) and Nolli's great plan of Rome.]

[Footnote 86: For the Roman trumpet, and its various notes, consult
Lipsius de Militia Romana, (Opp. tom. iii. l. iv. Dialog. x. p.
125-129.) A mode of distinguishing the charge by the horse-trumpet of
solid brass, and the retreat by the foot-trumpet of leather and light
wood, was recommended by Procopius, and adopted by Belisarius.]

Chapter XLI: Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius.--Part IV.

From the moment that Belisarius had determined to sustain a siege, his
assiduous care provided Rome against the danger of famine, more dreadful
than the Gothic arms. An extraordinary supply of corn was imported from
Sicily: the harvests of Campania and Tuscany were forcibly swept for the
use of the city; and the rights of private property were infringed by
the strong plea of the public safety. It might easily be foreseen
that the enemy would intercept the aqueducts; and the cessation of the
water-mills was the first inconvenience, which was speedily removed
by mooring large vessels, and fixing mill-stones in the current of
the river. The stream was soon embarrassed by the trunks of trees, and
polluted with dead bodies; yet so effectual were the precautions of
the Roman general, that the waters of the Tyber still continued to
give motion to the mills and drink to the inhabitants: the more distant
quarters were supplied from domestic wells; and a besieged city might
support, without impatience, the privation of her public baths. A large
portion of Rome, from the Praenestine gate to the church of St. Paul,
was never invested by the Goths; their excursions were restrained by
the activity of the Moorish troops: the navigation of the Tyber, and the
Latin, Appian, and Ostian ways, were left free and unmolested for the
introduction of corn and cattle, or the retreat of the inhabitants, who
sought refuge in Campania or Sicily. Anxious to relieve himself from a
useless and devouring multitude, Belisarius issued his peremptory
orders for the instant departure of the women, the children, and slaves;
required his soldiers to dismiss their male and female attendants, and
regulated their allowance that one moiety should be given in provisions,
and the other in money. His foresight was justified by the increase of
the public distress, as soon as the Goths had occupied two important
posts in the neighborhood of Rome. By the loss of the port, or, as it
is now called, the city of Porto, he was deprived of the country on
the right of the Tyber, and the best communication with the sea; and he
reflected, with grief and anger, that three hundred men, could he have
spared such a feeble band, might have defended its impregnable works.
Seven miles from the capital, between the Appian and the Latin ways, two
principal aqueducts crossing, and again crossing each other: enclosed
within their solid and lofty arches a fortified space, [87] where
Vitiges established a camp of seven thousand Goths to intercept the
convoy of Sicily and Campania. The granaries of Rome were insensibly
exhausted, the adjacent country had been wasted with fire and sword;
such scanty supplies as might yet be obtained by hasty excursions were
the reward of valor, and the purchase of wealth: the forage of the
horses, and the bread of the soldiers, never failed: but in the
last months of the siege, the people were exposed to the miseries of
scarcity, unwholesome food, [88] and contagious disorders. Belisarius
saw and pitied their sufferings; but he had foreseen, and he watched the
decay of their loyalty, and the progress of their discontent. Adversity
had awakened the Romans from the dreams of grandeur and freedom, and
taught them the humiliating lesson, that it was of small moment to their
real happiness, whether the name of their master was derived from the
Gothic or the Latin language. The lieutenant of Justinian listened to
their just complaints, but he rejected with disdain the idea of flight
or capitulation; repressed their clamorous impatience for battle; amused
them with the prospect of a sure and speedy relief; and secured himself
and the city from the effects of their despair or treachery. Twice in
each month he changed the station of the officers to whom the custody
of the gates was committed: the various precautions of patroles, watch
words, lights, and music, were repeatedly employed to discover whatever
passed on the ramparts; out-guards were posted beyond the ditch, and the
trusty vigilance of dogs supplied the more doubtful fidelity of mankind.
A letter was intercepted, which assured the king of the Goths that the
Asinarian gate, adjoining to the Lateran church, should be secretly
opened to his troops. On the proof or suspicion of treason, several
senators were banished, and the pope Sylverius was summoned to attend
the representative of his sovereign, at his head-quarters in the Pincian
palace. [89] The ecclesiastics, who followed their bishop, were detained
in the first or second apartment, [90] and he alone was admitted to the
presence of Belisarius. The conqueror of Rome and Carthage was modestly
seated at the feet of Antonina, who reclined on a stately couch: the
general was silent, but the voice of reproach and menace issued from
the mouth of his imperious wife. Accused by credible witnesses, and
the evidence of his own subscription, the successor of St. Peter was
despoiled of his pontifical ornaments, clad in the mean habit of a monk,
and embarked, without delay, for a distant exile in the East. [9011] At
the emperor's command, the clergy of Rome proceeded to the choice of a
new bishop; and after a solemn invocation of the Holy Ghost, elected the
deacon Vigilius, who had purchased the papal throne by a bribe of two
hundred pounds of gold. The profit, and consequently the guilt, of this
simony, was imputed to Belisarius: but the hero obeyed the orders of his
wife; Antonina served the passions of the empress; and Theodora lavished
her treasures, in the vain hope of obtaining a pontiff hostile or
indifferent to the council of Chalcedon. [91]

[Footnote 87: Procopius (Goth. l. ii. c. 3) has forgot to name these
aqueducts nor can such a double intersection, at such a distance from
Rome, be clearly ascertained from the writings of Frontinus, Fabretti,
and Eschinard, de Aquis and de Agro Romano, or from the local maps of
Lameti and Cingolani. Seven or eight miles from the city, (50 stadia,)
on the road to Albano, between the Latin and Appian ways, I discern the
remains of an aqueduct, (probably the Septimian,) a series (630 paces)
of arches twenty-five feet high.]

[Footnote 88: They made sausages of mule's flesh; unwholesome, if the
animals had died of the plague. Otherwise, the famous Bologna sausages
are said to be made of ass flesh, (Voyages de Labat, tom. ii. p. 218.)]

[Footnote 89: The name of the palace, the hill, and the adjoining gate,
were all derived from the senator Pincius. Some recent vestiges of
temples and churches are now smoothed in the garden of the Minims of
the Trinita del Monte, (Nardini, l. iv. c. 7, p. 196. Eschinard, p. 209,
210, the old plan of Buffalino, and the great plan of Nolli.) Belisarius
had fixed his station between the Pincian and Salarian gates, (Procop.
Goth. l. i. c. 15.)]

[Footnote 90: From the mention of the primum et secundum velum, it
should seem that Belisarius, even in a siege, represented the emperor,
and maintained the proud ceremonial of the Byzantine palace.]

[Footnote 9011: De Beau, as a good Catholic, makes the Pope the victim
of a dark intrigue. Lord Mahon, (p. 225.) with whom I concur, summed up
against him.--M.]

[Footnote 91: Of this act of sacrilege, Procopius (Goth. l. i. c. 25) is
a dry and reluctant witness. The narratives of Liberatus (Breviarium,
c. 22) and Anastasius (de Vit. Pont. p. 39) are characteristic, but
passionate. Hear the execrations of Cardinal Baronius, (A.D. 536, No.
123 A.D. 538, No. 4--20:) portentum, facinus omni execratione dignum.]

The epistle of Belisarius to the emperor announced his victory, his
danger, and his resolution. "According to your commands, we have entered
the dominions of the Goths, and reduced to your obedience Sicily,
Campania, and the city of Rome; but the loss of these conquests will be
more disgraceful than their acquisition was glorious. Hitherto we have
successfully fought against the multitudes of the Barbarians, but their
multitudes may finally prevail. Victory is the gift of Providence,
but the reputation of kings and generals depends on the success or the
failure of their designs. Permit me to speak with freedom: if you wish
that we should live, send us subsistence; if you desire that we should
conquer, send us arms, horses, and men. The Romans have received us as
friends and deliverers: but in our present distress, they will be
either betrayed by their confidence, or we shall be oppressed by
their treachery and hatred. For myself, my life is consecrated to your
service: it is yours to reflect, whether my death in this situation
will contribute to the glory and prosperity of your reign." Perhaps that
reign would have been equally prosperous if the peaceful master of
the East had abstained from the conquest of Africa and Italy: but as
Justinian was ambitious of fame, he made some efforts (they were
feeble and languid) to support and rescue his victorious general. A
reenforcement of sixteen hundred Sclavonians and Huns was led by Martin
and Valerian; and as they reposed during the winter season in the
harbors of Greece, the strength of the men and horses was not impaired
by the fatigues of a sea-voyage; and they distinguished their valor
in the first sally against the besiegers. About the time of the summer
solstice, Euthalius landed at Terracina with large sums of money for the
payment of the troops: he cautiously proceeded along the Appian way, and
this convoy entered Rome through the gate Capena, [92] while Belisarius,
on the other side, diverted the attention of the Goths by a vigorous and
successful skirmish. These seasonable aids, the use and reputation
of which were dexterously managed by the Roman general, revived
the courage, or at least the hopes, of the soldiers and people. The
historian Procopius was despatched with an important commission to
collect the troops and provisions which Campania could furnish, or
Constantinople had sent; and the secretary of Belisarius was soon
followed by Antonina herself, [93] who boldly traversed the posts of
the enemy, and returned with the Oriental succors to the relief of her
husband and the besieged city. A fleet of three thousand Isaurians cast
anchor in the Bay of Naples and afterwards at Ostia. Above two thousand
horse, of whom a part were Thracians, landed at Tarentum; and, after
the junction of five hundred soldiers of Campania, and a train of wagons
laden with wine and flour, they directed their march on the Appian way,
from Capua to the neighborhood of Rome. The forces that arrived by
land and sea were united at the mouth of the Tyber. Antonina convened
a council of war: it was resolved to surmount, with sails and oars,
the adverse stream of the river; and the Goths were apprehensive of
disturbing, by any rash hostilities, the negotiation to which Belisarius
had craftily listened. They credulously believed that they saw no more
than the vanguard of a fleet and army, which already covered the Ionian
Sea and the plains of Campania; and the illusion was supported by the
haughty language of the Roman general, when he gave audience to the
ambassadors of Vitiges. After a specious discourse to vindicate the
justice of his cause, they declared, that, for the sake of peace, they
were disposed to renounce the possession of Sicily. "The emperor is not
less generous," replied his lieutenant, with a disdainful smile, "in
return for a gift which you no longer possess: he presents you with an
ancient province of the empire; he resigns to the Goths the sovereignty
of the British island." Belisarius rejected with equal firmness and
contempt the offer of a tribute; but he allowed the Gothic ambassadors
to seek their fate from the mouth of Justinian himself; and consented,
with seeming reluctance, to a truce of three months, from the winter
solstice to the equinox of spring. Prudence might not safely trust
either the oaths or hostages of the Barbarians, and the conscious
superiority of the Roman chief was expressed in the distribution of his
troops. As soon as fear or hunger compelled the Goths to evacuate
Alba, Porto, and Centumcellae, their place was instantly supplied; the
garrisons of Narni, Spoleto, and Perusia, were reenforced, and the seven
camps of the besiegers were gradually encompassed with the calamities of
a siege. The prayers and pilgrimage of Datius, bishop of Milan, were not
without effect; and he obtained one thousand Thracians and Isaurians, to
assist the revolt of Liguria against her Arian tyrant. At the same time,
John the Sanguinary, [94] the nephew of Vitalian, was detached with two
thousand chosen horse, first to Alba, on the Fucine Lake, and afterwards
to the frontiers of Picenum, on the Hadriatic Sea. "In the province,"
said Belisarius, "the Goths have deposited their families and treasures,
without a guard or the suspicion of danger. Doubtless they will violate
the truce: let them feel your presence, before they hear of your
motions. Spare the Italians; suffer not any fortified places to remain
hostile in your rear; and faithfully reserve the spoil for an equal and
common partition. It would not be reasonable," he added with a laugh,
"that whilst we are toiling to the destruction of the drones, our more
fortunate brethren should rifle and enjoy the honey."

[Footnote 92: The old Capena was removed by Aurelian to, or near, the
modern gate of St. Sebastian, (see Nolli's plan.) That memorable spot
has been consecrated by the Egerian grove, the memory of Numa two umphal
arches, the sepulchres of the Scipios, Metelli, &c.]

[Footnote 93: The expression of Procopius has an invidious cast, (Goth.
l. ii. c. 4.) Yet he is speaking of a woman.]

[Footnote 94: Anastasius (p. 40) has preserved this epithet of
Sanguinarius which might do honor to a tiger.]

The whole nation of the Ostrogoths had been assembled for the attack,
and was almost entirely consumed in the siege of Rome. If any credit be
due to an intelligent spectator, one third at least of their enormous
host was destroyed, in frequent and bloody combats under the walls of
the city. The bad fame and pernicious qualities of the summer air might
already be imputed to the decay of agriculture and population; and
the evils of famine and pestilence were aggravated by their own
licentiousness, and the unfriendly disposition of the country. While
Vitiges struggled with his fortune, while he hesitated between shame and
ruin, his retreat was hastened by domestic alarms. The king of the Goths
was informed by trembling messengers, that John the Sanguinary spread
the devastations of war from the Apennine to the Hadriatic; that the
rich spoils and innumerable captives of Picenum were lodged in the
fortifications of Rimini; and that this formidable chief had defeated
his uncle, insulted his capital, and seduced, by secret correspondence,
the fidelity of his wife, the imperious daughter of Amalasontha. Yet,
before he retired, Vitiges made a last effort, either to storm or
to surprise the city. A secret passage was discovered in one of the
aqueducts; two citizens of the Vatican were tempted by bribes to
intoxicate the guards of the Aurelian gate; an attack was meditated
on the walls beyond the Tyber, in a place which was not fortified with
towers; and the Barbarians advanced, with torches and scaling-ladders,
to the assault of the Pincian gate. But every attempt was defeated by
the intrepid vigilance of Belisarius and his band of veterans, who,
in the most perilous moments, did not regret the absence of their
companions; and the Goths, alike destitute of hope and subsistence,
clamorously urged their departure before the truce should expire, and
the Roman cavalry should again be united. One year and nine days after
the commencement of the siege, an army, so lately strong and triumphant,
burnt their tents, and tumultuously repassed the Milvian bridge. They
repassed not with impunity: their thronging multitudes, oppressed in a
narrow passage, were driven headlong into the Tyber, by their own fears
and the pursuit of the enemy; and the Roman general, sallying from the
Pincian gate, inflicted a severe and disgraceful wound on their retreat.
The slow length of a sickly and desponding host was heavily dragged
along the Flaminian way; from whence the Barbarians were sometimes
compelled to deviate, lest they should encounter the hostile garrisons
that guarded the high road to Rimini and Ravenna. Yet so powerful was
this flying army, that Vitiges spared ten thousand men for the defence
of the cities which he was most solicitous to preserve, and detached
his nephew Uraias, with an adequate force, for the chastisement of
rebellious Milan. At the head of his principal army, he besieged Rimini,
only thirty-three miles distant from the Gothic capital. A feeble
rampart, and a shallow ditch, were maintained by the skill and valor of
John the Sanguinary, who shared the danger and fatigue of the meanest
soldier, and emulated, on a theatre less illustrious, the military
virtues of his great commander. The towers and battering-engines of the
Barbarians were rendered useless; their attacks were repulsed; and the
tedious blockade, which reduced the garrison to the last extremity of
hunger, afforded time for the union and march of the Roman forces.
A fleet, which had surprised Ancona, sailed along the coast of the
Hadriatic, to the relief of the besieged city. The eunuch Narses landed
in Picenum with two thousand Heruli and five thousand of the bravest
troops of the East. The rock of the Apennine was forced; ten thousand
veterans moved round the foot of the mountains, under the command
of Belisarius himself; and a new army, whose encampment blazed with
innumerable lights, appeared to advance along the Flaminian way.
Overwhelmed with astonishment and despair, the Goths abandoned the siege
of Rimini, their tents, their standards, and their leaders; and Vitiges,
who gave or followed the example of flight, never halted till he found a
shelter within the walls and morasses of Ravenna. To these walls, and to
some fortresses destitute of any mutual support, the Gothic monarchy
was now reduced. The provinces of Italy had embraced the party of
the emperor and his army, gradually recruited to the number of twenty
thousand men, must have achieved an easy and rapid conquest, if their
invincible powers had not been weakened by the discord of the Roman
chiefs. Before the end of the siege, an act of blood, ambiguous and
indiscreet, sullied the fair fame of Belisarius. Presidius, a loyal
Italian, as he fled from Ravenna to Rome, was rudely stopped by
Constantine, the military governor of Spoleto, and despoiled, even in a
church, of two daggers richly inlaid with gold and precious stones. As
soon as the public danger had subsided, Presidius complained of the loss
and injury: his complaint was heard, but the order of restitution was
disobeyed by the pride and avarice of the offender. Exasperated by
the delay, Presidius boldly arrested the general's horse as he passed
through the forum; and, with the spirit of a citizen, demanded the
common benefit of the Roman laws. The honor of Belisarius was engaged;
he summoned a council; claimed the obedience of his subordinate officer;
and was provoked, by an insolent reply, to call hastily for the presence
of his guards. Constantine, viewing their entrance as the signal of
death, drew his sword, and rushed on the general, who nimbly eluded the
stroke, and was protected by his friends; while the desperate assassin
was disarmed, dragged into a neighboring chamber, and executed, or
rather murdered, by the guards, at the arbitrary command of Belisarius.
[95] In this hasty act of violence, the guilt of Constantine was no
longer remembered; the despair and death of that valiant officer were
secretly imputed to the revenge of Antonina; and each of his colleagues,
conscious of the same rapine, was apprehensive of the same fate.
The fear of a common enemy suspended the effects of their envy
and discontent; but in the confidence of approaching victory, they
instigated a powerful rival to oppose the conqueror of Rome and Africa.
From the domestic service of the palace, and the administration of the
private revenue, Narses the eunuch was suddenly exalted to the head of
an army; and the spirit of a hero, who afterwards equalled the merit and
glory of Belisarius, served only to perplex the operations of the Gothic
war. To his prudent counsels, the relief of Rimini was ascribed by the
leaders of the discontented faction, who exhorted Narses to assume an
independent and separate command. The epistle of Justinian had indeed
enjoined his obedience to the general; but the dangerous exception, "as
far as may be advantageous to the public service," reserved some freedom
of judgment to the discreet favorite, who had so lately departed from
the sacred and familiar conversation of his sovereign. In the exercise
of this doubtful right, the eunuch perpetually dissented from the
opinions of Belisarius; and, after yielding with reluctance to the siege
of Urbino, he deserted his colleague in the night, and marched away to
the conquest of the Aemilian province. The fierce and formidable bands
of the Heruli were attached to the person of Narses; [96] ten thousand
Romans and confederates were persuaded to march under his banners; every
malecontent embraced the fair opportunity of revenging his private or
imaginary wrongs; and the remaining troops of Belisarius were divided
and dispersed from the garrisons of Sicily to the shores of the
Hadriatic. His skill and perseverance overcame every obstacle: Urbino
was taken, the sieges of Faesulae Orvieto, and Auximum, were undertaken
and vigorously prosecuted; and the eunuch Narses was at length recalled
to the domestic cares of the palace. All dissensions were healed, and
all opposition was subdued, by the temperate authority of the Roman
general, to whom his enemies could not refuse their esteem; and
Belisarius inculcated the salutary lesson that the forces of the
state should compose one body, and be animated by one soul. But in the
interval of discord, the Goths were permitted to breathe; an important
season was lost, Milan was destroyed, and the northern provinces of
Italy were afflicted by an inundation of the Franks.

[Footnote 95: This transaction is related in the public history (Goth.
l. ii. c. 8) with candor or caution; in the Anecdotes (c. 7) with
malevolence or freedom; but Marcellinus, or rather his continuator, (in
Chron.,) casts a shade of premeditated assassination over the death of
Constantine. He had performed good service at Rome and Spoleto, (Procop.
Goth l. i. c. 7, 14;) but Alemannus confounds him with a Constantianus
comes stabuli.]

[Footnote 96: They refused to serve after his departure; sold their
captives and cattle to the Goths; and swore never to fight against them.
Procopius introduces a curious digression on the manners and adventures
of this wandering nation, a part of whom finally emigrated to Thule or
Scandinavia. (Goth. l. ii. c. 14, 15.)]

When Justinian first meditated the conquest of Italy, he sent
ambassadors to the kings of the Franks, and adjured them, by the common
ties of alliance and religion, to join in the holy enterprise against
the Arians. The Goths, as their want were more urgent, employed a more
effectual mode of persuasion, and vainly strove, by the gift of lands
and money, to purchase the friendship, or at least the neutrality, of
a light and perfidious nation. [97] But the arms of Belisarius, and the
revolt of the Italians, had no sooner shaken the Gothic monarchy,
than Theodebert of Austrasia, the most powerful and warlike of the
Merovingian kings, was persuaded to succor their distress by an indirect
and seasonable aid. Without expecting the consent of their sovereign,
the thousand Burgundians, his recent subjects, descended from the Alps,
and joined the troops which Vitiges had sent to chastise the revolt of
Milan. After an obstinate siege, the capital of Liguria was reduced
by famine; but no capitulation could be obtained, except for the safe
retreat of the Roman garrison. Datius, the orthodox bishop, who had
seduced his countrymen to rebellion [98] and ruin, escaped to the luxury
and honors of the Byzantine court; [99] but the clergy, perhaps the
Arian clergy, were slaughtered at the foot of their own altars by the
defenders of the Catholic faith. Three hundred thousand males were
reported to be slain; [100] the female sex, and the more precious spoil,
was resigned to the Burgundians; and the houses, or at least the walls,
of Milan, were levelled with the ground. The Goths, in their last
moments, were revenged by the destruction of a city, second only to Rome
in size and opulence, in the splendor of its buildings, or the number
of its inhabitants; and Belisarius sympathized alone in the fate of
his deserted and devoted friends. Encouraged by this successful inroad,
Theodebert himself, in the ensuing spring, invaded the plains of Italy
with an army of one hundred thousand Barbarians. [101] The king, and
some chosen followers, were mounted on horseback, and armed with lances;
the infantry, without bows or spears, were satisfied with a shield, a
sword, and a double-edged battle-axe, which, in their hands, became a
deadly and unerring weapon. Italy trembled at the march of the Franks;
and both the Gothic prince and the Roman general, alike ignorant of
their designs, solicited, with hope and terror, the friendship of these
dangerous allies. Till he had secured the passage of the Po on the
bridge of Pavia, the grandson of Clovis dissembled his intentions, which
he at length declared, by assaulting, almost at the same instant, the
hostile camps of the Romans and Goths. Instead of uniting their arms,
they fled with equal precipitation; and the fertile, though desolate
provinces of Liguria and Aemilia, were abandoned to a licentious host of
Barbarians, whose rage was not mitigated by any thoughts of settlement
or conquest. Among the cities which they ruined, Genoa, not yet
constructed of marble, is particularly enumerated; and the deaths of
thousands, according to the regular practice of war, appear to have
excited less horror than some idolatrous sacrifices of women and
children, which were performed with impunity in the camp of the most
Christian king. If it were not a melancholy truth, that the first and
most cruel sufferings must be the lot of the innocent and helpless,
history might exult in the misery of the conquerors, who, in the midst
of riches, were left destitute of bread or wine, reduced to drink the
waters of the Po, and to feed on the flesh of distempered cattle. The
dysentery swept away one third of their army; and the clamors of his
subjects, who were impatient to pass the Alps, disposed Theodebert to
listen with respect to the mild exhortations of Belisarius. The memory
of this inglorious and destructive warfare was perpetuated on the medals
of Gaul; and Justinian, without unsheathing his sword, assumed the title
of conqueror of the Franks. The Merovingian prince was offended by the
vanity of the emperor; he affected to pity the fallen fortunes of the
Goths; and his insidious offer of a federal union was fortified by
the promise or menace of descending from the Alps at the head of five
hundred thousand men. His plans of conquest were boundless, and perhaps
chimerical. The king of Austrasia threatened to chastise Justinian, and
to march to the gates of Constantinople: [102] he was overthrown and
slain [103] by a wild bull, [104] as he hunted in the Belgic or German
forests. [Footnote 97: This national reproach of perfidy (Procop. Goth.
l. ii. c. 25) offends the ear of La Mothe le Vayer, (tom. viii. p.
163--165,) who criticizes, as if he had not read, the Greek historian.]

[Footnote 98: Baronius applauds his treason, and justifies the Catholic
bishops--qui ne sub heretico principe degant omnem lapidem movent--a
useful caution. The more rational Muratori (Annali d'Italia, tom. v. p.
54) hints at the guilt of perjury, and blames at least the imprudence of

[Footnote 99: St. Datius was more successful against devils than against
Barbarians. He travelled with a numerons retinue, and occupied at
Corinth a large house. (Baronius, A.D. 538, No. 89, A.D. 539, No. 20.)]

[Footnote 100: (Compare Procopius, Goth. l. ii. c. 7, 21.) Yet such
population is incredible; and the second or third city of Italy need not
repine if we only decimate the numbers of the present text Both Milan
and Genoa revived in less than thirty years, (Paul Diacon de Gestis
Langobard. l. ii. c. 38.) Note: Procopius says distinctly that Milan was
the second city of the West. Which did Gibbon suppose could compete with
it, Ravenna or Naples; the next page he calls it the second.--M.]

[Footnote 101: Besides Procopius, perhaps too Roman, see the Chronicles
of Marius and Marcellinus, Jornandes, (in Success. Regn. in Muratori,
tom. i. p. 241,) and Gregory of Tours, (l. iii. c. 32, in tom. ii. of
the Historians of France.) Gregory supposes a defeat of Belisarius, who,
in Aimoin, (de Gestis Franc. l. ii. c. 23, in tom. iii. p. 59,) is slain
by the Franks.]

[Footnote 102: Agathias, l. i. p. 14, 15. Could he have seduced or
subdued the Gepidae or Lombards of Pannonia, the Greek historian is
confident that he must have been destroyed in Thrace.]

[Footnote 103: The king pointed his spear--the bull overturned a tree
on his head--he expired the same day. Such is the story of Agathias;
but the original historians of France (tom. ii. p. 202, 403, 558, 667)
impute his death to a fever.]

[Footnote 104: Without losing myself in a labyrinth of species and
names--the aurochs, urus, bisons, bubalus, bonasus, buffalo, &c.,
(Buffon. Hist. Nat. tom. xi., and Supplement, tom. iii. vi.,) it is
certain, that in the sixth century a large wild species of horned cattle
was hunted in the great forests of the Vosges in Lorraine, and the
Ardennes, (Greg. Turon. tom. ii. l. x. c. 10, p. 369.)]

Chapter XLI: Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius.--Part V.

As soon as Belisarius was delivered from his foreign and domestic
enemies, he seriously applied his forces to the final reduction of
Italy. In the siege of Osimo, the general was nearly transpierced with
an arrow, if the mortal stroke had not been intercepted by one of his
guards, who lost, in that pious office, the use of his hand. The Goths
of Osimo, [1041] four thousand warriors, with those of Faesulae and the
Cottian Alps, were among the last who maintained their independence; and
their gallant resistance, which almost tired the patience, deserved the
esteem, of the conqueror. His prudence refused to subscribe the safe
conduct which they asked, to join their brethren of Ravenna; but they
saved, by an honorable capitulation, one moiety at least of their
wealth, with the free alternative of retiring peaceably to their
estates, or enlisting to serve the emperor in his Persian wars. The
multitudes which yet adhered to the standard of Vitiges far surpassed
the number of the Roman troops; but neither prayers nor defiance, nor
the extreme danger of his most faithful subjects, could tempt the Gothic
king beyond the fortifications of Ravenna. These fortifications were,
indeed, impregnable to the assaults of art or violence; and when
Belisarius invested the capital, he was soon convinced that famine only
could tame the stubborn spirit of the Barbarians. The sea, the land,
and the channels of the Po, were guarded by the vigilance of the Roman
general; and his morality extended the rights of war to the practice of
poisoning the waters, [105] and secretly firing the granaries [106] of
a besieged city. [107] While he pressed the blockade of Ravenna, he was
surprised by the arrival of two ambassadors from Constantinople, with
a treaty of peace, which Justinian had imprudently signed, without
deigning to consult the author of his victory. By this disgraceful and
precarious agreement, Italy and the Gothic treasure were divided,
and the provinces beyond the Po were left with the regal title to the
successor of Theodoric. The ambassadors were eager to accomplish their
salutary commission; the captive Vitiges accepted, with transport, the
unexpected offer of a crown; honor was less prevalent among the Goths,
than the want and appetite of food; and the Roman chiefs, who murmured
at the continuance of the war, professed implicit submission to the
commands of the emperor. If Belisarius had possessed only the courage
of a soldier, the laurel would have been snatched from his hand by timid
and envious counsels; but in this decisive moment, he resolved, with
the magnanimity of a statesman, to sustain alone the danger and merit of
generous disobedience. Each of his officers gave a written opinion that
the siege of Ravenna was impracticable and hopeless: the general then
rejected the treaty of partition, and declared his own resolution of
leading Vitiges in chains to the feet of Justinian. The Goths retired
with doubt and dismay: this peremptory refusal deprived them of the only
signature which they could trust, and filled their minds with a just
apprehension, that a sagacious enemy had discovered the full extent of
their deplorable state. They compared the fame and fortune of Belisarius
with the weakness of their ill-fated king; and the comparison suggested
an extraordinary project, to which Vitiges, with apparent resignation,
was compelled to acquiesce. Partition would ruin the strength, exile
would disgrace the honor, of the nation; but they offered their arms,
their treasures, and the fortifications of Ravenna, if Belisarius would
disclaim the authority of a master, accept the choice of the Goths, and
assume, as he had deserved, the kingdom of Italy. If the false lustre
of a diadem could have tempted the loyalty of a faithful subject, his
prudence must have foreseen the inconstancy of the Barbarians, and his
rational ambition would prefer the safe and honorable station of a
Roman general. Even the patience and seeming satisfaction with which he
entertained a proposal of treason, might be susceptible of a malignant
interpretation. But the lieutenant of Justinian was conscious of his own
rectitude; he entered into a dark and crooked path, as it might lead
to the voluntary submission of the Goths; and his dexterous policy
persuaded them that he was disposed to comply with their wishes, without
engaging an oath or a promise for the performance of a treaty which he
secretly abhorred. The day of the surrender of Ravenna was stipulated
by the Gothic ambassadors: a fleet, laden with provisions, sailed as
a welcome guest into the deepest recess of the harbor: the gates were
opened to the fancied king of Italy; and Belisarius, without meeting an
enemy, triumphantly marched through the streets of an impregnable city.
[108] The Romans were astonished by their success; the multitudes of
tall and robust Barbarians were confounded by the image of their own
patience and the masculine females, spitting in the faces of their sons
and husbands, most bitterly reproached them for betraying their dominion
and freedom to these pygmies of the south, contemptible in their
numbers, diminutive in their stature. Before the Goths could recover
from the first surprise, and claim the accomplishment of their doubtful
hopes, the victor established his power in Ravenna, beyond the danger of
repentance and revolt.

[Footnote 1041: Auximum, p. 175.--M.]

[Footnote 105: In the siege of Auximum, he first labored to demolish
an old aqueduct, and then cast into the stream, 1. dead bodies; 2.
mischievous herbs; and 3. quicklime. (says Procopius, l. ii. c. 27) Yet
both words are used as synonymous in Galen, Dioscorides, and Lucian,
(Hen. Steph. Thesaur. Ling. Graec. tom. iii. p. 748.)]

[Footnote 106: The Goths suspected Mathasuintha as an accomplice in the
mischief, which perhaps was occasioned by accidental lightning.]

[Footnote 107: In strict philosophy, a limitation of the rights of war
seems to imply nonsense and contradiction. Grotius himself is lost in
an idle distinction between the jus naturae and the jus gentium, between
poison and infection. He balances in one scale the passages of Homer
(Odyss. A 259, &c.) and Florus, (l. ii. c. 20, No. 7, ult.;) and in the
other, the examples of Solon (Pausanias, l. x. c. 37) and Belisarius.
See his great work De Jure Belli et Pacis, (l. iii. c. 4, s. 15, 16, 17,
and in Barbeyrac's version, tom. ii. p. 257, &c.) Yet I can understand
the benefit and validity of an agreement, tacit or express, mutually to
abstain from certain modes of hostility. See the Amphictyonic oath in
Aeschines, de falsa Legatione.]

[Footnote 108: Ravenna was taken, not in the year 540, but in the latter
end of 539; and Pagi (tom. ii. p. 569) is rectified by Muratori. (Annali
d'Italia, tom. v. p. 62,) who proves from an original act on papyrus,
(Antiquit. Italiae Medii Aevi, tom. ii. dissert. xxxii. p. 999--1007,)
Maffei, (Istoria Diplomat. p. 155-160,) that before the third of
January, 540, peace and free correspondence were restored between
Ravenna and Faenza.] Vitiges, who perhaps had attempted to escape, was
honorably guarded in his palace; [109] the flower of the Gothic youth
was selected for the service of the emperor; the remainder of the people
was dismissed to their peaceful habitations in the southern provinces;
and a colony of Italians was invited to replenish the depopulated city.
The submission of the capital was imitated in the towns and villages of
Italy, which had not been subdued, or even visited, by the Romans; and
the independent Goths, who remained in arms at Pavia and Verona, were
ambitious only to become the subjects of Belisarius. But his inflexible
loyalty rejected, except as the substitute of Justinian, their oaths of
allegiance; and he was not offended by the reproach of their deputies,
that he rather chose to be a slave than a king.

[Footnote 109: He was seized by John the Sanguinary, but an oath or
sacrament was pledged for his safety in the Basilica Julii, (Hist.
Miscell. l. xvii. in Muratori, tom. i. p. 107.) Anastasius (in Vit.
Pont. p. 40) gives a dark but probable account. Montfaucon is quoted by
Mascou (Hist. of the Germans, xii. 21) for a votive shield representing
the captivity of Vitiges and now in the collection of Signor Landi at

After the second victory of Belisarius, envy again whispered, Justinian
listened, and the hero was recalled. "The remnant of the Gothic war was
no longer worthy of his presence: a gracious sovereign was impatient to
reward his services, and to consult his wisdom; and he alone was
capable of defending the East against the innumerable armies of Persia."
Belisarius understood the suspicion, accepted the excuse, embarked at
Ravenna his spoils and trophies; and proved, by his ready obedience,
that such an abrupt removal from the government of Italy was not less
unjust than it might have been indiscreet. The emperor received with
honorable courtesy both Vitiges and his more noble consort; and as the
king of the Goths conformed to the Athanasian faith, he obtained, with
a rich inheritance of land in Asia, the rank of senator and patrician.
[110] Every spectator admired, without peril, the strength and stature
of the young Barbarians: they adored the majesty of the throne, and
promised to shed their blood in the service of their benefactor.
Justinian deposited in the Byzantine palace the treasures of the Gothic
monarchy. A flattering senate was sometime admitted to gaze on the
magnificent spectacle; but it was enviously secluded from the public
view: and the conqueror of Italy renounced, without a murmur, perhaps
without a sigh, the well-earned honors of a second triumph. His glory
was indeed exalted above all external pomp; and the faint and hollow
praises of the court were supplied, even in a servile age, by the
respect and admiration of his country. Whenever he appeared in the
streets and public places of Constantinople, Belisarius attracted
and satisfied the eyes of the people. His lofty stature and majestic
countenance fulfilled their expectations of a hero; the meanest of his
fellow-citizens were emboldened by his gentle and gracious demeanor;
and the martial train which attended his footsteps left his person more
accessible than in a day of battle. Seven thousand horsemen, matchless
for beauty and valor, were maintained in the service, and at the private
expense, of the general. [111] Their prowess was always conspicuous in
single combats, or in the foremost ranks; and both parties confessed
that in the siege of Rome, the guards of Belisarius had alone vanquished
the Barbarian host. Their numbers were continually augmented by the
bravest and most faithful of the enemy; and his fortunate captives,
the Vandals, the Moors, and the Goths, emulated the attachment of his
domestic followers. By the union of liberality and justice, he acquired
the love of the soldiers, without alienating the affections of the
people. The sick and wounded were relieved with medicines and money;
and still more efficaciously, by the healing visits and smiles of their
commander. The loss of a weapon or a horse was instantly repaired, and
each deed of valor was rewarded by the rich and honorable gifts of a
bracelet or a collar, which were rendered more precious by the judgment
of Belisarius. He was endeared to the husbandmen by the peace and plenty
which they enjoyed under the shadow of his standard. Instead of being
injured, the country was enriched by the march of the Roman armies;
and such was the rigid discipline of their camp, that not an apple was
gathered from the tree, not a path could be traced in the fields of
corn. Belisarius was chaste and sober. In the license of a military
life, none could boast that they had seen him intoxicated with wine:
the most beautiful captives of Gothic or Vandal race were offered to
his embraces; but he turned aside from their charms, and the husband of
Antonina was never suspected of violating the laws of conjugal fidelity.
The spectator and historian of his exploits has observed, that amidst
the perils of war, he was daring without rashness, prudent without fear,
slow or rapid according to the exigencies of the moment; that in the
deepest distress he was animated by real or apparent hope, but that he
was modest and humble in the most prosperous fortune. By these virtues,
he equalled or excelled the ancient masters of the military art.
Victory, by sea and land, attended his arms. He subdued Africa, Italy,
and the adjacent islands; led away captives the successors of Genseric
and Theodoric; filled Constantinople with the spoils of their palaces;
and in the space of six years recovered half the provinces of the
Western empire. In his fame and merit, in wealth and power, he remained
without a rival, the first of the Roman subjects; the voice of envy
could only magnify his dangerous importance; and the emperor might
applaud his own discerning spirit, which had discovered and raised
the genius of Belisarius. [Footnote 110: Vitiges lived two years at
Constantinople, and imperatoris in affectu convictus (or conjunctus)
rebus excessit humanis. His widow Mathasuenta, the wife and mother of
the patricians, the elder and younger Germanus, united the streams of
Anician and Amali blood, (Jornandes, c. 60, p. 221, in Muratori, tom.

[Footnote 111: Procopius, Goth. l. iii. c. 1. Aimoin, a French monk of
the xith century, who had obtained, and has disfigured, some authentic
information of Belisarius, mentions, in his name, 12,000, pueri or
slaves--quos propriis alimus stipendiis--besides 18,000 soldiers,
(Historians of France, tom. iii. De Gestis Franc. l. ii. c. 6, p. 48.)]

It was the custom of the Roman triumphs, that a slave should be placed
behind the chariot to remind the conqueror of the instability of
fortune, and the infirmities of human nature. Procopius, in his
Anecdotes, has assumed that servile and ungrateful office. The generous
reader may cast away the libel, but the evidence of facts will adhere to
his memory; and he will reluctantly confess, that the fame, and even
the virtue, of Belisarius, were polluted by the lust and cruelty of his
wife; and that hero deserved an appellation which may not drop from
the pen of the decent historian. The mother of Antonina [112] was a
theatrical prostitute, and both her father and grandfather exercised, at
Thessalonica and Constantinople, the vile, though lucrative, profession
of charioteers. In the various situations of their fortune she became
the companion, the enemy, the servant, and the favorite of the empress
Theodora: these loose and ambitious females had been connected by
similar pleasures; they were separated by the jealousy of vice, and at
length reconciled by the partnership of guilt. Before her marriage with
Belisarius, Antonina had one husband and many lovers: Photius, the son
of her former nuptials, was of an age to distinguish himself at the
siege of Naples; and it was not till the autumn of her age and beauty
[113] that she indulged a scandalous attachment to a Thracian youth.
Theodosius had been educated in the Eunomian heresy; the African voyage
was consecrated by the baptism and auspicious name of the first soldier
who embarked; and the proselyte was adopted into the family of his
spiritual parents, [114] Belisarius and Antonina. Before they touched
the shores of Africa, this holy kindred degenerated into sensual love:
and as Antonina soon overleaped the bounds of modesty and caution,
the Roman general was alone ignorant of his own dishonor. During their
residence at Carthage, he surprised the two lovers in a subterraneous
chamber, solitary, warm, and almost naked. Anger flashed from his eyes.
"With the help of this young man," said the unblushing Antonina, "I was
secreting our most precious effects from the knowledge of Justinian."
The youth resumed his garments, and the pious husband consented to
disbelieve the evidence of his own senses. From this pleasing and
perhaps voluntary delusion, Belisarius was awakened at Syracuse, by the
officious information of Macedonia; and that female attendant, after
requiring an oath for her security, produced two chamberlains, who, like
herself, had often beheld the adulteries of Antonina. A hasty flight
into Asia saved Theodosius from the justice of an injured husband, who
had signified to one of his guards the order of his death; but the tears
of Antonina, and her artful seductions, assured the credulous hero
of her innocence: and he stooped, against his faith and judgment, to
abandon those imprudent friends, who had presumed to accuse or doubt the
chastity of his wife. The revenge of a guilty woman is implacable and
bloody: the unfortunate Macedonia, with the two witnesses, were secretly
arrested by the minister of her cruelty; their tongues were cut out,
their bodies were hacked into small pieces, and their remains were cast
into the Sea of Syracuse. A rash though judicious saying of Constantine,
"I would sooner have punished the adulteress than the boy," was deeply
remembered by Antonina; and two years afterwards, when despair had armed
that officer against his general, her sanguinary advice decided and
hastened his execution. Even the indignation of Photius was not forgiven
by his mother; the exile of her son prepared the recall of her lover;
and Theodosius condescended to accept the pressing and humble invitation
of the conqueror of Italy. In the absolute direction of his household,
and in the important commissions of peace and war, [115] the favorite
youth most rapidly acquired a fortune of four hundred thousand pounds
sterling; and after their return to Constantinople, the passion of
Antonina, at least, continued ardent and unabated. But fear, devotion,
and lassitude perhaps, inspired Theodosius with more serious thoughts.
He dreaded the busy scandal of the capital, and the indiscreet fondness
of the wife of Belisarius; escaped from her embraces, and retiring to
Ephesus, shaved his head, and took refuge in the sanctuary of a monastic
life. The despair of the new Ariadne could scarcely have been excused
by the death of her husband. She wept, she tore her hair, she filled the
palace with her cries; "she had lost the dearest of friends, a tender, a
faithful, a laborious friend!" But her warm entreaties, fortified by the
prayers of Belisarius, were insufficient to draw the holy monk from the
solitude of Ephesus. It was not till the general moved forward for
the Persian war, that Theodosius could be tempted to return to
Constantinople; and the short interval before the departure of Antonina
herself was boldly devoted to love and pleasure. [Footnote 112: The
diligence of Alemannus could add but little to the four first and most
curious chapters of the Anecdotes. Of these strange Anecdotes, a part
may be true, because probable--and a part true, because improbable.
Procopius must have known the former, and the latter he could scarcely
invent. Note: The malice of court scandal is proverbially inventive; and
of such scandal the "Anecdota" may be an embellished record.--M.]

[Footnote 113: Procopius intimates (Anecdot. c. 4) that when Belisarius
returned to Italy, (A.D. 543,) Antonina was sixty years of age. A
forced, but more polite construction, which refers that date to the
moment when he was writing, (A.D. 559,) would be compatible with the
manhood of Photius, (Gothic. l. i. c. 10) in 536.]

[Footnote 114: Gompare the Vandalic War (l. i. c. 12) with the Anecdotes
(c. i.) and Alemannus, (p. 2, 3.) This mode of baptismal adoption was
revived by Leo the philosopher.]

[Footnote 115: In November, 537, Photius arrested the pope, (Liberat.
Brev. c. 22. Pagi, tom. ii. p. 562) About the end of 539, Belisarius
sent Theodosius on an important and lucrative commission to Ravenna,
(Goth. l. ii. c. 18.)]

A philosopher may pity and forgive the infirmities of female nature,
from which he receives no real injury: but contemptible is the husband
who feels, and yet endures, his own infamy in that of his wife. Antonina
pursued her son with implacable hatred; and the gallant Photius [116]
was exposed to her secret persecutions in the camp beyond the Tigris.
Enraged by his own wrongs, and by the dishonor of his blood, he cast
away in his turn the sentiments of nature, and revealed to Belisarius
the turpitude of a woman who had violated all the duties of a mother
and a wife. From the surprise and indignation of the Roman general, his
former credulity appears to have been sincere: he embraced the knees of
the son of Antonina, adjured him to remember his obligations rather than
his birth, and confirmed at the altar their holy vows of revenge and
mutual defence. The dominion of Antonina was impaired by absence; and
when she met her husband, on his return from the Persian confines,
Belisarius, in his first and transient emotions, confined her person,
and threatened her life. Photius was more resolved to punish, and less
prompt to pardon: he flew to Ephesus; extorted from a trusty eunuch of
his another the full confession of her guilt; arrested Theodosius and
his treasures in the church of St. John the Apostle, and concealed his
captives, whose execution was only delayed, in a secure and sequestered
fortress of Cilicia. Such a daring outrage against public justice could
not pass with impunity; and the cause of Antonina was espoused by the
empress, whose favor she had deserved by the recent services of the
disgrace of a praefect, and the exile and murder of a pope. At the end
of the campaign, Belisarius was recalled; he complied, as usual, with
the Imperial mandate. His mind was not prepared for rebellion: his
obedience, however adverse to the dictates of honor, was consonant to
the wishes of his heart; and when he embraced his wife, at the command,
and perhaps in the presence, of the empress, the tender husband was
disposed to forgive or to be forgiven. The bounty of Theodora reserved
for her companion a more precious favor. "I have found," she said, "my
dearest patrician, a pearl of inestimable value; it has not yet been
viewed by any mortal eye; but the sight and the possession of this
jewel are destined for my friend." [1161] As soon as the curiosity
and impatience of Antonina were kindled, the door of a bed-chamber was
thrown open, and she beheld her lover, whom the diligence of the eunuchs
had discovered in his secret prison. Her silent wonder burst into
passionate exclamations of gratitude and joy, and she named Theodora
her queen, her benefactress, and her savior. The monk of Ephesus
was nourished in the palace with luxury and ambition; but instead
of assuming, as he was promised, the command of the Roman armies,
Theodosius expired in the first fatigues of an amorous interview. [1162]
The grief of Antonina could only be assuaged by the sufferings of her
son. A youth of consular rank, and a sickly constitution, was punished,
without a trial, like a malefactor and a slave: yet such was the
constancy of his mind, that Photius sustained the tortures of the
scourge and the rack, [1163] without violating the faith which he had
sworn to Belisarius. After this fruitless cruelty, the son of
Antonina, while his mother feasted with the empress, was buried in her
subterraneous prisons, which admitted not the distinction of night
and day. He twice escaped to the most venerable sanctuaries of
Constantinople, the churches of St. Sophia, and of the Virgin: but his
tyrants were insensible of religion as of pity; and the helpless youth,
amidst the clamors of the clergy and people, was twice dragged from the
altar to the dungeon. His third attempt was more successful. At the end
of three years, the prophet Zachariah, or some mortal friend, indicated
the means of an escape: he eluded the spies and guards of the empress,
reached the holy sepulchre of Jerusalem, embraced the profession of a
monk; and the abbot Photius was employed, after the death of Justinian,
to reconcile and regulate the churches of Egypt. The son of Antonina
suffered all that an enemy can inflict: her patient husband imposed on
himself the more exquisite misery of violating his promise and deserting
his friend.

[Footnote 116: Theophanes (Chronograph. p. 204) styles him Photinus, the
son-in-law of Belisarius; and he is copied by the Historia Miscella and

[Footnote 1161: This and much of the private scandal in the
"Anecdota" is liable to serious doubt. Who reported all these private
conversations, and how did they reach the ears of Procopius?--M.]

[Footnote 1162: This is a strange misrepresentation--he died of a
dysentery; nor does it appear that it was immediately after this scene.
Antonina proposed to raise him to the generalship of the army. Procop.
Anecd. p. 14. The sudden change from the abstemious diet of a monk to
the luxury of the court is a much more probable cause of his death.--M.]

[Footnote 1163: The expression of Procopius does not appear to me to
mean this kind of torture. Ibid.--M.]

In the succeeding campaign, Belisarius was again sent against the
Persians: he saved the East, but he offended Theodora, and perhaps the
emperor himself. The malady of Justinian had countenanced the rumor of
his death; and the Roman general, on the supposition of that probable
event spoke the free language of a citizen and a soldier. His colleague
Buzes, who concurred in the same sentiments, lost his rank, his liberty,
and his health, by the persecution of the empress: but the disgrace of
Belisarius was alleviated by the dignity of his own character, and the
influence of his wife, who might wish to humble, but could not desire to
ruin, the partner of her fortunes. Even his removal was colored by the
assurance, that the sinking state of Italy would be retrieved by the
single presence of its conqueror.

But no sooner had he returned, alone and defenceless, than a hostile
commission was sent to the East, to seize his treasures and criminate
his actions; the guards and veterans, who followed his private banner,
were distributed among the chiefs of the army, and even the eunuchs
presumed to cast lots for the partition of his martial domestics.
When he passed with a small and sordid retinue through the streets
of Constantinople, his forlorn appearance excited the amazement and
compassion of the people. Justinian and Theodora received him with cold
ingratitude; the servile crowd, with insolence and contempt; and in
the evening he retired with trembling steps to his deserted palace. An
indisposition, feigned or real, had confined Antonina to her apartment;
and she walked disdainfully silent in the adjacent portico, while
Belisarius threw himself on his bed, and expected, in an agony of grief
and terror, the death which he had so often braved under the walls of
Rome. Long after sunset a messenger was announced from the empress: he
opened, with anxious curiosity, the letter which contained the sentence
of his fate. "You cannot be ignorant how much you have deserved my
displeasure. I am not insensible of the services of Antonina. To her
merits and intercession I have granted your life, and permit you to
retain a part of your treasures, which might be justly forfeited to the
state. Let your gratitude, where it is due, be displayed, not in words,
but in your future behavior." I know not how to believe or to relate the
transports with which the hero is said to have received this ignominious
pardon. He fell prostrate before his wife, he kissed the feet of his
savior, and he devoutly promised to live the grateful and submissive
slave of Antonina. A fine of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds
sterling was levied on the fortunes of Belisarius; and with the office
of count, or master of the royal stables, he accepted the conduct of the
Italian war. At his departure from Constantinople, his friends, and even
the public, were persuaded that as soon as he regained his freedom,
he would renounce his dissimulation, and that his wife, Theodora, and
perhaps the emperor himself, would be sacrificed to the just revenge
of a virtuous rebel. Their hopes were deceived; and the unconquerable
patience and loyalty of Belisarius appear either below or above the
character of a man. [117]

[Footnote 117: The continuator of the Chronicle of Marcellinus gives,
in a few decent words, the substance of the Anecdotes: Belisarius de
Oriente evocatus, in offensam periculumque incurrens grave, et invidiae
subeacens rursus remittitur in Italiam, (p. 54.)]

Chapter XLII: State Of The Barbaric World.--Part I.

     State Of The Barbaric World.--Establishment Of The Lombards
     On the Danube.--Tribes And Inroads Of The Sclavonians.--
     Origin, Empire, And Embassies Of The Turks.--The Flight Of
     The Avars.--Chosroes I, Or Nushirvan, King Of Persia.--His
     Prosperous Reign And Wars With The Romans.--The Colchian Or
     Lazic War.--The Aethiopians.

Our estimate of personal merit, is relative to the common faculties of
mankind. The aspiring efforts of genius, or virtue, either in active or
speculative life, are measured, not so much by their real elevation,
as by the height to which they ascend above the level of their age and
country; and the same stature, which in a people of giants would pass
unnoticed, must appear conspicuous in a race of pygmies. Leonidas, and
his three hundred companions, devoted their lives at Thermopylae; but
the education of the infant, the boy, and the man, had prepared,
and almost insured, this memorable sacrifice; and each Spartan would
approve, rather than admire, an act of duty, of which himself and eight
thousand of his fellow-citizens were equally capable. [1] The great
Pompey might inscribe on his trophies, that he had defeated in battle
two millions of enemies, and reduced fifteen hundred cities from the
Lake Maeotis to the Red Sea: [2] but the fortune of Rome flew before
his eagles; the nations were oppressed by their own fears, and the
invincible legions which he commanded, had been formed by the habits
of conquest and the discipline of ages. In this view, the character
of Belisarius may be deservedly placed above the heroes of the ancient
republics. His imperfections flowed from the contagion of the times; his
virtues were his own, the free gift of nature or reflection; he raised
himself without a master or a rival; and so inadequate were the arms
committed to his hand, that his sole advantage was derived from the
pride and presumption of his adversaries. Under his command, the
subjects of Justinian often deserved to be called Romans: but the
unwarlike appellation of Greeks was imposed as a term of reproach by the
haughty Goths; who affected to blush, that they must dispute the kingdom
of Italy with a nation of tragedians pantomimes, and pirates. [3] The
climate of Asia has indeed been found less congenial than that of Europe
to military spirit: those populous countries were enervated by luxury,
despotism, and superstition; and the monks were more expensive and more
numerous than the soldiers of the East. The regular force of the empire
had once amounted to six hundred and forty-five thousand men: it was
reduced, in the time of Justinian, to one hundred and fifty thousand;
and this number, large as it may seem, was thinly scattered over the sea
and land; in Spain and Italy, in Africa and Egypt, on the banks of
the Danube, the coast of the Euxine, and the frontiers of Persia. The
citizen was exhausted, yet the soldier was unpaid; his poverty was
mischievously soothed by the privilege of rapine and indolence; and
the tardy payments were detained and intercepted by the fraud of those
agents who usurp, without courage or danger, the emoluments of war.
Public and private distress recruited the armies of the state; but in
the field, and still more in the presence of the enemy, their numbers
were always defective. The want of national spirit was supplied by the
precarious faith and disorderly service of Barbarian mercenaries.

Even military honor, which has often survived the loss of virtue and
freedom, was almost totally extinct. The generals, who were multiplied
beyond the example of former times, labored only to prevent the success,
or to sully the reputation of their colleagues; and they had been taught
by experience, that if merit sometimes provoked the jealousy, error, or
even guilt, would obtain the indulgence, of a gracious emperor. [4] In
such an age, the triumphs of Belisarius, and afterwards of Narses, shine
with incomparable lustre; but they are encompassed with the darkest
shades of disgrace and calamity. While the lieutenant of Justinian
subdued the kingdoms of the Goths and Vandals, the emperor, [5] timid,
though ambitious, balanced the forces of the Barbarians, fomented their
divisions by flattery and falsehood, and invited by his patience and
liberality the repetition of injuries. [6] The keys of Carthage, Rome,
and Ravenna, were presented to their conqueror, while Antioch was
destroyed by the Persians, and Justinian trembled for the safety of

[Footnote 1: It will be a pleasure, not a task, to read Herodotus, (l.
vii. c. 104, 134, p. 550, 615.) The conversation of Xerxes and Demaratus
at Thermopylae is one of the most interesting and moral scenes in
history. It was the torture of the royal Spartan to behold, with anguish
and remorse, the virtue of his country.]

[Footnote 2: See this proud inscription in Pliny, (Hist. Natur. vii.
27.) Few men have more exquisitely tasted of glory and disgrace;
nor could Juvenal (Satir. x.) produce a more striking example of the
vicissitudes of fortune, and the vanity of human wishes.]

[Footnote 3: This last epithet of Procopius is too nobly translated by
pirates; naval thieves is the proper word; strippers of garments, either
for injury or insult, (Demosthenes contra Conon Reiske, Orator, Graec.
tom. ii. p. 1264.)]

[Footnote 4: See the third and fourth books of the Gothic War: the
writer of the Anecdotes cannot aggravate these abuses.]

[Footnote 5: Agathias, l. v. p. 157, 158. He confines this weakness of
the emperor and the empire to the old age of Justinian; but alas! he was
never young.]

[Footnote 6: This mischievous policy, which Procopius (Anecdot. c. 19)
imputes to the emperor, is revealed in his epistle to a Scythian prince,
who was capable of understanding it.]

Even the Gothic victories of Belisarius were prejudicial to the state,
since they abolished the important barrier of the Upper Danube, which
had been so faithfully guarded by Theodoric and his daughter. For the
defence of Italy, the Goths evacuated Pannonia and Noricum, which
they left in a peaceful and flourishing condition: the sovereignty
was claimed by the emperor of the Romans; the actual possession was
abandoned to the boldness of the first invader. On the opposite banks of
the Danube, the plains of Upper Hungary and the Transylvanian hills were
possessed, since the death of Attila, by the tribes of the Gepidae,
who respected the Gothic arms, and despised, not indeed the gold of
the Romans, but the secret motive of their annual subsidies. The vacant
fortifications of the river were instantly occupied by these Barbarians;
their standards were planted on the walls of Sirmium and Belgrade; and
the ironical tone of their apology aggravated this insult on the majesty
of the empire. "So extensive, O Caesar, are your dominions, so numerous
are your cities, that you are continually seeking for nations to whom,
either in peace or in war, you may relinquish these useless possessions.
The Gepidae are your brave and faithful allies; and if they have
anticipated your gifts, they have shown a just confidence in your
bounty." Their presumption was excused by the mode of revenge which
Justinian embraced. Instead of asserting the rights of a sovereign for
the protection of his subjects, the emperor invited a strange people to
invade and possess the Roman provinces between the Danube and the Alps
and the ambition of the Gepidae was checked by the rising power and fame
of the Lombards. [7] This corrupt appellation has been diffused in the
thirteenth century by the merchants and bankers, the Italian posterity
of these savage warriors: but the original name of Langobards is
expressive only of the peculiar length and fashion of their beards. I am
not disposed either to question or to justify their Scandinavian origin;
[8] nor to pursue the migrations of the Lombards through unknown regions
and marvellous adventures. About the time of Augustus and Trajan, a ray
of historic light breaks on the darkness of their antiquities, and
they are discovered, for the first time, between the Elbe and the Oder.
Fierce, beyond the example of the Germans, they delighted to propagate
the tremendous belief, that their heads were formed like the heads
of dogs, and that they drank the blood of their enemies, whom they
vanquished in battle. The smallness of their numbers was recruited by
the adoption of their bravest slaves; and alone, amidst their powerful
neighbors, they defended by arms their high-spirited independence. In
the tempests of the north, which overwhelmed so many names and nations,
this little bark of the Lombards still floated on the surface: they
gradually descended towards the south and the Danube, and, at the end
of four hundred years, they again appear with their ancient valor and
renown. Their manners were not less ferocious. The assassination of a
royal guest was executed in the presence, and by the command, of the
king's daughter, who had been provoked by some words of insult, and
disappointed by his diminutive stature; and a tribute, the price of
blood, was imposed on the Lombards, by his brother the king of the
Heruli. Adversity revived a sense of moderation and justice, and the
insolence of conquest was chastised by the signal defeat and irreparable
dispersion of the Heruli, who were seated in the southern provinces
of Poland. [9] The victories of the Lombards recommended them to the
friendship of the emperors; and at the solicitations of Justinian, they
passed the Danube, to reduce, according to their treaty, the cities of
Noricum and the fortresses of Pannonia. But the spirit of rapine soon
tempted them beyond these ample limits; they wandered along the coast of
the Hadriatic as far as Dyrrachium, and presumed, with familiar rudeness
to enter the towns and houses of their Roman allies, and to seize the
captives who had escaped from their audacious hands. These acts
of hostility, the sallies, as it might be pretended, of some loose
adventurers, were disowned by the nation, and excused by the emperor;
but the arms of the Lombards were more seriously engaged by a contest
of thirty years, which was terminated only by the extirpation of the
Gepidae. The hostile nations often pleaded their cause before the throne
of Constantinople; and the crafty Justinian, to whom the Barbarians were
almost equally odious, pronounced a partial and ambiguous sentence, and
dexterously protracted the war by slow and ineffectual succors. Their
strength was formidable, since the Lombards, who sent into the field
several myriads of soldiers, still claimed, as the weaker side, the
protection of the Romans. Their spirit was intrepid; yet such is the
uncertainty of courage, that the two armies were suddenly struck with
a panic; they fled from each other, and the rival kings remained with
their guards in the midst of an empty plain. A short truce was obtained;
but their mutual resentment again kindled; and the remembrance of
their shame rendered the next encounter more desperate and bloody Forty
thousand of the Barbarians perished in the decisive battle, which broke
the power of the Gepidae, transferred the fears and wishes of Justinian,
and first displayed the character of Alboin, the youthful prince of the
Lombards, and the future conqueror of Italy. [10]

[Footnote 7: Gens Germana feritate ferocior, says Velleius Paterculus
of the Lombards, (ii. 106.) Langobardos paucitas nobilitat. Plurimis
ac valentissimis nationibus cincti non per obsequium, sed praeliis et
perilitando, tuti sunt, (Tacit. de Moribus German. c. 40.) See likewise
Strabo, (l. viii. p. 446.) The best geographers place them beyond
the Elbe, in the bishopric of Magdeburgh and the middle march of
Brandenburgh; and their situation will agree with the patriotic remark
of the count de Hertzberg, that most of the Barbarian conquerors issued
from the same countries which still produce the armies of Prussia. *
Note: See Malte Brun, vol. i. p 402.--M]

[Footnote 8: The Scandinavian origin of the Goths and Lombards, as
stated by Paul Warnefrid, surnamed the deacon, is attacked by Cluverius,
(Germania, Antiq. l. iii. c. 26, p. 102, &c.,) a native of Prussia, and
defended by Grotius, (Prolegom. ad Hist. Goth. p. 28, &c.,) the Swedish

[Footnote 9: Two facts in the narrative of Paul Diaconus (l. i. c. 20)
are expressive of national manners: 1. Dum ad tabulam luderet--while he
played at draughts. 2. Camporum viridantia lina. The cultivation of flax
supposes property, commerce, agriculture, and manufactures]

[Footnote 10: I have used, without undertaking to reconcile, the facts
in Procopius, (Goth. l. ii. c. 14, l. iii. c. 33, 34, l. iv. c. 18, 25,)
Paul Diaconus, (de Gestis Langobard, l. i. c. 1-23, in Muratori, Script.
Rerum Italicarum, tom. i. p. 405-419,) and Jornandes, (de Success.
Regnorum, p. 242.) The patient reader may draw some light from Mascou
(Hist. of the Germans, and Annotat. xxiii.) and De Buat, (Hist. des
Peuples, &c., tom. ix. x. xi.)]

The wild people who dwelt or wandered in the plains of Russia,
Lithuania, and Poland, might be reduced, in the age of Justinian, under
the two great families of the Bulgarians [11] and the Sclavonians.
According to the Greek writers, the former, who touched the Euxine and
the Lake Maeotis, derived from the Huns their name or descent; and it is
needless to renew the simple and well-known picture of Tartar manners.
They were bold and dexterous archers, who drank the milk, and feasted
on the flesh, of their fleet and indefatigable horses; whose flocks and
herds followed, or rather guided, the motions of their roving camps;
to whose inroads no country was remote or impervious, and who were
practised in flight, though incapable of fear. The nation was divided
into two powerful and hostile tribes, who pursued each other with
fraternal hatred. They eagerly disputed the friendship, or rather the
gifts, of the emperor; and the distinctions which nature had fixed
between the faithful dog and the rapacious wolf was applied by an
ambassador who received only verbal instructions from the mouth of his
illiterate prince. [12] The Bulgarians, of whatsoever species, were
equally attracted by Roman wealth: they assumed a vague dominion over
the Sclavonian name, and their rapid marches could only be stopped by
the Baltic Sea, or the extreme cold and poverty of the north. But the
same race of Sclavonians appears to have maintained, in every age, the
possession of the same countries. Their numerous tribes, however distant
or adverse, used one common language, (it was harsh and irregular,) and
where known by the resemblance of their form, which deviated from the
swarthy Tartar, and approached without attaining the lofty stature and
fair complexion of the German. Four thousand six hundred villages [13]
were scattered over the provinces of Russia and Poland, and their huts
were hastily built of rough timber, in a country deficient both in stone
and iron. Erected, or rather concealed, in the depth of forests, on the
banks of rivers, or the edges of morasses, we may not perhaps, without
flattery, compare them to the architecture of the beaver; which they
resembled in a double issue, to the land and water, for the escape of
the savage inhabitant, an animal less cleanly, less diligent, and less
social, than that marvellous quadruped. The fertility of the soil,
rather than the labor of the natives, supplied the rustic plenty of the
Sclavonians. Their sheep and horned cattle were large and numerous, and
the fields which they sowed with millet or panic [14] afforded, in place
of bread, a coarse and less nutritive food. The incessant rapine of
their neighbors compelled them to bury this treasure in the earth; but
on the appearance of a stranger, it was freely imparted by a people,
whose unfavorable character is qualified by the epithets of chaste,
patient, and hospitable. As their supreme god, they adored an invisible
master of the thunder. The rivers and the nymphs obtained their
subordinate honors, and the popular worship was expressed in vows and
sacrifice. The Sclavonians disdained to obey a despot, a prince, or even
a magistrate; but their experience was too narrow, their passions too
headstrong, to compose a system of equal law or general defence. Some
voluntary respect was yielded to age and valor; but each tribe or
village existed as a separate republic, and all must be persuaded where
none could be compelled. They fought on foot, almost naked, and except
an unwieldy shield, without any defensive armor; their weapons of
offence were a bow, a quiver of small poisoned arrows, and a long rope,
which they dexterously threw from a distance, and entangled their enemy
in a running noose. In the field, the Sclavonian infantry was dangerous
by their speed, agility, and hardiness: they swam, they dived, they
remained under water, drawing their breath through a hollow cane; and
a river or lake was often the scene of their unsuspected ambuscade. But
these were the achievements of spies or stragglers; the military art was
unknown to the Sclavonians; their name was obscure, and their conquests
were inglorious. [15]

[Footnote 11: I adopt the appellation of Bulgarians from Ennodius, (in
Panegyr. Theodorici, Opp. Sirmond, tom. i. p. 1598, 1599,) Jornandes,
(de Rebus Geticis, c. 5, p. 194, et de Regn. Successione, p. 242,)
Theophanes, (p. 185,) and the Chronicles of Cassiodorus and Marcellinus.
The name of Huns is too vague; the tribes of the Cutturgurians and
Utturgurians are too minute and too harsh. * Note: The Bulgarians
are first mentioned among the writers of the West in the Panegyric on
Theodoric by Ennodius, Bishop of Pavia. Though they perhaps took part in
the conquests of the Huns, they did not advance to the Danube till
after the dismemberment of that monarchy on the death of Attila. But the
Bulgarians are mentioned much earlier by the Armenian writers. Above
600 years before Christ, a tribe of Bulgarians, driven from their native
possessions beyond the Caspian, occupied a part of Armenia, north of the
Araxes. They were of the Finnish race; part of the nation, in the fifth
century, moved westward, and reached the modern Bulgaria; part remained
along the Volga, which is called Etel, Etil, or Athil, in all the Tartar
languages, but from the Bulgarians, the Volga. The power of the eastern
Bulgarians was broken by Batou, son of Tchingiz Khan; that of the
western will appear in the course of the history. From St. Martin, vol.
vii p. 141. Malte-Brun, on the contrary, conceives that the Bulgarians
took their name from the river. According to the Byzantine historians
they were a branch of the Ougres, (Thunmann, Hist. of the People to
the East of Europe,) but they have more resemblance to the Turks. Their
first country, Great Bulgaria, was washed by the Volga. Some remains
of their capital are still shown near Kasan. They afterwards dwelt in
Kuban, and finally on the Danube, where they subdued (about the year
500) the Slavo-Servians established on the Lower Danube. Conquered in
their turn by the Avars, they freed themselves from that yoke in 635;
their empire then comprised the Cutturgurians, the remains of the Huns
established on the Palus Maeotis. The Danubian Bulgaria, a dismemberment
of this vast state, was long formidable to the Byzantine empire.
Malte-Brun, Prec. de Geog Univ. vol. i. p. 419.--M. ----According to
Shafarik, the Danubian Bulgaria was peopled by a Slavo Bulgarian race.
The Slavish population was conquered by the Bulgarian (of Uralian and
Finnish descent,) and incorporated with them. This mingled race are
the Bulgarians bordering on the Byzantine empire. Shafarik, ii 152, et
seq.--M. 1845]

[Footnote 12: Procopius, (Goth. l. iv. c. 19.) His verbal message (he
owns him self an illiterate Barbarian) is delivered as an epistle. The
style is savage, figurative, and original.]

[Footnote 13: This sum is the result of a particular list, in a curious
Ms. fragment of the year 550, found in the library of Milan. The obscure
geography of the times provokes and exercises the patience of the count
de Buat, (tom. xi. p. 69--189.) The French minister often loses himself
in a wilderness which requires a Saxon and Polish guide.]

[Footnote 14: Panicum, milium. See Columella, l. ii. c. 9, p. 430, edit.
Gesner. Plin. Hist. Natur. xviii. 24, 25. The Samaritans made a pap
of millet, mingled with mare's milk or blood. In the wealth of
modern husbandry, our millet feeds poultry, and not heroes. See the
dictionaries of Bomare and Miller.]

[Footnote 15: For the name and nation, the situation and manners, of
the Sclavonians, see the original evidence of the vith century,
in Procopius, (Goth. l. ii. c. 26, l. iii. c. 14,) and the emperor
Mauritius or Maurice (Stratagemat. l. ii. c. 5, apud Mascon Annotat.
xxxi.) The stratagems of Maurice have been printed only, as I
understand, at the end of Scheffer's edition of Arrian's Tactics, at
Upsal, 1664, (Fabric. Bibliot. Graec. l. iv. c. 8, tom. iii. p. 278,) a
scarce, and hitherto, to me, an inaccessible book.]

I have marked the faint and general outline of the Sclavonians and
Bulgarians, without attempting to define their intermediate boundaries,
which were not accurately known or respected by the Barbarians
themselves. Their importance was measured by their vicinity to the
empire; and the level country of Moldavia and Wallachia was occupied
by the Antes, [16] a Sclavonian tribe, which swelled the titles of
Justinian with an epithet of conquest. [17] Against the Antes he erected
the fortifications of the Lower Danube; and labored to secure
the alliance of a people seated in the direct channel of northern
inundation, an interval of two hundred miles between the mountains
of Transylvania and the Euxine Sea. But the Antes wanted power and
inclination to stem the fury of the torrent; and the light-armed
Sclavonians, from a hundred tribes, pursued with almost equal speed the
footsteps of the Bulgarian horse. The payment of one piece of gold for
each soldier procured a safe and easy retreat through the country of the
Gepidae, who commanded the passage of the Upper Danube. [18] The hopes
or fears of the Barbarians; their intense union or discord; the accident
of a frozen or shallow stream; the prospect of harvest or vintage; the
prosperity or distress of the Romans; were the causes which produced the
uniform repetition of annual visits, [19] tedious in the narrative, and
destructive in the event. The same year, and possibly the same month,
in which Ravenna surrendered, was marked by an invasion of the Huns or
Bulgarians, so dreadful, that it almost effaced the memory of their past
inroads. They spread from the suburbs of Constantinople to the Ionian
Gulf, destroyed thirty-two cities or castles, erased Potidaea, which
Athens had built, and Philip had besieged, and repassed the Danube,
dragging at their horses' heels one hundred and twenty thousand of the
subjects of Justinian. In a subsequent inroad they pierced the wall
of the Thracian Chersonesus, extirpated the habitations and the
inhabitants, boldly traversed the Hellespont, and returned to their
companions, laden with the spoils of Asia. Another party, which seemed
a multitude in the eyes of the Romans, penetrated, without opposition,
from the Straits of Thermopylae to the Isthmus of Corinth; and the last
ruin of Greece has appeared an object too minute for the attention of
history. The works which the emperor raised for the protection, but at
the expense of his subjects, served only to disclose the weakness of
some neglected part; and the walls, which by flattery had been deemed
impregnable, were either deserted by the garrison, or scaled by
the Barbarians. Three thousand Sclavonians, who insolently divided
themselves into two bands, discovered the weakness and misery of a
triumphant reign. They passed the Danube and the Hebrus, vanquished the
Roman generals who dared to oppose their progress, and plundered, with
impunity, the cities of Illyricum and Thrace, each of which had arms and
numbers to overwhelm their contemptible assailants. Whatever praise the
boldness of the Sclavonians may deserve, it is sullied by the wanton
and deliberate cruelty which they are accused of exercising on their
prisoners. Without distinction of rank, or age, or sex, the captives
were impaled or flayed alive, or suspended between four posts, and
beaten with clubs till they expired, or enclosed in some spacious
building, and left to perish in the flames with the spoil and cattle
which might impede the march of these savage victors. [20] Perhaps
a more impartial narrative would reduce the number, and qualify the
nature, of these horrid acts; and they might sometimes be excused by the
cruel laws of retaliation. In the siege of Topirus, [21] whose obstinate
defence had enraged the Sclavonians, they massacred fifteen thousand
males; but they spared the women and children; the most valuable
captives were always reserved for labor or ransom; the servitude was not
rigorous, and the terms of their deliverance were speedy and moderate.
But the subject, or the historian of Justinian, exhaled his just
indignation in the language of complaint and reproach; and Procopius has
confidently affirmed, that in a reign of thirty-two years, each
annual inroad of the Barbarians consumed two hundred thousand of the
inhabitants of the Roman empire. The entire population of Turkish
Europe, which nearly corresponds with the provinces of Justinian, would
perhaps be incapable of supplying six millions of persons, the result of
this incredible estimate. [22]

[Footnote 16: Antes corum fortissimi.... Taysis qui rapidus et
vorticosus in Histri fluenta furens devolvitur, (Jornandes, c. 5, p.
194, edit. Murator. Procopius, Goth. l. iii. c. 14, et de Edific. l iv.
c. 7.) Yet the same Procopius mentions the Goths and Huns as neighbors
to the Danube, (de Edific. l. v. c. 1.)]

[Footnote 17: The national title of Anticus, in the laws and
inscriptions of Justinian, was adopted by his successors, and is
justified by the pious Ludewig (in Vit. Justinian. p. 515.) It had
strangely puzzled the civilians of the middle age.]

[Footnote 18: Procopius, Goth. l. iv. c. 25.]

[Footnote 19: An inroad of the Huns is connected, by Procopius, with
a comet perhaps that of 531, (Persic. l. ii. c. 4.) Agathias (l. v. p.
154, 155) borrows from his predecessors some early facts.]

[Footnote 20: The cruelties of the Sclavonians are related or magnified
by Procopius, (Goth. l. iii. c. 29, 38.) For their mild and liberal
behavior to their prisoners, we may appeal to the authority, somewhat
more recent of the emperor Maurice, (Stratagem. l. ii. c. 5.)]

[Footnote 21: Topirus was situate near Philippi in Thrace, or Macedonia,
opposite to the Isle of Thasos, twelve days' journey from Constantinople
(Cellarius, tom. i. p. 676, 846.)]

[Footnote 22: According to the malevolent testimony of the Anecdotes,
(c. 18,) these inroads had reduced the provinces south of the Danube to
the state of a Scythian wilderness.]

In the midst of these obscure calamities, Europe felt the shock of
revolution, which first revealed to the world the name and nation of the
Turks. [2211] Like Romulus, the founder [2212] of that martial people
was suckled by a she-wolf, who afterwards made him the father of a
numerous progeny; and the representation of that animal in the banners
of the Turks preserved the memory, or rather suggested the idea, of
a fable, which was invented, without any mutual intercourse, by the
shepherds of Latium and those of Scythia. At the equal distance of two
thousand miles from the Caspian, the Icy, the Chinese, and the Bengal
Seas, a ridge of mountains is conspicuous, the centre, and perhaps the
summit, of Asia; which, in the language of different nations, has been
styled Imaus, and Caf, [23] and Altai, and the Golden Mountains, [2311]
and the Girdle of the Earth. The sides of the hills were productive
of minerals; and the iron forges, [24] for the purpose of war, were
exercised by the Turks, the most despised portion of the slaves of the
great khan of the Geougen. But their servitude could only last till a
leader, bold and eloquent, should arise to persuade his countrymen that
the same arms which they forged for their masters, might become, in
their own hands, the instruments of freedom and victory. They sallied
from the mountains; [25] a sceptre was the reward of his advice; and the
annual ceremony, in which a piece of iron was heated in the fire, and
a smith's hammer [2511] was successively handled by the prince and his
nobles, recorded for ages the humble profession and rational pride of
the Turkish nation. Bertezena, [2512] their first leader, signalized
their valor and his own in successful combats against the neighboring
tribes; but when he presumed to ask in marriage the daughter of
the great khan, the insolent demand of a slave and a mechanic was
contemptuously rejected. The disgrace was expiated by a more noble
alliance with a princess of China; and the decisive battle which almost
extirpated the nation of the Geougen, established in Tartary the new and
more powerful empire of the Turks. [2513] They reigned over the north;
but they confessed the vanity of conquest, by their faithful attachment
to the mountain of their fathers. The royal encampment seldom lost sight
of Mount Altai, from whence the River Irtish descends to water the rich
pastures of the Calmucks, [26] which nourish the largest sheep and oxen
in the world. The soil is fruitful, and the climate mild and temperate:
the happy region was ignorant of earthquake and pestilence; the
emperor's throne was turned towards the East, and a golden wolf on the
top of a spear seemed to guard the entrance of his tent. One of the
successors of Bertezena was tempted by the luxury and superstition of
China; but his design of building cities and temples was defeated by the
simple wisdom of a Barbarian counsellor. "The Turks," he said, "are not
equal in number to one hundredth part of the inhabitants of China. If
we balance their power, and elude their armies, it is because we wander
without any fixed habitations in the exercise of war and hunting.
Are we strong? we advance and conquer: are we feeble? we retire and
are concealed. Should the Turks confine themselves within the walls of
cities, the loss of a battle would be the destruction of their empire.
The bonzes preach only patience, humility, and the renunciation of the
world. Such, O king! is not the religion of heroes." They entertained,
with less reluctance, the doctrines of Zoroaster; but the greatest part
of the nation acquiesced, without inquiry, in the opinions, or rather in
the practice, of their ancestors. The honors of sacrifice were
reserved for the supreme deity; they acknowledged, in rude hymns, their
obligations to the air, the fire, the water, and the earth; and their
priests derived some profit from the art of divination. Their unwritten
laws were rigorous and impartial: theft was punished with a tenfold
restitution; adultery, treason, and murder, with death; and no
chastisement could be inflicted too severe for the rare and inexpiable
guilt of cowardice. As the subject nations marched under the standard of
the Turks, their cavalry, both men and horses, were proudly computed
by millions; one of their effective armies consisted of four hundred
thousand soldiers, and in less than fifty years they were connected in
peace and war with the Romans, the Persians, and the Chinese. In
their northern limits, some vestige may be discovered of the form and
situation of Kamptchatka, of a people of hunters and fishermen, whose
sledges were drawn by dogs, and whose habitations were buried in the
earth. The Turks were ignorant of astronomy; but the observation taken
by some learned Chinese, with a gnomon of eight feet, fixes the royal
camp in the latitude of forty-nine degrees, and marks their extreme
progress within three, or at least ten degrees, of the polar circle.
[27] Among their southern conquests the most splendid was that of the
Nephthalites, or white Huns, a polite and warlike people, who possessed
the commercial cities of Bochara and Samarcand, who had vanquished the
Persian monarch, and carried their victorious arms along the banks, and
perhaps to the mouth, of the Indus. On the side of the West, the Turkish
cavalry advanced to the Lake Maeotis. They passed that lake on the ice.
The khan who dwelt at the foot of Mount Altai issued his commands for
the siege of Bosphorus, [28] a city the voluntary subject of Rome, and
whose princes had formerly been the friends of Athens. [29] To the east,
the Turks invaded China, as often as the vigor of the government was
relaxed: and I am taught to read in the history of the times, that
they mowed down their patient enemies like hemp or grass; and that
the mandarins applauded the wisdom of an emperor who repulsed these
Barbarians with golden lances. This extent of savage empire compelled
the Turkish monarch to establish three subordinate princes of his own
blood, who soon forgot their gratitude and allegiance. The conquerors
were enervated by luxury, which is always fatal except to an industrious
people; the policy of China solicited the vanquished nations to resume
their independence and the power of the Turks was limited to a period
of two hundred years. The revival of their name and dominion in the
southern countries of Asia are the events of a later age; and the
dynasties, which succeeded to their native realms, may sleep in
oblivion; since their history bears no relation to the decline and fall
of the Roman empire. [30]

[Footnote 2211: It must be remembered that the name of Turks is extended
to a whole family of the Asiatic races, and not confined to the Assena,
or Turks of the Altai.--M.]

[Footnote 2212: Assena (the wolf) was the name of this chief. Klaproth,
Tabl. Hist. de l'Asie p. 114.--M.]

[Footnote 23: From Caf to Caf; which a more rational geography would
interpret, from Imaus, perhaps, to Mount Atlas. According to the
religious philosophy of the Mahometans, the basis of Mount Caf is an
emerald, whose reflection produces the azure of the sky. The mountain
is endowed with a sensitive action in its roots or nerves; and
their vibration, at the command of God, is the cause of earthquakes.
(D'Herbelot, p. 230, 231.)]

[Footnote 2311: Altai, i. e. Altun Tagh, the Golden Mountain. Von Hammer
Osman Geschichte, vol. i. p. 2.--M.]

[Footnote 24: The Siberian iron is the best and most plentiful in the
world; and in the southern parts, above sixty mines are now worked by
the industry of the Russians, (Strahlenberg, Hist. of Siberia, p. 342,
387. Voyage en Siberie, par l'Abbe Chappe d'Auteroche, p. 603--608,
edit in 12mo. Amsterdam. 1770.) The Turks offered iron for sale; yet the
Roman ambassadors, with strange obstinacy, persisted in believing that
it was all a trick, and that their country produced none, (Menander in
Excerpt. Leg. p. 152.)]

[Footnote 25: Of Irgana-kon, (Abulghazi Khan, Hist. Genealogique des
Tatars, P ii. c. 5, p. 71--77, c. 15, p. 155.) The tradition of the
Moguls, of the 450 years which they passed in the mountains, agrees with
the Chinese periods of the history of the Huns and Turks, (De Guignes,
tom. i. part ii. p. 376,) and the twenty generations, from their
restoration to Zingis.]

[Footnote 2511: The Mongol Temugin is also, though erroneously,
explained by Rubruquis, a smith. Schmidt, p 876.--M.]

[Footnote 2512: There appears the same confusion here. Bertezena
(Berte-Scheno) is claimed as the founder of the Mongol race. The name
means the gray (blauliche) wolf. In fact, the same tradition of the
origin from a wolf seems common to the Mongols and the Turks. The
Mongol Berte-Scheno, of the very curious Mongol History, published
and translated by M. Schmidt of Petersburg, is brought from Thibet. M.
Schmidt considers this tradition of the Thibetane descent of the royal
race of the Mongols to be much earlier than their conversion to Lamaism,
yet it seems very suspicious. See Klaproth, Tabl. de l'Asie, p. 159.
The Turkish Bertezena is called Thou-men by Klaproth, p. 115. In 552,
Thou-men took the title of Kha-Khan, and was called Il Khan.--M.]

[Footnote 2513: Great Bucharia is called Turkistan: see Hammer, 2. It
includes all the last steppes at the foot of the Altai. The name is the
same with that of the Turan of Persian poetic legend.--M.]

[Footnote 26: The country of the Turks, now of the Calmucks, is well
described in the Genealogical History, p. 521--562. The curious notes of
the French translator are enlarged and digested in the second volume of
the English version.]

[Footnote 27: Visdelou, p. 141, 151. The fact, though it strictly
belongs to a subordinate and successive tribe, may be introduced here.]

[Footnote 28: Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 12, l. ii. c. 3. Peyssonel,
Observations sur les Peuples Barbares, p. 99, 100, defines the distance
between Caffa and the old Bosphorus at xvi. long Tartar leagues.]

[Footnote 29: See, in a Memoire of M. de Boze, (Mem. de l'Academie des
Inscriptions, tom. vi. p. 549--565,) the ancient kings and medals of
the Cimmerian Bosphorus; and the gratitude of Athens, in the Oration of
Demosthenes against Leptines, (in Reiske, Orator. Graec. tom. i. p. 466,

[Footnote 30: For the origin and revolutions of the first Turkish
empire, the Chinese details are borrowed from De Guignes (Hist.
des Huns, tom. P. ii. p. 367--462) and Visdelou, (Supplement a la
Bibliotheque Orient. d'Herbelot, p. 82--114.) The Greek or Roman hints
are gathered in Menander (p. 108--164) and Theophylact Simocatta, (l.
vii. c. 7, 8.)]

Chapter XLII: State Of The Barbaric World.--Part II.

In the rapid career of conquest, the Turks attacked and subdued the
nation of the Ogors or Varchonites [3011] on the banks of the River
Til, which derived the epithet of Black from its dark water or gloomy
forests. [31] The khan of the Ogors was slain with three hundred
thousand of his subjects, and their bodies were scattered over the
space of four days' journey: their surviving countrymen acknowledged
the strength and mercy of the Turks; and a small portion, about twenty
thousand warriors, preferred exile to servitude. They followed the
well-known road of the Volga, cherished the error of the nations who
confounded them with the Avars, and spread the terror of that false
though famous appellation, which had not, however, saved its lawful
proprietors from the yoke of the Turks. [32] After a long and victorious
march, the new Avars arrived at the foot of Mount Caucasus, in the
country of the Alani [33] and Circassians, where they first heard of the
splendor and weakness of the Roman empire. They humbly requested their
confederate, the prince of the Alani, to lead them to this source of
riches; and their ambassador, with the permission of the governor of
Lazica, was transported by the Euxine Sea to Constantinople. The whole
city was poured forth to behold with curiosity and terror the aspect
of a strange people: their long hair, which hung in tresses down their
backs, was gracefully bound with ribbons, but the rest of their habit
appeared to imitate the fashion of the Huns. When they were admitted
to the audience of Justinian, Candish, the first of the ambassadors,
addressed the Roman emperor in these terms: "You see before you, O
mighty prince, the representatives of the strongest and most populous
of nations, the invincible, the irresistible Avars. We are willing to
devote ourselves to your service: we are able to vanquish and destroy
all the enemies who now disturb your repose. But we expect, as the price
of our alliance, as the reward of our valor, precious gifts, annual
subsidies, and fruitful possessions." At the time of this embassy,
Justinian had reigned above thirty, he had lived above seventy-five
years: his mind, as well as his body, was feeble and languid; and the
conqueror of Africa and Italy, careless of the permanent interest of
his people, aspired only to end his days in the bosom even of inglorious
peace. In a studied oration, he imparted to the senate his resolution to
dissemble the insult, and to purchase the friendship of the Avars;
and the whole senate, like the mandarins of China, applauded the
incomparable wisdom and foresight of their sovereign. The instruments
of luxury were immediately prepared to captivate the Barbarians; silken
garments, soft and splendid beds, and chains and collars incrusted with
gold. The ambassadors, content with such liberal reception, departed
from Constantinople, and Valentin, one of the emperor's guards, was sent
with a similar character to their camp at the foot of Mount Caucasus.
As their destruction or their success must be alike advantageous to the
empire, he persuaded them to invade the enemies of Rome; and they
were easily tempted, by gifts and promises, to gratify their ruling
inclinations. These fugitives, who fled before the Turkish arms, passed
the Tanais and Borysthenes, and boldly advanced into the heart of Poland
and Germany, violating the law of nations, and abusing the rights of
victory. Before ten years had elapsed, their camps were seated on
the Danube and the Elbe, many Bulgarian and Sclavonian names were
obliterated from the earth, and the remainder of their tribes are found,
as tributaries and vassals, under the standard of the Avars. The chagan,
the peculiar title of their king, still affected to cultivate the
friendship of the emperor; and Justinian entertained some thoughts
of fixing them in Pannonia, to balance the prevailing power of the
Lombards. But the virtue or treachery of an Avar betrayed the secret
enmity and ambitious designs of their countrymen; and they loudly
complained of the timid, though jealous policy, of detaining their
ambassadors, and denying the arms which they had been allowed to
purchase in the capital of the empire. [34]

[Footnote 3011: The Ogors or Varchonites, from Var. a river, (obviously
connected with the name Avar,) must not be confounded with the Uigours,
the eastern Turks, (v. Hammer, Osmanische Geschichte, vol. i. p. 3,) who
speak a language the parent of the more modern Turkish dialects. Compare
Klaproth, page 121. They are the ancestors of the Usbeck Turks. These
Ogors were of the same Finnish race with the Huns; and the 20,000
families which fled towards the west, after the Turkish invasion, were
of the same race with those which remained to the east of the Volga, the
true Avars of Theophy fact.--M.]

[Footnote 31: The River Til, or Tula, according to the geography of
De Guignes, (tom. i. part ii. p. lviii. and 352,) is a small, though
grateful, stream of the desert, that falls into the Orhon, Selinga, &c.
See Bell, Journey from Petersburg to Pekin, (vol. ii. p. 124;) yet
his own description of the Keat, down which he sailed into the Oby,
represents the name and attributes of the black river, (p. 139.) * Note:
M. Klaproth, (Tableaux Historiques de l'Asie, p. 274) supposes this
river to be an eastern affluent of the Volga, the Kama, which, from the
color of its waters, might be called black. M. Abel Remusat (Recherchea
sur les Langues Tartares, vol. i. p. 320) and M. St. Martin (vol. ix.
p. 373) consider it the Volga, which is called Atel or Etel by all the
Turkish tribes. It is called Attilas by Menander, and Ettilia by the
monk Ruysbreek (1253.) See Klaproth, Tabl. Hist. p. 247. This geography
is much more clear and simple than that adopted by Gibbon from De
Guignes, or suggested from Bell.--M.]

[Footnote 32: Theophylact, l. vii. c. 7, 8. And yet his true Avars
are invisible even to the eyes of M. de Guignes; and what can be more
illustrious than the false? The right of the fugitive Ogors to that
national appellation is confessed by the Turks themselves, (Menander, p.

[Footnote 33: The Alani are still found in the Genealogical History of
the Tartars, (p. 617,) and in D'Anville's maps. They opposed the march
of the generals of Zingis round the Caspian Sea, and were overthrown in
a great battle, (Hist. de Gengiscan, l. iv. c. 9, p. 447.)]

[Footnote 34: The embassies and first conquests of the Avars may be read
in Menander, (Excerpt. Legat. p. 99, 100, 101, 154, 155,) Theophanes,
(p. 196,) the Historia Miscella, (l. xvi. p. 109,) and Gregory of Tours,
(L iv. c. 23, 29, in the Historians of France, tom. ii. p. 214, 217.)]

Perhaps the apparent change in the dispositions of the emperors may be
ascribed to the embassy which was received from the conquerors of the
Avars. [35] The immense distance which eluded their arms could not
extinguish their resentment: the Turkish ambassadors pursued the
footsteps of the vanquished to the Jaik, the Volga, Mount Caucasus, the
Euxine and Constantinople, and at length appeared before the successor
of Constantine, to request that he would not espouse the cause of
rebels and fugitives. Even commerce had some share in this remarkable
negotiation: and the Sogdoites, who were now the tributaries of the
Turks, embraced the fair occasion of opening, by the north of the
Caspian, a new road for the importation of Chinese silk into the Roman
empire. The Persian, who preferred the navigation of Ceylon, had stopped
the caravans of Bochara and Samarcand: their silk was contemptuously
burnt: some Turkish ambassadors died in Persia, with a suspicion of
poison; and the great khan permitted his faithful vassal Maniach, the
prince of the Sogdoites, to propose, at the Byzantine court, a treaty of
alliance against their common enemies. Their splendid apparel and rich
presents, the fruit of Oriental luxury, distinguished Maniach and his
colleagues from the rude savages of the North: their letters, in the
Scythian character and language, announced a people who had attained the
rudiments of science: [36] they enumerated the conquests, they offered
the friendship and military aid of the Turks; and their sincerity was
attested by direful imprecations (if they were guilty of falsehood)
against their own head, and the head of Disabul their master. The Greek
prince entertained with hospitable regard the ambassadors of a remote
and powerful monarch: the sight of silk-worms and looms disappointed the
hopes of the Sogdoites; the emperor renounced, or seemed to renounce,
the fugitive Avars, but he accepted the alliance of the Turks; and the
ratification of the treaty was carried by a Roman minister to the foot
of Mount Altai. Under the successors of Justinian, the friendship of the
two nations was cultivated by frequent and cordial intercourse; the most
favored vassals were permitted to imitate the example of the great khan,
and one hundred and six Turks, who, on various occasions, had visited
Constantinople, departed at the same time for their native country. The
duration and length of the journey from the Byzantine court to Mount
Altai are not specified: it might have been difficult to mark a road
through the nameless deserts, the mountains, rivers, and morasses of
Tartary; but a curious account has been preserved of the reception of
the Roman ambassadors at the royal camp. After they had been purified
with fire and incense, according to a rite still practised under the
sons of Zingis, [3611] they were introduced to the presence of Disabul.
In a valley of the Golden Mountain, they found the great khan in
his tent, seated in a chair with wheels, to which a horse might be
occasionally harnessed. As soon as they had delivered their presents,
which were received by the proper officers, they exposed, in a florid
oration, the wishes of the Roman emperor, that victory might attend the
arms of the Turks, that their reign might be long and prosperous,
and that a strict alliance, without envy or deceit, might forever be
maintained between the two most powerful nations of the earth. The
answer of Disabul corresponded with these friendly professions, and
the ambassadors were seated by his side, at a banquet which lasted the
greatest part of the day: the tent was surrounded with silk hangings,
and a Tartar liquor was served on the table, which possessed at least
the intoxicating qualities of wine. The entertainment of the succeeding
day was more sumptuous; the silk hangings of the second tent were
embroidered in various figures; and the royal seat, the cups, and the
vases, were of gold. A third pavilion was supported by columns of gilt
wood; a bed of pure and massy gold was raised on four peacocks of the
same metal: and before the entrance of the tent, dishes, basins, and
statues of solid silver, and admirable art, were ostentatiously piled in
wagons, the monuments of valor rather than of industry. When Disabul led
his armies against the frontiers of Persia, his Roman allies followed
many days the march of the Turkish camp, nor were they dismissed till
they had enjoyed their precedency over the envoy of the great king,
whose loud and intemperate clamors interrupted the silence of the royal
banquet. The power and ambition of Chosroes cemented the union of the
Turks and Romans, who touched his dominions on either side: but those
distant nations, regardless of each other, consulted the dictates of
interest, without recollecting the obligations of oaths and treaties.
While the successor of Disabul celebrated his father's obsequies, he
was saluted by the ambassadors of the emperor Tiberius, who proposed an
invasion of Persia, and sustained, with firmness, the angry and perhaps
the just reproaches of that haughty Barbarian. "You see my ten fingers,"
said the great khan, and he applied them to his mouth. "You Romans speak
with as many tongues, but they are tongues of deceit and perjury. To
me you hold one language, to my subjects another; and the nations are
successively deluded by your perfidious eloquence. You precipitate your
allies into war and danger, you enjoy their labors, and you neglect
your benefactors. Hasten your return, inform your master that a Turk is
incapable of uttering or forgiving falsehood, and that he shall speedily
meet the punishment which he deserves. While he solicits my friendship
with flattering and hollow words, he is sunk to a confederate of
my fugitive Varchonites. If I condescend to march against those
contemptible slaves, they will tremble at the sound of our whips; they
will be trampled, like a nest of ants, under the feet of my innumerable
cavalry. I am not ignorant of the road which they have followed to
invade your empire; nor can I be deceived by the vain pretence, that
Mount Caucasus is the impregnable barrier of the Romans. I know the
course of the Niester, the Danube, and the Hebrus; the most warlike
nations have yielded to the arms of the Turks; and from the rising to
the setting sun, the earth is my inheritance." Notwithstanding this
menace, a sense of mutual advantage soon renewed the alliance of
the Turks and Romans: but the pride of the great khan survived his
resentment; and when he announced an important conquest to his friend
the emperor Maurice, he styled himself the master of the seven races,
and the lord of the seven climates of the world. [37]

[Footnote 35: Theophanes, (Chron. p. 204,) and the Hist. Miscella, (l.
xvi. p. 110,) as understood by De Guignes, (tom. i. part ii. p. 354,)
appear to speak of a Turkish embassy to Justinian himself; but that of
Maniach, in the fourth year of his successor Justin, is positively the
first that reached Constantinople, (Menander p. 108.)]

[Footnote 36: The Russians have found characters, rude hieroglyphics, on
the Irtish and Yenisei, on medals, tombs, idols, rocks, obelisks, &c.,
(Strahlenberg, Hist. of Siberia, p. 324, 346, 406, 429.) Dr. Hyde (de
Religione Veterum Persarum, p. 521, &c.) has given two alphabets of
Thibet and of the Eygours. I have long harbored a suspicion, that all
the Scythian, and some, perhaps much, of the Indian science, was
derived from the Greeks of Bactriana. * Note: Modern discoveries give no
confirmation to this suspicion. The character of Indian science, as
well as of their literature and mythology, indicates an original source.
Grecian art may have occasionally found its way into India. One or two
of the sculptures in Col. Tod's account of the Jain temples, if correct,
show a finer outline, and purer sense of beauty, than appears native to
India, where the monstrous always predominated over simple nature.--M.]

[Footnote 3611: This rite is so curious, that I have subjoined the
description of it:-- When these (the exorcisers, the Shamans) approached
Zemarchus, they took all our baggage and placed it in the centre. Then,
kindling a fire with branches of frankincense, lowly murmuring certain
barbarous words in the Scythian language, beating on a kind of bell
(a gong) and a drum, they passed over the baggage the leaves of the
frankincense, crackling with the fire, and at the same time themselves
becoming frantic, and violently leaping about, seemed to exorcise the
evil spirits. Having thus as they thought, averted all evil, they led
Zemarchus himself through the fire. Menander, in Niebuhr's Bryant. Hist.
p. 381. Compare Carpini's Travels. The princes of the race of Zingis
Khan condescended to receive the ambassadors of the king of France, at
the end of the 13th century without their submitting to this humiliating
rite. See Correspondence published by Abel Remusat, Nouv. Mem. de l'Acad
des Inscrip. vol. vii. On the embassy of Zemarchus, compare Klaproth,
Tableaux de l'Asie p. 116.--M.]

[Footnote 37: All the details of these Turkish and Roman embassies, so
curious in the history of human manners, are drawn from the extracts of
Menander, (p. 106--110, 151--154, 161-164,) in which we often regret the
want of order and connection.]

Disputes have often arisen between the sovereigns of Asia for the title
of king of the world; while the contest has proved that it could not
belong to either of the competitors. The kingdom of the Turks was
bounded by the Oxus or Gihon; and Touran was separated by that great
river from the rival monarchy of Iran, or Persia, which in a smaller
compass contained perhaps a larger measure of power and population. The
Persians, who alternately invaded and repulsed the Turks and the Romans,
were still ruled by the house of Sassan, which ascended the throne
three hundred years before the accession of Justinian. His contemporary,
Cabades, or Kobad, had been successful in war against the emperor
Anastasius; but the reign of that prince was distracted by civil and
religious troubles. A prisoner in the hands of his subjects, an exile
among the enemies of Persia, he recovered his liberty by prostituting
the honor of his wife, and regained his kingdom with the dangerous and
mercenary aid of the Barbarians, who had slain his father. His nobles
were suspicious that Kobad never forgave the authors of his expulsion,
or even those of his restoration. The people was deluded and inflamed by
the fanaticism of Mazdak, [38] who asserted the community of women, [39]
and the equality of mankind, whilst he appropriated the richest lands
and most beautiful females to the use of his sectaries. The view of
these disorders, which had been fomented by his laws and example, [40]
imbittered the declining age of the Persian monarch; and his fears were
increased by the consciousness of his design to reverse the natural and
customary order of succession, in favor of his third and most favored
son, so famous under the names of Chosroes and Nushirvan. To render the
youth more illustrious in the eyes of the nations, Kobad was desirous
that he should be adopted by the emperor Justin: [4011] the hope of
peace inclined the Byzantine court to accept this singular proposal; and
Chosroes might have acquired a specious claim to the inheritance of his
Roman parent. But the future mischief was diverted by the advice of the
quaestor Proclus: a difficulty was started, whether the adoption should
be performed as a civil or military rite; [41] the treaty was abruptly
dissolved; and the sense of this indignity sunk deep into the mind
of Chosroes, who had already advanced to the Tigris on his road to
Constantinople. His father did not long survive the disappointment of
his wishes: the testament of their deceased sovereign was read in the
assembly of the nobles; and a powerful faction, prepared for the event,
and regardless of the priority of age, exalted Chosroes to the throne of
Persia. He filled that throne during a prosperous period of forty-eight
years; [42] and the Justice of Nushirvan is celebrated as the theme of
immortal praise by the nations of the East.

[Footnote 38: See D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orient. p. 568, 929;) Hyde, (de
Religione Vet. Persarum, c. 21, p. 290, 291;) Pocock, (Specimen Hist.
Arab. p. 70, 71;) Eutychius, (Annal. tom. ii. p. 176;) Texeira,
(in Stevens, Hist. of Persia, l. i. c. 34.) * Note: Mazdak was an
Archimagus, born, according to Mirkhond, (translated by De Sacy, p. 353,
and Malcolm, vol. i. p. 104,) at Istakhar or Persepolis, according to
an inedited and anonymous history, (the Modjmal-alte-warikh in the Royal
Library at Paris, quoted by St. Martin, vol. vii. p. 322) at Wischapour
in Chorasan: his father's name was Bamdadam. He announces himself as
a reformer of Zoroastrianism, and carried the doctrine of the
two principles to a much grater height. He preached the absolute
indifference of human action, perfect equality of rank, community
of property and of women, marriages between the nearest kindred; he
interdicted the use of animal food, proscribed the killing of animals
for food, enforced a vegetable diet. See St. Martin, vol. vii. p.
322. Malcolm, vol. i. p. 104. Mirkhond translated by De Sacy. It
is remarkable that the doctrine of Mazdak spread into the West. Two
inscriptions found in Cyrene, in 1823, and explained by M. Gesenius,
and by M. Hamaker of Leyden, prove clearly that his doctrines had been
eagerly embraced by the remains of the ancient Gnostics; and Mazdak was
enrolled with Thoth, Saturn, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Epicurus, John, and
Christ, as the teachers of true Gnostic wisdom. See St. Martin, vol.
vii. p. 338. Gesenius de Inscriptione Phoenicio-Graeca in Cyrenaica
nuper reperta, Halle, 1825. Hamaker, Lettre a M. Raoul Rochette, Leyden,

[Footnote 39: The fame of the new law for the community of women was
soon propagated in Syria (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. iii. p. 402)
and Greece, (Procop. Persic. l. i. c. 5.)]

[Footnote 40: He offered his own wife and sister to the prophet; but the
prayers of Nushirvan saved his mother, and the indignant monarch never
forgave the humiliation to which his filial piety had stooped: pedes
tuos deosculatus (said he to Mazdak,) cujus foetor adhuc nares occupat,
(Pocock, Specimen Hist. Arab. p. 71.)]

[Footnote 4011: St. Martin questions this adoption: he urges its
improbability; and supposes that Procopius, perverting some popular
traditions, or the remembrance of some fruitless negotiations which took
place at that time, has mistaken, for a treaty of adoption some treaty
of guaranty or protection for the purpose of insuring the crown, after
the death of Kobad, to his favorite son Chosroes, vol. viii. p. 32. Yet
the Greek historians seem unanimous as to the proposal: the Persians
might be expected to maintain silence on such a subject.--M.]

[Footnote 41: Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 11. Was not Proclus over-wise?
Was not the danger imaginary?--The excuse, at least, was injurious to
a nation not ignorant of letters. Whether any mode of adoption was
practised in Persia, I much doubt.]

[Footnote 42: From Procopius and Agathias, Pagi (tom. ii. p. 543, 626)
has proved that Chosroes Nushirvan ascended the throne in the fifth
year of Justinian, (A.D. 531, April 1.--A.D. 532, April 1.) But the
true chronology, which harmonizes with the Greeks and Orientals, is
ascertained by John Malala, (tom. ii. 211.) Cabades, or Kobad, after a
reign of forty-three years and two months, sickened the 8th, and died
the 13th of September, A.D. 531, aged eighty-two years. According to the
annals of Eutychius, Nushirvan reigned forty seven years and six months;
and his death must consequently be placed in March, A.D. 579.]

But the justice of kings is understood by themselves, and even by their
subjects, with an ample indulgence for the gratification of passion and
interest. The virtue of Chosroes was that of a conqueror, who, in the
measures of peace and war, is excited by ambition, and restrained by
prudence; who confounds the greatness with the happiness of a nation,
and calmly devotes the lives of thousands to the fame, or even the
amusement, of a single man. In his domestic administration, the just
Nushirvan would merit in our feelings the appellation of a tyrant. His
two elder brothers had been deprived of their fair expectations of the
diadem: their future life, between the supreme rank and the condition of
subjects, was anxious to themselves and formidable to their master: fear
as well as revenge might tempt them to rebel: the slightest evidence
of a conspiracy satisfied the author of their wrongs; and the repose of
Chosroes was secured by the death of these unhappy princes, with their
families and adherents. One guiltless youth was saved and dismissed by
the compassion of a veteran general; and this act of humanity, which was
revealed by his son, overbalanced the merit of reducing twelve nations
to the obedience of Persia. The zeal and prudence of Mebodes had fixed
the diadem on the head of Chosroes himself; but he delayed to attend the
royal summons, till he had performed the duties of a military review: he
was instantly commanded to repair to the iron tripod, which stood before
the gate of the palace, [43] where it was death to relieve or approach
the victim; and Mebodes languished several days before his sentence was
pronounced, by the inflexible pride and calm ingratitude of the son
of Kobad. But the people, more especially in the East, is disposed to
forgive, and even to applaud, the cruelty which strikes at the loftiest
heads; at the slaves of ambition, whose voluntary choice has exposed
them to live in the smiles, and to perish by the frown, of a capricious
monarch. In the execution of the laws which he had no temptation to
violate; in the punishment of crimes which attacked his own dignity, as
well as the happiness of individuals; Nushirvan, or Chosroes, deserved
the appellation of just. His government was firm, rigorous, and
impartial. It was the first labor of his reign to abolish the dangerous
theory of common or equal possessions: the lands and women which the
sectaries of Mazdak has usurped were restored to their lawful owners;
and the temperate [4311] chastisement of the fanatics or impostors
confirmed the domestic rights of society. Instead of listening with
blind confidence to a favorite minister, he established four viziers
over the four great provinces of his empire, Assyria, Media, Persia,
and Bactriana. In the choice of judges, praefects, and counsellors, he
strove to remove the mask which is always worn in the presence of kings:
he wished to substitute the natural order of talents for the accidental
distinctions of birth and fortune; he professed, in specious language,
his intention to prefer those men who carried the poor in their bosoms,
and to banish corruption from the seat of justice, as dogs were excluded
from the temples of the Magi. The code of laws of the first Artaxerxes
was revived and published as the rule of the magistrates; but the
assurance of speedy punishment was the best security of their virtue.
Their behavior was inspected by a thousand eyes, their words were
overheard by a thousand ears, the secret or public agents of the
throne; and the provinces, from the Indian to the Arabian confines,
were enlightened by the frequent visits of a sovereign, who affected
to emulate his celestial brother in his rapid and salutary career.
Education and agriculture he viewed as the two objects most deserving of
his care. In every city of Persia orphans, and the children of the poor,
were maintained and instructed at the public expense; the daughters were
given in marriage to the richest citizens of their own rank, and the
sons, according to their different talents, were employed in mechanic
trades, or promoted to more honorable service. The deserted villages
were relieved by his bounty; to the peasants and farmers who were found
incapable of cultivating their lands, he distributed cattle, seed, and
the instruments of husbandry; and the rare and inestimable treasure of
fresh water was parsimoniously managed, and skilfully dispersed over the
arid territory of Persia. [44] The prosperity of that kingdom was the
effect and evidence of his virtues; his vices are those of Oriental
despotism; but in the long competition between Chosroes and Justinian,
the advantage both of merit and fortune is almost always on the side of
the Barbarian. [45]

[Footnote 43: Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 23. Brisson, de Regn. Pers.
p. 494. The gate of the palace of Ispahan is, or was, the fatal scene of
disgrace or death, (Chardin, Voyage en Perse, tom. iv. p. 312, 313.)]

[Footnote 4311: This is a strange term. Nushirvan employed a stratagem
similar to that of Jehu, 2 Kings, x. 18--28, to separate the followers
of Mazdak from the rest of his subjects, and with a body of his troops
cut them all in pieces. The Greek writers concur with the Persian in
this representation of Nushirvan's temperate conduct. Theophanes, p.
146. Mirkhond. p. 362. Eutychius, Ann. vol. ii. p. 179. Abulfeda, in an
unedited part, consulted by St. Martin as well as in a passage formerly
cited. Le Beau vol. viii. p. 38. Malcolm vol l p. 109.--M.]

[Footnote 44: In Persia, the prince of the waters is an officer
of state. The number of wells and subterraneous channels is much
diminished, and with it the fertility of the soil: 400 wells have been
recently lost near Tauris, and 42,000 were once reckoned in the province
of Khorasan (Chardin, tom. iii. p. 99, 100. Tavernier, tom. i. p. 416.)]

[Footnote 45: The character and government of Nushirvan is represented
some times in the words of D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orient. p. 680, &c.,
from Khondemir,) Eutychius, (Annal. tom. ii. p. 179, 180,--very rich,)
Abulpharagius, (Dynast. vii. p. 94, 95,--very poor,) Tarikh Schikard,
(p. 144--150,) Texeira, (in Stevens, l. i. c. 35,) Asseman, (Bibliot
Orient. tom. iii. p. 404-410,) and the Abbe Fourmont, (Hist. de l'Acad.
des Inscriptions, tom. vii. p. 325--334,) who has translated a spurious
or genuine testament of Nushirvan.]

To the praise of justice Nushirvan united the reputation of knowledge;
and the seven Greek philosophers, who visited his court, were invited
and deceived by the strange assurance, that a disciple of Plato
was seated on the Persian throne. Did they expect, that a prince,
strenuously exercised in the toils of war and government, should
agitate, with dexterity like their own, the abstruse and profound
questions which amused the leisure of the schools of Athens? Could they
hope that the precepts of philosophy should direct the life, and control
the passions, of a despot, whose infancy had been taught to consider his
absolute and fluctuating will as the only rule of moral obligation?
[46] The studies of Chosroes were ostentatious and superficial: but his
example awakened the curiosity of an ingenious people, and the light of
science was diffused over the dominions of Persia. [47] At Gondi Sapor,
in the neighborhood of the royal city of Susa, an academy of physic was
founded, which insensibly became a liberal school of poetry, philosophy,
and rhetoric. [48] The annals of the monarchy [49] were composed; and
while recent and authentic history might afford some useful lessons both
to the prince and people, the darkness of the first ages was embellished
by the giants, the dragons, and the fabulous heroes of Oriental romance.
[50] Every learned or confident stranger was enriched by the bounty, and
flattered by the conversation, of the monarch: he nobly rewarded a Greek
physician, [51] by the deliverance of three thousand, captives; and the
sophists, who contended for his favor, were exasperated by the wealth
and insolence of Uranius, their more successful rival. Nushirvan
believed, or at least respected, the religion of the Magi; and some
traces of persecution may be discovered in his reign. [52] Yet he
allowed himself freely to compare the tenets of the various sects; and
the theological disputes, in which he frequently presided, diminished
the authority of the priest, and enlightened the minds of the people.
At his command, the most celebrated writers of Greece and India were
translated into the Persian language; a smooth and elegant idiom,
recommended by Mahomet to the use of paradise; though it is branded with
the epithets of savage and unmusical, by the ignorance and presumption
of Agathias. [53] Yet the Greek historian might reasonably wonder that
it should be found possible to execute an entire version of Plato and
Aristotle in a foreign dialect, which had not been framed to express the
spirit of freedom and the subtilties of philosophic disquisition.
And, if the reason of the Stagyrite might be equally dark, or equally
intelligible in every tongue, the dramatic art and verbal argumentation
of the disciple of Socrates, [54] appear to be indissolubly mingled with
the grace and perfection of his Attic style. In the search of universal
knowledge, Nushirvan was informed, that the moral and political fables
of Pilpay, an ancient Brachman, were preserved with jealous reverence
among the treasures of the kings of India. The physician Perozes was
secretly despatched to the banks of the Ganges, with instructions to
procure, at any price, the communication of this valuable work. His
dexterity obtained a transcript, his learned diligence accomplished the
translation; and the fables of Pilpay [55] were read and admired in
the assembly of Nushirvan and his nobles. The Indian original, and the
Persian copy, have long since disappeared; but this venerable monument
has been saved by the curiosity of the Arabian caliphs, revived in
the modern Persic, the Turkish, the Syriac, the Hebrew, and the Greek
idioms, and transfused through successive versions into the modern
languages of Europe. In their present form, the peculiar character, the
manners and religion of the Hindoos, are completely obliterated; and the
intrinsic merit of the fables of Pilpay is far inferior to the concise
elegance of Phaedrus, and the native graces of La Fontaine. Fifteen
moral and political sentences are illustrated in a series of apologues:
but the composition is intricate, the narrative prolix, and the precept
obvious and barren. Yet the Brachman may assume the merit of inventing
a pleasing fiction, which adorns the nakedness of truth, and alleviates,
perhaps, to a royal ear, the harshness of instruction. With a similar
design, to admonish kings that they are strong only in the strength of
their subjects, the same Indians invented the game of chess, which was
likewise introduced into Persia under the reign of Nushirvan. [56]

[Footnote 46: A thousand years before his birth, the judges of Persia
had given a solemn opinion, (Herodot. l. iii. c. 31, p. 210, edit.
Wesseling.) Nor had this constitutional maxim been neglected as a
useless and barren theory.]

[Footnote 47: On the literary state of Persia, the Greek versions,
philosophers, sophists, the learning or ignorance of Chosroes, Agathias
(l. ii. c. 66--71) displays much information and strong prejudices.]

[Footnote 48: Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. iv. p. DCCXLV. vi. vii.]

[Footnote 49: The Shah Nameh, or Book of Kings, is perhaps the original
record of history which was translated into Greek by the interpreter
Sergius, (Agathias, l. v. p. 141,) preserved after the Mahometan
conquest, and versified in the year 994, by the national poet Ferdoussi.
See D'Anquetil (Mem. de l'Academie, tom. xxxi. p. 379) and Sir William
Jones, (Hist. of Nadir Shah, p. 161.)]

[Footnote 50: In the fifth century, the name of Restom, or Rostam, a
hero who equalled the strength of twelve elephants, was familiar to the
Armenians, (Moses Chorenensis, Hist. Armen. l. ii. c. 7, p. 96, edit.
Whiston.) In the beginning of the seventh, the Persian Romance of Rostam
and Isfendiar was applauded at Mecca, (Sale's Koran, c. xxxi. p. 335.)
Yet this exposition of ludicrum novae historiae is not given by Maracci,
(Refutat. Alcoran. p. 544--548.)]

[Footnote 51: Procop. (Goth. l. iv. c. 10.) Kobad had a favorite Greek
physician, Stephen of Edessa, (Persic. l. ii. c. 26.) The practice was
ancient; and Herodotus relates the adventures of Democedes of Crotona,
(l. iii p. 125--137.)]

[Footnote 52: See Pagi, tom. ii. p. 626. In one of the treaties an
honorable article was inserted for the toleration and burial of the
Catholics, (Menander, in Excerpt. Legat. p. 142.) Nushizad, a son of
Nushirvan, was a Christian, a rebel, and--a martyr? (D'Herbelot, p.

[Footnote 53: On the Persian language, and its three dialects, consult
D'Anquetil (p. 339--343) and Jones, (p. 153--185:) is the character
which Agathias (l. ii. p. 66) ascribes to an idiom renowned in the East
for poetical softness.]

[Footnote 54: Agathias specifies the Gorgias, Phaedon, Parmenides, and
Timaeus. Renaudot (Fabricius, Bibliot. Graec. tom. xii. p. 246--261)
does not mention this Barbaric version of Aristotle.]

[Footnote 55: Of these fables, I have seen three copies in three
different languages: 1. In Greek, translated by Simeon Seth (A.D. 1100)
from the Arabic, and published by Starck at Berlin in 1697, in 12mo. 2.
In Latin, a version from the Greek Sapientia Indorum, inserted by Pere
Poussin at the end of his edition of Pachymer, (p. 547--620, edit.
Roman.) 3. In French, from the Turkish, dedicated, in 1540, to Sultan
Soliman Contes et Fables Indiennes de Bidpai et de Lokman, par Mm.
Galland et Cardonne, Paris, 1778, 3 vols. in 12mo. Mr. Warton (History
of English Poetry, vol. i. p. 129--131) takes a larger scope. * Note:
The oldest Indian collection extant is the Pancha-tantra, (the five
collections,) analyzed by Mr. Wilson in the Transactions of the Royal
Asiat. Soc. It was translated into Persian by Barsuyah, the physician
of Nushirvan, under the name of the Fables of Bidpai, (Vidyapriya, the
Friend of Knowledge, or, as the Oriental writers understand it, the
Friend of Medicine.) It was translated into Arabic by Abdolla Ibn
Mokaffa, under the name of Kalila and Dimnah. From the Arabic it passed
into the European languages. Compare Wilson, in Trans. As. Soc. i. 52.
dohlen, das alte Indien, ii. p. 386. Silvestre de Sacy, Memoire sur
Kalila vs Dimnah.--M.]

[Footnote 56: See the Historia Shahiludii of Dr. Hyde, (Syntagm.
Dissertat. tom. ii. p. 61--69.)]

Chapter XLII: State Of The Barbaric World.--Part III.

The son of Kobad found his kingdom involved in a war with the successor
of Constantine; and the anxiety of his domestic situation inclined
him to grant the suspension of arms, which Justinian was impatient to
purchase. Chosroes saw the Roman ambassadors at his feet. He accepted
eleven thousand pounds of gold, as the price of an endless or indefinite
peace: [57] some mutual exchanges were regulated; the Persian assumed
the guard of the gates of Caucasus, and the demolition of Dara was
suspended, on condition that it should never be made the residence of
the general of the East. This interval of repose had been solicited,
and was diligently improved, by the ambition of the emperor: his African
conquests were the first fruits of the Persian treaty; and the avarice
of Chosroes was soothed by a large portion of the spoils of Carthage,
which his ambassadors required in a tone of pleasantry and under the
color of friendship. [58] But the trophies of Belisarius disturbed the
slumbers of the great king; and he heard with astonishment, envy, and
fear, that Sicily, Italy, and Rome itself, had been reduced, in three
rapid campaigns, to the obedience of Justinian. Unpractised in the art
of violating treaties, he secretly excited his bold and subtle vassal
Almondar. That prince of the Saracens, who resided at Hira, [59] had
not been included in the general peace, and still waged an obscure
war against his rival Arethas, the chief of the tribe of Gassan, and
confederate of the empire. The subject of their dispute was an extensive
sheep-walk in the desert to the south of Palmyra. An immemorial tribute
for the license of pasture appeared to attest the rights of Almondar,
while the Gassanite appealed to the Latin name of strata, a paved road,
as an unquestionable evidence of the sovereignty and labors of the
Romans. [60] The two monarchs supported the cause of their respective
vassals; and the Persian Arab, without expecting the event of a slow
and doubtful arbitration, enriched his flying camp with the spoil and
captives of Syria. Instead of repelling the arms, Justinian attempted to
seduce the fidelity of Almondar, while he called from the extremities of
the earth the nations of Aethiopia and Scythia to invade the dominions
of his rival. But the aid of such allies was distant and precarious, and
the discovery of this hostile correspondence justified the complaints
of the Goths and Armenians, who implored, almost at the same time,
the protection of Chosroes. The descendants of Arsaces, who were still
numerous in Armenia, had been provoked to assert the last relics of
national freedom and hereditary rank; and the ambassadors of Vitiges
had secretly traversed the empire to expose the instant, and almost
inevitable, danger of the kingdom of Italy. Their representations were
uniform, weighty, and effectual. "We stand before your throne, the
advocates of your interest as well as of our own. The ambitious and
faithless Justinian aspires to be the sole master of the world. Since
the endless peace, which betrayed the common freedom of mankind, that
prince, your ally in words, your enemy in actions, has alike insulted
his friends and foes, and has filled the earth with blood and confusion.
Has he not violated the privileges of Armenia, the independence of
Colchos, and the wild liberty of the Tzanian mountains? Has he not
usurped, with equal avidity, the city of Bosphorus on the frozen
Maeotis, and the vale of palm-trees on the shores of the Red Sea? The
Moors, the Vandals, the Goths, have been successively oppressed, and
each nation has calmly remained the spectator of their neighbor's ruin.
Embrace, O king! the favorable moment; the East is left without defence,
while the armies of Justinian and his renowned general are detained in
the distant regions of the West. If you hesitate or delay, Belisarius
and his victorious troops will soon return from the Tyber to the
Tigris, and Persia may enjoy the wretched consolation of being the last
devoured." [61] By such arguments, Chosroes was easily persuaded to
imitate the example which he condemned: but the Persian, ambitious of
military fame, disdained the inactive warfare of a rival, who issued
his sanguinary commands from the secure station of the Byzantine palace.
[Footnote 57: The endless peace (Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 21)
was concluded or ratified in the vith year, and iiid consulship, of
Justinian, (A.D. 533, between January 1 and April 1. Pagi, tom. ii.
p. 550.) Marcellinus, in his Chronicle, uses the style of Medes and

[Footnote 58: Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 26.]

[Footnote 59: Almondar, king of Hira, was deposed by Kobad, and restored
by Nushirvan. His mother, from her beauty, was surnamed Celestial Water,
an appellation which became hereditary, and was extended for a more
noble cause (liberality in famine) to the Arab princes of Syria,
(Pocock, Specimen Hist. Arab. p. 69, 70.)]

[Footnote 60: Procopius, Persic. l. ii. c. 1. We are ignorant of the
origin and object of this strata, a paved road of ten days' journey from
Auranitis to Babylonia. (See a Latin note in Delisle's Map Imp. Orient.)
Wesseling and D'Anville are silent.]

[Footnote 61: I have blended, in a short speech, the two orations of
the Arsacides of Armenia and the Gothic ambassadors. Procopius, in his
public history, feels, and makes us feel, that Justinian was the true
author of the war, (Persic. l. ii. c. 2, 3.)]

Whatever might be the provocations of Chosroes, he abused the confidence
of treaties; and the just reproaches of dissimulation and falsehood
could only be concealed by the lustre of his victories. [62] The Persian
army, which had been assembled in the plains of Babylon, prudently
declined the strong cities of Mesopotamia, and followed the western bank
of the Euphrates, till the small, though populous, town of Dura [6211]
presumed to arrest the progress of the great king. The gates of Dura,
by treachery and surprise, were burst open; and as soon as Chosroes had
stained his cimeter with the blood of the inhabitants, he dismissed the
ambassador of Justinian to inform his master in what place he had left
the enemy of the Romans. The conqueror still affected the praise of
humanity and justice; and as he beheld a noble matron with her infant
rudely dragged along the ground, he sighed, he wept, and implored the
divine justice to punish the author of these calamities. Yet the herd
of twelve thousand captives was ransomed for two hundred pounds of gold;
the neighboring bishop of Sergiopolis pledged his faith for the payment:
and in the subsequent year the unfeeling avarice of Chosroes exacted
the penalty of an obligation which it was generous to contract and
impossible to discharge. He advanced into the heart of Syria: but a
feeble enemy, who vanished at his approach, disappointed him of the
honor of victory; and as he could not hope to establish his dominion,
the Persian king displayed in this inroad the mean and rapacious vices
of a robber. Hierapolis, Berrhaea or Aleppo, Apamea and Chalcis, were
successively besieged: they redeemed their safety by a ransom of gold
or silver, proportioned to their respective strength and opulence; and
their new master enforced, without observing, the terms of capitulation.
Educated in the religion of the Magi, he exercised, without remorse, the
lucrative trade of sacrilege; and, after stripping of its gold and gems
a piece of the true cross, he generously restored the naked relic to the
devotion of the Christians of Apamea. No more than fourteen years had
elapsed since Antioch was ruined by an earthquake; [6212] but the queen
of the East, the new Theopolis, had been raised from the ground by the
liberality of Justinian; and the increasing greatness of the buildings
and the people already erased the memory of this recent disaster. On one
side, the city was defended by the mountain, on the other by the River
Orontes; but the most accessible part was commanded by a superior
eminence: the proper remedies were rejected, from the despicable fear
of discovering its weakness to the enemy; and Germanus, the emperor's
nephew, refused to trust his person and dignity within the walls of
a besieged city. The people of Antioch had inherited the vain and
satirical genius of their ancestors: they were elated by a sudden
reenforcement of six thousand soldiers; they disdained the offers of
an easy capitulation and their intemperate clamors insulted from the
ramparts the majesty of the great king. Under his eye the Persian
myriads mounted with scaling-ladders to the assault; the Roman
mercenaries fled through the opposite gate of Daphne; and the generous
assistance of the youth of Antioch served only to aggravate the miseries
of their country. As Chosroes, attended by the ambassadors of Justinian,
was descending from the mountain, he affected, in a plaintive voice, to
deplore the obstinacy and ruin of that unhappy people; but the slaughter
still raged with unrelenting fury; and the city, at the command of a
Barbarian, was delivered to the flames. The cathedral of Antioch was
indeed preserved by the avarice, not the piety, of the conqueror: a more
honorable exemption was granted to the church of St. Julian, and the
quarter of the town where the ambassadors resided; some distant streets
were saved by the shifting of the wind, and the walls still subsisted
to protect, and soon to betray, their new inhabitants. Fanaticism had
defaced the ornaments of Daphne, but Chosroes breathed a purer air
amidst her groves and fountains; and some idolaters in his train might
sacrifice with impunity to the nymphs of that elegant retreat. Eighteen
miles below Antioch, the River Orontes falls into the Mediterranean. The
haughty Persian visited the term of his conquests; and, after bathing
alone in the sea, he offered a solemn sacrifice of thanksgiving to the
sun, or rather to the Creator of the sun, whom the Magi adored. If this
act of superstition offended the prejudices of the Syrians, they were
pleased by the courteous and even eager attention with which he assisted
at the games of the circus; and as Chosroes had heard that the blue
faction was espoused by the emperor, his peremptory command secured the
victory of the green charioteer. From the discipline of his camp the
people derived more solid consolation; and they interceded in vain for
the life of a soldier who had too faithfully copied the rapine of the
just Nushirvan. At length, fatigued, though unsatiated, with the spoil
of Syria, [6213] he slowly moved to the Euphrates, formed a temporary
bridge in the neighborhood of Barbalissus, and defined the space of
three days for the entire passage of his numerous host. After his
return, he founded, at the distance of one day's journey from the palace
of Ctesiphon, a new city, which perpetuated the joint names of Chosroes
and of Antioch. The Syrian captives recognized the form and situation
of their native abodes: baths and a stately circus were constructed for
their use; and a colony of musicians and charioteers revived in Assyria
the pleasures of a Greek capital. By the munificence of the royal
founder, a liberal allowance was assigned to these fortunate exiles; and
they enjoyed the singular privilege of bestowing freedom on the slaves
whom they acknowledged as their kinsmen. Palestine, and the holy wealth
of Jerusalem, were the next objects that attracted the ambition, or
rather the avarice, of Chosroes. Constantinople, and the palace of the
Caesars, no longer appeared impregnable or remote; and his aspiring
fancy already covered Asia Minor with the troops, and the Black Sea with
the navies, of Persia.

[Footnote 62: The invasion of Syria, the ruin of Antioch, &c., are
related in a full and regular series by Procopius, (Persic. l. ii. c.
5--14.) Small collateral aid can be drawn from the Orientals: yet not
they, but D'Herbelot himself, (p. 680,) should blush when he blames them
for making Justinian and Nushirvan contemporaries. On the geography of
the seat of war, D'Anville (l'Euphrate et le Tigre) is sufficient and

[Footnote 6211: It is Sura in Procopius. Is it a misprint in

[Footnote 6212: Joannes Lydus attributes the easy capture of Antioch
to the want of fortifications which had not been restored since the
earthquake, l. iii. c. 54. p. 246.--M.]

[Footnote 6213: Lydus asserts that he carried away all the statues,
pictures, and marbles which adorned the city, l. iii. c. 54, p.

These hopes might have been realized, if the conqueror of Italy had not
been seasonably recalled to the defence of the East. [63] While Chosroes
pursued his ambitious designs on the coast of the Euxine, Belisarius,
at the head of an army without pay or discipline, encamped beyond the
Euphrates, within six miles of Nisibis. He meditated, by a skilful
operation, to draw the Persians from their impregnable citadel, and
improving his advantage in the field, either to intercept their retreat,
or perhaps to enter the gates with the flying Barbarians. He advanced
one day's journey on the territories of Persia, reduced the fortress of
Sisaurane, and sent the governor, with eight hundred chosen horsemen,
to serve the emperor in his Italian wars. He detached Arethas and his
Arabs, supported by twelve hundred Romans, to pass the Tigris, and to
ravage the harvests of Assyria, a fruitful province, long exempt from
the calamities of war. But the plans of Belisarius were disconcerted by
the untractable spirit of Arethas, who neither returned to the camp,
nor sent any intelligence of his motions. The Roman general was fixed
in anxious expectation to the same spot; the time of action elapsed, the
ardent sun of Mesopotamia inflamed with fevors the blood of his European
soldiers; and the stationary troops and officers of Syria affected to
tremble for the safety of their defenceless cities. Yet this diversion
had already succeeded in forcing Chosroes to return with loss and
precipitation; and if the skill of Belisarius had been seconded by
discipline and valor, his success might have satisfied the sanguine
wishes of the public, who required at his hands the conquest of
Ctesiphon, and the deliverance of the captives of Antioch. At the end of
the campaign, he was recalled to Constantinople by an ungrateful court,
but the dangers of the ensuing spring restored his confidence and
command; and the hero, almost alone, was despatched, with the speed of
post-horses, to repel, by his name and presence, the invasion of Syria.
He found the Roman generals, among whom was a nephew of Justinian,
imprisoned by their fears in the fortifications of Hierapolis. But
instead of listening to their timid counsels, Belisarius commanded them
to follow him to Europus, where he had resolved to collect his forces,
and to execute whatever God should inspire him to achieve against
the enemy. His firm attitude on the banks of the Euphrates restrained
Chosroes from advancing towards Palestine; and he received with art and
dignity the ambassadors, or rather spies, of the Persian monarch. The
plain between Hierapolis and the river was covered with the squadrons of
cavalry, six thousand hunters, tall and robust, who pursued their
game without the apprehension of an enemy. On the opposite bank the
ambassadors descried a thousand Armenian horse, who appeared to guard
the passage of the Euphrates. The tent of Belisarius was of the coarsest
linen, the simple equipage of a warrior who disdained the luxury of the
East. Around his tent, the nations who marched under his standard were
arranged with skilful confusion. The Thracians and Illyrians were posted
in the front, the Heruli and Goths in the centre; the prospect was
closed by the Moors and Vandals, and their loose array seemed to
multiply their numbers. Their dress was light and active; one soldier
carried a whip, another a sword, a third a bow, a fourth, perhaps,
a battle axe, and the whole picture exhibited the intrepidity of the
troops and the vigilance of the general. Chosroes was deluded by
the address, and awed by the genius, of the lieutenant of Justinian.
Conscious of the merit, and ignorant of the force, of his antagonist,
he dreaded a decisive battle in a distant country, from whence not
a Persian might return to relate the melancholy tale. The great king
hastened to repass the Euphrates; and Belisarius pressed his retreat, by
affecting to oppose a measure so salutary to the empire, and which could
scarcely have been prevented by an army of a hundred thousand men. Envy
might suggest to ignorance and pride, that the public enemy had been
suffered to escape: but the African and Gothic triumphs are less
glorious than this safe and bloodless victory, in which neither fortune,
nor the valor of the soldiers, can subtract any part of the general's
renown. The second removal of Belisarius from the Persian to the Italian
war revealed the extent of his personal merit, which had corrected or
supplied the want of discipline and courage. Fifteen generals, without
concert or skill, led through the mountains of Armenia an army of thirty
thousand Romans, inattentive to their signals, their ranks, and their
ensigns. Four thousand Persians, intrenched in the camp of Dubis,
vanquished, almost without a combat, this disorderly multitude; their
useless arms were scattered along the road, and their horses sunk under
the fatigue of their rapid flight. But the Arabs of the Roman party
prevailed over their brethren; the Armenians returned to their
allegiance; the cities of Dara and Edessa resisted a sudden assault and
a regular siege, and the calamities of war were suspended by those
of pestilence. A tacit or formal agreement between the two sovereigns
protected the tranquillity of the Eastern frontier; and the arms of
Chosroes were confined to the Colchian or Lazic war, which has been too
minutely described by the historians of the times. [64]

[Footnote 63: In the public history of Procopius, (Persic. l. ii. c. 16,
18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28;) and, with some slight exceptions,
we may reasonably shut our ears against the malevolent whisper of the
Anecdotes, (c. 2, 3, with the Notes, as usual, of Alemannus.)]

[Footnote 64: The Lazic war, the contest of Rome and Persia on the
Phasis, is tediously spun through many a page of Procopius (Persic. l.
ii. c. 15, 17, 28, 29, 30.) Gothic. (l. iv. c. 7--16) and Agathias, (l.
ii. iii. and iv. p. 55--132, 141.)]

The extreme length of the Euxine Sea [65] from Constantinople to the
mouth of the Phasis, may be computed as a voyage of nine days, and a
measure of seven hundred miles. From the Iberian Caucasus, the most
lofty and craggy mountains of Asia, that river descends with such
oblique vehemence, that in a short space it is traversed by one hundred
and twenty bridges. Nor does the stream become placid and navigable,
till it reaches the town of Sarapana, five days' journey from the Cyrus,
which flows from the same hills, but in a contrary direction to the
Caspian Lake. The proximity of these rivers has suggested the practice,
or at least the idea, of wafting the precious merchandise of India down
the Oxus, over the Caspian, up the Cyrus, and with the current of
the Phasis into the Euxine and Mediterranean Seas. As it successively
collects the streams of the plain of Colchos, the Phasis moves with
diminished speed, though accumulated weight. At the mouth it is sixty
fathom deep, and half a league broad, but a small woody island is
interposed in the midst of the channel; the water, so soon as it has
deposited an earthy or metallic sediment, floats on the surface of the
waves, and is no longer susceptible of corruption. In a course of one
hundred miles, forty of which are navigable for large vessels, the
Phasis divides the celebrated region of Colchos, [66] or Mingrelia,
[67] which, on three sides, is fortified by the Iberian and Armenian
mountains, and whose maritime coast extends about two hundred miles
from the neighborhood of Trebizond to Dioscurias and the confines of
Circassia. Both the soil and climate are relaxed by excessive moisture:
twenty-eight rivers, besides the Phasis and his dependent streams,
convey their waters to the sea; and the hollowness of the ground appears
to indicate the subterraneous channels between the Euxine and the
Caspian. In the fields where wheat or barley is sown, the earth is too
soft to sustain the action of the plough; but the gom, a small grain,
not unlike the millet or coriander seed, supplies the ordinary food
of the people; and the use of bread is confined to the prince and his
nobles. Yet the vintage is more plentiful than the harvest; and the bulk
of the stems, as well as the quality of the wine, display the unassisted
powers of nature. The same powers continually tend to overshadow the
face of the country with thick forests; the timber of the hills, and
the flax of the plains, contribute to the abundance of naval stores; the
wild and tame animals, the horse, the ox, and the hog, are remarkably
prolific, and the name of the pheasant is expressive of his native
habitation on the banks of the Phasis. The gold mines to the south of
Trebizond, which are still worked with sufficient profit, were a subject
of national dispute between Justinian and Chosroes; and it is not
unreasonable to believe, that a vein of precious metal may be equally
diffused through the circle of the hills, although these secret
treasures are neglected by the laziness, or concealed by the prudence,
of the Mingrelians. The waters, impregnated with particles of gold, are
carefully strained through sheep-skins or fleeces; but this expedient,
the groundwork perhaps of a marvellous fable, affords a faint image of
the wealth extracted from a virgin earth by the power and industry of
ancient kings. Their silver palaces and golden chambers surpass our
belief; but the fame of their riches is said to have excited the
enterprising avarice of the Argonauts. [68] Tradition has affirmed, with
some color of reason, that Egypt planted on the Phasis a learned and
polite colony, [69] which manufactured linen, built navies, and invented
geographical maps. The ingenuity of the moderns has peopled, with
flourishing cities and nations, the isthmus between the Euxine and the
Caspian; [70] and a lively writer, observing the resemblance of climate,
and, in his apprehension, of trade, has not hesitated to pronounce
Colchos the Holland of antiquity. [71]

[Footnote 65: The Periplus, or circumnavigation of the Euxine Sea, was
described in Latin by Sallust, and in Greek by Arrian: I. The former
work, which no longer exists, has been restored by the singular
diligence of M. de Brosses, first president of the parliament of Dijon,
(Hist. de la Republique Romaine, tom. ii. l. iii. p. 199--298,) who
ventures to assume the character of the Roman historian. His description
of the Euxine is ingeniously formed of all the fragments of the
original, and of all the Greeks and Latins whom Sallust might copy, or
by whom he might be copied; and the merit of the execution atones for
the whimsical design. 2. The Periplus of Arrian is addressed to the
emperor Hadrian, (in Geograph. Minor. Hudson, tom. i.,) and contains
whatever the governor of Pontus had seen from Trebizond to Dioscurias;
whatever he had heard from Dioscurias to the Danube; and whatever he
knew from the Danube to Trebizond.]

[Footnote 66: Besides the many occasional hints from the poets,
historians &c., of antiquity, we may consult the geographical
descriptions of Colchos, by Strabo (l. xi. p. 760--765) and Pliny,
(Hist. Natur. vi. 5, 19, &c.)]

[Footnote 67: I shall quote, and have used, three modern descriptions
of Mingrelia and the adjacent countries. 1. Of the Pere Archangeli
Lamberti, (Relations de Thevenot, part i. p. 31-52, with a map,) who
has all the knowledge and prejudices of a missionary. 2. Of Chardia,
(Voyages en Perse, tom. i. p. 54, 68-168.) His observations are
judicious and his own adventures in the country are still more
instructive than his observations. 3. Of Peyssonel, (Observations sur
les Peuples Barbares, p. 49, 50, 51, 58 62, 64, 65, 71, &c., and a more
recent treatise, Sur le Commerce de la Mer Noire, tom. ii. p. 1--53.)
He had long resided at Caffa, as consul of France; and his erudition is
less valuable than his experience.]

[Footnote 68: Pliny, Hist. Natur. l. xxxiii. 15. The gold and silver
mines of Colchos attracted the Argonauts, (Strab. l. i. p. 77.) The
sagacious Chardin could find no gold in mines, rivers, or elsewhere.
Yet a Mingrelian lost his hand and foot for showing some specimens at
Constantinople of native gold]

[Footnote 69: Herodot. l. ii. c. 104, 105, p. 150, 151. Diodor. Sicul.
l. i. p. 33, edit. Wesseling. Dionys. Perieget. 689, and Eustath. ad
loc. Schohast ad Apollonium Argonaut. l. iv. 282-291.]

[Footnote 70: Montesquieu, Esprit des Loix, l. xxi. c. 6. L'Isthme...
couvero de villes et nations qui ne sont plus.]

[Footnote 71: Bougainville, Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions,
tom. xxvi. p. 33, on the African voyage of Hanno and the commerce of

But the riches of Colchos shine only through the darkness of conjecture
or tradition; and its genuine history presents a uniform scene of
rudeness and poverty. If one hundred and thirty languages were spoken in
the market of Dioscurias, [72] they were the imperfect idioms of so many
savage tribes or families, sequestered from each other in the valleys of
Mount Caucasus; and their separation, which diminished the importance,
must have multiplied the number, of their rustic capitals. In the
present state of Mingrelia, a village is an assemblage of huts within
a wooden fence; the fortresses are seated in the depths of forests; the
princely town of Cyta, or Cotatis, consists of two hundred houses, and a
stone edifice appertains only to the magnificence of kings. Twelve ships
from Constantinople, and about sixty barks, laden with the fruits of
industry, annually cast anchor on the coast; and the list of Colchian
exports is much increased, since the natives had only slaves and hides
to offer in exchange for the corn and salt which they purchased from
the subjects of Justinian. Not a vestige can be found of the art, the
knowledge, or the navigation, of the ancient Colchians: few Greeks
desired or dared to pursue the footsteps of the Argonauts; and even the
marks of an Egyptian colony are lost on a nearer approach. The rite of
circumcision is practised only by the Mahometans of the Euxine; and the
curled hair and swarthy complexion of Africa no longer disfigure the
most perfect of the human race. It is in the adjacent climates of
Georgia, Mingrelia, and Circassia, that nature has placed, at least to
our eyes, the model of beauty in the shape of the limbs, the color
of the skin, the symmetry of the features, and the expression of the
countenance. [73] According to the destination of the two sexes, the men
seemed formed for action, the women for love; and the perpetual supply
of females from Mount Caucasus has purified the blood, and improved
the breed, of the southern nations of Asia. The proper district of
Mingrelia, a portion only of the ancient Colchos, has long sustained
an exportation of twelve thousand slaves. The number of prisoners or
criminals would be inadequate to the annual demand; but the common
people are in a state of servitude to their lords; the exercise of
fraud or rapine is unpunished in a lawless community; and the market is
continually replenished by the abuse of civil and paternal authority.
Such a trade, [74] which reduces the human species to the level of
cattle, may tend to encourage marriage and population, since the
multitude of children enriches their sordid and inhuman parent. But this
source of impure wealth must inevitably poison the national manners,
obliterate the sense of honor and virtue, and almost extinguish the
instincts of nature: the Christians of Georgia and Mingrelia are the
most dissolute of mankind; and their children, who, in a tender age, are
sold into foreign slavery, have already learned to imitate the rapine
of the father and the prostitution of the mother. Yet, amidst the rudest
ignorance, the untaught natives discover a singular dexterity both of
mind and hand; and although the want of union and discipline exposes
them to their more powerful neighbors, a bold and intrepid spirit has
animated the Colchians of every age. In the host of Xerxes, they served
on foot; and their arms were a dagger or a javelin, a wooden casque, and
a buckler of raw hides. But in their own country the use of cavalry has
more generally prevailed: the meanest of the peasants disdained to walk;
the martial nobles are possessed, perhaps, of two hundred horses;
and above five thousand are numbered in the train of the prince of
Mingrelia. The Colchian government has been always a pure and hereditary
kingdom; and the authority of the sovereign is only restrained by the
turbulence of his subjects. Whenever they were obedient, he could lead
a numerous army into the field; but some faith is requisite to believe,
that the single tribe of the Suanians as composed of two hundred
thousand soldiers, or that the population of Mingrelia now amounts to
four millions of inhabitants. [75]

[Footnote 72: A Greek historian, Timosthenes, had affirmed, in eam
ccc. nationes dissimilibus linguis descendere; and the modest Pliny
is content to add, et postea a nostris cxxx. interpretibus negotia ibi
gesta, (vi. 5) But the words nunc deserta cover a multitude of past

[Footnote 73: Buffon (Hist. Nat. tom. iii. p. 433--437) collects the
unanimous suffrage of naturalists and travellers. If, in the time
of Herodotus, they were, (and he had observed them with care,) this
precious fact is an example of the influence of climate on a foreign

[Footnote 74: The Mingrelian ambassador arrived at Constantinople with
two hundred persons; but he ate (sold) them day by day, till his retinue
was diminished to a secretary and two valets, (Tavernier, tom. i. p.
365.) To purchase his mistress, a Mingrelian gentleman sold twelve
priests and his wife to the Turks, (Chardin, tom. i. p. 66.)]

[Footnote 75: Strabo, l. xi. p. 765. Lamberti, Relation de la Mingrelie.
Yet we must avoid the contrary extreme of Chardin, who allows no more
than 20,000 inhabitants to supply an annual exportation of 12,000
slaves; an absurdity unworthy of that judicious traveller.]

Chapter XLII: State Of The Barbaric World.--Part IV.

It was the boast of the Colchians, that their ancestors had checked
the victories of Sesostris; and the defeat of the Egyptian is less
incredible than his successful progress as far as the foot of Mount
Caucasus. They sunk without any memorable effort, under the arms of
Cyrus; followed in distant wars the standard of the great king, and
presented him every fifth year with one hundred boys, and as many
virgins, the fairest produce of the land. [76] Yet he accepted this gift
like the gold and ebony of India, the frankincense of the Arabs, or the
negroes and ivory of Aethiopia: the Colchians were not subject to the
dominion of a satrap, and they continued to enjoy the name as well as
substance of national independence. [77] After the fall of the Persian
empire, Mithridates, king of Pontus, added Colchos to the wide circle
of his dominions on the Euxine; and when the natives presumed to request
that his son might reign over them, he bound the ambitious youth in
chains of gold, and delegated a servant in his place. In pursuit of
Mithridates, the Romans advanced to the banks of the Phasis, and their
galleys ascended the river till they reached the camp of Pompey and his
legions. [78] But the senate, and afterwards the emperors, disdained to
reduce that distant and useless conquest into the form of a province.
The family of a Greek rhetorician was permitted to reign in Colchos and
the adjacent kingdoms from the time of Mark Antony to that of Nero; and
after the race of Polemo [79] was extinct, the eastern Pontus, which
preserved his name, extended no farther than the neighborhood of
Trebizond. Beyond these limits the fortifications of Hyssus, of Apsarus,
of the Phasis, of Dioscurias or Sebastopolis, and of Pityus, were
guarded by sufficient detachments of horse and foot; and six princes of
Colchos received their diadems from the lieutenants of Caesar. One of
these lieutenants, the eloquent and philosophic Arrian, surveyed,
and has described, the Euxine coast, under the reign of Hadrian. The
garrison which he reviewed at the mouth of the Phasis consisted of
four hundred chosen legionaries; the brick walls and towers, the double
ditch, and the military engines on the rampart, rendered this place
inaccessible to the Barbarians: but the new suburbs which had been built
by the merchants and veterans, required, in the opinion of Arrian,
some external defence. [80] As the strength of the empire was gradually
impaired, the Romans stationed on the Phasis were neither withdrawn
nor expelled; and the tribe of the Lazi, [81] whose posterity speak a
foreign dialect, and inhabit the sea coast of Trebizond, imposed their
name and dominion on the ancient kingdom of Colchos. Their independence
was soon invaded by a formidable neighbor, who had acquired, by arms
and treaties, the sovereignty of Iberia. The dependent king of Lazica
received his sceptre at the hands of the Persian monarch, and the
successors of Constantine acquiesced in this injurious claim, which was
proudly urged as a right of immemorial prescription. In the beginning of
the sixth century, their influence was restored by the introduction of
Christianity, which the Mingrelians still profess with becoming zeal,
without understanding the doctrines, or observing the precepts, of their
religion. After the decease of his father, Zathus was exalted to the
regal dignity by the favor of the great king; but the pious youth
abhorred the ceremonies of the Magi, and sought, in the palace of
Constantinople, an orthodox baptism, a noble wife, and the alliance of
the emperor Justin. The king of Lazica was solemnly invested with the
diadem, and his cloak and tunic of white silk, with a gold border,
displayed, in rich embroidery, the figure of his new patron; who soothed
the jealousy of the Persian court, and excused the revolt of Colchos, by
the venerable names of hospitality and religion. The common interest of
both empires imposed on the Colchians the duty of guarding the passes
of Mount Caucasus, where a wall of sixty miles is now defended by the
monthly service of the musketeers of Mingrelia. [82]

[Footnote 76: Herodot. l. iii. c. 97. See, in l. vii. c. 79, their arms
and service in the expedition of Xerxes against Greece.]

[Footnote 77: Xenophon, who had encountered the Colchians in his
retreat, (Anabasis, l. iv. p. 320, 343, 348, edit. Hutchinson; and
Foster's Dissertation, p. liii.--lviii., in Spelman's English version,
vol. ii.,) styled them. Before the conquest of Mithridates, they are
named by Appian, (de Bell. Mithridatico, c. 15, tom. i. p. 661, of the
last and best edition, by John Schweighaeuser. Lipsae, 1785 8 vols.
largo octavo.)]

[Footnote 78: The conquest of Colchos by Mithridates and Pompey is
marked by Appian (de Bell. Mithridat.) and Plutarch, (in Vit. Pomp.)]

[Footnote 79: We may trace the rise and fall of the family of Polemo, in
Strabo, (l. xi. p. 755, l. xii. p. 867,) Dion Cassius, or Xiphilin, (p.
588, 593, 601, 719, 754, 915, 946, edit. Reimar,) Suetonius, (in Neron.
c. 18, in Vespasian, c. 8,) Eutropius, (vii. 14,) Josephus, (Antiq.
Judaic. l. xx. c. 7, p. 970, edit. Havercamp,) and Eusebius, (Chron.
with Scaliger, Animadvers. p. 196.)]

[Footnote 80: In the time of Procopius, there were no Roman forts on
the Phasis. Pityus and Sebastopolis were evacuated on the rumor of the
Persians, (Goth. l. iv. c. 4;) but the latter was afterwards restored by
Justinian, (de Edif. l. iv. c. 7.)]

[Footnote 81: In the time of Pliny, Arrian, and Ptolemy, the Lazi were
a particular tribe on the northern skirts of Colchos, (Cellarius,
Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. p. 222.) In the age of Justinian, they spread,
or at least reigned, over the whole country. At present, they have
migrated along the coast towards Trebizond, and compose a rude
sea-faring people, with a peculiar language, (Chardin, p. 149. Peyssonel
p. 64.)]

[Footnote 82: John Malala, Chron. tom. ii. p. 134--137 Theophanes, p.
144. Hist. Miscell. l. xv. p. 103. The fact is authentic, but the
date seems too recent. In speaking of their Persian alliance, the Lazi
contemporaries of Justinian employ the most obsolete words, &c. Could
they belong to a connection which had not been dissolved above twenty

But this honorable connection was soon corrupted by the avarice and
ambition of the Romans. Degraded from the rank of allies, the Lazi were
incessantly reminded, by words and actions, of their dependent state.
At the distance of a day's journey beyond the Apsarus, they beheld the
rising fortress of Petra, [83] which commanded the maritime country
to the south of the Phasis. Instead of being protected by the valor,
Colchos was insulted by the licentiousness, of foreign mercenaries; the
benefits of commerce were converted into base and vexatious monopoly;
and Gubazes, the native prince, was reduced to a pageant of royalty,
by the superior influence of the officers of Justinian. Disappointed in
their expectations of Christian virtue, the indignant Lazi reposed some
confidence in the justice of an unbeliever. After a private assurance
that their ambassadors should not be delivered to the Romans, they
publicly solicited the friendship and aid of Chosroes. The sagacious
monarch instantly discerned the use and importance of Colchos; and
meditated a plan of conquest, which was renewed at the end of a thousand
years by Shah Abbas, the wisest and most powerful of his successors.
[84] His ambition was fired by the hope of launching a Persian navy from
the Phasis, of commanding the trade and navigation of the Euxine Sea, of
desolating the coast of Pontus and Bithynia, of distressing, perhaps of
attacking, Constantinople, and of persuading the Barbarians of Europe to
second his arms and counsels against the common enemy of mankind.

Under the pretence of a Scythian war, he silently led his troops to the
frontiers of Iberia; the Colchian guides were prepared to conduct them
through the woods and along the precipices of Mount Caucasus; and a
narrow path was laboriously formed into a safe and spacious highway, for
the march of cavalry, and even of elephants. Gubazes laid his person
and diadem at the feet of the king of Persia; his Colchians imitated
the submission of their prince; and after the walls of Petra had been
shaken, the Roman garrison prevented, by a capitulation, the impending
fury of the last assault. But the Lazi soon discovered, that their
impatience had urged them to choose an evil more intolerable than the
calamities which they strove to escape. The monopoly of salt and corn
was effectually removed by the loss of those valuable commodities.
The authority of a Roman legislator, was succeeded by the pride of an
Oriental despot, who beheld, with equal disdain, the slaves whom he had
exalted, and the kings whom he had humbled before the footstool of his
throne. The adoration of fire was introduced into Colchos by the zeal
of the Magi: their intolerant spirit provoked the fervor of a Christian
people; and the prejudice of nature or education was wounded by the
impious practice of exposing the dead bodies of their parents, on the
summit of a lofty tower, to the crows and vultures of the air. [85]
Conscious of the increasing hatred, which retarded the execution of
his great designs, the just Nashirvan had secretly given orders to
assassinate the king of the Lazi, to transplant the people into some
distant land, and to fix a faithful and warlike colony on the banks of
the Phasis. The watchful jealousy of the Colchians foresaw and averted
the approaching ruin. Their repentance was accepted at Constantinople
by the prudence, rather than clemency, of Justinian; and he commanded
Dagisteus, with seven thousand Romans, and one thousand of the Zani,
[8511] to expel the Persians from the coast of the Euxine.

[Footnote 83: The sole vestige of Petra subsists in the writings of
Procopius and Agathias. Most of the towns and castles of Lazica may be
found by comparing their names and position with the map of Mingrelia,
in Lamberti.]

[Footnote 84: See the amusing letters of Pietro della Valle, the Roman
traveler, (Viaggi, tom. ii. 207, 209, 213, 215, 266, 286, 300, tom. iii.
p. 54, 127.) In the years 1618, 1619, and 1620, he conversed with Shah
Abbas, and strongly encouraged a design which might have united Persia
and Europe against their common enemy the Turk.]

[Footnote 85: See Herodotus, (l. i. c. 140, p. 69,) who speaks with
diffidence, Larcher, (tom. i. p. 399--401, Notes sur Herodote,)
Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 11,) and Agathias, (l. ii. p. 61, 62.) This
practice, agreeable to the Zendavesta, (Hyde, de Relig. Pers. c. 34, p.
414--421,) demonstrates that the burial of the Persian kings, (Xenophon,
Cyropaed. l. viii. p. 658,) is a Greek fiction, and that their tombs
could be no more than cenotaphs.]

[Footnote 8511: These seem the same people called Suanians, p. 328.--M.]

The siege of Petra, which the Roman general, with the aid of the Lazi,
immediately undertook, is one of the most remarkable actions of the
age. The city was seated on a craggy rock, which hung over the sea,
and communicated by a steep and narrow path with the land. Since the
approach was difficult, the attack might be deemed impossible: the
Persian conqueror had strengthened the fortifications of Justinian; and
the places least inaccessible were covered by additional bulwarks.
In this important fortress, the vigilance of Chosroes had deposited a
magazine of offensive and defensive arms, sufficient for five times the
number, not only of the garrison, but of the besiegers themselves. The
stock of flour and salt provisions was adequate to the consumption of
five years; the want of wine was supplied by vinegar; and of grain from
whence a strong liquor was extracted, and a triple aqueduct eluded
the diligence, and even the suspicions, of the enemy. But the firmest
defence of Petra was placed in the valor of fifteen hundred Persians,
who resisted the assaults of the Romans, whilst, in a softer vein of
earth, a mine was secretly perforated. The wall, supported by slender
and temporary props, hung tottering in the air; but Dagisteus delayed
the attack till he had secured a specific recompense; and the town was
relieved before the return of his messenger from Constantinople. The
Persian garrison was reduced to four hundred men, of whom no more than
fifty were exempt from sickness or wounds; yet such had been their
inflexible perseverance, that they concealed their losses from the
enemy, by enduring, without a murmur, the sight and putrefying stench
of the dead bodies of their eleven hundred companions. After their
deliverance, the breaches were hastily stopped with sand-bags; the
mine was replenished with earth; a new wall was erected on a frame
of substantial timber; and a fresh garrison of three thousand men
was stationed at Petra to sustain the labors of a second siege. The
operations, both of the attack and defence, were conducted with skilful
obstinacy; and each party derived useful lessons from the experience of
their past faults. A battering-ram was invented, of light construction
and powerful effect: it was transported and worked by the hands of forty
soldiers; and as the stones were loosened by its repeated strokes, they
were torn with long iron hooks from the wall. From those walls, a shower
of darts was incessantly poured on the heads of the assailants; but
they were most dangerously annoyed by a fiery composition of sulphur and
bitumen, which in Colchos might with some propriety be named the oil
of Medea. Of six thousand Romans who mounted the scaling-ladders, their
general Bessas was the first, a gallant veteran of seventy years of age:
the courage of their leader, his fall, and extreme danger, animated
the irresistible effort of his troops; and their prevailing numbers
oppressed the strength, without subduing the spirit, of the Persian
garrison. The fate of these valiant men deserves to be more distinctly
noticed. Seven hundred had perished in the siege, two thousand three
hundred survived to defend the breach. One thousand and seventy were
destroyed with fire and sword in the last assault; and if seven hundred
and thirty were made prisoners, only eighteen among them were found
without the marks of honorable wounds. The remaining five hundred
escaped into the citadel, which they maintained without any hopes of
relief, rejecting the fairest terms of capitulation and service, till
they were lost in the flames. They died in obedience to the commands of
their prince; and such examples of loyalty and valor might excite their
countrymen to deeds of equal despair and more prosperous event. The
instant demolition of the works of Petra confessed the astonishment and
apprehension of the conqueror. A Spartan would have praised and pitied
the virtue of these heroic slaves; but the tedious warfare and alternate
success of the Roman and Persian arms cannot detain the attention of
posterity at the foot of Mount Caucasus. The advantages obtained by the
troops of Justinian were more frequent and splendid; but the forces of
the great king were continually supplied, till they amounted to eight
elephants and seventy thousand men, including twelve thousand Scythian
allies, and above three thousand Dilemites, who descended by their free
choice from the hills of Hyrcania, and were equally formidable in close
or in distant combat. The siege of Archaeopolis, a name imposed or
corrupted by the Greeks, was raised with some loss and precipitation;
but the Persians occupied the passes of Iberia: Colchos was enslaved by
their forts and garrisons; they devoured the scanty sustenance of the
people; and the prince of the Lazi fled into the mountains. In the Roman
camp, faith and discipline were unknown; and the independent leaders,
who were invested with equal power, disputed with each other the
preeminence of vice and corruption. The Persians followed, without
a murmur, the commands of a single chief, who implicitly obeyed the
instructions of their supreme lord. Their general was distinguished
among the heroes of the East by his wisdom in council, and his valor in
the field. The advanced age of Mermeroes, and the lameness of both his
feet, could not diminish the activity of his mind, or even of his
body; and, whilst he was carried in a litter in the front of battle, he
inspired terror to the enemy, and a just confidence to the troops, who,
under his banners, were always successful. After his death, the command
devolved to Nacoragan, a proud satrap, who, in a conference with the
Imperial chiefs, had presumed to declare that he disposed of victory
as absolutely as of the ring on his finger. Such presumption was the
natural cause and forerunner of a shameful defeat. The Romans had been
gradually repulsed to the edge of the sea-shore; and their last camp, on
the ruins of the Grecian colony of Phasis, was defended on all sides
by strong intrenchments, the river, the Euxine, and a fleet of galleys.
Despair united their counsels and invigorated their arms: they withstood
the assault of the Persians and the flight of Nacoragan preceded or
followed the slaughter of ten thousand of his bravest soldiers. He
escaped from the Romans to fall into the hands of an unforgiving master
who severely chastised the error of his own choice: the unfortunate
general was flayed alive, and his skin, stuffed into the human form, was
exposed on a mountain; a dreadful warning to those who might hereafter
be intrusted with the fame and fortune of Persia. [86] Yet the prudence
of Chosroes insensibly relinquished the prosecution of the Colchian war,
in the just persuasion, that it is impossible to reduce, or, at
least, to hold a distant country against the wishes and efforts of its
inhabitants. The fidelity of Gubazes sustained the most rigorous trials.
He patiently endured the hardships of a savage life, and rejected with
disdain, the specious temptations of the Persian court. [8611] The king
of the Lazi had been educated in the Christian religion; his mother was
the daughter of a senator; during his youth he had served ten years a
silentiary of the Byzantine palace, [87] and the arrears of an unpaid
salary were a motive of attachment as well as of complaint. But the long
continuance of his sufferings extorted from him a naked representation
of the truth; and truth was an unpardonable libel on the lieutenants
of Justinian, who, amidst the delays of a ruinous war, had spared
his enemies and trampled on his allies. Their malicious information
persuaded the emperor that his faithless vassal already meditated
a second defection: an order was surprised to send him prisoner to
Constantinople; a treacherous clause was inserted, that he might be
lawfully killed in case of resistance; and Gubazes, without arms,
or suspicion of danger, was stabbed in the security of a friendly
interview. In the first moments of rage and despair, the Colchians
would have sacrificed their country and religion to the gratification
of revenge. But the authority and eloquence of the wiser few obtained
a salutary pause: the victory of the Phasis restored the terror of the
Roman arms, and the emperor was solicitous to absolve his own name
from the imputation of so foul a murder. A judge of senatorial rank was
commissioned to inquire into the conduct and death of the king of the
Lazi. He ascended a stately tribunal, encompassed by the ministers
of justice and punishment: in the presence of both nations, this
extraordinary cause was pleaded, according to the forms of civil
jurisprudence, and some satisfaction was granted to an injured people,
by the sentence and execution of the meaner criminals. [88]

[Footnote 86: The punishment of flaying alive could not be introduced
into Persia by Sapor, (Brisson, de Regn. Pers. l. ii. p. 578,) nor could
it be copied from the foolish tale of Marsyas, the Phrygian piper, most
foolishly quoted as a precedent by Agathias, (l. iv. p. 132, 133.)]

[Footnote 8611: According to Agathias, the death of Gubazos preceded the
defeat of Nacoragan. The trial took place after the battle.--M.]

[Footnote 87: In the palace of Constantinople there were thirty
silentiaries, who were styled hastati, ante fores cubiculi, an honorable
title which conferred the rank, without imposing the duties, of a
senator, (Cod. Theodos. l. vi. tit. 23. Gothofred. Comment. tom. ii. p.

[Footnote 88: On these judicial orations, Agathias (l. iii. p. 81-89, l.
iv. p. 108--119) lavishes eighteen or twenty pages of false and florid
rhetoric. His ignorance or carelessness overlooks the strongest argument
against the king of Lazica--his former revolt. * Note: The Orations in
the third book of Agathias are not judicial, nor delivered before the
Roman tribunal: it is a deliberative debate among the Colchians on
the expediency of adhering to the Roman, or embracing the Persian

In peace, the king of Persia continually sought the pretences of a
rupture: but no sooner had he taken up arms, than he expressed his
desire of a safe and honorable treaty. During the fiercest hostilities,
the two monarchs entertained a deceitful negotiation; and such was the
superiority of Chosroes, that whilst he treated the Roman ministers with
insolence and contempt, he obtained the most unprecedented honors
for his own ambassadors at the Imperial court. The successor of Cyrus
assumed the majesty of the Eastern sun, and graciously permitted his
younger brother Justinian to reign over the West, with the pale and
reflected splendor of the moon. This gigantic style was supported by the
pomp and eloquence of Isdigune, one of the royal chamberlains. His wife
and daughters, with a train of eunuchs and camels, attended the march of
the ambassador: two satraps with golden diadems were numbered among his
followers: he was guarded by five hundred horse, the most valiant of the
Persians; and the Roman governor of Dara wisely refused to admit more
than twenty of this martial and hostile caravan. When Isdigune had
saluted the emperor, and delivered his presents, he passed ten months at
Constantinople without discussing any serious affairs. Instead of being
confined to his palace, and receiving food and water from the hands
of his keepers, the Persian ambassador, without spies or guards, was
allowed to visit the capital; and the freedom of conversation and
trade enjoyed by his domestics, offended the prejudices of an age which
rigorously practised the law of nations, without confidence or courtesy.
[89] By an unexampled indulgence, his interpreter, a servant below the
notice of a Roman magistrate, was seated, at the table of Justinian,
by the side of his master: and one thousand pounds of gold might be
assigned for the expense of his journey and entertainment. Yet the
repeated labors of Isdigune could procure only a partial and imperfect
truce, which was always purchased with the treasures, and renewed at the
solicitation, of the Byzantine court Many years of fruitless desolation
elapsed before Justinian and Chosroes were compelled, by mutual
lassitude, to consult the repose of their declining age. At a conference
held on the frontier, each party, without expecting to gain credit,
displayed the power, the justice, and the pacific intentions, of their
respective sovereigns; but necessity and interest dictated the treaty
of peace, which was concluded for a term of fifty years, diligently
composed in the Greek and Persian languages, and attested by the seals
of twelve interpreters. The liberty of commerce and religion was fixed
and defined; the allies of the emperor and the great king were
included in the same benefits and obligations; and the most scrupulous
precautions were provided to prevent or determine the accidental
disputes that might arise on the confines of two hostile nations. After
twenty years of destructive though feeble war, the limits still remained
without alteration; and Chosroes was persuaded to renounce his dangerous
claim to the possession or sovereignty of Colchos and its dependent
states. Rich in the accumulated treasures of the East, he extorted from
the Romans an annual payment of thirty thousand pieces of gold; and the
smallness of the sum revealed the disgrace of a tribute in its naked
deformity. In a previous debate, the chariot of Sesostris, and the
wheel of fortune, were applied by one of the ministers of Justinian,
who observed that the reduction of Antioch, and some Syrian cities, had
elevated beyond measure the vain and ambitious spirit of the Barbarian.
"You are mistaken," replied the modest Persian: "the king of kings, the
lord of mankind, looks down with contempt on such petty acquisitions;
and of the ten nations, vanquished by his invincible arms, he esteems
the Romans as the least formidable." [90] According to the Orientals,
the empire of Nushirvan extended from Ferganah, in Transoxiana, to
Yemen or Arabia Faelix. He subdued the rebels of Hyrcania, reduced the
provinces of Cabul and Zablestan on the banks of the Indus, broke the
power of the Euthalites, terminated by an honorable treaty the Turkish
war, and admitted the daughter of the great khan into the number of his
lawful wives. Victorious and respected among the princes of Asia, he
gave audience, in his palace of Madain, or Ctesiphon, to the ambassadors
of the world. Their gifts or tributes, arms, rich garments, gems, slaves
or aromatics, were humbly presented at the foot of his throne; and he
condescended to accept from the king of India ten quintals of the wood
of aloes, a maid seven cubits in height, and a carpet softer than silk,
the skin, as it was reported, of an extraordinary serpent. [91]

[Footnote 89: Procopius represents the practice of the Gothic court of
Ravenna (Goth. l. i. c. 7;) and foreign ambassadors have been treated
with the same jealousy and rigor in Turkey, (Busbequius, epist. iii. p.
149, 242, &c.,) Russia, (Voyage D'Olearius,) and China, (Narrative of A.
de Lange, in Bell's Travels, vol. ii. p. 189--311.)]

[Footnote 90: The negotiations and treaties between Justinian and
Chosroes are copiously explained by Procopius, (Persie, l. ii. c. 10,
13, 26, 27, 28. Gothic. l. ii. c. 11, 15,) Agathias, (l. iv. p. 141,
142,) and Menander, (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 132--147.) Consult Barbeyrac,
Hist. des Anciens Traites, tom. ii. p. 154, 181--184, 193--200.]

[Footnote 91: D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient. p. 680, 681, 294, 295.]

Justinian had been reproached for his alliance with the Aethiopians, as
if he attempted to introduce a people of savage negroes into the system
of civilized society. But the friends of the Roman empire, the Axumites,
or Abyssinians, may be always distinguished from the original natives of
Africa. [92] The hand of nature has flattened the noses of the negroes,
covered their heads with shaggy wool, and tinged their skin with
inherent and indelible blackness. But the olive complexion of the
Abyssinians, their hair, shape, and features, distinctly mark them as
a colony of Arabs; and this descent is confirmed by the resemblance of
language and manners the report of an ancient emigration, and the narrow
interval between the shores of the Red Sea. Christianity had raised that
nation above the level of African barbarism: [93] their intercourse
with Egypt, and the successors of Constantine, [94] had communicated the
rudiments of the arts and sciences; their vessels traded to the Isle of
Ceylon, [95] and seven kingdoms obeyed the Negus or supreme prince of
Abyssinia. The independence of the Homerites, [9511] who reigned in the
rich and happy Arabia, was first violated by an Aethiopian conqueror: he
drew his hereditary claim from the queen of Sheba, [96] and his ambition
was sanctified by religious zeal. The Jews, powerful and active in
exile, had seduced the mind of Dunaan, prince of the Homerites. They
urged him to retaliate the persecution inflicted by the Imperial laws
on their unfortunate brethren: some Roman merchants were injuriously
treated; and several Christians of Negra [97] were honored with the
crown of martyrdom. [98] The churches of Arabia implored the protection
of the Abyssinian monarch. The Negus passed the Red Sea with a fleet
and army, deprived the Jewish proselyte of his kingdom and life, and
extinguished a race of princes, who had ruled above two thousand
years the sequestered region of myrrh and frankincense. The conqueror
immediately announced the victory of the gospel, requested an orthodox
patriarch, and so warmly professed his friendship to the Roman empire,
that Justinian was flattered by the hope of diverting the silk trade
through the channel of Abyssinia, and of exciting the forces of
Arabia against the Persian king. Nonnosus, descended from a family
of ambassadors, was named by the emperor to execute this important
commission. He wisely declined the shorter, but more dangerous, road,
through the sandy deserts of Nubia; ascended the Nile, embarked on the
Red Sea, and safely landed at the African port of Adulis. From Adulis to
the royal city of Axume is no more than fifty leagues, in a direct line;
but the winding passes of the mountains detained the ambassador fifteen
days; and as he traversed the forests, he saw, and vaguely computed,
about five thousand wild elephants. The capital, according to his
report, was large and populous; and the village of Axume is still
conspicuous by the regal coronations, by the ruins of a Christian
temple, and by sixteen or seventeen obelisks inscribed with Grecian
characters. [99] But the Negus [9911] gave audience in the open field,
seated on a lofty chariot, which was drawn by four elephants, superbly
caparisoned, and surrounded by his nobles and musicians. He was clad in
a linen garment and cap, holding in his hand two javelins and a
light shield; and, although his nakedness was imperfectly covered, he
displayed the Barbaric pomp of gold chains, collars, and bracelets,
richly adorned with pearls and precious stones. The ambassador of
Justinian knelt; the Negus raised him from the ground, embraced
Nonnosus, kissed the seal, perused the letter, accepted the Roman
alliance, and, brandishing his weapons, denounced implacable war against
the worshipers of fire. But the proposal of the silk trade was eluded;
and notwithstanding the assurances, and perhaps the wishes, of the
Abyssinians, these hostile menaces evaporated without effect. The
Homerites were unwilling to abandon their aromatic groves, to explore a
sandy desert, and to encounter, after all their fatigues, a formidable
nation from whom they had never received any personal injuries. Instead
of enlarging his conquests, the king of Aethiopia was incapable of
defending his possessions. Abrahah, [9912] the slave of a Roman merchant
of Adulis, assumed the sceptre of the Homerites,; the troops of Africa
were seduced by the luxury of the climate; and Justinian solicited
the friendship of the usurper, who honored with a slight tribute the
supremacy of his prince. After a long series of prosperity, the power of
Abrahah was overthrown before the gates of Mecca; and his children were
despoiled by the Persian conqueror; and the Aethiopians were finally
expelled from the continent of Asia. This narrative of obscure and
remote events is not foreign to the decline and fall of the Roman
empire. If a Christian power had been maintained in Arabia, Mahomet must
have been crushed in his cradle, and Abyssinia would have prevented a
revolution which has changed the civil and religious state of the world.
[100] [1001]

[Footnote 92: See Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, tom. iii. p. 449. This
Arab cast of features and complexion, which has continued 3400 years
(Ludolph. Hist. et Comment. Aethiopic. l. i. c. 4) in the colony of
Abyssinia, will justify the suspicion, that race, as well as climate,
must have contributed to form the negroes of the adjacent and similar
regions. * Note: Mr. Salt (Travels, vol. ii. p. 458) considers them
to be distinct from the Arabs--"in feature, color, habit, and

[Footnote 93: The Portuguese missionaries, Alvarez, (Ramusio, tom. i.
fol. 204, rect. 274, vers.) Bermudez, (Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. ii. l.
v. c. 7, p. 1149--1188,) Lobo, (Relation, &c., par M. le Grand, with
xv. Dissertations, Paris, 1728,) and Tellez (Relations de Thevenot,
part iv.) could only relate of modern Abyssinia what they had seen or
invented. The erudition of Ludolphus, (Hist. Aethiopica, Francofurt,
1681. Commentarius, 1691. Appendix, 1694,) in twenty-five languages,
could add little concerning its ancient history. Yet the fame of Caled,
or Ellisthaeus, the conqueror of Yemen, is celebrated in national songs
and legends.]

[Footnote 94: The negotiations of Justinian with the Axumites, or
Aethiopians, are recorded by Procopius (Persic. l. i. c. 19, 20) and
John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 163--165, 193--196.) The historian of Antioch
quotes the original narrative of the ambassador Nonnosus, of which
Photius (Bibliot. Cod. iii.) has preserved a curious extract.]

[Footnote 95: The trade of the Axumites to the coast of India and
Africa, and the Isle of Ceylon, is curiously represented by Cosmas
Indicopleustes, (Topograph. Christian. l. ii. p. 132, 138, 139, 140, l.
xi. p. 338, 339.)]

[Footnote 9511: It appears by the important inscription discovered
by Mr. Salt at Axoum, and from a law of Constantius, (16th Jan. 356,
inserted in the Theodosian Code, l. 12, c. 12,) that in the middle of
the fourth century of our era the princes of the Axumites joined to
their titles that of king of the Homerites. The conquests which they
made over the Arabs in the sixth century were only a restoration of the
ancient order of things. St. Martin vol. viii. p. 46--M.]

[Footnote 96: Ludolph. Hist. et Comment. Aethiop. l. ii. c. 3.]

[Footnote 97: The city of Negra, or Nag'ran, in Yemen, is surrounded
with palm-trees, and stands in the high road between Saana, the capital,
and Mecca; from the former ten, from the latter twenty days' journey of
a caravan of camels, (Abulfeda, Descript. Arabiae, p. 52.)]

[Footnote 98: The martyrdom of St. Arethas, prince of Negra, and his
three hundred and forty companions, is embellished in the legends of
Metaphrastes and Nicephorus Callistus, copied by Baronius, (A. D 522,
No. 22--66, A.D. 523, No. 16--29,) and refuted with obscure diligence,
by Basnage, (Hist. des Juifs, tom. viii. l. xii. c. ii. p. 333--348,)
who investigates the state of the Jews in Arabia and Aethiopia. * Note:
According to Johannsen, (Hist. Yemanae, Praef. p. 89,) Dunaan (Ds Nowas)
massacred 20,000 Christians, and threw them into a pit, where they were
burned. They are called in the Koran the companions of the pit (socii

[Footnote 99: Alvarez (in Ramusio, tom. i. fol. 219, vers. 221, vers.)
saw the flourishing state of Axume in the year 1520--luogomolto buono
e grande. It was ruined in the same century by the Turkish invasion.
No more than 100 houses remain; but the memory of its past greatness is
preserved by the regal coronation, (Ludolph. Hist. et Comment. l. ii. c.
11.) * Note: Lord Valentia's and Mr. Salt's Travels give a high notion
of the ruins of Axum.--M.]

[Footnote 9911: The Negus is differently called Elesbaan, Elesboas,
Elisthaeus, probably the same name, or rather appellation. See St.
Martin, vol. viii. p. 49.--M.]

[Footnote 9912: According to the Arabian authorities, (Johannsen, Hist.
Yemanae, p. 94, Bonn, 1828,) Abrahah was an Abyssinian, the rival of
Ariathus, the brother of the Abyssinian king: he surprised and slew
Ariathus, and by his craft appeased the resentment of Nadjash, the
Abyssinian king. Abrahah was a Christian; he built a magnificent church
at Sana, and dissuaded his subjects from their accustomed pilgrimages to
Mecca. The church was defiled, it was supposed, by the Koreishites, and
Abrahah took up arms to revenge himself on the temple at Mecca. He was
repelled by miracle: his elephant would not advance, but knelt down
before the sacred place; Abrahah fled, discomfited and mortally wounded,
to Sana--M.]

[Footnote 100: The revolutions of Yemen in the sixth century must be
collected from Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 19, 20,) Theophanes Byzant.,
(apud Phot. cod. lxiii. p. 80,) St. Theophanes, (in Chronograph. p.
144, 145, 188, 189, 206, 207, who is full of strange blunders,) Pocock,
(Specimen Hist. Arab. p. 62, 65,) D'Herbelot, (Bibliot. Orientale, p.
12, 477,) and Sale's Preliminary Discourse and Koran, (c. 105.) The
revolt of Abrahah is mentioned by Procopius; and his fall, though
clouded with miracles, is an historical fact. Note: To the authors
who have illustrated the obscure history of the Jewish and Abyssinian
kingdoms in Homeritis may be added Schultens, Hist. Joctanidarum; Walch,
Historia rerum in Homerite gestarum, in the 4th vol. of the Gottingen
Transactions; Salt's Travels, vol. ii. p. 446, &c.: Sylvestre de Sacy,
vol. i. Acad. des Inscrip. Jost, Geschichte der Israeliter; Johannsen,
Hist. Yemanae; St. Martin's notes to Le Beau, t. vii p. 42.--M.]

[Footnote 1001: A period of sixty-seven years is assigned by most of the
Arabian authorities to the Abyssinian kingdoms in Homeritis.--M.]

Chapter XLIII: Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of Justinian.--Part I.

     Rebellions Of Africa.--Restoration Of The Gothic Kingdom By
     Totila.--Loss And Recovery Of Rome.--Final Conquest Of Italy
     By Narses.--Extinction Of The Ostrogoths.--Defeat Of The
     Franks And Alemanni.--Last Victory, Disgrace, And Death Of
     Belisarius.--Death And Character Of Justinian.--Comet,
     Earthquakes, And Plague.

The review of the nations from the Danube to the Nile has exposed, on
every side, the weakness of the Romans; and our wonder is reasonably
excited that they should presume to enlarge an empire whose ancient
limits they were incapable of defending. But the wars, the conquests,
and the triumphs of Justinian, are the feeble and pernicious efforts of
old age, which exhaust the remains of strength, and accelerate the
decay of the powers of life. He exulted in the glorious act of restoring
Africa and Italy to the republic; but the calamities which followed the
departure of Belisarius betrayed the impotence of the conqueror, and
accomplished the ruin of those unfortunate countries.

From his new acquisitions, Justinian expected that his avarice, as
well as pride, should be richly gratified. A rapacious minister of the
finances closely pursued the footsteps of Belisarius; and as the old
registers of tribute had been burnt by the Vandals, he indulged his
fancy in a liberal calculation and arbitrary assessment of the wealth
of Africa. [1] The increase of taxes, which were drawn away by a distant
sovereign, and a general resumption of the patrimony or crown lands,
soon dispelled the intoxication of the public joy: but the emperor was
insensible to the modest complaints of the people, till he was awakened
and alarmed by the clamors of military discontent. Many of the Roman
soldiers had married the widows and daughters of the Vandals. As their
own, by the double right of conquest and inheritance, they claimed the
estates which Genseric had assigned to his victorious troops. They heard
with disdain the cold and selfish representations of their officers,
that the liberality of Justinian had raised them from a savage or
servile condition; that they were already enriched by the spoils of
Africa, the treasure, the slaves, and the movables of the vanquished
Barbarians; and that the ancient and lawful patrimony of the emperors
would be applied only to the support of that government on which their
own safety and reward must ultimately depend. The mutiny was secretly
inflamed by a thousand soldiers, for the most part Heruli, who had
imbibed the doctrines, and were instigated by the clergy, of the Arian
sect; and the cause of perjury and rebellion was sanctified by the
dispensing powers of fanaticism. The Arians deplored the ruin of their
church, triumphant above a century in Africa; and they were justly
provoked by the laws of the conqueror, which interdicted the baptism
of their children, and the exercise of all religious worship. Of the
Vandals chosen by Belisarius, the far greater part, in the honors of the
Eastern service, forgot their country and religion. But a generous band
of four hundred obliged the mariners, when they were in sight of the
Isle of Lesbos, to alter their course: they touched on Peloponnesus,
ran ashore on a desert coast of Africa, and boldly erected, on Mount
Aurasius, the standard of independence and revolt. While the troops of
the provinces disclaimed the commands of their superiors, a conspiracy
was formed at Carthage against the life of Solomon, who filled with
honor the place of Belisarius; and the Arians had piously resolved
to sacrifice the tyrant at the foot of the altar, during the awful
mysteries of the festival of Easter. Fear or remorse restrained the
daggers of the assassins, but the patience of Solomon emboldened their
discontent; and, at the end of ten days, a furious sedition was kindled
in the Circus, which desolated Africa above ten years. The pillage of
the city, and the indiscriminate slaughter of its inhabitants, were
suspended only by darkness, sleep, and intoxication: the governor, with
seven companions, among whom was the historian Procopius, escaped to
Sicily: two thirds of the army were involved in the guilt of treason;
and eight thousand insurgents, assembling in the field of Bulla, elected
Stoza for their chief, a private soldier, who possessed in a superior
degree the virtues of a rebel. Under the mask of freedom, his eloquence
could lead, or at least impel, the passions of his equals. He raised
himself to a level with Belisarius, and the nephew of the emperor, by
daring to encounter them in the field; and the victorious generals were
compelled to acknowledge that Stoza deserved a purer cause, and a more
legitimate command. Vanquished in battle, he dexterously employed the
arts of negotiation; a Roman army was seduced from their allegiance, and
the chiefs who had trusted to his faithless promise were murdered by his
order in a church of Numidia. When every resource, either of force or
perfidy, was exhausted, Stoza, with some desperate Vandals, retired to
the wilds of Mauritania, obtained the daughter of a Barbarian prince,
and eluded the pursuit of his enemies, by the report of his death. The
personal weight of Belisarius, the rank, the spirit, and the temper, of
Germanus, the emperor's nephew, and the vigor and success of the second
administration of the eunuch Solomon, restored the modesty of the camp,
and maintained for a while the tranquillity of Africa. But the vices
of the Byzantine court were felt in that distant province; the troops
complained that they were neither paid nor relieved, and as soon as the
public disorders were sufficiently mature, Stoza was again alive, in
arms, and at the gates of Carthage. He fell in a single combat, but
he smiled in the agonies of death, when he was informed that his own
javelin had reached the heart of his antagonist. [1001] The example of
Stoza, and the assurance that a fortunate soldier had been the first
king, encouraged the ambition of Gontharis, and he promised, by
a private treaty, to divide Africa with the Moors, if, with their
dangerous aid, he should ascend the throne of Carthage. The feeble
Areobindus, unskilled in the affairs of peace and war, was raised, by
his marriage with the niece of Justinian, to the office of exarch.
He was suddenly oppressed by a sedition of the guards, and his abject
supplications, which provoked the contempt, could not move the pity, of
the inexorable tyrant. After a reign of thirty days, Gontharis himself
was stabbed at a banquet by the hand of Artaban; [1002] and it is
singular enough, that an Armenian prince, of the royal family of
Arsaces, should reestablish at Carthage the authority of the Roman
empire. In the conspiracy which unsheathed the dagger of Brutus against
the life of Caesar, every circumstance is curious and important to the
eyes of posterity; but the guilt or merit of these loyal or rebellious
assassins could interest only the contemporaries of Procopius, who, by
their hopes and fears, their friendship or resentment, were personally
engaged in the revolutions of Africa. [2]

[Footnote 1: For the troubles of Africa, I neither have nor desire
another guide than Procopius, whose eye contemplated the image, and
whose ear collected the reports, of the memorable events of his own
times. In the second book of the Vandalic war he relates the revolt of
Stoza, (c. 14--24,) the return of Belisarius, (c. 15,) the victory of
Germanus, (c. 16, 17, 18,) the second administration of Solomon, (c. 19,
20, 21,) the government of Sergius, (c. 22, 23,) of Areobindus, (c.
24,) the tyranny and death of Gontharis, (c. 25, 26, 27, 28;) nor can
I discern any symptoms of flattery or malevolence in his various

[Footnote 1001: Corippus gives a different account of the death of
Stoza; he was transfixed by an arrow from the hand of John, (not the
hero of his poem) who broke desperately through the victorious troops of
the enemy. Stoza repented, says the poet, of his treasonous rebellion,
and anticipated--another Cataline--eternal torments as his punishment.

 Reddam, improba, poenas Quas merui.
 Furiis socius Catilina cruentis Exagitatus adest.
 Video jam Tartara, fundo Flammarumque globos, et clara incendia volvi.
 --Johannidos, book iv. line 211.

All the other authorities confirm Gibbon's account of the death of John
by the hand of Stoza. This poem of Corippus, unknown to Gibbon, was
first published by Mazzuchelli during the present century, and is
reprinted in the new edition of the Byzantine writers.--M]

[Footnote 1002: This murder was prompted to the Armenian (according to
Corippus) by Athanasius, (then praefect of Africa.)

     Hunc placidus cana gravitate coegit
     Inumitera mactare virum.
     --Corripus, vol. iv. p. 237--M.]

[Footnote 2: Yet I must not refuse him the merit of painting, in
lively colors, the murder of Gontharis. One of the assassins uttered a
sentiment not unworthy of a Roman patriot: "If I fail," said Artasires,
"in the first stroke, kill me on the spot, lest the rack should extort a
discovery of my accomplices."]

That country was rapidly sinking into the state of barbarism from whence
it had been raised by the Phoenician colonies and Roman laws; and every
step of intestine discord was marked by some deplorable victory of
savage man over civilized society. The Moors, [3] though ignorant of
justice, were impatient of oppression: their vagrant life and boundless
wilderness disappointed the arms, and eluded the chains, of a conqueror;
and experience had shown, that neither oaths nor obligations could
secure the fidelity of their attachment. The victory of Mount Auras had
awed them into momentary submission; but if they respected the character
of Solomon, they hated and despised the pride and luxury of his two
nephews, Cyrus and Sergius, on whom their uncle had imprudently bestowed
the provincial governments of Tripoli and Pentapolis. A Moorish tribe
encamped under the walls of Leptis, to renew their alliance, and receive
from the governor the customary gifts. Fourscore of their deputies were
introduced as friends into the city; but on the dark suspicion of a
conspiracy, they were massacred at the table of Sergius, and the clamor
of arms and revenge was reechoed through the valleys of Mount Atlas from
both the Syrtes to the Atlantic Ocean. A personal injury, the unjust
execution or murder of his brother, rendered Antalas the enemy of the
Romans. The defeat of the Vandals had formerly signalized his valor; the
rudiments of justice and prudence were still more conspicuous in a Moor;
and while he laid Adrumetum in ashes, he calmly admonished the emperor
that the peace of Africa might be secured by the recall of Solomon and
his unworthy nephews. The exarch led forth his troops from Carthage:
but, at the distance of six days' journey, in the neighborhood of
Tebeste, [4] he was astonished by the superior numbers and fierce aspect
of the Barbarians. He proposed a treaty; solicited a reconciliation; and
offered to bind himself by the most solemn oaths. "By what oaths can he
bind himself?" interrupted the indignant Moors. "Will he swear by the
Gospels, the divine books of the Christians? It was on those books that
the faith of his nephew Sergius was pledged to eighty of our innocent
and unfortunate brethren. Before we trust them a second time, let us
try their efficacy in the chastisement of perjury and the vindication of
their own honor." Their honor was vindicated in the field of Tebeste, by
the death of Solomon, and the total loss of his army. [411] The arrival
of fresh troops and more skilful commanders soon checked the insolence
of the Moors: seventeen of their princes were slain in the same battle;
and the doubtful and transient submission of their tribes was celebrated
with lavish applause by the people of Constantinople. Successive inroads
had reduced the province of Africa to one third of the measure of Italy;
yet the Roman emperors continued to reign above a century over Carthage
and the fruitful coast of the Mediterranean. But the victories and the
losses of Justinian were alike pernicious to mankind; and such was the
desolation of Africa, that in many parts a stranger might wander whole
days without meeting the face either of a friend or an enemy. The nation
of the Vandals had disappeared: they once amounted to a hundred and
sixty thousand warriors, without including the children, the women, or
the slaves. Their numbers were infinitely surpassed by the number of
the Moorish families extirpated in a relentless war; and the same
destruction was retaliated on the Romans and their allies, who perished
by the climate, their mutual quarrels, and the rage of the Barbarians.
When Procopius first landed, he admired the populousness of the cities
and country, strenuously exercised in the labors of commerce and
agriculture. In less than twenty years, that busy scene was converted
into a silent solitude; the wealthy citizens escaped to Sicily and
Constantinople; and the secret historian has confidently affirmed, that
five millions of Africans were consumed by the wars and government of
the emperor Justinian. [5]

[Footnote 3: The Moorish wars are occasionally introduced into the
narrative of Procopius, (Vandal. l. ii. c. 19--23, 25, 27, 28. Gothic.
l. iv. c. 17;) and Theophanes adds some prosperous and adverse events in
the last years of Justinian.]

[Footnote 4: Now Tibesh, in the kingdom of Algiers. It is watered by a
river, the Sujerass, which falls into the Mejerda, (Bagradas.) Tibesh
is still remarkable for its walls of large stones, (like the Coliseum of
Rome,) a fountain, and a grove of walnut-trees: the country is
fruitful, and the neighboring Bereberes are warlike. It appears from an
inscription, that, under the reign of Adrian, the road from Carthage
to Tebeste was constructed by the third legion, (Marmol, Description de
l'Afrique, tom. ii. p. 442, 443. Shaw's Travels, p. 64, 65, 66.)]

[Footnote 411: Corripus (Johannidos lib. iii. 417--441) describes the
defeat and death of Solomon.--M.]

[Footnote 5: Procopius, Anecdot. c. 18. The series of the African
history at tests this melancholy truth.]

The jealousy of the Byzantine court had not permitted Belisarius to
achieve the conquest of Italy; and his abrupt departure revived the
courage of the Goths, [6] who respected his genius, his virtue, and even
the laudable motive which had urged the servant of Justinian to deceive
and reject them. They had lost their king, (an inconsiderable loss,)
their capital, their treasures, the provinces from Sicily to the Alps,
and the military force of two hundred thousand Barbarians, magnificently
equipped with horses and arms. Yet all was not lost, as long as Pavia
was defended by one thousand Goths, inspired by a sense of honor, the
love of freedom, and the memory of their past greatness. The supreme
command was unanimously offered to the brave Uraias; and it was in his
eyes alone that the disgrace of his uncle Vitiges could appear as
a reason of exclusion. His voice inclined the election in favor of
Hildibald, whose personal merit was recommended by the vain hope that
his kinsman Theudes, the Spanish monarch, would support the common
interest of the Gothic nation. The success of his arms in Liguria and
Venetia seemed to justify their choice; but he soon declared to the
world that he was incapable of forgiving or commanding his benefactor.
The consort of Hildibald was deeply wounded by the beauty, the riches,
and the pride, of the wife of Uraias; and the death of that virtuous
patriot excited the indignation of a free people. A bold assassin
executed their sentence by striking off the head of Hildibald in the
midst of a banquet; the Rugians, a foreign tribe, assumed the privilege
of election: and Totila, [611] the nephew of the late king, was tempted,
by revenge, to deliver himself and the garrison of Trevigo into the
hands of the Romans.

But the gallant and accomplished youth was easily persuaded to prefer
the Gothic throne before the service of Justinian; and as soon as the
palace of Pavia had been purified from the Rugian usurper, he reviewed
the national force of five thousand soldiers, and generously undertook
the restoration of the kingdom of Italy.

[Footnote 6: In the second (c. 30) and third books, (c. 1--40,)
Procopius continues the history of the Gothic war from the fifth to the
fifteenth year of Justinian. As the events are less interesting than
in the former period, he allots only half the space to double the time.
Jornandes, and the Chronicle of Marcellinus, afford some collateral
hints Sigonius, Pagi, Muratori, Mascou, and De Buat, are useful, and
have been used.]

[Footnote 611: His real name, as appears by medals, was Baduilla, or
Badiula. Totila signifies immortal: tod (in German) is death. Todilas,
deathless. Compare St Martin, vol. ix. p. 37.--M.]

The successors of Belisarius, eleven generals of equal rank, neglected
to crush the feeble and disunited Goths, till they were roused to action
by the progress of Totila and the reproaches of Justinian. The gates
of Verona were secretly opened to Artabazus, at the head of one hundred
Persians in the service of the empire. The Goths fled from the city. At
the distance of sixty furlongs the Roman generals halted to regulate
the division of the spoil. While they disputed, the enemy discovered the
real number of the victors: the Persians were instantly overpowered, and
it was by leaping from the wall that Artabazus preserved a life which
he lost in a few days by the lance of a Barbarian, who had defied him to
single combat. Twenty thousand Romans encountered the forces of Totila,
near Faenza, and on the hills of Mugello, of the Florentine territory.
The ardor of freedmen, who fought to regain their country, was opposed
to the languid temper of mercenary troops, who were even destitute
of the merits of strong and well-disciplined servitude. On the first
attack, they abandoned their ensigns, threw down their arms, and
dispersed on all sides with an active speed, which abated the loss,
whilst it aggravated the shame, of their defeat. The king of the Goths,
who blushed for the baseness of his enemies, pursued with rapid steps
the path of honor and victory. Totila passed the Po, [6112] traversed
the Apennine, suspended the important conquest of Ravenna, Florence,
and Rome, and marched through the heart of Italy, to form the siege or
rather the blockade, of Naples. The Roman chiefs, imprisoned in their
respective cities, and accusing each other of the common disgrace, did
not presume to disturb his enterprise. But the emperor, alarmed by the
distress and danger of his Italian conquests, despatched to the relief
of Naples a fleet of galleys and a body of Thracian and Armenian
soldiers. They landed in Sicily, which yielded its copious stores
of provisions; but the delays of the new commander, an unwarlike
magistrate, protracted the sufferings of the besieged; and the succors,
which he dropped with a timid and tardy hand, were successively
intercepted by the armed vessels stationed by Totila in the Bay of
Naples. The principal officer of the Romans was dragged, with a rope
round his neck, to the foot of the wall, from whence, with a trembling
voice, he exhorted the citizens to implore, like himself, the mercy of
the conqueror. They requested a truce, with a promise of surrendering
the city, if no effectual relief should appear at the end of thirty
days. Instead of one month, the audacious Barbarian granted them three,
in the just confidence that famine would anticipate the term of their
capitulation. After the reduction of Naples and Cumae, the provinces
of Lucania, Apulia, and Calabria, submitted to the king of the Goths.
Totila led his army to the gates of Rome, pitched his camp at Tibur,
or Tivoli, within twenty miles of the capital, and calmly exhorted
the senate and people to compare the tyranny of the Greeks with the
blessings of the Gothic reign.

[Footnote 6112: This is not quite correct: he had crossed the Po before
the battle of Faenza.--M.]

The rapid success of Totila may be partly ascribed to the revolution
which three years' experience had produced in the sentiments of the
Italians. At the command, or at least in the name, of a Catholic
emperor, the pope, [7] their spiritual father, had been torn from the
Roman church, and either starved or murdered on a desolate island. [8]
The virtues of Belisarius were replaced by the various or uniform vices
of eleven chiefs, at Rome, Ravenna, Florence, Perugia, Spoleto, &c.,
who abused their authority for the indulgence of lust or avarice. The
improvement of the revenue was committed to Alexander, a subtle scribe,
long practised in the fraud and oppression of the Byzantine schools,
and whose name of Psalliction, the scissors, [9] was drawn from the
dexterous artifice with which he reduced the size without defacing the
figure, of the gold coin. Instead of expecting the restoration of peace
and industry, he imposed a heavy assessment on the fortunes of the
Italians. Yet his present or future demands were less odious than a
prosecution of arbitrary rigor against the persons and property of all
those who, under the Gothic kings, had been concerned in the receipt and
expenditure of the public money. The subjects of Justinian, who escaped
these partial vexations, were oppressed by the irregular maintenance
of the soldiers, whom Alexander defrauded and despised; and their hasty
sallies in quest of wealth, or subsistence, provoked the inhabitants of
the country to await or implore their deliverance from the virtues of a
Barbarian. Totila [10] was chaste and temperate; and none were deceived,
either friends or enemies, who depended on his faith or his clemency. To
the husbandmen of Italy the Gothic king issued a welcome proclamation,
enjoining them to pursue their important labors, and to rest assured,
that, on the payment of the ordinary taxes, they should be defended by
his valor and discipline from the injuries of war. The strong towns he
successively attacked; and as soon as they had yielded to his arms, he
demolished the fortifications, to save the people from the calamities
of a future siege, to deprive the Romans of the arts of defence, and to
decide the tedious quarrel of the two nations, by an equal and honorable
conflict in the field of battle. The Roman captives and deserters were
tempted to enlist in the service of a liberal and courteous adversary;
the slaves were attracted by the firm and faithful promise, that they
should never be delivered to their masters; and from the thousand
warriors of Pavia, a new people, under the same appellation of Goths,
was insensibly formed in the camp of Totila. He sincerely accomplished
the articles of capitulation, without seeking or accepting any sinister
advantage from ambiguous expressions or unforeseen events: the garrison
of Naples had stipulated that they should be transported by sea; the
obstinacy of the winds prevented their voyage, but they were generously
supplied with horses, provisions, and a safe-conduct to the gates of
Rome. The wives of the senators, who had been surprised in the villas
of Campania, were restored, without a ransom, to their husbands; the
violation of female chastity was inexorably chastised with death; and
in the salutary regulation of the edict of the famished Neapolitans, the
conqueror assumed the office of a humane and attentive physician. The
virtues of Totila are equally laudable, whether they proceeded from
true policy, religious principle, or the instinct of humanity: he often
harangued his troops; and it was his constant theme, that national vice
and ruin are inseparably connected; that victory is the fruit of moral
as well as military virtue; and that the prince, and even the people,
are responsible for the crimes which they neglect to punish. [Footnote
7: Sylverius, bishop of Rome, was first transported to Patara, in Lycia,
and at length starved (sub eorum custodia inedia confectus) in the Isle
of Palmaria, A.D. 538, June 20, (Liberat. in Breviar. c. 22. Anastasius,
in Sylverio. Baronius, A.D. 540, No. 2, 3. Pagi, in Vit. Pont. tom. i.
p. 285, 286.) Procopius (Anecdot. c. 1) accuses only the empress and

[Footnote 8: Palmaria, a small island, opposite to Terracina and the
coast of the Volsci, (Cluver. Ital. Antiq. l. iii. c. 7, p. 1014.)]

[Footnote 9: As the Logothete Alexander, and most of his civil and
military colleagues, were either disgraced or despised, the ink of the
Anecdotes (c. 4, 5, 18) is scarcely blacker than that of the Gothic
History (l. iii. c. 1, 3, 4, 9, 20, 21, &c.)]

[Footnote 10: Procopius (l. iii. c. 2, 8, &c.,) does ample and willing
justice to the merit of Totila. The Roman historians, from Sallust
and Tacitus were happy to forget the vices of their countrymen in the
contemplation of Barbaric virtue.]

The return of Belisarius to save the country which he had subdued, was
pressed with equal vehemence by his friends and enemies; and the Gothic
war was imposed as a trust or an exile on the veteran commander. A hero
on the banks of the Euphrates, a slave in the palace of Constantinople,
he accepted with reluctance the painful task of supporting his own
reputation, and retrieving the faults of his successors. The sea was
open to the Romans: the ships and soldiers were assembled at Salona,
near the palace of Diocletian: he refreshed and reviewed his troops at
Pola in Istria, coasted round the head of the Adriatic, entered the
port of Ravenna, and despatched orders rather than supplies to the
subordinate cities. His first public oration was addressed to the Goths
and Romans, in the name of the emperor, who had suspended for a while
the conquest of Persia, and listened to the prayers of his Italian
subjects. He gently touched on the causes and the authors of the recent
disasters; striving to remove the fear of punishment for the past, and
the hope of impunity for the future, and laboring, with more zeal than
success, to unite all the members of his government in a firm league of
affection and obedience. Justinian, his gracious master, was inclined
to pardon and reward; and it was their interest, as well as duty, to
reclaim their deluded brethren, who had been seduced by the arts of
the usurper. Not a man was tempted to desert the standard of the Gothic
king. Belisarius soon discovered, that he was sent to remain the idle
and impotent spectator of the glory of a young Barbarian; and his own
epistle exhibits a genuine and lively picture of the distress of a noble
mind. "Most excellent prince, we are arrived in Italy, destitute of all
the necessary implements of war, men, horses, arms, and money. In our
late circuit through the villages of Thrace and Illyricum, we have
collected, with extreme difficulty, about four thousand recruits, naked,
and unskilled in the use of weapons and the exercises of the camp. The
soldiers already stationed in the province are discontented, fearful,
and dismayed; at the sound of an enemy, they dismiss their horses, and
cast their arms on the ground. No taxes can be raised, since Italy is in
the hands of the Barbarians; the failure of payment has deprived us of
the right of command, or even of admonition. Be assured, dread Sir, that
the greater part of your troops have already deserted to the Goths.
If the war could be achieved by the presence of Belisarius alone, your
wishes are satisfied; Belisarius is in the midst of Italy. But if you
desire to conquer, far other preparations are requisite: without a
military force, the title of general is an empty name. It would be
expedient to restore to my service my own veteran and domestic guards.
Before I can take the field, I must receive an adequate supply of light
and heavy armed troops; and it is only with ready money that you can
procure the indispensable aid of a powerful body of the cavalry of the
Huns." [11] An officer in whom Belisarius confided was sent from Ravenna
to hasten and conduct the succors; but the message was neglected,
and the messenger was detained at Constantinople by an advantageous
marriage. After his patience had been exhausted by delay and
disappointment, the Roman general repassed the Adriatic, and expected at
Dyrrachium the arrival of the troops, which were slowly assembled among
the subjects and allies of the empire. His powers were still inadequate
to the deliverance of Rome, which was closely besieged by the Gothic
king. The Appian way, a march of forty days, was covered by the
Barbarians; and as the prudence of Belisarius declined a battle, he
preferred the safe and speedy navigation of five days from the coast of
Epirus to the mouth of the Tyber.

[Footnote 11: Procopius, l. iii. c. 12. The soul of a hero is deeply
impressed on the letter; nor can we confound such genuine and original
acts with the elaborate and often empty speeches of the Byzantine

After reducing, by force, or treaty, the towns of inferior note in the
midland provinces of Italy, Totila proceeded, not to assault, but to
encompass and starve, the ancient capital. Rome was afflicted by the
avarice, and guarded by the valor, of Bessas, a veteran chief of Gothic
extraction, who filled, with a garrison of three thousand soldiers, the
spacious circle of her venerable walls. From the distress of the
people he extracted a profitable trade, and secretly rejoiced in the
continuance of the siege. It was for his use that the granaries had been
replenished: the charity of Pope Vigilius had purchased and embarked
an ample supply of Sicilian corn; but the vessels which escaped the
Barbarians were seized by a rapacious governor, who imparted a scanty
sustenance to the soldiers, and sold the remainder to the wealthy
Romans. The medimnus, or fifth part of the quarter of wheat, was
exchanged for seven pieces of gold; fifty pieces were given for an ox,
a rare and accidental prize; the progress of famine enhanced this
exorbitant value, and the mercenaries were tempted to deprive themselves
of the allowance which was scarcely sufficient for the support of life.
A tasteless and unwholesome mixture, in which the bran thrice exceeded
the quantity of flour, appeased the hunger of the poor; they were
gradually reduced to feed on dead horses, dogs, cats, and mice, and
eagerly to snatch the grass, and even the nettles, which grew among the
ruins of the city. A crowd of spectres, pale and emaciated, their bodies
oppressed with disease, and their minds with despair, surrounded the
palace of the governor, urged, with unavailing truth, that it was the
duty of a master to maintain his slaves, and humbly requested that he
would provide for their subsistence, to permit their flight, or command
their immediate execution. Bessas replied, with unfeeling tranquillity,
that it was impossible to feed, unsafe to dismiss, and unlawful to kill,
the subjects of the emperor. Yet the example of a private citizen might
have shown his countrymen that a tyrant cannot withhold the privilege of
death. Pierced by the cries of five children, who vainly called on their
father for bread, he ordered them to follow his steps, advanced with
calm and silent despair to one of the bridges of the Tyber, and,
covering his face, threw himself headlong into the stream, in
the presence of his family and the Roman people. To the rich and
pusillammous, Bessas [12] sold the permission of departure; but the
greatest part of the fugitives expired on the public highways, or were
intercepted by the flying parties of Barbarians. In the mean while, the
artful governor soothed the discontent, and revived the hopes of
the Romans, by the vague reports of the fleets and armies which were
hastening to their relief from the extremities of the East. They derived
more rational comfort from the assurance that Belisarius had landed at
the port; and, without numbering his forces, they firmly relied on the
humanity, the courage, and the skill of their great deliverer.

[Footnote 12: The avarice of Bessas is not dissembled by Procopius, (l.
iii. c. 17, 20.) He expiated the loss of Rome by the glorious conquest
of Petraea, (Goth. l. iv. c. 12;) but the same vices followed him from
the Tyber to the Phasis, (c. 13;) and the historian is equally true
to the merits and defects of his character. The chastisement which the
author of the romance of Belisaire has inflicted on the oppressor of
Rome is more agreeable to justice than to history.]

Chapter XLIII: Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death OF Justinian.--Part II.

The foresight of Totila had raised obstacles worthy of such an
antagonist. Ninety furlongs below the city, in the narrowest part of the
river, he joined the two banks by strong and solid timbers in the form
of a bridge, on which he erected two lofty towers, manned by the bravest
of his Goths, and profusely stored with missile weapons and engines of
offence. The approach of the bridge and towers was covered by a strong
and massy chain of iron; and the chain, at either end, on the opposite
sides of the Tyber, was defended by a numerous and chosen detachment of
archers. But the enterprise of forcing these barriers, and relieving
the capital, displays a shining example of the boldness and conduct of
Belisarius. His cavalry advanced from the port along the public road, to
awe the motions, and distract the attention of the enemy. His infantry
and provisions were distributed in two hundred large boats; and each
boat was shielded by a high rampart of thick planks, pierced with many
small holes for the discharge of missile weapons. In the front, two
large vessels were linked together to sustain a floating castle, which
commanded the towers of the bridge, and contained a magazine of fire,
sulphur, and bitumen. The whole fleet, which the general led in person,
was laboriously moved against the current of the river. The chain
yielded to their weight, and the enemies who guarded the banks were
either slain or scattered. As soon as they touched the principal
barrier, the fire-ship was instantly grappled to the bridge; one of
the towers, with two hundred Goths, was consumed by the flames; the
assailants shouted victory; and Rome was saved, if the wisdom of
Belisarius had not been defeated by the misconduct of his officers.
He had previously sent orders to Bessas to second his operations by a
timely sally from the town; and he had fixed his lieutenant, Isaac, by
a peremptory command, to the station of the port. But avarice rendered
Bessas immovable; while the youthful ardor of Isaac delivered him into
the hands of a superior enemy. The exaggerated rumor of his defeat was
hastily carried to the ears of Belisarius: he paused; betrayed in that
single moment of his life some emotions of surprise and perplexity; and
reluctantly sounded a retreat to save his wife Antonina, his treasures,
and the only harbor which he possessed on the Tuscan coast. The vexation
of his mind produced an ardent and almost mortal fever; and Rome was
left without protection to the mercy or indignation of Totila. The
continuance of hostilities had imbittered the national hatred: the Arian
clergy was ignominiously driven from Rome; Pelagius, the archdeacon,
returned without success from an embassy to the Gothic camp; and a
Sicilian bishop, the envoy or nuncio of the pope, was deprived of both
his hands, for daring to utter falsehoods in the service of the church
and state.

Famine had relaxed the strength and discipline of the garrison of Rome.
They could derive no effectual service from a dying people; and the
inhuman avarice of the merchant at length absorbed the vigilance of the
governor. Four Isaurian sentinels, while their companions slept, and
their officers were absent, descended by a rope from the wall, and
secretly proposed to the Gothic king to introduce his troops into
the city. The offer was entertained with coldness and suspicion; they
returned in safety; they twice repeated their visit; the place was twice
examined; the conspiracy was known and disregarded; and no sooner had
Totila consented to the attempt, than they unbarred the Asinarian gate,
and gave admittance to the Goths. Till the dawn of day, they halted in
order of battle, apprehensive of treachery or ambush; but the troops of
Bessas, with their leader, had already escaped; and when the king was
pressed to disturb their retreat, he prudently replied, that no sight
could be more grateful than that of a flying enemy. The patricians, who
were still possessed of horses, Decius, Basilius, &c. accompanied the
governor; their brethren, among whom Olybrius, Orestes, and Maximus, are
named by the historian, took refuge in the church of St. Peter: but
the assertion, that only five hundred persons remained in the capital,
inspires some doubt of the fidelity either of his narrative or of his
text. As soon as daylight had displayed the entire victory of the Goths,
their monarch devoutly visited the tomb of the prince of the apostles;
but while he prayed at the altar, twenty-five soldiers, and sixty
citizens, were put to the sword in the vestibule of the temple. The
archdeacon Pelagius [13] stood before him, with the Gospels in his hand.
"O Lord, be merciful to your servant." "Pelagius," said Totila, with an
insulting smile, "your pride now condescends to become a suppliant." "I
am a suppliant," replied the prudent archdeacon; "God has now made us
your subjects, and as your subjects, we are entitled to your clemency."
At his humble prayer, the lives of the Romans were spared; and the
chastity of the maids and matrons was preserved inviolate from the
passions of the hungry soldiers.

But they were rewarded by the freedom of pillage, after the most
precious spoils had been reserved for the royal treasury. The houses
of the senators were plentifully stored with gold and silver; and the
avarice of Bessas had labored with so much guilt and shame for the
benefit of the conqueror. In this revolution, the sons and daughters
of Roman consuls lasted the misery which they had spurned or relieved,
wandered in tattered garments through the streets of the city and
begged their bread, perhaps without success, before the gates of their
hereditary mansions. The riches of Rusticiana, the daughter of Symmachus
and widow of Boethius, had been generously devoted to alleviate the
calamities of famine. But the Barbarians were exasperated by the report,
that she had prompted the people to overthrow the statues of the
great Theodoric; and the life of that venerable matron would have been
sacrificed to his memory, if Totila had not respected her birth, her
virtues, and even the pious motive of her revenge. The next day he
pronounced two orations, to congratulate and admonish his victorious
Goths, and to reproach the senate, as the vilest of slaves, with their
perjury, folly, and ingratitude; sternly declaring, that their estates
and honors were justly forfeited to the companions of his arms. Yet he
consented to forgive their revolt; and the senators repaid his clemency
by despatching circular letters to their tenants and vassals in the
provinces of Italy, strictly to enjoin them to desert the standard of
the Greeks, to cultivate their lands in peace, and to learn from their
masters the duty of obedience to a Gothic sovereign. Against the city
which had so long delayed the course of his victories, he appeared
inexorable: one third of the walls, in different parts, were demolished
by his command; fire and engines prepared to consume or subvert the most
stately works of antiquity; and the world was astonished by the fatal
decree, that Rome should be changed into a pasture for cattle. The firm
and temperate remonstrance of Belisarius suspended the execution; he
warned the Barbarian not to sully his fame by the destruction of those
monuments which were the glory of the dead, and the delight of the
living; and Totila was persuaded, by the advice of an enemy, to preserve
Rome as the ornament of his kingdom, or the fairest pledge of peace and
reconciliation. When he had signified to the ambassadors of Belisarius
his intention of sparing the city, he stationed an army at the distance
of one hundred and twenty furlongs, to observe the motions of the Roman
general. With the remainder of his forces he marched into Lucania and
Apulia, and occupied on the summit of Mount Garganus [14] one of the
camps of Hannibal. [15] The senators were dragged in his train, and
afterwards confined in the fortresses of Campania: the citizens, with
their wives and children, were dispersed in exile; and during forty days
Rome was abandoned to desolate and dreary solitude. [16]

[Footnote 13: During the long exile, and after the death of Vigilius,
the Roman church was governed, at first by the archdeacon, and at length
(A. D 655) by the pope Pelagius, who was not thought guiltless of the
sufferings of his predecessor. See the original lives of the popes under
the name of Anastasius, (Muratori, Script. Rer. Italicarum, tom. iii. P.
i. p. 130, 131,) who relates several curious incidents of the sieges of
Rome and the wars of Italy.]

[Footnote 14: Mount Garganus, now Monte St. Angelo, in the kingdom of
Naples, runs three hundred stadia into the Adriatic Sea, (Strab.--vi.
p. 436,) and in the darker ages was illustrated by the apparition,
miracles, and church, of St. Michael the archangel. Horace, a native of
Apulia or Lucania, had seen the elms and oaks of Garganus laboring and
bellowing with the north wind that blew on that lofty coast, (Carm. ii.
9, Epist. ii. i. 201.)]

[Footnote 15: I cannot ascertain this particular camp of Hannibal; but
the Punic quarters were long and often in the neighborhood of Arpi, (T.
Liv. xxii. 9, 12, xxiv. 3, &c.)]

[Footnote 16: Totila.... Romam ingreditur.... ac evertit muros, domos
aliquantas igni comburens, ac omnes Romanorum res in praedam ac
cepit, hos ipsos Romanos in Campaniam captivos abduxit. Post quam
devastationem, xl. autamp lius dies, Roma fuit ita desolata, ut nemo
ibi hominum, nisi (nulloe?) bestiae morarentur, (Marcellin. in Chron. p.

The loss of Rome was speedily retrieved by an action, to which,
according to the event, the public opinion would apply the names of
rashness or heroism. After the departure of Totila, the Roman general
sallied from the port at the head of a thousand horse, cut in pieces the
enemy who opposed his progress, and visited with pity and reverence
the vacant space of the eternal city. Resolved to maintain a station so
conspicuous in the eyes of mankind, he summoned the greatest part of
his troops to the standard which he erected on the Capitol: the old
inhabitants were recalled by the love of their country and the hopes
of food; and the keys of Rome were sent a second time to the emperor
Justinian. The walls, as far as they had been demolished by the
Goths, were repaired with rude and dissimilar materials; the ditch was
restored; iron spikes [17] were profusely scattered in the highways to
annoy the feet of the horses; and as new gates could not suddenly be
procured, the entrance was guarded by a Spartan rampart of his bravest
soldiers. At the expiration of twenty-five days, Totila returned by
hasty marches from Apulia to avenge the injury and disgrace. Belisarius
expected his approach. The Goths were thrice repulsed in three general
assaults; they lost the flower of their troops; the royal standard had
almost fallen into the hands of the enemy, and the fame of Totila
sunk, as it had risen, with the fortune of his arms. Whatever skill
and courage could achieve, had been performed by the Roman general:
it remained only that Justinian should terminate, by a strong and
seasonable effort, the war which he had ambitiously undertaken. The
indolence, perhaps the impotence, of a prince who despised his enemies,
and envied his servants, protracted the calamities of Italy. After a
long silence, Belisarius was commanded to leave a sufficient garrison
at Rome, and to transport himself into the province of Lucania, whose
inhabitants, inflamed by Catholic zeal, had cast away the yoke of their
Arian conquerors. In this ignoble warfare, the hero, invincible against
the power of the Barbarians, was basely vanquished by the delay, the
disobedience, and the cowardice of his own officers. He reposed in his
winter quarters of Crotona, in the full assurance, that the two passes
of the Lucanian hills were guarded by his cavalry. They were betrayed by
treachery or weakness; and the rapid march of the Goths scarcely allowed
time for the escape of Belisarius to the coast of Sicily. At length a
fleet and army were assembled for the relief of Ruscianum, or Rossano,
[18] a fortress sixty furlongs from the ruins of Sybaris, where the
nobles of Lucania had taken refuge. In the first attempt, the Roman
forces were dissipated by a storm. In the second, they approached the
shore; but they saw the hills covered with archers, the landing-place
defended by a line of spears, and the king of the Goths impatient for
battle. The conqueror of Italy retired with a sigh, and continued to
languish, inglorious and inactive, till Antonina, who had been sent
to Constantinople to solicit succors, obtained, after the death of the
empress, the permission of his return.

[Footnote 17: The tribuli are small engines with four spikes, one fixed
in the ground, the three others erect or adverse, (Procopius, Gothic.
l. iii. c. 24. Just. Lipsius, Poliorcetwv, l. v. c. 3.) The metaphor
was borrowed from the tribuli, (land-caltrops,) an herb with a prickly
fruit, commex in Italy. (Martin, ad Virgil. Georgic. i. 153 vol. ii. p.

[Footnote 18: Ruscia, the navale Thuriorum, was transferred to the
distance of sixty stadia to Ruscianum, Rossano, an archbishopric without
suffragans. The republic of Sybaris is now the estate of the duke
of Corigliano. (Riedesel, Travels into Magna Graecia and Sicily, p.

The five last campaigns of Belisarius might abate the envy of his
competitors, whose eyes had been dazzled and wounded by the blaze of
his former glory. Instead of delivering Italy from the Goths, he had
wandered like a fugitive along the coast, without daring to march into
the country, or to accept the bold and repeated challenge of Totila.
Yet, in the judgment of the few who could discriminate counsels from
events, and compare the instruments with the execution, he appeared
a more consummate master of the art of war, than in the season of his
prosperity, when he presented two captive kings before the throne of
Justinian. The valor of Belisarius was not chilled by age: his prudence
was matured by experience; but the moral virtues of humanity and justice
seem to have yielded to the hard necessity of the times. The parsimony
or poverty of the emperor compelled him to deviate from the rule of
conduct which had deserved the love and confidence of the Italians. The
war was maintained by the oppression of Ravenna, Sicily, and all
the faithful subjects of the empire; and the rigorous prosecution of
Herodian provoked that injured or guilty officer to deliver Spoleto into
the hands of the enemy. The avarice of Antonina, which had been some
times diverted by love, now reigned without a rival in her breast.
Belisarius himself had always understood, that riches, in a corrupt
age, are the support and ornament of personal merit. And it cannot be
presumed that he should stain his honor for the public service, without
applying a part of the spoil to his private emolument. The hero had
escaped the sword of the Barbarians. But the dagger of conspiracy [19]
awaited his return. In the midst of wealth and honors, Artaban, who had
chastised the African tyrant, complained of the ingratitude of courts.
He aspired to Praejecta, the emperor's niece, who wished to reward her
deliverer; but the impediment of his previous marriage was asserted
by the piety of Theodora. The pride of royal descent was irritated by
flattery; and the service in which he gloried had proved him capable of
bold and sanguinary deeds. The death of Justinian was resolved, but the
conspirators delayed the execution till they could surprise Belisarius
disarmed, and naked, in the palace of Constantinople. Not a hope could
be entertained of shaking his long-tried fidelity; and they justly
dreaded the revenge, or rather the justice, of the veteran general, who
might speedily assemble an army in Thrace to punish the assassins, and
perhaps to enjoy the fruits of their crime. Delay afforded time for rash
communications and honest confessions: Artaban and his accomplices were
condemned by the senate, but the extreme clemency of Justinian detained
them in the gentle confinement of the palace, till he pardoned their
flagitious attempt against his throne and life. If the emperor forgave
his enemies, he must cordially embrace a friend whose victories were
alone remembered, and who was endeared to his prince by the recent
circumstances of their common danger. Belisarius reposed from his toils,
in the high station of general of the East and count of the domestics;
and the older consuls and patricians respectfully yielded the precedency
of rank to the peerless merit of the first of the Romans. [20] The
first of the Romans still submitted to be the slave of his wife; but the
servitude of habit and affection became less disgraceful when the death
of Theodora had removed the baser influence of fear. Joannina, their
daughter, and the sole heiress of their fortunes, was betrothed to
Anastasius, the grandson, or rather the nephew, of the empress, [21]
whose kind interposition forwarded the consummation of their youthful
loves. But the power of Theodora expired, the parents of Joannina
returned, and her honor, perhaps her happiness, were sacrificed to the
revenge of an unfeeling mother, who dissolved the imperfect nuptials
before they had been ratified by the ceremonies of the church. [22]

[Footnote 19: This conspiracy is related by Procopius (Gothic. l.
iii. c. 31, 32) with such freedom and candor, that the liberty of the
Anecdotes gives him nothing to add.]

[Footnote 20: The honors of Belisarius are gladly commemorated by his
secretary, (Procop. Goth. l. iii. c. 35, l. iv. c. 21.) This title is
ill translated, at least in this instance, by praefectus praetorio; and
to a military character, magister militum is more proper and applicable,
(Ducange, Gloss. Graec. p. 1458, 1459.)]

[Footnote 21: Alemannus, (ad Hist. Arcanum, p. 68,) Ducange, (Familiae
Byzant. p. 98,) and Heineccius, (Hist. Juris Civilis, p. 434,) all three
represent Anastasius as the son of the daughter of Theodora; and their
opinion firmly reposes on the unambiguous testimony of Procopius,
(Anecdot. c. 4, 5,--twice repeated.) And yet I will remark, 1. That
in the year 547, Theodora could sarcely have a grandson of the age
of puberty; 2. That we are totally ignorant of this daughter and her
husband; and, 3. That Theodora concealed her bastards, and that her
grandson by Justinian would have been heir apparent of the empire.]

[Footnote 22: The sins of the hero in Italy and after his return, are
manifested, and most probably swelled, by the author of the Anecdotes,
(c. 4, 5.) The designs of Antonina were favored by the fluctuating
jurisprudence of Justinian. On the law of marriage and divorce, that
emperor was trocho versatilior, (Heineccius, Element Juris Civil. ad
Ordinem Pandect. P. iv. No. 233.)]

Before the departure of Belisarius, Perusia was besieged, and few cities
were impregnable to the Gothic arms. Ravenna, Ancona, and Crotona, still
resisted the Barbarians; and when Totila asked in marriage one of the
daughters of France, he was stung by the just reproach that the king of
Italy was unworthy of his title till it was acknowledged by the Roman
people. Three thousand of the bravest soldiers had been left to
defend the capital. On the suspicion of a monopoly, they massacred the
governor, and announced to Justinian, by a deputation of the clergy,
that unless their offence was pardoned, and their arrears were
satisfied, they should instantly accept the tempting offers of Totila.
But the officer who succeeded to the command (his name was Diogenes)
deserved their esteem and confidence; and the Goths, instead of finding
an easy conquest, encountered a vigorous resistance from the soldiers
and people, who patiently endured the loss of the port and of all
maritime supplies. The siege of Rome would perhaps have been raised,
if the liberality of Totila to the Isaurians had not encouraged some of
their venal countrymen to copy the example of treason. In a dark night,
while the Gothic trumpets sounded on another side, they silently opened
the gate of St. Paul: the Barbarians rushed into the city; and the
flying garrison was intercepted before they could reach the harbor of
Centumcellae. A soldier trained in the school of Belisarius, Paul of
Cilicia, retired with four hundred men to the mole of Hadrian. They
repelled the Goths; but they felt the approach of famine; and their
aversion to the taste of horse-flesh confirmed their resolution to risk
the event of a desperate and decisive sally. But their spirit insensibly
stooped to the offers of capitulation; they retrieved their arrears of
pay, and preserved their arms and horses, by enlisting in the service of
Totila; their chiefs, who pleaded a laudable attachment to their wives
and children in the East, were dismissed with honor; and above four
hundred enemies, who had taken refuge in the sanctuaries, were saved
by the clemency of the victor. He no longer entertained a wish of
destroying the edifices of Rome, [23] which he now respected as the
seat of the Gothic kingdom: the senate and people were restored to their
country; the means of subsistence were liberally provided; and Totila,
in the robe of peace, exhibited the equestrian games of the circus.
Whilst he amused the eyes of the multitude, four hundred vessels were
prepared for the embarkation of his troops. The cities of Rhegium
and Tarentum were reduced: he passed into Sicily, the object of his
implacable resentment; and the island was stripped of its gold and
silver, of the fruits of the earth, and of an infinite number of horses,
sheep, and oxen. Sardinia and Corsica obeyed the fortune of Italy; and
the sea-coast of Greece was visited by a fleet of three hundred galleys.
[24] The Goths were landed in Corcyra and the ancient continent of
Epirus; they advanced as far as Nicopolis, the trophy of Augustus, and
Dodona, [25] once famous by the oracle of Jove. In every step of his
victories, the wise Barbarian repeated to Justinian the desire of peace,
applauded the concord of their predecessors, and offered to employ the
Gothic arms in the service of the empire.

[Footnote 23: The Romans were still attached to the monuments of their
ancestors; and according to Procopius, (Goth. l. iv. c. 22,) the gallery
of Aeneas, of a single rank of oars, 25 feet in breadth, 120 in length,
was preserved entire in the navalia, near Monte Testaceo, at the foot of
the Aventine, (Nardini, Roma Antica, l. vii. c. 9, p. 466. Donatus, Rom
Antiqua, l. iv. c. 13, p. 334) But all antiquity is ignorant of relic.]

[Footnote 24: In these seas Procopius searched without success for the
Isle of Calypso. He was shown, at Phaeacia, or Cocyra, the petrified
ship of Ulysses, (Odyss. xiii. 163;) but he found it a recent fabric of
many stones, dedicated by a merchant to Jupiter Cassius, (l. iv. c. 22.)
Eustathius had supposed it to be the fanciful likeness of a rock.]

[Footnote 25: M. D'Anville (Memoires de l'Acad. tom. xxxii. p. 513--528)
illustrates the Gulf of Ambracia; but he cannot ascertain the situation
of Dodona. A country in sight of Italy is less known than the wilds of
America. Note: On the site of Dodona compare Walpole's Travels in the
East, vol. ii. p. 473; Col. Leake's Northern Greece, vol. iv. p. 163;
and a dissertation by the present bishop of Lichfield (Dr. Butler) in
the appendix to Hughes's Travels, vol. i. p. 511.--M.]

Justinian was deaf to the voice of peace: but he neglected the
prosecution of war; and the indolence of his temper disappointed, in
some degree, the obstinacy of his passions. From this salutary slumber
the emperor was awakened by the pope Vigilius and the patrician
Cethegus, who appeared before his throne, and adjured him, in the name
of God and the people, to resume the conquest and deliverance of Italy.
In the choice of the generals, caprice, as well as judgment, was shown.
A fleet and army sailed for the relief of Sicily, under the conduct of
Liberius; but his youth [2511] and want of experience were afterwards
discovered, and before he touched the shores of the island he was
overtaken by his successor. In the place of Liberius, the conspirator
Artaban was raised from a prison to military honors; in the pious
presumption, that gratitude would animate his valor and fortify his
allegiance. Belisarius reposed in the shade of his laurels, but the
command of the principal army was reserved for Germanus, [26] the
emperor's nephew, whose rank and merit had been long depressed by the
jealousy of the court. Theodora had injured him in the rights of a
private citizen, the marriage of his children, and the testament of his
brother; and although his conduct was pure and blameless, Justinian was
displeased that he should be thought worthy of the confidence of the
malecontents. The life of Germanus was a lesson of implicit obedience:
he nobly refused to prostitute his name and character in the factions
of the circus: the gravity of his manners was tempered by innocent
cheerfulness; and his riches were lent without interest to indigent or
deserving friends. His valor had formerly triumphed over the Sclavonians
of the Danube and the rebels of Africa: the first report of his
promotion revived the hopes of the Italians; and he was privately
assured, that a crowd of Roman deserters would abandon, on his approach,
the standard of Totila. His second marriage with Malasontha, the
granddaughter of Theodoric endeared Germanus to the Goths themselves;
and they marched with reluctance against the father of a royal infant
the last offspring of the line of Amali. [27] A splendid allowance was
assigned by the emperor: the general contribute his private fortune: his
two sons were popular and active and he surpassed, in the promptitude
and success of his levies the expectation of mankind. He was permitted
to select some squadrons of Thracian cavalry: the veterans, as well as
the youth of Constantinople and Europe, engaged their voluntary service;
and as far as the heart of Germany, his fame and liberality attracted
the aid of the Barbarians. [2711] The Romans advanced to Sardica; an
army of Sclavonians fled before their march; but within two days of
their final departure, the designs of Germanus were terminated by his
malady and death. Yet the impulse which he had given to the Italian
war still continued to act with energy and effect. The maritime towns
Ancona, Crotona, Centumcellae, resisted the assaults of Totila Sicily
was reduced by the zeal of Artaban, and the Gothic navy was defeated
near the coast of the Adriatic. The two fleets were almost equal,
forty-seven to fifty galleys: the victory was decided by the knowledge
and dexterity of the Greeks; but the ships were so closely grappled,
that only twelve of the Goths escaped from this unfortunate conflict.
They affected to depreciate an element in which they were unskilled; but
their own experience confirmed the truth of a maxim, that the master of
the sea will always acquire the dominion of the land. [28]

[Footnote 2511: This is a singular mistake. Gibbon must have hastily
caught at his inexperience, and concluded that it must have been from
youth. Lord Mahon has pointed out this error, p. 401. I should add that
in the last 4to. edition, corrected by Gibbon, it stands "want of
youth and experience;"--but Gibbon can scarcely have intended such a

[Footnote 26: See the acts of Germanus in the public (Vandal. l. ii, c.
16, 17, 18 Goth. l. iii. c. 31, 32) and private history, (Anecdot. c.
5,) and those of his son Justin, in Agathias, (l. iv. p. 130, 131.)
Notwithstanding an ambiguous expression of Jornandes, fratri suo,
Alemannus has proved that he was the son of the emperor's brother.]

[Footnote 27: Conjuncta Aniciorum gens cum Amala stirpe spem adhuc utii
usque generis promittit, (Jornandes, c. 60, p. 703.) He wrote at Ravenna
before the death of Totila]

[Footnote 2711: See note 31, p. 268.--M.]

[Footnote 28: The third book of Procopius is terminated by the death of
Germanus, (Add. l. iv. c. 23, 24, 25, 26.)]

After the loss of Germanus, the nations were provoked to smile, by the
strange intelligence, that the command of the Roman armies was given to
a eunuch. But the eunuch Narses [29] is ranked among the few who have
rescued that unhappy name from the contempt and hatred of mankind. A
feeble, diminutive body concealed the soul of a statesman and a warrior.
His youth had been employed in the management of the loom and distaff,
in the cares of the household, and the service of female luxury; but
while his hands were busy, he secretly exercised the faculties of a
vigorous and discerning mind. A stranger to the schools and the camp, he
studied in the palace to dissemble, to flatter, and to persuade; and as
soon as he approached the person of the emperor, Justinian listened
with surprise and pleasure to the manly counsels of his chamberlain and
private treasurer. [30] The talents of Narses were tried and improved
in frequent embassies: he led an army into Italy acquired a practical
knowledge of the war and the country, and presumed to strive with the
genius of Belisarius. Twelve years after his return, the eunuch was
chosen to achieve the conquest which had been left imperfect by the
first of the Roman generals. Instead of being dazzled by vanity or
emulation, he seriously declared that, unless he were armed with an
adequate force, he would never consent to risk his own glory and that
of his sovereign. Justinian granted to the favorite what he might have
denied to the hero: the Gothic war was rekindled from its ashes, and the
preparations were not unworthy of the ancient majesty of the empire. The
key of the public treasure was put into his hand, to collect magazines,
to levy soldiers, to purchase arms and horses, to discharge the arrears
of pay, and to tempt the fidelity of the fugitives and deserters. The
troops of Germanus were still in arms; they halted at Salona in the
expectation of a new leader; and legions of subjects and allies were
created by the well-known liberality of the eunuch Narses. The king of
the Lombards [31] satisfied or surpassed the obligations of a treaty, by
lending two thousand two hundred of his bravest warriors, [3111] who were
followed by three thousand of their martial attendants. Three thousand
Heruli fought on horseback under Philemuth, their native chief; and the
noble Aratus, who adopted the manners and discipline of Rome, conducted
a band of veterans of the same nation. Dagistheus was released from
prison to command the Huns; and Kobad, the grandson and nephew of
the great king, was conspicuous by the regal tiara at the head of his
faithful Persians, who had devoted themselves to the fortunes of their
prince. [32] Absolute in the exercise of his authority, more absolute in
the affection of his troops, Narses led a numerous and gallant army from
Philippopolis to Salona, from whence he coasted the eastern side of the
Adriatic as far as the confines of Italy. His progress was checked. The
East could not supply vessels capable of transporting such multitudes of
men and horses. The Franks, who, in the general confusion, had usurped
the greater part of the Venetian province, refused a free passage to the
friends of the Lombards. The station of Verona was occupied by Teias,
with the flower of the Gothic forces; and that skilful commander
had overspread the adjacent country with the fall of woods and the
inundation of waters. [33] In this perplexity, an officer of experience
proposed a measure, secure by the appearance of rashness; that the
Roman army should cautiously advance along the seashore, while the fleet
preceded their march, and successively cast a bridge of boats over the
mouths of the rivers, the Timavus, the Brenta, the Adige, and the
Po, that fall into the Adriatic to the north of Ravenna. Nine days he
reposed in the city, collected the fragments of the Italian army, and
marching towards Rimini to meet the defiance of an insulting enemy.

[Footnote 29: Procopius relates the whole series of this second Gothic
war and the victory of Narses, (l. iv. c. 21, 26--35.) A splendid scene.
Among the six subjects of epic poetry which Tasso revolved in his mind,
he hesitated between the conquests of Italy by Belisarius and by Narses,
(Hayley's Works, vol. iv. p. 70.)]

[Footnote 30: The country of Narses is unknown, since he must not be
confounded with the Persarmenian. Procopius styles him (see Goth. l. ii.
c. 13); Paul Warnefrid, (l. ii. c. 3, p. 776,) Chartularius: Marcellinus
adds the name of Cubicularius. In an inscription on the Salarian bridge
he is entitled Ex-consul, Ex-praepositus, Cubiculi Patricius, (Mascou,
Hist. of the Germans, (l. xiii. c. 25.) The law of Theodosius against
ennuchs was obsolete or abolished, Annotation xx.,) but the foolish
prophecy of the Romans subsisted in full vigor, (Procop. l. iv. c. 21.)
* Note: Lord Mahon supposes them both to have been Persarmenians. Note,
p. 256.--M.]

[Footnote 31: Paul Warnefrid, the Lombard, records with complacency the
succor, service, and honorable dismission of his countrymen--reipublicae
Romanae adversus aemulos adjutores fuerant, (l. ii. c. i. p. 774, edit.
Grot.) I am surprised that Alboin, their martial king, did not lead
his subjects in person. * Note: The Lombards were still at war with the
Gepidae. See Procop. Goth. lib. iv. p. 25.--M.]

[Footnote 3111: Gibbon has blindly followed the translation of Maltretus:
Bis mille ducentos--while the original Greek says expressly something
else, (Goth. lib. iv. c. 26.) In like manner, (p. 266,) he draws
volunteers from Germany, on the authority of Cousin, who, in one place,
has mistaken Germanus for Germania. Yet only a few pages further we find
Gibbon loudly condemning the French and Latin readers of Procopius. Lord
Mahon, p. 403. The first of these errors remains uncorrected in the new
edition of the Byzantines.--M.]

[Footnote 32: He was, if not an impostor, the son of the blind Zames,
saved by compassion, and educated in the Byzantine court by the various
motives of policy, pride, and generosity, (Procop. Persic. l. i. c.

[Footnote 33: In the time of Augustus, and in the middle ages, the
whole waste from Aquileia to Ravenna was covered with woods, lakes, and
morasses. Man has subdued nature, and the land has been cultivated since
the waters are confined and embanked. See the learned researches of
Muratori, (Antiquitat. Italiae Medii Aevi. tom. i. dissert xxi. p.
253, 254,) from Vitruvius, Strabo, Herodian, old charters, and local

Chapter XLIII: Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of Justinian.--Part III.

The prudence of Narses impelled him to speedy and decisive action.
His powers were the last effort of the state; the cost of each day
accumulated the enormous account; and the nations, untrained to
discipline or fatigue, might be rashly provoked to turn their arms
against each other, or against their benefactor. The same considerations
might have tempered the ardor of Totila. But he was conscious that the
clergy and people of Italy aspired to a second revolution: he felt or
suspected the rapid progress of treason; and he resolved to risk the
Gothic kingdom on the chance of a day, in which the valiant would be
animated by instant danger and the disaffected might be awed by mutual
ignorance. In his march from Ravenna, the Roman general chastised the
garrison of Rimini, traversed in a direct line the hills of Urbino, and
reentered the Flaminian way, nine miles beyond the perforated rock,
an obstacle of art and nature which might have stopped or retarded his
progress. [34] The Goths were assembled in the neighborhood of Rome,
they advanced without delay to seek a superior enemy, and the two armies
approached each other at the distance of one hundred furlongs, between
Tagina [35] and the sepulchres of the Gauls. [36] The haughty message
of Narses was an offer, not of peace, but of pardon. The answer of the
Gothic king declared his resolution to die or conquer. "What day," said
the messenger, "will you fix for the combat?" "The eighth day," replied
Totila; but early the next morning he attempted to surprise a foe,
suspicious of deceit, and prepared for battle. Ten thousand Heruli
and Lombards, of approved valor and doubtful faith, were placed in the
centre. Each of the wings was composed of eight thousand Romans; the
right was guarded by the cavalry of the Huns, the left was covered by
fifteen hundred chosen horse, destined, according to the emergencies
of action, to sustain the retreat of their friends, or to encompass the
flank of the enemy. From his proper station at the head of the right
wing, the eunuch rode along the line, expressing by his voice and
countenance the assurance of victory; exciting the soldiers of the
emperor to punish the guilt and madness of a band of robbers; and
exposing to their view gold chains, collars, and bracelets, the rewards
of military virtue. From the event of a single combat they drew an omen
of success; and they beheld with pleasure the courage of fifty archers,
who maintained a small eminence against three successive attacks of the
Gothic cavalry. At the distance only of two bow-shots, the armies spent
the morning in dreadful suspense, and the Romans tasted some necessary
food, without unloosing the cuirass from their breast, or the bridle
from their horses. Narses awaited the charge; and it was delayed by
Totila till he had received his last succors of two thousand Goths.
While he consumed the hours in fruitless treaty, the king exhibited in
a narrow space the strength and agility of a warrior. His armor was
enchased with gold; his purple banner floated with the wind: he cast
his lance into the air; caught it with the right hand; shifted it to the
left; threw himself backwards; recovered his seat; and managed a fiery
steed in all the paces and evolutions of the equestrian school. As soon
as the succors had arrived, he retired to his tent, assumed the dress
and arms of a private soldier, and gave the signal of a battle. The
first line of cavalry advanced with more courage than discretion, and
left behind them the infantry of the second line. They were soon engaged
between the horns of a crescent, into which the adverse wings had been
insensibly curved, and were saluted from either side by the volleys of
four thousand archers. Their ardor, and even their distress, drove them
forwards to a close and unequal conflict, in which they could only use
their lances against an enemy equally skilled in all the instruments
of war. A generous emulation inspired the Romans and their Barbarian
allies; and Narses, who calmly viewed and directed their efforts,
doubted to whom he should adjudge the prize of superior bravery. The
Gothic cavalry was astonished and disordered, pressed and broken; and
the line of infantry, instead of presenting their spears, or opening
their intervals, were trampled under the feet of the flying horse. Six
thousand of the Goths were slaughtered without mercy in the field of
Tagina. Their prince, with five attendants, was overtaken by Asbad, of
the race of the Gepidae. "Spare the king of Italy," [3611] cried a loyal
voice, and Asbad struck his lance through the body of Totila. The blow
was instantly revenged by the faithful Goths: they transported their
dying monarch seven miles beyond the scene of his disgrace; and his
last moments were not imbittered by the presence of an enemy. Compassion
afforded him the shelter of an obscure tomb; but the Romans were not
satisfied of their victory, till they beheld the corpse of the Gothic
king. His hat, enriched with gems, and his bloody robe, were presented
to Justinian by the messengers of triumph. [37]

[Footnote 34: The Flaminian way, as it is corrected from the
Itineraries, and the best modern maps, by D'Anville, (Analyse de
l'Italie, p. 147--162,) may be thus stated: Rome to Narni, 51 Roman
miles; Terni, 57; Spoleto, 75; Foligno, 88; Nocera, 103; Cagli, 142;
Intercisa, 157; Fossombrone, 160; Fano, 176; Pesaro, 184; Rimini,
208--about 189 English miles. He takes no notice of the death of Totila;
but West selling (Itinerar. p. 614) exchanges, for the field of Taginas,
the unknown appellation of Ptanias, eight miles from Nocera.]

[Footnote 35: Taginae, or rather Tadinae, is mentioned by Pliny; but the
bishopric of that obscure town, a mile from Gualdo, in the plain, was
united, in the year 1007, with that of Nocera. The signs of antiquity
are preserved in the local appellations, Fossato, the camp; Capraia,
Caprea; Bastia, Busta Gallorum. See Cluverius, (Italia Antiqua, l. ii.
c. 6, p. 615, 616, 617,) Lucas Holstenius, (Annotat. ad Cluver. p. 85,
86,) Guazzesi, (Dissertat. p. 177--217, a professed inquiry,) and the
maps of the ecclesiastical state and the march of Ancona, by Le Maire
and Magini.]

[Footnote 36: The battle was fought in the year of Rome 458; and the
consul Decius, by devoting his own life, assured the triumph of his
country and his colleague Fabius, (T. Liv. x. 28, 29.) Procopius
ascribes to Camillus the victory of the Busta Gallorum; and his error is
branded by Cluverius with the national reproach of Graecorum nugamenta.]

[Footnote 3611: "Dog, wilt thou strike thy Lord?" was the more
characteristic exclamation of the Gothic youth. Procop. lib. iv. p.

[Footnote 37: Theophanes, Chron. p. 193. Hist. Miscell. l. xvi. p. 108.]

As soon as Narses had paid his devotions to the Author of victory, and
the blessed Virgin, his peculiar patroness, [38] he praised, rewarded,
and dismissed the Lombards. The villages had been reduced to ashes by
these valiant savages; they ravished matrons and virgins on the altar;
their retreat was diligently watched by a strong detachment of regular
forces, who prevented a repetition of the like disorders. The victorious
eunuch pursued his march through Tuscany, accepted the submission of
the Goths, heard the acclamations, and often the complaints, of the
Italians, and encompassed the walls of Rome with the remainder of
his formidable host. Round the wide circumference, Narses assigned to
himself, and to each of his lieutenants, a real or a feigned attack,
while he silently marked the place of easy and unguarded entrance.
Neither the fortifications of Hadrian's mole, nor of the port, could
long delay the progress of the conqueror; and Justinian once more
received the keys of Rome, which, under his reign, had been five times
taken and recovered. [39] But the deliverance of Rome was the last
calamity of the Roman people. The Barbarian allies of Narses too
frequently confounded the privileges of peace and war. The despair of
the flying Goths found some consolation in sanguinary revenge; and three
hundred youths of the noblest families, who had been sent as hostages
beyond the Po, were inhumanly slain by the successor of Totila. The
fate of the senate suggests an awful lesson of the vicissitude of human
affairs. Of the senators whom Totila had banished from their country,
some were rescued by an officer of Belisarius, and transported from
Campania to Sicily; while others were too guilty to confide in the
clemency of Justinian, or too poor to provide horses for their escape
to the sea-shore. Their brethren languished five years in a state of
indigence and exile: the victory of Narses revived their hopes; but
their premature return to the metropolis was prevented by the furious
Goths; and all the fortresses of Campania were stained with patrician
[40] blood. After a period of thirteen centuries, the institution of
Romulus expired; and if the nobles of Rome still assumed the title of
senators, few subsequent traces can be discovered of a public council,
or constitutional order. Ascend six hundred years, and contemplate the
kings of the earth soliciting an audience, as the slaves or freedmen of
the Roman senate! [41]

[Footnote 38: Evagrius, l. iv. c. 24. The inspiration of the Virgin
revealed to Narses the day, and the word, of battle, (Paul Diacon. l.
ii. c. 3, p. 776)]

[Footnote 39: (Procop. Goth. lib. iv. p. 33.)
In the year 536 by Belisarius, in 546 by Totila, in 547 by Belisarius,
in 549 by Totila, and in 552 by Narses. Maltretus had inadvertently
translated sextum; a mistake which he afterwards retracts; out the
mischief was done; and Cousin, with a train of French and Latin readers,
have fallen into the snare.]

[Footnote 40: Compare two passages of Procopius, (l. iii. c. 26, l.
iv. c. 24,) which, with some collateral hints from Marcellinus and
Jornandes, illustrate the state of the expiring senate.]

[Footnote 41: See, in the example of Prusias, as it is delivered in the
fragments of Polybius, (Excerpt. Legat. xcvii. p. 927, 928,) a curious
picture of a royal slave.]

The Gothic war was yet alive. The bravest of the nation retired beyond
the Po; and Teias was unanimously chosen to succeed and revenge their
departed hero. The new king immediately sent ambassadors to implore, or
rather to purchase, the aid of the Franks, and nobly lavished, for the
public safety, the riches which had been deposited in the palace of
Pavia. The residue of the royal treasure was guarded by his brother
Aligern, at Cumaea, in Campania; but the strong castle which Totila had
fortified was closely besieged by the arms of Narses. From the Alps
to the foot of Mount Vesuvius, the Gothic king, by rapid and secret
marches, advanced to the relief of his brother, eluded the vigilance
of the Roman chiefs, and pitched his camp on the banks of the Sarnus or
Draco, [42] which flows from Nuceria into the Bay of Naples. The river
separated the two armies: sixty days were consumed in distant and
fruitless combats, and Teias maintained this important post till he was
deserted by his fleet and the hope of subsistence. With reluctant steps
he ascended the Lactarian mount, where the physicians of Rome, since the
time of Galen, had sent their patients for the benefit of the air and
the milk. [43] But the Goths soon embraced a more generous resolution:
to descend the hill, to dismiss their horses, and to die in arms, and
in the possession of freedom. The king marched at their head, bearing in
his right hand a lance, and an ample buckler in his left: with the
one he struck dead the foremost of the assailants; with the other he
received the weapons which every hand was ambitious to aim against his
life. After a combat of many hours, his left arm was fatigued by the
weight of twelve javelins which hung from his shield. Without moving
from his ground, or suspending his blows, the hero called aloud on his
attendants for a fresh buckler; but in the moment while his side was
uncovered, it was pierced by a mortal dart. He fell; and his head,
exalted on a spear, proclaimed to the nations that the Gothic kingdom
was no more. But the example of his death served only to animate the
companions who had sworn to perish with their leader. They fought till
darkness descended on the earth. They reposed on their arms. The combat
was renewed with the return of light, and maintained with unabated vigor
till the evening of the second day. The repose of a second night, the
want of water, and the loss of their bravest champions, determined the
surviving Goths to accept the fair capitulation which the prudence
of Narses was inclined to propose. They embraced the alternative
of residing in Italy, as the subjects and soldiers of Justinian, or
departing with a portion of their private wealth, in search of some
independent country. [44] Yet the oath of fidelity or exile was alike
rejected by one thousand Goths, who broke away before the treaty was
signed, and boldly effected their retreat to the walls of Pavia. The
spirit, as well as the situation, of Aligern prompted him to imitate
rather than to bewail his brother: a strong and dexterous archer, he
transpierced with a single arrow the armor and breast of his antagonist;
and his military conduct defended Cumae [45] above a year against the
forces of the Romans.

Their industry had scooped the Sibyl's cave [46] into a prodigious mine;
combustible materials were introduced to consume the temporary props:
the wall and the gate of Cumae sunk into the cavern, but the ruins
formed a deep and inaccessible precipice. On the fragment of a rock
Aligern stood alone and unshaken, till he calmly surveyed the hopeless
condition of his country, and judged it more honorable to be the friend
of Narses, than the slave of the Franks. After the death of Teias, the
Roman general separated his troops to reduce the cities of Italy; Lucca
sustained a long and vigorous siege: and such was the humanity or the
prudence of Narses, that the repeated perfidy of the inhabitants could
not provoke him to exact the forfeit lives of their hostages. These
hostages were dismissed in safety; and their grateful zeal at length
subdued the obstinacy of their countrymen. [47]

[Footnote 42: The item of Procopius (Goth. l. iv. c. 35) is evidently
the Sarnus. The text is accused or altered by the rash violence of
Cluverius (l. iv. c. 3. p. 1156:) but Camillo Pellegrini of Naples
(Discorsi sopra la Campania Felice, p. 330, 331) has proved from
old records, that as early as the year 822 that river was called the
Dracontio, or Draconcello.]

[Footnote 43: Galen (de Method. Medendi, l. v. apud Cluver. l. iv. c.
3, p. 1159, 1160) describes the lofty site, pure air, and rich milk, of
Mount Lactarius, whose medicinal benefits were equally known and sought
in the time of Symmachus (l. vi. epist. 18) and Cassiodorus, (Var. xi.
10.) Nothing is now left except the name of the town of Lettere.]

[Footnote 44: Buat (tom. xi. p. 2, &c.) conveys to his favorite Bavaria
this remnant of Goths, who by others are buried in the mountains of Uri,
or restored to their native isle of Gothland, (Mascou, Annot. xxi.)]

[Footnote 45: I leave Scaliger (Animadvers. in Euseb. p. 59) and
Salmasius (Exercitat. Plinian. p. 51, 52) to quarrel about the origin of
Cumae, the oldest of the Greek colonies in Italy, (Strab. l. v. p. 372,
Velleius Paterculus, l. i. c. 4,) already vacant in Juvenal's time,
(Satir. iii.,) and now in ruins.]

[Footnote 46: Agathias (l. i. c. 21) settles the Sibyl's cave under the
wall of Cumae: he agrees with Servius, (ad. l. vi. Aeneid.;) nor can I
perceive why their opinion should be rejected by Heyne, the excellent
editor of Virgil, (tom. ii. p. 650, 651.) In urbe media secreta religio!
But Cumae was not yet built; and the lines (l. vi. 96, 97) would become
ridiculous, if Aeneas were actually in a Greek city.]

[Footnote 47: There is some difficulty in connecting the 35th chapter
of the fourth book of the Gothic war of Procopius with the first book
of the history of Agathias. We must now relinquish the statesman and
soldier, to attend the footsteps of a poet and rhetorician, (l. i. p.
11, l. ii. p. 51, edit. Lonvre.)]

Before Lucca had surrendered, Italy was overwhelmed by a new deluge of
Barbarians. A feeble youth, the grandson of Clovis, reigned over the
Austrasians or oriental Franks. The guardians of Theodebald entertained
with coldness and reluctance the magnificent promises of the Gothic
ambassadors. But the spirit of a martial people outstripped the timid
counsels of the court: two brothers, Lothaire and Buccelin, [48] the
dukes of the Alemanni, stood forth as the leaders of the Italian war;
and seventy-five thousand Germans descended in the autumn from the
Rhaetian Alps into the plain of Milan. The vanguard of the Roman
army was stationed near the Po, under the conduct of Fulcaris, a bold
Herulian, who rashly conceived that personal bravery was the sole duty
and merit of a commander. As he marched without order or precaution
along the Aemilian way, an ambuscade of Franks suddenly rose from the
amphitheatre of Parma; his troops were surprised and routed; but their
leader refused to fly; declaring to the last moment, that death was
less terrible than the angry countenance of Narses. [4811] The death
of Fulcaris, and the retreat of the surviving chiefs, decided the
fluctuating and rebellious temper of the Goths; they flew to the
standard of their deliverers, and admitted them into the cities which
still resisted the arms of the Roman general. The conqueror of Italy
opened a free passage to the irresistible torrent of Barbarians. They
passed under the walls of Cesena, and answered by threats and reproaches
the advice of Aligern, [4812] that the Gothic treasures could no longer
repay the labor of an invasion. Two thousand Franks were destroyed by
the skill and valor of Narses himself, who sailed from Rimini at the
head of three hundred horse, to chastise the licentious rapine of their
march. On the confines of Samnium the two brothers divided their forces.
With the right wing, Buccelin assumed the spoil of Campania, Lucania,
and Bruttium; with the left, Lothaire accepted the plunder of Apulia and
Calabria. They followed the coast of the Mediterranean and the Adriatic,
as far as Rhegium and Otranto, and the extreme lands of Italy were the
term of their destructive progress. The Franks, who were Christians
and Catholics, contented themselves with simple pillage and occasional
murder. But the churches which their piety had spared, were stripped by
the sacrilegious hands of the Alamanni, who sacrificed horses' heads
to their native deities of the woods and rivers; [49] they melted or
profaned the consecrated vessels, and the ruins of shrines and altars
were stained with the blood of the faithful. Buccelin was actuated by
ambition, and Lothaire by avarice. The former aspired to restore the
Gothic kingdom; the latter, after a promise to his brother of speedy
succors, returned by the same road to deposit his treasure beyond the
Alps. The strength of their armies was already wasted by the change of
climate and contagion of disease: the Germans revelled in the vintage of
Italy; and their own intemperance avenged, in some degree, the miseries
of a defenceless people. [4911]

[Footnote 48: Among the fabulous exploits of Buccelin, he discomfited
and slew Belisarius, subdued Italy and Sicily, &c. See in the Historians
of France, Gregory of Tours, (tom. ii. l. iii. c. 32, p. 203,) and
Aimoin, (tom. iii. l. ii. de Gestis Francorum, c. 23, p. 59.)]

[Footnote 4811:.... Agathius.]

[Footnote 4812: Aligern, after the surrender of Cumae, had been sent to
Cesent by Narses. Agathias.--M.]

[Footnote 49: Agathias notices their superstition in a philosophic tone,
(l. i. p. 18.) At Zug, in Switzerland, idolatry still prevailed in
the year 613: St. Columban and St. Gaul were the apostles of that rude
country; and the latter founded a hermitage, which has swelled into an
ecclesiastical principality and a populous city, the seat of freedom and

[Footnote 4911: A body of Lothaire's troops was defeated near Fano, some
were driven down precipices into the sea, others fled to the camp;
many prisoners seized the opportunity of making their escape; and
the Barbarians lost most of their booty in their precipitate retreat.

At the entrance of the spring, the Imperial troops, who had guarded
the cities, assembled, to the number of eighteen thousand men, in
the neighborhood of Rome. Their winter hours had not been consumed
in idleness. By the command, and after the example, of Narses, they
repeated each day their military exercise on foot and on horseback,
accustomed their ear to obey the sound of the trumpet, and practised the
steps and evolutions of the Pyrrhic dance. From the Straits of Sicily,
Buccelin, with thirty thousand Franks and Alamanni, slowly moved towards
Capua, occupied with a wooden tower the bridge of Casilinum, covered
his right by the stream of the Vulturnus, and secured the rest of his
encampment by a rampart of sharp stakes, and a circle of wagons, whose
wheels were buried in the earth. He impatiently expected the return of
Lothaire; ignorant, alas! that his brother could never return, and that
the chief and his army had been swept away by a strange disease [50] on
the banks of the Lake Benacus, between Trent and Verona. The banners
of Narses soon approached the Vulturnus, and the eyes of Italy were
anxiously fixed on the event of this final contest. Perhaps the talents
of the Roman general were most conspicuous in the calm operations which
precede the tumult of a battle. His skilful movements intercepted the
subsistence of the Barbarian deprived him of the advantage of the bridge
and river, and in the choice of the ground and moment of action reduced
him to comply with the inclination of his enemy. On the morning of the
important day, when the ranks were already formed, a servant, for some
trivial fault, was killed by his master, one of the leaders of the
Heruli. The justice or passion of Narses was awakened: he summoned the
offender to his presence, and without listening to his excuses, gave the
signal to the minister of death. If the cruel master had not infringed
the laws of his nation, this arbitrary execution was not less unjust
than it appears to have been imprudent. The Heruli felt the indignity;
they halted: but the Roman general, without soothing their rage, or
expecting their resolution, called aloud, as the trumpets sounded, that
unless they hastened to occupy their place, they would lose the honor of
the victory. His troops were disposed [51] in a long front, the cavalry
on the wings; in the centre, the heavy-armed foot; the archers and
slingers in the rear. The Germans advanced in a sharp-pointed column, of
the form of a triangle or solid wedge. They pierced the feeble centre
of Narses, who received them with a smile into the fatal snare, and
directed his wings of cavalry insensibly to wheel on their flanks and
encompass their rear. The host of the Franks and Alamanni consisted
of infantry: a sword and buckler hung by their side; and they used, as
their weapons of offence, a weighty hatchet and a hooked javelin, which
were only formidable in close combat, or at a short distance. The flower
of the Roman archers, on horseback, and in complete armor, skirmished
without peril round this immovable phalanx; supplied by active speed
the deficiency of number; and aimed their arrows against a crowd of
Barbarians, who, instead of a cuirass and helmet, were covered by a
loose garment of fur or linen. They paused, they trembled, their ranks
were confounded, and in the decisive moment the Heruli, preferring glory
to revenge, charged with rapid violence the head of the column. Their
leader, Sinbal, and Aligern, the Gothic prince, deserved the prize
of superior valor; and their example excited the victorious troops to
achieve with swords and spears the destruction of the enemy. Buccelin,
and the greatest part of his army, perished on the field of battle, in
the waters of the Vulturnus, or by the hands of the enraged peasants:
but it may seem incredible, that a victory, [52] which no more than five
of the Alamanni survived, could be purchased with the loss of fourscore
Romans. Seven thousand Goths, the relics of the war, defended the
fortress of Campsa till the ensuing spring; and every messenger of
Narses announced the reduction of the Italian cities, whose names were
corrupted by the ignorance or vanity of the Greeks. [53] After the
battle of Casilinum, Narses entered the capital; the arms and treasures
of the Goths, the Franks, and the Alamanni, were displayed; his
soldiers, with garlands in their hands, chanted the praises of the
conqueror; and Rome, for the last time, beheld the semblance of a

[Footnote 50: See the death of Lothaire in Agathias (l. ii. p. 38) and
Paul Warnefrid, surnamed Diaconus, (l. ii. c. 3, 775.) The Greek makes
him rave and tear his flesh. He had plundered churches.]

[Footnote 51: Pere Daniel (Hist. de la Milice Francoise, tom. i. p.
17--21) has exhibited a fanciful representation of this battle, somewhat
in the manner of the Chevalier Folard, the once famous editor of
Polybius, who fashioned to his own habits and opinions all the military
operations of antiquity.]

[Footnote 52: Agathias (l. ii. p. 47) has produced a Greek epigram of
six lines on this victory of Narses, which a favorably compared to the
battles of Marathon and Plataea. The chief difference is indeed in
their consequences--so trivial in the former instance--so permanent and
glorious in the latter. Note: Not in the epigram, but in the previous

[Footnote 53: The Beroia and Brincas of Theophanes or his transcriber
(p. 201) must be read or understood Verona and Brixia.]

After a reign of sixty years, the throne of the Gothic kings was filled
by the exarchs of Ravenna, the representatives in peace and war of the
emperor of the Romans. Their jurisdiction was soon reduced to the limits
of a narrow province: but Narses himself, the first and most powerful
of the exarchs, administered above fifteen years the entire kingdom of
Italy. Like Belisarius, he had deserved the honors of envy, calumny,
and disgrace: but the favorite eunuch still enjoyed the confidence of
Justinian; or the leader of a victorious army awed and repressed the
ingratitude of a timid court. Yet it was not by weak and mischievous
indulgence that Narses secured the attachment of his troops. Forgetful
of the past, and regardless of the future, they abused the present hour
of prosperity and peace. The cities of Italy resounded with the noise
of drinking and dancing; the spoils of victory were wasted in sensual
pleasures; and nothing (says Agathias) remained unless to exchange their
shields and helmets for the soft lute and the capacious hogshead. [54]
In a manly oration, not unworthy of a Roman censor, the eunuch reproved
these disorderly vices, which sullied their fame, and endangered their
safety. The soldiers blushed and obeyed; discipline was confirmed; the
fortifications were restored; a duke was stationed for the defence and
military command of each of the principal cities; [55] and the eye
of Narses pervaded the ample prospect from Calabria to the Alps. The
remains of the Gothic nation evacuated the country, or mingled with
the people; the Franks, instead of revenging the death of Buccelin,
abandoned, without a struggle, their Italian conquests; and the
rebellious Sinbal, chief of the Heruli, was subdued, taken and hung on
a lofty gallows by the inflexible justice of the exarch. [56] The civil
state of Italy, after the agitation of a long tempest, was fixed by a
pragmatic sanction, which the emperor promulgated at the request of the
pope. Justinian introduced his own jurisprudence into the schools
and tribunals of the West; he ratified the acts of Theodoric and his
immediate successors, but every deed was rescinded and abolished which
force had extorted, or fear had subscribed, under the usurpation of
Totila. A moderate theory was framed to reconcile the rights of property
with the safety of prescription, the claims of the state with the
poverty of the people, and the pardon of offences with the interest
of virtue and order of society. Under the exarchs of Ravenna, Rome was
degraded to the second rank. Yet the senators were gratified by the
permission of visiting their estates in Italy, and of approaching,
without obstacle, the throne of Constantinople: the regulation of
weights and measures was delegated to the pope and senate; and the
salaries of lawyers and physicians, of orators and grammarians, were
destined to preserve, or rekindle, the light of science in the ancient
capital. Justinian might dictate benevolent edicts, [57] and Narses
might second his wishes by the restoration of cities, and more
especially of churches. But the power of kings is most effectual to
destroy; and the twenty years of the Gothic war had consummated the
distress and depopulation of Italy. As early as the fourth campaign,
under the discipline of Belisarius himself, fifty thousand laborers
died of hunger [58] in the narrow region of Picenum; [59] and a strict
interpretation of the evidence of Procopius would swell the loss of
Italy above the total sum of her present inhabitants. [60]

[Footnote 54: (Agathias, l. ii. p. 48.) In the first scene of Richard
III. our English poet has beautifully enlarged on this idea, for which,
however, he was not indebted to the Byzantine historian.]

[Footnote 55: Maffei has proved, (Verona Illustrata. P. i. l. x. p.
257, 289,) against the common opinion, that the dukes of Italy were
instituted before the conquest of the Lombards, by Narses himself.
In the Pragmatic Sanction, (No. 23,) Justinian restrains the judices

[Footnote 56: See Paulus Diaconus, liii. c. 2, p. 776. Menander in
(Excerp Legat. p. 133) mentions some risings in Italy by the Franks, and
Theophanes (p. 201) hints at some Gothic rebellions.]

[Footnote 57: The Pragmatic Sanction of Justinian, which restores and
regulates the civil state of Italy, consists of xxvii. articles: it is
dated August 15, A.D. 554; is addressed to Narses, V. J. Praepositus
Sacri Cubiculi, and to Antiochus, Praefectus Praetorio Italiae; and has
been preserved by Julian Antecessor, and in the Corpus Juris Civilis,
after the novels and edicts of Justinian, Justin, and Tiberius.]

[Footnote 58: A still greater number was consumed by famine in the
southern provinces, without the Ionian Gulf. Acorns were used in the
place of bread. Procopius had seen a deserted orphan suckled by a
she-goat. Seventeen passengers were lodged, murdered, and eaten, by two
women, who were detected and slain by the eighteenth, &c. * Note: Denina
considers that greater evil was inflicted upon Italy by the Urocian
conquest than by any other invasion. Reveluz. d' Italia, t. i. l. v. p.

[Footnote 59: Quinta regio Piceni est; quondam uberrimae multitudinis,
ccclx. millia Picentium in fidem P. R. venere, (Plin. Hist. Natur.
iii. 18.) In the time of Vespasian, this ancient population was already

[Footnote 60: Perhaps fifteen or sixteen millions. Procopius (Anecdot.
c. 18) computes that Africa lost five millions, that Italy was thrice as
extensive, and that the depopulation was in a larger proportion. But his
reckoning is inflamed by passion, and clouded with uncertainty.]

I desire to believe, but I dare not affirm, that Belisarius sincerely
rejoiced in the triumph of Narses. Yet the consciousness of his own
exploits might teach him to esteem without jealousy the merit of a
rival; and the repose of the aged warrior was crowned by a last victory,
which saved the emperor and the capital. The Barbarians, who annually
visited the provinces of Europe, were less discouraged by some
accidental defeats, than they were excited by the double hope of spoil
and of subsidy. In the thirty-second winter of Justinian's reign, the
Danube was deeply frozen: Zabergan led the cavalry of the Bulgarians,
and his standard was followed by a promiscuous multitude of Sclavonians.
[6011] The savage chief passed, without opposition, the river and the
mountains, spread his troops over Macedonia and Thrace, and advanced
with no more than seven thousand horse to the long wall, which should
have defended the territory of Constantinople. But the works of man are
impotent against the assaults of nature: a recent earthquake had shaken
the foundations of the wall; and the forces of the empire were employed
on the distant frontiers of Italy, Africa, and Persia. The seven
schools, [61] or companies of the guards or domestic troops, had
been augmented to the number of five thousand five hundred men, whose
ordinary station was in the peaceful cities of Asia. But the places
of the brave Armenians were insensibly supplied by lazy citizens, who
purchased an exemption from the duties of civil life, without being
exposed to the dangers of military service. Of such soldiers, few could
be tempted to sally from the gates; and none could be persuaded to
remain in the field, unless they wanted strength and speed to escape
from the Bulgarians. The report of the fugitives exaggerated the numbers
and fierceness of an enemy, who had polluted holy virgins, and abandoned
new-born infants to the dogs and vultures; a crowd of rustics, imploring
food and protection, increased the consternation of the city, and the
tents of Zabergan were pitched at the distance of twenty miles, [62] on
the banks of a small river, which encircles Melanthias, and afterwards
falls into the Propontis. [63] Justinian trembled: and those who had
only seen the emperor in his old age, were pleased to suppose, that he
had lost the alacrity and vigor of his youth. By his command the vessels
of gold and silver were removed from the churches in the neighborhood,
and even the suburbs, of Constantinople; the ramparts were lined with
trembling spectators; the golden gate was crowded with useless generals
and tribunes, and the senate shared the fatigues and the apprehensions
of the populace.

[Footnote 6011: Zabergan was king of the Cutrigours, a tribe of Huns,
who were neither Bulgarians nor Sclavonians. St. Martin, vol. ix. p.

[Footnote 61: In the decay of these military schools, the satire
of Procopius (Anecdot. c. 24, Aleman. p. 102, 103) is confirmed and
illustrated by Agathias, (l. v. p. 159,) who cannot be rejected as a
hostile witness.]

[Footnote 62: The distance from Constantinople to Melanthias, Villa
Caesariana, (Ammian. Marcellin. xxx. 11,) is variously fixed at 102 or
140 stadia, (Suidas, tom. ii. p. 522, 523. Agathias, l. v. p. 158,)
or xviii. or xix. miles, (Itineraria, p. 138, 230, 323, 332, and
Wesseling's Observations.) The first xii. miles, as far as Rhegium, were
paved by Justinian, who built a bridge over a morass or gullet between a
lake and the sea, (Procop. de Edif. l. iv. c. 8.)]

[Footnote 63: The Atyras, (Pompon. Mela, l. ii. c. 2, p. 169, edit.
Voss.) At the river's mouth, a town or castle of the same name was
fortified by Justinian, (Procop. de Edif. l. iv. c. 2. Itinerar. p. 570,
and Wesseling.)]

But the eyes of the prince and people were directed to a feeble veteran,
who was compelled by the public danger to resume the armor in which he
had entered Carthage and defended Rome. The horses of the royal stables,
of private citizens, and even of the circus, were hastily collected; the
emulation of the old and young was roused by the name of Belisarius,
and his first encampment was in the presence of a victorious enemy. His
prudence, and the labor of the friendly peasants, secured, with a ditch
and rampart, the repose of the night; innumerable fires, and clouds of
dust, were artfully contrived to magnify the opinion of his strength;
his soldiers suddenly passed from despondency to presumption; and,
while ten thousand voices demanded the battle, Belisarius dissembled his
knowledge, that in the hour of trial he must depend on the firmness of
three hundred veterans. The next morning the Bulgarian cavalry advanced
to the charge. But they heard the shouts of multitudes, they beheld the
arms and discipline of the front; they were assaulted on the flanks by
two ambuscades which rose from the woods; their foremost warriors fell
by the hand of the aged hero and his guards; and the swiftness of their
evolutions was rendered useless by the close attack and rapid pursuit of
the Romans. In this action (so speedy was their flight) the Bulgarians
lost only four hundred horse; but Constantinople was saved; and
Zabergan, who felt the hand of a master, withdrew to a respectful
distance. But his friends were numerous in the councils of the
emperor, and Belisarius obeyed with reluctance the commands of envy and
Justinian, which forbade him to achieve the deliverance of his country.
On his return to the city, the people, still conscious of their danger,
accompanied his triumph with acclamations of joy and gratitude, which
were imputed as a crime to the victorious general. But when he entered
the palace, the courtiers were silent, and the emperor, after a cold and
thankless embrace, dismissed him to mingle with the train of slaves.
Yet so deep was the impression of his glory on the minds of men, that
Justinian, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, was encouraged to
advance near forty miles from the capital, and to inspect in person the
restoration of the long wall. The Bulgarians wasted the summer in the
plains of Thrace; but they were inclined to peace by the failure of
their rash attempts on Greece and the Chersonesus. A menace of killing
their prisoners quickened the payment of heavy ransoms; and the
departure of Zabergan was hastened by the report, that double-prowed
vessels were built on the Danube to intercept his passage. The danger
was soon forgotten; and a vain question, whether their sovereign had
shown more wisdom or weakness, amused the idleness of the city. [64]

[Footnote 64: The Bulgarian war, and the last victory of Belisarius, are
imperfectly represented in the prolix declamation of Agathias. (l. 5, p.
154-174,) and the dry Chronicle of Theophanes, (p. 197 198.)]

Chapter XLIII: Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of Justinian.--Part IV.

About two years after the last victory of Belisarius, the emperor
returned from a Thracian journey of health, or business, or devotion.
Justinian was afflicted by a pain in his head; and his private entry
countenanced the rumor of his death. Before the third hour of the day,
the bakers' shops were plundered of their bread, the houses were shut,
and every citizen, with hope or terror, prepared for the impending
tumult. The senators themselves, fearful and suspicious, were convened
at the ninth hour; and the praefect received their commands to visit
every quarter of the city, and proclaim a general illumination for
the recovery of the emperor's health. The ferment subsided; but every
accident betrayed the impotence of the government, and the factious
temper of the people: the guards were disposed to mutiny as often as
their quarters were changed, or their pay was withheld: the frequent
calamities of fires and earthquakes afforded the opportunities of
disorder; the disputes of the blues and greens, of the orthodox and
heretics, degenerated into bloody battles; and, in the presence of the
Persian ambassador, Justinian blushed for himself and for his subjects.
Capricious pardon and arbitrary punishment imbittered the irksomeness
and discontent of a long reign: a conspiracy was formed in the palace;
and, unless we are deceived by the names of Marcellus and Sergius, the
most virtuous and the most profligate of the courtiers were associated
in the same designs. They had fixed the time of the execution; their
rank gave them access to the royal banquet; and their black slaves [65]
were stationed in the vestibule and porticos, to announce the death
of the tyrant, and to excite a sedition in the capital. But the
indiscretion of an accomplice saved the poor remnant of the days of
Justinian. The conspirators were detected and seized, with daggers
hidden under their garments: Marcellus died by his own hand, and Sergius
was dragged from the sanctuary. [66] Pressed by remorse, or tempted
by the hopes of safety, he accused two officers of the household of
Belisarius; and torture forced them to declare that they had acted
according to the secret instructions of their patron. [67] Posterity
will not hastily believe that a hero who, in the vigor of life, had
disdained the fairest offers of ambition and revenge, should stoop to
the murder of his prince, whom he could not long expect to survive. His
followers were impatient to fly; but flight must have been supported by
rebellion, and he had lived enough for nature and for glory. Belisarius
appeared before the council with less fear than indignation: after forty
years' service, the emperor had prejudged his guilt; and injustice was
sanctified by the presence and authority of the patriarch. The life of
Belisarius was graciously spared; but his fortunes were sequestered,
and, from December to July, he was guarded as a prisoner in his own
palace. At length his innocence was acknowledged; his freedom and honor
were restored; and death, which might be hastened by resentment and
grief, removed him from the world in about eight months after his
deliverance. The name of Belisarius can never die but instead of the
funeral, the monuments, the statues, so justly due to his memory, I
only read, that his treasures, the spoil of the Goths and Vandals,
were immediately confiscated by the emperor. Some decent portion was
reserved, however for the use of his widow: and as Antonina had much
to repent, she devoted the last remains of her life and fortune to the
foundation of a convent. Such is the simple and genuine narrative of the
fall of Belisarius and the ingratitude of Justinian. [68] That he was
deprived of his eyes, and reduced by envy to beg his bread, [6811] "Give
a penny to Belisarius the general!" is a fiction of later times, [69]
which has obtained credit, or rather favor, as a strange example of the
vicissitudes of fortune. [70]

[Footnote 65: They could scarcely be real Indians; and the Aethiopians,
sometimes known by that name, were never used by the ancients as guards
or followers: they were the trifling, though costly objects of female
and royal luxury, (Terent. Eunuch. act. i. scene ii Sueton. in August.
c. 83, with a good note of Casaubon, in Caligula, c. 57.)]

[Footnote 66: The Sergius (Vandal. l. ii. c. 21, 22, Anecdot. c. 5)
and Marcellus (Goth. l. iii. c. 32) are mentioned by Procopius. See
Theophanes, p. 197, 201. * Note: Some words, "the acts of," or "the
crimes cf," appear to have false from the text. The omission is in all
the editions I have consulted.--M.]

[Footnote 67: Alemannus, (p. quotes an old Byzantian Ms., which has been
printed in the Imperium Orientale of Banduri.)]

[Footnote 68: Of the disgrace and restoration of Belisarius, the genuine
original record is preserved in the Fragment of John Malala (tom. ii. p.
234--243) and the exact Chronicle of Theophanes, (p. 194--204.) Cedrenus
(Compend. p. 387, 388) and Zonaras (tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 69) seem to
hesitate between the obsolete truth and the growing falsehood.]

[Footnote 6811: Le Beau, following Allemannus, conceives that Belisarius
was confounded with John of Cappadocia, who was thus reduced to beggary,
(vol. ix. p. 58, 449.) Lord Mahon has, with considerable learning,
and on the authority of a yet unquoted writer of the eleventh century,
endeavored to reestablish the old tradition. I cannot acknowledge that
I have been convinced, and am inclined to subscribe to the theory of Le

[Footnote 69: The source of this idle fable may be derived from a
miscellaneous work of the xiith century, the Chiliads of John Tzetzes,
a monk, (Basil. 1546, ad calcem Lycophront. Colon. Allobrog. 1614, in
Corp. Poet. Graec.) He relates the blindness and beggary of Belisarius
in ten vulgar or political verses, (Chiliad iii. No. 88, 339--348, in
Corp. Poet. Graec. tom. ii. p. 311.) This moral or romantic tale
was imported into Italy with the language and manuscripts of Greece;
repeated before the end of the xvth century by Crinitus, Pontanus, and
Volaterranus, attacked by Alciat, for the honor of the law; and defended
by Baronius, (A.D. 561, No. 2, &c.,) for the honor of the church. Yet
Tzetzes himself had read in other chronicles, that Belisarius did not
lose his sight, and that he recovered his fame and fortunes. * Note:
I know not where Gibbon found Tzetzes to be a monk; I suppose he
considered his bad verses a proof of his monachism. Compare to Gerbelius
in Kiesling's edition of Tzetzes.--M.]

[Footnote 70: The statue in the villa Borghese at Rome, in a sitting
posture, with an open hand, which is vulgarly given to Belisarius, may
be ascribed with more dignity to Augustus in the act of propitiating
Nemesis, (Winckelman, Hist. de l'Art, tom. iii. p. 266.) Ex nocturno
visu etiam stipem, quotannis, die certo, emendicabat a populo, cavana
manum asses porrigentibus praebens, (Sueton. in August. c. 91, with an
excellent note of Casaubon.) * Note: Lord Mahon abandons the statue, as
altogether irreconcilable with the state of the arts at this period, (p.

If the emperor could rejoice in the death of Belisarius, he enjoyed
the base satisfaction only eight months, the last period of a reign
of thirty-eight years, and a life of eighty-three years. It would
be difficult to trace the character of a prince who is not the most
conspicuous object of his own times: but the confessions of an enemy may
be received as the safest evidence of his virtues. The resemblance of
Justinian to the bust of Domitian, is maliciously urged; [71] with
the acknowledgment, however, of a well-proportioned figure, a ruddy
complexion, and a pleasing countenance. The emperor was easy of access,
patient of hearing, courteous and affable in discourse, and a master
of the angry passions which rage with such destructive violence in the
breast of a despot. Procopius praises his temper, to reproach him with
calm and deliberate cruelty: but in the conspiracies which attacked his
authority and person, a more candid judge will approve the justice, or
admire the clemency, of Justinian. He excelled in the private virtues
of chastity and temperance: but the impartial love of beauty would have
been less mischievous than his conjugal tenderness for Theodora; and his
abstemious diet was regulated, not by the prudence of a philosopher, but
the superstition of a monk. His repasts were short and frugal: on solemn
fasts, he contented himself with water and vegetables; and such was his
strength, as well as fervor, that he frequently passed two days, and as
many nights, without tasting any food. The measure of his sleep was not
less rigorous: after the repose of a single hour, the body was awakened
by the soul, and, to the astonishment of his chamberlain, Justinian
walked or studied till the morning light. Such restless application
prolonged his time for the acquisition of knowledge [72] and the
despatch of business; and he might seriously deserve the reproach of
confounding, by minute and preposterous diligence, the general order
of his administration. The emperor professed himself a musician and
architect, a poet and philosopher, a lawyer and theologian; and if he
failed in the enterprise of reconciling the Christian sects, the
review of the Roman jurisprudence is a noble monument of his spirit and
industry. In the government of the empire, he was less wise, or less
successful: the age was unfortunate; the people was oppressed and
discontented; Theodora abused her power; a succession of bad ministers
disgraced his judgment; and Justinian was neither beloved in his life,
nor regretted at his death. The love of fame was deeply implanted in his
breast, but he condescended to the poor ambition of titles, honors,
and contemporary praise; and while he labored to fix the admiration, he
forfeited the esteem and affection, of the Romans.

The design of the African and Italian wars was boldly conceived and
executed; and his penetration discovered the talents of Belisarius
in the camp, of Narses in the palace. But the name of the emperor is
eclipsed by the names of his victorious generals; and Belisarius still
lives, to upbraid the envy and ingratitude of his sovereign. The partial
favor of mankind applauds the genius of a conqueror, who leads and
directs his subjects in the exercise of arms. The characters of Philip
the Second and of Justinian are distinguished by the cold ambition which
delights in war, and declines the dangers of the field. Yet a colossal
statue of bronze represented the emperor on horseback, preparing to
march against the Persians in the habit and armor of Achilles. In the
great square before the church of St. Sophia, this monument was raised
on a brass column and a stone pedestal of seven steps; and the pillar of
Theodosius, which weighed seven thousand four hundred pounds of silver,
was removed from the same place by the avarice and vanity of Justinian.
Future princes were more just or indulgent to his memory; the elder
Andronicus, in the beginning of the fourteenth century, repaired and
beautified his equestrian statue: since the fall of the empire it has
been melted into cannon by the victorious Turks. [73]

[Footnote 71: The rubor of Domitian is stigmatized, quaintly enough,
by the pen of Tacitus, (in Vit. Agricol. c. 45;) and has been likewise
noticed by the younger Pliny, (Panegyr. c. 48,) and Suetonius, (in
Domitian, c. 18, and Casaubon ad locum.) Procopius (Anecdot. c. 8)
foolishly believes that only one bust of Domitian had reached the vith

[Footnote 72: The studies and science of Justinian are attested by the
confession (Anecdot. c. 8, 13) still more than by the praises (Gothic.
l. iii. c. 31, de Edific. l. i. Proem. c. 7) of Procopius. Consult the
copious index of Alemannus, and read the life of Justinian by Ludewig,
(p. 135--142.)]

[Footnote 73: See in the C. P. Christiana of Ducange (l. i. c. 24,
No. 1) a chain of original testimonies, from Procopius in the vith, to
Gyllius in the xvith century.]

I shall conclude this chapter with the comets, the earthquakes, and the
plague, which astonished or afflicted the age of Justinian. I. In the
fifth year of his reign, and in the month of September, a comet [74] was
seen during twenty days in the western quarter of the heavens, and which
shot its rays into the north. Eight years afterwards, while the sun was
in Capricorn, another comet appeared to follow in the Sagittary; the
size was gradually increasing; the head was in the east, the tail in the
west, and it remained visible above forty days. The nations, who gazed
with astonishment, expected wars and calamities from their baleful
influence; and these expectations were abundantly fulfilled. The
astronomers dissembled their ignorance of the nature of these blazing
stars, which they affected to represent as the floating meteors of the
air; and few among them embraced the simple notion of Seneca and the
Chaldeans, that they are only planets of a longer period and more
eccentric motion. [75] Time and science have justified the conjectures
and predictions of the Roman sage: the telescope has opened new worlds
to the eyes of astronomers; [76] and, in the narrow space of history
and fable, one and the same comet is already found to have revisited the
earth in seven equal revolutions of five hundred and seventy-five years.
The first, [77] which ascends beyond the Christian aera one thousand
seven hundred and sixty-seven years, is coeval with Ogyges, the father
of Grecian antiquity. And this appearance explains the tradition which
Varro has preserved, that under his reign the planet Venus changed her
color, size, figure, and course; a prodigy without example either in
past or succeeding ages. [78] The second visit, in the year eleven
hundred and ninety-three, is darkly implied in the fable of Electra, the
seventh of the Pleiads, who have been reduced to six since the time of
the Trojan war. That nymph, the wife of Dardanus, was unable to support
the ruin of her country: she abandoned the dances of her sister
orbs, fled from the zodiac to the north pole, and obtained, from her
dishevelled locks, the name of the comet. The third period expires in
the year six hundred and eighteen, a date that exactly agrees with the
tremendous comet of the Sibyl, and perhaps of Pliny, which arose in the
West two generations before the reign of Cyrus. The fourth apparition,
forty-four years before the birth of Christ, is of all others the most
splendid and important. After the death of Caesar, a long-haired star
was conspicuous to Rome and to the nations, during the games which were
exhibited by young Octavian in honor of Venus and his uncle. The vulgar
opinion, that it conveyed to heaven the divine soul of the dictator, was
cherished and consecrated by the piety of a statesman; while his secret
superstition referred the comet to the glory of his own times. [79] The
fifth visit has been already ascribed to the fifth year of Justinian,
which coincides with the five hundred and thirty-first of the Christian
aera. And it may deserve notice, that in this, as in the preceding
instance, the comet was followed, though at a longer interval, by a
remarkable paleness of the sun. The sixth return, in the year eleven
hundred and six, is recorded by the chronicles of Europe and China: and
in the first fervor of the crusades, the Christians and the Mahometans
might surmise, with equal reason, that it portended the destruction of
the Infidels. The seventh phenomenon, of one thousand six hundred
and eighty, was presented to the eyes of an enlightened age. [80] The
philosophy of Bayle dispelled a prejudice which Milton's muse had
so recently adorned, that the comet, "from its horrid hair shakes
pestilence and war." [81] Its road in the heavens was observed with
exquisite skill by Flamstead and Cassini: and the mathematical science
of Bernoulli, Newton [8111], and Halley, investigated the laws of
its revolutions. At the eighth period, in the year two thousand three
hundred and fifty-five, their calculations may perhaps be verified
by the astronomers of some future capital in the Siberian or American

[Footnote 74: The first comet is mentioned by John Malala (tom. ii. p.
190, 219) and Theophanes, (p. 154;) the second by Procopius, (Persic. l.
ii. 4.) Yet I strongly suspect their identity. The paleness of the
sun sum Vandal. (l. ii. c. 14) is applied by Theophanes (p. 158) to a
different year. Note: See Lydus de Ostentis, particularly c 15, in which
the author begins to show the signification of comets according to
the part of the heavens in which they appear, and what fortunes they
prognosticate to the Roman empire and their Persian enemies. The
chapter, however, is imperfect. (Edit. Neibuhr, p. 290.)--M.]

[Footnote 75: Seneca's viith book of Natural Questions displays, in the
theory of comets, a philosophic mind. Yet should we not too candidly
confound a vague prediction, a venient tempus, &c., with the merit of
real discoveries.]

[Footnote 76: Astronomers may study Newton and Halley. I draw my humble
science from the article Comete, in the French Encyclopedie, by M.

[Footnote 77: Whiston, the honest, pious, visionary Whiston, had
fancied for the aera of Noah's flood (2242 years before Christ) a prior
apparition of the same comet which drowned the earth with its tail.]

[Footnote 78: A Dissertation of Freret (Memoires de l'Academie des
Inscriptions, tom. x. p. 357-377) affords a happy union of philosophy
and erudition. The phenomenon in the time of Ogyges was preserved by
Varro, (Apud Augustin. de Civitate Dei, xxi. 8,) who quotes Castor,
Dion of Naples, and Adastrus of Cyzicus--nobiles mathematici. The two
subsequent periods are preserved by the Greek mythologists and the
spurious books of Sibylline verses.]

[Footnote 79: Pliny (Hist. Nat. ii. 23) has transcribed the original
memorial of Augustus. Mairan, in his most ingenious letters to the
P. Parennin, missionary in China, removes the games and the comet of
September, from the year 44 to the year 43, before the Christian
aera; but I am not totally subdued by the criticism of the astronomer,
(Opuscules, p. 275 )]

[Footnote 80: This last comet was visible in the month of December,
1680. Bayle, who began his Pensees sur la Comete in January, 1681,
(Oeuvres, tom. iii.,) was forced to argue that a supernatural comet
would have confirmed the ancients in their idolatry. Bernoulli (see his
Eloge, in Fontenelle, tom. v. p. 99) was forced to allow that the tail
though not the head, was a sign of the wrath of God.]

[Footnote 81: Paradise Lost was published in the year 1667; and the
famous lines (l. ii. 708, &c.) which startled the licenser, may allude
to the recent comet of 1664, observed by Cassini at Rome in the presence
of Queen Christina, (Fontenelle, in his Eloge, tom. v. p. 338.) Had
Charles II. betrayed any symptoms of curiosity or fear?]

[Footnote 8111: Compare Pingre, Histoire des Cometes.--M.]

II. The near approach of a comet may injure or destroy the globe which
we inhabit; but the changes on its surface have been hitherto produced
by the action of volcanoes and earthquakes. [82] The nature of the soil
may indicate the countries most exposed to these formidable concussions,
since they are caused by subterraneous fires, and such fires are kindled
by the union and fermentation of iron and sulphur. But their times
and effects appear to lie beyond the reach of human curiosity; and the
philosopher will discreetly abstain from the prediction of earthquakes,
till he has counted the drops of water that silently filtrate on
the inflammable mineral, and measured the caverns which increase by
resistance the explosion of the imprisoned air. Without assigning the
cause, history will distinguish the periods in which these calamitous
events have been rare or frequent, and will observe, that this fever of
the earth raged with uncommon violence during the reign of Justinian.
[83] Each year is marked by the repetition of earthquakes, of such
duration, that Constantinople has been shaken above forty days; of such
extent, that the shock has been communicated to the whole surface of the
globe, or at least of the Roman empire. An impulsive or vibratory
motion was felt: enormous chasms were opened, huge and heavy bodies
were discharged into the air, the sea alternately advanced and retreated
beyond its ordinary bounds, and a mountain was torn from Libanus, [84]
and cast into the waves, where it protected, as a mole, the new harbor
of Botrys [85] in Phoenicia. The stroke that agitates an ant-hill may
crush the insect-myriads in the dust; yet truth must extort confession
that man has industriously labored for his own destruction. The
institution of great cities, which include a nation within the limits of
a wall, almost realizes the wish of Caligula, that the Roman people had
but one neck. Two hundred and fifty thousand persons are said to have
perished in the earthquake of Antioch, whose domestic multitudes were
swelled by the conflux of strangers to the festival of the Ascension.
The loss of Berytus [86] was of smaller account, but of much greater
value. That city, on the coast of Phoenicia, was illustrated by the
study of the civil law, which opened the surest road to wealth and
dignity: the schools of Berytus were filled with the rising spirits of
the age, and many a youth was lost in the earthquake, who might have
lived to be the scourge or the guardian of his country. In these
disasters, the architect becomes the enemy of mankind. The hut of a
savage, or the tent of an Arab, may be thrown down without injury to the
inhabitant; and the Peruvians had reason to deride the folly of their
Spanish conquerors, who with so much cost and labor erected their own
sepulchres. The rich marbles of a patrician are dashed on his own head:
a whole people is buried under the ruins of public and private edifices,
and the conflagration is kindled and propagated by the innumerable fires
which are necessary for the subsistence and manufactures of a great
city. Instead of the mutual sympathy which might comfort and assist the
distressed, they dreadfully experience the vices and passions which are
released from the fear of punishment: the tottering houses are pillaged
by intrepid avarice; revenge embraces the moment, and selects the
victim; and the earth often swallows the assassin, or the ravisher,
in the consummation of their crimes. Superstition involves the present
danger with invisible terrors; and if the image of death may sometimes
be subservient to the virtue or repentance of individuals, an affrighted
people is more forcibly moved to expect the end of the world, or to
deprecate with servile homage the wrath of an avenging Deity.

[Footnote 82: For the cause of earthquakes, see Buffon, (tom. i. p. 502--536
Supplement a l'Hist. Naturelle, tom. v. p. 382-390, edition in 4to.,
Valmont de Bomare, Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle, Tremblemen de
Terre, Pyrites,) Watson, (Chemical Essays, tom. i. p. 181--209.)]

[Footnote 83: The earthquakes that shook the Roman world in the reign of
Justinian are described or mentioned by Procopius, (Goth. l. iv. c. 25
Anecdot. c. 18,) Agathias, (l. ii. p. 52, 53, 54, l. v. p. 145-152,)
John Malala, (Chron. tom. ii. p. 140-146, 176, 177, 183, 193, 220, 229,
231, 233, 234,) and Theophanes, (p. 151, 183, 189, 191-196.) * Note *:
Compare Daubeny on Earthquakes, and Lyell's Geology, vol. ii. p. 161 et

[Footnote 84: An abrupt height, a perpendicular cape, between Aradus
and Botrys (Polyb. l. v. p. 411. Pompon. Mela, l. i. c. 12, p. 87,
cum Isaac. Voss. Observat. Maundrell, Journey, p. 32, 33. Pocock's
Description, vol. ii. p. 99.)]

[Footnote 85: Botrys was founded (ann. ante Christ. 935--903) by
Ithobal, king of Tyre, (Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 387, 388.) Its poor
representative, the village of Patrone, is now destitute of a harbor.]

[Footnote 86: The university, splendor, and ruin of Berytus are
celebrated by Heineccius (p. 351--356) as an essential part of the
history of the Roman law. It was overthrown in the xxvth year of
Justinian, A. D 551, July 9, (Theophanes, p. 192;) but Agathias (l.
ii. p. 51, 52) suspends the earthquake till he has achieved the Italian

III. Aethiopia and Egypt have been stigmatized, in every age, as
the original source and seminary of the plague. [87] In a damp, hot,
stagnating air, this African fever is generated from the putrefaction of
animal substances, and especially from the swarms of locusts, not less
destructive to mankind in their death than in their lives. The fatal
disease which depopulated the earth in the time of Justinian and his
successors, [88] first appeared in the neighborhood of Pelusium, between
the Serbonian bog and the eastern channel of the Nile. From thence,
tracing as it were a double path, it spread to the East, over Syria,
Persia, and the Indies, and penetrated to the West, along the coast of
Africa, and over the continent of Europe. In the spring of the second
year, Constantinople, during three or four months, was visited by the
pestilence; and Procopius, who observed its progress and symptoms with
the eyes of a physician, [89] has emulated the skill and diligence
of Thucydides in the description of the plague of Athens. [90] The
infection was sometimes announced by the visions of a distempered fancy,
and the victim despaired as soon as he had heard the menace and felt the
stroke of an invisible spectre. But the greater number, in their beds,
in the streets, in their usual occupation, were surprised by a slight
fever; so slight, indeed, that neither the pulse nor the color of the
patient gave any signs of the approaching danger. The same, the next,
or the succeeding day, it was declared by the swelling of the glands,
particularly those of the groin, of the armpits, and under the ear; and
when these buboes or tumors were opened, they were found to contain a
coal, or black substance, of the size of a lentil. If they came to a
just swelling and suppuration, the patient was saved by this kind and
natural discharge of the morbid humor. But if they continued hard and
dry, a mortification quickly ensued, and the fifth day was commonly
the term of his life. The fever was often accompanied with lethargy or
delirium; the bodies of the sick were covered with black pustules or
carbuncles, the symptoms of immediate death; and in the constitutions
too feeble to produce an irruption, the vomiting of blood was followed
by a mortification of the bowels. To pregnant women the plague was
generally mortal: yet one infant was drawn alive from his dead mother,
and three mothers survived the loss of their infected foetus. Youth was
the most perilous season; and the female sex was less susceptible than
the male: but every rank and profession was attacked with indiscriminate
rage, and many of those who escaped were deprived of the use of their
speech, without being secure from a return of the disorder. [91] The
physicians of Constantinople were zealous and skilful; but their art
was baffled by the various symptoms and pertinacious vehemence of the
disease: the same remedies were productive of contrary effects, and the
event capriciously disappointed their prognostics of death or recovery.
The order of funerals, and the right of sepulchres, were confounded:
those who were left without friends or servants, lay unburied in the
streets, or in their desolate houses; and a magistrate was authorized to
collect the promiscuous heaps of dead bodies, to transport them by land
or water, and to inter them in deep pits beyond the precincts of the
city. Their own danger, and the prospect of public distress, awakened
some remorse in the minds of the most vicious of mankind: the confidence
of health again revived their passions and habits; but philosophy must
disdain the observation of Procopius, that the lives of such men were
guarded by the peculiar favor of fortune or Providence. He forgot, or
perhaps he secretly recollected, that the plague had touched the
person of Justinian himself; but the abstemious diet of the emperor may
suggest, as in the case of Socrates, a more rational and honorable cause
for his recovery. [92] During his sickness, the public consternation
was expressed in the habits of the citizens; and their idleness and
despondence occasioned a general scarcity in the capital of the East.
[Footnote 87: I have read with pleasure Mead's short, but elegant,
treatise concerning Pestilential Disorders, the viiith edition, London,

[Footnote 88: The great plague which raged in 542 and the following
years (Pagi, Critica, tom. ii. p. 518) must be traced in Procopius,
(Persic. l. ii. c. 22, 23,) Agathias, (l. v. p. 153, 154,) Evagrius,
(l. iv. c. 29,) Paul Diaconus, (l. ii. c. iv. p. 776, 777,) Gregory of
Tours, (tom. ii. l. iv. c. 5, p 205,) who styles it Lues Inguinaria, and
the Chronicles of Victor Tunnunensis, (p. 9, in Thesaur. Temporum,) of
Marcellinus, (p. 54,) and of Theophanes, (p. 153.)]

[Footnote 89: Dr. Friend (Hist. Medicin. in Opp. p. 416--420, Lond.
1733) is satisfied that Procopius must have studied physic, from his
knowledge and use of the technical words. Yet many words that are now
scientific were common and popular in the Greek idiom.]

[Footnote 90: See Thucydides, l. ii. c. 47--54, p. 127--133, edit.
Duker, and the poetical description of the same plague by Lucretius.
(l. vi. 1136--1284.) I was indebted to Dr. Hunter for an elaborate
commentary on this part of Thucydides, a quarto of 600 pages, (Venet.
1603, apud Juntas,) which was pronounced in St. Mark's Library by Fabius
Paullinus Utinensis, a physician and philosopher.]

[Footnote 91: Thucydides (c. 51) affirms, that the infection could only
be once taken; but Evagrius, who had family experience of the plague,
observes, that some persons, who had escaped the first, sunk under the
second attack; and this repetition is confirmed by Fabius Paullinus,
(p. 588.) I observe, that on this head physicians are divided; and the
nature and operation of the disease may not always be similar.]

[Footnote 92: It was thus that Socrates had been saved by his
temperance, in the plague of Athens, (Aul. Gellius, Noct. Attic. ii. l.)
Dr. Mead accounts for the peculiar salubrity of religious houses, by the
two advantages of seclusion and abstinence, (p. 18, 19.)]

Contagion is the inseparable symptom of the plague; which, by mutual
respiration, is transfused from the infected persons to the lungs and
stomach of those who approach them. While philosophers believe and
tremble, it is singular, that the existence of a real danger should have
been denied by a people most prone to vain and imaginary terrors. [93]
Yet the fellow-citizens of Procopius were satisfied, by some short
and partial experience, that the infection could not be gained by
the closest conversation: [94] and this persuasion might support the
assiduity of friends or physicians in the care of the sick, whom inhuman
prudence would have condemned to solitude and despair. But the fatal
security, like the predestination of the Turks, must have aided the
progress of the contagion; and those salutary precautions to which
Europe is indebted for her safety, were unknown to the government
of Justinian. No restraints were imposed on the free and frequent
intercourse of the Roman provinces: from Persia to France, the nations
were mingled and infected by wars and emigrations; and the pestilential
odor which lurks for years in a bale of cotton was imported, by
the abuse of trade, into the most distant regions. The mode of its
propagation is explained by the remark of Procopius himself, that
it always spread from the sea-coast to the inland country: the most
sequestered islands and mountains were successively visited; the places
which had escaped the fury of its first passage were alone exposed to
the contagion of the ensuing year. The winds might diffuse that
subtile venom; but unless the atmosphere be previously disposed for
its reception, the plague would soon expire in the cold or temperate
climates of the earth. Such was the universal corruption of the air,
that the pestilence which burst forth in the fifteenth year of Justinian
was not checked or alleviated by any difference of the seasons. In time,
its first malignity was abated and dispersed; the disease alternately
languished and revived; but it was not till the end of a calamitous
period of fifty-two years, that mankind recovered their health, or the
air resumed its pure and salubrious quality.

No facts have been preserved to sustain an account, or even a
conjecture, of the numbers that perished in this extraordinary
mortality. I only find, that during three months, five, and at length
ten, thousand persons died each day at Constantinople; that many cities
of the East were left vacant, and that in several districts of Italy the
harvest and the vintage withered on the ground. The triple scourge of
war, pestilence, and famine, afflicted the subjects of Justinian; and
his reign is disgraced by the visible decrease of the human species,
which has never been repaired in some of the fairest countries of the
globe. [95]

[Footnote 93: Mead proves that the plague is contagious from Thucydides,
Lacretius, Aristotle, Galen, and common experience, (p. 10--20;) and
he refutes (Preface, p. 2--13) the contrary opinion of the French
physicians who visited Marseilles in the year 1720. Yet these were the
recent and enlightened spectators of a plague which, in a few months,
swept away 50,000 inhabitants (sur le Peste de Marseille, Paris, 1786)
of a city that, in the present hour of prosperity and trade contains no
more then 90,000 souls, (Necker, sur les Finances, tom. i. p. 231.)]

[Footnote 94: The strong assertions of Procopius are overthrown by the
subsequent experience of Evagrius.]

[Footnote 95: After some figures of rhetoric, the sands of the sea, &c.,
Procopius (Anecdot. c. 18) attempts a more definite account; that it had
been exterminated under the reign of the Imperial demon. The expression
is obscure in grammar and arithmetic and a literal interpretation would
produce several millions of millions Alemannus (p. 80) and Cousin (tom.
iii. p. 178) translate this passage, "two hundred millions:" but I
am ignorant of their motives. The remaining myriad of myriads, would
furnish one hundred millions, a number not wholly inadmissible.]

Chapter XLIV: Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.--Part I.

     Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.--The Laws Of The Kings--The
     Twelve Of The Decemvirs.--The Laws Of The People.--The
     Decrees Of The Senate.--The Edicts Of The Magistrates And
     Emperors--Authority Of The Civilians.--Code, Pandects,
     Novels, And Institutes Of Justinian:--I.  Rights Of
     Persons.--II. Rights Of Things.--III.  Private Injuries And
     Actions.--IV. Crimes And Punishments.

Note: In the notes to this important chapter, which is received as
the text-book on Civil Law in some of the foreign universities, I have

I. the newly-discovered Institutes of Gaius, (Gaii Institutiones, ed.
Goeschen, Berlin, 1824,) with some other fragments of the Roman law,
(Codicis Theodosiani Fragmenta inedita, ab Amadeo Peyron. Turin, 1824.)

II. The History of the Roman Law, by Professor Hugo, in the French
translation of M. Jourdan. Paris, 1825.

III. Savigny, Geschichte des Romischen Rechts im Mittelalter, 6 bande,
Heidelberg, 1815.

IV. Walther, Romische Rechts-Geschichte, Bonn. 1834. But I am
particularly indebted to an edition of the French translation of this
chapter, with additional notes, by one of the most learned civilians of
Europe, Professor Warnkonig, published at Liege, 1821. I have inserted
almost the whole of these notes, which are distinguished by the letter
W.--M. The vain titles of the victories of Justinian are crumbled
into dust; but the name of the legislator is inscribed on a fair and
everlasting monument. Under his reign, and by his care, the civil
jurisprudence was digested in the immortal works of the Code, the
Pandects, and the Institutes: [1] the public reason of the Romans has
been silently or studiously transfused into the domestic institutions
of Europe, [2], and the laws of Justinian still command the respect or
obedience of independent nations. Wise or fortunate is the prince who
connects his own reputation with the honor or interest of a perpetual
order of men. The defence of their founder is the first cause, which
in every age has exercised the zeal and industry of the civilians. They
piously commemorate his virtues; dissemble or deny his failings; and
fiercely chastise the guilt or folly of the rebels, who presume to sully
the majesty of the purple. The idolatry of love has provoked, as it
usually happens, the rancor of opposition; the character of Justinian
has been exposed to the blind vehemence of flattery and invective; and
the injustice of a sect (the Anti-Tribonians,) has refused all praise
and merit to the prince, his ministers, and his laws. [3] Attached to no
party, interested only for the truth and candor of history, and
directed by the most temperate and skilful guides, [4] I enter with
just diffidence on the subject of civil law, which has exhausted so many
learned lives, and clothed the walls of such spacious libraries. In
a single, if possible in a short, chapter, I shall trace the Roman
jurisprudence from Romulus to Justinian, [5] appreciate the labors of
that emperor, and pause to contemplate the principles of a science so
important to the peace and happiness of society. The laws of a nation
form the most instructive portion of its history; and although I have
devoted myself to write the annals of a declining monarchy, I shall
embrace the occasion to breathe the pure and invigorating air of the

[Footnote 1: The civilians of the darker ages have established an absurd
and incomprehensible mode of quotation, which is supported by authority
and custom. In their references to the Code, the Pandects, and the
Institutes, they mention the number, not of the book, but only of the
law; and content themselves with reciting the first words of the title
to which it belongs; and of these titles there are more than a thousand.
Ludewig (Vit. Justiniani, p. 268) wishes to shake off this pendantic
yoke; and I have dared to adopt the simple and rational method of
numbering the book, the title, and the law. Note: The example of Gibbon
has been followed by M Hugo and other civilians.--M]

[Footnote 2: Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, and Scotland, have
received them as common law or reason; in France, Italy, &c., they
possess a direct or indirect influence; and they were respected in
England, from Stephen to Edward I. our national Justinian, (Duck. de
Usu et Auctoritate Juris Civilis, l. ii. c. 1, 8--15. Heineccius, Hist.
Juris Germanici, c. 3, 4, No. 55-124, and the legal historians of each
country.) * Note: Although the restoration of the Roman law, introduced
by the revival of this study in Italy, is one of the most important
branches of history, it had been treated but imperfectly when Gibbon
wrote his work. That of Arthur Duck is but an insignificant performance.
But the researches of the learned have thrown much light upon the
matter. The Sarti, the Tiraboschi, the Fantuzzi, the Savioli, had made
some very interesting inquiries; but it was reserved for M. de Savigny,
in a work entitled "The History of the Roman Law during the Middle
Ages," to cast the strongest right on this part of history. He
demonstrates incontestably the preservation of the Roman law from
Justinian to the time of the Glossators, who by their indefatigable
zeal, propagated the study of the Roman jurisprudence in all the
countries of Europe. It is much to be desired that the author should
continue this interesting work, and that the learned should engage in
the inquiry in what manner the Roman law introduced itself into their
respective countries, and the authority which it progressively acquired.
For Belgium, there exists, on this subject, (proposed by the Academy of
Brussels in 1781,) a Collection of Memoirs, printed at Brussels in
4to., 1783, among which should be distinguished those of M. de Berg. M.
Berriat Saint Prix has given us hopes of the speedy appearance of a
work in which he will discuss this question, especially in relation to
France. M. Spangenberg, in his Introduction to the Study of the Corpus
Juris Civilis Hanover, 1817, 1 vol. 8vo. p. 86, 116, gives us a general
sketch of the history of the Roman law in different parts of Europe.
We cannot avoid mentioning an elementary work by M. Hugo, in which he
treats of the History of the Roman Law from Justinian to the present
Time, 2d edit. Berlin 1818 W.]

[Footnote 3: Francis Hottoman, a learned and acute lawyer of the xvith
century, wished to mortify Cujacius, and to please the Chancellor
de l'Hopital. His Anti-Tribonianus (which I have never been able to
procure) was published in French in 1609; and his sect was propagated in
Germany, (Heineccius, Op. tom. iii. sylloge iii. p. 171--183.) * Note:
Though there have always been many detractors of the Roman law, no sect
of Anti-Tribonians has ever existed under that name, as Gibbon seems to

[Footnote 4: At the head of these guides I shall respectfully place
the learned and perspicuous Heineccius, a German professor, who died
at Halle in the year 1741, (see his Eloge in the Nouvelle Bibliotheque
Germanique, tom. ii. p. 51--64.) His ample works have been collected
in eight volumes in 4to. Geneva, 1743-1748. The treatises which I have
separately used are, 1. Historia Juris Romani et Germanici, Lugd.
Batav. 1740, in 8 vo. 2. Syntagma Antiquitatum Romanam Jurisprudentiam
illustrantium, 2 vols. in 8 vo. Traject. ad Rhenum. 3. Elementa Juris
Civilis secundum Ordinem Institutionum, Lugd. Bat. 1751, in 8 vo. 4.
Elementa J. C. secundum Ordinem Pandectarum Traject. 1772, in 8vo. 2
vols. * Note: Our author, who was not a lawyer, was necessarily obliged
to content himself with following the opinions of those writers who were
then of the greatest authority; but as Heineccius, notwithstanding his
high reputation for the study of the Roman law, knew nothing of
the subject on which he treated, but what he had learned from the
compilations of various authors, it happened that, in following the
sometimes rash opinions of these guides, Gibbon has fallen into many
errors, which we shall endeavor in succession to correct. The work of
Bach on the History of the Roman Jurisprudence, with which Gibbon was
not acquainted, is far superior to that of Heineccius and since that
time we have new obligations to the modern historic civilians, whose
indefatigable researches have greatly enlarged the sphere of our
knowledge in this important branch of history. We want a pen like that
of Gibbon to give to the more accurate notions which we have acquired
since his time, the brilliancy, the vigor, and the animation
which Gibbon has bestowed on the opinions of Heineccius and his

[Footnote 5: Our original text is a fragment de Origine Juris (Pandect.
l. i. tit. ii.) of Pomponius, a Roman lawyer, who lived under the
Antonines, (Heinecc. tom. iii. syl. iii. p. 66--126.) It has been
abridged, and probably corrupted, by Tribonian, and since restored by
Bynkershoek (Opp. tom. i. p. 279--304.)]

The primitive government of Rome [6] was composed, with some political
skill, of an elective king, a council of nobles, and a general assembly
of the people. War and religion were administered by the supreme
magistrate; and he alone proposed the laws, which were debated in the
senate, and finally ratified or rejected by a majority of votes in
the thirty curiae or parishes of the city. Romulus, Numa, and Servius
Tullius, are celebrated as the most ancient legislators; and each
of them claims his peculiar part in the threefold division of
jurisprudence. [7] The laws of marriage, the education of children,
and the authority of parents, which may seem to draw their origin from
nature itself, are ascribed to the untutored wisdom of Romulus. The law
of nations and of religious worship, which Numa introduced, was derived
from his nocturnal converse with the nymph Egeria. The civil law is
attributed to the experience of Servius: he balanced the rights and
fortunes of the seven classes of citizens; and guarded, by fifty new
regulations, the observance of contracts and the punishment of crimes.
The state, which he had inclined towards a democracy, was changed by the
last Tarquin into a lawless despotism; and when the kingly office was
abolished, the patricians engrossed the benefits of freedom. The royal
laws became odious or obsolete; the mysterious deposit was silently
preserved by the priests and nobles; and at the end of sixty years, the
citizens of Rome still complained that they were ruled by the arbitrary
sentence of the magistrates. Yet the positive institutions of the kings
had blended themselves with the public and private manners of the city,
some fragments of that venerable jurisprudence [8] were compiled by the
diligence of antiquarians, [9] and above twenty texts still speak the
rudeness of the Pelasgic idiom of the Latins. [10]

[Footnote 6: The constitutional history of the kings of Rome may be
studied in the first book of Livy, and more copiously in Dionysius
Halicarnassensis, (l. li. p. 80--96, 119--130, l. iv. p. 198--220,) who
sometimes betrays the character of a rhetorician and a Greek. * Note: M.
Warnkonig refers to the work of Beaufort, on the Uncertainty of the
Five First Ages of the Roman History, with which Gibbon was probably
acquainted, to Niebuhr, and to the less known volume of Wachsmuth,
"Aeltere Geschichte des Rom. Staats." To these I would add A. W.
Schlegel's Review of Niebuhr, and my friend Dr. Arnold's recently
published volume, of which the chapter on the Law of the XII. Tables
appears to me one of the most valuable, if not the most valuable,

[Footnote 7: This threefold division of the law was applied to the three
Roman kings by Justus Lipsius, (Opp. tom. iv. p. 279;) is adopted by
Gravina, (Origines Juris Civilis, p. 28, edit. Lips. 1737:) and is
reluctantly admitted by Mascou, his German editor. * Note: Whoever is
acquainted with the real notions of the Romans on the jus naturale,
gentium et civile, cannot but disapprove of this explanation which
has no relation to them, and might be taken for a pleasantry. It is
certainly unnecessary to increase the confusion which already prevails
among modern writers on the true sense of these ideas. Hugo.--W]

[Footnote 8: The most ancient Code or Digest was styled Jus Papirianum,
from the first compiler, Papirius, who flourished somewhat before
or after the Regifugium, (Pandect. l. i. tit. ii.) The best judicial
critics, even Bynkershoek (tom. i. p. 284, 285) and Heineccius, (Hist.
J. C. R. l. i. c. 16, 17, and Opp. tom. iii. sylloge iv. p. 1--8,) give
credit to this tale of Pomponius, without sufficiently adverting to
the value and rarity of such a monument of the third century, of the
illiterate city. I much suspect that the Caius Papirius, the Pontifex
Maximus, who revived the laws of Numa (Dionys. Hal. l. iii. p. 171) left
only an oral tradition; and that the Jus Papirianum of Granius Flaccus
(Pandect. l. L. tit. xvi. leg. 144) was not a commentary, but an
original work, compiled in the time of Caesar, (Censorin. de Die
Natali, l. iii. p. 13, Duker de Latinitate J. C. p. 154.) Note: Niebuhr
considers the Jus Papirianum, adduced by Verrius Fiaccus, to be of
undoubted authenticity. Rom. Geschichte, l. 257.--M. Compare this with
the work of M. Hugo.--W.]

[Footnote 9: A pompous, though feeble attempt to restore the original,
is made in the Histoire de la Jurisprudence Romaine of Terasson, p.
22--72, Paris, 1750, in folio; a work of more promise than performance.]

[Footnote 10: In the year 1444, seven or eight tables of brass were dug
up between Cortona and Gubio. A part of these (for the rest is Etruscan)
represents the primitive state of the Pelasgic letters and language,
which are ascribed by Herodotus to that district of Italy, (l. i. c. 56,
57, 58;) though this difficult passage may be explained of a Crestona in
Thrace, (Notes de Larcher, tom. i. p. 256--261.) The savage dialect
of the Eugubine tables  has exercised, and may still elude, the
divination of criticism; but the root is undoubtedly Latin, of the same
age and character as the Saliare Carmen, which, in the time of Horace,
none could understand. The Roman idiom, by an infusion of Doric and
Aeolic Greek, was gradually ripened into the style of the xii. tables,
of the Duillian column, of Ennius, of Terence, and of Cicero, (Gruter.
Inscript. tom. i. p. cxlii. Scipion Maffei, Istoria Diplomatica, p.
241--258. Bibliotheque Italique, tom. iii. p. 30--41, 174--205. tom.
xiv. p. 1--52.) * Note: The Eugubine Tables have exercised the ingenuity
of the Italian and German critics; it seems admitted (O. Muller,
die Etrusker, ii. 313) that they are Tuscan. See the works of Lanzi,
Passeri, Dempster, and O. Muller.--M]

I shall not repeat the well-known story of the Decemvirs, [11] who
sullied by their actions the honor of inscribing on brass, or wood, or
ivory, the Twelve Tables of the Roman laws. [12] They were dictated by
the rigid and jealous spirit of an aristocracy, which had yielded with
reluctance to the just demands of the people. But the substance of the
Twelve Tables was adapted to the state of the city; and the Romans
had emerged from Barbarism, since they were capable of studying and
embracing the institutions of their more enlightened neighbors. [1211]
A wise Ephesian was driven by envy from his native country: before he
could reach the shores of Latium, he had observed the various forms
of human nature and civil society: he imparted his knowledge to the
legislators of Rome, and a statue was erected in the forum to the
perpetual memory of Hermodorus. [13] The names and divisions of the
copper money, the sole coin of the infant state, were of Dorian origin:
[14] the harvests of Campania and Sicily relieved the wants of a people
whose agriculture was often interrupted by war and faction; and since
the trade was established, [15] the deputies who sailed from the
Tyber might return from the same harbors with a more precious cargo
of political wisdom. The colonies of Great Greece had transported and
improved the arts of their mother country. Cumae and Rhegium, Crotona
and Tarentum, Agrigentum and Syracuse, were in the rank of the most
flourishing cities. The disciples of Pythagoras applied philosophy to
the use of government; the unwritten laws of Charondas accepted the
aid of poetry and music, [16] and Zaleucus framed the republic of the
Locrians, which stood without alteration above two hundred years. [17]
From a similar motive of national pride, both Livy and Dionysius are
willing to believe, that the deputies of Rome visited Athens under the
wise and splendid administration of Pericles; and the laws of Solon were
transfused into the twelve tables. If such an embassy had indeed been
received from the Barbarians of Hesperia, the Roman name would have
been familiar to the Greeks before the reign of Alexander; [18] and
the faintest evidence would have been explored and celebrated by the
curiosity of succeeding times. But the Athenian monuments are silent;
nor will it seem credible that the patricians should undertake a long
and perilous navigation to copy the purest model of democracy. In the
comparison of the tables of Solon with those of the Decemvirs, some
casual resemblance may be found; some rules which nature and reason have
revealed to every society; some proofs of a common descent from Egypt
or Phoenicia. [19] But in all the great lines of public and private
jurisprudence, the legislators of Rome and Athens appear to be strangers
or adverse at each other.

[Footnote 11: Compare Livy (l. iii. c. 31--59) with Dionysius
Halicarnassensis, (l. x. p. 644--xi. p. 691.) How concise and animated
is the Roman--how prolix and lifeless the Greek! Yet he has admirably
judged the masters, and defined the rules, of historical composition.]

[Footnote 12: From the historians, Heineccius (Hist. J. R. l. i. No. 26)
maintains that the twelve tables were of brass--aereas; in the text of
Pomponius we read eboreas; for which Scaliger has substituted roboreas,
(Bynkershoek, p. 286.) Wood, brass, and ivory, might be successively
employed. Note: Compare Niebuhr, vol. ii. p. 349, &c.--M.]

[Footnote 1211: Compare Niebuhr, 355, note 720.--M. It is a most
important question whether the twelve tables in fact include laws
imported from Greece. The negative opinion maintained by our author, is
now almost universally adopted, particularly by Mm. Niebuhr, Hugo, and
others. See my Institutiones Juris Romani privati Leodii, 1819, p. 311,
312.--W. Dr. Arnold, p. 255, seems to incline to the opposite opinion.
Compare some just and sensible observations in the Appendix to Mr.
Travers Twiss's Epitome of Niebuhr, p. 347, Oxford, 1836.--M.]

[Footnote 13: His exile is mentioned by Cicero, (Tusculan. Quaestion. v.
36; his statue by Pliny, (Hist. Nat. xxxiv. 11.) The letter, dream, and
prophecy of Heraclitus, are alike spurious, (Epistolae Graec. Divers. p.
337.) * Note: Compare Niebuhr, ii. 209.--M. See the Mem de l'Academ. des
Inscript. xxii. p. 48. It would be difficult to disprove, that a certain
Hermodorus had some share in framing the Laws of the Twelve Tables.
Pomponius even says that this Hermodorus was the author of the last two
tables. Pliny calls him the Interpreter of the Decemvirs, which may lead
us to suppose that he labored with them in drawing up that law. But
it is astonishing that in his Dissertation, (De Hermodoro vero XII.
Tabularum Auctore, Annales Academiae Groninganae anni 1817, 1818,) M.
Gratama has ventured to advance two propositions entirely devoid of
proof: "Decem priores tabulas ab ipsis Romanis non esse profectas, tota
confirma Decemviratus Historia," et "Hermodorum legum decemviralium ceri
nominis auctorem esse, qui eas composuerit suis ordinibus, disposuerit,
suaque fecerit auctoritate, ut a decemviris reciperentur." This truly
was an age in which the Roman Patricians would allow their laws to be
dictated by a foreign Exile! Mr. Gratama does not attempt to prove the
authenticity of the supposititious letter of Heraclitus. He contents
himself with expressing his astonishment that M. Bonamy (as well as
Gibbon) will be receive it as genuine.--W.]

[Footnote 14: This intricate subject of the Sicilian and Roman money,
is ably discussed by Dr. Bentley, (Dissertation on the Epistles of
Phalaris, p. 427--479,) whose powers in this controversy were called
forth by honor and resentment.]

[Footnote 15: The Romans, or their allies, sailed as far as the fair
promontory of Africa, (Polyb. l. iii. p. 177, edit. Casaubon, in folio.)
Their voyages to Cumae, &c., are noticed by Livy and Dionysius.]

[Footnote 16: This circumstance would alone prove the antiquity of
Charondas, the legislator of Rhegium and Catana, who, by a strange error
of Diodorus Siculus (tom. i. l. xii. p. 485--492) is celebrated long
afterwards as the author of the policy of Thurium.]

[Footnote 17: Zaleucus, whose existence has been rashly attacked, had
the merit and glory of converting a band of outlaws (the Locrians) into
the most virtuous and orderly of the Greek republics. (See two Memoirs
of the Baron de St. Croix, sur la Legislation de la Grande Grece Mem.
de l'Academie, tom. xlii. p. 276--333.) But the laws of Zaleucus and
Charondas, which imposed on Diodorus and Stobaeus, are the spurious
composition of a Pythagorean sophist, whose fraud has been detected by
the critical sagacity of Bentley, p. 335--377.]

[Footnote 18: I seize the opportunity of tracing the progress of this
national intercourse 1. Herodotus and Thucydides (A. U. C. 300--350)
appear ignorant of the name and existence of Rome, (Joseph. contra
Appion tom. ii. l. i. c. 12, p. 444, edit. Havercamp.) 2. Theopompus (A.
U. C. 400, Plin. iii. 9) mentions the invasion of the Gauls, which is
noticed in looser terms by Heraclides Ponticus, (Plutarch in Camillo, p.
292, edit. H. Stephan.) 3. The real or fabulous embassy of the Romans to
Alexander (A. U. C. 430) is attested by Clitarchus, (Plin. iii. 9,) by
Aristus and Asclepiades, (Arrian. l. vii. p. 294, 295,) and by Memnon of
Heraclea, (apud Photium, cod. ccxxiv. p. 725,) though tacitly denied by
Livy. 4. Theophrastus (A. U. C. 440) primus externorum aliqua de Romanis
diligentius scripsit, (Plin. iii. 9.) 5. Lycophron (A. U. C. 480--500)
scattered the first seed of a Trojan colony and the fable of the Aeneid,
(Cassandra, 1226--1280.) A bold prediction before the end of the first
Punic war! * Note: Compare Niebuhr throughout. Niebuhr has written
a dissertation (Kleine Schriften, i. p. 438,) arguing from this
prediction, and on the other conclusive grounds, that the Lycophron,
the author of the Cassandra, is not the Alexandrian poet. He had been
anticipated in this sagacious criticism, as he afterwards discovered,
by a writer of no less distinction than Charles James Fox.--Letters to
Wakefield. And likewise by the author of the extraordinary translation
of this poem, that most promising scholar, Lord Royston. See the Remains
of Lord Royston, by the Rev. Henry Pepys, London, 1838.]

[Footnote 19: The tenth table, de modo sepulturae, was borrowed from
Solon, (Cicero de Legibus, ii. 23--26:) the furtem per lancem et
licium conceptum, is derived by Heineccius from the manners of Athens,
(Antiquitat. Rom. tom. ii. p. 167--175.) The right of killing a
nocturnal thief was declared by Moses, Solon, and the Decemvirs, (Exodus
xxii. 3. Demosthenes contra Timocratem, tom. i. p. 736, edit. Reiske.
Macrob. Saturnalia, l. i. c. 4. Collatio Legum Mosaicarum et Romanatum,
tit, vii. No. i. p. 218, edit. Cannegieter.) *Note: Are not the same
points of similarity discovered in the legislation of all actions in the
infancy of their civilization?--W.]

Chapter XLIV: Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.--Part II.

Whatever might be the origin or the merit of the twelve tables, [20]
they obtained among the Romans that blind and partial reverence which
the lawyers of every country delight to bestow on their municipal
institutions. The study is recommended by Cicero [21] as equally
pleasant and instructive. "They amuse the mind by the remembrance of old
words and the portrait of ancient manners; they inculcate the soundest
principles of government and morals; and I am not afraid to affirm, that
the brief composition of the Decemvirs surpasses in genuine value the
libraries of Grecian philosophy. How admirable," says Tully, with honest
or affected prejudice, "is the wisdom of our ancestors! We alone are the
masters of civil prudence, and our superiority is the more conspicuous,
if we deign to cast our eyes on the rude and almost ridiculous
jurisprudence of Draco, of Solon, and of Lycurgus." The twelve tables
were committed to the memory of the young and the meditation of the old;
they were transcribed and illustrated with learned diligence; they had
escaped the flames of the Gauls, they subsisted in the age of Justinian,
and their subsequent loss has been imperfectly restored by the labors
of modern critics. [22] But although these venerable monuments were
considered as the rule of right and the fountain of justice, [23] they
were overwhelmed by the weight and variety of new laws, which, at the
end of five centuries, became a grievance more intolerable than the
vices of the city. [24] Three thousand brass plates, the acts of the
senate of the people, were deposited in the Capitol: [25] and some of
the acts, as the Julian law against extortion, surpassed the number of
a hundred chapters. [26] The Decemvirs had neglected to import the
sanction of Zaleucus, which so long maintained the integrity of his
republic. A Locrian, who proposed any new law, stood forth in the
assembly of the people with a cord round his neck, and if the law was
rejected, the innovator was instantly strangled.

[Footnote 20: It is the praise of Diodorus, (tom. i. l. xii. p. 494,)
which may be fairly translated by the eleganti atque absoluta brevitate
verborum of Aulus Gellius, (Noct. Attic. xxi. 1.)]

[Footnote 21: Listen to Cicero (de Legibus, ii. 23) and his
representative Crassus, (de Oratore, i. 43, 44.)]

[Footnote 22: See Heineccius, (Hist. J. R. No. 29--33.) I have followed
the restoration of the xii. tables by Gravina (Origines J. C. p.
280--307) and Terrasson, (Hist. de la Jurisprudence Romaine, p.
94--205.) Note: The wish expressed by Warnkonig, that the text and the
conjectural emendations on the fragments of the xii. tables should be
submitted to rigid criticism, has been fulfilled by Dirksen, Uebersicht
der bisherigen Versuche Leipzig Kritik und Herstellung des Textes der
Zwolf-Tafel-Fragmente, Leipzug, 1824.--M.]

[Footnote 23: Finis aequi juris, (Tacit. Annal. iii. 27.) Fons omnis
publici et privati juris, (T. Liv. iii. 34.) * Note: From the context of
the phrase in Tacitus, "Nam secutae leges etsi alquando in maleficos
ex delicto; saepius tamen dissensione ordinum * * * latae sunt," it is
clear that Gibbon has rendered this sentence incorrectly. Hugo, Hist. p.

[Footnote 24: De principiis juris, et quibus modis ad hanc multitudinem
infinitam ac varietatem legum perventum sit altius disseram, (Tacit.
Annal. iii. 25.) This deep disquisition fills only two pages, but they
are the pages of Tacitus. With equal sense, but with less energy, Livy
(iii. 34) had complained, in hoc immenso aliarum super alias acervatarum
legum cumulo, &c.]

[Footnote 25: Suetonius in Vespasiano, c. 8.]

[Footnote 26: Cicero ad Familiares, viii. 8.]

The Decemvirs had been named, and their tables were approved, by
an assembly of the centuries, in which riches preponderated against
numbers. To the first class of Romans, the proprietors of one hundred
thousand pounds of copper, [27] ninety-eight votes were assigned, and
only ninety-five were left for the six inferior classes, distributed
according to their substance by the artful policy of Servius. But the
tribunes soon established a more specious and popular maxim, that every
citizen has an equal right to enact the laws which he is bound to obey.
Instead of the centuries, they convened the tribes; and the patricians,
after an impotent struggle, submitted to the decrees of an assembly, in
which their votes were confounded with those of the meanest plebeians.
Yet as long as the tribes successively passed over narrow bridges [28]
and gave their voices aloud, the conduct of each citizen was exposed to
the eyes and ears of his friends and countrymen. The insolvent debtor
consulted the wishes of his creditor; the client would have blushed
to oppose the views of his patron; the general was followed by his
veterans, and the aspect of a grave magistrate was a living lesson to
the multitude. A new method of secret ballot abolished the influence
of fear and shame, of honor and interest, and the abuse of freedom
accelerated the progress of anarchy and despotism. [29] The Romans had
aspired to be equal; they were levelled by the equality of servitude;
and the dictates of Augustus were patiently ratified by the formal
consent of the tribes or centuries. Once, and once only, he experienced
a sincere and strenuous opposition. His subjects had resigned all
political liberty; they defended the freedom of domestic life. A law
which enforced the obligation, and strengthened the bonds of marriage,
was clamorously rejected; Propertius, in the arms of Delia, applauded
the victory of licentious love; and the project of reform was suspended
till a new and more tractable generation had arisen in the world. [30]
Such an example was not necessary to instruct a prudent usurper of the
mischief of popular assemblies; and their abolition, which Augustus
had silently prepared, was accomplished without resistance, and almost
without notice, on the accession of his successor. [31] Sixty thousand
plebeian legislators, whom numbers made formidable, and poverty secure,
were supplanted by six hundred senators, who held their honors, their
fortunes, and their lives, by the clemency of the emperor. The loss of
executive power was alleviated by the gift of legislative authority; and
Ulpian might assert, after the practice of two hundred years, that the
decrees of the senate obtained the force and validity of laws. In the
times of freedom, the resolves of the people had often been dictated by
the passion or error of the moment: the Cornelian, Pompeian, and Julian
laws were adapted by a single hand to the prevailing disorders; but the
senate, under the reign of the Caesars, was composed of magistrates and
lawyers, and in questions of private jurisprudence, the integrity of
their judgment was seldom perverted by fear or interest. [32]

[Footnote 27: Dionysius, with Arbuthnot, and most of the moderns,
(except Eisenschmidt de Ponderibus, &c., p. 137--140,) represent the
100,000 asses by 10,000 Attic drachmae, or somewhat more than 300 pounds
sterling. But their calculation can apply only to the latter times, when
the as was diminished to 1-24th of its ancient weight: nor can I believe
that in the first ages, however destitute of the precious metals, a
single ounce of silver could have been exchanged for seventy pounds
of copper or brass. A more simple and rational method is to value the
copper itself according to the present rate, and, after comparing
the mint and the market price, the Roman and avoirdupois weight, the
primitive as or Roman pound of copper may be appreciated at one English
shilling, and the 100,000 asses of the first class amounted to 5000
pounds sterling. It will appear from the same reckoning, that an ox was
sold at Rome for five pounds, a sheep for ten shillings, and a quarter
of wheat for one pound ten shillings, (Festus, p. 330, edit. Dacier.
Plin. Hist. Natur. xviii. 4:) nor do I see any reason to reject these
consequences, which moderate our ideas of the poverty of the first
Romans. * Note: Compare Niebuhr, English translation, vol. i. p. 448,

[Footnote 28: Consult the common writers on the Roman Comitia,
especially Sigonius and Beaufort. Spanheim (de Praestantia et Usu
Numismatum, tom. ii. dissert. x. p. 192, 193) shows, on a curious medal,
the Cista, Pontes, Septa, Diribitor, &c.]

[Footnote 29: Cicero (de Legibus, iii. 16, 17, 18) debates this
constitutional question, and assigns to his brother Quintus the most
unpopular side.]

[Footnote 30: Prae tumultu recusantium perferre non potuit, (Sueton.
in August. c. 34.) See Propertius, l. ii. eleg. 6. Heineccius, in a
separate history, has exhausted the whole subject of the Julian and
Papian Poppaean laws, (Opp. tom. vii. P. i. p. 1--479.)]

[Footnote 31: Tacit. Annal. i. 15. Lipsius, Excursus E. in Tacitum.
Note: This error of Gibbon has been long detected. The senate, under
Tiberius did indeed elect the magistrates, who before that emperor were
elected in the comitia. But we find laws enacted by the people during
his reign, and that of Claudius. For example; the Julia-Norbana, Vellea,
and Claudia de tutela foeminarum. Compare the Hist. du Droit Romain,
by M. Hugo, vol. ii. p. 55, 57. The comitia ceased imperceptibly as the
republic gradually expired.--W.]

[Footnote 32: Non ambigitur senatum jus facere posse, is the decision
of Ulpian, (l. xvi. ad Edict. in Pandect. l. i. tit. iii. leg. 9.)
Pomponius taxes the comitia of the people as a turba hominum, (Pandect.
l. i. tit. ii. leg 9.) * Note: The author adopts the opinion, that under
the emperors alone the senate had a share in the legislative power.
They had nevertheless participated in it under the Republic, since
senatus-consulta relating to civil rights have been preserved, which are
much earlier than the reigns of Augustus or Tiberius. It is true that,
under the emperors, the senate exercised this right more frequently, and
that the assemblies of the people had become much more rare, though in
law they were still permitted, in the time of Ulpian. (See the fragments
of Ulpian.) Bach has clearly demonstrated that the senate had the
same power in the time of the Republic. It is natural that the
senatus-consulta should have been more frequent under the emperors,
because they employed those means of flattering the pride of the
senators, by granting them the right of deliberating on all affairs
which did not intrench on the Imperial power. Compare the discussions of
M. Hugo, vol. i. p. 284, et seq.--W.]

The silence or ambiguity of the laws was supplied by the occasional
edicts [3211] of those magistrates who were invested with the honors
of the state. [33] This ancient prerogative of the Roman kings was
transferred, in their respective offices, to the consuls and dictators,
the censors and praetors; and a similar right was assumed by the
tribunes of the people, the ediles, and the proconsuls. At Rome, and
in the provinces, the duties of the subject, and the intentions of the
governor, were proclaimed; and the civil jurisprudence was reformed by
the annual edicts of the supreme judge, the praetor of the city. [3311]
As soon as he ascended his tribunal, he announced by the voice of the
crier, and afterwards inscribed on a white wall, the rules which he
proposed to follow in the decision of doubtful cases, and the relief
which his equity would afford from the precise rigor of ancient
statutes. A principle of discretion more congenial to monarchy was
introduced into the republic: the art of respecting the name, and
eluding the efficacy, of the laws, was improved by successive praetors;
subtleties and fictions were invented to defeat the plainest meaning of
the Decemvirs, and where the end was salutary, the means were frequently
absurd. The secret or probable wish of the dead was suffered to prevail
over the order of succession and the forms of testaments; and the
claimant, who was excluded from the character of heir, accepted with
equal pleasure from an indulgent praetor the possession of the goods
of his late kinsman or benefactor. In the redress of private wrongs,
compensations and fines were substituted to the obsolete rigor of the
Twelve Tables; time and space were annihilated by fanciful suppositions;
and the plea of youth, or fraud, or violence, annulled the obligation,
or excused the performance, of an inconvenient contract. A jurisdiction
thus vague and arbitrary was exposed to the most dangerous abuse: the
substance, as well as the form, of justice were often sacrificed to the
prejudices of virtue, the bias of laudable affection, and the grosser
seductions of interest or resentment. But the errors or vices of each
praetor expired with his annual office; such maxims alone as had been
approved by reason and practice were copied by succeeding judges; the
rule of proceeding was defined by the solution of new cases; and the
temptations of injustice were removed by the Cornelian law, which
compelled the praetor of the year to adhere to the spirit and letter
of his first proclamation. [34] It was reserved for the curiosity and
learning of Adrian, to accomplish the design which had been conceived by
the genius of Caesar; and the praetorship of Salvius Julian, an eminent
lawyer, was immortalized by the composition of the Perpetual Edict. This
well-digested code was ratified by the emperor and the senate; the long
divorce of law and equity was at length reconciled; and, instead of the
Twelve Tables, the perpetual edict was fixed as the invariable standard
of civil jurisprudence. [35]

[Footnote 3211: There is a curious passage from Aurelius, a writer on
Law, on the Praetorian Praefect, quoted in Lydus de Magistratibus, p.
32, edit. Hase. The Praetorian praefect was to the emperor what the
master of the horse was to the dictator under the Republic. He was the
delegate, therefore, of the full Imperial authority; and no appeal could
be made or exception taken against his edicts. I had not observed
this passage, when the third volume, where it would have been more
appropriately placed, passed through the press.--M]

[Footnote 33: The jus honorarium of the praetors and other magistrates
is strictly defined in the Latin text to the Institutes, (l. i. tit.
ii. No. 7,) and more loosely explained in the Greek paraphrase of
Theophilus, (p. 33--38, edit. Reitz,) who drops the important word
honorarium. * Note: The author here follows the opinion of Heineccius,
who, according to the idea of his master Thomasius, was unwilling
to suppose that magistrates exercising a judicial could share in the
legislative power. For this reason he represents the edicts of the
praetors as absurd. (See his work, Historia Juris Romani, 69, 74.) But
Heineccius had altogether a false notion of this important institution
of the Romans, to which we owe in a great degree the perfection of their
jurisprudence. Heineccius, therefore, in his own days had many opponents
of his system, among others the celebrated Ritter, professor at
Wittemberg, who contested it in notes appended to the work of
Heineccius, and retained in all subsequent editions of that book.
After Ritter, the learned Bach undertook to vindicate the edicts of the
praetors in his Historia Jurisprud. Rom. edit. 6, p. 218, 224. But it
remained for a civilian of our own days to throw light on the spirit and
true character of this institution. M. Hugo has completely demonstrated
that the praetorian edicts furnished the salutary means of perpetually
harmonizing the legislation with the spirit of the times. The praetors
were the true organs of public opinion. It was not according to their
caprice that they framed their regulations, but according to the manners
and to the opinions of the great civil lawyers of their day. We know
from Cicero himself, that it was esteemed a great honor among the
Romans to publish an edict, well conceived and well drawn. The most
distinguished lawyers of Rome were invited by the praetor to assist in
framing this annual law, which, according to its principle, was only a
declaration which the praetor made to the public, to announce the
manner in which he would judge, and to guard against every charge of
partiality. Those who had reason to fear his opinions might delay their
cause till the following year. The praetor was responsible for all
the faults which he committed. The tribunes could lodge an accusation
against the praetor who issued a partial edict. He was bound strictly
to follow and to observe the regulations published by him at the
commencement of his year of office, according to the Cornelian law, by
which these edicts were called perpetual, and he could make no change
in a regulation once published. The praetor was obliged to submit to
his own edict, and to judge his own affairs according to its provisions.
These magistrates had no power of departing from the fundamental
laws, or the laws of the Twelve Tables. The people held them in
such consideration, that they rarely enacted laws contrary to their
provisions; but as some provisions were found inefficient, others
opposed to the manners of the people, and to the spirit of subsequent
ages, the praetors, still maintaining respect for the laws, endeavored
to bring them into accordance with the necessities of the existing
time, by such fictions as best suited the nature of the case. In what
legislation do we not find these fictions, which even yet exist, absurd
and ridiculous as they are, among the ancient laws of modern nations?
These always variable edicts at length comprehended the whole of the
Roman legislature, and became the subject of the commentaries of the
most celebrated lawyers. They must therefore be considered as the basis
of all the Roman jurisprudence comprehended in the Digest of Justinian.
----It is in this sense that M. Schrader has written on this important
institution, proposing it for imitation as far as may be consistent with
our manners, and agreeable to our political institutions, in order to
avoid immature legislation becoming a permanent evil. See the History of
the Roman Law by M. Hugo, vol. i. p. 296, &c., vol. ii. p. 30, et seq.,
78. et seq., and the note in my elementary book on the Industries, p.
313. With regard to the works best suited to give information on
the framing and the form of these edicts, see Haubold, Institutiones
Literariae, tom. i. p. 321, 368. All that Heineccius says about the
usurpation of the right of making these edicts by the praetors is false,
and contrary to all historical testimony. A multitude of authorities
proves that the magistrates were under an obligation to publish these
edicts.--W. ----With the utmost deference for these excellent civilians,
I cannot but consider this confusion of the judicial and legislative
authority as a very perilous constitutional precedent. It might answer
among a people so singularly trained as the Romans were by habit and
national character in reverence for legal institutions, so as to be an
aristocracy, if not a people, of legislators; but in most nations the
investiture of a magistrate in such authority, leaving to his sole
judgment the lawyers he might consult, and the view of public opinion
which he might take, would be a very insufficient guaranty for right

[Footnote 3311: Compare throughout the brief but admirable sketch of the
progress and growth of the Roman jurisprudence, the necessary operation
of the jusgentium, when Rome became the sovereign of nations, upon the
jus civile of the citizens of Rome, in the first chapter of Savigny.
Geschichte des Romischen Rechts im Mittelalter.--M.]

[Footnote 34: Dion Cassius (tom. i. l. xxxvi. p. 100) fixes the
perpetual edicts in the year of Rome, 686. Their institution, however,
is ascribed to the year 585 in the Acta Diurna, which have been
published from the papers of Ludovicus Vives. Their authenticity is
supported or allowed by Pighius, (Annal. Rom. tom. ii. p. 377, 378,)
Graevius, (ad Sueton. p. 778,) Dodwell, (Praelection. Cambden, p.
665,) and Heineccius: but a single word, Scutum Cimbricum, detects the
forgery, (Moyle's Works, vol. i. p. 303.)]

[Footnote 35: The history of edicts is composed, and the text of the
perpetual edict is restored, by the master-hand of Heineccius, (Opp.
tom. vii. P. ii. p. 1--564;) in whose researches I might safely
acquiesce. In the Academy of Inscriptions, M. Bouchaud has given a
series of memoirs to this interesting subject of law and literature. *
Note: This restoration was only the commencement of a work found among
the papers of Heineccius, and published after his death.--G. ----Note:
Gibbon has here fallen into an error, with Heineccius, and almost the
whole literary world, concerning the real meaning of what is called the
perpetual edict of Hadrian. Since the Cornelian law, the edicts were
perpetual, but only in this sense, that the praetor could not change
them during the year of his magistracy. And although it appears that
under Hadrian, the civilian Julianus made, or assisted in making,
a complete collection of the edicts, (which certainly had been done
likewise before Hadrian, for example, by Ofilius, qui diligenter edictum
composuit,) we have no sufficient proof to admit the common opinion,
that the Praetorian edict was declared perpetually unalterable by
Hadrian. The writers on law subsequent to Hadrian (and among the rest
Pomponius, in his Summary of the Roman Jurisprudence) speak of the
edict as it existed in the time of Cicero. They would not certainly
have passed over in silence so remarkable a change in the most important
source of the civil law. M. Hugo has conclusively shown that the various
passages in authors, like Eutropius, are not sufficient to establish the
opinion introduced by Heineccius. Compare Hugo, vol. ii. p. 78. A new
proof of this is found in the Institutes of Gaius, who, in the first
books of his work, expresses himself in the same manner, without
mentioning any change made by Hadrian. Nevertheless, if it had taken
place, he must have noticed it, as he does l. i. 8, the responsa
prudentum, on the occasion of a rescript of Hadrian. There is no lacuna
in the text. Why then should Gaius maintain silence concerning an
innovation so much more important than that of which he speaks? After
all, this question becomes of slight interest, since, in fact, we find
no change in the perpetual edict inserted in the Digest, from the
time of Hadrian to the end of that epoch, except that made by Julian,
(compare Hugo, l. c.) The latter lawyers appear to follow, in their
commentaries, the same texts as their predecessors. It is natural
to suppose, that, after the labors of so many men distinguished
in jurisprudence, the framing of the edict must have attained
such perfection that it would have been difficult to have made any
innovation. We nowhere find that the jurists of the Pandects disputed
concerning the words, or the drawing up of the edict. What difference
would, in fact, result from this with regard to our codes, and our
modern legislation? Compare the learned Dissertation of M. Biener, De
Salvii Juliani meritis in Edictum Praetorium recte aestimandis. Lipsae,
1809, 4to.--W.]

From Augustus to Trajan, the modest Caesars were content to promulgate
their edicts in the various characters of a Roman magistrate; [3511]
and, in the decrees of the senate, the epistles and orations of the
prince were respectfully inserted. Adrian [36] appears to have been the
first who assumed, without disguise, the plenitude of legislative power.
And this innovation, so agreeable to his active mind, was countenanced
by the patience of the times, and his long absence from the seat of
government. The same policy was embraced by succeeding monarchs, and,
according to the harsh metaphor of Tertullian, "the gloomy and intricate
forest of ancient laws was cleared away by the axe of royal mandates and
constitutions." [37] During four centuries, from Adrian to Justinian
the public and private jurisprudence was moulded by the will of the
sovereign; and few institutions, either human or divine, were permitted
to stand on their former basis. The origin of Imperial legislation was
concealed by the darkness of ages and the terrors of armed despotism;
and a double tiction was propagated by the servility, or perhaps the
ignorance, of the civilians, who basked in the sunshine of the Roman and
Byzantine courts. 1. To the prayer of the ancient Caesars, the people
or the senate had sometimes granted a personal exemption from the
obligation and penalty of particular statutes; and each indulgence was
an act of jurisdiction exercised by the republic over the first of
her citizens. His humble privilege was at length transformed into the
prerogative of a tyrant; and the Latin expression of "released from the
laws" [38] was supposed to exalt the emperor above all human restraints,
and to leave his conscience and reason as the sacred measure of his
conduct. 2. A similar dependence was implied in the decrees of the
senate, which, in every reign, defined the titles and powers of an
elective magistrate. But it was not before the ideas, and even the
language, of the Romans had been corrupted, that a royal law, [39] and
an irrevocable gift of the people, were created by the fancy of Ulpian,
or more probably of Tribonian himself; [40] and the origin of Imperial
power, though false in fact, and slavish in its consequence, was
supported on a principle of freedom and justice. "The pleasure of the
emperor has the vigor and effect of law, since the Roman people, by the
royal law, have transferred to their prince the full extent of their
own power and sovereignty." [41] The will of a single man, of a
child perhaps, was allowed to prevail over the wisdom of ages and
the inclinations of millions; and the degenerate Greeks were proud to
declare, that in his hands alone the arbitrary exercise of legislation
could be safely deposited. "What interest or passion," exclaims
Theophilus in the court of Justinian, "can reach the calm and sublime
elevation of the monarch? He is already master of the lives and fortunes
of his subjects; and those who have incurred his displeasure are already
numbered with the dead." [42] Disdaining the language of flattery, the
historian may confess, that in questions of private jurisprudence, the
absolute sovereign of a great empire can seldom be influenced by any
personal considerations. Virtue, or even reason, will suggest to his
impartial mind, that he is the guardian of peace and equity, and that
the interest of society is inseparably connected with his own. Under the
weakest and most vicious reign, the seat of justice was filled by
the wisdom and integrity of Papinian and Ulpian; [43] and the purest
materials of the Code and Pandects are inscribed with the names of
Caracalla and his ministers. [44] The tyrant of Rome was sometimes the
benefactor of the provinces. A dagger terminated the crimes of Domitian;
but the prudence of Nerva confirmed his acts, which, in the joy of their
deliverance, had been rescinded by an indignant senate. [45] Yet in the
rescripts, [46] replies to the consultations of the magistrates, the
wisest of princes might be deceived by a partial exposition of the case.
And this abuse, which placed their hasty decisions on the same level
with mature and deliberate acts of legislation, was ineffectually
condemned by the sense and example of Trajan. The rescripts of the
emperor, his grants and decrees, his edicts and pragmatic sanctions,
were subscribed in purple ink, [47] and transmitted to the provinces as
general or special laws, which the magistrates were bound to execute,
and the people to obey. But as their number continually multiplied, the
rule of obedience became each day more doubtful and obscure, till the
will of the sovereign was fixed and ascertained in the Gregorian, the
Hermogenian, and the Theodosian codes. [4711] The two first, of which
some fragments have escaped, were framed by two private lawyers,
to preserve the constitutions of the Pagan emperors from Adrian to
Constantine. The third, which is still extant, was digested in sixteen
books by the order of the younger Theodosius to consecrate the laws of
the Christian princes from Constantine to his own reign. But the three
codes obtained an equal authority in the tribunals; and any act which
was not included in the sacred deposit might be disregarded by the judge
as epurious or obsolete. [48]

[Footnote 3511: It is an important question in what manner the emperors
were invested with this legislative power. The newly discovered Gaius
distinctly states that it was in virtue of a law--Nec unquam dubitatum
est, quin id legis vicem obtineat, cum ipse imperator per legem imperium
accipiat. But it is still uncertain whether this was a general law,
passed on the transition of the government from a republican to a
monarchical form, or a law passed on the accession of each emperor.
Compare Hugo, Hist. du Droit Romain, (French translation,) vol. ii. p.

[Footnote 36: His laws are the first in the code. See Dodwell,
(Praelect. Cambden, p. 319--340,) who wanders from the subject in
confused reading and feeble paradox. * Note: This is again an error
which Gibbon shares with Heineccius, and the generality of authors. It
arises from having mistaken the insignificant edict of Hadrian, inserted
in the Code of Justinian, (lib. vi, tit. xxiii. c. 11,) for the first
constitutio principis, without attending to the fact, that the Pandects
contain so many constitutions of the emperors, from Julius Caesar, (see
l. i. Digest 29, l) M. Hugo justly observes, that the acta of Sylla,
approved by the senate, were the same thing with the constitutions of
those who after him usurped the sovereign power. Moreover, we find that
Pliny, and other ancient authors, report a multitude of rescripts of
the emperors from the time of Augustus. See Hugo, Hist. du Droit Romain,
vol. ii. p. 24-27.--W.]

[Footnote 37: Totam illam veterem et squalentem sylvam legum novis
principalium rescriptorum et edictorum securibus truncatis et caeditis;
(Apologet. c. 4, p. 50, edit. Havercamp.) He proceeds to praise the
recent firmness of Severus, who repealed the useless or pernicious laws,
without any regard to their age or authority.]

[Footnote 38: The constitutional style of Legibus Solutus is
misinterpreted by the art or ignorance of Dion Cassius, (tom. i. l.
liii. p. 713.) On this occasion, his editor, Reimer, joins the universal
censure which freedom and criticism have pronounced against that slavish

[Footnote 39: The word (Lex Regia) was still more recent than the thing.
The slaves of Commodus or Caracalla would have started at the name of
royalty. Note: Yet a century before, Domitian was called not only by
Martial but even in public documents, Dominus et Deus Noster. Sueton.
Domit. cap. 13. Hugo.--W.]

[Footnote 40: See Gravina (Opp. p. 501--512) and Beaufort, (Republique
Romaine, tom. i. p. 255--274.) He has made a proper use of two
dissertations by John Frederic Gronovius and Noodt, both translated,
with valuable notes, by Barbeyrac, 2 vols. in 12mo. 1731.]

[Footnote 41: Institut. l. i. tit. ii. No. 6. Pandect. l. i. tit.
iv. leg. 1. Cod. Justinian, l. i. tit. xvii. leg. 1, No. 7. In
his Antiquities and Elements, Heineccius has amply treated de
constitutionibus principum, which are illustrated by Godefroy (Comment.
ad Cod. Theodos. l. i. tit. i. ii. iii.) and Gravina, (p. 87--90.)
----Note: Gaius asserts that the Imperial edict or rescript has and
always had, the force of law, because the Imperial authority rests upon
law. Constitutio principis est, quod imperator decreto vel edicto,
vel epistola constituit, nee unquam dubitatum, quin id legis, vicem
obtineat, cum ipse imperator per legem imperium accipiat. Gaius, 6
Instit. i. 2.--M.]

[Footnote 42: Theophilus, in Paraphras. Graec. Institut. p. 33, 34,
edit. Reitz For his person, time, writings, see the Theophilus of J. H.
Mylius, Excurs. iii. p. 1034--1073.]

[Footnote 43: There is more envy than reason in the complaint of
Macrinus (Jul. Capitolin. c. 13:) Nefas esse leges videri Commodi et
Caracalla at hominum imperitorum voluntates. Commodus was made a Divus
by Severus, (Dodwell, Praelect. viii. p. 324, 325.) Yet he occurs only
twice in the Pandects.]

[Footnote 44: Of Antoninus Caracalla alone 200 constitutions are extant
in the Code, and with his father 160. These two princes are quoted fifty
times in the Pandects, and eight in the Institutes, (Terasson, p. 265.)]

[Footnote 45: Plin. Secund. Epistol. x. 66. Sueton. in Domitian. c. 23.]

[Footnote 46: It was a maxim of Constantine, contra jus rescripta non
valeant, (Cod. Theodos. l. i. tit. ii. leg. 1.) The emperors reluctantly
allow some scrutiny into the law and the fact, some delay, petition,
&c.; but these insufficient remedies are too much in the discretion and
at the peril of the judge.]

[Footnote 47: A compound of vermilion and cinnabar, which marks the
Imperial diplomas from Leo I. (A.D. 470) to the fall of the Greek
empire, (Bibliotheque Raisonnee de la Diplomatique, tom. i. p. 504--515
Lami, de Eruditione Apostolorum, tom. ii. p. 720-726.)]

[Footnote 4711: Savigny states the following as the authorities for the
Roman law at the commencement of the fifth century:-- 1. The writings
of the jurists, according to the regulations of the Constitution of
Valentinian III., first promulgated in the West, but by its admission
into the Theodosian Code established likewise in the East. (This
Constitution established the authority of the five great jurists,
Papinian, Paulus, Caius, Ulpian, and Modestinus as interpreters of the
ancient law. * * * In case of difference of opinion among these five,
a majority decided the case; where they were equal, the opinion of
Papinian, where he was silent, the judge; but see p. 40, and Hugo, vol.
ii. p. 89.) 2. The Gregorian and Hermogenian Collection of the Imperial
Rescripts. 3. The Code of Theodosius II. 4. The particular Novellae, as
additions and Supplements to this Code Savigny. vol. i. p 10.--M.]

[Footnote 48: Schulting, Jurisprudentia Ante-Justinianea, p. 681-718.
Cujacius assigned to Gregory the reigns from Hadrian to Gallienus. and
the continuation to his fellow-laborer Hermogenes. This general division
may be just, but they often trespassed on each other's ground]


Chapter XLIV: Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.--Part III.

Among savage nations, the want of letters is imperfectly supplied by
the use of visible signs, which awaken attention, and perpetuate the
remembrance of any public or private transaction. The jurisprudence of
the first Romans exhibited the scenes of a pantomime; the words were
adapted to the gestures, and the slightest error or neglect in the
forms of proceeding was sufficient to annul the substance of the fairest
claim. The communion of the marriage-life was denoted by the necessary
elements of fire and water; [49] and the divorced wife resigned the
bunch of keys, by the delivery of which she had been invested with the
government of the family. The manumission of a son, or a slave, was
performed by turning him round with a gentle blow on the cheek; a work
was prohibited by the casting of a stone; prescription was interrupted
by the breaking of a branch; the clinched fist was the symbol of a
pledge or deposit; the right hand was the gift of faith and confidence.
The indenture of covenants was a broken straw; weights and scales were
introduced into every payment, and the heir who accepted a testament was
sometimes obliged to snap his fingers, to cast away his garments, and to
leap or dance with real or affected transport. [50] If a citizen pursued
any stolen goods into a neighbor's house, he concealed his nakedness
with a linen towel, and hid his face with a mask or basin, lest he
should encounter the eyes of a virgin or a matron. [51] In a civil
action the plaintiff touched the ear of his witness, seized his
reluctant adversary by the neck, and implored, in solemn lamentation,
the aid of his fellow-citizens. The two competitors grasped each other's
hand as if they stood prepared for combat before the tribunal of the
praetor; he commanded them to produce the object of the dispute; they
went, they returned with measured steps, and a clod of earth was cast
at his feet to represent the field for which they contended. This occult
science of the words and actions of law was the inheritance of the
pontiffs and patricians. Like the Chaldean astrologers, they announced
to their clients the days of business and repose; these important
trifles were interwoven with the religion of Numa; and after the
publication of the Twelve Tables, the Roman people was still enslaved
by the ignorance of judicial proceedings. The treachery of some
plebeian officers at length revealed the profitable mystery: in a more
enlightened age, the legal actions were derided and observed; and the
same antiquity which sanctified the practice, obliterated the use and
meaning of this primitive language. [52]

[Footnote 49: Scaevola, most probably Q. Cervidius Scaevola; the master
of Papinian considers this acceptance of fire and water as the essence
of marriage, (Pandect. l. xxiv. tit. 1, leg. 66. See Heineccius, Hist.
J. R. No. 317.)]

[Footnote 50: Cicero (de Officiis, iii. 19) may state an ideal case, but
St. Am brose (de Officiis, iii. 2,) appeals to the practice of his own
times, which he understood as a lawyer and a magistrate, (Schulting
ad Ulpian, Fragment. tit. xxii. No. 28, p. 643, 644.) * Note: In
this passage the author has endeavored to collect all the examples of
judicial formularies which he could find. That which he adduces as the
form of cretio haereditatis is absolutely false. It is sufficient to
glance at the passage in Cicero which he cites, to see that it has no
relation to it. The author appeals to the opinion of Schulting, who, in
the passage quoted, himself protests against the ridiculous and absurd
interpretation of the passage in Cicero, and observes that Graevius had
already well explained the real sense. See in Gaius the form of cretio
haereditatis Inst. l. ii. p. 166.--W.]

[Footnote 51: The furtum lance licioque conceptum was no longer
understood in the time of the Antonines, (Aulus Gellius, xvi. 10.) The
Attic derivation of Heineccius, (Antiquitat. Rom. l. iv. tit. i. No.
13--21) is supported by the evidence of Aristophanes, his scholiast, and
Pollux. * Note: Nothing more is known of this ceremony; nevertheless
we find that already in his own days Gaius turned it into ridicule. He
says, (lib. iii. et p. 192, Sections 293,) prohibiti actio quadrupli
ex edicto praetoris introducta est; lex autem eo nomine nullam poenam
constituit. Hoc solum praecepit, ut qui quaerere velit, nudus quaerat,
linteo cinctus, lancem habens; qui si quid invenerit. jubet id lex
furtum manifestum esse. Quid sit autem linteum? quaesitum est. Sed
verius est consuti genus esse, quo necessariae partes tegerentur. Quare
lex tota ridicula est. Nam qui vestitum quaerere prohibet, is et nudum
quaerere prohibiturus est; eo magis, quod invenerit ibi imponat, neutrum
eorum procedit, si id quod quaeratur, ejus magnitudinis aut naturae
sit ut neque subjici, neque ibi imponi possit. Certe non dubitatur,
cujuscunque materiae sit ea lanx, satis legi fieri. We see moreover,
from this passage, that the basin, as most authors, resting on
the authority of Festus, have supposed, was not used to cover the
figure.--W. Gibbon says the face, though equally inaccurately. This
passage of Gaius, I must observe, as well as others in M. Warnkonig's
work, is very inaccurately printed.--M.]

[Footnote 52: In his Oration for Murena, (c. 9--13,) Cicero turns into
ridicule the forms and mysteries of the civilians, which are represented
with more candor by Aulus Gellius, (Noct. Attic. xx. 10,) Gravina, (Opp
p. 265, 266, 267,) and Heineccius, (Antiquitat. l. iv. tit. vi.) * Note:
Gibbon had conceived opinions too decided against the forms of procedure
in use among the Romans. Yet it is on these solemn forms that the
certainty of laws has been founded among all nations. Those of the
Romans were very intimately allied with the ancient religion, and
must of necessity have disappeared as Rome attained a higher degree
of civilization. Have not modern nations, even the most civilized,
overloaded their laws with a thousand forms, often absurd, almost always
trivial? How many examples are afforded by the English law! See, on the
nature of these forms, the work of M. de Savigny on the Vocation of our
Age for Legislation and Jurisprudence, Heidelberg, 1814, p. 9, 10.--W.
This work of M. Savigny has been translated into English by Mr.

A more liberal art was cultivated, however, by the sage of Rome, who, in
a stricter sense, may be considered as the authors of the civil law. The
alteration of the idiom and manners of the Romans rendered the style
of the Twelve Tables less familiar to each rising generation, and the
doubtful passages were imperfectly explained by the study of legal
antiquarians. To define the ambiguities, to circumscribe the latitude,
to apply the principles, to extend the consequences, to reconcile the
real or apparent contradictions, was a much nobler and more important
task; and the province of legislation was silently invaded by the
expounders of ancient statutes. Their subtle interpretations concurred
with the equity of the praetor, to reform the tyranny of the darker
ages: however strange or intricate the means, it was the aim of
artificial jurisprudence to restore the simple dictates of nature and
reason, and the skill of private citizens was usefully employed to
undermine the public institutions of their country. [521] The revolution
of almost one thousand years, from the Twelve Tables to the reign of
Justinian, may be divided into three periods, almost equal in duration,
and distinguished from each other by the mode of instruction and the
character of the civilians. [53] Pride and ignorance contributed, during
the first period, to confine within narrow limits the science of the
Roman law. On the public days of market or assembly, the masters of the
art were seen walking in the forum ready to impart the needful advice
to the meanest of their fellow-citizens, from whose votes, on a future
occasion, they might solicit a grateful return. As their years and
honors increased, they seated themselves at home on a chair or throne,
to expect with patient gravity the visits of their clients, who at the
dawn of day, from the town and country, began to thunder at their door.
The duties of social life, and the incidents of judicial proceeding,
were the ordinary subject of these consultations, and the verbal or
written opinion of the juris-consults was framed according to the rules
of prudence and law. The youths of their own order and family were
permitted to listen; their children enjoyed the benefit of more private
lessons, and the Mucian race was long renowned for the hereditary
knowledge of the civil law. The second period, the learned and splendid
age of jurisprudence, may be extended from the birth of Cicero to
the reign of Severus Alexander. A system was formed, schools were
instituted, books were composed, and both the living and the dead became
subservient to the instruction of the student. The tripartite of Aelius
Paetus, surnamed Catus, or the Cunning, was preserved as the oldest work
of Jurisprudence. Cato the censor derived some additional fame from his
legal studies, and those of his son: the kindred appellation of Mucius
Scaevola was illustrated by three sages of the law; but the perfection
of the science was ascribed to Servius Sulpicius, their disciple, and
the friend of Tully; and the long succession, which shone with equal
lustre under the republic and under the Caesars, is finally closed by
the respectable characters of Papinian, of Paul, and of Ulpian. Their
names, and the various titles of their productions, have been minutely
preserved, and the example of Labeo may suggest some idea of their
diligence and fecundity. That eminent lawyer of the Augustan age divided
the year between the city and country, between business and composition;
and four hundred books are enumerated as the fruit of his retirement. Of
the collection of his rival Capito, the two hundred and fifty-ninth book
is expressly quoted; and few teachers could deliver their opinions in
less than a century of volumes. In the third period, between the reigns
of Alexander and Justinian, the oracles of jurisprudence were almost
mute. The measure of curiosity had been filled: the throne was occupied
by tyrants and Barbarians, the active spirits were diverted by religious
disputes, and the professors of Rome, Constantinople, and Berytus,
were humbly content to repeat the lessons of their more enlightened
predecessors. From the slow advances and rapid decay of these legal
studies, it may be inferred, that they require a state of peace and
refinement. From the multitude of voluminous civilians who fill the
intermediate space, it is evident that such studies may be pursued,
and such works may be performed, with a common share of judgment,
experience, and industry. The genius of Cicero and Virgil was more
sensibly felt, as each revolving age had been found incapable of
producing a similar or a second: but the most eminent teachers of the
law were assured of leaving disciples equal or superior to themselves in
merit and reputation.

[Footnote 521: Compare, on the Responsa Prudentum, Warnkonig, Histoire
Externe du Droit Romain Bruxelles, 1836, p. 122.--M.]

[Footnote 53: The series of the civil lawyers is deduced by Pomponius,
(de Origine Juris Pandect. l. i. tit. ii.) The moderns have discussed,
with learning and criticism, this branch of literary history; and among
these I have chiefly been guided by Gravina (p. 41--79) and Hei neccius,
(Hist. J. R. No. 113-351.) Cicero, more especially in his books de
Oratore, de Claris Oratoribus, de Legibus, and the Clavie Ciceroniana
of Ernesti (under the names of Mucius, &c.) afford much genuine and
pleasing information. Horace often alludes to the morning labors of the
civilians, (Serm. I. i. 10, Epist. II. i. 103, &c)

     Agricolam laudat juris legumque peritus Sub galli cantum,
     consultor ubi ostia pulsat.
     Romae dulce diu fuit et solemne, reclusa Mane domo vigilare,
     clienti promere jura.

* Note: It is particularly in this division of the history of
the Roman jurisprudence into epochs, that Gibbon displays his profound
knowledge of the laws of this people. M. Hugo, adopting this division,
prefaced these three periods with the history of the times anterior to
the Law of the Twelve Tables, which are, as it were, the infancy of the
Roman law.--W]

The jurisprudence which had been grossly adapted to the wants of the
first Romans, was polished and improved in the seventh century of the
city, by the alliance of Grecian philosophy. The Scaevolas had been
taught by use and experience; but Servius Sulpicius [5311] was the first
civilian who established his art on a certain and general theory. [54]
For the discernment of truth and falsehood he applied, as an infallible
rule, the logic of Aristotle and the stoics, reduced particular cases
to general principles, and diffused over the shapeless mass the light of
order and eloquence. Cicero, his contemporary and friend, declined the
reputation of a professed lawyer; but the jurisprudence of his country
was adorned by his incomparable genius, which converts into gold every
object that it touches. After the example of Plato, he composed a
republic; and, for the use of his republic, a treatise of laws; in which
he labors to deduce from a celestial origin the wisdom and justice of
the Roman constitution. The whole universe, according to his sublime
hypothesis, forms one immense commonwealth: gods and men, who
participate of the same essence, are members of the same community;
reason prescribes the law of nature and nations; and all positive
institutions, however modified by accident or custom, are drawn from
the rule of right, which the Deity has inscribed on every virtuous mind.
From these philosophical mysteries, he mildly excludes the sceptics
who refuse to believe, and the epicureans who are unwilling to act. The
latter disdain the care of the republic: he advises them to slumber in
their shady gardens. But he humbly entreats that the new academy would
be silent, since her bold objections would too soon destroy the fair and
well ordered structure of his lofty system. [55] Plato, Aristotle, and
Zeno, he represents as the only teachers who arm and instruct a citizen
for the duties of social life. Of these, the armor of the stoics [56]
was found to be of the firmest temper; and it was chiefly worn, both for
use and ornament, in the schools of jurisprudence. From the portico, the
Roman civilians learned to live, to reason, and to die: but they imbibed
in some degree the prejudices of the sect; the love of paradox, the
pertinacious habits of dispute, and a minute attachment to words and
verbal distinctions. The superiority of form to matter was introduced
to ascertain the right of property: and the equality of crimes is
countenanced by an opinion of Trebatius, [57] that he who touches the
ear, touches the whole body; and that he who steals from a heap of corn,
or a hogshead of wine, is guilty of the entire theft. [58]

[Footnote 5311: M. Hugo thinks that the ingenious system of the
Institutes adopted by a great number of the ancient lawyers, and by
Justinian himself, dates from Severus Sulpicius. Hist du Droit Romain,
vol.iii.p. 119.--W.]

[Footnote 54: Crassus, or rather Cicero himself, proposes (de Oratore,
i. 41, 42) an idea of the art or science of jurisprudence, which the
eloquent, but illiterate, Antonius (i. 58) affects to deride. It was
partly executed by Servius Sulpicius, (in Bruto, c. 41,) whose praises
are elegantly varied in the classic Latinity of the Roman Gravina, (p.

[Footnote 55: Perturbatricem autem omnium harum rerum academiam, hanc ab
Arcesila et Carneade recentem, exoremus ut sileat, nam si invaserit
in haec, quae satis scite instructa et composita videantur, nimis edet
ruinas, quam quidem ego placare cupio, submovere non audeo. (de Legibus,
i. 13.) From this passage alone, Bentley (Remarks on Free-thinking,
p. 250) might have learned how firmly Cicero believed in the specious
doctrines which he has adorned.]

[Footnote 56: The stoic philosophy was first taught at Rome by
Panaetius, the friend of the younger Scipio, (see his life in the Mem.
de l'Academis des Inscriptions, tom. x. p. 75--89.)]

[Footnote 57: As he is quoted by Ulpian, (leg.40, 40, ad Sabinum in
Pandect. l. xlvii. tit. ii. leg. 21.) Yet Trebatius, after he was a
leading civilian, que qui familiam duxit, became an epicurean, (Cicero
ad Fam. vii. 5.) Perhaps he was not constant or sincere in his new sect.
* Note: Gibbon had entirely misunderstood this phrase of Cicero. It was
only since his time that the real meaning of the author was apprehended.
Cicero, in enumerating the qualifications of Trebatius, says, Accedit
etiam, quod familiam ducit in jure civili, singularis memoria, summa
scientia, which means that Trebatius possessed a still further most
important qualification for a student of civil law, a remarkable memory,
&c. This explanation, already conjectured by G. Menage, Amaenit. Juris
Civilis, c. 14, is found in the dictionary of Scheller, v. Familia, and
in the History of the Roman Law by M. Hugo. Many authors have asserted,
without any proof sufficient to warrant the conjecture, that Trebatius
was of the school of Epicurus--W.]

[Footnote 58: See Gravina (p. 45--51) and the ineffectual cavils
of Mascou. Heineccius (Hist. J. R. No. 125) quotes and approves a
dissertation of Everard Otto, de Stoica Jurisconsultorum Philosophia.]

Arms, eloquence, and the study of the civil law, promoted a citizen to
the honors of the Roman state; and the three professions were
sometimes more conspicuous by their union in the same character. In
the composition of the edict, a learned praetor gave a sanction and
preference to his private sentiments; the opinion of a censor, or a
counsel, was entertained with respect; and a doubtful interpretation of
the laws might be supported by the virtues or triumphs of the civilian.
The patrician arts were long protected by the veil of mystery; and in
more enlightened times, the freedom of inquiry established the general
principles of jurisprudence. Subtile and intricate cases were elucidated
by the disputes of the forum: rules, axioms, and definitions, [59] were
admitted as the genuine dictates of reason; and the consent of the legal
professors was interwoven into the practice of the tribunals. But these
interpreters could neither enact nor execute the laws of the republic;
and the judges might disregard the authority of the Scaevolas
themselves, which was often overthrown by the eloquence or sophistry
of an ingenious pleader. [60] Augustus and Tiberius were the first
to adopt, as a useful engine, the science of the civilians; and their
servile labors accommodated the old system to the spirit and views of
despotism. Under the fair pretence of securing the dignity of the art,
the privilege of subscribing legal and valid opinions was confined to
the sages of senatorian or equestrian rank, who had been previously
approved by the judgment of the prince; and this monopoly prevailed,
till Adrian restored the freedom of the profession to every citizen
conscious of his abilities and knowledge. The discretion of the praetor
was now governed by the lessons of his teachers; the judges were
enjoined to obey the comment as well as the text of the law; and the use
of codicils was a memorable innovation, which Augustus ratified by the
advice of the civilians. [61] [6111]

[Footnote 59: We have heard of the Catonian rule, the Aquilian
stipulation, and the Manilian forms, of 211 maxims, and of 247
definitions, (Pandect. l. i. tit. xvi. xvii.)]

[Footnote 60: Read Cicero, l. i. de Oratore, Topica, pro Murena.]

[Footnote 61: See Pomponius, (de Origine Juris Pandect. l. i. tit. ii.
leg. 2, No 47,) Heineccius, (ad Institut. l. i. tit. ii. No. 8, l. ii.
tit. xxv. in Element et Antiquitat.,) and Gravina, (p. 41--45.) Yet the
monopoly of Augustus, a harsh measure, would appear with some softening
in contemporary evidence; and it was probably veiled by a decree of the

[Footnote 6111: The author here follows the then generally received
opinion of Heineccius. The proofs which appear to confirm it are l. 2
47, D. I. 2, and 8. Instit. I. 2. The first of these passages speaks
expressly of a privilege granted to certain lawyers, until the time of
Adrian, publice respondendi jus ante Augusti tempora non dabatur. Primus
Divus ut major juris auctoritas haberetur, constituit, ut ex auctoritate
ejus responderent. The passage of the Institutes speaks of the different
opinions of those, quibus est permissum jura condere. It is true that
the first of these passages does not say that the opinion of these
privileged lawyers had the force of a law for the judges. For this
reason M. Hugo altogether rejects the opinion adopted by Heineccius, by
Bach, and in general by all the writers who preceded him. He conceives
that the 8 of the Institutes referred to the constitution of Valentinian
III., which regulated the respective authority to be ascribed to the
different writings of the great civilians. But we have now the following
passage in the Institutes of Gaius: Responsa prudentum sunt sententiae
et opiniones eorum, quibus permissum est jura condere; quorum omnium
si in unum sententiae concorrupt, id quod ita sentiunt, legis vicem
obtinet, si vero dissentiunt, judici licet, quam velit sententiam
sequi, idque rescripto Divi Hadrian signiticatur. I do not know, how in
opposition to this passage, the opinion of M. Hugo can be maintained. We
must add to this the passage quoted from Pomponius and from such strong
proofs, it seems incontestable that the emperors had granted some kind
of privilege to certain civilians, quibus permissum erat jura condere.
Their opinion had sometimes the force of law, legis vicem. M. Hugo,
endeavoring to reconcile this phrase with his system, gives it a forced
interpretation, which quite alters the sense; he supposes that the
passage contains no more than what is evident of itself, that the
authority of the civilians was to be respected, thus making a privilege
of that which was free to all the world. It appears to me almost
indisputable, that the emperors had sanctioned certain provisions
relative to the authority of these civilians, consulted by the judges.
But how far was their advice to be respected? This is a question
which it is impossible to answer precisely, from the want of historic
evidence. Is it not possible that the emperors established an authority
to be consulted by the judges? and in this case this authority must have
emanated from certain civilians named for this purpose by the emperors.
See Hugo, l. c. Moreover, may not the passage of Suetonius, in the Life
of Caligula, where he says that the emperor would no longer permit
the civilians to give their advice, mean that Caligula entertained the
design of suppressing this institution? See on this passage the Themis,
vol. xi. p. 17, 36. Our author not being acquainted with the opinions
opposed to Heineccius has not gone to the bottom of the subject.--W.]

The most absolute mandate could only require that the judges should
agree with the civilians, if the civilians agreed among themselves. But
positive institutions are often the result of custom and prejudice; laws
and language are ambiguous and arbitrary; where reason is incapable of
pronouncing, the love of argument is inflamed by the envy of rivals,
the vanity of masters, the blind attachment of their disciples; and
the Roman jurisprudence was divided by the once famous sects of the
Proculians and Sabinians. [62] Two sages of the law, Ateius Capito and
Antistius Labeo, [63] adorned the peace of the Augustan age; the former
distinguished by the favor of his sovereign; the latter more illustrious
by his contempt of that favor, and his stern though harmless opposition
to the tyrant of Rome. Their legal studies were influenced by the
various colors of their temper and principles. Labeo was attached to
the form of the old republic; his rival embraced the more profitable
substance of the rising monarchy. But the disposition of a courtier
is tame and submissive; and Capito seldom presumed to deviate from the
sentiments, or at least from the words, of his predecessors; while the
bold republican pursued his independent ideas without fear of paradox or
innovations. The freedom of Labeo was enslaved, however, by the rigor of
his own conclusions, and he decided, according to the letter of the
law, the same questions which his indulgent competitor resolved with
a latitude of equity more suitable to the common sense and feelings
of mankind. If a fair exchange had been substituted to the payment of
money, Capito still considered the transaction as a legal sale; [64]
and he consulted nature for the age of puberty, without confining his
definition to the precise period of twelve or fourteen years. [65] This
opposition of sentiments was propagated in the writings and lessons
of the two founders; the schools of Capito and Labeo maintained their
inveterate conflict from the age of Augustus to that of Adrian; [66]
and the two sects derived their appellations from Sabinus and Proculus,
their most celebrated teachers. The names of Cassians and Pegasians were
likewise applied to the same parties; but, by a strange reverse,
the popular cause was in the hands of Pegasus, [67] a timid slave of
Domitian, while the favorite of the Caesars was represented by Cassius,
[68] who gloried in his descent from the patriot assassin. By the
perpetual edict, the controversies of the sects were in a great measure
determined. For that important work, the emperor Adrian preferred the
chief of the Sabinians: the friends of monarchy prevailed; but the
moderation of Salvius Julian insensibly reconciled the victors and the
vanquished. Like the contemporary philosophers, the lawyers of the age
of the Antonines disclaimed the authority of a master, and adopted from
every system the most probable doctrines. [69] But their writings would
have been less voluminous, had their choice been more unanimous. The
conscience of the judge was perplexed by the number and weight of
discordant testimonies, and every sentence that his passion or interest
might pronounce was justified by the sanction of some venerable name. An
indulgent edict of the younger Theodosius excused him from the labor of
comparing and weighing their arguments. Five civilians, Caius, Papinian,
Paul, Ulpian, and Modestinus, were established as the oracles of
jurisprudence: a majority was decisive: but if their opinions were
equally divided, a casting vote was ascribed to the superior wisdom of
Papinian. [70]

[Footnote 62: I have perused the Diatribe of Gotfridus Mascovius, the
learned Mascou, de Sectis Jurisconsultorum, (Lipsiae, 1728, in 12mo., p.
276,) a learned treatise on a narrow and barren ground.]

[Footnote 63: See the character of Antistius Labeo in Tacitus, (Annal.
iii. 75,) and in an epistle of Ateius Capito, (Aul. Gellius, xiii. 12,)
who accuses his rival of libertas nimia et vecors. Yet Horace would not
have lashed a virtuous and respectable senator; and I must adopt the
emendation of Bentley, who reads Labieno insanior, (Serm. I. iii. 82.)
See Mascou, de Sectis, (c. i. p. 1--24.)]

[Footnote 64: Justinian (Institut. l. iii. tit. 23, and Theophil. Vers.
Graec. p. 677, 680) has commemorated this weighty dispute, and the
verses of Homer that were alleged on either side as legal authorities.
It was decided by Paul, (leg. 33, ad Edict. in Pandect. l. xviii.
tit. i. leg. 1,) since, in a simple exchange, the buyer could not be
discriminated from the seller.]

[Footnote 65: This controversy was likewise given for the Proculians, to
supersede the indecency of a search, and to comply with the aphorism of
Hippocrates, who was attached to the septenary number of two weeks of
years, or 700 of days, (Institut. l. i. tit. xxii.) Plutarch and the
Stoics (de Placit. Philosoph. l. v. c. 24) assign a more natural reason.
Fourteen years is the age. See the vestigia of the sects in Mascou, c.
ix. p. 145--276.]

[Footnote 66: The series and conclusion of the sects are described by
Mascou, (c. ii.--vii. p. 24--120;) and it would be almost ridiculous to
praise his equal justice to these obsolete sects. * Note: The work
of Gaius, subsequent to the time of Adrian, furnishes us with some
information on this subject. The disputes which rose between these two
sects appear to have been very numerous. Gaius avows himself a disciple
of Sabinus and of Caius. Compare Hugo, vol. ii. p. 106.--W.]

[Footnote 67: At the first summons he flies to the turbot-council;
yet Juvenal (Satir. iv. 75--81) styles the praefect or bailiff of Rome
sanctissimus legum interpres. From his science, says the old scholiast,
he was called, not a man, but a book. He derived the singular name of
Pegasus from the galley which his father commanded.]

[Footnote 68: Tacit. Annal. xvii. 7. Sueton. in Nerone, c. xxxvii.]

[Footnote 69: Mascou, de Sectis, c. viii. p. 120--144 de Herciscundis,
a legal term which was applied to these eclectic lawyers: herciscere is
synonymous to dividere. * Note: This word has never existed. Cujacius
is the author of it, who read me words terris condi in Servius ad Virg.
herciscundi, to which he gave an erroneous interpretation.--W.]

[Footnote 70: See the Theodosian Code, l. i. tit. iv. with Godefroy's
Commentary, tom. i. p. 30--35. [! This decree might give occasion to
Jesuitical disputes like those in the Lettres Provinciales, whether a
Judge was obliged to follow the opinion of Papinian, or of a majority,
against his judgment, against his conscience, &c. Yet a legislator might
give that opinion, however false, the validity, not of truth, but of
law. Note: We possess (since 1824) some interesting information as to
the framing of the Theodosian Code, and its ratification at Rome, in the
year 438. M. Closius, now professor at Dorpat in Russia, and M. Peyron,
member of the Academy of Turin, have discovered, the one at Milan, the
other at Turin, a great part of the five first books of the Code which
were wanting, and besides this, the reports (gesta) of the sitting of
the senate at Rome, in which the Code was published, in the year
after the marriage of Valentinian III. Among these pieces are the
constitutions which nominate commissioners for the formation of the
Code; and though there are many points of considerable obscurity
in these documents, they communicate many facts relative to this
legislation. 1. That Theodosius designed a great reform in the
legislation; to add to the Gregorian and Hermogenian codes all the new
constitutions from Constantine to his own day; and to frame a second
code for common use with extracts from the three codes, and from the
works of the civil lawyers. All laws either abrogated or fallen into
disuse were to be noted under their proper heads. 2. An Ordinance was
issued in 429 to form a commission for this purpose of nine persons,
of which Antiochus, as quaestor and praefectus, was president. A
second commission of sixteen members was issued in 435 under the
same president. 3. A code, which we possess under the name of Codex
Theodosianus, was finished in 438, published in the East, in an
ordinance addressed to the Praetorian praefect, Florentinus, and
intended to be published in the West. 4. Before it was published in the
West, Valentinian submitted it to the senate. There is a report of
the proceedings of the senate, which closed with loud acclamations and
gratulations.--From Warnkonig, Histoire du Droit Romain, p. 169-Wenck
has published this work, Codicis Theodosiani libri priores. Leipzig,
1825.--M.] * Note *: Closius of Tubingen communicated to M.Warnkonig
the two following constitutions of the emperor Constantine, which he
discovered in the Ambrosian library at Milan:-- 1. Imper. Constantinus
Aug. ad Maximium Praef. Praetorio. Perpetuas prudentum contentiones
eruere cupientes, Ulpiani ac Pauli, in Papinianum notas, qui dum ingenii
laudem sectantur, non tam corrigere eum quam depravere maluerunt,
aboleri praecepimus. Dat. III. Kalend. Octob. Const. Cons. et Crispi,
(321.) Idem. Aug. ad Maximium Praef Praet. Universa, quae scriptura
Pauli continentur, recepta auctoritate firmanda runt, et omni
veneratione celebranda. Ideoque sententiarum libros plepissima luce
et perfectissima elocutione et justissima juris ratione succinctos in
judiciis prolatos valere minimie dubitatur. Dat. V. Kalend. Oct. Trovia
Coust. et Max. Coss. (327.)--W]

Chapter XLIV: Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.--Part IV.

When Justinian ascended the throne, the reformation of the Roman
jurisprudence was an arduous but indispensable task. In the space of ten
centuries, the infinite variety of laws and legal opinions had filled
many thousand volumes, which no fortune could purchase and no capacity
could digest. Books could not easily be found; and the judges, poor in
the midst of riches, were reduced to the exercise of their illiterate
discretion. The subjects of the Greek provinces were ignorant of the
language that disposed of their lives and properties; and the barbarous
dialect of the Latins was imperfectly studied in the academies of
Berytus and Constantinople. As an Illyrian soldier, that idiom was
familiar to the infancy of Justinian; his youth had been instructed by
the lessons of jurisprudence, and his Imperial choice selected the most
learned civilians of the East, to labor with their sovereign in the
work of reformation. [71] The theory of professors was assisted by the
practice of advocates, and the experience of magistrates; and the
whole undertaking was animated by the spirit of Tribonian. [72] This
extraordinary man, the object of so much praise and censure, was
a native of Side in Pamphylia; and his genius, like that of Bacon,
embraced, as his own, all the business and knowledge of the age.
Tribonian composed, both in prose and verse, on a strange diversity of
curious and abstruse subjects: [73] a double panegyric of Justinian and
the life of the philosopher Theodotus; the nature of happiness and the
duties of government; Homer's catalogue and the four-and-twenty sorts of
metre; the astronomical canon of Ptolemy; the changes of the months;
the houses of the planets; and the harmonic system of the world. To the
literature of Greece he added the use of the Latin tonque; the Roman
civilians were deposited in his library and in his mind; and he most
assiduously cultivated those arts which opened the road of wealth and
preferment. From the bar of the Praetorian praefects, he raised himself
to the honors of quaestor, of consul, and of master of the offices: the
council of Justinian listened to his eloquence and wisdom; and envy
was mitigated by the gentleness and affability of his manners. The
reproaches of impiety and avarice have stained the virtue or the
reputation of Tribonian. In a bigoted and persecuting court, the
principal minister was accused of a secret aversion to the Christian
faith, and was supposed to entertain the sentiments of an Atheist and
a Pagan, which have been imputed, inconsistently enough, to the last
philosophers of Greece. His avarice was more clearly proved and more
sensibly felt. If he were swayed by gifts in the administration of
justice, the example of Bacon will again occur; nor can the merit of
Tribonian atone for his baseness, if he degraded the sanctity of his
profession; and if laws were every day enacted, modified, or repealed,
for the base consideration of his private emolument. In the sedition of
Constantinople, his removal was granted to the clamors, perhaps to the
just indignation, of the people: but the quaestor was speedily restored,
and, till the hour of his death, he possessed, above twenty years, the
favor and confidence of the emperor. His passive and dutiful submission
had been honored with the praise of Justinian himself, whose vanity was
incapable of discerning how often that submission degenerated into the
grossest adulation. Tribonian adored the virtues of his gracious of
his gracious master; the earth was unworthy of such a prince; and he
affected a pious fear, that Justinian, like Elijah or Romulus, would be
snatched into the air, and translated alive to the mansions of celestial
glory. [74]

[Footnote 71: For the legal labors of Justinian, I have studied the
Preface to the Institutes; the 1st, 2d, and 3d Prefaces to the Pandects;
the 1st and 2d Preface to the Code; and the Code itself, (l. i. tit.
xvii. de Veteri Jure enucleando.) After these original testimonies,
I have consulted, among the moderns, Heineccius, (Hist. J. R. No.
383--404,) Terasson. (Hist. de la Jurisprudence Romaine, p. 295--356,)
Gravina, (Opp. p. 93-100,) and Ludewig, in his Life of Justinian,
(p.19--123, 318-321; for the Code and Novels, p. 209--261; for the
Digest or Pandects, p. 262--317.)]

[Footnote 72: For the character of Tribonian, see the testimonies of
Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 23, 24. Anecdot. c. 13, 20,) and Suidas,
(tom. iii. p. 501, edit. Kuster.) Ludewig (in Vit. Justinian, p.
175--209) works hard, very hard, to whitewash--the blackamoor.]

[Footnote 73: I apply the two passages of Suidas to the same man; every
circumstance so exactly tallies. Yet the lawyers appear ignorant; and
Fabricius is inclined to separate the two characters, (Bibliot. Grae.
tom. i. p. 341, ii. p. 518, iii. p. 418, xii. p. 346, 353, 474.)]

[Footnote 74: This story is related by Hesychius, (de Viris
Illustribus,) Procopius, (Anecdot. c. 13,) and Suidas, (tom. iii. p.
501.) Such flattery is incredible! --Nihil est quod credere de se Non
possit, cum laudatur Diis aequa potestas. Fontenelle (tom. i. p.
32--39) has ridiculed the impudence of the modest Virgil. But the same
Fontenelle places his king above the divine Augustus; and the sage
Boileau has not blushed to say, "Le destin a ses yeux n'oseroit
balancer" Yet neither Augustus nor Louis XIV. were fools.]

If Caesar had achieved the reformation of the Roman law, his creative
genius, enlightened by reflection and study, would have given to the
world a pure and original system of jurisprudence. Whatever flattery
might suggest, the emperor of the East was afraid to establish his
private judgment as the standard of equity: in the possession of
legislative power, he borrowed the aid of time and opinion; and his
laborious compilations are guarded by the sages and legislature of past
times. Instead of a statue cast in a simple mould by the hand of an
artist, the works of Justinian represent a tessellated pavement of
antique and costly, but too often of incoherent, fragments. In the first
year of his reign, he directed the faithful Tribonian, and nine learned
associates, to revise the ordinances of his predecessors, as they were
contained, since the time of Adrian, in the Gregorian Hermogenian, and
Theodosian codes; to purge the errors and contradictions, to retrench
whatever was obsolete or superfluous, and to select the wise and
salutary laws best adapted to the practice of the tribunals and the use
of his subjects. The work was accomplished in fourteen months; and
the twelve books or tables, which the new decemvirs produced, might be
designed to imitate the labors of their Roman predecessors. The new
Code of Justinian was honored with his name, and confirmed by his royal
signature: authentic transcripts were multiplied by the pens of notaries
and scribes; they were transmitted to the magistrates of the European,
the Asiatic, and afterwards the African provinces; and the law of the
empire was proclaimed on solemn festivals at the doors of churches.
A more arduous operation was still behind--to extract the spirit of
jurisprudence from the decisions and conjectures, the questions and
disputes, of the Roman civilians. Seventeen lawyers, with Tribonian
at their head, were appointed by the emperor to exercise an absolute
jurisdiction over the works of their predecessors. If they had obeyed
his commands in ten years, Justinian would have been satisfied with
their diligence; and the rapid composition of the Digest of Pandects,
[75] in three years, will deserve praise or censure, according to the
merit of the execution. From the library of Tribonian, they chose forty,
the most eminent civilians of former times: [76] two thousand treatises
were comprised in an abridgment of fifty books; and it has been
carefully recorded, that three millions of lines or sentences, [77] were
reduced, in this abstract, to the moderate number of one hundred and
fifty thousand. The edition of this great work was delayed a month
after that of the Institutes; and it seemed reasonable that the elements
should precede the digest of the Roman law. As soon as the emperor
had approved their labors, he ratified, by his legislative power, the
speculations of these private citizens: their commentaries, on the
twelve tables, the perpetual edict, the laws of the people, and the
decrees of the senate, succeeded to the authority of the text; and the
text was abandoned, as a useless, though venerable, relic of antiquity.
The Code, the Pandects, and the Institutes, were declared to be the
legitimate system of civil jurisprudence; they alone were admitted into
the tribunals, and they alone were taught in the academies of Rome,
Constantinople, and Berytus. Justinian addressed to the senate and
provinces his eternal oracles; and his pride, under the mask of piety,
ascribed the consummation of this great design to the support and
inspiration of the Deity.

[Footnote 75: General receivers was a common title of the Greek
miscellanies, (Plin. Praefat. ad Hist. Natur.) The Digesta of Scaevola,
Marcellinus, Celsus, were already familiar to the civilians: but
Justinian was in the wrong when he used the two appellations as
synonymous. Is the word Pandects Greek or Latin--masculine or feminine?
The diligent Brenckman will not presume to decide these momentous
controversies, (Hist. Pandect. Florentine. p. 200--304.) Note: The word
was formerly in common use. See the preface is Aulus Gellius--W]

[Footnote 76: Angelus Politianus (l. v. Epist. ult.) reckons
thirty-seven (p. 192--200) civilians quoted in the Pandects--a learned,
and for his times, an extraordinary list. The Greek index to the
Pandects enumerates thirty-nine, and forty are produced by the
indefatigable Fabricius, (Bibliot. Graec. tom. iii. p. 488--502.)
Antoninus Augustus (de Nominibus Propriis Pandect. apud Ludewig, p.
283) is said to have added fifty-four names; but they must be vague or
second-hand references.]

[Footnote 77: The item of the ancient Mss. may be strictly defined as
sentences or periods of a complete sense, which, on the breadth of the
parchment rolls or volumes, composed as many lines of unequal length.
The number in each book served as a check on the errors of the scribes,
(Ludewig, p. 211--215; and his original author Suicer. Thesaur.
Ecclesiast. tom. i. p 1021-1036).]

Since the emperor declined the fame and envy of original composition, we
can only require, at his hands, method choice, and fidelity, the
humble, though indispensable, virtues of a compiler. Among the various
combinations of ideas, it is difficult to assign any reasonable
preference; but as the order of Justinian is different in his three
works, it is possible that all may be wrong; and it is certain that
two cannot be right. In the selection of ancient laws, he seems to have
viewed his predecessors without jealousy, and with equal regard: the
series could not ascend above the reign of Adrian, and the narrow
distinction of Paganism and Christianity, introduced by the superstition
of Theodosius, had been abolished by the consent of mankind. But the
jurisprudence of the Pandects is circumscribed within a period of
a hundred years, from the perpetual edict to the death of Severus
Alexander: the civilians who lived under the first Caesars are seldom
permitted to speak, and only three names can be attributed to the age of
the republic. The favorite of Justinian (it has been fiercely urged) was
fearful of encountering the light of freedom and the gravity of Roman

Tribonian condemned to oblivion the genuine and native wisdom of Cato,
the Scaevolas, and Sulpicius; while he invoked spirits more congenial to
his own, the Syrians, Greeks, and Africans, who flocked to the Imperial
court to study Latin as a foreign tongue, and jurisprudence as a
lucrative profession. But the ministers of Justinian, [78] were
instructed to labor, not for the curiosity of antiquarians, but for
the immediate benefit of his subjects. It was their duty to select the
useful and practical parts of the Roman law; and the writings of the old
republicans, however curious on excellent, were no longer suited to
the new system of manners, religion, and government. Perhaps, if the
preceptors and friends of Cicero were still alive, our candor would
acknowledge, that, except in purity of language, [79] their intrinsic
merit was excelled by the school of Papinian and Ulpian. The science of
the laws is the slow growth of time and experience, and the advantage
both of method and materials, is naturally assumed by the most recent
authors. The civilians of the reign of the Antonines had studied the
works of their predecessors: their philosophic spirit had mitigated the
rigor of antiquity, simplified the forms of proceeding, and emerged
from the jealousy and prejudice of the rival sects. The choice of
the authorities that compose the Pandects depended on the judgment of
Tribonian: but the power of his sovereign could not absolve him from
the sacred obligations of truth and fidelity. As the legislator of the
empire, Justinian might repeal the acts of the Antonines, or condemn, as
seditious, the free principles, which were maintained by the last of the
Roman lawyers. [80] But the existence of past facts is placed beyond
the reach of despotism; and the emperor was guilty of fraud and forgery,
when he corrupted the integrity of their text, inscribed with their
venerable names the words and ideas of his servile reign, [81] and
suppressed, by the hand of power, the pure and authentic copies of
their sentiments. The changes and interpolations of Tribonian and his
colleagues are excused by the pretence of uniformity: but their cares
have been insufficient, and the antinomies, or contradictions of the
Code and Pandects, still exercise the patience and subtilty of modern
civilians. [82]

[Footnote 78: An ingenious and learned oration of Schultingius
(Jurisprudentia Ante-Justinianea, p. 883--907) justifies the choice of
Tribonian, against the passionate charges of Francis Hottoman and his

[Footnote 79: Strip away the crust of Tribonian, and allow for the use
of technical words, and the Latin of the Pandects will be found
not unworthy of the silver age. It has been vehemently attacked by
Laurentius Valla, a fastidious grammarian of the xvth century, and by
his apologist Floridus Sabinus. It has been defended by Alciat, and
a name less advocate, (most probably James Capellus.) Their various
treatises are collected by Duker, (Opuscula de Latinitate veterum
Jurisconsultorum, Lugd. Bat. 1721, in 12mo.) Note: Gibbon is mistaken
with regard to Valla, who, though he inveighs against the barbarous
style of the civilians of his own day, lavishes the highest praise on
the admirable purity of the language of the ancient writers on civil
law. (M. Warnkonig quotes a long passage of Valla in justification of
this observation.) Since his time, this truth has been recognized by
men of the highest eminence, such as Erasmus, David Hume and

[Footnote 80: Nomina quidem veteribus servavimus, legum autem veritatem
nostram fecimus. Itaque siquid erat in illis seditiosum, multa autem
talia erant ibi reposita, hoc decisum est et definitum, et in perspicuum
finem deducta est quaeque lex, (Cod. Justinian. l. i. tit. xvii. leg.
3, No 10.) A frank confession! * Note: Seditiosum, in the language of
Justinian, means not seditious, but discounted.--W.]

[Footnote 81: The number of these emblemata (a polite name for
forgeries) is much reduced by Bynkershoek, (in the four last books of
his Observations,) who poorly maintains the right of Justinian and the
duty of Tribonian.]

[Footnote 82: The antinomies, or opposite laws of the Code and
Pandects, are sometimes the cause, and often the excuse, of the glorious
uncertainty of the civil law, which so often affords what Montaigne
calls "Questions pour l'Ami." See a fine passage of Franciscus Balduinus
in Justinian, (l. ii. p. 259, &c., apud Ludewig, p. 305, 306.)]

A rumor devoid of evidence has been propagated by the enemies of
Justinian; that the jurisprudence of ancient Rome was reduced to ashes
by the author of the Pandects, from the vain persuasion, that it was now
either false or superfluous. Without usurping an office so
invidious, the emperor might safely commit to ignorance and time the
accomplishments of this destructive wish. Before the invention of
printing and paper, the labor and the materials of writing could be
purchased only by the rich; and it may reasonably be computed, that the
price of books was a hundred fold their present value. [83] Copies were
slowly multiplied and cautiously renewed: the hopes of profit tempted
the sacrilegious scribes to erase the characters of antiquity, [8311]
and Sophocles or Tacitus were obliged to resign the parchment to
missals, homilies, and the golden legend. [84] If such was the fate
of the most beautiful compositions of genius, what stability could be
expected for the dull and barren works of an obsolete science? The books
of jurisprudence were interesting to few, and entertaining to none:
their value was connected with present use, and they sunk forever as
soon as that use was superseded by the innovations of fashion, superior
merit, or public authority. In the age of peace and learning, between
Cicero and the last of the Antonines, many losses had been already
sustained, and some luminaries of the school, or forum, were known only
to the curious by tradition and report. Three hundred and sixty years
of disorder and decay accelerated the progress of oblivion; and it may
fairly be presumed, that of the writings, which Justinian is accused
of neglecting, many were no longer to be found in the libraries of the
East. [85] The copies of Papinian, or Ulpian, which the reformer had
proscribed, were deemed unworthy of future notice: the Twelve Tables and
praetorian edicts insensibly vanished, and the monuments of ancient Rome
were neglected or destroyed by the envy and ignorance of the Greeks.
Even the Pandects themselves have escaped with difficulty and danger
from the common shipwreck, and criticism has pronounced that all the
editions and manuscripts of the West are derived from one original. [86]
It was transcribed at Constantinople in the beginning of the seventh
century, [87] was successively transported by the accidents of war
and commerce to Amalphi, [88] Pisa, [89] and Florence, [90] and is now
deposited as a sacred relic [91] in the ancient palace of the republic.

[Footnote 83: When Faust, or Faustus, sold at Paris his first printed
Bibles as manuscripts, the price of a parchment copy was reduced from
four or five hundred to sixty, fifty, and forty crowns. The public
was at first pleased with the cheapness, and at length provoked by the
discovery of the fraud, (Mattaire, Annal. Typograph. tom. i. p. 12;
first edit.)]

[Footnote 8311: Among the works which have been recovered, by the
persevering and successful endeavors of M. Mai and his followers to
trace the imperfectly erased characters of the ancient writers on these
Palimpsests, Gibbon at this period of his labors would have hailed with
delight the recovery of the Institutes of Gaius, and the fragments of
the Theodosian Code, published by M Keyron of Turin.--M.]

[Footnote 84: This execrable practice prevailed from the viiith, and
more especially from the xiith, century, when it became almost universal
(Montfaucon, in the Memoires de l'Academie, tom. vi. p. 606, &c.
Bibliotheque Raisonnee de la Diplomatique, tom. i. p. 176.)]

[Footnote 85: Pomponius (Pandect. l. i. tit. ii. leg. 2) observes, that
of the three founders of the civil law, Mucius, Brutus, and Manilius,
extant volumina, scripta Manilii monumenta; that of some old republican
lawyers, haec versantur eorum scripta inter manus hominum. Eight of the
Augustan sages were reduced to a compendium: of Cascellius, scripta non
extant sed unus liber, &c.; of Trebatius, minus frequentatur; of Tubero,
libri parum grati sunt. Many quotations in the Pandects are derived from
books which Tribonian never saw; and in the long period from the viith
to the xiiith century of Rome, the apparent reading of the moderns
successively depends on the knowledge and veracity of their

[Footnote 86: All, in several instances, repeat the errors of the scribe
and the transpositions of some leaves in the Florentine Pandects. This
fact, if it be true, is decisive. Yet the Pandects are quoted by Ivo of
Chartres, (who died in 1117,) by Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, and
by Vacarius, our first professor, in the year 1140, (Selden ad Fletam,
c. 7, tom. ii. p. 1080--1085.) Have our British Mss. of the Pandects
been collated?]

[Footnote 87: See the description of this original in Brenckman, (Hist.
Pandect. Florent. l. i. c. 2, 3, p. 4--17, and l. ii.) Politian, an
enthusiast, revered it as the authentic standard of Justinian himself,
(p. 407, 408;) but this paradox is refuted by the abbreviations of the
Florentine Ms. (l. ii. c. 3, p. 117-130.) It is composed of two
quarto volumes, with large margins, on a thin parchment, and the Latin
characters betray the band of a Greek scribe.]

[Footnote 88: Brenckman, at the end of his history, has inserted two
dissertations on the republic of Amalphi, and the Pisan war in the year
1135, &c.]

[Footnote 89: The discovery of the Pandects at Amalphi (A. D 1137) is
first noticed (in 1501) by Ludovicus Bologninus, (Brenckman, l. i.
c. 11, p. 73, 74, l. iv. c. 2, p. 417--425,) on the faith of a Pisan
chronicle, (p. 409, 410,) without a name or a date. The whole story,
though unknown to the xiith century, embellished by ignorant ages,
and suspected by rigid criticism, is not, however, destitute of much
internal probability, (l. i. c. 4--8, p. 17--50.) The Liber Pandectarum
of Pisa was undoubtedly consulted in the xivth century by the great
Bartolus, (p. 406, 407. See l. i. c. 9, p. 50--62.) Note: Savigny (vol.
iii. p. 83, 89) examines and rejects the whole story. See likewise
Hallam vol. iii. p. 514.--M.]

[Footnote 90: Pisa was taken by the Florentines in the year 1406; and
in 1411 the Pandects were transported to the capital. These events are
authentic and famous.]

[Footnote 91: They were new bound in purple, deposited in a rich casket,
and shown to curious travellers by the monks and magistrates bareheaded,
and with lighted tapers, (Brenckman, l. i. c. 10, 11, 12, p. 62--93.)]

[Footnote 92: After the collations of Politian, Bologninus, and
Antoninus Augustinus, and the splendid edition of the Pandects
by Taurellus, (in 1551,) Henry Brenckman, a Dutchman, undertook a
pilgrimage to Florence, where he employed several years in the study of
a single manuscript. His Historia Pandectarum Florentinorum, (Utrecht,
1722, in 4to.,) though a monument of industry, is a small portion of his
original design.]

It is the first care of a reformer to prevent any future reformation. To
maintain the text of the Pandects, the Institutes, and the Code, the use
of ciphers and abbreviations was rigorously proscribed; and as Justinian
recollected, that the perpetual edict had been buried under the weight
of commentators, he denounced the punishment of forgery against the rash
civilians who should presume to interpret or pervert the will of their
sovereign. The scholars of Accursius, of Bartolus, of Cujacius, should
blush for their accumulated guilt, unless they dare to dispute his right
of binding the authority of his successors, and the native freedom of
the mind. But the emperor was unable to fix his own inconstancy; and,
while he boasted of renewing the exchange of Diomede, of transmuting
brass into gold, [93] discovered the necessity of purifying his gold
from the mixture of baser alloy. Six years had not elapsed from the
publication of the Code, before he condemned the imperfect attempt, by
a new and more accurate edition of the same work; which he enriched with
two hundred of his own laws, and fifty decisions of the darkest and
most intricate points of jurisprudence. Every year, or, according
to Procopius, each day, of his long reign, was marked by some legal
innovation. Many of his acts were rescinded by himself; many were
rejected by his successors; many have been obliterated by time; but the
number of sixteen Edicts, and one hundred and sixty-eight Novels, [94]
has been admitted into the authentic body of the civil jurisprudence.
In the opinion of a philosopher superior to the prejudices of
his profession, these incessant, and, for the most part, trifling
alterations, can be only explained by the venal spirit of a prince, who
sold without shame his judgments and his laws. [95] The charge of the
secret historian is indeed explicit and vehement; but the sole instance,
which he produces, may be ascribed to the devotion as well as to the
avarice of Justinian. A wealthy bigot had bequeathed his inheritance to
the church of Emesa; and its value was enhanced by the dexterity of an
artist, who subscribed confessions of debt and promises of payment
with the names of the richest Syrians. They pleaded the established
prescription of thirty or forty years; but their defence was overruled
by a retrospective edict, which extended the claims of the church to
the term of a century; an edict so pregnant with injustice and disorder,
that, after serving this occasional purpose, it was prudently abolished
in the same reign. [96] If candor will acquit the emperor himself, and
transfer the corruption to his wife and favorites, the suspicion of
so foul a vice must still degrade the majesty of his laws; and the
advocates of Justinian may acknowledge, that such levity, whatsoever be
the motive, is unworthy of a legislator and a man.

[Footnote 93: Apud Homerum patrem omnis virtutis, (1st Praefat. ad
Pandect.) A line of Milton or Tasso would surprise us in an act of
parliament. Quae omnia obtinere sancimus in omne aevum. Of the first
Code, he says, (2d Praefat.,) in aeternum valiturum. Man and forever!]

[Footnote 94: Novellae is a classic adjective, but a barbarous
substantive, (Ludewig, p. 245.) Justinian never collected them himself;
the nine collations, the legal standard of modern tribunals, consist of
ninety-eight Novels; but the number was increased by the diligence of
Julian, Haloander, and Contius, (Ludewig, p. 249, 258 Aleman. Not in
Anecdot. p. 98.)]

[Footnote 95: Montesquieu, Considerations sur la Grandeur et la
Decadence des Romains, c. 20, tom. iii. p. 501, in 4to. On this occasion
he throws aside the gown and cap of a President a Mortier.]

[Footnote 96: Procopius, Anecdot. c. 28. A similar privilege was granted
to the church of Rome, (Novel. ix.) For the general repeal of these
mischievous indulgences, see Novel. cxi. and Edict. v.]

Monarchs seldom condescend to become the preceptors of their subjects;
and some praise is due to Justinian, by whose command an ample system
was reduced to a short and elementary treatise. Among the various
institutes of the Roman law, [97] those of Caius [98] were the most
popular in the East and West; and their use may be considered as an
evidence of their merit. They were selected by the Imperial delegates,
Tribonian, Theophilus, and Dorotheus; and the freedom and purity of the
Antonines was incrusted with the coarser materials of a degenerate age.
The same volume which introduced the youth of Rome, Constantinople,
and Berytus, to the gradual study of the Code and Pandects, is still
precious to the historian, the philosopher, and the magistrate. The
Institutes of Justinian are divided into four books: they proceed,
with no contemptible method, from, I. Persons, to, II. Things, and from
things, to, III. Actions; and the article IV., of Private Wrongs, is
terminated by the principles of Criminal Law. [9811]

[Footnote 97: Lactantius, in his Institutes of Christianity, an elegant
and specious work, proposes to imitate the title and method of the
civilians. Quidam prudentes et arbitri aequitatis Institutiones Civilis
Juris compositas ediderunt, (Institut. Divin. l. i. c. 1.) Such as
Ulpian, Paul, Florentinus, Marcian.]

[Footnote 98: The emperor Justinian calls him suum, though he died
before the end of the second century. His Institutes are quoted by
Servius, Boethius, Priscian, &c.; and the Epitome by Arrian is still
extant. (See the Prolegomena and notes to the edition of Schulting, in
the Jurisprudentia Ante-Justinianea, Lugd. Bat. 1717. Heineccius, Hist.
J R No. 313. Ludewig, in Vit. Just. p. 199.)]

[Footnote 9811: Gibbon, dividing the Institutes into four parts,
considers the appendix of the criminal law in the last title as a fourth

Chapter XLIV: Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.--Part V.

The distinction of ranks and persons is the firmest basis of a mixed and
limited government. In France, the remains of liberty are kept alive
by the spirit, the honors, and even the prejudices, of fifty thousand
nobles. [99] Two hundred families [9911] supply, in lineal descent, the
second branch of English legislature, which maintains, between the king
and commons, the balance of the constitution. A gradation of patricians
and plebeians, of strangers and subjects, has supported the aristocracy
of Genoa, Venice, and ancient Rome. The perfect equality of men is the
point in which the extremes of democracy and despotism are confounded;
since the majesty of the prince or people would be offended, if
any heads were exalted above the level of their fellow-slaves or
fellow-citizens. In the decline of the Roman empire, the proud
distinctions of the republic were gradually abolished, and the reason or
instinct of Justinian completed the simple form of an absolute monarchy.
The emperor could not eradicate the popular reverence which always
waits on the possession of hereditary wealth, or the memory of famous
ancestors. He delighted to honor, with titles and emoluments, his
generals, magistrates, and senators; and his precarious indulgence
communicated some rays of their glory to the persons of their wives and
children. But in the eye of the law, all Roman citizens were equal,
and all subjects of the empire were citizens of Rome. That inestimable
character was degraded to an obsolete and empty name. The voice of a
Roman could no longer enact his laws, or create the annual ministers of
his power: his constitutional rights might have checked the arbitrary
will of a master: and the bold adventurer from Germany or Arabia was
admitted, with equal favor, to the civil and military command, which the
citizen alone had been once entitled to assume over the conquests of his
fathers. The first Caesars had scrupulously guarded the distinction of
ingenuous and servile birth, which was decided by the condition of the
mother; and the candor of the laws was satisfied, if her freedom could
be ascertained, during a single moment, between the conception and
the delivery. The slaves, who were liberated by a generous master,
immediately entered into the middle class of libertines or freedmen;
but they could never be enfranchised from the duties of obedience and
gratitude; whatever were the fruits of their industry, their patron and
his family inherited the third part; or even the whole of their fortune,
if they died without children and without a testament. Justinian
respected the rights of patrons; but his indulgence removed the badge of
disgrace from the two inferior orders of freedmen; whoever ceased to be
a slave, obtained, without reserve or delay, the station of a citizen;
and at length the dignity of an ingenuous birth, which nature had
refused, was created, or supposed, by the omnipotence of the emperor.
Whatever restraints of age, or forms, or numbers, had been formerly
introduced to check the abuse of manumissions, and the too rapid
increase of vile and indigent Romans, he finally abolished; and the
spirit of his laws promoted the extinction of domestic servitude.
Yet the eastern provinces were filled, in the time of Justinian, with
multitudes of slaves, either born or purchased for the use of their
masters; and the price, from ten to seventy pieces of gold, was
determined by their age, their strength, and their education. [100] But
the hardships of this dependent state were continually diminished by the
influence of government and religion: and the pride of a subject was no
longer elated by his absolute dominion over the life and happiness of
his bondsman. [101]

[Footnote 99: See the Annales Politiques de l'Abbe de St. Pierre, tom.
i. p. 25 who dates in the year 1735. The most ancient families claim the
immemorial possession of arms and fiefs. Since the Crusades, some, the
most truly respectable, have been created by the king, for merit and
services. The recent and vulgar crowd is derived from the multitude of
venal offices without trust or dignity, which continually ennoble the
wealthy plebeians.]

[Footnote 9911: Since the time of Gibbon, the House of Peers has been
more than doubled: it is above 400, exclusive of the spiritual peers--a
wise policy to increase the patrician order in proportion to the general
increase of the nation.--M.]

[Footnote 100: If the option of a slave was bequeathed to several
legatees, they drew lots, and the losers were entitled to their share
of his value; ten pieces of gold for a common servant or maid under ten
years: if above that age, twenty; if they knew a trade, thirty; notaries
or writers, fifty; midwives or physicians, sixty; eunuchs under ten
years, thirty pieces; above, fifty; if tradesmen, seventy, (Cod. l. vi.
tit. xliii. leg. 3.) These legal prices are generally below those of the

[Footnote 101: For the state of slaves and freedmen, see Institutes, l.
i. tit. iii.--viii. l. ii. tit. ix. l. iii. tit. viii. ix. Pandects or
Digest, l. i. tit. v. vi. l. xxxviii. tit. i.--iv., and the whole of
the xlth book. Code, l. vi. tit. iv. v. l. vii. tit. i.--xxiii. Be it
henceforward understood that, with the original text of the Institutes
and Pandects, the correspondent articles in the Antiquities and Elements
of Heineccius are implicitly quoted; and with the xxvii. first books
of the Pandects, the learned and rational Commentaries of Gerard Noodt,
(Opera, tom. ii. p. 1--590, the end. Lugd. Bat. 1724.)]

The law of nature instructs most animals to cherish and educate their
infant progeny. The law of reason inculcates to the human species the
returns of filial piety. But the exclusive, absolute, and perpetual
dominion of the father over his children, is peculiar to the Roman
jurisprudence, [102] and seems to be coeval with the foundation of the
city. [103] The paternal power was instituted or confirmed by Romulus
himself; and, after the practice of three centuries, it was inscribed
on the fourth table of the Decemvirs. In the forum, the senate, or the
camp, the adult son of a Roman citizen enjoyed the public and private
rights of a person: in his father's house he was a mere thing; [1031]
confounded by the laws with the movables, the cattle, and the slaves,
whom the capricious master might alienate or destroy, without being
responsible to any earthly tribunal. The hand which bestowed the daily
sustenance might resume the voluntary gift, and whatever was acquired by
the labor or fortune of the son was immediately lost in the property
of the father. His stolen goods (his oxen or his children) might be
recovered by the same action of theft; [104] and if either had been
guilty of a trespass, it was in his own option to compensate the damage,
or resign to the injured party the obnoxious animal. At the call of
indigence or avarice, the master of a family could dispose of his
children or his slaves. But the condition of the slave was far more
advantageous, since he regained, by the first manumission, his alienated
freedom: the son was again restored to his unnatural father; he might
be condemned to servitude a second and a third time, and it was not till
after the third sale and deliverance, [105] that he was enfranchised
from the domestic power which had been so repeatedly abused. According
to his discretion, a father might chastise the real or imaginary faults
of his children, by stripes, by imprisonment, by exile, by sending them
to the country to work in chains among the meanest of his servants. The
majesty of a parent was armed with the power of life and death; [106]
and the examples of such bloody executions, which were sometimes praised
and never punished, may be traced in the annals of Rome beyond the times
of Pompey and Augustus. Neither age, nor rank, nor the consular office,
nor the honors of a triumph, could exempt the most illustrious citizen
from the bonds of filial subjection: [107] his own descendants were
included in the family of their common ancestor; and the claims of
adoption were not less sacred or less rigorous than those of nature.
Without fear, though not without danger of abuse, the Roman legislators
had reposed an unbounded confidence in the sentiments of paternal love;
and the oppression was tempered by the assurance that each generation
must succeed in its turn to the awful dignity of parent and master.
[Footnote 102: See the patria potestas in the Institutes, (l. i. tit.
ix.,) the Pandects, (l. i. tit. vi. vii.,) and the Code, (l. viii. tit.
xlvii. xlviii. xlix.) Jus potestatis quod in liberos habemus proprium
est civium Romanorum. Nulli enim alii sunt homines, qui talem in liberos
habeant potestatem qualem nos habemus. * Note: The newly-discovered
Institutes of Gaius name one nation in which the same power was vested
in the parent. Nec me praeterit Galatarum gentem credere, in potestate
parentum liberos esse. Gaii Instit. edit. 1824, p. 257.--M.]

[Footnote 103: Dionysius Hal. l. ii. p. 94, 95. Gravina (Opp. p. 286)
produces the words of the xii. tables. Papinian (in Collatione Legum
Roman et Mosaicarum, tit. iv. p. 204) styles this patria potestas, lex
regia: Ulpian (ad Sabin. l. xxvi. in Pandect. l. i. tit. vi. leg. 8)
says, jus potestatis moribus receptum; and furiosus filium in potestate
habebit How sacred--or rather, how absurd! * Note: All this is in strict
accordance with the Roman character.--W.]

[Footnote 1031: This parental power was strictly confined to the Roman
citizen. The foreigner, or he who had only jus Latii, did not possess
it. If a Roman citizen unknowingly married a Latin or a foreign wife, he
did not possess this power over his son, because the son, following the
legal condition of the mother, was not a Roman citizen. A man, however,
alleging sufficient cause for his ignorance, might raise both mother and
child to the rights of citizenship. Gaius. p. 30.--M.]

[Footnote 104: Pandect. l. xlvii. tit. ii. leg. 14, No. 13, leg. 38, No.
1. Such was the decision of Ulpian and Paul.]

[Footnote 105: The trina mancipatio is most clearly defined by Ulpian,
(Fragment. x. p. 591, 592, edit. Schulting;) and best illustrated in
the Antiquities of Heineccius. * Note: The son of a family sold by his
father did not become in every respect a slave, he was statu liber; that
is to say, on paying the price for which he was sold, he became entirely
free. See Hugo, Hist. Section 61--W.]

[Footnote 106: By Justinian, the old law, the jus necis of the Roman
father (Institut. l. iv. tit. ix. No. 7) is reported and reprobated.
Some legal vestiges are left in the Pandects (l. xliii. tit. xxix. leg.
3, No. 4) and the Collatio Legum Romanarum et Mosaicarum, (tit. ii. No.
3, p. 189.)]

[Footnote 107: Except on public occasions, and in the actual exercise of
his office. In publicis locis atque muneribus, atque actionibus
patrum, jura cum filiorum qui in magistratu sunt potestatibus collata
interquiescere paullulum et connivere, &c., (Aul. Gellius, Noctes
Atticae, ii. 2.) The Lessons of the philosopher Taurus were justified by
the old and memorable example of Fabius; and we may contemplate the same
story in the style of Livy (xxiv. 44) and the homely idiom of Claudius
Quadri garius the annalist.]

The first limitation of paternal power is ascribed to the justice and
humanity of Numa; and the maid who, with his father's consent, had
espoused a freeman, was protected from the disgrace of becoming the
wife of a slave. In the first ages, when the city was pressed, and often
famished, by her Latin and Tuscan neighbors, the sale of children might
be a frequent practice; but as a Roman could not legally purchase the
liberty of his fellow-citizen, the market must gradually fail, and the
trade would be destroyed by the conquests of the republic. An imperfect
right of property was at length communicated to sons; and the threefold
distinction of profectitious, adventitious, and professional was
ascertained by the jurisprudence of the Code and Pandects. [108] Of all
that proceeded from the father, he imparted only the use, and reserved
the absolute dominion; yet if his goods were sold, the filial portion
was excepted, by a favorable interpretation, from the demands of
the creditors. In whatever accrued by marriage, gift, or collateral
succession, the property was secured to the son; but the father, unless
he had been specially excluded, enjoyed the usufruct during his life.
As a just and prudent reward of military virtue, the spoils of the enemy
were acquired, possessed, and bequeathed by the soldier alone; and the
fair analogy was extended to the emoluments of any liberal profession,
the salary of public service, and the sacred liberality of the emperor
or empress. The life of a citizen was less exposed than his fortune
to the abuse of paternal power. Yet his life might be adverse to the
interest or passions of an unworthy father: the same crimes that flowed
from the corruption, were more sensibly felt by the humanity, of the
Augustan age; and the cruel Erixo, who whipped his son till he expired,
was saved by the emperor from the just fury of the multitude. [109] The
Roman father, from the license of servile dominion, was reduced to the
gravity and moderation of a judge. The presence and opinion of Augustus
confirmed the sentence of exile pronounced against an intentional
parricide by the domestic tribunal of Arius. Adrian transported to
an island the jealous parent, who, like a robber, had seized the
opportunity of hunting, to assassinate a youth, the incestuous lover of
his step-mother. [110] A private jurisdiction is repugnant to the spirit
of monarchy; the parent was again reduced from a judge to an accuser;
and the magistrates were enjoined by Severus Alexander to hear his
complaints and execute his sentence. He could no longer take the life
of a son without incurring the guilt and punishment of murder; and the
pains of parricide, from which he had been excepted by the Pompeian law,
were finally inflicted by the justice of Constantine. [111] The same
protection was due to every period of existence; and reason must applaud
the humanity of Paulus, for imputing the crime of murder to the father
who strangles, or starves, or abandons his new-born infant; or exposes
him in a public place to find the mercy which he himself had denied.
But the exposition of children was the prevailing and stubborn vice of
antiquity: it was sometimes prescribed, often permitted, almost always
practised with impunity, by the nations who never entertained the Roman
ideas of paternal power; and the dramatic poets, who appeal to the human
heart, represent with indifference a popular custom which was palliated
by the motives of economy and compassion. [112] If the father could
subdue his own feelings, he might escape, though not the censure, at
least the chastisement, of the laws; and the Roman empire was stained
with the blood of infants, till such murders were included, by
Valentinian and his colleagues, in the letter and spirit of the
Cornelian law. The lessons of jurisprudence [113] and Christianity had
been insufficient to eradicate this inhuman practice, till their gentle
influence was fortified by the terrors of capital punishment. [114]

[Footnote 108: See the gradual enlargement and security of the filial
peculium in the Institutes, (l. ii. tit. ix.,) the Pandects, (l. xv.
tit. i. l. xli. tit. i.,) and the Code, (l. iv. tit. xxvi. xxvii.)]

[Footnote 109: The examples of Erixo and Arius are related by Seneca,
(de Clementia, i. 14, 15,) the former with horror, the latter with

[Footnote 110: Quod latronis magis quam patris jure eum interfecit, nam
patria potestas in pietate debet non in atrocitate consistere, (Marcian.
Institut. l. xix. in Pandect. l. xlviii. tit. ix. leg.5.)]

[Footnote 111: The Pompeian and Cornelian laws de sicariis and
parricidis are repeated, or rather abridged, with the last supplements
of Alexander Severus, Constantine, and Valentinian, in the Pandects (l.
xlviii. tit. viii ix,) and Code, (l. ix. tit. xvi. xvii.) See likewise
the Theodosian Code, (l. ix. tit. xiv. xv.,) with Godefroy's Commentary,
(tom. iii. p. 84--113) who pours a flood of ancient and modern learning
over these penal laws.]

[Footnote 112: When the Chremes of Terence reproaches his wife for not
obeying his orders and exposing their infant, he speaks like a father
and a master, and silences the scruples of a foolish woman. See
Apuleius, (Metamorph. l. x. p. 337, edit. Delphin.)]

[Footnote 113: The opinion of the lawyers, and the discretion of
the magistrates, had introduced, in the time of Tacitus, some legal
restraints, which might support his contrast of the boni mores of the
Germans to the bonae leges alibi--that is to say, at Rome, (de Moribus
Germanorum, c. 19.) Tertullian (ad Nationes, l. i. c. 15) refutes
his own charges, and those of his brethren, against the heathen

[Footnote 114: The wise and humane sentence of the civilian Paul (l. ii.
Sententiarum in Pandect, 1. xxv. tit. iii. leg. 4) is represented as a
mere moral precept by Gerard Noodt, (Opp. tom. i. in Julius Paulus, p.
567--558, and Amica Responsio, p. 591-606,) who maintains the opinion of
Justus Lipsius, (Opp. tom. ii. p. 409, ad Belgas. cent. i. epist.
85,) and as a positive binding law by Bynkershoek, (de Jure occidendi
Liberos, Opp. tom. i. p. 318--340. Curae Secundae, p. 391--427.) In
a learned out angry controversy, the two friends deviated into the
opposite extremes.]

Experience has proved, that savages are the tyrants of the female sex,
and that the condition of women is usually softened by the refinements
of social life. In the hope of a robust progeny, Lycurgus had delayed
the season of marriage: it was fixed by Numa at the tender age of twelve
years, that the Roman husband might educate to his will a pure and
obedient virgin. [115] According to the custom of antiquity, he bought
his bride of her parents, and she fulfilled the coemption by purchasing,
with three pieces of copper, a just introduction to his house and
household deities. A sacrifice of fruits was offered by the pontiffs in
the presence of ten witnesses; the contracting parties were seated on
the same sheep-skin; they tasted a salt cake of far or rice; and this
confarreation, [116] which denoted the ancient food of Italy, served as
an emblem of their mystic union of mind and body. But this union on the
side of the woman was rigorous and unequal; and she renounced the name
and worship of her father's house, to embrace a new servitude, decorated
only by the title of adoption, a fiction of the law, neither rational
nor elegant, bestowed on the mother of a family [117] (her proper
appellation) the strange characters of sister to her own children,
and of daughter to her husband or master, who was invested with the
plenitude of paternal power. By his judgment or caprice her behavior was
approved, or censured, or chastised; he exercised the jurisdiction of
life and death; and it was allowed, that in the cases of adultery
or drunkenness, [118] the sentence might be properly inflicted. She
acquired and inherited for the sole profit of her lord; and so clearly
was woman defined, not as a person, but as a thing, that, if the
original title were deficient, she might be claimed, like other
movables, by the use and possession of an entire year. The inclination
of the Roman husband discharged or withheld the conjugal debt, so
scrupulously exacted by the Athenian and Jewish laws: [119] but as
polygamy was unknown, he could never admit to his bed a fairer or a more
favored partner.

[Footnote 115: Dionys. Hal. l. ii. p. 92, 93. Plutarch, in Numa, p.

[Footnote 116: Among the winter frunenta, the triticum, or bearded
wheat; the siligo, or the unbearded; the far, adorea, oryza, whose
description perfectly tallies with the rice of Spain and Italy. I adopt
this identity on the credit of M. Paucton in his useful and laborious
Metrologie, (p. 517--529.)]

[Footnote 117: Aulus Gellius (Noctes Atticae, xviii. 6) gives
a ridiculous definition of Aelius Melissus, Matrona, quae semel
materfamilias quae saepius peperit, as porcetra and scropha in the sow
kind. He then adds the genuine meaning, quae in matrimonium vel in manum

[Footnote 118: It was enough to have tasted wine, or to have stolen the
key of the cellar, (Plin. Hist. Nat. xiv. 14.)]

[Footnote 119: Solon requires three payments per month. By the Misna, a
daily debt was imposed on an idle, vigorous, young husband; twice a week
on a citizen; once on a peasant; once in thirty days on a camel-driver;
once in six months on a seaman. But the student or doctor was free from
tribute; and no wife, if she received a weekly sustenance, could sue
for a divorce; for one week a vow of abstinence was allowed. Polygamy
divided, without multiplying, the duties of the husband, (Selden, Uxor
Ebraica, l. iii. c 6, in his works, vol ii. p. 717--720.)]

After the Punic triumphs, the matrons of Rome aspired to the common
benefits of a free and opulent republic: their wishes were gratified
by the indulgence of fathers and lovers, and their ambition was
unsuccessfully resisted by the gravity of Cato the Censor. [120] They
declined the solemnities of the old nuptiais; defeated the annual
prescription by an absence of three days; and, without losing their name
or independence, subscribed the liberal and definite terms of a marriage
contract. Of their private fortunes, they communicated the use, and
secured the property: the estates of a wife could neither be alienated
nor mortgaged by a prodigal husband; their mutual gifts were prohibited
by the jealousy of the laws; and the misconduct of either party might
afford, under another name, a future subject for an action of theft.
To this loose and voluntary compact, religious and civil rights were no
longer essential; and, between persons of a similar rank, the apparent
community of life was allowed as sufficient evidence of their nuptials.
The dignity of marriage was restored by the Christians, who derived all
spiritual grace from the prayers of the faithful and the benediction
of the priest or bishop. The origin, validity, and duties of the holy
institution were regulated by the tradition of the synagogue, the
precepts of the gospel, and the canons of general or provincial synods;
[121] and the conscience of the Christians was awed by the decrees
and censures of their ecclesiastical rulers. Yet the magistrates of
Justinian were not subject to the authority of the church: the emperor
consulted the unbelieving civilians of antiquity, and the choice of
matrimonial laws in the Code and Pandects, is directed by the earthly
motives of justice, policy, and the natural freedom of both sexes. [122]

[Footnote 120: On the Oppian law we may hear the mitigating speech of
Vaerius Flaccus, and the severe censorial oration of the elder Cato,
(Liv. xxxiv. l--8.) But we shall rather hear the polished historian of
the eighth, than the rough orators of the sixth, century of Rome. The
principles, and even the style, of Cato are more accurately preserved by
Aulus Gellius, (x. 23.)]

[Footnote 121: For the system of Jewish and Catholic matrimony, see
Selden, (Uxor Ebraica, Opp. vol. ii. p. 529--860,) Bingham, (Christian
Antiquities, l. xxii.,) and Chardon, (Hist. des Sacremens, tom. vi.)]

[Footnote 122: The civil laws of marriage are exposed in the Institutes,
(l. i. tit. x.,) the Pandects, (l. xxiii. xxiv. xxv.,) and the Code, (l.
v.;) but as the title de ritu nuptiarum is yet imperfect, we are obliged
to explore the fragments of Ulpian (tit. ix. p. 590, 591,) and the
Collatio Legum Mosaicarum, (tit. xvi. p. 790, 791,) with the notes of
Pithaeus and Schulting. They find in the Commentary of Servius (on the
1st Georgia and the 4th Aeneid) two curious passages.]

Besides the agreement of the parties, the essence of every rational
contract, the Roman marriage required the previous approbation of the
parents. A father might be forced by some recent laws to supply the
wants of a mature daughter; but even his insanity was not gradually
allowed to supersede the necessity of his consent. The causes of the
dissolution of matrimony have varied among the Romans; [123] but the
most solemn sacrament, the confarreation itself, might always be done
away by rites of a contrary tendency. In the first ages, the father of a
family might sell his children, and his wife was reckoned in the number
of his children: the domestic judge might pronounce the death of the
offender, or his mercy might expel her from his bed and house; but the
slavery of the wretched female was hopeless and perpetual, unless he
asserted for his own convenience the manly prerogative of divorce.
[1231] The warmest applause has been lavished on the virtue of the
Romans, who abstained from the exercise of this tempting privilege above
five hundred years: [124] but the same fact evinces the unequal terms of
a connection in which the slave was unable to renounce her tyrant, and
the tyrant was unwilling to relinquish his slave. When the Roman
matrons became the equal and voluntary companions of their lords, a new
jurisprudence was introduced, that marriage, like other partnerships,
might be dissolved by the abdication of one of the associates. In three
centuries of prosperity and corruption, this principle was enlarged to
frequent practice and pernicious abuse.

Passion, interest, or caprice, suggested daily motives for the
dissolution of marriage; a word, a sign, a message, a letter, the
mandate of a freedman, declared the separation; the most tender of human
connections was degraded to a transient society of profit or pleasure.
According to the various conditions of life, both sexes alternately felt
the disgrace and injury: an inconstant spouse transferred her wealth to
a new family, abandoning a numerous, perhaps a spurious, progeny to
the paternal authority and care of her late husband; a beautiful virgin
might be dismissed to the world, old, indigent, and friendless; but
the reluctance of the Romans, when they were pressed to marriage by
Augustus, sufficiently marks, that the prevailing institutions were
least favorable to the males. A specious theory is confuted by this free
and perfect experiment, which demonstrates, that the liberty of divorce
does not contribute to happiness and virtue. The facility of separation
would destroy all mutual confidence, and inflame every trifling dispute:
the minute difference between a husband and a stranger, which might so
easily be removed, might still more easily be forgotten; and the matron,
who in five years can submit to the embraces of eight husbands, must
cease to reverence the chastity of her own person. [125]

[Footnote 123: According to Plutarch, (p. 57,) Romulus allowed only
three grounds of a divorce--drunkenness, adultery, and false keys.
Otherwise, the husband who abused his supremacy forfeited half his goods
to the wife, and half to the goddess Ceres, and offered a sacrifice
(with the remainder?) to the terrestrial deities. This strange law was
either imaginary or transient.]

[Footnote 1231: Montesquieu relates and explains this fact in a
different marnes Esprit des Loix, l. xvi. c. 16.--G.]

[Footnote 124: In the year of Rome 523, Spurius Carvilius Ruga
repudiated a fair, a good, but a barren, wife, (Dionysius Hal. l. ii.
p. 93. Plutarch, in Numa, p. 141; Valerius Maximus, l. ii. c. 1; Aulus
Gellius, iv. 3.) He was questioned by the censors, and hated by the
people; but his divorce stood unimpeached in law.]

[Footnote 125:--Sic fiunt octo mariti Quinque per autumnos. Juvenal,
Satir. vi. 20.--A rapid succession, which may yet be credible, as well
as the non consulum numero, sed maritorum annos suos computant, of
Seneca, (de Beneficiis, iii. 16.) Jerom saw at Rome a triumphant husband
bury his twenty-first wife, who had interred twenty-two of his less
sturdy predecessors, (Opp. tom. i. p. 90, ad Gerontiam.) But the ten
husbands in a month of the poet Martial, is an extravagant hyperbole,
(l. 71. epigram 7.)]

Insufficient remedies followed with distant and tardy steps the rapid
progress of the evil. The ancient worship of the Romans afforded a
peculiar goddess to hear and reconcile the complaints of a married
life; but her epithet of Viriplaca, [126] the appeaser of husbands, too
clearly indicates on which side submission and repentance were always
expected. Every act of a citizen was subject to the judgment of the
censors; the first who used the privilege of divorce assigned, at their
command, the motives of his conduct; [127] and a senator was expelled
for dismissing his virgin spouse without the knowledge or advice of
his friends. Whenever an action was instituted for the recovery of a
marriage portion, the proetor, as the guardian of equity, examined the
cause and the characters, and gently inclined the scale in favor of the
guiltless and injured party. Augustus, who united the powers of both
magistrates, adopted their different modes of repressing or chastising
the license of divorce. [128] The presence of seven Roman witnesses
was required for the validity of this solemn and deliberate act: if any
adequate provocation had been given by the husband, instead of the delay
of two years, he was compelled to refund immediately, or in the space of
six months; but if he could arraign the manners of his wife, her guilt
or levity was expiated by the loss of the sixth or eighth part of her
marriage portion. The Christian princes were the first who specified the
just causes of a private divorce; their institutions, from Constantine
to Justinian, appear to fluctuate between the custom of the empire
and the wishes of the church, [129] and the author of the Novels too
frequently reforms the jurisprudence of the Code and Pandects. In
the most rigorous laws, a wife was condemned to support a gamester, a
drunkard, or a libertine, unless he were guilty of homicide, poison, or
sacrilege, in which cases the marriage, as it should seem, might have
been dissolved by the hand of the executioner. But the sacred right of
the husband was invariably maintained, to deliver his name and family
from the disgrace of adultery: the list of mortal sins, either male or
female, was curtailed and enlarged by successive regulations, and the
obstacles of incurable impotence, long absence, and monastic profession,
were allowed to rescind the matrimonial obligation. Whoever transgressed
the permission of the law, was subject to various and heavy penalties.
The woman was stripped of her wealth and ornaments, without excepting
the bodkin of her hair: if the man introduced a new bride into his bed,
her fortune might be lawfully seized by the vengeance of his exiled
wife. Forfeiture was sometimes commuted to a fine; the fine was
sometimes aggravated by transportation to an island, or imprisonment in
a monastery; the injured party was released from the bonds of marriage;
but the offender, during life, or a term of years, was disabled from
the repetition of nuptials. The successor of Justinian yielded to the
prayers of his unhappy subjects, and restored the liberty of divorce by
mutual consent: the civilians were unanimous, [130] the theologians were
divided, [131] and the ambiguous word, which contains the precept
of Christ, is flexible to any interpretation that the wisdom of a
legislator can demand.

[Footnote 126: Sacellum Viriplacae, (Valerius Maximus, l. ii. c. 1,)
in the Palatine region, appears in the time of Theodosius, in the
description of Rome by Publius Victor.]

[Footnote 127: Valerius Maximus, l. ii. c. 9. With some propriety he
judges divorce more criminal than celibacy: illo namque conjugalia sacre
spreta tantum, hoc etiam injuriose tractata.]

[Footnote 128: See the laws of Augustus and his successors, in
Heineccius, ad Legem Papiam-Poppaeam, c. 19, in Opp. tom. vi. P. i. p.

[Footnote 129: Aliae sunt leges Caesarum, aliae Christi; aliud
Papinianus, aliud Paulus nocter praecipit, (Jerom. tom. i. p. 198.
Selden, Uxor Ebraica l. iii. c. 31 p. 847--853.)]

[Footnote 130: The Institutes are silent; but we may consult the Codes
of Theodosius (l. iii. tit. xvi., with Godefroy's Commentary, tom. i. p.
310--315) and Justinian, (l. v. tit. xvii.,) the Pandects (l. xxiv.
tit. ii.) and the Novels, (xxii. cxvii. cxxvii. cxxxiv. cxl.) Justinian
fluctuated to the last between civil and ecclesiastical law.]

[Footnote 131: In pure Greek, it is not a common word; nor can the
proper meaning, fornication, be strictly applied to matrimonial sin. In
a figurative sense, how far, and to what offences, may it be extended?
Did Christ speak the Rabbinical or Syriac tongue? Of what original word
is the translation? How variously is that Greek word translated in the
versions ancient and modern! There are two (Mark, x. 11, Luke, xvi. 18)
to one (Matthew, xix. 9) that such ground of divorce was not excepted
by Jesus. Some critics have presumed to think, by an evasive answer, he
avoided the giving offence either to the school of Sammai or to that of
Hillel, (Selden, Uxor Ebraica, l. iii. c. 18--22, 28, 31.) * Note: But
these had nothing to do with the question of a divorce made by judicial

The freedom of love and marriage was restrained among the Romans by
natural and civil impediments. An instinct, almost innate and universal,
appears to prohibit the incestuous commerce [132] of parents and
children in the infinite series of ascending and descending generations.
Concerning the oblique and collateral branches, nature is indifferent,
reason mute, and custom various and arbitrary. In Egypt, the marriage
of brothers and sisters was admitted without scruple or exception: a
Spartan might espouse the daughter of his father, an Athenian, that of
his mother; and the nuptials of an uncle with his niece were applauded
at Athens as a happy union of the dearest relations. The profane
lawgivers of Rome were never tempted by interest or superstition to
multiply the forbidden degrees: but they inflexibly condemned the
marriage of sisters and brothers, hesitated whether first cousins should
be touched by the same interdict; revered the parental character of
aunts and uncles, [1321] and treated affinity and adoption as a just
imitation of the ties of blood. According to the proud maxims of the
republic, a legal marriage could only be contracted by free citizens; an
honorable, at least an ingenuous birth, was required for the spouse of
a senator: but the blood of kings could never mingle in legitimate
nuptials with the blood of a Roman; and the name of Stranger degraded
Cleopatra and Berenice, [133] to live the concubines of Mark Antony
and Titus. [134] This appellation, indeed, so injurious to the majesty,
cannot without indulgence be applied to the manners, of these Oriental
queens. A concubine, in the strict sense of the civilians, was a woman
of servile or plebeian extraction, the sole and faithful companion of a
Roman citizen, who continued in a state of celibacy. Her modest station,
below the honors of a wife, above the infamy of a prostitute, was
acknowledged and approved by the laws: from the age of Augustus to the
tenth century, the use of this secondary marriage prevailed both in
the West and East; and the humble virtues of a concubine were often
preferred to the pomp and insolence of a noble matron. In this
connection, the two Antonines, the best of princes and of men, enjoyed
the comforts of domestic love: the example was imitated by many citizens
impatient of celibacy, but regardful of their families. If at any time
they desired to legitimate their natural children, the conversion was
instantly performed by the celebration of their nuptials with a partner
whose faithfulness and fidelity they had already tried. [1341] By this
epithet of natural, the offspring of the concubine were distinguished
from the spurious brood of adultery, prostitution, and incest, to whom
Justinian reluctantly grants the necessary aliments of life; and these
natural children alone were capable of succeeding to a sixth part of
the inheritance of their reputed father. According to the rigor of law,
bastards were entitled only to the name and condition of their mother,
from whom they might derive the character of a slave, a stranger, or a
citizen. The outcasts of every family were adopted without reproach as
the children of the state. [135] [1351]

[Footnote 132: The principles of the Roman jurisprudence are exposed by
Justinian, (Institut. t. i. tit. x.;) and the laws and manners of the
different nations of antiquity concerning forbidden degrees, &c., are
copiously explained by Dr. Taylor in his Elements of Civil Law, (p. 108,
314--339,) a work of amusing, though various reading; but which cannot
be praised for philosophical precision.]

[Footnote 1321: According to the earlier law, (Gaii Instit. p. 27,) a
man might marry his niece on the brother's, not on the sister's, side.
The emperor Claudius set the example of the former. In the Institutes,
this distinction was abolished and both declared illegal.--M.]

[Footnote 133: When her father Agrippa died, (A.D. 44,) Berenice was
sixteen years of age, (Joseph. tom. i. Antiquit. Judaic. l. xix. c. 9,
p. 952, edit. Havercamp.) She was therefore above fifty years old
when Titus (A.D. 79) invitus invitam invisit. This date would not have
adorned the tragedy or pastoral of the tender Racine.]

[Footnote 134: The Aegyptia conjux of Virgil (Aeneid, viii. 688) seems
to be numbered among the monsters who warred with Mark Antony against
Augustus, the senate, and the gods of Italy.]

[Footnote 1341: The Edict of Constantine first conferred this right; for
Augustus had prohibited the taking as a concubine a woman who might be
taken as a wife; and if marriage took place afterwards, this marriage
made no change in the rights of the children born before it; recourse
was then had to adoption, properly called arrogation.--G.]

[Footnote 135: The humble but legal rights of concubines and natural
children are stated in the Institutes, (l. i. tit. x.,) the Pandects,
(l. i. tit. vii.,) the Code, (l. v. tit. xxv.,) and the Novels, (lxxiv.
lxxxix.) The researches of Heineccius and Giannone, (ad Legem Juliam
et Papiam-Poppaeam, c. iv. p. 164-175. Opere Posthume, p. 108--158)
illustrate this interesting and domestic subject.]

[Footnote 1351: See, however, the two fragments of laws in the newly
discovered extracts from the Theodosian Code, published by M. A. Peyron,
at Turin. By the first law of Constantine, the legitimate offspring
could alone inherit; where there were no near legitimate relatives, the
inheritance went to the fiscus. The son of a certain Licinianus, who
had inherited his father's property under the supposition that he was
legitimate, and had been promoted to a place of dignity, was to be
degraded, his property confiscated, himself punished with stripes and
imprisonment. By the second, all persons, even of the highest rank,
senators, perfectissimi, decemvirs, were to be declared infamous, and
out of the protection of the Roman law, if born ex ancilla, vel ancillae
filia, vel liberta, vel libertae filia, sive Romana facta, seu Latina,
vel scaenicae filia, vel ex tabernaria, vel ex tabernariae filia,
vel humili vel abjecta, vel lenonis, aut arenarii filia, vel quae
mercimoniis publicis praefuit. Whatever a fond father had conferred
on such children was revoked, and either restored to the legitimate
children, or confiscated to the state; the mothers, who were guilty of
thus poisoning the minds of the fathers, were to be put to the torture
(tormentis subici jubemus.) The unfortunate son of Licinianus, it
appears from this second law, having fled, had been taken, and was
ordered to be kept in chains to work in the Gynaeceum at Carthage. Cod.
Theodor ab. A. Person, 87--90.--M.]

Chapter XLIV: Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.--Part VI.

The relation of guardian and ward, or in Roman words of tutor and pupil,
which covers so many titles of the Institutes and Pandects, [136] is of
a very simple and uniform nature. The person and property of an orphan
must always be trusted to the custody of some discreet friend. If the
deceased father had not signified his choice, the agnats, or paternal
kindred of the nearest degree, were compelled to act as the natural
guardians: the Athenians were apprehensive of exposing the infant to
the power of those most interested in his death; but an axiom of
Roman jurisprudence has pronounced, that the charge of tutelage should
constantly attend the emolument of succession. If the choice of the
father, and the line of consanguinity, afforded no efficient guardian,
the failure was supplied by the nomination of the praetor of the city,
or the president of the province. But the person whom they named to
this public office might be legally excused by insanity or blindness, by
ignorance or inability, by previous enmity or adverse interest, by the
number of children or guardianships with which he was already burdened,
and by the immunities which were granted to the useful labors of
magistrates, lawyers, physicians, and professors. Till the infant could
speak, and think, he was represented by the tutor, whose authority was
finally determined by the age of puberty. Without his consent, no act
of the pupil could bind himself to his own prejudice, though it might
oblige others for his personal benefit. It is needless to observe, that
the tutor often gave security, and always rendered an account, and that
the want of diligence or integrity exposed him to a civil and almost
criminal action for the violation of his sacred trust. The age of
puberty had been rashly fixed by the civilians at fourteen; [1361] but
as the faculties of the mind ripen more slowly than those of the body,
a curator was interposed to guard the fortunes of a Roman youth from his
own inexperience and headstrong passions. Such a trustee had been first
instituted by the praetor, to save a family from the blind havoc of a
prodigal or madman; and the minor was compelled, by the laws, to solicit
the same protection, to give validity to his acts till he accomplished
the full period of twenty-five years. Women were condemned to the
perpetual tutelage of parents, husbands, or guardians; a sex created to
please and obey was never supposed to have attained the age of reason
and experience. Such, at least, was the stern and haughty spirit of
the ancient law, which had been insensibly mollified before the time of

[Footnote 136: See the article of guardians and wards in the Institutes,
(l. i. tit. xiii.--xxvi.,) the Pandects, (l. xxvi. xxvii.,) and the
Code, (l. v. tit. xxviii.--lxx.)]

[Footnote 1361: Gibbon accuses the civilians of having "rashly fixed
the age of puberty at twelve or fourteen years." It was not so;
before Justinian, no law existed on this subject. Ulpian relates the
discussions which took place on this point among the different sects
of civilians. See the Institutes, l. i. tit. 22, and the fragments of
Ulpian. Nor was the curatorship obligatory for all minors.--W.]

II. The original right of property can only be justified by the accident
or merit of prior occupancy; and on this foundation it is wisely
established by the philosophy of the civilians. [137] The savage who
hollows a tree, inserts a sharp stone into a wooden handle, or applies
a string to an elastic branch, becomes in a state of nature the just
proprietor of the canoe, the bow, or the hatchet. The materials
were common to all, the new form, the produce of his time and simple
industry, belongs solely to himself. His hungry brethren cannot, without
a sense of their own injustice, extort from the hunter the game of the
forest overtaken or slain by his personal strength and dexterity. If his
provident care preserves and multiplies the tame animals, whose nature
is tractable to the arts of education, he acquires a perpetual title
to the use and service of their numerous progeny, which derives its
existence from him alone. If he encloses and cultivates a field for
their sustenance and his own, a barren waste is converted into a fertile
soil; the seed, the manure, the labor, create a new value, and the
rewards of harvest are painfully earned by the fatigues of the revolving
year. In the successive states of society, the hunter, the shepherd, the
husbandman, may defend their possessions by two reasons which forcibly
appeal to the feelings of the human mind: that whatever they enjoy is
the fruit of their own industry; and that every man who envies their
felicity, may purchase similar acquisitions by the exercise of similar
diligence. Such, in truth, may be the freedom and plenty of a small
colony cast on a fruitful island. But the colony multiplies, while the
space still continues the same; the common rights, the equal inheritance
of mankind. are engrossed by the bold and crafty; each field and forest
is circumscribed by the landmarks of a jealous master; and it is the
peculiar praise of the Roman jurisprudence, that i asserts the claim of
the first occupant to the wild animals of the earth, the air, and the
waters. In the progress from primitive equity to final injustice, the
steps are silent, the shades are almost imperceptible, and the absolute
monopoly is guarded by positive laws and artificial reason. The active,
insatiate principle of self-love can alone supply the arts of life and
the wages of industry; and as soon as civil government and exclusive
property have been introduced, they become necessary to the existence
of the human race. Except in the singular institutions of Sparta, the
wisest legislators have disapproved an agrarian law as a false and
dangerous innovation. Among the Romans, the enormous disproportion of
wealth surmounted the ideal restraints of a doubtful tradition, and an
obsolete statute; a tradition that the poorest follower of Romulus
had been endowed with the perpetual inheritance of two jugera; [138]
a statute which confined the richest citizen to the measure of five
hundred jugera, or three hundred and twelve acres of land. The original
territory of Rome consisted only of some miles of wood and meadow along
the banks of the Tyber; and domestic exchange could add nothing to the
national stock. But the goods of an alien or enemy were lawfully exposed
to the first hostile occupier; the city was enriched by the profitable
trade of war; and the blood of her sons was the only price that was paid
for the Volscian sheep, the slaves of Briton, or the gems and gold of
Asiatic kingdoms. In the language of ancient jurisprudence, which was
corrupted and forgotten before the age of Justinian, these spoils were
distinguished by the name of manceps or manicipium, taken with the hand;
and whenever they were sold or emancipated, the purchaser required some
assurance that they had been the property of an enemy, and not of
a fellow-citizen. [139] A citizen could only forfeit his rights by
apparent dereliction, and such dereliction of a valuable interest
could not easily be presumed. Yet, according to the Twelve Tables, a
prescription of one year for movables, and of two years for immovables,
abolished the claim of the ancient master, if the actual possessor had
acquired them by a fair transaction from the person whom he believed to
be the lawful proprietor. [140] Such conscientious injustice, without
any mixture of fraud or force could seldom injure the members of a small
republic; but the various periods of three, of ten, or of twenty years,
determined by Justinian, are more suitable to the latitude of a great
empire. It is only in the term of prescription that the distinction of
real and personal fortune has been remarked by the civilians; and
their general idea of property is that of simple, uniform, and absolute
dominion. The subordinate exceptions of use, of usufruct, [141] of
servitude, [142] imposed for the benefit of a neighbor on lands and
houses, are abundantly explained by the professors of jurisprudence.
The claims of property, as far as they are altered by the mixture, the
division, or the transformation of substances, are investigated with
metaphysical subtilty by the same civilians.

[Footnote 137: Institut. l. ii. tit i. ii. Compare the pure and precise
reasoning of Caius and Heineccius (l. ii. tit. i. p. 69-91) with the
loose prolixity of Theophilus, (p. 207--265.) The opinions of Ulpian are
preserved in the Pandects, (l. i. tit. viii. leg. 41, No. 1.)]

[Footnote 138: The heredium of the first Romans is defined by Varro, (de
Re Rustica, l. i. c. ii. p. 141, c. x. p. 160, 161, edit. Gesner,) and
clouded by Pliny's declamation, (Hist. Natur. xviii. 2.) A just and
learned comment is given in the Administration des Terres chez les
Romains, (p. 12--66.) Note: On the duo jugera, compare Niebuhr, vol. i.
p. 337.--M.]

[Footnote 139: The res mancipi is explained from faint and remote lights
by Ulpian (Fragment. tit. xviii. p. 618, 619) and Bynkershoek, (Opp
tom. i. p. 306--315.) The definition is somewhat arbitrary; and as none
except myself have assigned a reason, I am diffident of my own.]

[Footnote 140: From this short prescription, Hume (Essays, vol. i. p.
423) infers that there could not then be more order and settlement in
Italy than now amongst the Tartars. By the civilian of his adversary
Wallace, he is reproached, and not without reason, for overlooking the
conditions, (Institut. l. ii. tit. vi.) * Note: Gibbon acknowledges,
in the former note, the obscurity of his views with regard to the res
mancipi. The interpreters, who preceded him, are not agreed on
this point, one of the most difficult in the ancient Roman law. The
conclusions of Hume, of which the author here speaks, are grounded
on false assumptions. Gibbon had conceived very inaccurate notions of
Property among the Romans, and those of many authors in the present day
are not less erroneous. We think it right, in this place, to develop the
system of property among the Romans, as the result of the study of
the extant original authorities on the ancient law, and as it has been
demonstrated, recognized, and adopted by the most learned expositors
of the Roman law. Besides the authorities formerly known, such as the
Fragments of Ulpian, t. xix. and t. i. 16. Theoph. Paraph. i. 5, 4, may
be consulted the Institutes of Gaius, i. 54, and ii. 40, et seq.
The Roman laws protected all property acquired in a lawful manner.
They imposed on those who had invaded it, the obligation of making
restitution and reparation of all damage caused by that invasion; they
punished it moreover, in many cases, by a pecuniary fine. But they did
not always grant a recovery against the third person, who had become
bona fide possessed of the property. He who had obtained possession of a
thing belonging to another, knowing nothing of the prior rights of that
person, maintained the possession. The law had expressly determined
those cases, in which it permitted property to be reclaimed from an
innocent possessor. In these cases possession had the characters of
absolute proprietorship, called mancipium, jus Quiritium. To possess
this right, it was not sufficient to have entered into possession of the
thing in any manner; the acquisition was bound to have that character
of publicity, which was given by the observation of solemn forms,
prescribed by the laws, or the uninterrupted exercise of proprietorship
during a certain time: the Roman citizen alone could acquire this
proprietorship. Every other kind of possession, which might be named
imperfect proprietorship, was called "in bonis habere." It was not till
after the time of Cicero that the general name of Dominium was given to
all proprietorship.
It was then the publicity which constituted the distinctive character
of absolute dominion. This publicity was grounded on the mode of
acquisition, which the moderns have called Civil, (Modi adquirendi
Civiles.) These modes of acquisition were,
1. Mancipium or mancipatio, which was nothing but the solemn delivering
over of the thing in the presence of a determinate number of witnesses
and a public officer; it was from this probably that proprietorship was
named, 2. In jure cessio, which was a solemn delivering over before the
praetor. 3. Adjudicatio, made by a judge, in a case of partition.
4. Lex, which comprehended modes of acquiring in particular cases
determined by law; probably the law of the xii. tables; for instance,
the sub corona emptio and the legatum.
5. Usna, called afterwards usacapio, and by the moderns prescription.
This was only a year for movables; two years for things not movable. Its
primary object was altogether different from that of prescription in
the present day. It was originally introduced in order to transform
the simple possession of a thing (in bonis habere) into Roman
proprietorship. The public and uninterrupted possession of a thing,
enjoyed for the space of one or two years, was sufficient to make known
to the inhabitants of the city of Rome to whom the thing belonged. This
last mode of acquisition completed the system of civil acquisitions. by
legalizing. as it were, every other kind of acquisition which was not
conferred, from the commencement, by the Jus Quiritium. V. Ulpian.
Fragm. i. 16. Gaius, ii. 14. We believe, according to Gaius, 43, that
this usucaption was extended to the case where a thing had been acquired
from a person not the real proprietor; and that according to the time
prescribed, it gave to the possessor the Roman proprietorship. But this
does not appear to have been the original design of this Institution.
Caeterum etiam earum rerum usucapio nobis competit, quae non a domino
nobis tradita fuerint, si modo eas bona fide acceperimus Gaius, l ii.
43. As to things of smaller value, or those which it was difficult to
distinguish from each other, the solemnities of which we speak were not
requisite to obtain legal proprietorship.
In this case simple delivery was sufficient.
In proportion to the aggrandizement of the Republic, this latter
principle became more important from the increase of the commerce and
wealth of the state. It was necessary to know what were those things of
which absolute property might be acquired by simple delivery, and what,
on the contrary, those, the acquisition of which must be sanctioned
by these solemnities. This question was necessarily to be decided by
a general rule; and it is this rule which establishes the distinction
between res mancipi and nec mancipi, a distinction about which the
opinions of modern civilians differ so much that there are above ten
conflicting systems on the subject. The system which accords best with a
sound interpretation of the Roman laws, is that proposed by M. Trekel of
Hamburg, and still further developed by M. Hugo, who has extracted it in
the Magazine of Civil Law, vol. ii. p. 7.
This is the system now almost universally adopted. Res mancipi (by
contraction for mancipii) were things of which the absolute property
(Jus Quiritium) might be acquired only by the solemnities mentioned
above, at least by that of mancipation, which was, without doubt, the
most easy and the most usual. Gaius, ii. 25. As for other things, the
acquisition of which was not subject to these forms, in order to confer
absolute right, they were called res nec mancipi. See Ulpian, Fragm.
xix. 1. 3, 7.
Ulpian and Varro enumerate the different kinds of res mancipi. Their
enumerations do not quite agree; and various methods of reconciling them
have been attempted. The authority of Ulpian, however, who wrote as a
civilian, ought to have the greater weight on this subject.
But why are these things alone res mancipi? This is one of the questions
which have been most frequently agitated, and on which the opinions of
civilians are most divided. M. Hugo has resolved it in the most
natural and satisfactory manner. "All things which were easily known
individually, which were of great value, with which the Romans were
acquainted, and which they highly appreciated, were res mancipi. Of old
mancipation or some other solemn form was required for the acquisition
of these things, an account of their importance. Mancipation served to
prove their acquisition, because they were easily distinguished one from
the other." On this great historical discussion consult the Magazine of
Civil Law by M. Hugo, vol. ii. p. 37, 38; the dissertation of M. J. M.
Zachariae, de Rebus Mancipi et nec Mancipi Conjecturae, p. 11. Lipsiae,
1807; the History of Civil Law by M. Hugo; and my Institutiones Juris
Romani Privati p. 108, 110.
As a general rule, it may be said that all things are res nec mancipi;
the res mancipi are the exception to this principle.
The praetors changed the system of property by allowing a person, who
had a thing in bonis, the right to recover before the prescribed term
of usucaption had conferred absolute proprietorship. (Pauliana in rem
actio.) Justinian went still further, in times when there was no longer
any distinction between a Roman citizen and a stranger. He granted the
right of recovering all things which had been acquired, whether by what
were called civil or natural modes of acquisition, Cod. l. vii. t. 25,
31. And he so altered the theory of Gaius in his Institutes, ii. 1, that
no trace remains of the doctrine taught by that civilian.--W.]

[Footnote 141: See the Institutes (l. i. tit. iv. v.) and the Pandects,
(l. vii.) Noodt has composed a learned and distinct treatise de
Usufructu, (Opp. tom. i. p. 387--478.)]

[Footnote 142: The questions de Servitutibus are discussed in the
Institutes (l. ii. tit. iii.) and Pandects, (l. viii.) Cicero (pro
Murena, c. 9) and Lactantius (Institut. Divin. l. i. c. i.) affect to
laugh at the insignificant doctrine, de aqua de pluvia arcenda, &c. Yet
it might be of frequent use among litigious neighbors, both in town and

The personal title of the first proprietor must be determined by
his death: but the possession, without any appearance of change, is
peaceably continued in his children, the associates of his toil, and the
partners of his wealth. This natural inheritance has been protected by
the legislators of every climate and age, and the father is encouraged
to persevere in slow and distant improvements, by the tender hope, that
a long posterity will enjoy the fruits of his labor. The principle of
hereditary succession is universal; but the order has been variously
established by convenience or caprice, by the spirit of national
institutions, or by some partial example which was originally decided
by fraud or violence. The jurisprudence of the Romans appear to have
deviated from the inequality of nature much less than the Jewish, [143]
the Athenian, [144] or the English institutions. [145] On the death of
a citizen, all his descendants, unless they were already freed from his
paternal power, were called to the inheritance of his possessions. The
insolent prerogative of primogeniture was unknown; the two sexes were
placed on a just level; all the sons and daughters were entitled to an
equal portion of the patrimonial estate; and if any of the sons had been
intercepted by a premature death, his person was represented, and his
share was divided, by his surviving children. On the failure of the
direct line, the right of succession must diverge to the collateral
branches. The degrees of kindred [146] are numbered by the civilians,
ascending from the last possessor to a common parent, and descending
from the common parent to the next heir: my father stands in the first
degree, my brother in the second, his children in the third, and the
remainder of the series may be conceived by a fancy, or pictured in
a genealogical table. In this computation, a distinction was made,
essential to the laws and even the constitution of Rome; the agnats, or
persons connected by a line of males, were called, as they stood in the
nearest degree, to an equal partition; but a female was incapable of
transmitting any legal claims; and the cognats of every rank, without
excepting the dear relation of a mother and a son, were disinherited by
the Twelve Tables, as strangers and aliens. Among the Romans agens or
lineage was united by a common name and domestic rites; the various
cognomens or surnames of Scipio, or Marcellus, distinguished from each
other the subordinate branches or families of the Cornelian or Claudian
race: the default of the agnats, of the same surname, was supplied
by the larger denomination of gentiles; and the vigilance of the laws
maintained, in the same name, the perpetual descent of religion and
property. A similar principle dictated the Voconian law, [147] which
abolished the right of female inheritance. As long as virgins were given
or sold in marriage, the adoption of the wife extinguished the hopes of
the daughter. But the equal succession of independent matrons supported
their pride and luxury, and might transport into a foreign house the
riches of their fathers.

While the maxims of Cato [148] were revered, they tended to perpetuate
in each family a just and virtuous mediocrity: till female blandishments
insensibly triumphed; and every salutary restraint was lost in the
dissolute greatness of the republic. The rigor of the decemvirs was
tempered by the equity of the praetors. Their edicts restored and
emancipated posthumous children to the rights of nature; and upon the
failure of the agnats, they preferred the blood of the cognats to the
name of the gentiles whose title and character were insensibly covered
with oblivion. The reciprocal inheritance of mothers and sons was
established in the Tertullian and Orphitian decrees by the humanity of
the senate. A new and more impartial order was introduced by the Novels
of Justinian, who affected to revive the jurisprudence of the Twelve
Tables. The lines of masculine and female kindred were confounded: the
descending, ascending, and collateral series was accurately defined;
and each degree, according tot he proximity of blood and affection,
succeeded to the vacant possessions of a Roman citizen. [149]

[Footnote 143: Among the patriarchs, the first-born enjoyed a mystic and
spiritual primogeniture, (Genesis, xxv. 31.) In the land of Canaan, he
was entitled to a double portion of inheritance, (Deuteronomy, xxi. 17,
with Le Clerc's judicious Commentary.)]

[Footnote 144: At Athens, the sons were equal; but the poor daughters
were endowed at the discretion of their brothers. See the pleadings of
Isaeus, (in the viith volume of the Greek Orators,) illustrated by the
version and comment of Sir William Jones, a scholar, a lawyer, and a man
of genius.]

[Footnote 145: In England, the eldest son also inherits all the land;
a law, says the orthodox Judge Blackstone, (Commentaries on the Laws
of England, vol. ii. p. 215,) unjust only in the opinion of younger
brothers. It may be of some political use in sharpening their industry.]

[Footnote 146: Blackstone's Tables (vol. ii. p. 202) represent and
compare the decrees of the civil with those of the canon and common law.
A separate tract of Julius Paulus, de gradibus et affinibus, is inserted
or abridged in the Pandects, (l. xxxviii. tit. x.) In the viith degrees
he computes (No. 18) 1024 persons.]

[Footnote 147: The Voconian law was enacted in the year of Rome 584. The
younger Scipio, who was then 17 years of age, (Frenshemius, Supplement.
Livian. xlvi. 40,) found an occasion of exercising his generosity to his
mother, sisters, &c. (Polybius, tom. ii. l. xxxi. p. 1453--1464, edit
Gronov., a domestic witness.)]

[Footnote 148: Legem Voconiam (Ernesti, Clavis Ciceroniana) magna voce
bonis lateribus (at lxv. years of age) suasissem, says old Cato, (de
Senectute, c. 5,) Aulus Gellius (vii. 13, xvii. 6) has saved some

[Footnote 149: See the law of succession in the Institutes of Caius, (l.
ii. tit. viii. p. 130--144,) and Justinian, (l. iii. tit. i.--vi., with
the Greek version of Theophilus, p. 515-575, 588--600,) the Pandects,
(l. xxxviii. tit. vi.--xvii.,) the Code, (l. vi. tit. lv.--lx.,) and the
Novels, (cxviii.)]

The order of succession is regulated by nature, or at least by the
general and permanent reason of the lawgiver: but this order is
frequently violated by the arbitrary and partial wills, which prolong
the dominion of the testator beyond the grave. [150] In the simple state
of society, this last use or abuse of the right of property is seldom
indulged: it was introduced at Athens by the laws of Solon; and the
private testaments of the father of a family are authorized by the
Twelve Tables. Before the time of the decemvirs, [151] a Roman citizen
exposed his wishes and motives to the assembly of the thirty curiae
or parishes, and the general law of inheritance was suspended by
an occasional act of the legislature. After the permission of the
decemvirs, each private lawgiver promulgated his verbal or written
testament in the presence of five citizens, who represented the five
classes of the Roman people; a sixth witness attested their concurrence;
a seventh weighed the copper money, which was paid by an imaginary
purchaser; and the estate was emancipated by a fictitious sale and
immediate release. This singular ceremony, [152] which excited the
wonder of the Greeks, was still practised in the age of Severus; but the
praetors had already approved a more simple testament, for which they
required the seals and signatures of seven witnesses, free from all
legal exception, and purposely summoned for the execution of that
important act. A domestic monarch, who reigned over the lives and
fortunes of his children, might distribute their respective shares
according to the degrees of their merit or his affection; his arbitrary
displeasure chastised an unworthy son by the loss of his inheritance,
and the mortifying preference of a stranger. But the experience of
unnatural parents recommended some limitations of their testamentary
powers. A son, or, by the laws of Justinian, even a daughter, could no
longer be disinherited by their silence: they were compelled to name
the criminal, and to specify the offence; and the justice of the emperor
enumerated the sole causes that could justify such a violation of
the first principles of nature and society. [153] Unless a legitimate
portion, a fourth part, had been reserved for the children, they were
entitled to institute an action or complaint of inofficious testament;
to suppose that their father's understanding was impaired by sickness
or age; and respectfully to appeal from his rigorous sentence to the
deliberate wisdom of the magistrate. In the Roman jurisprudence, an
essential distinction was admitted between the inheritance and the
legacies. The heirs who succeeded to the entire unity, or to any of the
twelve fractions of the substance of the testator, represented his civil
and religious character, asserted his rights, fulfilled his obligations,
and discharged the gifts of friendship or liberality, which his last
will had bequeathed under the name of legacies. But as the imprudence or
prodigality of a dying man might exhaust the inheritance, and leave
only risk and labor to his successor, he was empowered to retain the
Falcidian portion; to deduct, before the payment of the legacies, a
clear fourth for his own emolument. A reasonable time was allowed to
examine the proportion between the debts and the estate, to decide
whether he should accept or refuse the testament; and if he used the
benefit of an inventory, the demands of the creditors could not exceed
the valuation of the effects. The last will of a citizen might be
altered during his life, or rescinded after his death: the persons whom
he named might die before him, or reject the inheritance, or be exposed
to some legal disqualification. In the contemplation of these events,
he was permitted to substitute second and third heirs, to replace each
other according to the order of the testament; and the incapacity of
a madman or an infant to bequeath his property might be supplied by a
similar substitution. [154] But the power of the testator expired with
the acceptance of the testament: each Roman of mature age and discretion
acquired the absolute dominion of his inheritance, and the simplicity of
the civil law was never clouded by the long and intricate entails which
confine the happiness and freedom of unborn generations.

[Footnote 150: That succession was the rule, testament the exception,
is proved by Taylor, (Elements of Civil Law, p. 519-527,) a learned,
rambling, spirited writer. In the iid and iiid books, the method of
the Institutes is doubtless preposterous; and the Chancellor Daguesseau
(Oeuvres, tom. i. p. 275) wishes his countryman Domat in the place of
Tribonian. Yet covenants before successions is not surely the natural
order of civil laws.]

[Footnote 151: Prior examples of testaments are perhaps fabulous. At
Athens a childless father only could make a will, (Plutarch, in Solone,
tom. i. p. 164. See Isaeus and Jones.)]

[Footnote 152: The testament of Augustus is specified by Suetonius, (in
August, c. 101, in Neron. c. 4,) who may be studied as a code of Roman
antiquities. Plutarch (Opuscul. tom. ii. p. 976) is surprised. The
language of Ulpian (Fragment. tit. xx. p. 627, edit. Schulting) is
almost too exclusive--solum in usu est.]

[Footnote 153: Justinian (Novell. cxv. No. 3, 4) enumerates only the
public and private crimes, for which a son might likewise disinherit his
father. Note: Gibbon has singular notions on the provisions of Novell.
cxv. 3, 4, which probably he did not clearly understand.--W]

[Footnote 154: The substitutions of fidei-commissaires of the modern
civil law is a feudal idea grafted on the Roman jurisprudence, and bears
scarcely any resemblance to the ancient fidei-commissa, (Institutions
du Droit Francois, tom. i. p. 347-383. Denissart, Decisions de
Jurisprudence, tom. iv. p. 577-604.) They were stretched to the
fourth degree by an abuse of the clixth Novel; a partial, perplexed,
declamatory law.]

Conquest and the formalities of law established the use of codicils. If
a Roman was surprised by death in a remote province of the empire, he
addressed a short epistle to his legitimate or testamentary heir; who
fulfilled with honor, or neglected with impunity, this last request,
which the judges before the age of Augustus were not authorized to
enforce. A codicil might be expressed in any mode, or in any language;
but the subscription of five witnesses must declare that it was the
genuine composition of the author. His intention, however laudable, was
sometimes illegal; and the invention of fidei-commissa, or trusts, arose
form the struggle between natural justice and positive jurisprudence.
A stranger of Greece or Africa might be the friend or benefactor of a
childless Roman, but none, except a fellow-citizen, could act as his
heir. The Voconian law, which abolished female succession, restrained
the legacy or inheritance of a woman to the sum of one hundred thousand
sesterces; [155] and an only daughter was condemned almost as an alien
in her father's house. The zeal of friendship, and parental affection,
suggested a liberal artifice: a qualified citizen was named in the
testament, with a prayer or injunction that he would restore the
inheritance to the person for whom it was truly intended. Various was
the conduct of the trustees in this painful situation: they had sworn
to observe the laws of their country, but honor prompted them to violate
their oath; and if they preferred their interest under the mask of
patriotism, they forfeited the esteem of every virtuous mind. The
declaration of Augustus relieved their doubts, gave a legal sanction to
confidential testaments and codicils, and gently unravelled the forms
and restraints of the republican jurisprudence. [156] But as the new
practice of trusts degenerated into some abuse, the trustee was enabled,
by the Trebellian and Pegasian decrees, to reserve one fourth of the
estate, or to transfer on the head of the real heir all the debts and
actions of the succession. The interpretation of testaments was strict
and literal; but the language of trusts and codicils was delivered from
the minute and technical accuracy of the civilians. [157]

[Footnote 155: Dion Cassius (tom. ii. l. lvi. p. 814, with Reimar's
Notes) specifies in Greek money the sum of 25,000 drachms.]

[Footnote 156: The revolutions of the Roman laws of inheritance are
finely, though sometimes fancifully, deduced by Montesquieu, (Esprit des
Loix, l. xxvii.)]

[Footnote 157: Of the civil jurisprudence of successions, testaments,
codicils, legacies, and trusts, the principles are ascertained in the
Institutes of Caius, (l. ii. tit. ii.--ix. p. 91--144,) Justinian,
(l. ii. tit. x.--xxv.,) and Theophilus, (p. 328--514;) and the immense
detail occupies twelve books (xxviii.--xxxix.) of the Pandects.] III.
The general duties of mankind are imposed by their public and private
relations: but their specific obligations to each other can only be the
effect of, 1. a promise, 2. a benefit, or 3. an injury: and when these
obligations are ratified by law, the interested party may compel the
performance by a judicial action. On this principle, the civilians of
every country have erected a similar jurisprudence, the fair conclusion
of universal reason and justice. [158]

[Footnote 158: The Institutes of Caius, (l. ii. tit. ix. x. p.
144--214,) of Justinian, (l. iii. tit. xiv.--xxx. l. iv. tit.
i.--vi.,) and of Theophilus, (p. 616--837,) distinguish four sorts of
obligations--aut re, aut verbis, aut literis aut consensu: but I confess
myself partial to my own division. Note: It is not at all applicable to
the Roman system of contracts, even if I were allowed to be good.--M.]

Chapter XLIV: Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.--Part VII.

1. The goddess of faith (of human and social faith) was worshipped, not
only in her temples, but in the lives of the Romans; and if that
nation was deficient in the more amiable qualities of benevolence and
generosity, they astonished the Greeks by their sincere and simple
performance of the most burdensome engagements. [159] Yet among the same
people, according to the rigid maxims of the patricians and decemvirs,
a naked pact, a promise, or even an oath, did not create any civil
obligation, unless it was confirmed by the legal form of a stipulation.
Whatever might be the etymology of the Latin word, it conveyed the idea
of a firm and irrevocable contract, which was always expressed in the
mode of a question and answer. Do you promise to pay me one hundred
pieces of gold? was the solemn interrogation of Seius. I do promise, was
the reply of Sempronius. The friends of Sempronius, who answered for
his ability and inclination, might be separately sued at the option of
Seius; and the benefit of partition, or order of reciprocal actions,
insensibly deviated from the strict theory of stipulation. The most
cautious and deliberate consent was justly required to sustain the
validity of a gratuitous promise; and the citizen who might have
obtained a legal security, incurred the suspicion of fraud, and paid the
forfeit of his neglect. But the ingenuity of the civilians successfully
labored to convert simple engagements into the form of solemn
stipulations. The praetors, as the guardians of social faith, admitted
every rational evidence of a voluntary and deliberate act, which in
their tribunal produced an equitable obligation, and for which they gave
an action and a remedy. [160]

[Footnote 159: How much is the cool, rational evidence of Polybius (l.
vi. p. 693, l. xxxi. p. 1459, 1460) superior to vague, indiscriminate
applause--omnium maxime et praecipue fidem coluit, (A. Gellius, xx. l.)]

[Footnote 160: The Jus Praetorium de Pactis et Transactionibus is a
separate and satisfactory treatise of Gerard Noodt, (Opp. tom. i. p.
483--564.) And I will here observe, that the universities of Holland
and Brandenburg, in the beginning of the present century, appear to have
studied the civil law on the most just and liberal principles. * Note:
Simple agreements (pacta) formed as valid an obligation as a solemn
contract. Only an action, or the right to a direct judicial prosecution,
was not permitted in every case of compact. In all other respects, the
judge was bound to maintain an agreement made by pactum. The stipulation
was a form common to every kind of agreement, by which the right of
action was given to this.--W.]

2. The obligations of the second class, as they were contracted by the
delivery of a thing, are marked by the civilians with the epithet of
real. [161] A grateful return is due to the author of a benefit; and
whoever is intrusted with the property of another, has bound himself
to the sacred duty of restitution. In the case of a friendly loan, the
merit of generosity is on the side of the lender only; in a deposit, on
the side of the receiver; but in a pledge, and the rest of the selfish
commerce of ordinary life, the benefit is compensated by an equivalent,
and the obligation to restore is variously modified by the nature of the
transaction. The Latin language very happily expresses the fundamental
difference between the commodatum and the mutuum, which our poverty is
reduced to confound under the vague and common appellation of a loan.
In the former, the borrower was obliged to restore the same individual
thing with which he had been accommodated for the temporary supply of
his wants; in the latter, it was destined for his use and consumption,
and he discharged this mutual engagement, by substituting the same
specific value according to a just estimation of number, of weight,
and of measure. In the contract of sale, the absolute dominion is
transferred to the purchaser, and he repays the benefit with an adequate
sum of gold or silver, the price and universal standard of all earthly
possessions. The obligation of another contract, that of location, is of
a more complicated kind. Lands or houses, labor or talents, may be hired
for a definite term; at the expiration of the time, the thing itself
must be restored to the owner, with an additional reward for the
beneficial occupation and employment. In these lucrative contracts, to
which may be added those of partnership and commissions, the civilians
sometimes imagine the delivery of the object, and sometimes presume the
consent of the parties. The substantial pledge has been refined into the
invisible rights of a mortgage or hypotheca; and the agreement of sale,
for a certain price, imputes, from that moment, the chances of gain or
loss to the account of the purchaser. It may be fairly supposed, that
every man will obey the dictates of his interest; and if he accepts the
benefit, he is obliged to sustain the expense, of the transaction. In
this boundless subject, the historian will observe the location of land
and money, the rent of the one and the interest of the other, as they
materially affect the prosperity of agriculture and commerce. The
landlord was often obliged to advance the stock and instruments of
husbandry, and to content himself with a partition of the fruits. If the
feeble tenant was oppressed by accident, contagion, or hostile violence,
he claimed a proportionable relief from the equity of the laws: five
years were the customary term, and no solid or costly improvements could
be expected from a farmer, who, at each moment might be ejected by the
sale of the estate. [162] Usury, [163] the inveterate grievance of the
city, had been discouraged by the Twelve Tables, [164] and abolished by
the clamors of the people. It was revived by their wants and idleness,
tolerated by the discretion of the praetors, and finally determined by
the Code of Justinian. Persons of illustrious rank were confined to the
moderate profit of four per cent.; six was pronounced to be the ordinary
and legal standard of interest; eight was allowed for the convenience
of manufactures and merchants; twelve was granted to nautical insurance,
which the wiser ancients had not attempted to define; but, except in
this perilous adventure, the practice of exorbitant usury was severely
restrained. [165] The most simple interest was condemned by the clergy
of the East and West; [166] but the sense of mutual benefit, which had
triumphed over the law of the republic, has resisted with equal firmness
the decrees of the church, and even the prejudices of mankind. [167]

[Footnote 161: The nice and various subject of contracts by consent is
spread over four books (xvii.--xx.) of the Pandects, and is one of the
parts best deserving of the attention of an English student. * Note:
This is erroneously called "benefits." Gibbon enumerates various kinds
of contracts, of which some alone are properly called benefits.--W.]

[Footnote 162: The covenants of rent are defined in the Pandects (l.
xix.) and the Code, (l. iv. tit. lxv.) The quinquennium, or term of five
years, appears to have been a custom rather than a law; but in France
all leases of land were determined in nine years. This limitation was
removed only in the year 1775, (Encyclopedie Methodique, tom. i. de
la Jurisprudence, p. 668, 669;) and I am sorry to observe that it yet
prevails in the beauteous and happy country where I am permitted to

[Footnote 163: I might implicitly acquiesce in the sense and learning
of the three books of G. Noodt, de foenore et usuris. (Opp. tom. i.
p. 175--268.) The interpretation of the asses or centesimoe usuroe
at twelve, the unciarioe at one per cent., is maintained by the best
critics and civilians: Noodt, (l. ii. c. 2, p. 207,) Gravina, (Opp. p.
205, &c., 210,) Heineccius, (Antiquitat. ad Institut. l. iii. tit. xv.,)
Montesquieu, (Esprit des Loix, l. xxii. c. 22, tom. ii. p. 36). Defense
de l'Esprit des Loix, (tom. iii. p. 478, &c.,) and above all, John
Frederic Gronovius (de Pecunia Veteri, l. iii. c. 13, p. 213--227,)
and his three Antexegeses, (p. 455--655), the founder, or at least the
champion, of this probable opinion; which is, however, perplexed with
some difficulties.]

[Footnote 164: Primo xii. Tabulis sancitum est ne quis unciario foenore
amplius exerceret, (Tacit. Annal. vi. 16.) Pour peu (says Montesquieu,
Esprit des Loix, l. xxii. 22) qu'on soit verse dans l'histoire de Rome,
on verra qu'une pareille loi ne devoit pas etre l'ouvrage des decemvirs.
Was Tacitus ignorant--or stupid? But the wiser and more virtuous
patricians might sacrifice their avarice to their ambition, and might
attempt to check the odious practice by such interest as no lender would
accept, and such penalties as no debtor would incur. * Note: The real
nature of the foenus unciarium has been proved; it amounted in a year of
twelve months to ten per cent. See, in the Magazine for Civil Law, by M.
Hugo, vol. v. p. 180, 184, an article of M. Schrader, following up the
conjectures of Niebuhr, Hist. Rom. tom. ii. p. 431.--W. Compare a very
clear account of this question in the appendix to Mr. Travers Twiss's
Epitome of Niebuhr, vol. ii. p. 257.--M.]

[Footnote 165: Justinian has not condescended to give usury a place in
his Institutes; but the necessary rules and restrictions are inserted
in the Pandects (l. xxii. tit. i. ii.) and the Code, (l. iv. tit. xxxii.

[Footnote 166: The Fathers are unanimous, (Barbeyrac, Morale des Peres,
p. 144. &c.:) Cyprian, Lactantius, Basil, Chrysostom, (see his frivolous
arguments in Noodt, l. i. c. 7, p. 188,) Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose,
Jerom, Augustin, and a host of councils and casuists.]

[Footnote 167: Cato, Seneca, Plutarch, have loudly condemned the
practice or abuse of usury. According to the etymology of foenus, the
principal is supposed to generate the interest: a breed of barren metal,
exclaims Shakespeare--and the stage is the echo of the public voice.]

3. Nature and society impose the strict obligation of repairing an
injury; and the sufferer by private injustice acquires a personal right
and a legitimate action. If the property of another be intrusted to our
care, the requisite degree of care may rise and fall according to the
benefit which we derive from such temporary possession; we are seldom
made responsible for inevitable accident, but the consequences of a
voluntary fault must always be imputed to the author. [168] A Roman
pursued and recovered his stolen goods by a civil action of theft; they
might pass through a succession of pure and innocent hands, but nothing
less than a prescription of thirty years could extinguish his original
claim. They were restored by the sentence of the praetor, and the injury
was compensated by double, or threefold, or even quadruple damages, as
the deed had been perpetrated by secret fraud or open rapine, as the
robber had been surprised in the fact, or detected by a subsequent
research. The Aquilian law [169] defended the living property of a
citizen, his slaves and cattle, from the stroke of malice or negligence:
the highest price was allowed that could be ascribed to the domestic
animal at any moment of the year preceding his death; a similar latitude
of thirty days was granted on the destruction of any other valuable
effects. A personal injury is blunted or sharpened by the manners of the
times and the sensibility of the individual: the pain or the disgrace of
a word or blow cannot easily be appreciated by a pecuniary equivalent.
The rude jurisprudence of the decemvirs had confounded all hasty
insults, which did not amount to the fracture of a limb, by condemning
the aggressor to the common penalty of twenty-five asses. But the same
denomination of money was reduced, in three centuries, from a pound
to the weight of half an ounce: and the insolence of a wealthy Roman
indulged himself in the cheap amusement of breaking and satisfying the
law of the twelve tables. Veratius ran through the streets striking
on the face the inoffensive passengers, and his attendant purse-bearer
immediately silenced their clamors by the legal tender of twenty-five
pieces of copper, about the value of one shilling. [170] The equity
of the praetors examined and estimated the distinct merits of each
particular complaint. In the adjudication of civil damages, the
magistrate assumed a right to consider the various circumstances of
time and place, of age and dignity, which may aggravate the shame and
sufferings of the injured person; but if he admitted the idea of a fine,
a punishment, an example, he invaded the province, though, perhaps, he
supplied the defects, of the criminal law. [Footnote 168: Sir William
Jones has given an ingenious and rational Essay on the law of Bailment,
(London, 1781, p. 127, in 8vo.) He is perhaps the only lawyer equally
conversant with the year-books of Westminster, the Commentaries of
Ulpian, the Attic pleadings of Isaeus, and the sentences of Arabian and
Persian cadhis.]

[Footnote 169: Noodt (Opp. tom. i. p. 137--172) has composed a separate
treatise, ad Legem Aquilian, (Pandect. l. ix. tit. ii.)]

[Footnote 170: Aulus Gellius (Noct. Attic. xx. i.) borrowed this story
from the Commentaries of Q. Labeo on the xii. tables.]

The execution of the Alban dictator, who was dismembered by eight
horses, is represented by Livy as the first and the fast instance of
Roman cruelty in the punishment of the most atrocious crimes. [171] But
this act of justice, or revenge, was inflicted on a foreign enemy in the
heat of victory, and at the command of a single man. The twelve tables
afford a more decisive proof of the national spirit, since they were
framed by the wisest of the senate, and accepted by the free voices
of the people; yet these laws, like the statutes of Draco, [172] are
written in characters of blood. [173] They approve the inhuman and
unequal principle of retaliation; and the forfeit of an eye for an eye,
a tooth for a tooth, a limb for a limb, is rigorously exacted, unless
the offender can redeem his pardon by a fine of three hundred pounds
of copper. The decemvirs distributed with much liberality the slighter
chastisements of flagellation and servitude; and nine crimes of a very
different complexion are adjudged worthy of death.

1. Any act of treason against the state, or of correspondence with the
public enemy. The mode of execution was painful and ignominious: the
head of the degenerate Roman was shrouded in a veil, his hands were tied
behind his back, and after he had been scourged by the lictor, he was
suspended in the midst of the forum on a cross, or inauspicious tree.

2. Nocturnal meetings in the city; whatever might be the pretence, of
pleasure, or religion, or the public good.

3. The murder of a citizen; for which the common feelings of mankind
demand the blood of the murderer. Poison is still more odious than the
sword or dagger; and we are surprised to discover, in two flagitious
events, how early such subtle wickedness had infected the simplicity
of the republic, and the chaste virtues of the Roman matrons. [174] The
parricide, who violated the duties of nature and gratitude, was cast
into the river or the sea, enclosed in a sack; and a cock, a viper,
a dog, and a monkey, were successively added, as the most suitable
companions. [175] Italy produces no monkeys; but the want could never be
felt, till the middle of the sixth century first revealed the guilt of a
parricide. [176]

4. The malice of an incendiary. After the previous ceremony of whipping,
he himself was delivered to the flames; and in this example alone our
reason is tempted to applaud the justice of retaliation.

5. Judicial perjury. The corrupt or malicious witness was thrown
headlong from the Tarpeian rock, to expiate his falsehood, which was
rendered still more fatal by the severity of the penal laws, and the
deficiency of written evidence.

6. The corruption of a judge, who accepted bribes to pronounce an
iniquitous sentence.

7. Libels and satires, whose rude strains sometimes disturbed the
peace of an illiterate city. The author was beaten with clubs, a worthy
chastisement, but it is not certain that he was left to expire under the
blows of the executioner. [177]

8. The nocturnal mischief of damaging or destroying a neighbor's corn.
The criminal was suspended as a grateful victim to Ceres. But the sylvan
deities were less implacable, and the extirpation of a more valuable
tree was compensated by the moderate fine of twenty-five pounds of

9. Magical incantations; which had power, in the opinion of the Latin
shepherds, to exhaust the strength of an enemy, to extinguish his life,
and to remove from their seats his deep-rooted plantations.

The cruelty of the twelve tables against insolvent debtors still remains
to be told; and I shall dare to prefer the literal sense of antiquity
to the specious refinements of modern criticism. [178] [1781] After
the judicial proof or confession of the debt, thirty days of grace
were allowed before a Roman was delivered into the power of his
fellow-citizen. In this private prison, twelve ounces of rice were his
daily food; he might be bound with a chain of fifteen pounds weight;
and his misery was thrice exposed in the market place, to solicit the
compassion of his friends and countrymen. At the expiration of sixty
days, the debt was discharged by the loss of liberty or life; the
insolvent debtor was either put to death, or sold in foreign slavery
beyond the Tyber: but, if several creditors were alike obstinate and
unrelenting, they might legally dismember his body, and satiate their
revenge by this horrid partition. The advocates for this savage law have
insisted, that it must strongly operate in deterring idleness and
fraud from contracting debts which they were unable to discharge; but
experience would dissipate this salutary terror, by proving that no
creditor could be found to exact this unprofitable penalty of life or
limb. As the manners of Rome were insensibly polished, the criminal code
of the decemvirs was abolished by the humanity of accusers, witnesses,
and judges; and impunity became the consequence of immoderate rigor. The
Porcian and Valerian laws prohibited the magistrates from inflicting
on a free citizen any capital, or even corporal, punishment; and the
obsolete statutes of blood were artfully, and perhaps truly, ascribed to
the spirit, not of patrician, but of regal, tyranny.

[Footnote 171: The narrative of Livy (i. 28) is weighty and solemn.
At tu, Albane, maneres, is a harsh reflection, unworthy of Virgil's
humanity, (Aeneid, viii. 643.) Heyne, with his usual good taste,
observes that the subject was too horrid for the shield of Aencas, (tom.
iii. p. 229.)]

[Footnote 172: The age of Draco (Olympiad xxxix. l) is fixed by Sir John
Marsham (Canon Chronicus, p. 593--596) and Corsini, (Fasti Attici, tom.
iii. p. 62.) For his laws, see the writers on the government of Athens,
Sigonius, Meursius, Potter, &c.]

[Footnote 173: The viith, de delictis, of the xii. tables is delineated
by Gravina, (Opp. p. 292, 293, with a commentary, p. 214--230.) Aulus
Gellius (xx. 1) and the Collatio Legum Mosaicarum et Romanarum afford
much original information.]

[Footnote 174: Livy mentions two remarkable and flagitious aeras, of
3000 persons accused, and of 190 noble matrons convicted, of the crime
of poisoning, (xl. 43, viii. 18.) Mr. Hume discriminates the ages of
private and public virtue, (Essays, vol. i. p. 22, 23.) I would rather
say that such ebullitions of mischief (as in France in the year 1680)
are accidents and prodigies which leave no marks on the manners of a

[Footnote 175: The xii. tables and Cicero (pro Roscio Amerino, c. 25,
26) are content with the sack; Seneca (Excerpt. Controvers. v 4)
adorns it with serpents; Juvenal pities the guiltless monkey (innoxia
simia--156.) Adrian (apud Dositheum Magistrum, l. iii. c. p. 874--876,
with Schulting's Note,) Modestinus, (Pandect. xlviii. tit. ix. leg. 9,)
Constantine, (Cod. l. ix. tit. xvii.,) and Justinian, (Institut. l. iv.
tit. xviii.,) enumerate all the companions of the parricide. But this
fanciful execution was simplified in practice. Hodie tamen viv exuruntur
vel ad bestias dantur, (Paul. Sentent. Recept. l. v. tit. xxiv p. 512,
edit. Schulting.)]

[Footnote 176: The first parricide at Rome was L. Ostius, after the
second Punic war, (Plutarch, in Romulo, tom. i. p. 54.) During the
Cimbric, P. Malleolus was guilty of the first matricide, (Liv. Epitom.
l. lxviii.)]

[Footnote 177: Horace talks of the formidine fustis, (l. ii. epist. ii.
154,) but Cicero (de Republica, l. iv. apud Augustin. de Civitat. Dei,
ix. 6, in Fragment. Philosoph. tom. iii. p. 393, edit. Olivet) affirms
that the decemvirs made libels a capital offence: cum perpaucas res
capite sanxisent--perpaucus!]

[Footnote 178: Bynkershoek (Observat. Juris Rom. l. i. c. 1, in Opp.
tom. i. p. 9, 10, 11) labors to prove that the creditors divided not the
body, but the price, of the insolvent debtor. Yet his interpretation is
one perpetual harsh metaphor; nor can he surmount the Roman authorities
of Quintilian, Caecilius, Favonius, and Tertullian. See Aulus Gellius,
Noct. Attic. xxi.]

[Footnote 1781: Hugo (Histoire du Droit Romain, tom. i. p. 234) concurs
with Gibbon See Niebuhr, vol. ii. p. 313.--M.]

In the absence of penal laws, and the insufficiency of civil actions,
the peace and justice of the city were imperfectly maintained by the
private jurisdiction of the citizens. The malefactors who replenish our
jails are the outcasts of society, and the crimes for which they suffer
may be commonly ascribed to ignorance, poverty, and brutal appetite. For
the perpetration of similar enormities, a vile plebeian might claim
and abuse the sacred character of a member of the republic: but, on the
proof or suspicion of guilt, the slave, or the stranger, was nailed to
a cross; and this strict and summary justice might be exercised without
restraint over the greatest part of the populace of Rome.

Each family contained a domestic tribunal, which was not confined, like
that of the praetor, to the cognizance of external actions: virtuous
principles and habits were inculcated by the discipline of education;
and the Roman father was accountable to the state for the manners of
his children, since he disposed, without appeal, of their life, their
liberty, and their inheritance. In some pressing emergencies, the
citizen was authorized to avenge his private or public wrongs. The
consent of the Jewish, the Athenian, and the Roman laws approved the
slaughter of the nocturnal thief; though in open daylight a robber could
not be slain without some previous evidence of danger and complaint.
Whoever surprised an adulterer in his nuptial bed might freely exercise
his revenge; [179] the most bloody and wanton outrage was excused by
the provocation; [180] nor was it before the reign of Augustus that
the husband was reduced to weigh the rank of the offender, or that the
parent was condemned to sacrifice his daughter with her guilty seducer.
After the expulsion of the kings, the ambitious Roman, who should dare
to assume their title or imitate their tyranny, was devoted to the
infernal gods: each of his fellow-citizens was armed with the sword
of justice; and the act of Brutus, however repugnant to gratitude or
prudence, had been already sanctified by the judgment of his country.
[181] The barbarous practice of wearing arms in the midst of peace,
[182] and the bloody maxims of honor, were unknown to the Romans; and,
during the two purest ages, from the establishment of equal freedom to
the end of the Punic wars, the city was never disturbed by sedition,
and rarely polluted with atrocious crimes. The failure of penal laws was
more sensibly felt, when every vice was inflamed by faction at home and
dominion abroad. In the time of Cicero, each private citizen enjoyed the
privilege of anarchy; each minister of the republic was exalted to
the temptations of regal power, and their virtues are entitled to the
warmest praise, as the spontaneous fruits of nature or philosophy. After
a triennial indulgence of lust, rapine, and cruelty, Verres, the tyrant
of Sicily, could only be sued for the pecuniary restitution of three
hundred thousand pounds sterling; and such was the temper of the laws,
the judges, and perhaps the accuser himself, [183] that, on refunding
a thirteenth part of his plunder, Verres could retire to an easy and
luxurious exile. [184]

[Footnote 179: The first speech of Lysias (Reiske, Orator. Graec. tom.
v. p. 2--48) is in defence of a husband who had killed the adulterer.
The rights of husbands and fathers at Rome and Athens are discussed with
much learning by Dr. Taylor, (Lectiones Lysiacae, c. xi. in Reiske, tom.
vi. p. 301--308.)]

[Footnote 180: See Casaubon ad Athenaeum, l. i. c. 5, p. 19. Percurrent
raphanique mugilesque, (Catull. p. 41, 42, edit. Vossian.) Hunc mugilis
intrat, (Juvenal. Satir. x. 317.) Hunc perminxere calones, (Horat l.
i. Satir. ii. 44.) Familiae stuprandum dedit.. fraudi non fuit, (Val.
Maxim. l. vi. c. l, No. 13.)]

[Footnote 181: This law is noticed by Livy (ii. 8) and Plutarch, (in
Publiccla, tom. i. p. 187,) and it fully justifies the public opinion
on the death of Caesar which Suetonius could publish under the Imperial
government. Jure caesus existimatur, (in Julio, c. 76.) Read the letters
that passed between Cicero and Matius a few months after the ides of
March (ad Fam. xi. 27, 28.)]

[Footnote 182: Thucydid. l. i. c. 6 The historian who considers this
circumstance as the test of civilization, would disdain the barbarism of
a European court]

[Footnote 183: He first rated at millies (800,000 L.) the damages of
Sicily, (Divinatio in Caecilium, c. 5,) which he afterwards reduced to
quadringenties, (320,000 L.--1 Actio in Verrem, c. 18,) and was finally
content with tricies, (24,000l L.) Plutarch (in Ciceron. tom. iii. p.
1584) has not dissembled the popular suspicion and report.]

[Footnote 184: Verres lived near thirty years after his trial, till the
second triumvirate, when he was proscribed by the taste of Mark Antony
for the sake of his Corinthian plate, (Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiv. 3.)]

The first imperfect attempt to restore the proportion of crimes and
punishments was made by the dictator Sylla, who, in the midst of his
sanguinary triumph, aspired to restrain the license, rather than
to oppress the liberty, of the Romans. He gloried in the arbitrary
proscription of four thousand seven hundred citizens. [185] But, in the
character of a legislator, he respected the prejudices of the times;
and, instead of pronouncing a sentence of death against the robber or
assassin, the general who betrayed an army, or the magistrate who ruined
a province, Sylla was content to aggravate the pecuniary damages by
the penalty of exile, or, in more constitutional language, by the
interdiction of fire and water. The Cornelian, and afterwards
the Pompeian and Julian, laws introduced a new system of criminal
jurisprudence; [186] and the emperors, from Augustus to Justinian,
disguised their increasing rigor under the names of the original
authors. But the invention and frequent use of extraordinary pains
proceeded from the desire to extend and conceal the progress of
despotism. In the condemnation of illustrious Romans, the senate was
always prepared to confound, at the will of their masters, the judicial
and legislative powers. It was the duty of the governors to maintain the
peace of their province, by the arbitrary and rigid administration of
justice; the freedom of the city evaporated in the extent of empire,
and the Spanish malefactor, who claimed the privilege of a Roman, was
elevated by the command of Galba on a fairer and more lofty cross. [187]
Occasional rescripts issued from the throne to decide the questions
which, by their novelty or importance, appeared to surpass the authority
and discernment of a proconsul. Transportation and beheading were
reserved for honorable persons; meaner criminals were either hanged,
or burnt, or buried in the mines, or exposed to the wild beasts of the
amphitheatre. Armed robbers were pursued and extirpated as the enemies
of society; the driving away horses or cattle was made a capital
offence; [188] but simple theft was uniformly considered as a mere civil
and private injury. The degrees of guilt, and the modes of punishment,
were too often determined by the discretion of the rulers, and the
subject was left in ignorance of the legal danger which he might incur
by every action of his life.

[Footnote 185: Such is the number assigned by Valer'us Maximus, (l. ix.
c. 2, No. 1,) Florus (iv. 21) distinguishes 2000 senators and
knights. Appian (de Bell. Civil. l. i. c. 95, tom. ii. p. 133, edit.
Schweighauser) more accurately computes forty victims of the senatorian
rank, and 1600 of the equestrian census or order.]

[Footnote 186: For the penal laws (Leges Corneliae, Pompeiae, Julae,
of Sylla, Pompey, and the Caesars) see the sentences of Paulus, (l. iv.
tit. xviii.--xxx. p. 497--528, edit. Schulting,) the Gregorian Code,
(Fragment. l. xix. p. 705, 706, in Schulting,) the Collatio Legum
Mosaicarum et Romanarum, (tit. i.--xv.,) the Theodosian Code, (l.
ix.,) the Code of Justinian, (l. ix.,) the Pandects, (xlviii.,) the
Institutes, (l. iv. tit. xviii.,) and the Greek version of Theophilus,
(p. 917--926.)]

[Footnote 187: It was a guardian who had poisoned his ward. The crime
was atrocious: yet the punishment is reckoned by Suetonius (c. 9) among
the acts in which Galba showed himself acer, vehemens, et in delictis
coercendis immodicus.]

[Footnote 188: The abactores or abigeatores, who drove one horse, or
two mares or oxen, or five hogs, or ten goats, were subject to capital
punishment, (Paul, Sentent. Recept. l. iv. tit. xviii. p. 497, 498.)
Hadrian, (ad Concil. Baeticae,) most severe where the offence was most
frequent, condemns the criminals, ad gladium, ludi damnationem, (Ulpian,
de Officio Proconsulis, l. viii. in Collatione Legum Mosaic. et Rom.
tit. xi p. 235.)]

A sin, a vice, a crime, are the objects of theology, ethics, and
jurisprudence. Whenever their judgments agree, they corroborate each
other; but, as often as they differ, a prudent legislator appreciates
the guilt and punishment according to the measure of social injury. On
this principle, the most daring attack on the life and property of a
private citizen is judged less atrocious than the crime of treason or
rebellion, which invades the majesty of the republic: the obsequious
civilians unanimously pronounced, that the republic is contained in the
person of its chief; and the edge of the Julian law was sharpened by
the incessant diligence of the emperors. The licentious commerce of the
sexes may be tolerated as an impulse of nature, or forbidden as a source
of disorder and corruption; but the fame, the fortunes, the family of
the husband, are seriously injured by the adultery of the wife. The
wisdom of Augustus, after curbing the freedom of revenge, applied to
this domestic offence the animadversion of the laws: and the guilty
parties, after the payment of heavy forfeitures and fines, were
condemned to long or perpetual exile in two separate islands. [189]
Religion pronounces an equal censure against the infidelity of the
husband; but, as it is not accompanied by the same civil effects,
the wife was never permitted to vindicate her wrongs; [190] and the
distinction of simple or double adultery, so familiar and so important
in the canon law, is unknown to the jurisprudence of the Code and the
Pandects. I touch with reluctance, and despatch with impatience, a more
odious vice, of which modesty rejects the name, and nature abominates
the idea. The primitive Romans were infected by the example of the
Etruscans [191] and Greeks: [192] and in the mad abuse of prosperity
and power, every pleasure that is innocent was deemed insipid; and the
Scatinian law, [193] which had been extorted by an act of violence,
was insensibly abolished by the lapse of time and the multitude of
criminals. By this law, the rape, perhaps the seduction, of an ingenuous
youth, was compensated, as a personal injury, by the poor damages of ten
thousand sesterces, or fourscore pounds; the ravisher might be slain by
the resistance or revenge of chastity; and I wish to believe, that at
Rome, as in Athens, the voluntary and effeminate deserter of his sex
was degraded from the honors and the rights of a citizen. [194] But the
practice of vice was not discouraged by the severity of opinion:
the indelible stain of manhood was confounded with the more venial
transgressions of fornication and adultery, nor was the licentious lover
exposed to the same dishonor which he impressed on the male or female
partner of his guilt. From Catullus to Juvenal, [195] the poets accuse
and celebrate the degeneracy of the times; and the reformation of
manners was feebly attempted by the reason and authority of the
civilians till the most virtuous of the Caesars proscribed the sin
against nature as a crime against society. [196]

[Footnote 189: Till the publication of the Julius Paulus of Schulting,
(l. ii. tit. xxvi. p. 317--323,) it was affirmed and believed that the
Julian laws punished adultery with death; and the mistake arose from the
fraud or error of Tribonian. Yet Lipsius had suspected the truth from
the narratives of Tacitus, (Annal. ii. 50, iii. 24, iv. 42,) and
even from the practice of Augustus, who distinguished the treasonable
frailties of his female kindred.]

[Footnote 190: In cases of adultery, Severus confined to the husband the
right of public accusation, (Cod. Justinian, l. ix. tit. ix. leg. 1.)
Nor is this privilege unjust--so different are the effects of male or
female infidelity.]

[Footnote 191: Timon (l. i.) and Theopompus (l. xliii. apud Athenaeum,
l. xii. p. 517) describe the luxury and lust of the Etruscans. About the
same period (A. U. C. 445) the Roman youth studied in Etruria, (liv. ix.

[Footnote 192: The Persians had been corrupted in the same school,
(Herodot. l. i. c. 135.) A curious dissertation might be formed on the
introduction of paederasty after the time of Homer, its progress among
the Greeks of Asia and Europe, the vehemence of their passions, and the
thin device of virtue and friendship which amused the philosophers of
Athens. But scelera ostendi oportet dum puniuntur, abscondi flagitia.]

[Footnote 193: The name, the date, and the provisions of this law are
equally doubtful, (Gravina, Opp. p. 432, 433. Heineccius, Hist. Jur.
Rom. No. 108. Ernesti, Clav. Ciceron. in Indice Legum.) But I will
observe that the nefanda Venus of the honest German is styled aversa by
the more polite Italian.]

[Footnote 194: See the oration of Aeschines against the catamite
Timarchus, (in Reiske, Orator. Graec. tom. iii. p. 21--184.)]

[Footnote 195: A crowd of disgraceful passages will force themselves
on the memory of the classic reader: I will only remind him of the cool
declaration of Ovid:-- Odi concubitus qui non utrumque resolvant. Hoc
est quod puerum tangar amore minus.]

[Footnote 196: Aelius Lampridius, in Vit. Heliogabal. in Hist. August p.
112 Aurelius Victor, in Philippo, Codex Theodos. l. ix. tit. vii. leg.
7, and Godefroy's Commentary, tom. iii. p. 63. Theodosius abolished the
subterraneous brothels of Rome, in which the prostitution of both sexes
was acted with impunity.]

Chapter XLIV: Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.--Part VIII.

A new spirit of legislation, respectable even in its error, arose in the
empire with the religion of Constantine. [197] The laws of Moses were
received as the divine original of justice, and the Christian princes
adapted their penal statutes to the degrees of moral and religious
turpitude. Adultery was first declared to be a capital offence: the
frailty of the sexes was assimilated to poison or assassination, to
sorcery or parricide; the same penalties were inflicted on the passive
and active guilt of paederasty; and all criminals of free or servile
condition were either drowned or beheaded, or cast alive into the
avenging flames. The adulterers were spared by the common sympathy of
mankind; but the lovers of their own sex were pursued by general and
pious indignation: the impure manners of Greece still prevailed in the
cities of Asia, and every vice was fomented by the celibacy of the
monks and clergy. Justinian relaxed the punishment at least of female
infidelity: the guilty spouse was only condemned to solitude and
penance, and at the end of two years she might be recalled to the
arms of a forgiving husband. But the same emperor declared himself the
implacable enemy of unmanly lust, and the cruelty of his persecution can
scarcely be excused by the purity of his motives. [198] In defiance
of every principle of justice, he stretched to past as well as future
offences the operations of his edicts, with the previous allowance of a
short respite for confession and pardon. A painful death was inflicted
by the amputation of the sinful instrument, or the insertion of sharp
reeds into the pores and tubes of most exquisite sensibility; and
Justinian defended the propriety of the execution, since the criminals
would have lost their hands, had they been convicted of sacrilege. In
this state of disgrace and agony, two bishops, Isaiah of Rhodes
and Alexander of Diospolis, were dragged through the streets of
Constantinople, while their brethren were admonished, by the voice of a
crier, to observe this awful lesson, and not to pollute the sanctity
of their character. Perhaps these prelates were innocent. A sentence of
death and infamy was often founded on the slight and suspicious evidence
of a child or a servant: the guilt of the green faction, of the
rich, and of the enemies of Theodora, was presumed by the judges, and
paederasty became the crime of those to whom no crime could be imputed.
A French philosopher [199] has dared to remark that whatever is secret
must be doubtful, and that our natural horror of vice may be abused as
an engine of tyranny. But the favorable persuasion of the same writer,
that a legislator may confide in the taste and reason of mankind, is
impeached by the unwelcome discovery of the antiquity and extent of the
disease. [200]

[Footnote 197: See the laws of Constantine and his successors against
adultery, sodomy &c., in the Theodosian, (l. ix. tit. vii. leg. 7, l.
xi. tit. xxxvi leg. 1, 4) and Justinian Codes, (l. ix. tit. ix. leg. 30,
31.) These princes speak the language of passion as well as of justice,
and fraudulently ascribe their own severity to the first Caesars.]

[Footnote 198: Justinian, Novel. lxxvii. cxxxiv. cxli. Procopius in
Anecdot. c. 11, 16, with the notes of Alemannus. Theophanes, p. 151.
Cedrenus. p. 688. Zonaras, l. xiv. p. 64.]

[Footnote 199: Montesquieu, Esprit des Loix, l. xii. c. 6. That eloquent
philosopher conciliates the rights of liberty and of nature, which
should never be placed in opposition to each other.]

[Footnote 200: For the corruption of Palestine, 2000 years before the
Christian aera, see the history and laws of Moses. Ancient Gaul is
stigmatized by Diodorus Siculus, (tom. i. l. v. p. 356,) China by the
Mahometar and Christian travellers, (Ancient Relations of India and
China, p. 34 translated by Renaudot, and his bitter critic the Pere
Premare, Lettres Edifiantes, tom. xix. p. 435,) and native America by
the Spanish historians, (Garcilasso de la Vega, l. iii. c. 13, Rycaut's
translation; and Dictionnaire de Bayle, tom. iii. p. 88.) I believe,
and hope, that the negroes, in their own country, were exempt from this
moral pestilence.]

The free citizens of Athens and Rome enjoyed, in all criminal cases,
the invaluable privilege of being tried by their country. [201] 1. The
administration of justice is the most ancient office of a prince: it was
exercised by the Roman kings, and abused by Tarquin; who alone, without
law or council, pronounced his arbitrary judgments. The first consuls
succeeded to this regal prerogative; but the sacred right of appeal soon
abolished the jurisdiction of the magistrates, and all public causes
were decided by the supreme tribunal of the people. But a wild
democracy, superior to the forms, too often disdains the essential
principles, of justice: the pride of despotism was envenomed by plebeian
envy, and the heroes of Athens might sometimes applaud the happiness of
the Persian, whose fate depended on the caprice of a single tyrant. Some
salutary restraints, imposed by the people or their own passions,
were at once the cause and effect of the gravity and temperance of the
Romans. The right of accusation was confined to the magistrates.

A vote of the thirty five tribes could inflict a fine; but the
cognizance of all capital crimes was reserved by a fundamental law to
the assembly of the centuries, in which the weight of influence
and property was sure to preponderate. Repeated proclamations and
adjournments were interposed, to allow time for prejudice and resentment
to subside: the whole proceeding might be annulled by a seasonable omen,
or the opposition of a tribune; and such popular trials were commonly
less formidable to innocence than they were favorable to guilt. But this
union of the judicial and legislative powers left it doubtful whether
the accused party was pardoned or acquitted; and, in the defence of
an illustrious client, the orators of Rome and Athens address their
arguments to the policy and benevolence, as well as to the justice, of
their sovereign. 2. The task of convening the citizens for the trial of
each offender became more difficult, as the citizens and the offenders
continually multiplied; and the ready expedient was adopted of
delegating the jurisdiction of the people to the ordinary magistrates,
or to extraordinary inquisitors. In the first ages these questions were
rare and occasional. In the beginning of the seventh century of Rome
they were made perpetual: four praetors were annually empowered to sit
in judgment on the state offences of treason, extortion, peculation, and
bribery; and Sylla added new praetors and new questions for those
crimes which more directly injure the safety of individuals. By these
inquisitors the trial was prepared and directed; but they could only
pronounce the sentence of the majority of judges, who with some truth,
and more prejudice, have been compared to the English juries. [202] To
discharge this important, though burdensome office, an annual list of
ancient and respectable citizens was formed by the praetor. After many
constitutional struggles, they were chosen in equal numbers from the
senate, the equestrian order, and the people; four hundred and fifty
were appointed for single questions; and the various rolls or decuries
of judges must have contained the names of some thousand Romans, who
represented the judicial authority of the state. In each particular
cause, a sufficient number was drawn from the urn; their integrity was
guarded by an oath; the mode of ballot secured their independence; the
suspicion of partiality was removed by the mutual challenges of the
accuser and defendant; and the judges of Milo, by the retrenchment of
fifteen on each side, were reduced to fifty-one voices or tablets, of
acquittal, of condemnation, or of favorable doubt. [203] 3. In his civil
jurisdiction, the praetor of the city was truly a judge, and almost
a legislator; but, as soon as he had prescribed the action of law, he
often referred to a delegate the determination of the fact. With the
increase of legal proceedings, the tribunal of the centumvirs, in which
he presided, acquired more weight and reputation. But whether he acted
alone, or with the advice of his council, the most absolute powers might
be trusted to a magistrate who was annually chosen by the votes of
the people. The rules and precautions of freedom have required some
explanation; the order of despotism is simple and inanimate. Before the
age of Justinian, or perhaps of Diocletian, the decuries of Roman judges
had sunk to an empty title: the humble advice of the assessors might
be accepted or despised; and in each tribunal the civil and criminal
jurisdiction was administered by a single magistrate, who was raised
and disgraced by the will of the emperor. [Footnote 201: The important
subject of the public questions and judgments at Rome, is explained with
much learning, and in a classic style, by Charles Sigonius, (l. iii. de
Judiciis, in Opp. tom. iii. p. 679--864;) and a good abridgment may be
found in the Republique Romaine of Beaufort, (tom. ii. l. v. p. 1--121.)
Those who wish for more abstruse law may study Noodt, (de Jurisdictione
et Imperio Libri duo, tom. i. p. 93--134,) Heineccius, (ad Pandect. l.
i. et ii. ad Institut. l. iv. tit. xvii Element. ad Antiquitat.) and
Gravina (Opp. 230--251.)]

[Footnote 202: The office, both at Rome and in England, must be
considered as an occasional duty, and not a magistracy, or profession.
But the obligation of a unanimous verdict is peculiar to our laws,
which condemn the jurymen to undergo the torture from whence they have
exempted the criminal.]

[Footnote 203: We are indebted for this interesting fact to a fragment
of Asconius Pedianus, who flourished under the reign of Tiberius. The
loss of his Commentaries on the Orations of Cicero has deprived us of a
valuable fund of historical and legal knowledge.]

A Roman accused of any capital crime might prevent the sentence of
the law by voluntary exile, or death. Till his guilt had been legally
proved, his innocence was presumed, and his person was free: till
the votes of the last century had been counted and declared, he might
peaceably secede to any of the allied cities of Italy, or Greece,
or Asia. [204] His fame and fortunes were preserved, at least to his
children, by this civil death; and he might still be happy in every
rational and sensual enjoyment, if a mind accustomed to the ambitious
tumult of Rome could support the uniformity and silence of Rhodes or
Athens. A bolder effort was required to escape from the tyranny of the
Caesars; but this effort was rendered familiar by the maxims of the
stoics, the example of the bravest Romans, and the legal encouragements
of suicide. The bodies of condemned criminals were exposed to public
ignominy, and their children, a more serious evil, were reduced to
poverty by the confiscation of their fortunes. But, if the victims of
Tiberius and Nero anticipated the decree of the prince or senate, their
courage and despatch were recompensed by the applause of the public, the
decent honors of burial, and the validity of their testaments. [205] The
exquisite avarice and cruelty of Domitian appear to have deprived the
unfortunate of this last consolation, and it was still denied even by
the clemency of the Antonines. A voluntary death, which, in the case of
a capital offence, intervened between the accusation and the sentence,
was admitted as a confession of guilt, and the spoils of the deceased
were seized by the inhuman claims of the treasury. [206] Yet the
civilians have always respected the natural right of a citizen to
dispose of his life; and the posthumous disgrace invented by Tarquin,
[207] to check the despair of his subjects, was never revived or
imitated by succeeding tyrants. The powers of this world have indeed
lost their dominion over him who is resolved on death; and his arm can
only be restrained by the religious apprehension of a future state.
Suicides are enumerated by Virgil among the unfortunate, rather than the
guilty; [208] and the poetical fables of the infernal shades could not
seriously influence the faith or practice of mankind. But the precepts
of the gospel, or the church, have at length imposed a pious servitude
on the minds of Christians, and condemn them to expect, without a
murmur, the last stroke of disease or the executioner. [Footnote 204:
Polyb. l. vi. p. 643. The extension of the empire and city of Rome
obliged the exile to seek a more distant place of retirement.]

[Footnote 205: Qui de se statuebant, humabanta corpora, manebant
testamenta; pretium festinandi. Tacit. Annal. vi. 25, with the Notes of

[Footnote 206: Julius Paulus, (Sentent. Recept. l. v. tit. xii. p.
476,) the Pandects, (xlviii. tit. xxi.,) the Code, (l. ix. tit. l.,)
Bynkershoek, (tom. i. p. 59, Observat. J. C. R. iv. 4,) and Montesquieu,
(Esprit des Loix, l. xxix. c. ix.,) define the civil limitations of
the liberty and privileges of suicide. The criminal penalties are the
production of a later and darker age.]

[Footnote 207: Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxvi. 24. When he fatigued his
subjects in building the Capitol, many of the laborers were provoked to
despatch themselves: he nailed their dead bodies to crosses.]

[Footnote 208: The sole resemblance of a violent and premature death has
engaged Virgil (Aeneid, vi. 434--439) to confound suicides with infants,
lovers, and persons unjustly condemned. Heyne, the best of his editors,
is at a loss to deduce the idea, or ascertain the jurisprudence, of the
Roman poet.]

The penal statutes form a very small proportion of the sixty-two books
of the Code and Pandects; and in all judicial proceedings, the life or
death of a citizen is determined with less caution or delay than
the most ordinary question of covenant or inheritance. This singular
distinction, though something may be allowed for the urgent necessity of
defending the peace of society, is derived from the nature of criminal
and civil jurisprudence. Our duties to the state are simple and uniform:
the law by which he is condemned is inscribed not only on brass or
marble, but on the conscience of the offender, and his guilt is commonly
proved by the testimony of a single fact. But our relations to each
other are various and infinite; our obligations are created,
annulled, and modified, by injuries, benefits, and promises; and the
interpretation of voluntary contracts and testaments, which are often
dictated by fraud or ignorance, affords a long and laborious exercise
to the sagacity of the judge. The business of life is multiplied by the
extent of commerce and dominion, and the residence of the parties in
the distant provinces of an empire is productive of doubt, delay, and
inevitable appeals from the local to the supreme magistrate. Justinian,
the Greek emperor of Constantinople and the East, was the legal
successor of the Latin shepherd who had planted a colony on the banks
of the Tyber. In a period of thirteen hundred years, the laws had
reluctantly followed the changes of government and manners; and the
laudable desire of conciliating ancient names with recent institutions
destroyed the harmony, and swelled the magnitude, of the obscure and
irregular system. The laws which excuse, on any occasions, the
ignorance of their subjects, confess their own imperfections: the
civil jurisprudence, as it was abridged by Justinian, still continued a
mysterious science, and a profitable trade, and the innate perplexity
of the study was involved in tenfold darkness by the private industry
of the practitioners. The expense of the pursuit sometimes exceeded the
value of the prize, and the fairest rights were abandoned by the poverty
or prudence of the claimants. Such costly justice might tend to abate
the spirit of litigation, but the unequal pressure serves only to
increase the influence of the rich, and to aggravate the misery of the
poor. By these dilatory and expensive proceedings, the wealthy pleader
obtains a more certain advantage than he could hope from the accidental
corruption of his judge. The experience of an abuse, from which our
own age and country are not perfectly exempt, may sometimes provoke
a generous indignation, and extort the hasty wish of exchanging our
elaborate jurisprudence for the simple and summary decrees of a Turkish
cadhi. Our calmer reflection will suggest, that such forms and delays
are necessary to guard the person and property of the citizen; that the
discretion of the judge is the first engine of tyranny; and that the
laws of a free people should foresee and determine every question that
may probably arise in the exercise of power and the transactions of
industry. But the government of Justinian united the evils of liberty
and servitude; and the Romans were oppressed at the same time by the
multiplicity of their laws and the arbitrary will of their master.

Chapter XLV: State Of Italy Under The Lombards.--Part I.

     Reign Of The Younger Justin.--Embassy Of The Avars.--Their
     Settlement On The Danube.--Conquest Of Italy By The
     Lombards.--Adoption And Reign Of Tiberius.--Of Maurice.--
     State Of Italy Under The Lombards And The Exarchs.--Of
     Ravenna.--Distress Of Rome.--Character And Pontificate Of
     Gregory The First.

During the last years of Justinian, his infirm mind was devoted to
heavenly contemplation, and he neglected the business of the lower
world. His subjects were impatient of the long continuance of his life
and reign: yet all who were capable of reflection apprehended the moment
of his death, which might involve the capital in tumult, and the empire
in civil war. Seven nephews [1] of the childless monarch, the sons or
grandsons of his brother and sister, had been educated in the splendor
of a princely fortune; they had been shown in high commands to the
provinces and armies; their characters were known, their followers were
zealous, and, as the jealousy of age postponed the declaration of a
successor, they might expect with equal hopes the inheritance of their
uncle. He expired in his palace, after a reign of thirty-eight years;
and the decisive opportunity was embraced by the friends of Justin,
the son of Vigilantia. [2] At the hour of midnight, his domestics
were awakened by an importunate crowd, who thundered at his door, and
obtained admittance by revealing themselves to be the principal members
of the senate. These welcome deputies announced the recent and momentous
secret of the emperor's decease; reported, or perhaps invented, his
dying choice of the best beloved and most deserving of his nephews,
and conjured Justin to prevent the disorders of the multitude, if they
should perceive, with the return of light, that they were left without a
master. After composing his countenance to surprise, sorrow, and decent
modesty, Justin, by the advice of his wife Sophia, submitted to the
authority of the senate. He was conducted with speed and silence to
the palace; the guards saluted their new sovereign; and the martial and
religious rites of his coronation were diligently accomplished. By the
hands of the proper officers he was invested with the Imperial garments,
the red buskins, white tunic, and purple robe.

A fortunate soldier, whom he instantly promoted to the rank of tribune,
encircled his neck with a military collar; four robust youths exalted
him on a shield; he stood firm and erect to receive the adoration of
his subjects; and their choice was sanctified by the benediction of the
patriarch, who imposed the diadem on the head of an orthodox prince. The
hippodrome was already filled with innumerable multitudes; and no sooner
did the emperor appear on his throne, than the voices of the blue and
the green factions were confounded in the same loyal acclamations.
In the speeches which Justin addressed to the senate and people, he
promised to correct the abuses which had disgraced the age of his
predecessor, displayed the maxims of a just and beneficent government,
and declared that, on the approaching calends of January, [3] he would
revive in his own person the name and liberty of a Roman consul. The
immediate discharge of his uncle's debts exhibited a solid pledge of
his faith and generosity: a train of porters, laden with bags of gold,
advanced into the midst of the hippodrome, and the hopeless creditors
of Justinian accepted this equitable payment as a voluntary gift. Before
the end of three years, his example was imitated and surpassed by the
empress Sophia, who delivered many indigent citizens from the weight of
debt and usury: an act of benevolence the best entitled to gratitude,
since it relieves the most intolerable distress; but in which the bounty
of a prince is the most liable to be abused by the claims of prodigality
and fraud. [4]

[Footnote 1: See the family of Justin and Justinian in the Familiae
Byzantine of Ducange, p. 89--101. The devout civilians, Ludewig (in
Vit. Justinian. p. 131) and Heineccius (Hist. Juris. Roman. p. 374) have
since illustrated the genealogy of their favorite prince.]

[Footnote 2: In the story of Justin's elevation I have translated into
simple and concise prose the eight hundred verses of the two first books
of Corippus, de Laudibus Justini Appendix Hist. Byzant. p. 401--416 Rome

[Footnote 3: It is surprising how Pagi (Critica. in Annal. Baron. tom.
ii. p 639) could be tempted by any chronicles to contradict the plain
and decisive text of Corippus, (vicina dona, l. ii. 354, vicina dies, l.
iv. 1,) and to postpone, till A.D. 567, the consulship of Justin.]

[Footnote 4: Theophan. Chronograph. p. 205. Whenever Cedrenus or Zonaras
are mere transcribers, it is superfluous to allege their testimony.]

On the seventh day of his reign, Justin gave audience to the ambassadors
of the Avars, and the scene was decorated to impress the Barbarians with
astonishment, veneration, and terror. From the palace gate, the spacious
courts and long porticos were lined with the lofty crests and gilt
bucklers of the guards, who presented their spears and axes with more
confidence than they would have shown in a field of battle. The officers
who exercised the power, or attended the person, of the prince, were
attired in their richest habits, and arranged according to the military
and civil order of the hierarchy. When the veil of the sanctuary was
withdrawn, the ambassadors beheld the emperor of the East on his throne,
beneath a canopy, or dome, which was supported by four columns, and
crowned with a winged figure of Victory. In the first emotions of
surprise, they submitted to the servile adoration of the Byzantine
court; but as soon as they rose from the ground, Targetius, the chief
of the embassy, expressed the freedom and pride of a Barbarian. He
extolled, by the tongue of his interpreter, the greatness of the chagan,
by whose clemency the kingdoms of the South were permitted to exist,
whose victorious subjects had traversed the frozen rivers of Scythia,
and who now covered the banks of the Danube with innumerable tents.
The late emperor had cultivated, with annual and costly gifts, the
friendship of a grateful monarch, and the enemies of Rome had respected
the allies of the Avars. The same prudence would instruct the nephew of
Justinian to imitate the liberality of his uncle, and to purchase the
blessings of peace from an invincible people, who delighted and excelled
in the exercise of war. The reply of the emperor was delivered in the
same strain of haughty defiance, and he derived his confidence from
the God of the Christians, the ancient glory of Rome, and the recent
triumphs of Justinian. "The empire," said he, "abounds with men and
horses, and arms sufficient to defend our frontiers, and to chastise
the Barbarians. You offer aid, you threaten hostilities: we despise your
enmity and your aid. The conquerors of the Avars solicit our alliance;
shall we dread their fugitives and exiles? [5] The bounty of our uncle
was granted to your misery, to your humble prayers. From us you shall
receive a more important obligation, the knowledge of your own weakness.
Retire from our presence; the lives of ambassadors are safe; and, if
you return to implore our pardon, perhaps you will taste of our
benevolence." [6] On the report of his ambassadors, the chagan was
awed by the apparent firmness of a Roman emperor of whose character and
resources he was ignorant. Instead of executing his threats against
the Eastern empire, he marched into the poor and savage countries of
Germany, which were subject to the dominion of the Franks. After two
doubtful battles, he consented to retire, and the Austrasian king
relieve the distress of his camp with an immediate supply of corn and
cattle. [7] Such repeated disappointments had chilled the spirit of
the Avars, and their power would have dissolved away in the Sarmatian
desert, if the alliance of Alboin, king of the Lombards, had not given
a new object to their arms, and a lasting settlement to their wearied

[Footnote 5: Corippus, l. iii. 390. The unquestionable sense relates
to the Turks, the conquerors of the Avars; but the word scultor has no
apparent meaning, and the sole Ms. of Corippus, from whence the first
edition (1581, apud Plantin) was printed, is no longer visible. The
last editor, Foggini of Rome, has inserted the conjectural emendation
of soldan: but the proofs of Ducange, (Joinville, Dissert. xvi. p.
238--240,) for the early use of this title among the Turks and
Persians, are weak or ambiguous. And I must incline to the authority of
D'Herbelot, (Bibliotheque Orient. p. 825,) who ascribes the word to the
Arabic and Chaldaean tongues, and the date to the beginning of the xith
century, when it was bestowed by the khalif of Bagdad on Mahmud, prince
of Gazna, and conqueror of India.]

[Footnote 6: For these characteristic speeches, compare the verse
of Corippus (l. iii. 251--401) with the prose of Menander, (Excerpt.
Legation. p 102, 103.) Their diversity proves that they did not copy
each other their resemblance, that they drew from a common original.]

[Footnote 7: For the Austrasian war, see Menander (Excerpt. Legat. p.
110,) Gregory of Tours, (Hist. Franc. l. iv. c 29,) and Paul the deacon,
(de Gest. Langobard. l. ii. c. 10.)]

While Alboin served under his father's standard, he encountered in
battle, and transpierced with his lance, the rival prince of the
Gepidae. The Lombards, who applauded such early prowess, requested his
father, with unanimous acclamations, that the heroic youth, who had
shared the dangers of the field, might be admitted to the feast of
victory. "You are not unmindful," replied the inflexible Audoin, "of the
wise customs of our ancestors. Whatever may be his merit, a prince is
incapable of sitting at table with his father till he has received his
arms from a foreign and royal hand." Alboin bowed with reverence to
the institutions of his country, selected forty companions, and boldly
visited the court of Turisund, king of the Gepidae, who embraced and
entertained, according to the laws of hospitality, the murderer of his
son. At the banquet, whilst Alboin occupied the seat of the youth whom
he had slain, a tender remembrance arose in the mind of Turisund. "How
dear is that place! how hateful is that person!" were the words that
escaped, with a sigh, from the indignant father. His grief exasperated
the national resentment of the Gepidae; and Cunimund, his surviving
son, was provoked by wine, or fraternal affection, to the desire of
vengeance. "The Lombards," said the rude Barbarian, "resemble, in figure
and in smell, the mares of our Sarmatian plains." And this insult was
a coarse allusion to the white bands which enveloped their legs. "Add
another resemblance," replied an audacious Lombard; "you have felt how
strongly they kick. Visit the plain of Asfield, and seek for the bones
of thy brother: they are mingled with those of the vilest animals."
The Gepidae, a nation of warriors, started from their seats, and the
fearless Alboin, with his forty companions, laid their hands on their
swords. The tumult was appeased by the venerable interposition of
Turisund. He saved his own honor, and the life of his guest; and, after
the solemn rites of investiture, dismissed the stranger in the bloody
arms of his son; the gift of a weeping parent. Alboin returned in
triumph; and the Lombards, who celebrated his matchless intrepidity,
were compelled to praise the virtues of an enemy. [8] In this
extraordinary visit he had probably seen the daughter of Cunimund, who
soon after ascended the throne of the Gepidae. Her name was Rosamond,
an appellation expressive of female beauty, and which our own history or
romance has consecrated to amorous tales. The king of the Lombards (the
father of Alboin no longer lived) was contracted to the granddaughter of
Clovis; but the restraints of faith and policy soon yielded to the hope
of possessing the fair Rosamond, and of insulting her family and nation.
The arts of persuasion were tried without success; and the impatient
lover, by force and stratagem, obtained the object of his desires. War
was the consequence which he foresaw and solicited; but the Lombards
could not long withstand the furious assault of the Gepidae, who were
sustained by a Roman army. And, as the offer of marriage was rejected
with contempt, Alboin was compelled to relinquish his prey, and to
partake of the disgrace which he had inflicted on the house of Cunimund.

[Footnote 8: Paul Warnefrid, the deacon of Friuli, de Gest. Langobard.
l. i. c. 23, 24. His pictures of national manners, though rudely
sketched are more lively and faithful than those of Bede, or Gregory of

[Footnote 9: The story is told by an impostor, (Theophylact. Simocat.
l. vi. c. 10;) but he had art enough to build his fictions on public and
notorious facts.]

When a public quarrel is envenomed by private injuries, a blow that is
not mortal or decisive can be productive only of a short truce,
which allows the unsuccessful combatant to sharpen his arms for a
new encounter. The strength of Alboin had been found unequal to the
gratification of his love, ambition, and revenge: he condescended to
implore the formidable aid of the chagan; and the arguments that he
employed are expressive of the art and policy of the Barbarians. In
the attack of the Gepidae, he had been prompted by the just desire
of extirpating a people whom their alliance with the Roman empire had
rendered the common enemies of the nations, and the personal adversaries
of the chagan. If the forces of the Avars and the Lombards should
unite in this glorious quarrel, the victory was secure, and the reward
inestimable: the Danube, the Hebrus, Italy, and Constantinople, would
be exposed, without a barrier, to their invincible arms. But, if they
hesitated or delayed to prevent the malice of the Romans, the same
spirit which had insulted would pursue the Avars to the extremity of the
earth. These specious reasons were heard by the chagan with coldness and
disdain: he detained the Lombard ambassadors in his camp, protracted the
negotiation, and by turns alleged his want of inclination, or his
want of ability, to undertake this important enterprise. At length he
signified the ultimate price of his alliance, that the Lombards should
immediately present him with a tithe of their cattle; that the spoils
and captives should be equally divided; but that the lands of the
Gepidae should become the sole patrimony of the Avars. Such hard
conditions were eagerly accepted by the passions of Alboin; and, as
the Romans were dissatisfied with the ingratitude and perfidy of the
Gepidae, Justin abandoned that incorrigible people to their fate, and
remained the tranquil spectator of this unequal conflict. The despair
of Cunimund was active and dangerous. He was informed that the Avars
had entered his confines; but, on the strong assurance that, after the
defeat of the Lombards, these foreign invaders would easily be repelled,
he rushed forwards to encounter the implacable enemy of his name and
family. But the courage of the Gepidae could secure them no more than an
honorable death. The bravest of the nation fell in the field of battle;
the king of the Lombards contemplated with delight the head of Cunimund;
and his skull was fashioned into a cup to satiate the hatred of the
conqueror, or, perhaps, to comply with the savage custom of his country.
[10] After this victory, no further obstacle could impede the progress
of the confederates, and they faithfully executed the terms of their
agreement. [11] The fair countries of Walachia, Moldavia, Transylvania,
and the other parts of Hungary beyond the Danube, were occupied, without
resistance, by a new colony of Scythians; and the Dacian empire of the
chagans subsisted with splendor above two hundred and thirty years. The
nation of the Gepidae was dissolved; but, in the distribution of
the captives, the slaves of the Avars were less fortunate than the
companions of the Lombards, whose generosity adopted a valiant foe, and
whose freedom was incompatible with cool and deliberate tyranny. One
moiety of the spoil introduced into the camp of Alboin more wealth than
a Barbarian could readily compute. The fair Rosamond was persuaded, or
compelled, to acknowledge the rights of her victorious lover; and the
daughter of Cunimund appeared to forgive those crimes which might be
imputed to her own irresistible charms.

[Footnote 10: It appears from Strabo, Pliny, and Ammianus Marcellinus,
that the same practice was common among the Scythian tribes, (Muratori,
Scriptores Rer. Italic. tom. i. p. 424.) The scalps of North America are
likewise trophies of valor. The skull of Cunimund was preserved above
two hundred years among the Lombards; and Paul himself was one of the
guests to whom Duke Ratchis exhibited this cup on a high festival, (l.
ii. c. 28.)]

[Footnote 11: Paul, l. i. c. 27. Menander, in Excerpt Legat. p. 110,

The destruction of a mighty kingdom established the fame of Alboin. In
the days of Charlemagne, the Bavarians, the Saxons, and the other tribes
of the Teutonic language, still repeated the songs which described the
heroic virtues, the valor, liberality, and fortune of the king of the
Lombards. [12] But his ambition was yet unsatisfied; and the conqueror
of the Gepidae turned his eyes from the Danube to the richer banks
of the Po, and the Tyber. Fifteen years had not elapsed, since his
subjects, the confederates of Narses, had visited the pleasant climate
of Italy: the mountains, the rivers, the highways, were familiar to
their memory: the report of their success, perhaps the view of their
spoils, had kindled in the rising generation the flame of emulation and
enterprise. Their hopes were encouraged by the spirit and eloquence of
Alboin: and it is affirmed, that he spoke to their senses, by producing
at the royal feast, the fairest and most exquisite fruits that grew
spontaneously in the garden of the world. No sooner had he erected his
standard, than the native strength of the Lombard was multiplied by
the adventurous youth of Germany and Scythia. The robust peasantry of
Noricum and Pannonia had resumed the manners of Barbarians; and the
names of the Gepidae, Bulgarians, Sarmatians, and Bavarians, may be
distinctly traced in the provinces of Italy. [13] Of the Saxons, the old
allies of the Lombards, twenty thousand warriors, with their wives and
children, accepted the invitation of Alboin. Their bravery contributed
to his success; but the accession or the absence of their numbers was
not sensibly felt in the magnitude of his host. Every mode of religion
was freely practised by its respective votaries. The king of the
Lombards had been educated in the Arian heresy; but the Catholics, in
their public worship, were allowed to pray for his conversion; while the
more stubborn Barbarians sacrificed a she-goat, or perhaps a captive,
to the gods of their fathers. [14] The Lombards, and their confederates,
were united by their common attachment to a chief, who excelled in all
the virtues and vices of a savage hero; and the vigilance of Alboin
provided an ample magazine of offensive and defensive arms for the use
of the expedition. The portable wealth of the Lombards attended the
march: their lands they cheerfully relinquished to the Avars, on the
solemn promise, which was made and accepted without a smile, that if
they failed in the conquest of Italy, these voluntary exiles should be
reinstated in their former possessions.

[Footnote 12: Ut hactenus etiam tam apud Bajoarior um gentem, quam et
Saxmum, sed et alios ejusdem linguae homines..... in eorum carmini bus
celebretur. Paul, l. i. c. 27. He died A.D. 799, (Muratori, in Praefat.
tom. i. p. 397.) These German songs, some of which might be as old
as Tacitus, (de Moribus Germ. c. 2,) were compiled and transcribed by
Charlemagne. Barbara et antiquissima carmina, quibus veterum regum actus
et bella canebantur scripsit memoriaeque mandavit, (Eginard, in Vit.
Carol. Magn. c. 29, p. 130, 131.) The poems, which Goldast commends,
(Animadvers. ad Eginard. p. 207,) appear to be recent and contemptible

[Footnote 13: The other nations are rehearsed by Paul, (l. ii. c.
6, 26,) Muratori (Antichita Italiane, tom. i. dissert. i. p. 4) has
discovered the village of the Bavarians, three miles from Modena.]

[Footnote 14: Gregory the Roman (Dialog. l. i. iii. c. 27, 28, apud
Baron. Annal Eccles. A.D. 579, No. 10) supposes that they likewise
adored this she-goat. I know but of one religion in which the god and
the victim are the same.]

They might have failed, if Narses had been the antagonist of the
Lombards; and the veteran warriors, the associates of his Gothic
victory, would have encountered with reluctance an enemy whom they
dreaded and esteemed. But the weakness of the Byzantine court was
subservient to the Barbarian cause; and it was for the ruin of Italy,
that the emperor once listened to the complaints of his subjects. The
virtues of Narses were stained with avarice; and, in his provincial
reign of fifteen years, he accumulated a treasure of gold and silver
which surpassed the modesty of a private fortune. His government was
oppressive or unpopular, and the general discontent was expressed with
freedom by the deputies of Rome. Before the throne of Justinian they
boldly declared, that their Gothic servitude had been more tolerable
than the despotism of a Greek eunuch; and that, unless their tyrant were
instantly removed, they would consult their own happiness in the choice
of a master. The apprehension of a revolt was urged by the voice of
envy and detraction, which had so recently triumphed over the merit
of Belisarius. A new exarch, Longinus, was appointed to supersede the
conqueror of Italy, and the base motives of his recall were revealed in
the insulting mandate of the empress Sophia, "that he should leave to
men the exercise of arms, and return to his proper station among the
maidens of the palace, where a distaff should be again placed in the
hand of the eunuch." "I will spin her such a thread as she shall not
easily unravel!" is said to have been the reply which indignation and
conscious virtue extorted from the hero. Instead of attending, a slave
and a victim, at the gate of the Byzantine palace, he retired to Naples,
from whence (if any credit is due to the belief of the times) Narses
invited the Lombards to chastise the ingratitude of the prince and
people. [15] But the passions of the people are furious and changeable,
and the Romans soon recollected the merits, or dreaded the resentment,
of their victorious general. By the mediation of the pope, who undertook
a special pilgrimage to Naples, their repentance was accepted; and
Narses, assuming a milder aspect and a more dutiful language, consented
to fix his residence in the Capitol. His death, [16] though in the
extreme period of old age, was unseasonable and premature, since his
genius alone could have repaired the last and fatal error of his life.
The reality, or the suspicion, of a conspiracy disarmed and disunited
the Italians. The soldiers resented the disgrace, and bewailed the loss,
of their general. They were ignorant of their new exarch; and Longinus
was himself ignorant of the state of the army and the province. In the
preceding years Italy had been desolated by pestilence and famine, and
a disaffected people ascribed the calamities of nature to the guilt or
folly of their rulers. [17]

[Footnote 15: The charge of the deacon against Narses (l. ii. c. 5)
may be groundless; but the weak apology of the Cardinal (Baron. Annal
Eccles. A.D. 567, No. 8--12) is rejected by the best critics--Pagi (tom.
ii. p. 639, 640,) Muratori, (Annali d' Italia, tom. v. p. 160--163,) and
the last editors, Horatius Blancus, (Script. Rerum Italic. tom. i. p.
427, 428,) and Philip Argelatus, (Sigon. Opera, tom. ii. p. 11, 12.) The
Narses who assisted at the coronation of Justin (Corippus, l. iii. 221)
is clearly understood to be a different person.]

[Footnote 16: The death of Narses is mentioned by Paul, l. ii. c. 11.
Anastas. in Vit. Johan. iii. p. 43. Agnellus, Liber Pontifical. Raven.
in Script. Rer. Italicarum, tom. ii. part i. p. 114, 124. Yet I cannot
believe with Agnellus that Narses was ninety-five years of age. Is it
probable that all his exploits were performed at fourscore?]

[Footnote 17: The designs of Narses and of the Lombards for the invasion
of Italy are exposed in the last chapter of the first book, and the
seven last chapters of the second book, of Paul the deacon.]

Whatever might be the grounds of his security, Alboin neither expected
nor encountered a Roman army in the field. He ascended the Julian Alps,
and looked down with contempt and desire on the fruitful plains to
which his victory communicated the perpetual appellation of Lombardy.
A faithful chieftain, and a select band, were stationed at Forum Julii,
the modern Friuli, to guard the passes of the mountains. The Lombards
respected the strength of Pavia, and listened to the prayers of the
Trevisans: their slow and heavy multitudes proceeded to occupy the
palace and city of Verona; and Milan, now rising from her ashes, was
invested by the powers of Alboin five months after his departure from
Pannonia. Terror preceded his march: he found every where, or he left,
a dreary solitude; and the pusillanimous Italians presumed, without a
trial, that the stranger was invincible. Escaping to lakes, or rocks,
or morasses, the affrighted crowds concealed some fragments of their
wealth, and delayed the moment of their servitude. Paulinus, the
patriarch of Aquileia, removed his treasures, sacred and profane, to
the Isle of Grado, [18] and his successors were adopted by the infant
republic of Venice, which was continually enriched by the public
calamities. Honoratus, who filled the chair of St. Ambrose, had
credulously accepted the faithless offers of a capitulation; and the
archbishop, with the clergy and nobles of Milan, were driven by the
perfidy of Alboin to seek a refuge in the less accessible ramparts of
Genoa. Along the maritime coast, the courage of the inhabitants was
supported by the facility of supply, the hopes of relief, and the power
of escape; but from the Trentine hills to the gates of Ravenna and Rome
the inland regions of Italy became, without a battle or a siege, the
lasting patrimony of the Lombards. The submission of the people invited
the Barbarian to assume the character of a lawful sovereign, and the
helpless exarch was confined to the office of announcing to the emperor
Justin the rapid and irretrievable loss of his provinces and cities.
[19] One city, which had been diligently fortified by the Goths,
resisted the arms of a new invader; and while Italy was subdued by the
flying detachments of the Lombards, the royal camp was fixed above three
years before the western gate of Ticinum, or Pavia. The same courage
which obtains the esteem of a civilized enemy provokes the fury of a
savage, and the impatient besieger had bound himself by a tremendous
oath, that age, and sex, and dignity, should be confounded in a general
massacre. The aid of famine at length enabled him to execute his bloody
vow; but, as Alboin entered the gate, his horse stumbled, fell, and
could not be raised from the ground. One of his attendants was prompted
by compassion, or piety, to interpret this miraculous sign of the wrath
of Heaven: the conqueror paused and relented; he sheathed his sword, and
peacefully reposing himself in the palace of Theodoric, proclaimed to
the trembling multitude that they should live and obey. Delighted
with the situation of a city which was endeared to his pride by the
difficulty of the purchase, the prince of the Lombards disdained the
ancient glories of Milan; and Pavia, during some ages, was respected as
the capital of the kingdom of Italy. [20]

[Footnote 18: Which from this translation was called New Aquileia,
(Chron. Venet. p. 3.) The patriarch of Grado soon became the first
citizen of the republic, (p. 9, &c.,) but his seat was not removed to
Venice till the year 1450. He is now decorated with titles and honors;
but the genius of the church has bowed to that of the state, and the
government of a Catholic city is strictly Presbyterian. Thomassin,
Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. p. 156, 157, 161--165. Amelot de la
Houssaye, Gouvernement de Venise, tom. i. p. 256--261.]

[Footnote 19: Paul has given a description of Italy, as it was then
divided into eighteen regions, (l. ii. c. 14--24.) The Dissertatio
Chorographica de Italia Medii Aevi, by Father Beretti, a Benedictine
monk, and regius professor at Pavia, has been usefully consulted.]

[Footnote 20: For the conquest of Italy, see the original materials
of Paul, (l. p. 7--10, 12, 14, 25, 26, 27,) the eloquent narrative of
Sigonius, (tom. il. de Regno Italiae, l. i. p. 13--19,) and the
correct and critical review el Muratori, (Annali d' Italia, tom. v. p.

The reign of the founder was splendid and transient; and, before he
could regulate his new conquests, Alboin fell a sacrifice to domestic
treason and female revenge. In a palace near Verona, which had not
been erected for the Barbarians, he feasted the companions of his arms;
intoxication was the reward of valor, and the king himself was
tempted by appetite, or vanity, to exceed the ordinary measure of
his intemperance. After draining many capacious bowls of Rhaetian or
Falernian wine, he called for the skull of Cunimund, the noblest and
most precious ornament of his sideboard. The cup of victory was accepted
with horrid applause by the circle of the Lombard chiefs. "Fill it again
with wine," exclaimed the inhuman conqueror, "fill it to the brim: carry
this goblet to the queen, and request in my name that she would rejoice
with her father." In an agony of grief and rage, Rosamond had strength
to utter, "Let the will of my lord be obeyed!" and, touching it with her
lips, pronounced a silent imprecation, that the insult should be
washed away in the blood of Alboin. Some indulgence might be due to the
resentment of a daughter, if she had not already violated the duties of
a wife. Implacable in her enmity, or inconstant in her love, the queen
of Italy had stooped from the throne to the arms of a subject, and
Helmichis, the king's armor-bearer, was the secret minister of her
pleasure and revenge. Against the proposal of the murder, he could
no longer urge the scruples of fidelity or gratitude; but Helmichis
trembled when he revolved the danger as well as the guilt, when he
recollected the matchless strength and intrepidity of a warrior whom he
had so often attended in the field of battle. He pressed and obtained,
that one of the bravest champions of the Lombards should be associated
to the enterprise; but no more than a promise of secrecy could be
drawn from the gallant Peredeus, and the mode of seduction employed by
Rosamond betrays her shameless insensibility both to honor and love. She
supplied the place of one of her female attendants who was beloved by
Peredeus, and contrived some excuse for darkness and silence, till
she could inform her companion that he had enjoyed the queen of the
Lombards, and that his own death, or the death of Alboin, must be the
consequence of such treasonable adultery. In this alternative he chose
rather to be the accomplice than the victim of Rosamond, [21] whose
undaunted spirit was incapable of fear or remorse. She expected and
soon found a favorable moment, when the king, oppressed with wine, had
retired from the table to his afternoon slumbers. His faithless spouse
was anxious for his health and repose: the gates of the palace were
shut, the arms removed, the attendants dismissed, and Rosamond, after
lulling him to rest by her tender caresses, unbolted the chamber door,
and urged the reluctant conspirators to the instant execution of the
deed. On the first alarm, the warrior started from his couch: his sword,
which he attempted to draw, had been fastened to the scabbard by the
hand of Rosamond; and a small stool, his only weapon, could not long
protect him from the spears of the assassins. The daughter of Cunimund
smiled in his fall: his body was buried under the staircase of the
palace; and the grateful posterity of the Lombards revered the tomb and
the memory of their victorious leader.

[Footnote 21: The classical reader will recollect the wife and murder of
Candaules, so agreeably told in the first book of Herodotus. The choice
of Gyges, may serve as the excuse of Peredeus; and this soft insinuation
of an odious idea has been imitated by the best writers of antiquity,
(Graevius, ad Ciceron. Orat. pro Miloue c. 10)]

Chapter XLV: State Of Italy Under The Lombards.--Part II.

The ambitious Rosamond aspired to reign in the name of her lover; the
city and palace of Verona were awed by her power; and a faithful band
of her native Gepidae was prepared to applaud the revenge, and to second
the wishes, of their sovereign. But the Lombard chiefs, who fled in the
first moments of consternation and disorder, had resumed their courage
and collected their powers; and the nation, instead of submitt