« ForrigeFortsett »
Episcopal zeal and courage which prevailed at that time, it is not in our power to draw any useful inferences from the former of these facts: but the latter may serve to justify a very important and probable conclusion. According to the distribution of Roman provinces, Palestine may be considered as the sixteenth part of the Eastern empire;(183) and since there were some governors...who from a real or affected clemency had preserved their hands unstained with the blood of the faithful,(184) it is reasonable to believe that the country which had given birth to Christianity produced at least the sixteenth part of the martyrs who suffered death within i. dominions of Galerius and Maximin; the whole might consequently amount to about fifteen hundred, a number which, if it is equally j between the ten years of the persecution, will allow an annual consumption of one hundred and fifty martyrs. Allotting the same proportion to the provinces of Italy, Africa, and perhaps Spain, where, at the end of two or three years, the rigour of the penal laws was either suspended or abolished, the multitude of Christians in |. Roman empire, on whom a capital punishment was inflicted by a judicial sentence, will be reduced to somewhat less than two thousand persons. Since it cannot be doubted that the Christians were more numerous, and their enemies more exasperated in the time of Dioclesian, than they had ever been in any former persecution, this probable and moderate computation may teach us to estimate the number of primitive saints and martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the important purpose of introducing Christianity into the world. We shall conclude this chapter by a melancholy truth, which obtrudes itself on the reluctant mind; that even admitting, without hesitation or inquiry, all that history has recorded, or devotion has feigned, on the subject of martyrdoms, it must still be acknowledged that the Christians, in the course of their intestine dissensions, have .# far greater severities on each other than the had experienced from the zeal of infidels. During the #. of ignorance whic followed the subversion of the Roman empire in the West, the bishops of the Imperial city extended their dominion over the laity as well as clergy of the Latin church. The fabric of superstition which they had erected, and which might long have defied the feeble efforts of reason, was at length assaulted by a crowd of daring fanatics, who, from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, assumed the popular character of reformers. The church of Rome defended by violence the empire which she had acquired by fraud; a system of peace and benevolence was soon disgraced by proscriptions, wars, massacres, and the institution of the holy office. And as the reformers were animated by the love of civil, as well as of o: freedom, the Catholic princes connected their own interest with that of the clergy, and enforced by fire and the sword the terrors of spiritual censures. In the Netherlands alone, more than one hundred thousand of the subjects of Charles the Fifth are said to have suffered by the hand of the executioner; and this extraordinary number is attested by Grojo a man of genius and learning, who preserved his moderation amidst the fury of contending sects, and who composed the annals of his own age and country, at a time when the invention of printing had facilitated the means of intelligence, and increased the danger of detection. If we are obliged to submit our belief to the authority of Grotius, it must be allowed, that the number of Protestants, who were executed in a single province and a single reign, far exceeded that of the primitive martyrs in the space of three centuries, and of the Roman empire. But if the improbability of the fact itself should prevail over the weight of evidence; if Grotius should be convicted of exaggerating the merit and sufferings of the Reformers;(186) we shall be naturally led to
Glo) When Palestine was divided into three, the prefecture of the East contained forty-eight prowinces. As the ancient distinctions of nations were long since abolished, the Romans distributed the provin according to a general proportion of their extent and opulence. (184) Ut gloriari possint nullum se innocentiam peremisse, nametipse audiwi aliquos gloriantes, quia administratiosua, in håc parte, fuerit incruenta. Lactant institut. Divin. v. 11. (185) Grot. Annal. de Rebus Belgicis, l. i. p. 12. Edit. fol. (186) Fra-Paolo (Istoria del Concilio Tridentino, l. iii) reduces the number of Belgic martyrs to 50,000, In learning and moderation fra-Paolo was not inferior to Grotius." The priority of time gives some ad
inquire what confidence can be placed in the doubtful and imperfect monuments of ancient credulity; what degree of credit can be assigned to a courtly bishop, and a passionate declaimer, who, under the protection of Constantine, enjoyed the exclusive privilege of recording the persecutions inflicted on the §. by the vanquished rivals or disregarded predecessors of their gracious sovereign.
Foundation of Constantinople-Political system of Constantine, and his successors—Military discipline—The palace–The finances.
THE unfortunate Licinius was the last rival who opposed the greatness, and the last captive who adorned the triumph of Constantine. After a tranquil and rosperous reign, the conqueror bequeathed to his family the inheritance of the É. empire; a new capital, a new policy; and a new religion; and the innovations which he established have been embraced and consecrated by succeeding generations. The age of the great Constantine and his sons is filled with important events; but the historian must be oppressed by their number and variety, unless he diligently separates from each, other the scenes which are connected only by the order of time. He will describe the political institutions that gave strength and stability to the empire, before he proceeds to relate the wars and revolutions which hastened its decline. . He will adopt the division unknown to the ancients, of civil and ecclesiastical affairs: the victory of the Christians, and their intestine discord, will supply copious and distinct materials both for edification and for scandal. [A. D. 324.]. After the defeat and abdication of Licinius, his victorious rival proceeded to lay the soundation of, a city, destined to reign, in future times, the mistress of the East, and to survive the empire and o of Constantine. The motives, whether of pride or of policy, which first induced Dioclesian to . withdraw himself from the ancient seat of government, had acquired additional weight by the example of his successors, and the habits of forty years. Rome was insensibly confounded with the dependent kingdoms which had once acknowledged her supremacy; and the country of the Cesars was viewed with cold indifference by a martial prince, born in the neighbourhood of the Danube, educated in the courts and armies of Asia, and invested with the purple by the legions of Britain. The Italians who had received Constantine as their deliverer, submissively obeyed the edicts which he sometimes condescended to address to the senate and people of Rome; but they were seldom honoured with the presence of their new sovereign. 'During the vigour of his age, Constantine, according to the various exigencies of peace and war, moved with slow dignity, or with active diligence along the frontiers of his extensive dominions; and was always prepared to take the field either against a foreign or a domestic enemy. But as he gradually reached the summit of prosperity and the decline of life, he began to meditate the design of fixing in a more permanent station the strength as well as majesty of the throne. In the choice of an advantageous situation, he preferred the confines of Europe and Asia; to curb, with a powerful arm, the barbarians who dwelt between the Danube and the Tanais; to watch with an eye of jealousy the conduct of the Persian monarch, who indignantly supported the yoke of an ignominious treaty. With these views, Dioclesian had selected and embellished the residence of Nicomedia: but the memory of Dioclesian was justly abhorred by the P. of the church; and Constantine was not insensible to the ambition of founding a city which might perpetuate the o of his own name. During the late operations of the war against Licinius, he had sufficient opportunity to contemplate, both
vantage to the evidence of the former, which he loses on the other hand by the distance of Venice from the Netherlands.
that near two thousand years before his reign, Darius had chosen the same situation to connect the two continents by a bridge of boats.(9) At a small distance from the old castles we discover the little town of Chrysopolis, or Scutari, which may almost be considered as the Asiatic suburb of Constantinole. The Bosphorus, as it begins to open into the Propontis, passes between yzantium and Chalcedon. The latter of those cities was built by the Greeks, a few years before the former; and the blindness of its founders, who overlooked the superior advantages of the opposite coast, has been stigmatized by a proverbial expression of contempt.(10) The harbour of Constantinople, which may be considered as an arm of the Bosphorus, obtained, in a very remote period, the denomination of the Golden Horn. The curve which it describes might be compared to the horn of a stag, or, as it should seem, with more propriety, to that of an o The epithet of golden was expressive of the riches which every wind wasted from the most distant countries into the secure and capacious port of Constantinople. The river Lycus, formed by the conflux of two little streams, pours into the harbour a perpetual . of fresh water, which serves to cleanse the bottom, and to invite the periodical shoals of fish to seek their retreat in that convenient recess. As the vicissitudes of tides are scarcely felt in those seas, the constant depth of the harbour allows goods to be landed on the quays without the assistance of boats; and it has been observed, that in many places the largest vessels may rest their prows against the houses, while their sterns are floating in the water.(12). From the mouth of the Lycus to that of the harbour, this arm of the Bosphorus is more than seven miles in length. The entrance is about five hundred yards broad, and a strong chain could be occasionally drawn across it, to guard the }. and city from the attack of a hostile nav o Between the Bosphorus and the Hellespont, the shores of Europe and Asia receding on either side enclose the sea of Marmora, which was known to the ancients by the denomination of Propontis. The navigation from the issue of the Bosphorus to the entrance of the Hellespont is about one hundred and twenty miles. Those who steer their westward course through the middle of the Propontis, may at once descry the high lands of Thrace and Bithynia, and never lose sight of the lofty summit f Mount Olympus, covered with eternal snows.(14) They leave on the left a deep gulf, at the bottom of which Nicomedia was seated, the imperial residence of Dioclesian; and they pass the small islands of Cyzicus o Proconnesus before they cast anchor at Gallipoli; where the sea, which separates Asia from Europe, is again contracted into a narrow channel. The geographers who, with the most skilful accuracy, have surveyed the form and extent of the Hellespont, assign about sixty miles for the windi course, and about three miles for the ordinary breadth of those celebrate straits.(15) But the narrowest part of the channel is found to the northward of
(9) Darius engraved in Greek and Assyrian letters on two marble columns, the names of his subject nations, and the amazing numbers of his land and sea forces. The Byzantines afterward transported these columns into the city, and used them for the altars of their tutelar deities. Herodotus, l. iv. c. 87. (10) Namgue artissimo inter Europam Asiamaue divortio Byzantium in extremä Europé posuere Graeci, quibus, Pythium Apollinem consulentibus ubi conderent urbem, redditum, oraculum est, quaererent seden cacorum terris adversam. Eä ambage Chalcedoniimonstrabantur, quðd priores illuc advecti, previsã locorum utilitate pejora legissent. Tacit. Annal. xii. 62. (11) Strabo, 1.x. p. 492. Most of the antlers are now broke off: or, to speak less figuratively, most of the recesses of the harbour are filled up...See Gyllius de Bosphoro Thracia, l. i. c. 5. (12) Procopius de AEdificiis, l. i. c. 5. His description is confirmed by moders travellers. SeeThevenot, part i. l. i. c. 15. Tournefort, Lettre XII. Niebuhr, Voyage d'Arabie, p. 22. (13) See Ducange, C. P. l. i. part i. c. 16, and his observations sur visionardouin, p.289. The chain was drawn from the Acropolis, near the modern Kiosh, to the Tower of Galata; and was supported at convenient distances by large wooden piles. (14) Thevenot (Voyages au Levant, part i. 1. I. c. 14) contracts the measure to 125 small Greek miles. Belon (Observations, l. ii., c. 1) gives a good description of the Propontis, but contents himself with the vague expression of one day and one night's sail. When Sandys (Travels, p. 21) talks of 150 furlongs in length as well as breadth, we can only suppose some mistake of the press in the text of that judicious traveller. (15) See an admirable dissertation of M. d'Anville upon the Hellespont or Dardanelles, in the Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxviii. p. 318–346. Yet even that ingenious geographer is too fond of supposing new, and perhaps imaginary, measures, for the purpose of rendering ancient writers as accu
rate as himself. The stadia employed by Herodotus in the description of the Euxine, the Bosphorus, &c. (l. iv. c. 85) must undoubtedly be all of the same species: but it seems impossible to reconcile them either with truth or with each other. (16) The oblique distance between Sestus and Abydus was thirty stadia. The improbable tale of Hero and Leander is ex by M. Mahudel, hut is defended on the authority of Poto and medals by M. de la Nauze. See the Academie des Inscriptions, tom. vii. Hist. p. 74. Mem. p. 240.* (17) see the seventh book of Herodotus, who has erected an elegant trophy to his own fame and to that of his country. The review appears to have been made with tolerable accuracy; but the vanity, first of the Persians, and afterward of the Greeks, was interested to magnify the armament and the victory; I should much doubt whether the invaders have ever outnumbered the men of any country which they attacked. (18) see Wood's observations on Homer, p. 320, I have with pleasure selected this remark from an author who in general seems to have disappointed the expectation of the public as a critic, and still more as a traveller. He had visited the banks of the Hellespont; he had read Strabo ; he ought to have consulted the Roman itineraries; how was it possible for him to confound Ilium and Alexandria Trons (Observations, p. 340,341), two-cities which were sitteen miles distant from each other?t (19) Demetrius of Scepsis wrote sixty books on thirty lines of Homer's Catalogue. The XIIIth book of Strabo is sufficient for our curiosity. (20, Strabo, I. xiii. p. 595. The disposition of the ships which were drawn upon dry land, and the of Ajax and Adi. are very clearly described by Homer. See Iliad is. 220. (21) Zosim. l. ii. p. 105. Sozomen, l. ii. c. 3. Theophanes, p. 18. Nicephorus Calistus, 1. vii. p. 48. Zonaras, tom. ii. I. xiii. p. 6. Zosimus places the new city between Ilium and Alexandria, but this apparent difference may be reconciled by the large extent of its circumference. Before the foundation of Constantinople, Thessalonica is mentioned by Cedrenus (p. 283), and Sardica by Zonaras, as the intended capital. They both suppose, with very little probability, that the Emperor, if he had not been prevented bv a prodigy, would have repeated the mistake of the blind Chalcedonians. Pocock's Description of the East, vol. ii. part ii. p. 127. His plan of the seven hills is clear and accurate. That traveller is seldom so satisfactory.