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his seat, and with grateful reverence adored the memory of his predecessor.” At the festival of the dedication, an edict, engraved on a column of marble, bestowed the title of Secon D or New Rome on the city of Constantine.” But the name of Constantinople” has prevailed over that honourable epithet; and, after the revolution of fourteen centuries, still perpetuates the fame of its author.” The foundation of a new capital is naturally connected with the establishment of a new form of civil and military administration. The distinct view of the complicated system of policy, introduced by Diocletian, improved by Constantine, and completed by his immediate successors, may not only amuse the fancy by the singular picture of a great empire, but will tend to illustrate the secret and internal causes of its rapid decay. In the pursuit of any remarkable institution, we may be frequently led into the more early or the more recent times of the Roman history; but the proper limits of this inquiry will be included within a period of about one hundred and thirty years, from the accession of Constantine to the publication of the Theodosian code;7” from which, as well as from the Notitia of the east and west,” we derive the most copious and authentic information of the state of the empire. This variety of objects will suspend, for some time, the course of the narrative ; but
form of government
*The earliest and most complete account of this extraordinary ceremony may be found in the Alexandrian Chronicle, p. 285 [Chr. Pasch. p. 529-30). Tillemont, and the other friends of Constantine, who are oftended with the air of Paganism which seems unworthy of a Christian Prince, had a right to consider it as doubtful, but they were not authorized to omit the mention of it. *Sozomen, l. ii. c. 2. Ducange, C. P. l. i. c. 6. Velut ipsius Romae filiam, is the expression of Augustin. de Civitat. Dei, l. v. c. 25. 79 Eutropius, l. x. c. 8. Julian. Orat. i. p. 8. Ducange C. P. l. i. c. 5. The name of Constantinople is extant on the medals of Constantine. 7. The lively Fontenelle (Dialogues des Morts, xii.) affects to deride the vanity of human ambition, and seems to triumph in the disappointment of Constantine, whose immortal name is now lost in the vulgar appellation of Istambol, a Turkish corruption of eis rily wéAuv. Yet the original name is still preserved, I. By the nations of Europe. , 2. By the modern Greeks. 3. By the Arabs, whose writings are diffused over the wide extent of their conquests in Asia and Africa. See d'Herbelot Bibliothèque Orientale, p. 275. 4. By the more learned Turks, and by the emperor himself in his public mandates. Cantemir's History of [Growth and Decay of the Othman [Ottoman] Empire, p. 51 [Eng. Tr., 1734]. 7*The Theodosian code was promulgated A.D. 438. See the Prolegomena of Godefroy, c. i. p. *; 79 Pancirolus, in his elaborate Commentary, assigns to the Notitia a date almost similar to that of the Theodosian code: but his proofs, or rather conjectures, arc extremely feeble. I should be rather inclined to place this useful work between the final division of the empire (A.D. 395), and the successful invaion of Gaul by the Barbarians (A.D. 407). See Histoire des anciens Peuples des l'Europe, tom. vii. p. 40. [Cp. App. 11.]
the interruption will be censured only by those readers who
power, had left to the vanity of the east the forms and cere-"
74 Scilicet externae superbiae sueto, non inerat notioia nostri (perhaps nostrae); apud quos vis Imperii valet, inania transmittuntur. Tacit. Annal. xv. 31. The gradation from the style of freedom and simplicity to that of form and servitude may be traced in the Epistles of Cicero, of Pliny, and of Symmachus.
*The emperor Gratian, after confirming a law of precedency published by Valentinian, the father of his Divinity, thus continues: Siquis igitur indebitum sibilocum usurpaverit, nulla se ignoratione defendat ; sitdue plane sacrilegii reus, qui divana praecepta neglexerit. Cod. Theod. l. vi. tit. v. leg. 2.
*Consult the Notitia Dignitatum, at the end of the Theodosian Code, tom. vi. p. 316.
dates placed on a table, covered with a rich carpet, and illuminated by four tapers; the allegorical figures of the provinces which they governed; or the appellations and standards of the troops whom they commanded. Some of these official ensigns were really exhibited in their hall of audience; others preceded their pompous march whenever they appeared in public; and every circumstance of their demeanour, their dress, their ornaments, and their train, was calculated to inspire a deep reverence for the representatives of supreme majesty. By a philosophic observer, the system of the Roman government might have been mistaken for a splendid theatre, filled with players of every character and degree, who repeated the language, and imitated the passions, of their original model.”
rares rank. All the magistrates of sufficient importance to find a place
in the general state of the empire were accurately divided into three classes. 1. The Illustrious. 2. The Spectabiles, or Respectable: And, 3. The Clarissimi; whom we may translate by the word Honourable. In the times of Roman simplicity, the lastmentioned epithet was used only as a vague expression of deference, till it became at length the peculiar and appropriated title of all who were members of the senate,” and consequently of all who, from that venerable body, were selected to govern the provinces. The vanity of those who, from their rank and office, might claim a superior distinction above the rest of the senatorial order was long afterwards indulged with the new appellation of Respectable; but the title of Illustrious was always reserved to some eminent personages who were obeyed or reverenced by the two subordinate classes. It was communicated only, I. To the consuls and patricians; II. To the praetorian praefects, with the praefects of Rome and Constantinople; III. To the masters general of the cavalry and the infantry; and, IV. To the seven ministers of the palace, who exercised their sacred functions about the person of the emperor.” Among those illustrious magistrates who were esteemed co-ordinate with each other, the seniority of appointment gave place to the union of dignities.” By the expedient of honorary codicils, the emperors, who were fond of multiplying their favours, might sometimes gratify the vanity, though not the ambition, of impatient courtiers. 81 I. As long as the Roman consuls were the first magistrates The consul,
[Four divi. sions of
77 Pancirolus ad Notitiam utriusque Imperii, p. 39. But his explanations are obscure, and he does not sufficiently distinguish the painted emblems from the effective ensigns of office.
78 In the Pandects, which may be referred to the reigns of the Antonines, Clarissimus is the ordinary and legal title of a senator. [Another important title is that of vur consularis (origin uncertain). All clarissimi who were admitted into the senate had this rank, which must be carefully distinguished from consularis in the old sense of ex-consul. Some provincial governorships could only be held by consulares; hence the Consularis of — &c.]
79 Pancirol. p. 12-17. I have not taken any notice of the two inferior ranks, Persectissimus and Egregius, which were given to many persons who were not raised to the senatorial dignity. [For example, the urban prefect was perfectissimus; likewise the governors of dioceses under Diocletian and Constantine. But, as these and lesser officials were promoted to senatorial rank, they became clarissimi or spectabiles. The rank of egregius is not found after Constantine; that of perfectissimus lingered longer and was still borne by the governor of Dalmatia in the early years of the fifth century.] 80 Cod. Theodos. 1. vi. tit. vi. The rules of precedency are ascertained with the most minute accuracy by the emperors and illustrated with equal prolixity by their learned interpreter. 81 Cod. Theodos. 1. vi. tit. xxii. *Ausonius (in Gratiarum Actione) basely expatiates on this unworthy topie, which is managed by Mamertinus (Panegyr. Vet. xi. 16, 19) with somewhat more freedom and ingenuity. & Cum de Consulibus in annum creandis solus mecum volutarem . . . te Consulem et designavi, et declaravi, et priorem nuncupavi; are some of the expressions employed by the emperor Gratian to his preceptor the poet Ausonius. 84 Immanesque . . . dentes, Qui secti ferro in tabulas auroque micantes Inscripti rutilum caelato consule nomen Per proceres et vulgus eant. Claud. In ii. Cons. Stilichon. 346. Montfaucon has represented some of these tablets or diptychs; see Supplément à 'Antiquité expliquée, tom. iii. p. 220.
of a free state, they derived their right to power from the choice of the people. As long as the emperors condescended to disguise the servitude which they imposed, the consuls were still elected by the real or apparent suffrage of the senate. From the reign of Diocletian, even these vestiges of liberty were abolished, and the successful candidates who were invested with the annual honours of the consulship affected to deplore the humiliating condition of their predecessors. The Scipios and the Catos had been reduced to solicit the votes of plebeians, to pass through the tedious and expensive forms of a popular election, and to expose their dignity to the shame of a public refusal; while their own happier fate had reserved them for an age and government in which the rewards of virtue were assigned by the unerring wisdom of a gracious sovereign.” In the epistles which the emperor addressed to the two consuls elect, it was declared that they were created by his sole authority.” Their names and portraits, engraved on gilt tablets of ivory, were dispersed over the empire as presents to the provinces, the cities, the magistrates, the senate, and the people.* Their solemn inauguration was performed at the place of the
WOL. II. 11
imperial residence; and, during a period of one hundred and twenty years, Rome was constantly deprived of the presence of her ancient magistrates.” On the morning of the first of January, the consuls assumed the ensigns of their dignity. Their dress was a robe of purple, embroidered in silk and gold, and sometimes ornamented with costly gems.” On this solemn occasion they were attended by the most eminent officers of the state and army, in the habit of senators; and the useless fasces, armed with the once formidable axes, were borne before them by the lictors.” The procession moved from the palace ss to the Forum, or principal square of the city; where the consuls ascended their tribunal, and seated themselves in the curule chairs, which were framed after the fashion of ancient times. They immediately exercised an act of jurisdiction, by the manumission of a slave, who was brought before them for that purpose ; and the ceremony was intended to represent the celebrated action of the elder Brutus, the author of liberty and of the consulship, when he admitted among his fellow-citizens the faithful Vindex, who had revealed the conspiracy of the Tarquins.” The public festival was continued during several days in all the
85 Consule lactatur post plurima saecula viso Pallanteus apex: agnoscunt rostra curules Auditas quondam proavis: desuetaque cingit Regius auratis Fora fascibus Ulpia lictor. i. in vi. Cons. Honorii, 643. From the reign of Carus to the sixth consulship of Honorius, there was an interval of one hundred and twenty years, during which the emperors were always absent from Rome on the first day of January. See the Chronologie de Tillemont, tom. iii. iv. and v. *See Claudian in Cons. Prob. et Olybrii, 178, &c., and in iv. Cons. Honorii, 585, &c.; though in the latter it is not easy to separate the ornaments of the emperor from those of the consul. Ausonius received, from the liberality of Gratian, a vestis palmata, or robe of state, in which the figure of the emperor Constantius was embroidered. - 87 Cernis ut armorum proceres legumque potentes Patricios sumunt habitus, et more Gabino Discolor incedit legio, positisque parumper Bellorum signis sequitur vexilla Quirini? Lictori cedunt aquilae, ridetaue togatus Miles, etin mediis effulget curia castris. Claud. in iv. Cons. Honorii, 5. — strictasque procul radiare secures. In Cons. Prob. 229 . *See Walesius ad Ammian. Marcellin. l. xxii. c. 7. * Auspice mox laeto [laetum] sonuit clamore tribunal Te fastos ineunte quater; sollemnia ludit Omnia [ominaj libertas: deductum Vindice morem Lex servat [celebrat], famulusque jugo laxatus erili Ducitur, et grato remeat securior ictu. Claud. in iv. Cons. Honorii, 611.