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moted, 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,” 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.” 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 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. 10 The ecclesiastical history of Justinian will be shown hereafter. See Baroveterans, 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. Notwithstanding 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.” 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 * successively composed the history, the panegyric and the satire of his own times. The eight books of the Persian, Vandalic, and Gothic wars,” 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 * were read and applauded by his contemporaries : * 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.” Disappointment might urge the flatterer to secret revenge; and the first glance of favor might again tempt him to suspend and suppress, a libel,” 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.” 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.” 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.
nius, A. D. 518–521, and the copious article Justinianus in the index to the viith volume of his Annals.
11 The reign of the elder Justin may be found in the three Chronicles of Marcellinus, Victor, and John Malala (tom. ii. pp. 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, (pp. 362–366), and Zonaras (lxiv. pp. 58-61), who may pass for an original.
12 See the characters of Procopius and Agathias in La Mothe le Vayer (tom. viii. pp. 144–174), Vossius (de Historicis, Graecis, l. ii. c. 22), and Fabricius (Bibliot. Graec. 1. v. e. 5, tom. vi. pn. 248-278). Their religion, an honorable problem, betrays occasional conformity, with a secret attachment to Paganism and Philosophy.
* Tindorf, in his preface to the new edition of Majala, p. vi., concurs with i. onion of Gibbon, which was also that of Reiske, as to the age of the chronie cler,- M.
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). 14 The literary fate of Procopius has been somewhat o 1. His books de Bello Gothicó were stolen by Leonard Aretin, and published. (Fulginii, 1470, Venet. 1471, apud Jansom. Mattá. Fe, Annal. Typograph, tom. i. edit. posterior, pp. 290, 304, 279, 299), in his own name (see Vossius de Hist. Lat...l. iii. c. 5, and the feelle defence of the Venice G.5rnale de Letterati, tom. xix. p. 207). 2. His works were mutilated by the first Latin translators, Christopher Persona (Giormale, tom. xix. pp. 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 rinted till 1607, by Hoeschelius of Augsburg (Dictionnaire de Bayle, tom. ii. p. 82). 4. The Paris edition was io 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 rerinted by the Paris editor, with the Latin version of Bonaventura Vulcanius, a earned interpreter (Huet, p. 176).” in Agathias in Praefat. p. 7, 8, l. iv. p. 137. Evagrius, l. i. v. c. 12. See like wise Photius, cod. lxiii. p. 65. 10 Kupov rat Seta (says he, Praefat. ad 1. de Edificiis mepi kruguártov) is no more than Kipov tra 8:a-à pun In these five books, Procopius affects a Christian as well as a courtly style.
* Procopius forms a part of the new Byzantine collection under the superim tendence of Dimdorf.-M.
17 Procopius discloses himself (Praefat. ad Anecdot. c. 1, 2, 5), and the anecdotes are reckoned as the ixth book by Suidas (tom. iii. p. 1S6, 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 (Ludg. 1623).
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 lais friends’ belief in these diabolical stories (c. 12).
19 Montesquieu (Considerations sur la Grandeur et la Décadence 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.
* "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 #. 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 “malig: nity” of the Anecdota ; at all events, the extreme and disgusting profligacy of Theodora's early life rests entirely on this virulent i.".
I. In the exercise of supreme power, the first act of Jus.
tinian was to divide it with the woman whom he loved, the famous Theodora,” 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 alread provided a husband and a successor. Acacius had left three daughters, Comito,” 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 o 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
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.
* 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. pp. 30, 31).
** Her statue 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). , Ale
man. (p. 47) produces one from a Mosaic at Ravenna, loaded with pearls and jewels, and yet handsome.