« ForrigeFortsett »
lamented that i ho 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.” 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 firebrands 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; * See this church and monastery in Ducange, C. P. Christiana, l. iv. p. 182.
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.” 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 peace. ful 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 command<d 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 *ay, IIypatius 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, foreed 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 tranquillity of the Eastern empire.” 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; * 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 * 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; " and the capital of Justinian was supplied with the manufactures of Sidon, fifteen centuries after they had been celebrated in the poems of Homer.” 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 IRoman was lodged, clothed, and subsisted, by the industry of a thousand hands. The invention of the loom and distaff has been piously as: cribed 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" which imitate the beauties of nature, the freedom of taste and fashion was indulged ; but the deep purple * 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.”
* The history of the Nika sedition is extracted from Marcellinus (in Chron.), *rocopius (Persic. l. i. c. 26), John Malala (tom. ii. pp. 213–218), Chron. Paschal. (pp. 336-240), Theophanes (Chronograph. pp. 154–158), and Zonaras (l. xiv. pp 61-63).
58 Marcellinus says in general terms, innumeris populis in circo trucidatis. 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.
* Hierocles, a contemporary of Justinian, composed his xoV8expos (Itineraria, p. 631), or review of the eastern provinces and cities, before #. year 535 (Wesseling, in Praefat. and Not. ad. p. 623, &c.).
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 stified by the Hebrew, calls aloud for the Samaritan, Chronology (Divine Legation, vol. iii. p. 29, &c.).”
* The recent extraordinary discoveries in Egyptian antiquities strongly con: firm the high motion of the early Egyptian civilization, and imperatively doman a longer period for their development. . As to the common Hebrew chronology, as “ar 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 ohronology of the Samaritans, not that of the LXX., not that of Josephus, n t that of St. Paul.-M.
& 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. 57 Homer’s Iliad, vi. 289. These veils, térxot trap movki Aot, 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. 58 Sec 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 discrimimato by words all the nice and various shades both of art and nature: 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– obscuritàs; rubens (says Cassiodorus, War. 1, 2), nigredo sanguinea. The president Goguet (Origine des Loix, et des Arts, part ii. l. c. 2, pp. 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. * 60 Historical proofs of this jealousy have been becasionally introduced, and many morc might "lave been added; but the arbitrary acts of despotism were justified by the sober and general declarations of law (Codex Theodosian, 1.x.