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trates of the republic had been chosen by the people, to ex: ercise, 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 IRomans and Barbarians. A Gothic historian applauds the consulship of Theodoric as the height of all temporal glory and greatness; ” 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 Iłome 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 Fusti. 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.” 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. Nowithstanding 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.1% 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, be:
* Cassiodor. Variarum Epist. vi. 1. Jornandes, c. 57, p. 696, edit. Grot. Quod Summu in l’onum primumque in mundo decus edicitur.
*"...See the regulations of Justinian (Novell. cv.), dated at Constantinople, July 5, and addressed to Strategins, treasurer of the empire.
* Procopius, in Anecdot.g. 26. Aleman. p. 106. In the xviiith year after the consulship of Basilius, according to the reckoning of Marcellinus, victor, Marius, &c., the secret historv was composed, and, in the eyes of Procopius, the consulship was finally abolished.
fore that obsolete dignity, which had been suppressed by custom, could be abolished by law.” 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; ” and the Latins, since the age of Charlemagne, have computed their time from the birth of Christ.”
159 By Leo, the philosopher (Novell. xciv. A. D. 886–911). See Pagi (Dissertat. Hypatica, pp. 325-302) and Ducange (Gloss. Graec. pp. 1635, 1636). Even the title was vilified: consulatus codicilli • * * vilescunt, says the emperor himself.
* 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, pp. 20-28.) . And this oe, a has been used by the Greeks, the Oriental Christians, and even by the lèussians, till the reign of I’eter 1. The period, however arbitrary, is clearanu 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 stat 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 aera.
* The ae: a of the world has prevailed in the East since the with general council (A. D. 681). In the West, the Christian aera was first invented in the with 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 Vérifier les Dates, Dissert. Préliminaire, p. iii. xii. Dictionnaire Diplo.* tom. i. pp. 329-337; the works of a laborious society of Benedictine In OllkS.
CONQUESTS OF JUSTINIAN IN THE WEST.-CHARACTER AND FIRST CAMPAIGNS OF BELISARIUS.--HE INVADES AND SUBDUES THE VANDAL JCINGDOM OF AFRICA.—HIS TRIUMPH.THE GOTHIC WAR.—HE RECOVERS SICILY, NAPLEs, AND IROME.-SIEGIC OF ROME BY THE GOTHS.—THEIR RETREAT AND LOSCES.—SURREND12R OF RAVENNA.—GLORY OF BELISARIUS.–IIIS 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." 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 hundrcd bishops to their churches, and allowed the free profession of the Athanasian creed.” 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,” 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 insirm 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 peace. 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 de. mands 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
1 The complete series of the Vandal war is related by Procopius in a regular and elegant narrative (l. i. c. 9–25, 1. 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 io. a right to pronounce that the Latin and French versions of Grotius and Cousin may not be #so trusted ; yet the president Cousin has been often praised, and Hugo Grotius was the first scholar of a learned
e. * 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. Bunaviana, tom. i. vol. ii. p. 1258).
* For what quality of the mind or body? For speed, or beauty, or valor? [. what language did the Vandals read Homer?—Did he speak German 2-The Latins bad four versions (Fabric. tom. i. i. ii., c. 2, 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.