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and Constantinople have been surpassed by the industry of modern Europe. I am not insensible of the benefits of elegant luxury; yet I reflect with some pain, that if the importers of silk had introduced the art of printing, already practised by the Chinese, the comedies of Menander, and the entire decads of Livy, would have been perpetuated in the editions of the sixth century. A larger view of the globe might at least have promoted the improvement of speculative science; but the Christian geography was forcibly extracted from texts of Scripture, and the study of nature was the surest symptom of an unbelieving mind. The orthodox taith confined the habitable world to one temperate zone, and represented the earth as an oblong surface, four hundred days' journey in length, two hundred in breadth, encompassed by the ocean, and covered by the solid crystal ot the firmament.*
IV. The subjects of Justinian were dissatisfied with the times, and with the government. Europe was overrun by the barbarians, and Asia by the monks; the poverty of the West discouraged the trade and manufactures of the East; the produce of labour was consumed by the unprofitable servants of the church, the state, and the army, and a rapid decrease was felt in the fixed and circulating capitals which constitute the national wealth. The public distress had been alleviated by the economy of Anastasius, and that prudent emperor accumulated an immense treasure, while
suited to the habits of the insect and the growth of its nourishment. The organzine, or thrown silk, of Bergamo and its neighbourhood, is the best and finest, and lar surpasses any that has yet been produced in other countries.—Ed.] * Cosmas, surnamed Indico
pleustes, or the Indian navigator, performed his voyage about the year 522, and composed, at Alexandria, between 535 and 547, Christian topography (Montfaucon, Prsefat. c. 1), in which he refutes the impious opinion, that the earth is a globe; and Photius had read this work (Cod. 36, p. 9, 10), which displays the prejudices of a monk, with the knowledge of a merchant: the most valuable part has been given in French and in Greek by Melchisedec TheVenot (Relations Curieuses, part 1); and the whole is since published in a splendid edition by the Pere Montfaucon. (Nova Collectio Patrum, Paris, 1707, 2 vols, in fo1 . tom, ii, p. 113—346.) But the editor, a theologian, might blush at not discovering the Nestorian heresy of Cosmas, which has been detected by La Croze. (Christianisme des Indes, tom, i, p. 40—56.) [The popular notions of the age may be found in the curious, but irrelevant lecture on astronomy, introduced by Cassiodorus into the order, which he gave, as pnetorian prefect, for a pension to a superannuated YAGANCE OF JUSTINIAN. [CH. XL.
he delivered his people from the most odious or oppressive taxes. Their gratitude universally applauded the 'abolition of the gold of affliction, a personal tribute on the industry of the poor ;* but more intolerable, as it should seem, in the form than in the substance, since the flourishing city of Edessa paid only one hundred and forty pounds of gold, which was collected in four years from ten thousand artificers.f Yet such was the parsimony, which supported this liberal disposition, that, in a reign of twenty-seven years, Anastasius saved, from his annual revenue, the enormous sum of thirteen millions sterling, or three hundred and twenty thousand pounds of gold.J His example was neglected, and his treasure was abused, by the nephew of Justin. The riches of Justinian were speedily exhausted by alms and buildings, by ambitious wars, and ignominious treaties.' His revenues were found inadequate to his expenses.
Every art was tried to extort from the people the gold and silver which he scattered with a lavish hand from Persia to France ;§ his reign was marked by the vicissitudes, or rather by the combat, of rapaciousness and avarice, of splendour and poverty; he lived with the reputation of hidden treasures,^ and bequeathed to his successor the payment ot his debts.** Such a character has been justly accused by
officer. See Var. xi. 36.—Ed.] * Evagrius (1ib. 3,
c. 39, 40) is minute and grateful, but angry with Zosimua for calumniating the great Constantine. In collecting all the bonds and records of the tax, the humanity of Anastasius was diligent and artful; fathers were sometimes compelled to prostitute their daughters. (Zosim. Hist, lib. 2, c. 38, p. 165, 166. Lipsise 1784.) Timotheus of Gaza chose such an event for the subject of a tragedy (Suidas, tom, iii, p. 475), which contributed to the abolition of the tax (Cedrenus, p. 35): a happy instance (if it be true) of the use of the theatre.
t See Josua Stylites, in the Bibliotheca Orientalis of Asseman (tom. i, p. 268). This capitation-tax is slightly mentioned in the Chronicle of Edessa. J Procopius (Anecdot. c. 19) fixes this sum
from the report of the treasurers themselves. Tiberius had vicies tar millies: but far different was his empire from that of Anastasius.
§ Evagrius (lib. 4, c. 30), in the next generation, was moderate and well informed; and Zonaras (1ib. 14, c. 61) in the twelfth century, had read with care, and thought without prejudice: yet their colours are almost as black as those of the Anecdotes. If Procopius
(Anecdot. c. 30) relates the idle conjectures of the times. The death of Justinian, eays the secret historian, will expose his wealth or poverty.
** See Corippus deLaudibus Justini Aug. lib. 2, 260, &c. 384, &c . "Plurima sunt vivo minium neglecta parenti, Unde tot exhauBtus contraxit debita fiscus."
the voice of the people and of posterity; but public discontent is credulous; private malice is bold; and a lover of truth will peruse with a suspicious eye the instructive anecdotes of Procopius. The secret historian represents only the vices of Justinian, and those vices are darkened by his malevolent pencil. Ambiguous actions are imputed to the worst motives: error is confounded with guilt, accident with design, and laws with abuses: the partial injustice of a moment is dexterously applied as the general maxim of a reign of thirty-two years: the emperor alone is made responsible for the faults of his officers, the disorders of the times, and the corruption of his subjects; and even the calamities of nature, plagues, earthquakes, and inundations, are imputed to the prince of the dajmons, who had mischievously assumed the form of Justinian.*
After this precaution, I shall briefly relate the anecdotes of avarice and rapine, under the following heads.—I. Justinian was so profuse that he could not be liberal. The civil and military officers when they were admitted into the service of the palace, obtained a humble rank and a moderate stipend; they ascended by seniority to a station of affluence and repose; the annual pensions, of which the most honourable class was abolished by Justinian, amounted to four hundred thousand pounds; and this domestic economy was Centenaries of gold were brought by strong arms into the hippodrome.— "Debita persolvit genitoris, cauta recepit."
* The Anecdotes (c. 11—14, 18, 20—30) supply many facts and more complaints. [Lydus (de Magistratibus, lib. 3, c. 40), a confessedly disappointed man, asserts, that" the prsetorian prefect had gradually been deprived of his powers and honours," and that "this diminution of his office had destroyed the emoluments of his subordinate officers." Yet this same Lydus was employed by John of Cappadocia, who, as Justinian's pratorian prefect, exercised unbounded power throughout the East, and accumulated immense wealth. Nor is any evidence of the alleged change afforded by the conduct or influence of his successors. In the West, too, Cassiodorus held the same office at that period; and in the letter to the senate, announcing his appointment (Var. ix, 25), it is spoken of in language which authorized the Benedictine editor of his works to term it (in Vit. p. 6) "culmen honoris altissimum." So also in many of his Epistles, such as Var. xi, 36,37, he provided for subordinate officials, with a liberality which attests tho means of the treasury, as well as the good feeling of its manager. These facts render very questionable the veracity of Lydus, who appears to have lost his pay, when Latin ceased to be used in the public offices at Constantinople. Private resentment or mortification
VOL. IV. Y
deplored by the venal or indigent courtiers as the last outrage on the majesty of the empire. The posts, the salaries of physicians, and the nocturnal illuminations, were objects of more general concern; and the cities might justly complain that he usurped the municipal revenues "which had been appropriated to these useful institutions. Even the soldiers were injured; and such was the decay of military spirit that they were injured with impunity. The emperor refused, at the return of each fifth year, the customary donative of five pieces of gold, reduced his veterans to beg their bread, and suffered unpaid armies to melt away in the wars of Italy and Persia. II. The humanity of his predecessors had always remitted, in some auspicious circumstance of their reign, the arrears of public tribute; and they dexterously assumed the merit of resigning those claims which it was impracticable to enforce. "Justinian, in the space of thirty-two years, has never granted a similar indulgence; and many of his subjects have renounced the possession of those lands whose value is insufficient to satisfy the demands of the treasury. To the cities which had suffered by hostile inroads, Anastasius promised a general exemption of seven years; the provinces ot Justinian have been ravaged by the Persians and Arabs, the Huns and Sclavonians; but his vain and ridiculous dispensation of a single year has been confined to those places which were actually taken by the enemy." Such is the language of the secret historian, who expressly denies that any indulgence was granted to Palestine after the revolt of the Samaritans; a false and odious charge, confuted by the authentic record, which attests a relief of thirteen centenaries of gold (52,000Z.) obtained for that desolate province by the intercession of St. Sabas.* III. Procopius has not condescended to explain the system of taxation, which fell like a hail-storm upon the land, like a devouring pestilence on its inhabitants; but we should become the accomplices of his malignity, if we imputed to Justinian alone the ancient though rigorous principle, that
by ita false colourings could easily beguile the people of that age.—Ed.] * One to Scythopolis, capital of the second
Palestine, and twelve for the rest of the province. Aleman. (p. 59) honestly produces this fact from a MS. life of St. Sabas, by his disciple Cyril, in the Vatican library, and since published by Cotelerius.
a whole district should be condemned to sustain the partial loss of the persons or property of individuals. The Anona, or supply of corn for the use of the army and capital, was a grievous and arbitrary exaction, which exceeded, perhaps in a tenfold proportion, the ability of the farmer; and his distress was aggravated by the partial injustice of weights and measures, and the expense and labour of distant carriage. In a time of scarcity, an extraordinary requisition was made to the adjacent provinces of Thrace, Bithynia, and Phrygia; but the proprietors, after a wearisome journey and a perilous navigation, received so inadequate a compensation that they would have chosen the alternative of delivering both the corn and price at the doors of their granaries. These precautions might indicate a tender solicitude for the welfare of the capital; yet Constantinople did not escape the rapacious despotism of Justinian. Till his reign, the straits of the Bosphorus and Hellespont were open to the freedom of trade, and nothing was prohibited except the exportation of arms for the service of the barbarians. At each of these gates of the city, a prsetor was stationed, the minister of imperial avarice; heavy customs were imposed on the vessels and their merchandise; the oppression was retaliated on the helpless consumer; the poor were afflicted by the artificial scarcity and exorbitant price of the market; and a people, accustomed to depend on the liberality of their prince, might sometimes complain of the deficiency of water and bread.* The aerial tribute, without a name, a law, or a definite object, was an annual gift of 120,000?., which the emperor accepted from his prsetorian prefect; and the means of payment were abandoned to the discretion of that powerful magistrate. IV. Even such a tax was less intolerable than the privilege of monopolies, which checked the fair competition of industry, and, for the sake of a small and dishonest gain, imposed an arbitrary burthen on the wants and luxury of the subject. "As soon," I transcribe the anecdotes, "as the exclusive sale of silk was usurped by the imperial treasurer, a whole people, the manufacturers of Tyre and Berytus, was reduced to extreme misery, and either perished with hunger, or fled
* JohD Malalas (tom, ii, p. 232) mentions the want of bread, and Zonaras (lib. 14, p. 63) the leaden pipes, which Justinian, or his ser