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diligence, the general order of hia administration. The emperor professed himself a musician and architect, a poet and philosopher, a lawyer and theologian; and if he failed in the enterprise of reconciling the Christian sects, the review of the Roman jurisprudence is a noble monument ot his spirit and industry. In the government of the empire, he was less wise or less successful: the age was unfortunate; the people was oppressed and discontented: Theodora abused her power; a succession of bad ministers disgraced his judgment; and Justinian was neither beloved in his life, nor regretted at his death. The love of fame was deeply implanted in his breast, but he condescended to the poor ambition of titles, honours, and contemporary praise; and while he laboured to fix the admiration, he forfeited the esteem and affection, of the Romans. The design of the African and Italian wars was boldly conceived and executed: and his penetration discovered the talents of Belisarius in the camp, of Narses in the palace. But the name of the emperor is eclipsed by the names of his victorious generals; and Belisarius still lives, to upbraid the envy and ingratitude of his sovereign. The partial favour of mankind applauds the genius of a conqueror, who leads and directs his subjects in the exercise of arms. The characters of Philip II. and of Justinian are distinguished by the cold ambition which delights in war, and declines the dangers of the field. Yet a colossal statue of bronze represented the emperor on horseback, preparing to march against the Persians in the habit and armour of Achilles. In the great square before the church of St. Sophia, this monument was raised on a brass column and a stone pedestal of seven steps; and the pillar of Theodosius, which weighed seven thousand four hundred pounds of silver, was removed from the same place by the avarice and vanity of Justinian. Future princes were more just or indulgent to his memory; the elder Andronicus, in the beginning of the fourteenth century, repaired and beautified his equestrian statue; since the fall of the empire, it has been melted into cannon by the victorious Turks.*
* See in the C. P. Christiana of Ducange (1 . 1, o. 24, No. 1,) a chain of original trslimoniea, from Procopius in the sixth, to Gylliua in the
I shall conclude this chapter with the cometa, the earthquakes, and the plague, which astonished or afflicted the age of Justinian.
I. In the fifth year of his reign, and in the month of September, a comet* was seen during twenty days in the western quarter of the heavens, and which shot its rays into the north. Eight years afterwards, while the sun was in Capricorn, another comet appeared to follow in the Sagittary: the size was gradually increasing; the head was in the east, the tail in the west, and it remained visible above forty days. The nations, who gazed with astonishment, expected wars and calamities from their baleful influence: and these expectations were abundantly fulfilled. The astronomers dissembled their ignorance of the nature of these blazing stars, which they affected to represent as the floating meteors of the air; and few among them embraced the simple notion of Seneca and the Chaldeans, that they are only planets of a longer period and more eccentric motion.f Time and science have justified the conjecturen and predictions of the Roman sage: the telescope has opened new worlds to the eyes of astronomers ;J and, in the narrow space of history and fable, one and the same comet is already found to have visited the earth in seven equal revolutions of five hundred and seventy-five years. The first,§ which ascends beyond the Christian era one thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven years, is coeval with Ogyges, the father of Grecian antiquity. And this appearance explains the tradition which Varro has preserved, that under his reign the planet Venus changed her colour, size, figure,
sixteenth, century. * The first comet is mentioned by John
Malalas (tom, ii, p. 190. 219) and Theophanes (p. 154); the second by Procopius (Persic. 1 . 2, c. 4). Yet I strongly suspect their identity. The paleness of the sun (Vandal. 1. 2, c. 14,) is applied by Theophanes (p. 158) to a different year. + Seneca's seventh book of
Natural Questions displays, in the theory of comets, a philosophic mind. Yet should we not too candidly confound a vague prediction, a veniet tempus, &c. with the merit of real discoveries.
X Astronomers may study Newton and Halley. I draw my humble science from the article Comete, in the French Encyclopedic by M. d'Alembert. § Whiston, the honest, pious, visionary
Whiston, had fancied, for the era of Noah's flood (two thousand two hundred and forty-two years before Christ), a prior apparition of the same comet, which drowned the earth with its tail.
VOL. IV. 2 N
and course; a prodigy without example either in past or succeeding ages** Tho second visit in the year 1193, is darkly implied in the fable of Electra the seventh of the Pleiads, who have been reduced to six since the time of the Trojan war. That nymph, the wife of Dardanus, was unable to support the ruin of her country; she abandoned the dances of her sister orbs, fled from the zodiac to the .north pole, and obtained, from her dishevelled locks, the name of the comet. The third period expires in the year 618, a date that exactly agrees with the tremendous comet of the Sibyl, and perhaps of Pliny, which arose in the west, two generations before the reign of Cyrus. The fourth apparition, forty-four years before the birth of Christ, is of all others the most splendid and important. After the death of Cajsar, a long-haired star was conspicuous to Rome and to the nations, during the games which were exhibited by young Octavian, in honour of Venus and his uncle. The vulgar opinion, that it conveyed to heaven the divine soul of the dictator, was cherished and consecrated by the piety of a statesman: while his secret superstition referred the comet to the glory of his own times. t The fifth visit has been already ascribed to the fifth year of Justinian, which coincides with the five hundred and thirty-first of the Christian era. And it may deserve notice, that in this, as
at a longer interval, by a remarkable paleness of the sun. The sixth return, in the year 1106, is recorded by the chronicles of Europe and China; and in the first fervour of the Crusades, the Christians and the Mahometans might f-urmise, with equal reason, that it portended the destruction of the infidels. The seventh phenomenon of 1680 was
* A 'dissertation -Gf Freret (Memoireo de rAcademie des Inscriptions, tom. x, p. 357—S7-7;) affords a happy union of philosophy and erudition. The phenomenon in the time of Ogyges was preserved by Varro, (apud Augustin. de Civitate Dei, 21. 8,) who quotes Castor, Dion of Naples, and Adrastus of Cyzious—nobilea mathematioL The two subsequent periods are preserved by the Greek mythologists and the spurious books of Sibylline verses. + Pliny (Hist. Nat .
2. 23) has transeribed'the original memorial of Augustus. Mairan, in his most ingenious letters to the P. Parennin, missionary in China, removes the games and the comet of September, from the year 44 to the year 43, before the Christian era; but I am not totally subdued by the criticism of the astronomer. (Opuscules, p. 275—351.)
comet was followed, though
presented to the eyes of an enlightened age.* The philosophy of Bayle dispelled a prejudice which Milton's muse had so recently adorned, that the comet, "from its horrid hair, shakes pestilence and war." f Its road in the heavens was observed with exquisite skill by Hamstead and Cassini; and the mathematical science of Bernoulli, Newton, and Halley, investigated the laws of its revolutions. At the eighth period, in the year 2355, their calculations may perhaps be verified by the astronomers of some future capital in the Siberian or American wilderness.
II. The near approach of a comet may injure or destroy the globe which we inhabit; but the changes on its surface have been hitherto produced by the action of volcanoes and earthquakes.J The nature of the soil may indicate the countries most exposed to these formidable concussions, since they are caused by subterraneous fires, and such fires are kindled by the union and fermentation of iron and sulphur. But their times and effects appear to lie beyond the reach of human curiosity, and the philosopher will discreetly abstain from the prediction of earthquakes, till he has counted the drops of water that silently filtrate on the inflammable mineral, and measured the caverns, which increase by resistance the explosion of the imprisoned air. Without assigning the cause, history will distinguish the periods in which these calamitous events have been rare or
* This last comet was visible in the month of December, 1680. Bayle, who began his Pense'es sur la Comete in January,1681, (CEuvres, tom. iii,) was forced to argue that a supernatural comet would have confirmed the ancients in their idolatry. Bernouilli (see his Eloge, in Fontenelle, tom, v, p. 99) was forced to allow that the tail, though not the head, was a sign of the wrath of God. + Paradise Lost
was published in the year 1667; and the famous lines (1. 2. 708, &c.) which startled the licenser, may allude to the recent comet of 1664, observed by Cassini at Rome, in the presence of queen Christina. (Fontenelle, in his Eloge, tom, v, p. 338.) Had Charles II. betrayed any symptoms of curiosity or fear? [On the nature of Comets, the best information is afforded by the late Sir William Herschel's papers in the Philosophical Transactions, particularly. those for 1812 (p. 142, 143.)—Ed.]
J For the cause of earthquakes, see Buffon (tom. i, p. 502—536. Supplement a l'Hist. Naturelle, tom. v, p. 382—390, edition in 4to), Valmont de Bomare (Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle, Trembleniena dt Terre, Pyrites), Watson (Chemical Essays, tom, i, p. 181—209).
frequent, and will observe that this fever of the earth raged with uncommon violence during the reign of Justinian.* Each year is marked by the repetition of earthquakes, of such duration that Constantinople has been shaken above forty days; of such extent that the shock has been communicated to the whole surface of the globe, or at least of the Roman empire. An impulsive or vibratory motion was felt; enormous chasms were opened, huge and heavy bodies were discharged into the air, the sea alternately advanced and retreated beyond its ordinary bounds, and a mountain was torn from Libanus,f and cast into the waves, where it protected, as a mole, the new harbour of Botrys J in Phoemcia. The stroke that agitates an anthill, may crush the insect myriads in the dust; yet truth must extort a confession, that man has industriously laboured for his own destruction. The institution of great cities, which include a nation within the limits of a wall, almost realizes the wish of Caligula, that the Roman people had but one neck. Two hundred and fifty thousand persons are said to
* The earthquakes that shook the Roman world in the reign of Justinian, are described or mentioned by Procopius (Goth. lib. 4, c. 25. Anecdot. c. 18), Agathias (lib. 2, p. 52—54, lib. 5, p. 145—152), John Malalas (Chron. tom, ii, p. 140—146. 176, 177. 183. 193. 220. 229. 231. 233, 234), and Theophanes (p. 151. 183. 189.191—196). [Geological investigation has discovered traces of past volcanic action, over a large portion of our globe. It has been gradually contracted within narrower limits, and has now ceased in many districts which were often subject to it in early historic times. Among these were Syria and Asia Minor: the earthquakes by which they were agitated during the reign of Justinian were a repetition of what they had before experienced. At the latter end of the second century, Ionia and the adjacent countries suffered from violent concussions, which extended also to the Peloponnesus. Pausanias (7. 24) mentions the disasters which befel the Carian and Lycian cities, and the island of Rhodes, and (2. 7) the fate of Sicyon. The devastation of Smyrna, at the same time, was so extensive, that the philosopher Aristides appealed, on its behalf, to Marcus Antoninus, who expended large sums in repairing the damage.—Ed.] + An abrupt height, a perpendicular
cape between Aradus and Botrys, named by the Greeks 6twv jrpoo-uvov and tturpoffoijrov or XiOoirpoutoiro)/, by the scrupulous Christians (Polyb. lib. 5, p. 411. Pompon. Mela, lib. 1, c. 12, p. 87, cum Isaac Voss. Observ. Maundrell, Journey, p. 32, 33. Pocock's Description, vo1 . ii, p. 99). J Botrys was founded (ann. ante Christ ,
935—903) by Ithobal, king of Tyre. (Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 387, 388.) Its poor representative, the village of Patrone, is now destitute