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years, would have exposed the East to the danger of a popular election; if the superior weight of a single family had not been able to incline the balance in favour of the candidate whose interest they supported. The patrician Aspar might have placed the diadem on his own head, if he would have subscribed the Nicene creed.* During three generations, the armies of the East were successively commanded by his father, by himself, and by his son Ardaburius: his barbarian guards formed a military force that overawed the palace and the capital; and the liberal distribution of his immense treasures, rendered Aspar as popular as he was powerful. He recommended the obscure name of Leo of Thrace, a military tribune, and the principal steward of his household. His nomination was unanimously ratified by the senate: and the servant of Aspar received the imperial crown from the hands of the patriarch or bishop, who was permitted to express, by this unusual ceremony, the suffrage of the Deity .f This emperor, the first of the name of Leo, has been distinguished by the title of "the Great;" from a succession of princes, who gradually fixed, in the opinion of the Greeks, a very humble standard of heroic, or at least of royal, perfection. Yet the temperate firmness with which Leo resisted the oppression of his benefactor, shewed that he was conscious of his duty and of his prerogative. Aspar was
Although not a youth, as iEtius was among the Goths, still, like him, he acquired from his rude masters, the qualities which fitted him to fill the high station to which he rose, with a dignity that eclipses the degenerate posterity of Theodosius. Nor did he experience the harsh treatment reported to have been the usual lot of those who were made prisoners by the Vandals. As he was one day reposing in the open air and beneath a sunny sky, Genseric came up and saw an eagle hovering over the sleeping captive. The Vandal king regarded it as a fortunate omen, awoke the drowsy favourite of fate, and restored him to liberty, on the sole condition of a solemn oath, that, when emperor, he would never make war upon the Vandals. This anecdoto throws a softer hue over the character of Genseric, divests his warfare of some ghastly features by which it has been disfigured, and again proves that the spirit of civilization was rather revived and invigorated, than depressed, by communion with rough barbarians.—Ed.]
* From this disability of Aspar to ascend the throne, it may be inferred that the stain of heresy was perpetual and indelible, while that of barbarism, disappeared in the second generation.
+ Theophanes, p. 95. This appears to be the first origin of a ceremony which all the Christian princes of the world have since adopted; and from which the clergy have deduced the most formidable con
astonished to find that his influence could no longer appoint a prelect of Constantinople; he presumed to reproach his sovereign with a breach of promioO; and, insolently shaking his purple, "It is not proper," said he, " that the man, who is invested with this garment, should be guilty of lying."— "Nor is it proper," replied Leo, "that a priueo should be compelled to resign his own judgment, and the public interest, to the will of a subject."* After this extraordinary scene, it was impossible that the reconciliation of the emperor and the patrician could be sincere; or, at least, that it could be solid and permanent. An army of Isauriansf was secretly levied and introduced into Constantinople; and while Leo undermined the authority, and prepared the disgrace of the family of Aspar, his mild and cautious behaviour restrained them from any rash and desperate attempts, which might have been fatal to themselves or their enemies. The measures of peace and war were affected by this internal revolution. As long as Aspar degraded the majesty of the throne, the secret correspondence of religion and interest engaged him to favour the cause of Genseric. When Leo had delivered himself from that ignominious servitude, he listened to the complaints of the Italians; resolved to extirpate the tyranny of the Vandals; and declared his alliance with his colleague Anthemius, whom he solemnly invested with the diadem and purple of the West.
The virtues of Anthemius have perhaps been magnified, since the imperial descent, which he could only deduce from the usurper Procopius, has been swelled into a line of emerors.J But the merit of his immediate parents, their ouours, and their riches, rendered Anthemius one of the most illustrious subjects of the east. His father, Procopius,
sequences. * Cedrenus, (p. 345, 346,( who was conversant
with the writers of better days, has preserved the remarkable words of Aspar, BairiXcy, rov Tavrtiv Trjv dXovpytSa irsoifiifiKrjpkvov ov "Xpij StuipivctoBaj. •)■ The power of the Isaurians agitated
the eastern empire in the two succeeding reigns of Zeno and Anastasius: but it ended in the destruction of those barbarians, who maintained their fierce independence about two hundred and thirty years. J Tali tu civis ab urbe
Procopio genitore micas; cui prisca propago
Augustis venit aproavis. The poet (Sidon. Panegyr. Anthem. 67—306) then proceeds to relate the private life and fortunes of the future emperor, with which he
obtained, after his Persian embassy, the rank of general and patrician; and the name of Anthemius was derived from his maternal grandfather, the celebrated prefect, who protected, with so much ability and success, the infant reign of Theodosius. The grandson of the prefect was raised above the condition of a private subject, by his marriage with Euphemia, the daughter of the emperor Marciau. This splendid alliance, which might supersede the necessity of merit, hastened the promotion of Anthemius to the successive dignities of count, of master-general, of consul, and of patrician; and his merit or fortune claimed the honours of a victory, which was obtained, on the banks of the Danube, over the Huns. Without indulging an extravagant ambition, the son-in-law of Marcian might hope to be his successor; but Anthemius supported the disappointment with. courage and patience; and his subsequent elevation was universally approved by the public, who esteemed him worthy to reign till he ascended the throne.* The emperor of the West marched from Constantinople, attended by several counts of high distinction, and a body of guards, almost equal to the strength and numbers of a regular army: he entered Rome in triumph, and the choice of Leo was confirmed by the senate, the people, and the barbarian confederates of Italy.f The solemn inauguration of Anthemius was followed by the nuptials of his daughter and the patrician Eicimer; a fortunate event, which was considered as the firmest security of the union and happiness of the state. The wealth of two empires was ostentatiously displayed: and many senators completed their ruin by an expensive effort to disguise their poverty. All serious business was suspended during this festival; the courts of justice were shut; the streets of Rome, the theatres, the places of public and private resort resounded with hymeneal songs and dances; and the royal bride, clothed in silken robes, with a crown on her head; was conducted to the palace of lticimer, who had changed his military dress for the habit of a consul
must have been very imperfectly acquainted. * Sidonius
discovers with tolerable ingenuity, that this disappointment added new lustre to the virtues of Anthemius (210, &c.), who declined one sceptre, and reluctantly accepted another. (22, &c.)
+ The poet again celebrates the unanimity of all orders of tho state (15—22): and the Chronicle of Idatius mentions the force3
and a senator. On tbis memorable occasion, Sidonius, whose early ambition had been so fatally blasted, appeared as the orator of Auvergnc, among the provincial deputies who addressed the throne with congratulations or complaints ;* The calends of January were now approaching, and the venal poet, who had loved Avitus, and esteemed Majorian, was persuaded, by his friends, to celebrate, in heroic verse, the merit, the felicity, the second consulship, and the future triumphs of the emperor Anthemius. Sidonius pronounced with assurance and success, a panegyric which is still extant; and whatever might be the imperfections, either of the subject or of the composition, the welcome flatterer was immediately rewarded with the prefecture of Rome; a dignity which placed him among the illustrious personages of the empire, till he wisely preferred the more respectable character of a bishop and a saint.f
The Greeks ambitiously commend the piety and Catholic faith of the emperor whom they gave to the West; nor do they forget to observe, that when he left Constantinople, ho converted his palace into the pious foundation of a public bath, a church, and a hospital for old men.J Yet some suspicious appearances are found to sully the theological fame of Anthemius. From the conversation of Philotheus, a Macedonian sectary, he had imbibed the spirit of religious toleration; and the heretics of Bome would have assembled with impunity, if the bold and vehement censure which pope Hilary pronounced in the church of St. Peter, had not obliged even him to abjure the unpopular indulgence.§
which attended his march. * Interveni autem nuptiis patricii
Ricimeris, cui filia perennis Augusti in spem publica? securitatis copulabatur. The journey of Sidonius from Lyons, and the festival of Eome, are described with some spirit. Lib. 1, epist. 5, p. 9—13; epist. 9, p. 21. + Sidonius (1. 1, epist. 9, p. 23, 21) very fairly
states his motive, his labour, and his reward. "Hie ipso Panegyricus, si non judicium, certe eventum, boni operis accepit." He was made bishop of Clermont, A.d. 471. Tillemout, Mem. Eccles. tom, xvi, p. 750.
£ The palace of Anthemius stood on the banks of the Propontis. In the ninth century, Alexius, the son-in-law of the emperor Theophilus, obtained permission to purchase the ground, and ended his days in a monastery which he founded on that delightful spot. Ducauge, Constantinopoiis Christiana, p. 117. 152. § Papa Hila
rus . . . apud beatum» Petrum Apostolum, palam ne id fieret, clara voce constrinsit, in tantum ut non ea facienda cum interpositione juramenti idem promitteret Imperator. Gelasius, Epistol. ad Andronicum, apud Baron. A.d. 467, No. 3. The cardinal observes, with
Even the Pagans, a feeble and obscure remnant, conceived some vain hopes from the indifference, or partiality, of Anthemius; and his singular friendship for the philosopher Severus, whom he promoted to the consulship, was ascribed to a secret project of reviving the ancient worship of the gods.* These idols were crumbled into dust; and the mythology which had once been the creed of nations, was so universally disbelieved, that it might be employed without scandal, or at least without suspicion, by Christian poets.f Yet the vestiges of superstition were not absolutely obliterated, and the iestival of the Lupercalia, whose origin had preceded the foundation of Rome, was still celebrated under the reign of Anthemius. The savage and simple rites were expressive of an early state of society before the invention of arts and agriculture. The rustic deities, who presided over the toils and pleasures of the pastoral life, Pan, Faunus, and their train of satyrs, were such as the fancy of shepherds might create, sportive, petulant, and lascivious; whose power was limited, and whose malice was inoffensive. A goat was the offering the best adapted to their character and attributes; the flesh of the victim was roasted on willow spits; and the riotous youths, who crowded to the feast, ran naked about the fields, with leather thongs in their hands, communicating, as it was supposed, the blessing of fecundity to the women whom they touched. J The altar of Pan was erected, perhaps by Evander the Arcadian, in a dark recess in the side
some complacency, that it was much easier to plant heresies at Constantinople than at Rome. [This pope Hilary has an otherwise obscure name. But in any hands, ecclesiastical power was then more than a match for the civil The impotence of the latter was never more manifest, than when it presumed to favour free thought and liberate opinion from political fetters.—Ed.] * Damascius,
in the life of the philosopher Isidore, apud Photium, p. 1049. Damascius, who lived under Justinian, composed another work, consisting of five hundred and seventy preternatural stories of souls, demons, apparitions, the dotage of Platonic Paganism. [For a more particular notice of Damascius, see the conclusion of c. 40.—Ed.]
+ In the poetical works of Sidonius, which he afterwards condemned (1. 9, epist. 16, p. 285), the fabulous deities are the principal actors. If Jerome was scourged by the angels for only reading Virgil, the bishop of Clermont, for such a vile imitation, deserved an additional whipping from the Muses.
J Ovid (Fast. 1. 2, 267—452) has given an amusing description of the follies of antiquity, which still inspired so much respect, that a grave magistrate, running naked through the streets, was not an object