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But the Tactics of Leo and Constantine are mingled with the baser alloy of the age in which they lived. It was destitute of original genius; they implicitly transcribe the rules and maxims which had been confirmed by victories. It was unskilled in the propriety of style and method; they blindly confound the most distant and discordant institutions, the phalanx of Sparta and that of Macedon, the legions of Cato and Trajan, of Augustus and Theodosius. Even the use, or al least the importance, of these military rudiments may be fairly questioned: their general theory is dictated by reason; but the merit, as well as difficulty, consists in the application. The discipline of a soldier is formed by exercise rather than by study: the talents of a commander are appropriated to those calm, though rapid, minds, which nature produces to decide the fate of armies and nations: the former is the habit of a life, the latter the glance of a moment; and the battles won by lessons of tactics may be numbered with the epic poems created from the rules of criticism. The book of ceremonies is a recital, tedious yet imperfect, of the despicable pageantry which had infected the church and state since the gradual decay of the purity of the one and the power of the other. A review of the themes or provinces might promise such authentic and useful information, as the curiosity of government only can obtain, instead of traditionary fables on the origin of the cities, and malicious epigrams on the vices of their inhabitants.10 Such information the historian would have been pleased to record; nor should his silence be condemned if the most interesting objects, the population of the capital and provinces, the amount of the taxes and revenues, the numbers of subjects and strangers who served under the Imperial standard, have been unnoticed by Leo the philosopher, and his son Constantine. His treatise of the public
10 After observing that the demerit of the Cappadocians rose in pro portion to their rank and riches, he inserts a more pointed epigran: which is ascribed to Demodocus:—
KuTTnf' )K:n- Ttot' £%iSva «n)cr) iantv, d\Xa Koi av-*!
The sting is precisely the same with the French epigram against Fre
administration is stained with the same blemishes; yet it 18 discriminated by peculiar merit; the antiquities of the nations may be doubtful or fabulous; but the geography and manners of the Barbaric world are delineated with curious accuracy. Of these nations, the Franks alone were qualified to observe in their turn, and to describe, the metropolis of the East The ambassador of the great Otho, a bishop of Cremona, has painted the state of Constantinople about the middle of the tenth century: his style is glowing, his narrative lively, hi9 observation keen; and even the prejudices and passions of Liutprand are stamped with an original character of freedom and genius.11 From this scanty fund of foreign and domestic materials, I shall investigate the form and substance of the Byzantine empire; the provinces and wealth, the civil government and military force, the character and literature, of the Greeks in a period of six hundred years, from the reign of Heraclius to his successful invasion of the Franks or Latins.
After the final division between the sons of Theodosius, the swarms of Barbarians from Scythia and Germany overspread the provinces and extinguished the empire of anc>ent Rome. The weakness of Constantinople was concealed by extent of dominion: her limits were inviolate, or at least entire; and the kingdom of Justinian was enlarged by the splendid acquisition of Africa and Italy. But the possession of these new conquests was transient and precarious; and almost a moiety of the Eastern empire was torn away by the arms of the Saracens. Syria and Egypt were oppressed by the Arabian caliphs; and, after the reduction of Africa, their lieutenants invaded and subdued the Roman province whicb had been changed into the Gothic monarchy of Spain. The islands of the Mediterranean were not inaccessible to thei. naval powers; and it was from their extreme stations, the narbors of Crete and the fortresses of Cilicia, that the faithful or rebel emirs insulted the majesty of the throne and capital, The remaining provinces, under the obedience of tlie •mperors, were cast into a new mould; and the jurisdiction of the presidents, the consulars, and the counts were supeileded by the institution of the themes,TM or military govern
11 The Legatio Liutprandi Episcopi Cremonensis ad Nicephnrum i'lwvam is inserted in Muratori, Scriptores Rerum Italicarum, torn, ii pars l.
19 See Constantine de Thematibus, in Randuri, torn. i. p. 1—80, wh« ments, which prevailed under the successors jf Heiaclius, and are described by the pen of the royal author. Of the twenty-nine themes, twelve in Europe and seventeen in Asia, the origin s obscure, the etymology doubtful or capricious: the limits were arbitrary and fluctuating; but some particular uame.'-, that sound the most strangely to our ear, were derived from the character and attributes of the troops that were maintained at the expense, and for the guard, of the respec tive divisions. The vanity of the Greek princes most eagerly grasped the shadow of conquest and the memory of lost dominion. A new Mesopotamia was created on the western side of the Euphrates: the appellation and praetor of Sicily were transferred to a narrow slip of Calabria; and a fragment of the duchy of Beneventum was promoted to thestyle and title of the theme of Loinbardy. In the decline of the Arabian empire, the successors of Constantine might indulge their pride in more solid advantages. The victories of Nicephorus, John Zimisces, and Basil the Second, revived the fame, and enlarged the boundaries, of the Roman name: the province of. Cilicia, the metropolis of Antioch, the islands of Crete and Cyprus, were restored to the allegiance of Chrisl and Csesar: one third of Italy was annexed to the throne of Constantinople: the kingdom of Bulgaria was destroyed; and the last sovereigns of the Macedonian dynasty extended their sway from the sources of the Tigris to the neighborhood of Rome. In the eleventh century, the prospect was again clouded by new enemies and new misfortunes: the relics of Italy were swept away by the Norman adventurers; and almost all the Asiatic branches were dissevered from the Roman trunk by the Turkish conquerors. After these losses, the emperors of the Comnenian family continued to reign from the Danube to Peloponnesus, and from Belgrade to Nice, Trebizond, and the winding stream of the Meander. The spacious provinces of Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece, were obedient to their sceptre; the possession of Cyprus, Rhodes, and Crete, was accompanied by the fifty islands of the ^Egean or Holy Sea ;1S and the remnant of their empire
owns that the word is ofa vuXaio. Qijia is used by Maurice (Strata gem. 1. ii. c. 2) for a legion, from whence the name was easily trans ferred to its post or province, (Ducange, Gloss. Grsec. torn. i. p. 487 488.) Some etymologies are att-mpted for the Opiscian, Optimatiau, Thraoesian, themes.
11 'Ayioj T;x<i)os. as it is styled by the modern Greeks, from whicl transcends the measure of the largest of the European king doms.
The same princes might assert, with dignity and truth, that of all the monarchs of Christendom they possessed the greatest city,14 the most ample revenue, the most flourishing and populous state. With the decline and fall of the empire, the cities of the West had decayed and fallen; nor could th« ruins of Rome, or the mud walls, wooden hovels, and nairow precincts of Paris and London, prepare the Latin stranger to contemplate the situation and extent of Constantinople, her stately palaces and churches, and the arts and luxury of an innumerable people. Her treasures might attract, but ner virgin strength had repelled, and still promised to repel, the audacious invasion of the Persian and Bulgarian, the Arab and the Russian. The provinces were less fortunate and impregnable; and few districts, few cities, could be discovered which had not been violated b> some fierce Barbarian, impatient to despoil, because he was hopeless to possess. From the age of Justinian the Eastern empire was sinking below its former level; the powers of destruction were more active than those of improvement; and the calamities of war were imbittered by the more permanent evils of civil and ecclesiastical tyranny. The captive who had escaped from the Barbarians was often stripped and imprisoned by the minis ters of his sovereign: the Greek superstition relaxed the
iind by prayer, and emaciated the body by fasting; and multitude of convents and festivals diverted many hands
tnd many days from the temporal service of mankind. Yet »he subjects of the Byzantine empire were still the most dexterous and diligent of nations; their country was blessed by nature with every advantage of soil, climate, and situation;
the corrupt names of Archipelago, l'Archipel, and the Arches, have been transformed by geographers and seamen, (D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, torn. i. p. 281. Analyse de la Carte de la Greece, p. 60.) The numbers of monks or caloyers in all the islands and the adjacent mountain of Athos, (Observations de Belon, fol. 32, verso,) nionte canto, might justify the epithet of holy, Syi»s, a slight alteration from the original a'iyaios, imposed by the Dorians, who, in their dialect, yave the figurative name of aiytf, or goats, to the bounding waves, vVossius, apud Cellarium, Geograph. Antiq. torn. i. p. 829.)
14 According to the Jewish traveller who had visited Europe and Asia, Constantinople was equalled only by Bagdad, the jjroat city of the Iamaelites, (Voyage de Benjamin de Tudele, par Ban tier, torn I ft T. p 46.)
»ud, in the support and restoration of the arts, their patient and peaceful temper was more useful than the warlike spirit and feudal anarchy of Europe. The provinces that still adhered to the empire were repeopled and enriched by the misfortunes of those which were irrecoverably lost. From the yoke of the caliphs, the Catholics of Syria, Egypt, and Africa retired to the allegiance of their prince, to the society of their brethren: the movable wealth, which eludes tlw March of oppression, accompanied and alleviated their exile and Constantinople received into her bosom the fugitive trade of Alexandria and Tyre. The chiefs of Armenia and Scythia, who fled from hostile or religious persecution, were hospitably entertained: their followers were encouraged to build new cities and to cultivate waste lands; and many spots, both in Europe and Asia, preserved the name, the manners, or at least the memory, of these national colonies. Even the tribes of Barbarians, who had seated themselves in arms on the territory of the empire, were gradually reclaimed to the laws of the church and state; and as long as they were separated from the Greeks, their posterity supplied a race of faithful and obedient soldiers. Did we possess sufficient materials to survey the twenty-nine themes of the Byzantine monarchy, our curiosity might be satisfied with a chosen example: it is fortunate enough that the clearest light should be thrown on the most interesting province, and the name of Peloponnesus will awaken the attention of the classic reader.
As early as the eighth century, in the troubled reign of the Iconoclasts, Greece, and even Peloponnesus," were overrun by some Sclavonian bands who outstripped the royal standard of Bulgaria. The strangers of old, Cadmus, and Danaus, and Pelops, had planted in that fruitful soil the seeds of policy and learning; but the savages of the north eradicated what yet •vmained of their sickly and withered roots. In this irruption