« ForrigeFortsett »
A.i). 324. POPULATION. 299
to observe that whatever could adorn the dignity of a great capital, or contribute to the benefit or pleasure of its numerous inhabitants, was contained within the walls of Constantinople. A particular description, composed about a century after its foundation, enumerates a capitol or school of learning, a circus, two theatres, eight public and one hundred and fifty-three private baths, fifty-two porticoes, five granaries, eight aqueducts or reservoirs of water, four spacious halls for the meetings of the senate or courts of justice, fourteen churches, fourteen palaces, and four thousand three hundred and eighty-eight houses which, for their size or beauty, deserved to be distinguished from the multitude of plebeian habitations.52
The populousness of his favoured city was the next and most serious object of the attention of its founder. In the dark ages which succeeded the translation of the empire, the remote and the immediate consequences of that memorable event were strangely confounded by the vanity of the Greeks and the credulity of the Latins.53 It was asserted and believed that all the noble families of Rome, the senate, and the equestrian order, with their innumerable attendants, had followed their emperor to the banks of the Propontis; that a spurious race of strangers and plebeians was left to possess the solitude of the ancient capital; and that the lands of Italy, long since converted into gardens, were at once deprived of cultivation and inhabitants.01 In the course of this history such exaggerations will be reduced to their just value ; yet, since the growth of Constantinople cannot be ascribed to the general increase of mankind and of industry, it must be admitted that this artificial colony was raised at the expense of the ancient cities of the empire. Many opulent senators of Rome and of the eastern provinces were probably invited by Constantine to adopt for their country the fortunate spot which he had chosen for his own residence. The invitations of a master are scarcely to be distinguished from commands, and the liberality of the emperor obtained a ready and cheerful obedience. He bestowed on his favourites the palaces
■ See the Notitia. Home only reckoned 17S0 large houses, domus; but the word must have had a more dignified signification. No insula are mentioned at Constantinople. The old capital consisted of 424 streets, the new of 322.
** Liutprand Legatio a/1 Imp. Nieephorum, p. 153. The modern Greeks have strangely disfigured the antiquities of Constantinople. We might excuse the errors of the Turkish or Arabian writers; but it is somewhat astonishing that the Greeks, who had access to the authentic materials preserved in their own language, should, prefer fiction to truth, and loose tradition to genuine history. In a single page of Codinus we may detect twelve unpardonable mistakes: the reconciliation of Severus and Niger, the marriage of their son and daughter, the siege of Byzantium by the Macedonians, the invasion of the Gauls which recalled Severus to Rome, the sixty years which elapsed from his death to the foundation of Constantinople, &c.
M Montesquieu, Grandeur et Decadence des Romains, c. 17.
300 CONSTANTINOPLE: POPULATION. Chap. XVII.
which he had built in the several quarters of the city, assigned them lands and pensions for the support of their dignity,55 and alienated the demesnes of Pontus and Asia to grant hereditary estates by the easy tenure of maintaining a house in the capital.56 But these encouragements and obligations soon became superfluous, and were gradually abolished. AVherever the seat of government is fixed, a considerable part of the public revenue will be expended by the prince himself, by his ministers, by the officers of justice, and by the domestics of the palace. The most wealthy of the provincials will be attracted by the powerful motives of interest and duty, of amusement and curiosity. A third and more numerous class of inhabitants will insensibly be formed, of servants, of artificers, and of merchants, who derive their subsistence from their own labour, and from the wants or luxury of the superior ranks. In less than a century Constantinople disputed with Rome itself the pre-eminence of riches and numbers. New piles of buildings, crowded together with too little regard to health or convenience, scarcely allowed the intervals of narrow streets for the perpetual throng of men, of horses, and of carriages. The allotted space of ground was insufficient to contain the increasing people, and the additional foundations, which on either side were advanced into the sea, might alone have composed a very considerable city.57
The frequent and regular distributions of wine and oil, of com or
bread, of money or provisions, had almost exempted the
poorer citizens of Rome from the necessity of labour. The
magnificence of the first Caesars was in some measure imitated by the
founder of Constantinople :58 but his liberality, however it might
u Theorist. Orat. iii. p. 48, edit. Hardouin. Sozomen, 1. ii. c. 3. Zosim. 1. ii. [c. 31] p. 107. Anonym. Valesian. p. 715. If we could credit Codinus (p. 10) [p. 'JO, sq., ed. Bonn], Constantino built houses for the senators on the exact model of their Itoman palaces, and gratified them, as well as himself, with the pleasure of an agreeable surprise; but the whole story is full of fictions and inconsistencies.
M The law by which the younger Theodosius, in the year 438, abolished this tenure, may be found among the Novella; of that emperor at the end of the Theodosian Code, torn. vi. nov. 12. M. de Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 371) has evidently mistaken the nature of these estates. With a grant from the Imperial demesnes, the same condition was accepted as a favour, which would justly have been deemed a hardship if it had been imposed upon private property.
n The passages of Zosimus, of Kunapius, of Sozoinen, and of Agathias, which relate to the increase of buildings and inhabitants at Constantinople, are collected and connected by Gyllius de Byzant. 1. i. c. 3. Sidonius Apollinaris (in Panegyr. Anthem. 56, p. 279, edit. Sirmond) describes the moles that were pushed forwards into the sea; they consisted of the famous Puzzolan sand, which hardens in the water.
M Sozomen, l.ii. c. 3. Philostorg. 1. ii. c. 9. Codin. Antiquitat. Const, p. 8 [p. 10, ed. Bonn]. It appeare by Socrates, 1. ii. c. 13, that the daily allowance of the city consisted of eight myriads of tlrau, which wo may either translate, with Valesius, l>y the words modii of corn, or consider as expressive of the number of loaves of bread.'*
* Naudetsupposes that 80,000 meditnni would be more likely to mean the Greek of corn wore intended, as a Greek writer measure medimnus than the Ronnui
A.d. 324. PRIVILEGES. 301
excite the applause of the people, has incurred the censure of posterity. A nation of legislators and conquerors might assert their claim to the harvests of Africa, which had been purchased with their blood; and it was artfully contrived by Augustus, that, in the enjoyment of plenty, the Romans should lose the memory of freedom. But the prodigality of Constantine could not be excused by any consideration either of public or private interest; and the annual tribute of corn imposed upon Egypt for the benefit of his new capital was applied to feed a lazy and insolent populace, at the expense of the husbandmen of an industrious province.09 Some other regulations of this emperor are less liable to blame, but they are less deserving of notice. He divided Constantinople into fourteen regions or quarters,60 dignified the public council with the appellation of senate,61 communicated to the citizens the privileges of Italy,68 and bestowed on the rising city
"See Cod. Theodos. 1. xiii. and xiv. and Cod. Justinian. Edict, xii. torn. ii. p. 648, edit. Genev. See the beautiful complaint of Rome in the poem of Claudian de Bell. Oildonico, ver. 60-62:—
Cum subiit par Roma mihi, divisaque sumsit
Equates Aurora togas; iEgyptia rura
In partem cessere novam. ** The regions of Constantinople are mentioned in the Code of Justinian, and particularly described in the Notitia of the younger Theodosius; but as the four last of them are not included within the wall of Constantine, it may be doubted whether this division of the city should be referred to the founder.
61 Senatum constituit secundi ordinis; Claroa vocavit. Anonym. Valesian. p. 715. The senators of old Rome were styled Clarissimi. See a curious note of Valesius ad Ainniian. Marcellin. xxii. 9. From the eleventh epistle of Julian it should seem that the place of senator was considered as a burthen rather than as an honour; but the Abbd de la Bl<Sterie (Vie de Jovien, torn. ii. p 371) has shown that this epistle could not relate to Constantinople. Might we not read, instead of the celebrated name of Bf£«»n'«(, the obscure but more probable word BtraMuis'! Bisanthe or Rhcedestus, now Rhodosto, was a small maritime city of Thrace. See Stephan. Byz. de Urbibus, p. 225 [ed. Lugd. B. 1694], and Cellar. Geograph. torn. i. p. 849.
62 Cod. Theodos. 1. xiv. 13. [Add Cod. Just. xi. 20.—S.] The commentary of Godefroy (torn. v. p. 220) is long, but perplexed; nor indeed is it easy to ascertain in what the Jus Italicum could consist after the freedom of the city had been communicated to the whole empire.*
measure modius; and his opinion has and even earlier, bread was daily distribeen adopted by Mr. Finlay. (Naudet, buted to the people at Rome, instead of des Secours publics chez les Romains, in corn every month, as had formerly been the Memoires de 1'Academic des Inscrip- the case. See Walter, Geschichte des Rations, vol. xiii. p. 48; Finlay, Greece mischen Rechts, § 361, 2nd ed.; Smith's under the Romans, p. 136.) But Socrates Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiq. Bays that the daily allowance of the city p. 550, 2nd cd.—S.
was 80,000 n'rai/, and it is impossible to * Savigny has shown that the substance
believe that 80,000 medinmi were daily of the Jus Italicum consisted in, first, the
distributed at Constantinople.* Indeed, right of having a free constitution; Be
the smaller quantity of 80,000 modii ap- condly, the exemption from taxeB; and
pears incredible; and it is therefore more thirdly, the title of the land to be regarded
probable that 80,000 loaves of bread were as Quiritarian property. Down to the
intended. This is expressly stated by the time of Diocletian Italy was free from
author of the Life of Paul, Bishop of both the land-tax and poll-tax; but it
Constantinople (Phot. Bibl. No. 257, p. has been stated in a previous note (vol.
475, a, ed. Bekker); and it is confirmed ii. p. 114) that even when Italy lost this
by the fact that from the time of Aurelian, exemption, the privilege was still retained
"•"Tie medlmnuT equalled nlmncrial gallons, hy T1"1? °f th/> Provincial towns and
and Vm equivalent lo itx modii. continued to bear the name 01 jut
302 CONSTANTINOPLE: DEDICATION. Chap. XVJI.
the title of ColoDy, the first and most favoured daughter of ancient Rome. The venerable parent still maintained the legal and acknowledged supremacy, which was due to her age, to her dignity, and to the remembrance of her former greatness.63
As Constantine urged the progress of the work with the impatience Dedication, of a lover, the walls, the porticoes, and the principal edifices 3M. were completed in a few years, or, according to another
account, in a few months:" but this extraordinary diligence should excite the less admiration, since many of the buildings were finished in so hasty and imperfect a manner, that, under the succeeding reign, they were preserved with difficulty from impending ruin." But while they displayed the vigour and freshness of youth, the founder prepared to celebrate the dedication of his city.66 The games and largesses which crowned the pomp of this memorable festival may easily be supposed; but there is one circumstance of a more singular and permanent nature, which ought not entirely to be overlooked. As often as the birthday of the city returned, the statue of Constantine, framed by his order, of gilt wood, and bearing in its right hand a small image of the genius of the place, was erected on a triumphal car. The guards, carrying white tapers, and clothed in their richest apparel, accompanied the solemn procession as it moved through the Hippodrome. When it was opposite to the throne of the reigning
63 Julian (Orat. i. p. 8) celebrates Constantinople as not less superior to all other cities than she was inferior to Rome itself. His learned commentator (Spanheim, p. 75, 76) justifies this language by several parallel and contemporary instances. Zosimus, as well as Socrates and Sozomen, nourished after the division of the empire between the two sons of Theodosius, which established a perfect equality between the old and the new capital.
64 Codinus (Antiquitat. p. 8 [p. 17, ed. Bonn]) affirms that the foundations of Constantinople were laid in the year of the world 5837 (a.d. 329), on the 26th of September, and that the city was dedicated the 11th of May, 5838 (a.d. 330). He connects these dates with several characteristic epochs, but they contradict each other; the authority of Codinus is of little weight, and the space which he assigns must appear insufficient. The term of ten years is given us by Julian (Orat. i. p. 8); and Spanheim labours to establish the truth of it (p. 69-75), by the help of two passages from Themistius (Orat. iv. p. 58) and of Pbilostorgius (1. ii. e. 9), which form a period from the year 324 to the year 334. Modern critics are divided concerning this point of chronology, and their different sentiments are very accurately described by Tillemont, Hist, des Einpereurs, torn. iv. p. 619-625."
"Themistius, Orat. iii. p. 47. Zosim. 1. ii. [c. 32] p. 108. Constantine himself, in one of his laws (Cod. Theod. 1. xv. tit. i. [leg. 23?]), betrays his impatience.
68 Cedrenus and Zonaras, faithful to the mode of superstition which prevailed in their own times, assure us that Constantinople was consecrated to the virgin Mother of God.
Italieum, though no longer appropriate, tion from taxation. Savigny, Ueber das This is the only thing that accounts for Jut Itatkum in Vermischte Sehriften, vol. mention being made of a jut Italicum in i. p. 29, set/., and Geschichte des Kiimisthe Code of Justinian, at a time when chen Rechts, vol. i. p. 74, seq. 2nd ed.—&. the free constitution of the towns and the * The city was dedicated on the 11 th of institution of Quiritarian property had May, A.d. 330 (see the authorities in Clinbeen put an end to. Hence the difficulty ton, Fasti Rom. vol. i. p. 384), but we of Gibbon disappears, as the jut Italieum need not therefore conclude that its buildcontinued to confer the privilege of uxemp- ings were all finished by that time.—S.
A.D. 330-334. FORM OK GOVERNMENT. 303
emperor, he rose from his seat, and with grateful reverence adored the memory of his predecessor.67 At the festival of the dedication, an edict, engraved on a column of marble, bestowed the title of Second or New Rome on the city of Constantino.68 But the name of Constantinople69 has prevailed over that honourable epithet, and after the revolution of fourteen centuries still perpetuates the fame of its author.70
The foundation of a new capital is naturally connected with the establishment of a new form of civil and military administra- FoTm of tion. The distinct view of the complicated system of policy B°v«ramTMt. introduced by Diocletian, improved by Constantine, and completed by his immediate successors, may r.ot only amuse the fancy by the singular picture of a great empire, but will tend to illustrate the secret and internal causes of its rapid decay. In the pursuit of any remarkable institution, we may be frequently led into the more early or the more recent times of the Roman history; but the proper limits of this inquiry will be included within a period of about one hundred and thirty years, from the accession of Constantine to the publication of the Theodosian code;71 from which, as well as from the Notitia of the East and West,72 we derive the most copious and authentic information of the state of the empire. This variety of objects will suspend, for some time, the course of the narrative; but the interruption will be censured only by those readers who are insensible to the importance of laws and manners, while they peruse, with eager
87 The earliest and most complete account of this extraordinary ceremony may be found in the Alexandrian Chronicle, p. 285. Tillemont, and the other friends of Constantine, who are offended with the air of Paganism which seems unworthy of a Christian prince, had a right to consider it as doubtful, but they were not authorised to omit the mention of it.
66 Sozomen, 1. ii. c. 3. Ducange, C. P. 1. i. c. 6. Velut ipsius Romre filuun, is the expression of Augustin. de Civitat. Dei, 1. v. c. 25.
69 Eutropius, 1. I. c. 8. Julian. Orat. i. p. 8. Ducange, C. P. 1. i. c. 5. The name of Constantinople is extant on the medals of Constantine.
70 The lively Fontenelle (Dialogues des Morts, xii.) affects to deride the vanity of human ambition, and Beems to triumph in the disappointment of Constantine, whose immortal name is now lost in the vulgar appellation of Istambol, a Turkish corruption of its T»» «*.». Yet the original name is still preserved, 1. By the nations of Europe. 2. By the modern Greeks. 3. By the ArabB, whose writings are diffused over the wide extent of their conquests in Asia and Africa. See d'Herbelot, Bibliothcque Orientalo, p. 275. 4. By the more learned Turks, and by the emperor himself in his public mandates. Cantemir's History of the Othman Empire, p. 51.
"The Theodosian code was promulgated A.D. 438. See the Prolegomena of Code
"Pancirolus, in his elaborate Commentary, assigns to the Notitia a date almost similar to that of the Theodosian Codo; but hiB proofs, or rather conjectures, are extremely feeble. I should be rather inclined to place this useful work between the final division of the empire (a.d. 395) and the successful invasion of Gaul by the barbarians (A.D. 407). See Histoire des Anciens Peuples de l'Europe, torn. vn. p. 40."
•The reader may consult with advantage the last edition of the Notitia, Bonn, the valuable Commentary of Booking on 1839-1853.—S.