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Chap. did not exceed the number of twenty thousand XIV- persons. From this fact, and from similar examples, there is reason to believe, that the constitution of the legionary troops, to which they partly owed their valour and discipline, was dissolved by Constantine; and that the bands of Roman infantry, which still assumed the same names and the same honours, consisted only of one thousand or fifteen hundred men. The conspiracy of so many separate detachments, each of which was awed by the sense of its own weakness, could easily be checked; and the successors of Constantine might indulge their love of ostentation, by issuing their orders to one hundred and thirty-two legions, inscribed on the muster-roll of their numerous armies. The remainder of their troops was distributed into several hundred cohorts of infantry, and squadrons of cavalry. Their arms, and titles, and ensigns, were calculated to inspire terror, and to display the variety of nations who marched under the Imperial standard. And not a vestige was left of that severe simplicity, which, in the ages of freedom and victory, had distinguished the line of battle of a Roman army from the confused host of an Asiatic monarch. A more particular enumeration, drawn from the Nolitia, might exercise the diligence of an antiquary; but the historian will content himself with observing, that the number of permanent stations or garrisons established on the frontiers of the empire amounted to five hundred and eighty-three; and that, under the successors of Constantine, the complete force of the military establishment was computed at.six hundred and forty-five thousand soldiers*. An effort so prodigious surpassed the wants of a more ancient, and the faculties of a later, period.
Chap. this alternative. Such was the horror for the proX1V- fession of a soldier, which had affected the minds of the degenerate Romans, that many of the youth of Italy, and the provinces, chose to cut off the fingers of their right hand to escape from being pressed into the service; and this strange expedient was so commonly practised, as to deserve the severe animadversion of the laws, and a peculiar name in the Latin language. Increase of The introduction of Barbarians into the Roman ^xiifarie* armies became every day more universal, more necessary, and more fatal. The most daring of the Scythians, of the Goths, and of the Germans, who delighted in war, and who found it more profitable to defend than to ravage the provinces, were enrolled, riot only in the auxiliaries of their respective nations, but in the legions themselves, and among the most distinguished of the Palatine troops. As they freely mingled with the subjects of the empire, they gradually learned to despise their manners, and to imitate their arts. They abjured the implicit reverence, which the pride of Rome had exacted from their ignorance, while they acquired the knowledge and possession of those advantages by which alone she supported her declining greatness. The Barbarian soldiers, who displayed any military talents, were advanced, without exception, to the most important commands; and the names of the tribunes, of the counts and dukes, and of the generals themselves, betray a foreign origin, which they no longer condescended to disguise. They were often intrusted with the conduct of a war against their countrymen; and though most of them preferred the ties of allegiance to those of blood, they did not always avoid the guilt, or at least the suspicion, of holding a treasonable correspondence with the enemy, of inviting his invasion, or of sparing his retreat. The camps,
Chap. in his hours of state, or in those of amusement, and X1V' to perform about his person all those menial services, which can only derive their splendour from the influence of royalty. Under a prince who deserved to reign, the great chamberlain (for such we may call him) was a useful and humble domestic; but an artful domestic, who improves every occasion of unguarded confidence, will insensibly acquire over a feeble mind that ascendant which harsh wisdom and uncomplying virtue can seldom obtain. The degenerate grandsons of Theodosius, who were invisible to their subjects, and contemptible to their enemies, exalted the praefects of their bed-chamber above the heads of all the ministers of the palace *; and even his deputy, the first of the splendid train of slaves who waited in the presence, was thought worthy to rank before the- respectable proconsuls of Greece or Asia. The jurisdiction of the chamberlain was acknowledged by the counts, or superintendents, who regulated the two important provinces, of the magnificence of the wardrobe, and of the luxury of the Themaster Imperial table. 2. The principal administration of offices. public affairs was committed to the diligence and abilities of the master of the offices. He was the supreme magistrate of the palace, inspected the discipline of the civil and military schools, and received appeals from all parts of the empire; in the causes which related to that numerous army of privileged persons, who, as the servants of the court, had obtained, for themselves and families, a right to decline the authority of the ordinary judges. The correspondence between the prince and his subjects was managed by the four scrinia, or offices of this minister of state. The first was appropriated to memorials, the second to epistles, the third to petitions, and the