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12 Cod. Theod. I. ix. tit. iv. Godefroy suspected the secret motives of this law. Comment. tom. iii. p. 9.
13 Ducange Fam, Byzant. p. 23. ‘l illemont, tom. iv. p. 619.
c H. A. P. and as the people, who were not admitted into the xvi.II. secrets of the palace, still loved his virtues, and ‘TT respected his dignity, a poet who solicits his recal from exile, adores with equal devotion the majesty of the father and that of the son “. The time was now arrived for celebrating the august ceremony of the twentieth year of the reign of Constantine; and the emperor, for that purpose, . removed his court from Nicomedia to Rome, where the most splendid preparations had been made for his receptión. Every eye, and every tongue, affected to express their sense of the general happiness, and the veil of ceremony and dissimulation was drawn for a while over the darkest designs of revenge and murder *. In the midst of the festival, the unfortunate Crispus was apprehended by order of the emperor, who laid aside the tenderness of a father, without assuming the equity of a judge. The examination was short and private"; and as it was thought decent to conceal the fate of the young prince from the eyes of the Roman people, he was sent under a
** His name was Porphyrius Optatianus. The date of his panegyric, written according to the taste of the age in vile acrostics, is settled by Scaliger ad Euseb. p. 250. Tillemont, tom. iv. p. 607. and Fabricius Biblioth. Latin. l. iv. c. 1.
** Zosim. l. ii. p. 103. Godefroy Chronol. Legum, p. 28.
16 Axpirwg, without a trial, is the strong, and most probably the just expresfion of Suidas. The elder Vićtor, who wrote under the
next reign, speaks with becoming caution. “Natü grandior incer
turn quâ causã, patris judicio occidisset.” If we consult the succeeding writers, Eutropius, the younger Vićtor, Orosius, Jerom, Zofimus, Philostorgius, and Gregory of Tours; their knowledge will appear gradually to increase, as their means of information must have diminished , a circumstance which frequently occurs in historical disqutfition.
wards, he was put to death, either by the hand of the executioner, or by the more gentle operation of poison ". The Caesar Licinius, a youth of amiable manners, was involved in the ruin of Crispus"; and the stern jealousy of Constantine was unmoved by the prayers and tears of his favourite fister, pleading for the life of a son; whose rank was his only crime, and whose loss she did not long survive. The story of these unhappy princes, the nature and evidence of their guilt, the forms of their trial, and the circumstances of their death, were buried in mysterious obscurity; ‘and the courtly bishop, who has celebrated in an elaborate work the virtues and piety of his hero, observes a prudent filence on the subject of these tragic events". Such haughty contempt for the opinion of mankind, whilst it imprints an indelible stain on the memory of Constantine, must remind us of the very different behaviour of one of
17 Ammianus (l. xiv. c. 11.) uses the general expression of peremp. twm. Codinus (p. 34.) beheads the young prince; but S domius Apollinaris (Epistol. v. 3.), for the sake perhaps of an antithesis to Fausta's warm bath, chooses to administer a draught of cold poison.
* Sororis filium, commodae indolis juvenem. Eutropius, x. 6. May I not be permitted to conjećture, that Crispus had married Helena, the daughter of the emperor Licinius, and that on the happy delivery of the princess, in the year 322, a general pardon was granted by Constantine See Ducange Fam. Byzant. p. 47, and the law (l. ix. tit.xxxvii.) of the Theodosian Code, which has so much embarrassed the interpreters. Godefroy, tom. iii. p. 267.
19 See the life of Constantine, particularly l. ii. c. 19, 20. Two hundred and fifty years afterwards Evagrius (l. iii. c. 41.) deduced from the filence of Eusebius a vain argument against the reality of the
the memory of their founder, are reduced to palliate the guilt of a parricide, which the common - feelings of human nature forbade them to justify. a They pretend, that as soon as the afflicted father discovered the falsehood of the accusation by which his credulity had been so fatally misled, he published to the world his repentance and remorse; that he mourned forty days, during which he abstained from the use of the bath, and all the ordinary comforts of life; and that, for the lasting instruction of posterity, he erected a golden statue of Crispus, with this memorable inscription: To MY SON, who M I UNJUSTLY CONDEMNED “. A tale so moral and so interesting would deserve to be supported by less exceptionable authority; but if we consult the more ancient and authentic writers, they will inform us, that the repentance of Constantine was manifested only in acts of blood and revenge; and that he atoned for the murder of an innocent son, by the execution,
zz Zosimus (l. ii. p. 103.) may be considered as our original. The ingenuity of the moderns, assisted by a few hints from the ancients, has illustrated and improved his obscure and imperse&t narrative. 23 Philostorgius, l. ii. c. 4. Zosimus (l. ii. p. 104. 1 16.) imputes to Constantine the death of two wives, of the innocent Fausta, and of an adulteress who was the mother of his three successors. According to Jerom, three or four years elapsed between the death of Crispus and that of Fausta. The elder Victor is prudently filent, 24. If Fausta was put to death, it is reasonable to believe that the Trivate apartments of the palace were the scene of her execution. Vol. III. I The