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To: chara&ter of the prince who removed C H A P.
the seat of empire, and introduced such ***
important changes into the civil and religious Chara&ter
constitution of his country, has fixed the atten- of Con-
tion, and divided the opinions, of mankind. By stantine.
the grateful zeal of the Christians, the deliverer
of the church has been decorated with every attri-
bute of a hero, and even of a saint; while the
discontent of the vanquished party has compared
Constantine to the most abhorred of those tyrants,
who, by their vice and weakness, dishonoured
the Imperial purple. The same passions have in
some degree been perpetuated to succeeding gene-
rations, and the charaćter of Constantine is con-
sidered, even in the present age, as an object
either of satire or of panegyric. By the impar-
tial union of those defects which are confessed by
his warmest admirers, and of those virtues which
are acknowledged by his most implacable ene-
mies, we might hope to delineate a just portrait
of that extraordinary man, which the truth and
candour of history should adopt without a

H 2 blush,

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of the value of learning; and the arts and sciences c H. A. P.

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c H. A. P. to direct the general tenor of the administration of XVIII. Constantine *

... Had Constantine fallen on the banks of the Tyber, or even in the plains of Hadrianople, fuch is the charaćter which, with a few exceptions, he might have transmitted to posterity. But the conclusion of his reign (according to the moderate and indeed tender sentence of a writer of the same age) degraded him from the rank which he had acquired among the most deserving of the Roman princes *. In the life of Augustus, we behold the tyrant of the republic, converted, almost by imperceptible degrees, into the father of his country and of human kind. In that of Constantine, we may contemplate a hero, who had so long inspired his subjects with love, and his enemies with terror, degenerating into a cruel and dissolute monarch, corrupted by his fortune, or raised by conquest above the necessity of diffimulation. The general peace which he maintained during the last fourteen years of his reign,

A, D. 323–337.

* The virtues of Constantine are colle&ed for the most part from Eutropius, and the younger Vićtor, two fincere pagans, who wrote after the extinétion of his family. Even Zosimus, and the Emperor Julian, acknowledge his personal courage and military at

chievements. -
3 See Eutropius, x. 6. In primo Imperii tempore optimis princi.
pibus, ultimo mediis comparandus. From the ancient Greek ver:
fion of Poeanius (edit. Havercamp. p. 697.), I am inclined to sus.
pećt that Eutropius had originally written vix mediis; and that the
offensive monosyllable was dropped by the wilful inadvertency of
transcribers. Aurelius visor expresses the general opinion by 4
vulgar and indeed obscure proverb. Tracbala decem annis prae-
flantifimus, duoderim sequentibus latro; decom novisimis pupils

eb immodica, profusiones. *

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4 Julian. Orat. i. p. 8. in a flattering discourse pronounced before the son of Constantine; and Caesares, p. 335. Zosimus, p. 114, 115. The stately buildings of Constantinople, &c. may be quoted

as a lasting and unexceptionable proof of the profufeness of their

s The impartial Ammianus deserves all our confidence. Proxi-

morum fauces aperuit primus omnium Constantinus. L. xvi. c. 8-
Eusebius himself confesses the abuse (Vit. Constântin. l. iv. c. 29.
54); and some of the Imperial laws feebly point out the remedy.
See above, p. 53, of this volume. -

C H A Pe

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