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A.D. 304-375. THEIR LAWS AND GOVERNMENT. 247
of the Western emperor could clearly perceive, and accurately pursue, his own and the public interest; and the sovereign of the East, who imitated with equal docility the various examples which he received from his elder brother, was sometimes guided by the wisdom and virtue of the praefect Sallust Both princes invariably retained, in the purple, the chaste and temperate simplicity which had adorned their private life; and, under their reign, the pleasures of the court never cost the people a blush or a sigh. They gradually reformed many of the abuses of the times of Constantius; judiciously adopted and improved the designs of Julian and his successor; and displayed a style and spirit of legislation which might inspire posterity with the most favourable opinion of their character and government. It is not from the master of Innocence that we should expect the tender regard for the welfare of his subjects which prompted Valentinian to condemn the exposition of new-born infants,60 and to establish fourteen skilful physicians, with stipends and privileges, in the fourteen quarters of Rome. The good sense of an illiterate soldier founded an useful and liberal institution for the education of youth, and the support of declining science.61 It was his intention that the arts of rhetoric and grammar should be taught, in the Greek and Latin languages, in the metropolis of every province; and as the size and dignity of the school was usually proportioned to the importance of the city, the academies of Rome and Constantinople claimed a just and singular pre-eminence. The fragments of the literary edicts of Valentinian imperfectly represent the school of Constantinople, which was gradually improved by subsequent regulations. That school consisted of thirty-one professors in different branches of learning. One philosopher and two lawyers; five sophists and ten grammarians for the Greek, and three orators and ten grammarians for the Latin tongue; besides seven scribes, or, as they were then styled, antiquarians, whose laborious pens supplied the public library with fair and correct copies of the classic writers. The rule of conduct which was prescribed to the students is the more curious, as it affords the first outlines of the form and discipline of a modern university. It was required that they should bring proper certificates from the magistrates of their native province. Their names, prcfessions, and places of abode, were regularly entered in a public register. The studious youth were severely prohibited from wasting their time in feasts or in the theatre; and the term of their education was limited to the age of twenty. The prsefect of the city was empowered to chastise the idle and refractory by stripes or expulsion; and he was directed to make an annual report to the master of the offices, that the knowledge and abilities of the scholars might be usefully applied to the public service. The institutions of Valentinian contributed to secure the benefits of peace and plenty; and the cities were guarded by the establishment of the Defensors;M freely elected as the tribunes and advocates of the people, to support their rights, and to expose their grievances, before the tribunals of the civil magistrates, or even at the foot of the Imperial throne. The finances were diligently administered by two princes who had been so long accustomed to the rigid economy of a private fortune; but in the receipt and application of the revenue, a discerning eye might observe some difference between the government of the East and of the West Valens was persuaded that royal liberality can be supplied only by public oppression, and his ambition never aspired to secure, by their actual distress, the future strength and prosperity of his people. Instead of increasing the weight of taxes, which in the space of forty years had been gradually doubled, he reduced, in the first years of his reign, one-fourth of the tribute of the East63 Valentinian appears to have been less attentive and less anxious to relieve the burthens of his people. He might reform the abuses of the fiscal administration; but he exacted, without scruple, a very large share of the private property; as he was convinced that the revenues which supported the luxury of individuals would be much more advantageously employed for the defence and improvement of the state. The subjects of the East, who enjoyed the present benefit, applauded the indulgence of their prince. The solid, but less splendid, merit of Valentinian was felt and acknowledged by the subsequent generation.64 But the most honourable circumstance of the character of Valenvaientinian tinian is the firm and temperate impartiality which he Se religious uniformly preserved in an age of religious contention. His ^"m^sk. strong sense, unenlightened, but uncorrupted, by study,
60 See the Code of Justinian, 1. viii. tit. lii. leg. 2. Unusquisque sobolem suam nutriat. Quod si exponendam putaverit animadverBioni quae constituta est subjacebit. For the present I shall not interfere in the dispute between Noodt and Binkershoek, how far or how long this unnatural practice had been condemned or abolished by law, philosophy, and the more civilised state of society.
"These salutary institutions are explained in the Theodosian Code, 1. xiii. tit. iii. De Professoribus et Medicis; and 1. xiv. tit. ix. De Stadiia liberalibus Urbis Roma. Besides our usual guide (Godefroy), we may consult Giannone (Istoria di Napoli, torn, i. p. 105-111), who has treated the interesting subject with the leal and curiosity of a man of letters who studies his domestic history.
a Cod. Theodos. 1. i. tit. xi. with Godefroy'B Paratitlon, which diligently gleans from the rest of the code.
"Three lines of Ammianus (xxxi. 14) countenance a whole oration of Themistius (viii. p. 101-120), full of adulation, pedantry, and commonplace morality. The eloquent M. Thomas (torn. i. p. 366-396) has amused himself with celebrating the virtues and genius of Themistius, who was not unworthy of the age in which he lived.
84 Zosimus, 1. iv. [c. 3] p. 202. Ammian. xxx. 9. His reformation of costly abuses might entitle him to the praise of, in provinciates admodum parous, tributorum ubique molliens sarcinas. By some his frugality was styled avarico (Jerom. Chron. p. 136 [torn. viii. p. 809, ed. Vallara.]).
A.d. 364-376. RELIGIOUS TOLERATION OF VALENTINIAN. 249
declined, with respectful indifference, the subtle questions of theological debate. The government of the Earth claimed his vigilance, and satisfied his ambition; and while he remembered that he was the disciple of the church, he never forgot that he was the sovereign of the clergy. Under the reign of an apostate, he had signalized his zeal for the honour of Christianity: he allowed to his subjects the privilege which he had assumed for himself; and they might accept, with gratitude and confidence, the general toleration which was granted by a prince addicted to passion, but incapable of fear or of disguise.85 The Pagans, the Jews, and all the various sects which acknowledged the divine authority of Christ, were protected by the laws from arbitrary power or popular insult; nor was any mode of worship prohibited by Valentinian, except those secret and criminal practices which abused the name of religion for the dark purposes of vice and disorder. The art of magic, as it was more cruelly punished, was more strictly proscribed: but the emperor admitted a formal distinction to protect the ancient methods of divination, which were approved by the senate and exercised by the Tuscan haruspices. He had condemned, with the consent of the most rational Pagans, the licence of nocturnal sacrifices; but he immediately admitted the petition of Prsetextatus, proconsul of Achaia, who represented that the life of the Greeks would become dreary and comfortless if they were deprived of the invaluable blessing of the Eleusinian mysteries.1 Philosophy alone can boast (and perhaps it is no more than the boast of philosophy) that her gentle hand is able to eradicate from the human mind the latent and deadly principle of fanaticism. But this truce of twelve years, which was enforced by the wise and vigorous government of Valentinian, by suspending the repetition of mutual injuries, contributed to soften the manners, and abate the prejudices, of the religious factions.
The friend of toleration was unfortunately placed at a distance from the scene of the fiercest controversies. As soon as the v»iens Christians of the West had extricated themselves from the AruSnn, snares of the creed of Rimini, they happily relapsed into S^fthT the slumber of orthodoxy; and the small remains of the "D. 36"i?8. Arian party, that still subsisted at Sirmium or Milan, might be considered rather as objects of contempt than of resentment But in the provinces of the East, from the Euxine to the extremity of Thebais, the strength and numbers of the hostile factions were more equally balanced; and this equality, instead of recommending the counsels of peace, served only to perpetuate the horrors of religious war. The monks and bishops supported their arguments by invectives; and their invectives were sometimes followed by blows. Athanasius still reigned at Alexandria; the thrones of Constantinople and Antioch were occupied by Arian prelates; and every episcopal vacancy was the occasion of a popular tumult. The Homoousiana were fortified by the reconciliation of fifty-nine Macedonian, or Semi-Arian, bishops; but their secret reluctance to embrace the divinity of the Holy Ghost clouded the splendour of the triumph; and the declaration of Valens, who, in the first years of his reign, had imitated the impartial conduct of his brother, was an important victory on the side of Arianism. The two brothers had passed their private life in the condition of catechumens; but the piety of Valens prompted him to solicit the sacrament of baptism before he exposed his person to the dangers of a Gothic war. He naturally addressed himself to Eudoxus,66 a bishop of the Imperial city; and if the ignorant monarch was instructed by that Arian pastor in the principles of heterodox theology, his misfortune, rather than his guilt, was the inevitable consequence of his erroneous choice. Whatever had been the determination of the emperor, he must have offended a numerous party of his Christian subjects; as the leaders both of the Homoousians and of the Arians believed, that, if they were not suffered to reign, they were most cruelly injured and oppressed. After he had taken this decisive step, it was extremely difficult for him to preserve either the virtue, or the reputation, of impartiality. He never aspired, like Constantius, to the fame of a profound theologian; but, as he had received with simplicity and respect the tenets of Eudoxus, Valens resigned his conscience to the direction of his ecclesiastical guides, and promoted by the influence of his authority the re-union of the Athanasian heretics to the body of the catholic church. At first he pitied their blindness; by degrees he was provoked at their obstinacy; and he insensibly hated those sectaries to whom he was an object of hatred.67 The feeble mind of Valens was always swayed
•* Testes sunt leges a me in exordio Imperii mei datte ; quibua unicuique quod animo imbibisset colendi libera facultas tributa est. Cod. Theodos. 1. ix. tit. xvi. leg. 9. To this declaration of Valentinian we may add the various testimonies of Ammianus (xxx. 9), Zosimus (1. iv. [c. S\ p. 204), and Sozomen (1. vi. c. 7, 21). Baronius would naturally blame such rational toleration (Annal. Eccles. A.D. 370, No. 129-132, A.D. 376, No. 3, 4).
* The Eleusinian mysteries continued Eleusis, and by the devastation of Greece
to be celebrated during the whole of the in the invasion of the Goths under Alaric
sccondhalf of the fourth century (Asterius, in 395. Eunapius in Vita Maximi, p. 52,
Homil. p. 193; Epiphanius, adv. Hajreses, 53; Fallmerayer, Geschichte Moreas, i.
iii. p. Iu92), till they were put an end p. 119, seq.; Lasaulx, Der Untergang des
to by the destruction of the temple at HellenismiiB, p. 84.—S.
66 Eudoxus was of a mild and timid disposition. When he baptized Valens (a.d. 367) he must have been extremely old, since he had studied theology fifty-five years before, under Lucian, a learned and pious martyr. Philostorg. 1. ii. c. 14-10, 1. iv. c. 4, with Qodefroy, p. 82, 206, and Tillemont, Mc"m Ecclcs. torn. v. p. 474-480, &o.
67 Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. xxv. p. 432) insults the persecuting spirit of the Arians, as an infallible symptom of error and heresy.
Through the influence uf his wife, say the ecclesiastical writers.—M.
A.D. 373. DEATH OF ATHANASIUS. 201
by the persons with whom he familiarly conversed; and the exile or imprisonment of a private citizen are the favours the most readily granted in a despotic court. Such punishments were frequently inflicted on the leaders of the Homoousian party; and the misfortune of fourscore ecclesiastics of Constantinople, who, perhaps accidentally, were burnt on shipboard, was imputed to the cruel and premeditated malice of the emperor and his Arian ministers. In every contest the catholics (if we may anticipate that name) were obliged to pay the penalty of their own faults, and of those of their adversaries. In every election the claims of the Arian candidate obtained the preference; and if they were opposed by the majority of the people, he was usually supported by the authority of the civil magistrate, or even by the terrors of a military force. The enemies of Athanasius attempted to disturb the last years of his venerable age; and his temporary retreat to his father's sepulchre has been celebrated as a fifth exile. But the zeal of a great people, who instantly flew to arms, intimidated the praefect: and the archbishop was permitted to end his life in peace and in glory, after a reign of forty- Death or seven years. The death of Athanasius was the signal of j^S!"8' the persecution of Egypt; and the Pagan minister of May 2Valens, who forcibly seated the worthless Lucius on the archiepiscopal throne, purchased the favour of the reigning party by the blood and sufferings of their Christian brethren. The free toleration of the heathen and Jewish worship was bitterly lamented, as a circumstance which aggravated the misery of the catholics, and the guilt of the impious tyrant of the East.68
The triumph of the orthodox party has left a deep stain of persecution on the memory of Valens; and the character of a prince who derived his virtues, as well as his vices, from a w« persecufeeble understanding and a pusillanimous temper, scarcely deserves the labour of an apology. Yet candour may discover some reasons to suspect that the ecclesiastical ministers of Valens often exceeded the orders, or even the intentions, of their master; and that the real measure of facts has been very liberally magnified by the vehement declamation and easy credulity of his antagonists.09 1. The silence of Valentinian may suggest a probable argument that the partial severities which were exercised in the name and provinces of his colleague amounted only to some obscure and inconsiderable deviations from the established system of religious toleration; and the judicious historian, who has praised the equal temper of the elder
68 This sketch of the ecclesiastical government of Valens is drawn from Socrates (1. iv.), Sozomen (1. vi.), Theodoret (1. iv.), and the immense compilations of Tillemont (particularly torn. vi. viii. and ix.J.
"Dr. Jortin (Komarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. iv. p. 78) has already conceived and intimated the same suspicion.