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cuirasses, the bridles and trappings of their horses, have either the substance, or the appearance of gold; and the large splendid boss in the midst of their shield, is encircled with smaller bosses, which represent the shape of the human eye. The two mules that draw the chariot of the monarch, are perfectly white, and shining all over with gold. The chariot itself, of pure and solid gold, attracts the admiration of the spectators, who contemplate the purple curtains, the snowy carpet, the size of the precious stones, and the resplendent plates of gold, that glitter as they are agitated by the motion of the carriage. The imperial pictures are white, on a blue ground; the emperor appears seated on his throne, with his arms, his horses, and his guards beside him; and his vanquished enemies in chains at his feet" The successors of Constantine established their perpetual residence in the royal city, which he had erected on the verge of Europe and Asia. Inaccessible to the menaces of their enemies, and perhaps to the complaints of their people, they received, with each wind, the tributary productions of every climate; while the impregnable strength of their capital continued for ages to defy the hostile attempts of the barbarians. Their dominions were bounded by the Hadriatic and the Tigris; and the whole interval of twentyfive days' navigation, which separated the extreme cold of Scythia from the torrid zone of ./Ethiopia,1 " was comprehended within the limits of the empire of the east. The populous countries of that empire were the seat of art and learning, of luxury and wealth; and the inhabitants, who had assumed the language and manners
'• According to the loose reckoning, that a ship could aaU, with a fair wind, one thousand stadia, or one hundred and twenty-five miles, in the revolution of a day and night, Diodoms Siculus computes ten days from the Palus Moeotis to Rhodes; and four days from Rhodes to Alexandria. The navigation of the NUe. from Alexandria to Syrene, under the tropic of Cancer, required, as it was against the stream, ten days more. Diodor. Sicul. tom. 1. lib. 3. p. 200. edit. Wesseling. He might, without much impropriety, measure the extreme heat from the verge of the torrid zone ; but he speaks of the Moeotis in the forty-seventh degree of northem latitude, as if it lay within the polar circle.
of Greeks, styled themselves, with some appearance of truth, the most enlightened and civilized portion of the human species. The form of government was a pure and simple monarchy; the name of the Roman RePublic, which so long preserved a faint tradition of freedom, was confined to the Latin provinces; and the princes of Constantinople measured their greatness by the servile obedience of their people. They were ignorant how much this passive disposition enervates and degrades every faculty of the mind. The subjects who had.resigned their will to the absolute commands of a master, were equally incapable of guarding their lives and fortunes against the assaults of the barbarians, or of defending their reason from the terrors of superstition. Admini- The first events of the reign of Arcadius station and and Honorius are so intimately connected, ofEutro- that the rebellion of the Goths, and the fall A.UD.395 of Rufinus, have already claimed a place in the ~399' history of the west. It has already been observed, that Eutropius,' one of the principal eunuchs of the palace of Constantinople, succeeded the haughty minister whose ruin he had accomplished, and whose vices he soon imitated. Every order of the state bowed to the new favourite; and their tame and obsequious submission encouraged him to insult the laws, and, what is still more difficult and dangerous, the manners of his country. Under the weakest of the predecessors of Arcadius, the reign of the eunuchs had been secret and almost invisible. They insinuated themselves into the confidence of the^prince; but their ostensible functions were confined to the menial service of the wardrobe and imperial bedchamber. They might direct, in a whisper, the public counsels, and blast, by their ma
1 Barthius, who adored his author with the blind superstition of a commentator, gives the preference to the two books which Claudian composed against Eutropius, above all his other productions. (Bailiet, Jugemens des Savans, 4 tom, p. 227.) They are indeed a very elegant and spirited satire; and would be more valuable in an historical light, if the invective were less vague, and more temperate.
licious suggestions, the fame and fortunes of the most illustrious citizens; but they never presumed to stand forward in the front of the empire/ or to profane the public honours of the state. Eutropius was the first of his artificial sex, who dared to assume the character of a .Roman magistrate and general.' Sometimes, in the presence of the blushing senate, he ascended the tribunal, to pronounce judgment, or to repeat elaborate harangues; and sometimes appeared on horseback, at the head of his troops, in the dress and armour of a hero. The disregard of custom and decency always betrays a weak and ill-regulated mind; nor does Eutropius seem to have compensated for the folly of the design, by any superior merit or ability in the execution. His former habits of life had not introduced him to the study of the laws, or the exercises of the field; his awkward and unsuccessful attempts provoked the secret contempt of the spectators; the Goths expressed their wish, that such a general might always command the armies of Rome; and the name of the minister was branded with ridicule, more pernicious perhaps than hatred, to a public character. The subjects of Arcadius were exasperated by the recollection, that this deformed and decrepit eunuch/ who so perversely mi
11 After lamenting the progress of the eunuchs in the Roman palace, and defining their proper functions, Claudian adds,
A fronte recedant
Imperil. In Eutrop. 1. 422.
Yet it doea not appear that the eunuch had assumed any of the efficient offices of the empire, and he is styled only prapositus sacri cubiculi, in the edict of his banishment . See Cod. Theod. lib. 9. tit. 40. leg. 17.
'Jamque oblita sui, nee sobria divitiis metis
In miseras leges hominumque negotia ludit;
Arma etiam violare parat....
Claudian, (1. 229—270.) with that mixture of indignation and humour, which always pleases in a satiric poet, describes the insolent folly of the eunuch, the disgrace of the empire, and the joy of the Goths.
Gaudet, cum viderit hostis,
Et sentit jam deesse viros.
'The poet's lively description of his deformity, (1. 110—125.) is confirmed by the authentic testimony of Chrysostom; (tom. 3. p. 384. edit. Montfaucon) who observes, that when the paint was washed away, the face of Eutropius appeared more ugly and wrinkled than that of an old woman. Claudian remarks, (1.469.) and the remark must have been founded on experience, that there was scarcely My interval between the youth and. the decrepit age of a eunuch.
Vol. iv. N
micked the actions of a man, was born in the most abject condition of servitude; that, before he entered the imperial palace, he had been successively sold, and purchased, by a hundred masters, who had exhausted his youthful strength in every mean and infamous office, and at length dismissed him, in his old age, to freedom and poverty.* While these disgraceful stories were circulated, and perhaps exaggerated, in private conversations, the vanity of the favourite was flattered4 with the most extraordinary honours. In the senate, in the capital, in the provinces, the statues of Eutropius were erected, in brass, or marble, decorated with the symbols of his civil and military virtues, and inscribed with the pompous title of the third founder of Constantinople. He was promoted to the rank of patriciMj which began to signify, in a popular, and even legal acceptation, the father of the emperor; and the last year of the fourth century was polluted by the consulShip of a eunuch and a slave. This strange and inexpiable prodigy'1 awakened, however, the prejudices of the Romans. The effeminate consul was rejected by the west, as an indelible stain to the annals of the republic; and, without invoking the shades of Brutus and Camillus, the colleague of Eutropius, a learned and respectable magistrate,' sufficiently represented the different maxims of the two administrations.
The bold and vigorous mind of Rufinus seems to
n Eutropius appears to have been a native of Armenia or Assyria. His three services, which Claudian more particularly describes, were these.—1. He spent many years as the catamite of Ptolemy, a groom or soldier of the imperial stables. 2. Ptolemy gave him to the old general Ariutheus, for whom he very skilfully exercised the profession of a pimp. 3. He was given, on her marriage, to the daughter of Arint hcus: and the future consul was employed to comb her hair, to present the silver ewer, to wash and to fan his mistress in hot weather. See. lib. 1. 21—137.
11 Claudian, (lib. 1. in Eutrop. 1—22.) after enumerating the various prodigies of monstrous births, speaking animals, showers of blood or stones, double suns, &c. adds, with some exaggeration,. . ,
Omnia cesseront euuucho consule monstra.
Thc first book concludes with a noble speech of the goddess of Rome to her favourite Honorius, deprecating the new ignominy to which she was exposed.
1 Fl. Maitius Theodorus, whose civil honours, and philosophical works, have been celebrated by Claudian in a very elegant panegyric.
„. have been actuated by a more sangliihary and lity and revengeful spirit; but the avarice of the eunuch was not less insatiate than that of the prefect.1 As long as he despoiled the oppressors, who had enriched themselves with the plunder of the people, Eutropius might gratify his covetous disposition without much envy or injustice: but the progress of his rapine soon invaded the wealth which had been acquired by lawful inheritance- or laudable industry. The usual methods of extortion were practised and improved; and Claudian has sketched a lively and original picture of the public auction of the state. "The impotence of the eunuch (says that agreeable satirist) has served only to stimulate his avarice; the same hand which, in his servile condition, was exercised in petty thefts, to unlock the coffers of his master, now grasps the riches of the world; and this infamous broker of the empire appreciates and divides the Roman provinces, from mount Haemus to the Tigris. One man, at the expense of his villa, is made proconsul of Asia; a second purchases Syria with his wife's jewels; and a third laments, that he has exchanged his paternal estate for the government of Bithynia. In the antichamber of Eutropius, a large tablet is exposed to public view, which marks the respective prices of the provinces. The different value of Pontus, of Galatia, of Lydia, is accurately distinguished. Lycia may be obtained for so many thousand pieces of gold; but the opulence of Phrygia will require a more considerable sum. The eunuch wishes to obliterate, by the general disgrace, his personal ignominy; and as he has been sold himself, he is desirous of selling the rest of mankind. In the eager contention, the balance which contains the fate and fortunes of the provinces, often trembles on the beam; and
k MiSi.-a.-B >i tiiti Tm Ti-xsutw, drunk with riches, is the forcible expression of Zosinni: (lib. 5. p. 301.) and the avarice of Eutropius is equally execrated in the Lexicon of Suidas, and the Chronicle of Marcellinus. Chrysostom had often admonished the favourite, of the vanity and danger of immoderate wealth, tom. 3. p. 381.