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Reign of the younger justin.—Embassy of the Avars. —Their Settlement on the Danube.—Conquest of Italy by the Lombards.-Adoption and Reign of Tiberius.—Of Maurice.—State of Italy under the Lombard, and the Exarchs.-Of Ravenna. —Distres of Rome.—Character and Pontificate of Gregory the First.
C H A P. UR IN G the last years of Justinian, his inXLV. firm mind was devoted to heavenly conDeath of templation, and he neglected the business of the } o, lower world. His subjects were impatient of the * A long continuance of his life and reign : yet all who were capable of refle&tion, apprehended the moment of his death, which might involve the capital in tumult, and the empire in civil war. Seven nephews' of the childless monarch, the sons or grandsons of his brother and fister, had been educated in the splendour of a princely fortune; they had been shewn in high commands to the provinces and armies; their charaćters were known, their followers were zealous, and as the jealousy of age postponed the declaration of a successor, they
might expect with equal hopes the inheritance of
* Sec the family of Justin and Justinian in the Familia Byzantinae of Ducange, p. 89—101. The devout civilians Ludewig (in Wit. Justinian. p. 131.) and Heineccius (Hist. Juris Roman. p. 374.) have fince illustrated the genealogy of their favourite prince.
their 2. In the story of Justin's elevation I have translated into simple and concise prose, the eight hundred verses of the two first books of Corippus, de Laudibus Justini, Appendix Hist, Byzant, p. 491–416. Rome, 1777. - Wol. VIII. I , choice
their uncle. He expired in his palace after a co, P. reign of thirty-eight years; and the decifive op- --~
portunity was embraced by the friends of Justin the son of Vigilantia *. At the hour of midnight, his domestics were awakened by an importunate crowd who thundered at his door, and obtained admittance by revealing themselves to be the principal members of the senate. These welcome deputies announced the recent and momentous secret of the emperor's decease: reported, or perhaps invented, his dying choice of the best beloved and most deserving of his nephews, and conjured Justin to prevent the disorders of the multitude, if they should perceive, with the return of light, that they were left without a master. After composing his countenance to surprise, sorrow, and decent modesty, Justin, by the advice of his wife Sophia, submitted to the authority of the senate. He was condućted with speed and filence to the palace, the guards saluted their new sovereign, and the martial and religious rites of his coronation were deligently accomplished. By the hands of the proper officers he was invested with the Imperial garments, the red buskins, white tunic, and purple robe. A fortunate soldier, whom he in
choice was sanétified by the benedićtion of the patriarch, who imposed the diadem on the head of an orthodox prince. The hippodrome was already filled with innumerable multitudes, and no sooner did the emperor appear on his throne, than the voices of the blue and the green factions were confounded in the same loyal acclamations. In the speeches which Justin addressed to the senate and people, he promised to corre&t the abuses which had disgraced the age of his predecessor, displayed the maxims of a just and beneficent government, and declared, that on the approaching calends of January *, he would revive in his own person the name and liberality of a Roman consul. The immediate discharge of his uncle's debts exhibited a solid pledge of his faith and generosity; a train of porters laden with bags of gold advanced into the midst of the hippodrome, and the hopeless credi. tors of Justinian accepted this equitable payment as a voluntary gift. Before the end of three years, his example was imitated and surpassed by the empress Sophia, who delivered many *: citizens from the weight of debt and usury : an act of benevolence the best entitled to gratitude, since it relieves the most intolerable distress; but in which the bounty of a prince is the most liable to be abused by the claims of prodigality and fraud",
C H A P. XLV. &_*~~) Reign of Justin II. or the younger, A. D. 565. ov 15– A.D. 574. December.
- * 3. It is surprising how Pagi (Critica in Annal. Baron. tom. ii. p. 639.) could be tempted by any chronicles to contradićt the plain and decisive text of Corippus (vicina dona, l. ii. 354. vicina dies,
1. iv. i.), and to postpone, till A. D. 567, the consulship of Justin.
naras are mere transcribers, it is superfluous to allege their tefli
On the seventh day of his reign, Justin gave
audience to the ambassadors of the Avars, and the
scene was decorated to impress the Barbarians with
asionishment, veneration, and terror. From the
palace gate, the spacious courts and long porticoes were lined with the lofty crests and gilt bucklers of the guards, who presented their spears and axes with more confidence than they would have shewn in a field of battle. The officers who exercised the power, or attended the person of the prince, were attired in their richest habits, and arranged according to the military and civil order of the hierarchy. When the veil of the sančtuary was withdrawn, the ambassadors beheld the emperor of the East on his throne, beneath a canopy or dome, which was supported by four columns, and crowned with a winged figure of Vićtory. In the first emotions of surprise, they submitted to the servile adoration of the Byzantine court; but as soon as they rose from the ground, Targetius, the chief of the embassy, expressed the freedom and pride of a Barbarian. He extolled, by the tongue of his interpreter, the greatness of the chagan, by whose clemency the kingdoms of the South were permitted to exist, whose vićtorious subječts had traversed the frozen
rivers of Scythia, and who now covered the banks
of the Danube with innumerable tents. The late emperor had cultivated, with annual and costly gifts, the friendship of a grateful monarch, and the enemies of Rome had respected the allies of the Avars. The same prudence would instruct the nephew of Justinian to imitate the liberality of his uncle, and to purchase the blessings of peace from
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