[ocr errors][ocr errors]

“ the tribunal cf Christ. I have been dazzled by

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the repentance, of their prince : the patriarch rehearsed the prayers of the church; Tiberius received the diadem on his knees, and Justin, who in his abdication appeared most worthy to reign, addressed the new monarch in the following words: “If you consent, I live; if you command, I die : “ may the God of heaven and earth infuse into “ your heart whatever I have neglečted or forgot“ ten.” The four last years of the emperor Justin were passed in tranquil obscurity: his conscience was no longer tormented by the remembrance of those duties which he was incapable of discharging; and his choice was justified by the filial reverence and gratitude of Tiberius. o

Among the virtues of Tiberius” his beauty (he was one of the tallest and most comely of the

Reign of Tiberius II.

- Romans)

27 Theophylačt Simocatta (l. iii. c. 11.) declares that he shall give to posterity the speech of Justin as it was pronounced, without attempting to correót the imperfeótions of language or rhetoric. Ferhaps the vain sophist would have been incapable of producing such sentiments.

18 For the charaćter and reign of Tiberius, see Evagrius, 1. v. c. 13. Theophylact, l. iii, c. 12, &c. Theophanes, in Chron. - - P. 2.1Q

Romans) might introduce him to the favour of , Sophia; and the widow of Justin was persuaded, that she should preserve her station and influence under the reign of a second and more youthful husband. But if the ambitious candidate had been tempted to flatter and diffemble, it was no longer in his power to fulfil her expectations, or his own promise. The factions of the hippodrome demanded, with some impatience, the name of their new empress; both the people and Sophia were astonished by the proclamation of Anastafia, the secret, though lawful wife of the emperor Tibe. rius. Whatever could alleviate the disappointment of Sophia, Imperial honours, a stately palace, a numerous household, was liberally bestowed by the piety of her adopted son; on solemn occasions he attended and consulted the widow of his benefactor: but her ambition disdained the vain semblance of royalty, and the respečtful appellation of mother served to exasperate, rather than appease, the rage of an injured woman. While she accepted, and repaid with a courtly smile, the fair expressions of regard and confidence, a secret alliance was concluded between the dowager empress and her ancient enemies; and Justinian, the son of Germanus, was employed as the instrument of her revenge. The pride of the reigning house supported, with relučtance, the dominion of a stranger: the youth was deservedly popular; his name,

[ocr errors]

p. 210–213. Zonaras, tom. ii. 1. #v. p. 72. Cedrenus, p. 391. ~ Paul Warnefrid, de Gestis Langobard, l. iii. c. 11, 12. The deacon of Forum Julii appears to have possessed some curious and authentic facts. x


A. D. 578,
Sept. 26–
A. D. 582,
Aug. 14-

[ocr errors]

after the death of Justin, had been mentioned by a

[ocr errors]

His vir. tues.

of his head, with a treasure of fixty thousand
pounds, might be interpreted as an evidence of
guilt, or at least of fear. Justinian received a free
pardon, and the command of the eastern army.
The Persian monarch fled before his arms; and
the acclamations which accompanied his triumph,
declared him worthy of the purple. His artful
patroness had chosen the month of the vintage,
while the emperor, in a rural solitude, was per-
mitted to enjoy the pleasures of a subjećt. On
the first intelligence of her designs he returned to
Constantinople, and the conspiracy was suppressed
by his presence and firmness. From the pomp.
and honours which she had abused, Sophia was
reduced to a modest allowance : Tiberius dis.
missed her train, intercepted her correspondence,
and committed to a faithful guard the custody of
her person. But the services of Justinian were not
confidered by that excellent prince as an aggra-
vation of his offences: after a mild reproof, his
treason and ingratitude were forgiven; and it was
commonly believed, that the emperor entertained
some thoughts of contračting a double alliance with
the rival of his throne. The voice of an angel
(such a fable was propagated) might reveal to the
emperor, that he should always triumph over his
domestic foes; but Tiberius derived a firmer
assurance from the innocence and generosity of his
own mind.
With the odious name of Tiberius, he afsumed
the more popular appellation of Constantine, and


imitated the purer virtues of the Antonines. After C H A P. - - XLV. recording the vice or folly of so many Roman Joo-, princes, it is pleafing to repose, for a moment, on a charaćter conspicuous by the qualities of humanity, justice, temperance, and fortitude; to contemplate a sovereign affable in his palace, pious in the church, impartial on the seat of judgment, and vićtorious, at least by his generals, in the Persian war. The most glorious trophy of his vićtery consisted in a multitude of captives whom Tiberius entertained, redeemed, and dismissed to their native homes with the charitable spirit of a Christian hero. The merit or misfortunes of his own subjećts had a dearer claim to his beneficence, and he measured his bounty not so much by their expe&tations, as by his own dignity. This maxim, however dangerous in a trustee of the public wealth, was balanced by a principle of humanity and justice, which taught him to abhor, as of the basest alloy, the gold that was extraćted from the tears of the people. For their relief, as often as they had fuffered by natural or hostile calamities, he was impatient to remit the arrears of the past, or the demands of future taxes: he sternly reječted the feryile offerings of his ministers, which were compensated by tenfold oppression; and the wife and equitable laws of Tiberius excited the praise and regret of succeeding times. Constantinople believed that the emperor had discovered a treasure : but his genuine treasure consisted in the praćtice of liberal oeconomy, and the contempt of all vain and superfluous expence. The Romans of the East would have been happy, if the best gift of heaven,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

heaven, a patriot king, had been confirmed as a proper and permanent blesfing. But in less than four years after the death of Justin, his worthy

[ocr errors]

only sufficient time to restore the diadem, according to the tenure by which he held it, to the most, deserving of his fellow-citizens. He selected Maurice from the crowd, a judgment more precious than the purple itself: the patriarch and senate were summoned to the bed of the dying prince: he bestowed his daughter and the empire; and his last advice was solemnly delivered by the voice of the quaestor. Tiberius expressed his hope, that the virtues of his son and successor would erect the noblest mausoleum to his memory. His memory was embalmed by the public afflićtion; but the most sincere grief evaporates in the tumult of a new reign, and the eyes and acclamations of mankind were speedily directed to the rising fun. The emperor Maurice derived his origin from ancient Rome *; but his immediate parents were settled at Arabissus in Cappadocia, and their fingular felicity preserved them alive to behold and partake the fortune of their august son. The youth of Maurice was spent in the profession of arms; Tiberius promoted him to the command of a new and favourite legion of twelve thousand confede.

The reign
of Mau-
A. D. 582,
Aug. 13–
A. D. 6oz,
Nov. 27.

29. It is therefore fingular enough that Paul (l. iii, c. 15.) should distinguish him as the first Greek emperor—primus ex Grecorum genere in Imperio constitutus. His immediate predecessors had indeed been born in the Latin provinces of Europe ; and a various

reading, in Graecorum Imperio, would apply the expression to the

empire rather than the Prince. rates ;

« ForrigeFortsett »