and a mountain was torn from Libanus,” and cast into the waves, where it protected, as a mole, the new harbor of Botrys * in Phoenicia. The stroke that agitates an ant-hill may crush the insect-myriads in the dust; yet truth must extort a confession that man has industriously labored for his own destruction. The institution of great cities, which include a nation within the limits of a wall, almost realizes the wish of Caligula, that the Roman people had but one neck. Two hundred and fifty thousand persons are said to have perished in the earthquake of Antioch, whose domestic multitudes were swelled by the conflux of strangers to the festival of the Ascension. The loss of Berytus” was of smaller account, but of much greater value. That city, on the coast of Phoenicia, was illustrated by the study of the civil law, which opened the surest road to wealth and dignity; the schools of Berytus were filled with the rising spirits of the age, and many a youth was lost in the earthquake, who might have lived to be the scourge or the guardian of his country. In these disasters, the architect becomes the enemy of mankind. The hut of a savage, or the tent of an Arab, may be thrown down without injury to the inhabitants; and the Peruvians had reason to deride the folly of their Spanish conquerors, who with so much cost and labor erected their own sepulchres. The rich mar. bles of a patrician are dashed on his own head, a whole people is buried under the ruins of public and private edifices, and the conflagration is kindled and propagated by the innumerable fires which are necessary for the subsistence and manufactures of a large city. Instead of the mutual sympathy which might comfort and assist the distressed, they dreadfully experience the vices and passions which are released from the fear of punishment; the tottering houses are pillaged by intrepid avarice; revenge embraces the moment, and selects the victim; and the earth often swallows the assassin, or the ravisher, in the consummation of their crimes. Superstition involves the present danger with invisible terrors; and if the image of death may sometimes be subservient to the virtue or repentance of individuals, an affrighted people is more forcibly moved to expect the end of the world, or to deprecate with servile homage the wrath of an avenging Deity. III. AEthiopia and Egypt have been stigmatized, in every age, as the original source and seminary of the lague.” In a damp, hot, stagnating air, this African fever is generated from the putrefaction of animal substances, and especially from the swarms of locusts, not less destructive in their death than in their lives. The fatal disease which depopulated the earth in the time of Justinian and his successors,” first appeared in the neighborhood of Pelusium, between the Serbonian bog and the eastern channel of the Nile. From thence, tracing as it were a double }. It spread to the East, over Syria, Persia, and the ndies, and penetrated to the West, along the coast of Africa, and over the continent of Europe. In the spring of the second year, Constantinople, during three or four months, was visited by the postilence; and Procopius, who observed its progress and symptoms with the eyes of a }}...". has emulated the skill and diligence of Thucydides in the description of the plague of Athens.” The infection was sometimes announced by the visions of a distempered fancy, and the victim despaired as soon as he had heard the menace and felt the stroke of an invisible spectre. I}ut the greater number, in their beds, in the streets, in their usual occupation, were surprised by a slight fever; so slight, indeed, that neither the pulse nor the color of the patient gave any signs of the approaching danger. The same, the next, or the succeeding day, it was declared by the swelling of the glands, particularly those of the groin, of the armpits, and under the ear; and when these buboes or tumors were opened, they were found to contain a coal, or black substance, of the size of a lentil. If they came to a just swelling and suppuration, the patient was saved by this kind and natural discharge of the morbid humor. But if they continued hard and dry, a mortification quickly ensued, and the fifth day was commonly the term of his life. The fever was often accompanied with lethargy or delirium; the bodies of the sick were covered with black pustules or carbuncles, the symptoms of immediate death; and in the constitutions too feeble to produce an irruption, the vomiting of blood was followed by a mortification of the bowels. To pregnant women the plague was generally mortal; yet one infant was drawn alive from his dead mother, and three mothers survived the loss of their infected foetus, Youth was the most perilous season; and the female sex was less susceptible than the male; but every rank and profession was attacked with indiscriminate rage, and many of those who escaped were deprived of the use of their peol, without being secure from a return of the disorder.” The physicians of Constantinople were zealous and skilful; but their art was baffled by the various symptoms and pertinacious vehemence of the disease; the same remedies were productive of contrary effects, and the event capriciously disappointed their prognostics of death or recovery. The order of funerals, and the right of sepulchres, were confounded : those who were left without friends or servants, lay unburied in the streets, or in their desolate houses; and a magistrate was authorized to collect the promiscuous heaps of dead bodies, to transport them by land or water, and to inter them in deep pits beyond the precincts of the city. Their own danger, and the prospect of public distress, awakened some remorse in the minds of the most vicious of mankind ; the confidence of health again revived their passions and habits; but philosophy must disdain the observation of Procopius, that the lives of such men were guarded by the peculiar favor of fortune or Providence. He forgot, or perhaps he secretly recollected, that the plague had touched the person of Justinian himself; but the abstemious diet of the emperor may suggest, as in the case of Socrates, a more rational and honorable cause for his recovery.” During his sickness, the public consternation was expressed in the habits of the citizens; and their idleness and despondence occasioned a great scarcity in the capital of the East. Contagion is the inseparable symptom of the plague; which, by mutual respiration, is transfused from the infected persons to the lungs and stomach of those who aproach them. While philosophers believe and tremble, it is singular, that the existence of a real danger should have been denied by a people most prone to vain and imaginary terrors.” Yet the fellow-citizens of Procopius were satis. fied, by some short and partial experience, that the infection could not be gained by the closest conversation: * and this persuasion might support the assiduity of friends or physicians in the care of the sick, whom inhuman prudence would have condemned to solitude and despair. But the fatal security, like the predestination of the Turks, must have aided the progress of the contagion; and those salutary precautions to which Europe is indebted for her safety, were unknown to the government of Justinian. No restraints were imposed on the free and frequent intercourse of the Roman provinces: from Persia to France, the nations were mingled and infected by wars and emigrations; and the pestilential odor which lurks for years in a bale of cotton was imported, by the abuse of trade, into the most distant regions. The mode of its propagation is explained by the remark of Procopius him:self, that it always spread from the sea-coast to the inland country: the most sequestered islands and mountains were successively visited; the places which had escaped the fury of its first passage were alone exposed to the contagion of the ensuing year. The winds might diffuse that subtile venom; but unless the atmosphere be previously disposed for its reception, the plague would soon expire in the cold and temperate climates of the earth. Such was the universal corruption of the air, that the pestilence which burst forth in the fifteenth year of Justinian was not checked or alleviated by any difference of the seasons. In time, its first malignity was abated and dispersed; the disease alternately languished and revived; but it was not till the end of a calamitous period of fifty-two years, that mankind recovered their health, or the air resumed its pure and salubrious quality. No facts have been preserved to sustain an account, or even a conjecture, of the numbers that perished in this extraordinary mortality. I only find, that during three months, five, and at length ten, thousand persons died each day at Constantinople; that many cities of the East were left vacant, and that in several districts of Italy the harvest and the vintage withered on the ground. The triple scourge of war, pestilence, and famine, afflicted the subjects of Justinian; and his reign is disgraced by a visible decrease of the human species, which has never been repaired in some of the fairest countries of the globe.”

84 An abrupt height, a perpendicular cape, between Aradus and Botrys, named by the Greeks beau mpóropov and évirpágonov or At?ompoa orov by the scrupulous Christians (Polyb. 1. v. p. 411. Pompon. Mela, l. i. c. 12, p. 87, cum Isaac. Voss. Observat. Maundrell, Journey. pp. 32, 33. , Pocock’s Description, vol. ii. p. 99). * Botrys was founded (ann. ante Christ. 935–903) by Ithobal, king of Tyre Marsham, Canon. Chron. pp. 387, 388). Its poor representative, the village of atrone, is now destitute of a harbor. 86 The university, splendor, and ruin of Berytus are celebrated by Heineccius (pp 351–356) as an essential part of the history of the Roman law. It was overthrown in the xxvth year of Justinian, A. D. 551, July 9 (Theophanes, p. 192); łoś." (l. ii. pp. 51, 52) suspends the earthquake till he has achieved the 18 ll war.

* I have read with pleasure Mead's short, but elegant, treatise concerning Pestilential Disorders, the viiith edition, London, 1722 s: The great plague which raged in 542 and the following years (Pagi, Critica, $om. ii. p. 518), must be traced in Procopius (Persic 1 it. c 22, 23), Agathias (l. v. pp. 15.3, 154). Evagrius (1 iv. c 29), Paul Diaconus (l. ii c. iv. pp. 776,777), Gregory of Tours (tom i ! iv c. 5, p. 205), who styles it Lives Inguinaria, and the Chronicles of Victor Tunnunensis (p. 9, in Thesaul. Temporum), of Marcellinus (p 54), and of Theophanes (p. 153) 8. Dr. Friend (Hist Medicin, in Opp. pp. 416 420. Ilond. 1733) is satisfied that Procopius must have studied physic, from his knowledge and use of the technical words. Yet many words that are now scientific were common and popular in the Greek idiom * See Thucydides 1. ii c 47–54, pp. 127 133, edit. Duker, and the poetical description of the same plague by Lucretius (1 vi. 1136–1284). I was indebted to Dr Hunter for an elaborate commentary on this part of Thucydides, a quarto of 600 pages (Venet. 1603, apud Juntas), which was pronounced in St. Mark's Library by Fabius Paullinus Utinensis, a physician and philosopher.

Vol. III.-41

... " Thucydides (c. 51) affirms, that the infection could only be once taken; but Evagrius, who had family experience of the plague, observes, that some persons”, who had escaped the first, sunk under the second attack ; and this repetition is $onfirmed by Fabius Paullinus (p. 588). I observe, that on this head physicians

looded; and the nature and operation of the disease may not always be * It was thus that Socrates had been saved by his temperance, in the plague of Athens (Aul, Gellius, Noct. Attic. ii. 1). Dr. Mead accounts for the péculiar o: religious houses, by the two advantages of seclusion and abstinence (pp. 18, 19).

* Mead proves that the plague is contagious from Thucydides. Lucretius. Aristotle, Galen, and common experience (pp. 10-20); and he refutes (Preface, pp. 2–13) the contrary opinion of the French physicians who visited Marseilles in the year 1720. Yet these were the recent and enlightened spectators of a plague which, in a few months, swept away 50,000 inhabitants (sur la Peste de Marseilie, Paris, 1786) of a city that, in the present hour of prosperity and trade, contains no more than 90,000 souls (Necker, sur les Finances, tom. i. p. 231).

* The strong assertions of Procopius—oire yap tarpo ovre iówarm—are over. thrown by the subsequent experience of Evagrius.

* After some figures of rhetoric, the sands of the sea, &c., Procopius (Anecdot c. 18) attempts a more definite account; that a vptājas ovoidiów w w vot as had been exterminated under the reign of the Imperial démon. The expression is obscure in grammar and arithmetic ; and a literal interpretation would produce several millions of millions. Alemannus (p. 80) and Cousin (tom iii. p. 178) translate this passage, “two hundred millions:”—but I am ignorant of their motives It we drop the uvpidéas, the remaining uuptáčov u upids, a myriad of myriads, would furnish one hundred millions, a number not wholly inadmissible.

« ForrigeFortsett »