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such authentic and useful information as the curiosity of government only can obtain, instead of traditionary fables on the origin of the cities, and malicious epigrams on the vices of their inhabitants.10 Such information the historian would have been pleased to record; nor should his silence be condemned if the most interesting objects, the population of the capital and provinces, the amount of the taxes and revenues, the numbers of subjects and strangers who served under the Imperial standard, have been unnoticed by Leo the Philosopher and his son Constantine.
His treatise of the public administration is stained with the same blemishes; yet it is discriminated by peculiar merit; the antiquities of the nations may be doubtful or fabulous; but the geography and manners of the barbaric world are delineated with curious accuracy.
Of these nations, Embassy the Franks alone were qualified to observe in their turn, and to prand.
(A.D. 968-9] describe, the metropolis of the East. The ambassador of the great Otho, a bishop of Cremona, has painted the state of Constantinople about the middle of the tenth century; his style is glowing, his narrative lively, his observation keen; and even the prejudices and passions of Liutprand are stamped with an original character of freedom and genius. From this scanty fund of foreign and domestic materials I shall investigate the form and substance of the Byzantine empire: the provinces and wealth, the civil government and military force, the character and literature, of the Greeks, in a period of six hundred years, from the reign of Heraclius to the successful invasion of the Franks or Latins.
After the final division between the sons of Theodosius, the
19 After observing that the demerit of the Cappadocians rose in proportion to ther rank and riches, he inserts & more pointed epigram, which is ascribed to Demodocus :
Καππαδόκην ποτ' έχιδνα κακή δάκεν, αλλά και αυτή
Κάτθανε, γευσαμένη αίματος ιοβόλου. The sting is precisely the same with the French epigram against Fréron ; Un berpent mordit Jean Fréron-Eh bien ? Le serpent en mourut. But, as the Paris Wite sre seldom read in the Anthology, I should be curious to learn through what channel it was conveyed for their imitation (Constantin. Porphyrogen. de Themat. & ti. Brunk, Analect. Græo. tom. ii. p. 56 (p. 21, ed. Bonn); Brodæi. Anthologia, 1 i. p. 244 (Anthol. Pal. xi. 237]). [Of Constantine's Book on the Themes, M. Rembaud observes : “C'est l'empire au vio siècle, et non pas au xe siècle, que nous trouvons dans son livre " (op. cit., p. 166).]
The Legatio Liutprandi Episcopi Cremonensis ad Nicephorum Phocam is inserted in Muratori, Scriptores Rerum Italicarum, tom. ii. pars i. (In Pertz, Mon. Germ. Hist. (Scriptores), vol. 3. There is a convenient ed. of Liutprand's Forks by E. Dümmler in the Scriptores rerum Germanicarum, 1877.)
The themes, or pro
swarms of barbarians from Scythia and Germany overspread the
provinces, and extinguished the empire, of ancient Rome. The the empire, weakness of Constantinople was concealed by extent of dominion ;
her limits were inviolate, or at least entire; and the kingdom of Justinian was enlarged by the splendid acquisition of Africa and Italy. But the possession of these new conquests was transient and precarious; and almost a moiety of the Eastern empire was torn away by the arms of the Saracens. Syria and Egypt were oppressed by the Arabian caliphs; and, after the reduction of Africa, their lieutenants invaded and subdued the Roman province which had been changed into the Gothic monarchy of Spain. The islands of the Mediterranean were not inaccessible to their naval powers; and it was from their extreme stations, the harbours of Crete and the fortresses of Cilicia, that the faithful or rebel emirs insulted the majesty of the throne and capital. The remaining provinces, under the obedience of the emperors, were cast into a new mould; and the jurisdiction of the presidents, the consulars, and the counts was superseded by the institution of the themes,12 or military governments, which prevailed under the successors of Heraclius, and are described by the pen of the royal author. Of the twenty-nine themes, twelve in Europe and seventeen in Asia, the origin is obscure, the etymology doubtful or capricious, the limits were arbitrary and fluctuating; but some particular names that sound the most strangely to our ear were derived from the character and attributes of the troops that were maintained at the expense, and for the guard, of the respective divisions. The vanity of the Greek princes most eagerly grasped the shadow of conquest and the memory of lost dominion.
A new Mesopotamia was created on the Western side of the Euphrates; the appellation and prætor of Sicily were transferred to a narrow slip of Calabria ; and a fragment of the duchy of Beneventum was promoted to the style and title of the theme of Lombardy. In the decline of the Arabian empire, the successors of Constantine might indulge their pride in more solid advantages. The victories of Nicephorus, John Zimisces, and Basil the Second, revived the fame and enlarged the boundaries of the Roman name; the province of Cilicia, the metropolis of Antioch, the islands of Crete and Cyprus, were restored to the allegiance of Christ and Cæsar; one third of Italy was annexed to the throne of Constantinople ; the kingdom of Bulgaria was destroyed; and the last sovereigns of the Macedonian dynasty extended their sway from the sources of the Tigris to the neighbourhood of Rome. In the eleventh century, the prospect was again clouded by new enemies and new misfortunes; the relics of Italy were swept away by the Norman adventurers; and almost all the Asiatic branches were dissevered from the Roman trunk by the Turkish conquerors. After these losses, the emperors of the Comnenian family continued to reign from the Danube to Peloponnesus, and from Belgrade to Nice, Trebizond, and the winding stream of the Meander. The spacious provinces of Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece, were obedient to their sceptre; the possession of Cyprus, Rhodes, and Crete was accompanied by the fifty islands of the Egean or Holy Sea ; 13 and the remnant of their empire transcends the measure of the largest of the European kingdoms.
13 See Constantine de Thematibus, in Banduri, tom. i. p. 1-30, who owns that the word is oùk talaid. fua is used by Maurice (Stratagem. 1. ii. c. 2) for a legion, from whence the name was easily transferred to its post or province (Ducange, Gloss. Græc. tom. i. p. 487, 488). Some etymologies are attempted for the Opsician, Optimatian, Thracesian, themes. (For the history of the Themes, and Constantine's treatise, see Appendix 3.]
The same princes might assert with dignity and truth that of all the monarchs of Christendom they possessed the greatest city, the most ample revenue, the most flourishing and populous General state. With the decline and fall of the empire, the cities of the populousWest had decayed and fallen ; nor could the ruins of Rome, or the mud walls, wooden hovels, and narrow precincts of Paris and London, prepare the Latin stranger to contemplate the situation and extent of Constantinople, her stately palaces and churches, and the arts and luxury of an innumerable people. Her treasures might attract, but her virgin strength had repelled,
13® Aytos (leg. &yror] Félayos, as it is styled by the modern Greeks, from which the corrupt names of Archipelago, l'Archipel, and the Arches, have been transformed by goographers and seamen (d'Anville, Géographie Ancienne, tom. i. p. 281 ; Analyse de La Carte de la Grece, p. 60). The numbers of monks or caloyers in all the islands and the adjacent mountain of Athos (Observations de Belon, fol. 32, verso), Monte Santo, might justify the epithet of holy, ayos, a slight alteration from the original alyasos, imposed by the Dorians, who, in their dialect, gave the figurative name of alyes, or goats, to the bounding waves (Vossius, apud Cellarium, Geograph. Antiq. tom i. p. 829). zires, waves, has, of course, nothing to do with alf, a goat. The derivations suggested ol Arebi pelago and Sylov méxayos are not acceptable.]
** According to the Jewish traveller who had visited Europe and Asia, Constanti. bople was equalled only by Bagdad, the great city of the Ismaelites (Voyage de Benjamin de Tadele, par Baratier, tom. i. c. 5, p. 36).
and still promised to repel, the audacious invasion of the Persian and Bulgarian, the Arab and the Russian. The provinces were less fortunate and impregnable; and few districts, few cities, could be discovered which had not been violated by some fierce barbarian, impatient to despoil, because he was hopeless to pos
From the age of Justinian the Eastern empire was sinking below its former level; the powers of destruction were more active than those of improvement; and the calamities of war were embittered by the more permanent evils of civil and ecclesiastical tyranny. The captive who had escaped from the barbarians was often stripped and imprisoned by the ministers of his sovereign: the Greek superstition relaxed the mind by prayer and emaciated the body by fasting; and the multitude of convents and festivals diverted many hands and many days from the temporal service of mankind. Yet the subjects of the Byzantine empire were still the more dexterous and diligent of nations; their country was blessed by nature with every advantage of soil, climate, and situation; and, in the support and restoration of the arts, their patient and peaceful temper was more useful than the warlike spirit and feudal anarchy of Europe. The provinces that still adhered to the empire were repeopled and enriched by the misfortunes of those which were irrecoverably lost.
From the yoke of the caliphs, the Catholics of Syria, Egypt, and Africa, retired to the allegiance of their prince, to the society of their brethren: the moveable wealth, which eludes the search of oppression, accompanied and alleviated their exile ; and Constantinople received into her bosom the fugitive trade oi Alexandria and Tyre. The chiefs of Armenia and Scythia, who fled from hostile or religious persecution, were hospitably entertained; their followers were encouraged to build new cities and to cultivate waste lands; and many spots, both in Europe and Asia, preserved the name, the manners, or at least the memory, of these national colonies. Even the tribes of barbarians, who had seated themselves in arms on the territory of the empire, were gradually reclaimed to the laws of the church and state; and, as long as they were separated from the Greeks, their posterity supplied a race of faithful and obedient soldiers. possess sufficient materials to survey the twenty-nine themes of the Byzantine monarchy, our curiosity might be satisfied with a chosen example: it is fortunate enough that the clearest light
should be thrown on the most interesting province, and the name of PELOPONNESUS will awaken the attention of the classic reader.
As early as the eighth century, in the troubled reign of the state of Iconoclasts, Greece, and even Peloponnesus, 15 were overrun by nesus some Sclavonian bands, who outstripped the royal standard of lans Bulgaria. The strangers of old, Cadmus, and Danaus, and Pelops, had planted in that fruitful soil the seeds of policy and learning; but the savages of the north eradicated what yet remained of their sickly and withered roots. In this irruption, the country and the inhabitants were transformed; the Grecian blood was contaminated ; and the proudest nobles of PeloponDesus were branded with the names of foreigners and slaves. By the diligence of succeeding princes, the land was in some measure purified from the barbarians; and the humble remnant was bound by an oath of obedience, tribute, and military service, which they often renewed and often violated. The siege of Patras was formed by a singular concurrence of the Sclavonians of Peloponnesus and the Saracens of Africa. In their last distress, a pious fiction of the approach of the prætor of Corinth revived the courage of the citizens. Their sally was bold and successful; the strangers embarked, the rebels submitted, and the glory of the day was ascribed to a phantom or a stranger, who fought in the foremost ranks under the character of St. Andrew the Apostle. The shrine which contained his relics was decorated with the trophies of victory, and the captive race was for ever devoted to the service and vassalage of the metropolitan church of Patras. By the revolt of two Sclavonian tribes in the neighbourhood of Helos and Lacedæmon, the peace of the peninsula was often disturbed. They sometimes insulted the weakness, and sometimes resisted the oppression, of the Byzantine government, till at length the approach of their hostile brethren extorted a golden bull to define the rights and obligations of the Ezzerites and Milengi, whose annual tribute was defined at twelve hundred pieces of gold. From
15 'Εσθλαβώθη δε πάσα η χώρα και γέγονε βάρβαρος, Bayg Constantine (Thematibus, 1. ii. c. 6, p. 25 (p. 53, ed. Bonn]) in a style as barbarous as the idea, which he conGrids, ss usual, by a foolish epigram. The epitomizer of Strabo likewise observes, και νύν δε πάσαν 'Ήπειρον και Ελλάδα σχεδόν και Μακεδονίαν, και Πελοπόννησος Σκύθαι XxAdbor vé uovtal (l. vii. p. 98, edit. Hudson) : & passage which leads Dodwell a kusry dance (Geograph. Minor. tom. ii. dissert. vi. p. 170-191) to enumerate the inroads of the Sclavi, and to fix the date (A.D. 980) of this petty geographer. [On the Slavonic element in Greece, see Appendix 7.]