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A.D. 520-527

was diligently and faithfully transacted by the quæstor Proclus : 5

and the aged emperor adopted the talents and ambition of his e nephew Justinian, an aspiring youth, whom his uncle had drawn

from the rustic solitude of Dacia, and educated at Constantinople, as the heir of his private fortune, and at length of the Eastern empire.

Since the eunuch Amantius had been defrauded of his money, Adoption and it became necessary to deprive him of his life. The task was Justinian easily accomplished by the charge of a real or fictitious conspiracy; and the judges were informed, as an accumulation of guilt, that he was secretly addicted to the Manichæan heresy. Amantius lost his head; three of his companions, the first domestics of the palace, were punished either with death or exile; and their unfortunate candidate for the purple was cast into a deep dungeon, overwhelmed with stones, and ignominiously thrown, without burial, into the sea. The ruin of Vitalian was a work of more difficulty and danger. That Gothic chief had rendered himself popular by the civil war which he boldly waged against Anastasius for the defence of the orthodox faith, and, after the conclusion of an advantageous treaty, he still remained in the neighbourhood of Constantinople at the head of a formidable and victorious army of Barbarians. By the frail sécurity of oaths, he was tempted to relinquish this advantageous situation, and to trust his person within the walls of a city whose inhabitants, particularly the blue faction, were artfully incensed against him by the remembrance even of his pious hostilities. The emperor and his nephew embraced him as the faithful and worthy champion of the church and state; and gratefully adorned their favourite with the titles of consul and general; but, in the seventh month of his consulship, Vitalian was stabbed with seventeen wounds at the royal banquet ;? and Justinian, who inherited the spoil, was accused as the assassin of a spiritual brother, to whom he had recently pledged his faith in the parti

5 His virtues are praised by Procopius (Persic. 1. i. c. II). The quæstor Proclus was the friend of Justinian, and the enemy of every other adoption,

6 Manichæan signifies Eutychian. Hear the furious acclamations of Constantinople and Tyre, the former no more than six days after the decease of Anastasius. They produced, the latter applauded, the eunuch's death (Baronius, A.D. 518, P. ii. No 15. Fleury, Hist. Ecclés., tom. vii. p. 200, 205, from the Councils, tom. v. p. 182, 207).

? His power, character, and intentions are perfectly explained by the Count de Buat (tom. ix. p. 54-81). He was great-grandson of Aspar, hereditary prince in the Lesser Scythia, and count of the Gothic fæderati of Thrace. The Bessi, whom he could influence, are the minor Goths of Jornandes (c. 51). (For the position of Justinian in Justin's reign see Appendix 9.)

cipation of the Christian mysteries. After the fall of his rival, he was promoted, without any claim of military service, to the office of master-general of the Eastern armies, whom it was his duty to lead into the field against the public enemy. But, in the pursuit of fame, Justinian might have lost his present dominion over the age and weakness of his uncle; and instead of acquiring by Scythian or Persian trophies the applause of his countrymen, the prudent warrior solicited their favour in the churches, the circus, and the senate, of Constantinople. The Catholics were attached to the nephew of Justin, who, between the Nestorian and Eutychian heresies, trod the narrow path of inflexible and intolerant orthodoxy. 10 In the first days of the new reign, he prompted and gratified the popular enthusiasm against the memory of the deceased emperor. After a schism of thirtyfour years, he reconciled the proud and angry spirit of the Roman pontiff, and spread among the Latins a favourable report of his pious respect for the apostolic see. The thrones of the East were filled with Catholic bishops devoted to his interest, the clergy and the monks were gained by his liberality, and the people were taught to pray for their future sovereign, the hope and pillar of the true religion. The magnificence of Justinian was displayed in the superior pomp of his public spectacles, an object not less sacred and important in the eyes of the multitude than the creed of Nice or Chalcedon ; the expense of his consulship was estimated at two hundred and eighty-eight thousand pieces of gold ; twenty lions, and thirty leopards, were produced at the same time in the amphitheatre, and a numerous train of horses, with their rich trappings, was bestowed as an extraordinary gift on the victorious charioteers of the circus. While he indulged the people of Constantinople, and received the addresses of foreign kings, the nephew of Justin assiduously cul

8 Justiniani patricii factione dicitur interfectus fuisse (Victor Tununensis, Chron. in Thesaur. Temp. Scaliger, P. ii. p. 7 [ad ann. 523]). Procopius (Anecdot. c. 7) styles him a tyrant, but acknowledges the ádei poriotia, which is well explained by Alemannus. [Cp. Evagrius, iv. 3.)

9 In his earliest youth (pláne adolescens) he had passed some time as an hostage with Theodoric. For this curious fact, Alemannus (ad Procop. Anecdot. c. 9, p. 34, of the first edition) quotes a Ms. history of Justinian, by his preceptor Theophilus. Ludewig (p. 143) wishes to make him a soldier. (Justinian was Master of Soldiers in praes. in A. D. 521. See the diptych in CIL, 5, 8120, 3, where his full name and titles appear : F(lavius) Petrus Sabbat(ius) Justinian(us) vir) i(nlustris) com(es) mag. eqq. et pleditum) præs(entalis) et consul) ord(inarius). Comes means comes domesticorum.]

10 The ecclesiastical history of Justinian will be shewn hereafter. See Baronius, A.D. 518-521, and the copious article Justinianus in the index to the viith volume of his annals.

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tivated the friendship of the senate. That venerable name

seemed to qualify its members to declare the sense of the nation, : and to regulate the succession of the Imperial throne; the feeble

Anastasius had permitted the vigour of government to degenerate into the form or substance of an aristocracy; and the military

officers who had obtained the senatorial rank were followed · by their domestic guards, a band of veterans, whose arms or

acclamations might fix in a tumultuous moment the diadem of the East. The treasures of the state were lavished to procure the voices of the senators, and their unanimous wish, that he would be pleased to adopt Justinian for his colleague, was communicated to the emperor. But this request, which too clearly admonished him of his approaching end, was unwelcome to the jealous temper of an aged monarch, desirous to retain the power which he was incapable of exercising; and Justin, holding his purple with both his hands, advised them to prefer, since an election was so profitable, some older candidate. Notwithstanding this reproach, the senate proceeded to decorate Justinian with the royal epithet of nobilissimus ; and their decree was ratified by the affection or the fears of his uncle.

After some time the languor of mind and body, to which he was reduced by an incurable wound in his thigh, indispensably required the aid of a guardian. He summoned the patriarch and senators; and in their presence solemnly placed the diadem on the head of his nephew, who was conducted from the palace to the circus, and saluted by the loud and joyful applause of the people. The life of Justin was prolonged about four months, but from the instant of this ceremony he was considered as dead to the empire, which acknowledged Justinian, in the forty-fifth year of his age, for the lawful sovereign of the East. 11

From his elevation to his death, Justinian governed the Roman The relga of empire thirty-eight years, seven months, and thirteen days. The AD. 521, events of his reign, which excite our curious attention by their 665, Nov. 14 number, variety, and importance, are diligently related by the secretary of Belisarius, a rhetorician whom eloquence had promoted to the rank of senator and præfect of Constantinople. (A.D. 167]

11 The reign of the elder Justin may be found in the three Chronicles of Marcellinus, Victor, and John Malala (tom. ii. P: 130-150), the last of whom (in spite of Hody, Prolegom. No. 14, 39, edit. Oxon.) lived soon after Justinian (Jortin's remarks, &c. vol. iv. p. 383 (cp. App. 1]); in the Ecclesiastical History of Evagrius (1. iv. c. 1, 2, 3, 9), and the Excerpta of Theodorus (Lector. No. 37 [p. 565, ed. Val.]), and in Cedrenus (p. 362-366 [i. 636 sqq., ed. Bonn]), and Zonaras (1. xiv. P. 58-61 (c. 5]), who may pass for an original. [Cp. George Mon., ed. Muralt,

p. 518.]



Character and histories

According to the vicissitudes of courage or servitude, of favour or disgrace, Procopius 12 successively composed the history, the panegyric, and the satire of his own times. The eight books of the Persian, Vandalic, and Gothic wars,13 which are continued in the five books of Agathias, deserve our esteem as a laborious and successful imitation of the Attic, or at least of the Asiatic, writers of ancient Greece. His facts are collected from the personal experience and free conversation of a soldier, a statesman, and a traveller; his style continually aspires, and often attains, to the merit of strength and elegance; his reflections, more especially in the speeches, which he too frequently inserts, contain a rich fund of political knowledge ; and the historian, excited by the generous ambition of pleasing and instructing posterity, appears to disdain the prejudices of the people and the flattery of courts. The writings of Procopius 14 were read and applauded by his contemporaries ; 15 but, although he respectfully laid them at the foot of the throne, the pride of Justinian must have been wounded by the praise of an hero, who perpetually eclipses the : glory of his inactive sovereign. The conscious dignity of independence was subdued by the hopes and fears of a slave; and the secretary of Belisarius laboured for pardon and reward in the

12 See the characters of Procopius and Agathias in La Mothe le Vayer (tom. viii. p. 144-174), Vossius (de Historicis Græcis, l. ii. c. 22), and Fabricius (Bibliot. Græc. 1. v. c. 5, tom. vi. p. 248-278). Their religion, an honourable problem, betrays occasional conformity, with a secret attachment to Paganism and Philosophy. [On the life of Procopius, and the chronology of his works, see Appendix 1.)

13 In the seven first books, two Persic, two Vandalic, and three Gothic, Procopius has borrowed from Appian the division of provinces and wars: the viiith book, though it bears the name of Gothic, is a miscellaneous and general supplement down to the spring of the year 553, from whence it is continued by Agathias till 559 (Pagi, Critica, A.D. 579, No. 5).

1. The literary fate of Procopius has been somewhat unlucky. 1. His books de Bello Gothico were stolen by Leonard Aretin, and published (Fulginii, 1470, Venel 1471, apud Janson. Mattaire, Annal. Typograph. tom. i. edit. posterior, p. zoa 304, 279, 299) in his own name (sce Vossius de Hist. Lat. I. iii.c. 5, and the feeble defence of the Venice Giornale de' Letterati, tom. xix. p. 207). 2. His works were mutilated by the first Latin translators, Christopher Persona (Giornale, tom, xix. P. 340-348) and Raphael de Volaterra (Huet, de Claris. Interpretibus, p. 166), who did not even consult the Ms. of the Vatican library, of which they were præfects (Aleman. in Præfat. Anecdot.). 3. The Greek text was not printed till 1607, br Hoeschelius of Augsburg (Dictionnaire de Bayle, tom. ii. p. 782). 4. The Paris edition was imperfectly executed by Claude Maltret, a Jesuit of Toulouse (in 1663) far distant from the Louvre press and the Vatican Ms. from which, however, he obtained some supplements. His promised commentaries, &c. have never ap peared. The Agathias of Leyden (1594) had been wisely reprinted by the Paris editor, with the Latin version of Bonaventura Vulcanius, a learned interpreter (Huet, p. 176).

15 Agathias in Præfat. p. 7, 8, 1. iv. p. 137 (leg. 136 ; C. 26). Evagrius, I. iv. C. 12. See likewise Photius, cod. Ixiii. p. 65.

six books of the Imperial edifices. He had dexterously chosen a subject of apparent splendour, in which he could loudly celebrate the genius, the magnificence, and the piety of a prince who, both as a conqueror and legislator, had surpassed the puerile virtues of Themistocles and Cyrus, 16 Disappointment might urge the flatterer to secret revenge ; and the first glance of favour might again tempt him to suspend and suppress a libel,17 in which the Roman Cyrus is degraded into an odious and contemptible tyrant, in which both the emperor and his consort Theodora are seriously represented as two dæmons, who had assumed an human form for the destruction of mankind.18 Such base inconsistency must doubtless sully the reputation, and detract from the credit, of Procopius; yet, after the venom of his malignity has been suffered to exhale, the residue of the anecdotes, even the most disgraceful facts, some of which had been tenderly hinted in his public history, are established by their internal evidence, or the authentic monuments of the times. 19 From these various materials, I shall now proceed to describe the reign of Justinian, which will deserve and occupy an ample space. The present Division of chapter will explain the elevation and character of Theodora, Justinian the factions of the circus, and the peaceful administration of the sovereign of the East. In the three succeeding chapters I shall relate the wars of Justinian which achieved the conquest of Africa and Italy ; and I shall follow the victories of Belisarius and Narses, without disguising the vanity of their triumphs, or the hostile virtue of the Persian and Gothic heroes. The series of this and the following volume will embrace the jurisprudence and theology of the emperor; the controversies and sects which

18 Kúpou raideia (says he, Præfat. ad l. de Ædificiis, fepe KT1Ouátwv) is no more than Kúpou taldiáa pun! In these five books, Procopius affects a Christian as well as a courtly style. (It is highly probable that the task of writing the Edifices was set the historian by the Emperor. Cp. Appendix 1.]

17 Procopius discloses himself (Præfat. ad Anecdot. c. 1, 2, 5), and the anecdotes are reckoned as the ixth book by Suidas (tom. iii. p. 186, edit. Kuster). The silence of Evagrius is a poor objection. Baronius (A. D. 548, No. 24) regrets the loss of this secret history: it was then in the Vatican library, in his own custody, and was first published sixteen years after his death, with the learned, but partial, notes of Nicholas Alemannus (Lugd. 1623). [Cp. Appendix 1.)

18 Justinian an ass-the perfect likeness of Domitian (Anecdot. c. 8)— Theodora's lovers driven from her bed by rival dæmons-her marriage foretold with a great dæmon a monk saw the prince of the dæmons instead of Justinian, on the throne-the servants who watched beheld a face without features, a body walking without an head, &c. &c. Procopius declares his own and his friends' belief in these diabolical stories (c. 12).

19 Montesquieu (Considerations sur la Grandeur et la Décadence des Romains, C. xx.) gives credit to these anecdotes, as connected, 1, with the weakness of the empire, and 2, with the instability of Justinian's laws.

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