The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Edward Gibbon

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The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

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David Reed

History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire

Edward Gibbon, Esq.

With notes by the Rev. H. H. Milman

Vol. 4

1782 (Written), 1845 (Revised)

Chapter XXXIX: Gothic Kingdom Of Italy.

Part I.

Zeno And Anastasius, Emperors Of The East. - Birth,
Education, And First Exploits Of Theodoric The Ostrogoth. - His
Invasion And Conquest Of Italy. - The Gothic Kingdom Of Italy. -
State Of The West. - Military And Civil Government. - The Senator
Boethius. - Last Acts And Death Of Theodoric.

After the fall of the Roman empire in the West, an interval
of fifty years, till the memorable reign of Justinian, is faintly
marked by the obscure names and imperfect annals of Zeno,
Anastasius, and Justin, who successively ascended to the throne
of Constantinople. During the same period, Italy revived and
flourished under the government of a Gothic king, who might have
deserved a statue among the best and bravest of the ancient

Theodoric the Ostrogoth, the fourteenth in lineal descent of
the royal line of the Amali, ^1 was born in the neighborhood of
Vienna ^2 two years after the death of Attila. ^! A recent
victory had restored the independence of the Ostrogoths; and the
three brothers, Walamir, Theodemir, and Widimir, who ruled that
warlike nation with united counsels, had separately pitched their
habitations in the fertile though desolate province of Pannonia.
The Huns still threatened their revolted subjects, but their
hasty attack was repelled by the single forces of Walamir, and
the news of his victory reached the distant camp of his brother
in the same auspicious moment that the favorite concubine of
Theodemir was delivered of a son and heir. In the eighth year of
his age, Theodoric was reluctantly yielded by his father to the
public interest, as the pledge of an alliance which Leo, emperor
of the East, had consented to purchase by an annual subsidy of
three hundred pounds of gold. The royal hostage was educated at
Constantinople with care and tenderness. His body was formed to
all the exercises of war, his mind was expanded by the habits of
liberal conversation; he frequented the schools of the most
skilful masters; but he disdained or neglected the arts of
Greece, and so ignorant did he always remain of the first
elements of science, that a rude mark was contrived to represent
the signature of the illiterate king of Italy. ^3 As soon as he
had attained the age of eighteen, he was restored to the wishes
of the Ostrogoths, whom the emperor aspired to gain by liberality
and confidence. Walamir had fallen in battle; the youngest of
the brothers, Widimir, had led away into Italy and Gaul an army
of Barbarians, and the whole nation acknowledged for their king
the father of Theodoric. His ferocious subjects admired the
strength and stature of their young prince; ^4 and he soon
convinced them that he had not degenerated from the valor of his
ancestors. At the head of six thousand volunteers, he secretly
left the camp in quest of adventures, descended the Danube as far
as Singidunum, or Belgrade, and soon returned to his father with
the spoils of a Sarmatian king whom he had vanquished and slain.
Such triumphs, however, were productive only of fame, and the
invincible Ostrogoths were reduced to extreme distress by the
want of clothing and food. They unanimously resolved to desert
their Pannonian encampments, and boldly to advance into the warm
and wealthy neighborhood of the Byzantine court, which already
maintained in pride and luxury so many bands of confederate
Goths. After proving, by some acts of hostility, that they could
be dangerous, or at least troublesome, enemies, the Ostrogoths
sold at a high price their reconciliation and fidelity, accepted
a donative of lands and money, and were intrusted with the
defence of the Lower Danube, under the command of Theodoric, who
succeeded after his father's death to the hereditary throne of
the Amali. ^5

[Footnote 1: Jornandes (de Rebus Geticis, c. 13, 14, p. 629, 630,
edit. Grot.) has drawn the pedigree of Theodoric from Gapt, one
of the Anses or Demigods, who lived about the time of Domitian.
Cassiodorus, the first who celebrates the royal race of the
Amali, (Viriar. viii. 5, ix. 25, x. 2, xi. 1,) reckons the
grandson of Theodoric as the xviith in descent. Peringsciold
(the Swedish commentator of Cochloeus, Vit. Theodoric. p. 271,
&c., Stockholm, 1699) labors to connect this genealogy with the
legends or traditions of his native country.

Note: Amala was a name of hereditary sanctity and honor
among the Visigoths. It enters into the names of Amalaberga,
Amala suintha, (swinther means strength,) Amalafred, Amalarich.
In the poem of the Nibelungen written three hundred years later,
the Ostrogoths are called the Amilungen. According to Wachter it
means, unstained, from the privative a, and malo a stain. It is
pure Sanscrit, Amala, immaculatus. Schlegel. Indische
Bibliothek, 1. p. 233. - M.]

[Footnote 2: More correctly on the banks of the Lake Pelso,
(Nieusiedler- see,) near Carnuntum, almost on the same spot where
Marcus Antoninus composed his meditations, (Jornandes, c. 52, p.
659. Severin. Pannonia Illustrata, p. 22. Cellarius, Geograph.
Antiq. (tom. i. p. 350.)]

[Footnote !: The date of Theodoric's birth is not accurately
determined. We can hardly err, observes Manso, in placing it
between the years 453 and 455, Manso, Geschichte des Ost
Gothischen Reichs, p. 14. - M.]

[Footnote 3: The four first letters of his name were inscribed on
a gold plate, and when it was fixed on the paper, the king drew
his pen through the intervals (Anonym. Valesian. ad calcem Amm.
Marcellin p. 722.) This authentic fact, with the testimony of
Procopius, or at least of the contemporary Goths, (Gothic. 1. i.
c. 2, p. 311,) far outweighs the vague praises of Ennodius
(Sirmond Opera, tom. i. p. 1596) and Theophanes, (Chronograph. p.
Note: Le Beau and his Commentator, M. St. Martin, support,
though with no very satisfactory evidence, the opposite opinion.
But Lord Mahon (Life of Belisarius, p. 19) urges the much
stronger argument, the Byzantine education of Theodroic. - M.]
[Footnote 4: Statura est quae resignet proceritate regnantem,
(Ennodius, p. 1614.) The bishop of Pavia (I mean the ecclesiastic
who wished to be a bishop) then proceeds to celebrate the
complexion, eyes, hands, &c, of his sovereign.]
[Footnote 5: The state of the Ostrogoths, and the first years of
Theodoric, are found in Jornandes, (c. 52 - 56, p. 689 - 696) and
Malchus, (Excerpt. Legat. p. 78 - 80,) who erroneously styles him
the son of Walamir.]
A hero, descended from a race of kings, must have despised
the base Isaurian who was invested with the Roman purple, without
any endowment of mind or body, without any advantages of royal
birth, or superior qualifications. After the failure of the
Theodosian life, the choice of Pulcheria and of the senate might
be justified in some measure by the characters of Martin and Leo,
but the latter of these princes confirmed and dishonored his
reign by the perfidious murder of Aspar and his sons, who too
rigorously exacted the debt of gratitude and obedience. The
inheritance of Leo and of the East was peaceably devolved on his
infant grandson, the son of his daughter Ariadne; and her
Isaurian husband, the fortunate Trascalisseus, exchanged that
barbarous sound for the Grecian appellation of Zeno. After the
decease of the elder Leo, he approached with unnatural respect
the throne of his son, humbly received, as a gift, the second
rank in the empire, and soon excited the public suspicion on the
sudden and premature death of his young colleague, whose life
could no longer promote the success of his ambition. But the
palace of Constantinople was ruled by female influence, and
agitated by female passions: and Verina, the widow of Leo,
claiming his empire as her own, pronounced a sentence of
deposition against the worthless and ungrateful servant on whom
she alone had bestowed the sceptre of the East. ^6 As soon as she
sounded a revolt in the ears of Zeno, he fled with precipitation
into the mountains of Isauria, and her brother Basiliscus,
already infamous by his African expedition, ^7 was unanimously
proclaimed by the servile senate. But the reign of the usurper
was short and turbulent. Basiliscus presumed to assassinate the
lover of his sister; he dared to offend the lover of his wife,
the vain and insolent Harmatius, who, in the midst of Asiatic
luxury, affected the dress, the demeanor, and the surname of
Achilles. ^8 By the conspiracy of the malecontents, Zeno was
recalled from exile; the armies, the capital, the person, of
Basiliscus, were betrayed; and his whole family was condemned to
the long agony of cold and hunger by the inhuman conqueror, who
wanted courage to encounter or to forgive his enemies. ^* The
haughty spirit of Verina was still incapable of submission or
repose. She provoked the enmity of a favorite general, embraced
his cause as soon as he was disgraced, created a new emperor in
Syria and Egypt, ^* raised an army of seventy thousand men, and
persisted to the last moment of her life in a fruitless
rebellion, which, according to the fashion of the age, had been
predicted by Christian hermits and Pagan magicians. While the
East was afflicted by the passions of Verina, her daughter
Ariadne was distinguished by the female virtues of mildness and
fidelity; she followed her husband in his exile, and after his
restoration, she implored his clemency in favor of her mother.
On the decease of Zeno, Ariadne, the daughter, the mother, and
the widow of an emperor, gave her hand and the Imperial title to
Anastasius, an aged domestic of the palace, who survived his
elevation above twenty-seven years, and whose character is
attested by the acclamation of the people, "Reign as you have
lived!" ^9 ^!
[Footnote 6: Theophanes (p. 111) inserts a copy of her sacred
letters to the provinces. Such female pretensions would have
astonished the slaves of the first Caesars.]

[Footnote 7: Vol. iii. p. 504 - 508.]

[Footnote 8: Suidas, tom. i. p. 332, 333, edit. Kuster.]

[Footnote *: Joannes Lydus accuses Zeno of timidity, or, rather,
of cowardice; he purchased an ignominious peace from the enemies
of the empire, whom he dared not meet in battle; and employed his
whole time at home in confiscations and executions. Lydus, de
Magist. iii. 45, p. 230. - M.]

[Footnote *: Named Illus. - M.]

[Footnote 9: The contemporary histories of Malchus and Candidus
are lost; but some extracts or fragments have been saved by
Photius, (lxxviii. lxxix. p. 100 - 102,) Constantine
Porphyrogenitus, (Excerpt. Leg. p. 78 - 97,) and in various
articles of the Lexicon of Suidas. The Chronicles of Marcellinus
(Imago Historiae) are originals for the reigns of Zeno and
Anastasius; and I must acknowledge, almost for the last time, my
obligations to the large and accurate collections of Tillemont,
(Hist. des Emp. tom. vi. p. 472 - 652).]
[Footnote !: The Panegyric of Procopius of Gaza, (edited by
Villoison in his Anecdota Graeca, and reprinted in the new
edition of the Byzantine historians by Niebuhr, in the same vol.
with Dexippus and Eunapius, viii. p. 488 516,) was unknown to
Gibbon. It is vague and pedantic, and contains few facts. The
same criticism will apply to the poetical panegyric of Priscian
edited from the Ms. of Bobbio by Ang. Mai. Priscian, the gram
marian, Niebuhr argues from this work, must have been born in the
African, not in either of the Asiatic Caesareas. Pref. p. xi. -

Whatever fear of affection could bestow, was profusely
lavished by Zeno on the king of the Ostrogoths; the rank of
patrician and consul, the command of the Palatine troops, an
equestrian statue, a treasure in gold and silver of many thousand
pounds, the name of son, and the promise of a rich and honorable
wife. As long as Theodoric condescended to serve, he supported
with courage and fidelity the cause of his benefactor; his rapid
march contributed to the restoration of Zeno; and in the second
revolt, the Walamirs, as they were called, pursued and pressed
the Asiatic rebels, till they left an easy victory to the
Imperial troops. ^10 But the faithful servant was suddenly
converted into a formidable enemy, who spread the flames of war
from Constantinople to the Adriatic; many flourishing cities were
reduced to ashes, and the agriculture of Thrace was almost
extirpated by the wanton cruelty of the Goths, who deprived their
captive peasants of the right hand that guided the plough. ^11 On
such occasions, Theodoric sustained the loud and specious
reproach of disloyalty, of ingratitude, and of insatiate avarice,
which could be only excused by the hard necessity of his
situation. He reigned, not as the monarch, but as the minister of
a ferocious people, whose spirit was unbroken by slavery, and
impatient of real or imaginary insults. Their poverty was
incurable; since the most liberal donatives were soon dissipated
in wasteful luxury, and the most fertile estates became barren in
their hands; they despised, but they envied, the laborious
provincials; and when their subsistence had failed, the
Ostrogoths embraced the familiar resources of war and rapine. It
had been the wish of Theodoric (such at least was his
declaration) to lead a peaceful, obscure, obedient life on the
confines of Scythia, till the Byzantine court, by splendid and
fallacious promises, seduced him to attack a confederate tribe of
Goths, who had been engaged in the party of Basiliscus. He
marched from his station in Maesia, on the solemn assurance that
before he reached Adrianople, he should meet a plentiful convoy
of provisions, and a reenforcement of eight thousand horse and
thirty thousand foot, while the legions of Asia were encamped at
Heraclea to second his operations. These measures were
disappointed by mutual jealousy. As he advanced into Thrace, the
son of Theodemir found an inhospitable solitude, and his Gothic
followers, with a heavy train of horses, of mules, and of wagons,
were betrayed by their guides among the rocks and precipices of
Mount Sondis, where he was assaulted by the arms and invectives
of Theodoric the son of Triarius. From a neighboring height, his
artful rival harangued the camp of the Walamirs, and branded
their leader with the opprobrious names of child, of madman, of
perjured traitor, the enemy of his blood and nation. "Are you
ignorant," exclaimed the son of Triarius, "that it is the
constant policy of the Romans to destroy the Goths by each
other's swords? Are you insensible that the victor in this
unnatural contest will be exposed, and justly exposed, to their
implacable revenge? Where are those warriors, my kinsmen and thy
own, whose widows now lament that their lives were sacrificed to
thy rash ambition? Where is the wealth which thy soldiers
possessed when they were first allured from their native homes to
enlist under thy standard? Each of them was then master of three
or four horses; they now follow thee on foot, like slaves,
through the deserts of Thrace; those men who were tempted by the
hope of measuring gold with a bushel, those brave men who are as
free and as noble as thyself." A language so well suited to the
temper of the Goths excited clamor and discontent; and the son of
Theodemir, apprehensive of being left alone, was compelled to
embrace his brethren, and to imitate the example of Roman
perfidy. ^12 ^*

[Footnote 10: In ipsis congressionis tuae foribus cessit invasor,
cum profugo per te sceptra redderentur de salute dubitanti.
Ennodius then proceeds (p. 1596, 1597, tom. i. Sirmond.) to
transport his hero (on a flying dragon?) into Aethiopia, beyond
the tropic of Cancer. The evidence of the Valesian Fragment, (p.
717,) Liberatus, (Brev. Eutych. c. 25 p. 118,) and Theophanes,
(p. 112,) is more sober and rational.]

[Footnote 11: This cruel practice is specially imputed to the
Triarian Goths, less barbarous, as it should seem, than the
Walamirs; but the son of Theodemir is charged with the ruin of
many Roman cities, (Malchus, Excerpt. Leg. p. 95.)]

[Footnote 12: Jornandes (c. 56, 57, p. 696) displays the services
of Theodoric, confesses his rewards, but dissembles his revolt,
of which such curious details have been preserved by Malchus,
(Excerpt. Legat. p. 78 - 97.) Marcellinus, a domestic of
Justinian, under whose ivth consulship (A.D. 534) he composed his
Chronicle, (Scaliger, Thesaurus Temporum, P. ii, p. 34 - 57,)
betrays his prejudice and passion: in Graeciam debacchantem
...Zenonis munificentia pene pacatus ...beneficiis nunquam
satiatus, &c.]
[Footnote *: Gibbon has omitted much of the complicated intrigues
of the Byzantine court with the two Theodorics. The weak emperor
attempted to play them one against the other, and was himself in
turn insulted, and the empire ravaged, by both. The details of
the successive alliance and revolt, of hostility and of union,
between the two Gothic chieftains, to dictate terms to the
emperor, may be found in Malchus. - M.]

In every state of his fortune, the prudence and firmness of
Theodoric were equally conspicuous; whether he threatened
Constantinople at the head of the confederate Goths, or retreated
with a faithful band to the mountains and sea-coast of Epirus.
At length the accidental death of the son of Triarius ^13
destroyed the balance which the Romans had been so anxious to
preserve, the whole nation acknowledged the supremacy of the
Amali, and the Byzantine court subscribed an ignominious and
oppressive treaty. ^14 The senate had already declared, that it
was necessary to choose a party among the Goths, since the public
was unequal to the support of their united forces; a subsidy of
two thousand pounds of gold, with the ample pay of thirteen
thousand men, were required for the least considerable of their
armies; ^15 and the Isaurians, who guarded not the empire but the
emperor, enjoyed, besides the privilege of rapine, an annual
pension of five thousand pounds. The sagacious mind of Theodoric
soon perceived that he was odious to the Romans, and suspected by
the Barbarians: he understood the popular murmur, that his
subjects were exposed in their frozen huts to intolerable
hardships, while their king was dissolved in the luxury of
Greece, and he prevented the painful alternative of encountering
the Goths, as the champion, or of leading them to the field, as
the enemy, of Zeno. Embracing an enterprise worthy of his
courage and ambition, Theodoric addressed the emperor in the
following words: "Although your servant is maintained in
affluence by your liberality, graciously listen to the wishes of
my heart! Italy, the inheritance of your predecessors, and Rome
itself, the head and mistress of the world, now fluctuate under
the violence and oppression of Odoacer the mercenary. Direct me,
with my national troops, to march against the tyrant. If I fall,
you will be relieved from an expensive and troublesome friend:
if, with the divine permission, I succeed, I shall govern in your
name, and to your glory, the Roman senate, and the part of the
republic delivered from slavery by my victorious arms." The
proposal of Theodoric was accepted, and perhaps had been
suggested, by the Byzantine court. But the forms of the
commission, or grant, appear to have been expressed with a
prudent ambiguity, which might be explained by the event; and it
was left doubtful, whether the conqueror of Italy should reign as
the lieutenant, the vassal, or the ally, of the emperor of the
East. ^16

[Footnote 13: As he was riding in his own camp, an unruly horse
threw him against the point of a spear which hung before a tent,
or was fixed on a wagon, (Marcellin. in Chron. Evagrius, l. iii.
c. 25.)]

[Footnote 14: See Malchus (p. 91) and Evagrius, (l. iii. c. 35.)]

[Footnote 15: Malchus, p. 85. In a single action, which was
decided by the skill and discipline of Sabinian, Theodoric could
lose 5000 men.]
[Footnote 16: Jornandes (c. 57, p. 696, 697) has abridged the
great history of Cassiodorus. See, compare, and reconcile
Procopius, (Gothic. l. i. c. i.,) the Valesian Fragment, (p.
718,) Theophanes, (p. 113,) and Marcellinus, (in Chron.)]

The reputation both of the leader and of the war diffused a
universal ardor; the Walamirs were multiplied by the Gothic
swarms already engaged in the service, or seated in the
provinces, of the empire; and each bold Barbarian, who had heard
of the wealth and beauty of Italy, was impatient to seek, through
the most perilous adventures, the possession of such enchanting
objects. The march of Theodoric must be considered as the
emigration of an entire people; the wives and children of the
Goths, their aged parents, and most precious effects, were
carefully transported; and some idea may be formed of the heavy
baggage that now followed the camp, by the loss of two thousand
wagons, which had been sustained in a single action in the war of
Epirus. For their subsistence, the Goths depended on the
magazines of corn which was ground in portable mills by the hands
of their women; on the milk and flesh of their flocks and herds;
on the casual produce of the chase, and upon the contributions
which they might impose on all who should presume to dispute the
passage, or to refuse their friendly assistance. Notwithstanding
these precautions, they were exposed to the danger, and almost to
the distress, of famine, in a march of seven hundred miles, which
had been undertaken in the depth of a rigorous winter. Since the
fall of the Roman power, Dacia and Pannonia no longer exhibited
the rich prospect of populous cities, well-cultivated fields, and
convenient highways: the reign of barbarism and desolation was
restored, and the tribes of Bulgarians, Gepidae, and Sarmatians,
who had occupied the vacant province, were prompted by their
native fierceness, or the solicitations of Odoacer, to resist the
progress of his enemy. In many obscure though bloody battles,
Theodoric fought and vanquished; till at length, surmounting
every obstacle by skilful conduct and persevering courage, he
descended from the Julian Alps, and displayed his invincible
banners on the confines of Italy. ^17

[Footnote 17: Theodoric's march is supplied and illustrated by
Ennodius, (p. 1598 - 1602,) when the bombast of the oration is
translated into the language of common sense.]

Odoacer, a rival not unworthy of his arms, had already
occupied the advantageous and well-known post of the River
Sontius, near the ruins of Aquileia, at the head of a powerful
host, whose independent kings ^18 or leaders disdained the duties
of subordination and the prudence of delays. No sooner had
Theodoric gained a short repose and refreshment to his wearied
cavalry, than he boldly attacked the fortifications of the enemy;
the Ostrogoths showed more ardor to acquire, than the mercenaries
to defend, the lands of Italy; and the reward of the first
victory was the possession of the Venetian province as far as the
walls of Verona. In the neighborhood of that city, on the steep
banks of the rapid Adige, he was opposed by a new army,
reenforced in its numbers, and not impaired in its courage: the
contest was more obstinate, but the event was still more
decisive; Odoacer fled to Ravenna, Theodoric advanced to Milan,
and the vanquished troops saluted their conqueror with loud
acclamations of respect and fidelity. But their want either of
constancy or of faith soon exposed him to the most imminent
danger; his vanguard, with several Gothic counts, which had been
rashly intrusted to a deserter, was betrayed and destroyed near
Faenza by his double treachery; Odoacer again appeared master of
the field, and the invader, strongly intrenched in his camp of
Pavia, was reduced to solicit the aid of a kindred nation, the
Visigoths of Gaul. In the course of this History, the most
voracious appetite for war will be abundantly satiated; nor can I
much lament that our dark and imperfect materials do not afford a
more ample narrative of the distress of Italy, and of the fierce
conflict, which was finally decided by the abilities, experience,
and valor of the Gothic king. Immediately before the battle of
Verona, he visited the tent of his mother ^19 and sister, and
requested, that on a day, the most illustrious festival of his
life, they would adorn him with the rich garments which they had
worked with their own hands. "Our glory," said he, "is mutual
and inseparable. You are known to the world as the mother of
Theodoric; and it becomes me to prove, that I am the genuine
offspring of those heroes from whom I claim my descent." The wife
or concubine of Theodemir was inspired with the spirit of the
German matrons, who esteemed their sons' honor far above their
safety; and it is reported, that in a desperate action, when
Theodoric himself was hurried along by the torrent of a flying
crowd, she boldly met them at the entrance of the camp, and, by
her generous reproaches, drove them back on the swords of the
enemy. ^20

[Footnote 18: Tot reges, &c., (Ennodius, p. 1602.) We must
recollect how much the royal title was multiplied and degraded,
and that the mercenaries of Italy were the fragments of many
tribes and nations.]

[Footnote 19: See Ennodius, p. 1603, 1604. Since the orator, in
the king's presence, could mention and praise his mother, we may
conclude that the magnanimity of Theodoric was not hurt by the
vulgar reproaches of concubine and bastard.

Note: Gibbon here assumes that the mother of Theodoric was
the concubine of Theodemir, which he leaves doubtful in the text.
- M.]

[Footnote 20: This anecdote is related on the modern but
respectable authority of Sigonius, (Op. tom. i. p. 580. De
Occident. Impl. l. xv.:) his words are curious: "Would you
return?" &c. She presented and almost displayed the original

Note: The authority of Sigonius would scarcely have weighed
with Gibboa except for an indecent anecdote. I have a
recollection of a similar story in some of the Italian wars. -

From the Alps to the extremity of Calabria, Theodoric
reigned by the right of conquest; the Vandal ambassadors
surrendered the Island of Sicily, as a lawful appendage of his
kingdom; and he was accepted as the deliverer of Rome by the
senate and people, who had shut their gates against the flying
usurper. ^21 Ravenna alone, secure in the fortifications of art
and nature, still sustained a siege of almost three years; and
the daring sallies of Odoacer carried slaughter and dismay into
the Gothic camp. At length, destitute of provisions and hopeless
of relief, that unfortunate monarch yielded to the groans of his
subjects and the clamors of his soldiers. A treaty of peace was
negotiated by the bishop of Ravenna; the Ostrogoths were admitted
into the city, and the hostile kings consented, under the
sanction of an oath, to rule with equal and undivided authority
the provinces of Italy. The event of such an agreement may be
easily foreseen. After some days had been devoted to the
semblance of joy and friendship, Odoacer, in the midst of a
solemn banquet, was stabbed by the hand, or at least by the
command, of his rival. Secret and effectual orders had been
previously despatched; the faithless and rapacious mercenaries,
at the same moment, and without resistance, were universally
massacred; and the royalty of Theodoric was proclaimed by the
Goths, with the tardy, reluctant, ambiguous consent of the
emperor of the East. The design of a conspiracy was imputed,
according to the usual forms, to the prostrate tyrant; but his
innocence, and the guilt of his conqueror, ^22 are sufficiently
proved by the advantageous treaty which force would not sincerely
have granted, nor weakness have rashly infringed. The jealousy
of power, and the mischiefs of discord, may suggest a more decent
apology, and a sentence less rigorous may be pronounced against a
crime which was necessary to introduce into Italy a generation of
public felicity. The living author of this felicity was
audaciously praised in his own presence by sacred and profane
orators; ^23 but history (in his time she was mute and
inglorious) has not left any just representation of the events
which displayed, or of the defects which clouded, the virtues of
Theodoric. ^24 One record of his fame, the volume of public
epistles composed by Cassiodorus in the royal name, is still
extant, and has obtained more implicit credit than it seems to
deserve. ^25 They exhibit the forms, rather than the substance,
of his government; and we should vainly search for the pure and
spontaneous sentiments of the Barbarian amidst the declamation
and learning of a sophist, the wishes of a Roman senator, the
precedents of office, and the vague professions, which, in every
court, and on every occasion, compose the language of discreet
ministers. The reputation of Theodoric may repose with more
confidence on the visible peace and prosperity of a reign of
thirty-three years; the unanimous esteem of his own times, and
the memory of his wisdom and courage, his justice and humanity,
which was deeply impressed on the minds of the Goths and

[Footnote 21: Hist. Miscell. l. xv., a Roman history from Janus
to the ixth century, an Epitome of Eutropius, Paulus Diaconus,
and Theophanes which Muratori has published from a Ms. in the
Ambrosian library, (Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. i. p. 100.)]
[Footnote 22: Procopius (Gothic. l. i. c. i.) approves himself an
impartial sceptic. Cassiodorus (in Chron.) and Ennodius (p. 1604)
are loyal and credulous, and the testimony of the Valesian
Fragment (p. 718) may justify their belief. Marcellinus spits
the venom of a Greek subject - perjuriis illectus, interfectusque
est, (in Chron.)]

[Footnote 23: The sonorous and servile oration of Ennodius was
pronounced at Milan or Ravenna in the years 507 or 508, (Sirmond,
tom. i. p. 615.) Two or three years afterwards, the orator was
rewarded with the bishopric of Pavia, which he held till his
death in the year 521. (Dupin, Bibliot. Eccles. tom. v. p. 11 -
14. See Saxii Onomasticon, tom. ii. p. 12.)]

[Footnote 24: Our best materials are occasional hints from
Procopius and the Valesian Fragment, which was discovered by
Sirmond, and is published at the end of Ammianus Marcellinus.
The author's name is unknown, and his style is barbarous; but in
his various facts he exhibits the knowledge, without the
passions, of a contemporary. The president Montesquieu had
formed the plan of a history of Theodoric, which at a distance
might appear a rich and interesting subject.]

[Footnote 25: The best edition of the Variarum Libri xii. is that
of Joh. Garretius, (Rotomagi, 1679, in Opp. Cassiodor. 2 vols. in
fol.;) but they deserved and required such an editor as the
Marquis Scipio Maffei, who thought of publishing them at Verona.
The Barbara Eleganza (as it is ingeniously named by Tiraboschi)
is never simple, and seldom perspicuous]
The partition of the lands of Italy, of which Theodoric
assigned the third part to his soldiers, is honorably arraigned
as the sole injustice of his life. ^* And even this act may be
fairly justified by the example of Odoacer, the rights of
conquest, the true interest of the Italians, and the sacred duty
of subsisting a whole people, who, on the faith of his promises,
had transported themselves into a distant land. ^26 Under the
reign of Theodoric, and in the happy climate of Italy, the Goths
soon multiplied to a formidable host of two hundred thousand men,
^27 and the whole amount of their families may be computed by the
ordinary addition of women and children. Their invasion of
property, a part of which must have been already vacant, was
disguised by the generous but improper name of hospitality; these
unwelcome guests were irregularly dispersed over the face of
Italy, and the lot of each Barbarian was adequate to his birth
and office, the number of his followers, and the rustic wealth
which he possessed in slaves and cattle. The distinction of noble
and plebeian were acknowledged; ^28 but the lands of every
freeman were exempt from taxes, ^* and he enjoyed the inestimable
privilege of being subject only to the laws of his country. ^29
Fashion, and even convenience, soon persuaded the conquerors to
assume the more elegant dress of the natives, but they still
persisted in the use of their mother- tongue; and their contempt
for the Latin schools was applauded by Theodoric himself, who
gratified their prejudices, or his own, by declaring, that the
child who had trembled at a rod, would never dare to look upon a
sword. ^30 Distress might sometimes provoke the indigent Roman to
assume the ferocious manners which were insensibly relinquished
by the rich and luxurious Barbarian; ^31 but these mutual
conversions were not encouraged by the policy of a monarch who
perpetuated the separation of the Italians and Goths; reserving
the former for the arts of peace, and the latter for the service
of war. To accomplish this design, he studied to protect his
industrious subjects, and to moderate the violence, without
enervating the valor, of his soldiers, who were maintained for
the public defence. They held their lands and benefices as a
military stipend: at the sound of the trumpet, they were prepared
to march under the conduct of their provincial officers; and the
whole extent of Italy was distributed into the several quarters
of a well- regulated camp. The service of the palace and of the
frontiers was performed by choice or by rotation; and each
extraordinary fatigue was recompensed by an increase of pay and
occasional donatives. Theodoric had convinced his brave
companions, that empire must be acquired and defended by the same
arts. After his example, they strove to excel in the use, not
only of the lance and sword, the instruments of their victories,
but of the missile weapons, which they were too much inclined to
neglect; and the lively image of war was displayed in the daily
exercise and annual reviews of the Gothic cavalry. A firm though
gentle discipline imposed the habits of modesty, obedience, and
temperance; and the Goths were instructed to spare the people, to
reverence the laws, to understand the duties of civil society,
and to disclaim the barbarous license of judicial combat and
private revenge. ^32

[Footnote *: Compare Gibbon, ch. xxxvi. vol. iii. p. 459, &c. -
Manso observes that this division was conducted not in a violent
and irregular, but in a legal and orderly, manner. The
Barbarian, who could not show a title of grant from the officers
of Theodoric appointed for the purpose, or a prescriptive right
of thirty years, in case he had obtained the property before the
Ostrogothic conquest, was ejected from the estate. He conceives
that estates too small to bear division paid a third of their
produce. - Geschichte des Os Gothischen Reiches, p. 82. - M.]
[Footnote 26: Procopius, Gothic, l. i. c. i. Variarum, ii. Maffei
(Verona Illustrata, P. i. p. 228) exaggerates the injustice of
the Goths, whom he hated as an Italian noble. The plebeian
Muratori crouches under their oppression.]

[Footnote 27: Procopius, Goth. l. iii. c. 421. Ennodius
describes (p. 1612, 1613) the military arts and increasing
numbers of the Goths.]
[Footnote 28: When Theodoric gave his sister to the king of the
Vandals she sailed for Africa with a guard of 1000 noble Goths,
each of whom was attended by five armed followers, (Procop.
Vandal. l. i. c. 8.) The Gothic nobility must have been as
numerous as brave.]

[Footnote *: Manso (p. 100) quotes two passages from Cassiodorus
to show that the Goths were not exempt from the fiscal claims. -
Cassiodor, i. 19, iv. 14 - M.]

[Footnote 29: See the acknowledgment of Gothic liberty, (Var. v.
[Footnote 30: Procopius, Goth. l. i. c. 2. The Roman boys learnt
the language (Var. viii. 21) of the Goths. Their general
ignorance is not destroyed by the exceptions of Amalasuntha, a
female, who might study without shame, or of Theodatus, whose
learning provoked the indignation and contempt of his

[Footnote 31: A saying of Theodoric was founded on experience:
"Romanus miser imitatur Gothum; ut utilis (dives) Gothus imitatur
Romanum." (See the Fragment and Notes of Valesius, p. 719.)]
[Footnote 32: The view of the military establishment of the Goths
in Italy is collected from the Epistles of Cassiodorus (Var. i.
24, 40; iii. 3, 24, 48; iv. 13, 14; v. 26, 27; viii. 3, 4, 25.)
They are illustrated by the learned Mascou, (Hist. of the
Germans, l. xi. 40 - 44, Annotation xiv.)
Note: Compare Manso, Geschichte des Ost Gothischen Reiches,
p. 114. - M.]

Chapter XXXIX: Gothic Kingdom Of Italy.

Part II.

Among the Barbarians of the West, the victory of Theodoric
had spread a general alarm. But as soon as it appeared that he
was satisfied with conquest and desirous of peace, terror was
changed into respect, and they submitted to a powerful mediation,
which was uniformly employed for the best purposes of reconciling
their quarrels and civilizing their manners. ^33 The ambassadors
who resorted to Ravenna from the most distant countries of
Europe, admired his wisdom, magnificence, ^34 and courtesy; and
if he sometimes accepted either slaves or arms, white horses or
strange animals, the gift of a sun-dial, a water-clock, or a
musician, admonished even the princes of Gaul of the superior art
and industry of his Italian subjects. His domestic alliances, ^35
a wife, two daughters, a sister, and a niece, united the family
of Theodoric with the kings of the Franks, the Burgundians, the
Visigoths, the Vandals, and the Thuringians, and contributed to
maintain the harmony, or at least the balance, of the great
republic of the West. ^36 It is difficult in the dark forests of
Germany and Poland to pursue the emigrations of the Heruli, a
fierce people who disdained the use of armor, and who condemned
their widows and aged parents not to survive the loss of their
husbands, or the decay of their strength. ^37 The king of these
savage warriors solicited the friendship of Theodoric, and was
elevated to the rank of his son, according to the barbaric rites
of a military adoption. ^38 From the shores of the Baltic, the
Aestians or Livonians laid their offerings of native amber ^39 at
the feet of a prince, whose fame had excited them to undertake an
unknown and dangerous journey of fifteen hundred miles. With the
country ^40 from whence the Gothic nation derived their origin,
he maintained a frequent and friendly correspondence: the
Italians were clothed in the rich sables ^41 of Sweden; and one
of its sovereigns, after a voluntary or reluctant abdication,
found a hospitable retreat in the palace of Ravenna. He had
reigned over one of the thirteen populous tribes who cultivated a
small portion of the great island or peninsula of Scandinavia, to
which the vague appellation of Thule has been sometimes applied.
That northern region was peopled, or had been explored, as high
as the sixty- eighth degree of latitude, where the natives of the
polar circle enjoy and lose the presence of the sun at each
summer and winter solstice during an equal period of forty days.
^42 The long night of his absence or death was the mournful
season of distress and anxiety, till the messengers, who had been
sent to the mountain tops, descried the first rays of returning
light, and proclaimed to the plain below the festival of his
resurrection. ^43

[Footnote 33: See the clearness and vigor of his negotiations in
Ennodius, (p. 1607,) and Cassiodorus, (Var. iii. 1, 2, 3, 4; iv.
13; v. 43, 44,) who gives the different styles of friendship,
counsel expostulation, &c.]
[Footnote 34: Even of his table (Var. vi. 9) and palace, (vii.
5.) The admiration of strangers is represented as the most
rational motive to justify these vain expenses, and to stimulate
the diligence of the officers to whom these provinces were

[Footnote 35: See the public and private alliances of the Gothic
monarch, with the Burgundians, (Var. i. 45, 46,) with the Franks,
(ii. 40,) with the Thuringians, (iv. 1,) and with the Vandals,
(v. 1;) each of these epistles affords some curious knowledge of
the policy and manners of the Barbarians.]
[Footnote 36: His political system may be observed in
Cassiodorus, (Var. iv. l ix. l,) Jornandes, (c. 58, p. 698, 699,)
and the Valesian Fragment, (p. 720, 721.) Peace, honorable peace,
was the constant aim of Theodoric.]
[Footnote 37: The curious reader may contemplate the Heruli of
Procopius, (Goth. l. ii. c. 14,) and the patient reader may
plunge into the dark and minute researches of M. de Buat, (Hist.
des Peuples Anciens, tom. ix. p. 348 - 396.)

Note: Compare Manso, Ost Gothische Reich. Beylage, vi.
Malte- Brun brings them from Scandinavia: their names, the only
remains of their language, are Gothic. "They fought almost
naked, like the Icelandic Berserkirs their bravery was like
madness: few in number, they were mostly of royal blood. What
ferocity, what unrestrained license, sullied their victories!
The Goth respects the church, the priests, the senate; the Heruli
mangle all in a general massacre: there is no pity for age, no
refuge for chastity. Among themselves there is the same
ferocity: the sick and the aged are put to death. at their own
request, during a solemn festival; the widow ends her days by
hanging herself upon the tree which shadows her husband's tomb.
All these circumstances, so striking to a mind familiar with
Scandinavian history, lead us to discover among the Heruli not so
much a nation as a confederacy of princes and nobles, bound by an
oath to live and die together with their arms in their hands.
Their name, sometimes written Heruli or Eruli. sometimes Aeruli,
signified, according to an ancient author, (Isid. Hispal. in
gloss. p. 24, ad calc. Lex. Philolog. Martini, ll,) nobles, and
appears to correspond better with the Scandinavian word iarl or
earl, than with any of those numerous derivations proposed by
etymologists." Malte- Brun, vol. i. p. 400, (edit. 1831.) Of all
the Barbarians who threw themselves on the ruins of the Roman
empire, it is most difficult to trace the origin of the Heruli.
They seem never to have been very powerful as a nation, and
branches of them are found in countries very remote from each
other. In my opinion they belong to the Gothic race, and have a
close affinity with the Scyrri or Hirri. They were, possibly, a
division of that nation. They are often mingled and confounded
with the Alani. Though brave and formidable. they were never
numerous. nor did they found any state. - St. Martin, vol. vi. p.
375. - M. Schafarck considers them descendants of the Hirri. of
which Heruli is a diminutive, - Slawische Alter thinner - M.

[Footnote 38: Variarum, iv. 2. The spirit and forms of this
martial institution are noticed by Cassiodorus; but he seems to
have only translated the sentiments of the Gothic king into the
language of Roman eloquence.]
[Footnote 39: Cassiodorus, who quotes Tacitus to the Aestians,
the unlettered savages of the Baltic, (Var. v. 2,) describes the
amber for which their shores have ever been famous, as the gum of
a tree, hardened by the sun, and purified and wafted by the
waves. When that singular substance is analyzed by the chemists,
it yields a vegetable oil and a mineral acid.]

[Footnote 40: Scanzia, or Thule, is described by Jornandes (c. 3,
p. 610 - 613) and Procopius, (Goth. l. ii. c. 15.) Neither the
Goth nor the Greek had visited the country: both had conversed
with the natives in their exile at Ravenna or Constantinople.]

[Footnote 41: Sapherinas pelles. In the time of Jornandes they
inhabited Suethans, the proper Sweden; but that beautiful race of
animals has gradually been driven into the eastern parts of
Siberia. See Buffon, (Hist. Nat. tom. xiii. p. 309 - 313, quarto
edition;) Pennant, (System of Quadrupeds, vol. i. p. 322 - 328;)
Gmelin, (Hist. Gen des. Voyages, tom. xviii. p. 257, 258;) and
Levesque, (Hist. de Russie, tom. v. p. 165, 166, 514, 515.)]
[Footnote 42: In the system or romance of Mr. Bailly, (Lettres
sur les Sciences et sur l'Atlantide, tom. i. p. 249 - 256, tom.
ii. p. 114 - 139,) the phoenix of the Edda, and the annual death
and revival of Adonis and Osiris, are the allegorical symbols of
the absence and return of the sun in the Arctic regions. This
ingenious writer is a worthy disciple of the great Buffon; nor is
it easy for the coldest reason to withstand the magic of their
[Footnote 43: Says Procopius. At present a rude Manicheism
(generous enough) prevails among the Samoyedes in Greenland and
in Lapland, (Hist. des Voyages, tom. xviii. p. 508, 509, tom.
xix. p. 105, 106, 527, 528;) yet, according to Orotius Samojutae
coelum atque astra adorant, numina haud aliis iniquiora, (de
Rebus Belgicis, l. iv. p. 338, folio edition) a sentence which
Tacitus would not have disowned.]

The life of Theodoric represents the rare and meritorious
example of a Barbarian, who sheathed his sword in the pride of
victory and the vigor of his age. A reign of three and thirty
years was consecrated to the duties of civil government, and the
hostilities, in which he was sometimes involved, were speedily
terminated by the conduct of his lieutenants, the discipline of
his troops, the arms of his allies, and even by the terror of his
name. He reduced, under a strong and regular government, the
unprofitable countries of Rhaetia, Noricum, Dalmatia, and
Pannonia, from the source of the Danube and the territory of the
Bavarians, ^44 to the petty kingdom erected by the Gepidae on the
ruins of Sirmium. His prudence could not safely intrust the
bulwark of Italy to such feeble and turbulent neighbors; and his
justice might claim the lands which they oppressed, either as a
part of his kingdom, or as the inheritance of his father. The
greatness of a servant, who was named perfidious because he was
successful, awakened the jealousy of the emperor Anastasius; and
a war was kindled on the Dacian frontier, by the protection which
the Gothic king, in the vicissitude of human affairs, had granted
to one of the descendants of Attila. Sabinian, a general
illustrious by his own and father's merit, advanced at the head
of ten thousand Romans; and the provisions and arms, which filled
a long train of wagons, were distributed to the fiercest of the
Bulgarian tribes. But in the fields of Margus, the eastern
powers were defeated by the inferior forces of the Goths and
Huns; the flower and even the hope of the Roman armies was
irretrievably destroyed; and such was the temperance with which
Theodoric had inspired his victorious troops, that, as their
leader had not given the signal of pillage, the rich spoils of
the enemy lay untouched at their feet. ^45 Exasperated by this
disgrace, the Byzantine court despatched two hundred ships and
eight thousand men to plunder the sea-coast of Calabria and
Apulia: they assaulted the ancient city of Tarentum, interrupted
the trade and agriculture of a happy country, and sailed back to
the Hellespont, proud of their piratical victory over a people
whom they still presumed to consider as their Roman brethren. ^46
Their retreat was possibly hastened by the activity of Theodoric;
Italy was covered by a fleet of a thousand light vessels, ^47
which he constructed with incredible despatch; and his firm
moderation was soon rewarded by a solid and honorable peace. He
maintained, with a powerful hand, the balance of the West, till
it was at length overthrown by the ambition of Clovis; and
although unable to assist his rash and unfortunate kinsman, the
king of the Visigoths, he saved the remains of his family and
people, and checked the Franks in the midst of their victorious
career. I am not desirous to prolong or repeat ^48 this
narrative of military events, the least interesting of the reign
of Theodoric; and shall be content to add, that the Alemanni were
protected, ^49 that an inroad of the Burgundians was severely
chastised, and that the conquest of Arles and Marseilles opened a
free communication with the Visigoths, who revered him as their
national protector, and as the guardian of his grandchild, the
infant son of Alaric. Under this respectable character, the king
of Italy restored the praetorian praefecture of the Gauls,
reformed some abuses in the civil government of Spain, and
accepted the annual tribute and apparent submission of its
military governor, who wisely refused to trust his person in the
palace of Ravenna. ^50 The Gothic sovereignty was established
from Sicily to the Danube, from Sirmium or Belgrade to the
Atlantic Ocean; and the Greeks themselves have acknowledged that
Theodoric reigned over the fairest portion of the Western empire.
[Footnote 44: See the Hist. des Peuples Anciens, &c., tom. ix. p.
255 - 273, 396 - 501. The count de Buat was French minister at
the court of Bavaria: a liberal curiosity prompted his inquiries
into the antiquities of the country, and that curiosity was the
germ of twelve respectable volumes.]
[Footnote 45: See the Gothic transactions on the Danube and the
Illyricum, in Jornandes, (c. 58, p. 699;) Ennodius, (p. 1607 -
1610;) Marcellmus (in Chron. p. 44, 47, 48;) and Cassiodorus, in
(in Chron and Var. iii. 29 50, iv. 13, vii. 4 24, viii. 9, 10,
11, 21, ix. 8, 9.)]

[Footnote 46: I cannot forbear transcribing the liberal and
classic style of Count Marcellinus: Romanus comes domesticorum,
et Rusticus comes scholariorum cum centum armatis navibus,
totidemque dromonibus, octo millia militum armatorum secum
ferentibus, ad devastanda Italiae littora processerunt, ut usque
ad Tarentum antiquissimam civitatem aggressi sunt; remensoque
mari in honestam victoriam quam piratico ausu Romani ex Romanis
rapuerunt, Anastasio Caesari reportarunt, (in Chron. p. 48.) See
Variar. i. 16, ii. 38.]
[Footnote 47: See the royal orders and instructions, (Var. iv.
15, v. 16 - 20.) These armed boats should be still smaller than
the thousand vessels of Agamemnon at the siege of Troy. (Manso,
p. 121.)]

[Footnote 48: Vol. iii. p. 581 - 585.]

[Footnote 49: Ennodius (p. 1610) and Cassiodorus, in the royal
name, (Var. ii 41,) record his salutary protection of the

[Footnote 50: The Gothic transactions in Gaul and Spain are
represented with some perplexity in Cassiodorus, (Var. iii. 32,
38, 41, 43, 44, v. 39.) Jornandes, (c. 58, p. 698, 699,) and
Procopius, (Goth. l. i. c. 12.) I will neither hear nor reconcile
the long and contradictory arguments of the Abbe Dubos and the
Count de Buat, about the wars of Burgundy.]

[Footnote 51: Theophanes, p. 113.]

The union of the Goths and Romans might have fixed for ages
the transient happiness of Italy; and the first of nations, a new
people of free subjects and enlightened soldiers, might have
gradually arisen from the mutual emulation of their respective
virtues. But the sublime merit of guiding or seconding such a
revolution was not reserved for the reign of Theodoric: he wanted
either the genius or the opportunities of a legislator; ^52 and
while he indulged the Goths in the enjoyment of rude liberty, he
servilely copied the institutions, and even the abuses, of the
political system which had been framed by Constantine and his
successors. From a tender regard to the expiring prejudices of
Rome, the Barbarian declined the name, the purple, and the
diadem, of the emperors; but he assumed, under the hereditary
title of king, the whole substance and plenitude of Imperial
prerogative. ^53 His addresses to the eastern throne were
respectful and ambiguous: he celebrated, in pompous style, the
harmony of the two republics, applauded his own government as the
perfect similitude of a sole and undivided empire, and claimed
above the kings of the earth the same preeminence which he
modestly allowed to the person or rank of Anastasius. The
alliance of the East and West was annually declared by the
unanimous choice of two consuls; but it should seem that the
Italian candidate who was named by Theodoric accepted a formal
confirmation from the sovereign of Constantinople. ^54 The Gothic
palace of Ravenna reflected the image of the court of Theodosius
or Valentinian. The Praetorian praefect, the praefect of Rome,
the quaestor, the master of the offices, with the public and
patrimonial treasurers, ^* whose functions are painted in gaudy
colors by the rhetoric of Cassiodorus, still continued to act as
the ministers of state. And the subordinate care of justice and
the revenue was delegated to seven consulars, three correctors,
and five presidents, who governed the fifteen regions of Italy
according to the principles, and even the forms, of Roman
jurisprudence. ^55 The violence of the conquerors was abated or
eluded by the slow artifice of judicial proceedings; the civil
administration, with its honors and emoluments, was confined to
the Italians; and the people still preserved their dress and
language, their laws and customs, their personal freedom, and two
thirds of their landed property. ^! It had been the object of
Augustus to conceal the introduction of monarchy; it was the
policy of Theodoric to disguise the reign of a Barbarian. ^56 If
his subjects were sometimes awakened from this pleasing vision of
a Roman government, they derived more substantial comfort from
the character of a Gothic prince, who had penetration to discern,
and firmness to pursue, his own and the public interest.
Theodoric loved the virtues which he possessed, and the talents
of which he was destitute. Liberius was promoted to the office
of Praetorian praefect for his unshaken fidelity to the
unfortunate cause of Odoacer. The ministers of Theodoric,
Cassiodorus, ^57 and Boethius, have reflected on his reign the
lustre of their genius and learning. More prudent or more
fortunate than his colleague, Cassiodorus preserved his own
esteem without forfeiting the royal favor; and after passing
thirty years in the honors of the world, he was blessed with an
equal term of repose in the devout and studious solitude of
Squillace. ^*

[Footnote 52: Procopius affirms that no laws whatsoever were
promulgated by Theodoric and the succeeding kings of Italy,
(Goth. l. ii. c. 6.) He must mean in the Gothic language. A
Latin edict of Theodoric is still extant, in one hundred and
fifty-four articles.

Note: See Manso, 92. Savigny, vol. ii. p. 164, et seq. - M.]

[Footnote 53: The image of Theodoric is engraved on his coins:
his modest successors were satisfied with adding their own name
to the head of the reigning emperor, (Muratori, Antiquitat.
Italiae Medii Aevi, tom. ii. dissert. xxvii. p. 577 - 579.
Giannone, Istoria Civile di Napoli tom. i. p. 166.)]
[Footnote 54: The alliance of the emperor and the king of Italy
are represented by Cassiodorus (Var. i. l, ii. 1, 2, 3, vi. l)
and Procopius, (Goth. l. ii. c. 6, l. iii. c. 21,) who celebrate
the friendship of Anastasius and Theodoric; but the figurative
style of compliment was interpreted in a very different sense at
Constantinople and Ravenna.]

[Footnote *: All causes between Roman and Roman were judged by
the old Roman courts. The comes Gothorum judged between Goth and
Goth; between Goths and Romans, (without considering which was
the plaintiff.) the comes Gothorum, with a Roman jurist as his
assessor, making a kind of mixed jurisdiction, but with a natural
predominance to the side of the Goth Savigny, vol. i. p. 290. -

[Footnote 55: To the xvii. provinces of the Notitia, Paul
Warnefrid the deacon (De Reb. Longobard. l. ii. c. 14 - 22) has
subjoined an xviiith, the Apennine, (Muratori, Script. Rerum
Italicarum, tom. i. p. 431 - 443.) But of these Sardinia and
Corsica were possessed by the Vandals, and the two Rhaetias, as
well as the Cottian Alps, seem to have been abandoned to a
military government. The state of the four provinces that now
form the kingdom of Naples is labored by Giannone (tom. i. p.
172, 178) with patriotic diligence.]
[Footnote !: Manso enumerates and develops at some length the
following sources of the royal revenue of Theodoric: 1. A domain,
either by succession to that of Odoacer, or a part of the third
of the lands was reserved for the royal patrimony. 1. Regalia,
including mines, unclaimed estates, treasure-trove, and
confiscations. 3. Land tax. 4. Aurarium, like the Chrysargyrum,
a tax on certain branches of trade. 5. Grant of Monopolies. 6.
Siliquaticum, a small tax on the sale of all kinds of
commodities. 7. Portoria, customs Manso, 96, 111. Savigny (i.
285) supposes that in many cases the property remained in the
original owner, who paid his tertia, a third of the produce to
the crown, vol. i. p. 285. - M.]

[Footnote 56: See the Gothic history of Procopius, (l. i. c. 1,
l. ii. c. 6,) the Epistles of Cassiodorus, (passim, but
especially the vth and vith books, which contain the formulae, or
patents of offices,) and the Civil History of Giannone, (tom. i.
l. ii. iii.) The Gothic counts, which he places in every Italian
city, are annihilated, however, by Maffei, (Verona Illustrata, P.
i. l. viii. p. 227; for those of Syracuse and Naples (Var vi. 22,
23) were special and temporary commissions.]

[Footnote 57: Two Italians of the name of Cassiodorus, the father
(Var. i. 24, 40) and the son, (ix. 24, 25,) were successively
employed in the administration of Theodoric. The son was born in
the year 479: his various epistles as quaestor, master of the
offices, and Praetorian praefect, extend from 509 to 539, and he
lived as a monk about thirty years, (Tiraboschi Storia della
Letteratura Italiana, tom. iii. p. 7 - 24. Fabricius, Bibliot.
Lat. Med. Aevi, tom. i. p. 357, 358, edit. Mansi.)]

[Footnote *: Cassiodorus was of an ancient and honorable family;
his grandfather had distinguished himself in the defence of
Sicily against the ravages of Genseric; his father held a high
rank at the court of Valentinian III., enjoyed the friendship of
Aetius, and was one of the ambassadors sent to arrest the
progress of Attila. Cassiodorus himself was first the treasurer
of the private expenditure to Odoacer, afterwards "count of the
sacred largesses." Yielding with the rest of the Romans to the
dominion of Theodoric, he was instrumental in the peaceable
submission of Sicily; was successively governor of his native
provinces of Bruttium and Lucania, quaestor, magister, palatii,
Praetorian praefect, patrician, consul, and private secretary,
and, in fact, first minister of the king. He was five times
Praetorian praefect under different sovereigns, the last time in
the reign of Vitiges. This is the theory of Manso, which is not
unencumbered with difficulties. M. Buat had supposed that it was
the father of Cassiodorus who held the office first named.
Compare Manso, p. 85, &c., and Beylage, vii. It certainly
appears improbable that Cassiodorus should have been count of the
sacred largesses at twenty years old. - M.]

As the patron of the republic, it was the interest and duty
of the Gothic king to cultivate the affections of the senate ^58
and people. The nobles of Rome were flattered by sonorous
epithets and formal professions of respect, which had been more
justly applied to the merit and authority of their ancestors.
The people enjoyed, without fear or danger, the three blessings
of a capital, order, plenty, and public amusements. A visible
diminution of their numbers may be found even in the measure of
liberality; ^59 yet Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily, poured their
tribute of corn into the granaries of Rome an allowance of bread
and meat was distributed to the indigent citizens; and every
office was deemed honorable which was consecrated to the care of
their health and happiness. The public games, such as the Greek
ambassador might politely applaud, exhibited a faint and feeble
copy of the magnificence of the Caesars: yet the musical, the
gymnastic, and the pantomime arts, had not totally sunk in
oblivion; the wild beasts of Africa still exercised in the
amphitheatre the courage and dexterity of the hunters; and the
indulgent Goth either patiently tolerated or gently restrained
the blue and green factions, whose contests so often filled the
circus with clamor and even with blood. ^60 In the seventh year
of his peaceful reign, Theodoric visited the old capital of the
world; the senate and people advanced in solemn procession to
salute a second Trajan, a new Valentinian; and he nobly supported
that character by the assurance of a just and legal government,
^61 in a discourse which he was not afraid to pronounce in
public, and to inscribe on a tablet of brass. Rome, in this
august ceremony, shot a last ray of declining glory; and a saint,
the spectator of this pompous scene, could only hope, in his
pious fancy, that it was excelled by the celestial splendor of
the new Jerusalem. ^62 During a residence of six months, the
fame, the person, and the courteous demeanor of the Gothic king,
excited the admiration of the Romans, and he contemplated, with
equal curiosity and surprise, the monuments that remained of
their ancient greatness. He imprinted the footsteps of a
conqueror on the Capitoline hill, and frankly confessed that each
day he viewed with fresh wonder the forum of Trajan and his lofty
column. The theatre of Pompey appeared, even in its decay, as a
huge mountain artificially hollowed, and polished, and adorned by
human industry; and he vaguely computed, that a river of gold
must have been drained to erect the colossal amphitheatre of
Titus. ^63 From the mouths of fourteen aqueducts, a pure and
copious stream was diffused into every part of the city; among
these the Claudian water, which arose at the distance of
thirty-eight miles in the Sabine mountains, was conveyed along a
gentle though constant declivity of solid arches, till it
descended on the summit of the Aventine hill. The long and
spacious vaults which had been constructed for the purpose of
common sewers, subsisted, after twelve centuries, in their
pristine strength; and these subterraneous channels have been
preferred to all the visible wonders of Rome. ^64 The Gothic
kings, so injuriously accused of the ruin of antiquity, were
anxious to preserve the monuments of the nation whom they had
subdued. ^65 The royal edicts were framed to prevent the abuses,
the neglect, or the depredations of the citizens themselves; and
a professed architect, the annual sum of two hundred pounds of
gold, twenty-five thousand tiles, and the receipt of customs from
the Lucrine port, were assigned for the ordinary repairs of the
walls and public edifices. A similar care was extended to the
statues of metal or marble of men or animals. The spirit of the
horses, which have given a modern name to the Quirinal, was
applauded by the Barbarians; ^66 the brazen elephants of the Via
sacra were diligently restored; ^67 the famous heifer of Myron
deceived the cattle, as they were driven through the forum of
peace; ^68 and an officer was created to protect those works of
rat, which Theodoric considered as the noblest ornament of his

[Footnote 58: See his regard for the senate in Cochlaeus, (Vit.
Theod. viii. p. 72 - 80.)]

[Footnote 59: No more than 120,000 modii, or four thousand
quarters, (Anonym. Valesian. p. 721, and Var. i. 35, vi. 18, xi.
5, 39.)]

[Footnote 60: See his regard and indulgence for the spectacles of
the circus, the amphitheatre, and the theatre, in the Chronicle
and Epistles of Cassiodorus, (Var. i. 20, 27, 30, 31, 32, iii.
51, iv. 51, illustrated by the xivth Annotation of Mascou's
History), who has contrived to sprinkle the subject with
ostentatious, though agreeable, learning.]

[Footnote 61: Anonym. Vales. p. 721. Marius Aventicensis in
Chron. In the scale of public and personal merit, the Gothic
conqueror is at least as much above Valentinian, as he may seem
inferior to Trajan.]

[Footnote 62: Vit. Fulgentii in Baron. Annal. Eccles. A.D. 500,
No. 10.]
[Footnote 63: Cassiodorus describes in his pompous style the
Forum of Trajan (Var. vii. 6,) the theatre of Marcellus, (iv.
51,) and the amphitheatre of Titus, (v. 42;) and his descriptions
are not unworthy of the reader's perusal. According to the modern
prices, the Abbe Barthelemy computes that the brick work and
masonry of the Coliseum would now cost twenty millions of French
livres, (Mem. de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxviii. p.
585, 586.) How small a part of that stupendous fabric!]

[Footnote 64: For the aqueducts and cloacae, see Strabo, (l. v.
p. 360;) Pliny, (Hist. Natur. xxxvi. 24; Cassiodorus, (Var. iii.
30, 31, vi. 6;) Procopius, (Goth. l. i. c. 19;) and Nardini,
(Roma Antica, p. 514 - 522.) How such works could be executed by
a king of Rome, is yet a problem.
Note: See Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 402. These stupendous works
are among the most striking confirmations of Niebuhr's views of
the early Roman history; at least they appear to justify his
strong sentence - "These works and the building of the Capitol
attest with unquestionable evidence that this Rome of the later
kings was the chief city of a great state." - Page 110 - M.]
[Footnote 65: For the Gothic care of the buildings and statues,
see Cassiodorus (Var. i. 21, 25, ii. 34, iv. 30, vii. 6, 13, 15)
and the Valesian Fragment, (p. 721.)]

[Footnote 66: Var. vii. 15. These horses of Monte Cavallo had
been transported from Alexandria to the baths of Constantine,
(Nardini, p. 188.) Their sculpture is disdained by the Abbe
Dubos, (Reflexions sur la Poesie et sur la Peinture, tom. i.
section 39,) and admired by Winkelman, (Hist. de l'Art, tom. ii.
p. 159.)]

[Footnote 67: Var. x. 10. They were probably a fragment of some
triumphal car, (Cuper de Elephantis, ii. 10.)]

[Footnote 68: Procopius (Goth. l. iv. c. 21) relates a foolish
story of Myron's cow, which is celebrated by the false with of
thirty-six Greek epigrams, Antholog. l. iv. p. 302 - 306, edit.
Hen. Steph.; Auson. Epigram. xiii. - lxviii.)]

Chapter XXXIX: Gothic Kingdom Of Italy.

Part III.

After the example of the last emperors, Theodoric preferred
the residence of Ravenna, where he cultivated an orchard with his
own hands. ^69 As often as the peace of his kingdom was
threatened (for it was never invaded) by the Barbarians, he
removed his court to Verona ^70 on the northern frontier, and the
image of his palace, still extant on a coin, represents the
oldest and most authentic model of Gothic architecture. These
two capitals, as well as Pavia, Spoleto, Naples, and the rest of
the Italian cities, acquired under his reign the useful or
splendid decorations of churches, aqueducts, baths, porticos, and
palaces. ^71 But the happiness of the subject was more truly
conspicuous in the busy scene of labor and luxury, in the rapid
increase and bold enjoyment of national wealth. From the shades
of Tibur and Praeneste, the Roman senators still retired in the
winter season to the warm sun, and salubrious springs of Baiae;
and their villas, which advanced on solid moles into the Bay of
Naples, commanded the various prospect of the sky, the earth, and
the water. On the eastern side of the Adriatic, a new Campania
was formed in the fair and fruitful province of Istria, which
communicated with the palace of Ravenna by an easy navigation of
one hundred miles. The rich productions of Lucania and the
adjacent provinces were exchanged at the Marcilian fountain, in a
populous fair annually dedicated to trade, intemperance, and
superstition. In the solitude of Comum, which had once been
animated by the mild genius of Pliny, a transparent basin above
sixty miles in length still reflected the rural seats which
encompassed the margin of the Larian lake; and the gradual ascent
of the hills was covered by a triple plantation of olives, of
vines, and of chestnut trees. ^72 Agriculture revived under the
shadow of peace, and the number of husbandmen was multiplied by
the redemption of captives. ^73 The iron mines of Dalmatia, a
gold mine in Bruttium, were carefully explored, and the Pomptine
marshes, as well as those of Spoleto, were drained and cultivated
by private undertakers, whose distant reward must depend on the
continuance of the public prosperity. ^74 Whenever the seasons
were less propitious, the doubtful precautions of forming
magazines of corn, fixing the price, and prohibiting the
exportation, attested at least the benevolence of the state; but
such was the extraordinary plenty which an industrious people
produced from a grateful soil, that a gallon of wine was
sometimes sold in Italy for less than three farthings, and a
quarter of wheat at about five shillings and sixpence. ^75 A
country possessed of so many valuable objects of exchange soon
attracted the merchants of the world, whose beneficial traffic
was encouraged and protected by the liberal spirit of Theodoric.
The free intercourse of the provinces by land and water was
restored and extended; the city gates were never shut either by
day or by night; and the common saying, that a purse of gold
might be safely left in the fields, was expressive of the
conscious security of the inhabitants.
[Footnote 69: See an epigram of Ennodius (ii. 3, p. 1893, 1894)
on this garden and the royal gardener.]

[Footnote 70: His affection for that city is proved by the
epithet of "Verona tua,' and the legend of the hero; under the
barbarous name of Dietrich of Bern, (Peringsciold and Cochloeum,
p. 240,) Maffei traces him with knowledge and pleasure in his
native country, (l. ix. p. 230 - 236.)]
[Footnote 71: See Maffei, (Verona Illustrata, Part i. p. 231,
232, 308, &c.) His amputes Gothic architecture, like the
corruption of language, writing &c., not to the Barbarians, but
to the Italians themselves. Compare his sentiments with those of
Tiraboschi, (tom. iii. p. 61.)

Note: Mr. Hallam (vol. iii. p. 432) observes that "the image
of Theodoric's palace" is represented in Maffei, not from a coin,
but from a seal. Compare D'Agincourt (Storia dell'arte, Italian
Transl., Arcitecttura, Plate xvii. No. 2, and Pittura, Plate
xvi. No. 15,) where there is likewise an engraving from a mosaic
in the church of St. Apollinaris in Ravenna, representing a
building ascribed to Theodoric in that city. Neither of these,
as Mr. Hallam justly observes, in the least approximates to what
is called the Gothic style. They are evidently the degenerate
Roman architecture, and more resemble the early attempts of our
architects to get back from our national Gothic into a classical
Greek style. One of them calls to mind Inigo Jones inner
quadrangle in St. John's College Oxford. Compare Hallam and
D'Agincon vol. i. p. 140 - 145. - M]

[Footnote 72: The villas, climate, and landscape of Baiae, (Var.
ix. 6; see Cluver Italia Antiq. l. iv. c. 2, p. 1119, &c.,)
Istria, (Var. xii. 22, 26,) and Comum, (Var. xi. 14; compare with
Pliny's two villas, ix. 7,) are agreeably painted in the Epistles
of Cassiodorus.]

[Footnote 73: In Liguria numerosa agricolarum progenies,
(Ennodius, p. 1678, 1679, 1680.) St. Epiphanius of Pavia redeemed
by prayer or ransom 6000 captives from the Burgundians of Lyons
and Savoy. Such deeds are the best of miracles.]

[Footnote 74: The political economy of Theodoric (see Anonym.
Vales. p. 721, and Cassiodorus, in Chron.) may be distinctly
traced under the following heads: iron mine, (Var. iii. 23;) gold
mine, (ix. 3;) Pomptine marshes, (ii. 32, 33;) Spoleto, (ii. 21;)
corn, (i. 34, x. 27, 28, xi. 11, 12;) trade, (vi. 7, vii. 9, 23;)
fair of Leucothoe or St. Cyprian in Lucania, (viii. 33;) plenty,
(xii. 4;) the cursus, or public post, (i. 29, ii. 31, iv. 47, v.
5, vi 6, vii. 33;) the Flaminian way, (xii. 18.)

Note: The inscription commemorative of the draining of the
Pomptine marshes may be found in many works; in Gruter, Inscript.
Ant. Heidelberg, p. 152, No. 8. With variations, in Nicolai De'
bonificamenti delle terre Pontine, p. 103. In Sartorius, in his
prize essay on the reign of Theodoric, and Manse Beylage, xi. -

[Footnote 75: LX modii tritici in solidum ipsius tempore fuerunt,
et vinum xxx amphoras in solidum, (Fragment. Vales.) Corn was
distributed from the granaries at xv or xxv modii for a piece of
gold, and the price was still moderate.]

A difference of religion is always pernicious, and often
fatal, to the harmony of the prince and people: the Gothic
conqueror had been educated in the profession of Arianism, and
Italy was devoutly attached to the Nicene faith. But the
persuasion of Theodoric was not infected by zeal; and he piously
adhered to the heresy of his fathers, without condescending to
balance the subtile arguments of theological metaphysics.
Satisfied with the private toleration of his Arian sectaries, he
justly conceived himself to be the guardian of the public
worship, and his external reverence for a superstition which he
despised, may have nourished in his mind the salutary
indifference of a statesman or philosopher. The Catholics of his
dominions acknowledged, perhaps with reluctance, the peace of the
church; their clergy, according to the degrees of rank or merit,
were honorably entertained in the palace of Theodoric; he
esteemed the living sanctity of Caesarius ^76 and Epiphanius, ^77
the orthodox bishops of Arles and Pavia; and presented a decent
offering on the tomb of St. Peter, without any scrupulous inquiry
into the creed of the apostle. ^78 His favorite Goths, and even
his mother, were permitted to retain or embrace the Athanasian
faith, and his long reign could not afford the example of an
Italian Catholic, who, either from choice or compulsion, had
deviated into the religion of the conqueror. ^79 The people, and
the Barbarians themselves, were edified by the pomp and order of
religious worship; the magistrates were instructed to defend the
just immunities of ecclesiastical persons and possessions; the
bishops held their synods, the metropolitans exercised their
jurisdiction, and the privileges of sanctuary were maintained or
moderated according to the spirit of the Roman jurisprudence. ^80
With the protection, Theodoric assumed the legal supremacy, of
the church; and his firm administration restored or extended some
useful prerogatives which had been neglected by the feeble
emperors of the West. He was not ignorant of the dignity and
importance of the Roman pontiff, to whom the venerable name of
Pope was now appropriated. The peace or the revolt of Italy
might depend on the character of a wealthy and popular bishop,
who claimed such ample dominion both in heaven and earth; who had
been declared in a numerous synod to be pure from all sin, and
exempt from all judgment. ^81 When the chair of St. Peter was
disputed by Symmachus and Laurence, they appeared at his summons
before the tribunal of an Arian monarch, and he confirmed the
election of the most worthy or the most obsequious candidate. At
the end of his life, in a moment of jealousy and resentment, he
prevented the choice of the Romans, by nominating a pope in the
palace of Ravenna. The danger and furious contests of a schism
were mildly restrained, and the last decree of the senate was
enacted to extinguish, if it were possible, the scandalous
venality of the papal elections. ^82

[Footnote 76: See the life of St. Caesarius in Baronius, (A.D.
508, No. 12, 13, 14.) The king presented him with 300 gold
solidi, and a discus of silver of the weight of sixty pounds.]

[Footnote 77: Ennodius in Vit. St. Epiphanii, in Sirmond, Op.
tom. i. p. 1672 - 1690. Theodoric bestowed some important favors
on this bishop, whom he used as a counsellor in peace and war.]

[Footnote 78: Devotissimus ac si Catholicus, (Anonym. Vales. p.
720;) yet his offering was no more than two silver candlesticks
(cerostrata) of the weight of seventy pounds, far inferior to the
gold and gems of Constantinople and France, (Anastasius in Vit.
Pont. in Hormisda, p. 34, edit. Paris.)]
[Footnote 79: The tolerating system of his reign (Ennodius, p.
1612. Anonym. Vales. p. 719. Procop. Goth. l. i. c. 1, l. ii.
c. 6) may be studied in the Epistles of Cassiodorous, under the
following heads: bishops, (Var. i. 9, vii. 15, 24, xi. 23;)
immunities, (i. 26, ii. 29, 30;) church lands (iv. 17, 20;)
sanctuaries, (ii. 11, iii. 47;) church plate, (xii. 20;)
discipline, (iv. 44;) which prove, at the same time, that he was
the head of the church as well as of the state.

Note: He recommended the same toleration to the emperor
Justin. - M.]
[Footnote 80: We may reject a foolish tale of his beheading a
Catholic deacon who turned Arian, (Theodor. Lector. No. 17.) Why
is Theodoric surnamed After? From Vafer? (Vales. ad loc.) A
light conjecture.]

[Footnote 81: Ennodius, p. 1621, 1622, 1636, 1638. His libel was
approved and registered (synodaliter) by a Roman council,
(Baronius, A.D. 503, No. 6, Franciscus Pagi in Breviar. Pont.
Rom. tom. i. p. 242.)]

[Footnote 82: See Cassiodorus, (Var. viii. 15, ix. 15, 16,)
Anastasius, (in Symmacho, p. 31,) and the xviith Annotation of
Mascou. Baronius, Pagi, and most of the Catholic doctors,
confess, with an angry growl, this Gothic usurpation.]

I have descanted with pleasure on the fortunate condition of
Italy; but our fancy must not hastily conceive that the golden
age of the poets, a race of men without vice or misery, was
realized under the Gothic conquest. The fair prospect was
sometimes overcast with clouds; the wisdom of Theodoric might be
deceived, his power might be resisted and the declining age of
the monarch was sullied with popular hatred and patrician blood.
In the first insolence of victory, he had been tempted to deprive
the whole party of Odoacer of the civil and even the natural
rights of society; ^83 a tax unseasonably imposed after the
calamities of war, would have crushed the rising agriculture of
Liguria; a rigid preemption of corn, which was intended for the
public relief, must have aggravated the distress of Campania.
These dangerous projects were defeated by the virtue and
eloquence of Epiphanius and Boethius, who, in the presence of
Theodoric himself, successfully pleaded the cause of the people:
^84 but if the royal ear was open to the voice of truth, a saint
and a philosopher are not always to be found at the ear of kings.

The privileges of rank, or office, or favor, were too frequently
abused by Italian fraud and Gothic violence, and the avarice of
the king's nephew was publicly exposed, at first by the
usurpation, and afterwards by the restitution of the estates
which he had unjustly extorted from his Tuscan neighbors. Two
hundred thousand Barbarians, formidable even to their master,
were seated in the heart of Italy; they indignantly supported the
restraints of peace and discipline; the disorders of their march
were always felt and sometimes compensated; and where it was
dangerous to punish, it might be prudent to dissemble, the
sallies of their native fierceness. When the indulgence of
Theodoric had remitted two thirds of the Ligurian tribute, he
condescended to explain the difficulties of his situation, and to
lament the heavy though inevitable burdens which he imposed on
his subjects for their own defence. ^85 These ungrateful subjects
could never be cordially reconciled to the origin, the religion,
or even the virtues of the Gothic conqueror; past calamities were
forgotten, and the sense or suspicion of injuries was rendered
still more exquisite by the present felicity of the times.

[Footnote 83: He disabled them - alicentia testandi; and all
Italy mourned - lamentabili justitio. I wish to believe, that
these penalties were enacted against the rebels who had violated
their oath of allegiance; but the testimony of Ennodius (p. 1675
- 1678) is the more weighty, as he lived and died under the reign
of Theodoric.]

[Footnote 84: Ennodius, in Vit. Epiphan. p. 1589, 1690. Boethius
de Consolatione Philosphiae, l. i. pros. iv. p. 45, 46, 47.
Respect, but weigh the passions of the saint and the senator; and
fortify and alleviate their complaints by the various hints of
Cassiodorus, (ii. 8, iv. 36, viii. 5.)]
[Footnote 85: Immanium expensarum pondus ipsorum salute,
&c.; yet these are no more than words.]

Even the religious toleration which Theodoric had the glory
of introducing into the Christian world, was painful and
offensive to the orthodox zeal of the Italians. They respected
the armed heresy of the Goths; but their pious rage was safely
pointed against the rich and defenceless Jews, who had formed
their establishments at Naples, Rome, Ravenna, Milan, and Genoa,
for the benefit of trade, and under the sanction of the laws. ^86
Their persons were insulted, their effects were pillaged, and
their synagogues were burned by the mad populace of Ravenna and
Rome, inflamed, as it should seem, by the most frivolous or
extravagant pretences. The government which could neglect, would
have deserved such an outrage. A legal inquiry was instantly
directed; and as the authors of the tumult had escaped in the
crowd, the whole community was condemned to repair the damage;
and the obstinate bigots, who refused their contributions, were
whipped through the streets by the hand of the executioner. ^*
This simple act of justice exasperated the discontent of the
Catholics, who applauded the merit and patience of these holy
confessors. Three hundred pulpits deplored the persecution of the
church; and if the chapel of St. Stephen at Verona was demolished
by the command of Theodoric, it is probable that some miracle
hostile to his name and dignity had been performed on that sacred
theatre. At the close of a glorious life, the king of Italy
discovered that he had excited the hatred of a people whose
happiness he had so assiduously labored to promote; and his mind
was soured by indignation, jealousy, and the bitterness of
unrequited love. The Gothic conqueror condescended to disarm the
unwarlike natives of Italy, interdicting all weapons of offence,
and excepting only a small knife for domestic use. The deliverer
of Rome was accused of conspiring with the vilest informers
against the lives of senators whom he suspected of a secret and
treasonable correspondence with the Byzantine court. ^87 After
the death of Anastasius, the diadem had been placed on the head
of a feeble old man; but the powers of government were assumed by
his nephew Justinian, who already meditated the extirpation of
heresy, and the conquest of Italy and Africa. A rigorous law,
which was published at Constantinople, to reduce the Arians by
the dread of punishment within the pale of the church, awakened
the just resentment of Theodoric, who claimed for his distressed
brethren of the East the same indulgence which he had so long
granted to the Catholics of his dominions. ^! At his stern
command, the Roman pontiff, with four illustrious senators,
embarked on an embassy, of which he must have alike dreaded the
failure or the success. The singular veneration shown to the
first pope who had visited Constantinople was punished as a crime
by his jealous monarch; the artful or peremptory refusal of the
Byzantine court might excuse an equal, and would provoke a
larger, measure of retaliation; and a mandate was prepared in
Italy, to prohibit, after a stated day, the exercise of the
Catholic worship. By the bigotry of his subjects and enemies,
the most tolerant of princes was driven to the brink of
persecution; and the life of Theodoric was too long, since he
lived to condemn the virtue of Boethius and Symmachus. ^88
[Footnote 86: The Jews were settled at Naples, (Procopius, Goth.
l. i. c. 8,) at Genoa, (Var. ii. 28, iv. 33,) Milan, (v. 37,)
Rome, (iv. 43.) See likewise Basnage, Hist. des Juifs, tom. viii.
c. 7, p. 254.]

[Footnote *: See History of the Jews vol. iii. p. 217. - M.]
[Footnote 87: Rex avidus communis exitii, &c., (Boethius, l. i.
p. 59:) rex colum Romanis tendebat, (Anonym. Vales. p. 723.)
These are hard words: they speak the passions of the Italians and
those (I fear) of Theodoric himself.]
[Footnote !: Gibbon should not have omitted the golden words of
Theodoric in a letter which he addressed to Justin: That to
pretend to a dominion over the conscience is to usurp the
prerogative of God; that by the nature of things the power of
sovereigns is confined to external government; that they have no
right of punishment but over those who disturb the public peace,
of which they are the guardians; that the most dangerous heresy
is that of a sovereign who separates from himself a part of his
subjects because they believe not according to his belief.
Compare Le Beau, vol viii. p. 68. - M]
[Footnote 88: I have labored to extract a rational narrative from
the dark, concise, and various hints of the Valesian Fragment,
(p. 722, 723, 724,) Theophanes, (p. 145,) Anastasius, (in
Johanne, p. 35,) and the Hist Miscella, (p. 103, edit. Muratori.)
A gentle pressure and paraphrase of their words is no violence.
Consult likewise Muratori (Annali d' Italia, tom. iv. p. 471 -
478,) with the Annals and Breviary (tom. i. p. 259 - 263) of the
two Pagis, the uncle and the nephew.]

The senator Boethius ^89 is the last of the Romans whom Cato
or Tully could have acknowledged for their countryman. As a
wealthy orphan, he inherited the patrimony and honors of the
Anician family, a name ambitiously assumed by the kings and
emperors of the age; and the appellation of Manlius asserted his
genuine or fabulous descent from a race of consuls and dictators,
who had repulsed the Gauls from the Capitol, and sacrificed their
sons to the discipline of the republic. In the youth of Boethius
the studies of Rome were not totally abandoned; a Virgil ^90 is
now extant, corrected by the hand of a consul; and the professors
of grammar, rhetoric, and jurisprudence, were maintained in their
privileges and pensions by the liberality of the Goths. But the
erudition of the Latin language was insufficient to satiate his
ardent curiosity: and Boethius is said to have employed eighteen
laborious years in the schools of Athens, ^91 which were
supported by the zeal, the learning, and the diligence of Proclus
and his disciples. The reason and piety of their Roman pupil
were fortunately saved from the contagion of mystery and magic,
which polluted the groves of the academy; but he imbibed the
spirit, and imitated the method, of his dead and living masters,
who attempted to reconcile the strong and subtile sense of
Aristotle with the devout contemplation and sublime fancy of
Plato. After his return to Rome, and his marriage with the
daughter of his friend, the patrician Symmachus, Boethius still
continued, in a palace of ivory and marble, to prosecute the same
studies. ^92 The church was edified by his profound defence of
the orthodox creed against the Arian, the Eutychian, and the
Nestorian heresies; and the Catholic unity was explained or
exposed in a formal treatise by the indifference of three
distinct though consubstantial persons. For the benefit of his
Latin readers, his genius submitted to teach the first elements
of the arts and sciences of Greece. The geometry of Euclid, the
music of Pythagoras, the arithmetic of Nicomachus, the mechanics
of Archimedes, the astronomy of Ptolemy, the theology of Plato,
and the logic of Aristotle, with the commentary of Porphyry, were
translated and illustrated by the indefatigable pen of the Roman
senator. And he alone was esteemed capable of describing the
wonders of art, a sun-dial, a water-clock, or a sphere which
represented the motions of the planets. From these abstruse
speculations, Boethius stooped, or, to speak more truly, he rose
to the social duties of public and private life: the indigent
were relieved by his liberality; and his eloquence, which
flattery might compare to the voice of Demosthenes or Cicero, was
uniformly exerted in the cause of innocence and humanity. Such
conspicuous merit was felt and rewarded by a discerning prince:
the dignity of Boethius was adorned with the titles of consul and
patrician, and his talents were usefully employed in the
important station of master of the offices. Notwithstanding the
equal claims of the East and West, his two sons were created, in
their tender youth, the consuls of the same year. ^93 On the
memorable day of their inauguration, they proceeded in solemn
pomp from their palace to the forum amidst the applause of the
senate and people; and their joyful father, the true consul of
Rome, after pronouncing an oration in the praise of his royal
benefactor, distributed a triumphal largess in the games of the
circus. Prosperous in his fame and fortunes, in his public honors
and private alliances, in the cultivation of science and the
consciousness of virtue, Boethius might have been styled happy,
if that precarious epithet could be safely applied before the
last term of the life of man.

[Footnote 89: Le Clerc has composed a critical and philosophical
life of Anicius Manlius Severinus Boetius, (Bibliot. Choisie,
tom. xvi. p. 168 - 275;) and both Tiraboschi (tom. iii.) and
Fabricius (Bibliot Latin.) may be usefully consulted. The date
of his birth may be placed about the year 470, and his death in
524, in a premature old age, (Consol. Phil. Metrica. i. p. 5.)]

[Footnote 90: For the age and value of this Ms., now in the
Medicean library at Florence, see the Cenotaphia Pisana (p. 430 -
447) of Cardinal Noris.]
[Footnote 91: The Athenian studies of Boethius are doubtful,
(Baronius, A.D. 510, No. 3, from a spurious tract, De Disciplina
Scholarum,) and the term of eighteen years is doubtless too long:
but the simple fact of a visit to Athens is justified by much
internal evidence, (Brucker, Hist. Crit. Philosoph. tom. iii. p.
524 - 527,) and by an expression (though vague and ambiguous) of
his friend Cassiodorus, (Var. i. 45,) "longe positas Athenas
[Footnote 92: Bibliothecae comptos ebore ac vitro ^* parietes,
&c., (Consol. Phil. l. i. pros. v. p. 74.) The Epistles of
Ennodius (vi. 6, vii. 13, viii. 1 31, 37, 40) and Cassiodorus
(Var. i. 39, iv. 6, ix. 21) afford many proofs of the high
reputation which he enjoyed in his own times. It is true, that
the bishop of Pavia wanted to purchase of him an old house at
Milan, and praise might be tendered and accepted in part of

Note: Gibbon translated vitro, marble; under the impression,
no doubt that glass was unknown. - M.]

[Footnote 93: Pagi, Muratori, &c., are agreed that Boethius
himself was consul in the year 510, his two sons in 522, and in
487, perhaps, his father. A desire of ascribing the last of these
consulships to the philosopher had perplexed the chronology of
his life. In his honors, alliances, children, he celebrates his
own felicity - his past felicity, (p. 109 110)]
A philosopher, liberal of his wealth and parsimonious of his
time, might be insensible to the common allurements of ambition,
the thirst of gold and employment. And some credit may be due to
the asseveration of Boethius, that he had reluctantly obeyed the
divine Plato, who enjoins every virtuous citizen to rescue the
state from the usurpation of vice and ignorance. For the
integrity of his public conduct he appeals to the memory of his
country. His authority had restrained the pride and oppression of
the royal officers, and his eloquence had delivered Paulianus
from the dogs of the palace. He had always pitied, and often
relieved, the distress of the provincials, whose fortunes were
exhausted by public and private rapine; and Boethius alone had
courage to oppose the tyranny of the Barbarians, elated by
conquest, excited by avarice, and, as he complains, encouraged by
impunity. In these honorable contests his spirit soared above
the consideration of danger, and perhaps of prudence; and we may
learn from the example of Cato, that a character of pure and
inflexible virtue is the most apt to be misled by prejudice, to
be heated by enthusiasm, and to confound private enmities with
public justice. The disciple of Plato might exaggerate the
infirmities of nature, and the imperfections of society; and the
mildest form of a Gothic kingdom, even the weight of allegiance
and gratitude, must be insupportable to the free spirit of a
Roman patriot. But the favor and fidelity of Boethius declined
in just proportion with the public happiness; and an unworthy
colleague was imposed to divide and control the power of the
master of the offices. In the last gloomy season of Theodoric,
he indignantly felt that he was a slave; but as his master had
only power over his life, he stood without arms and without fear
against the face of an angry Barbarian, who had been provoked to
believe that the safety of the senate was incompatible with his
own. The senator Albinus was accused and already convicted on
the presumption of hoping, as it was said, the liberty of Rome.
"If Albinus be criminal," exclaimed the orator, "the senate and
myself are all guilty of the same crime. If we are innocent,
Albinus is equally entitled to the protection of the laws." These
laws might not have punished the simple and barren wish of an
unattainable blessing; but they would have shown less indulgence
to the rash confession of Boethius, that, had he known of a
conspiracy, the tyrant never should. ^94 The advocate of Albinus
was soon involved in the danger and perhaps the guilt of his
client; their signature (which they denied as a forgery) was
affixed to the original address, inviting the emperor to deliver
Italy from the Goths; and three witnesses of honorable rank,
perhaps of infamous reputation, attested the treasonable designs
of the Roman patrician. ^95 Yet his innocence must be presumed,
since he was deprived by Theodoric of the means of justification,
and rigorously confined in the tower of Pavia, while the senate,
at the distance of five hundred miles, pronounced a sentence of
confiscation and death against the most illustrious of its
members. At the command of the Barbarians, the occult science of
a philosopher was stigmatized with the names of sacrilege and
magic. ^96 A devout and dutiful attachment to the senate was
condemned as criminal by the trembling voices of the senators
themselves; and their ingratitude deserved the wish or prediction
of Boethius, that, after him, none should be found guilty of the
same offence. ^97

[Footnote 94: Si ego scissem tu nescisses. Beothius adopts this
answer (l. i. pros. 4, p. 53) of Julius Canus, whose philosophic
death is described by Seneca, (De Tranquillitate Animi, c. 14.)]

[Footnote 95: The characters of his two delators, Basilius (Var.
ii. 10, 11, iv. 22) and Opilio, (v. 41, viii. 16,) are
illustrated, not much to their honor, in the Epistles of
Cassiodorus, which likewise mention Decoratus, (v. 31,) the
worthless colleague of Beothius, (l. iii. pros. 4, p. 193.)]
[Footnote 96: A severe inquiry was instituted into the crime of
magic, (Var. iv 22, 23, ix. 18;) and it was believed that many
necromancers had escaped by making their jailers mad: for mad I
should read drunk.]

[Footnote 97: Boethius had composed his own Apology, (p. 53,)
perhaps more interesting than his Consolation. We must be
content with the general view of his honors, principles,
persecution, &c., (l. i. pros. 4, p. 42 - 62,) which may be
compared with the short and weighty words of the Valesian
Fragment, (p. 723.) An anonymous writer (Sinner, Catalog. Mss.
Bibliot. Bern. tom. i. p. 287) charges him home with honorable
and patriotic treason.]
While Boethius, oppressed with fetters, expected each moment
the sentence or the stroke of death, he composed, in the tower of
Pavia, the Consolation of Philosophy; a golden volume not
unworthy of the leisure of Plato or Tully, but which claims
incomparable merit from the barbarism of the times and the
situation of the author. The celestial guide, whom he had so
long invoked at Rome and Athens, now condescended to illumine his
dungeon, to revive his courage, and to pour into his wounds her
salutary balm. She taught him to compare his long prosperity and
his recent distress, and to conceive new hopes from the
inconstancy of fortune. Reason had informed him of the
precarious condition of her gifts; experience had satisfied him
of their real value; he had enjoyed them without guilt; he might
resign them without a sigh, and calmly disdain the impotent
malice of his enemies, who had left him happiness, since they had
left him virtue. From the earth, Boethius ascended to heaven in
search of the Supreme Good; explored the metaphysical labyrinth
of chance and destiny, of prescience and free will, of time and
eternity; and generously attempted to reconcile the perfect
attributes of the Deity with the apparent disorders of his moral
and physical government. Such topics of consolation so obvious,
so vague, or so abstruse, are ineffectual to subdue the feelings
of human nature. Yet the sense of misfortune may be diverted by
the labor of thought; and the sage who could artfully combine in
the same work the various riches of philosophy, poetry, and
eloquence, must already have possessed the intrepid calmness
which he affected to seek. Suspense, the worst of evils, was at
length determined by the ministers of death, who executed, and
perhaps exceeded, the inhuman mandate of Theodoric. A strong
cord was fastened round the head of Boethius, and forcibly
tightened, till his eyes almost started from their sockets; and
some mercy may be discovered in the milder torture of beating him
with clubs till he expired. ^98 But his genius survived to
diffuse a ray of knowledge over the darkest ages of the Latin
world; the writings of the philosopher were translated by the
most glorious of the English kings, ^99 and the third emperor of
the name of Otho removed to a more honorable tomb the bones of a
Catholic saint, who, from his Arian persecutors, had acquired the
honors of martyrdom, and the fame of miracles. ^100 In the last
hours of Boethius, he derived some comfort from the safety of his
two sons, of his wife, and of his father-in-law, the venerable
Symmachus. But the grief of Symmachus was indiscreet, and
perhaps disrespectful: he had presumed to lament, he might dare
to revenge, the death of an injured friend. He was dragged in
chains from Rome to the palace of Ravenna; and the suspicions of
Theodoric could only be appeased by the blood of an innocent and
aged senator. ^101

[Footnote 98: He was executed in Agro Calventiano, (Calvenzano,
between Marignano and Pavia,) Anonym. Vales. p. 723, by order of
Eusebius, count of Ticinum or Pavia. This place of confinement
is styled the baptistery, an edifice and name peculiar to
cathedrals. It is claimed by the perpetual tradition of the
church of Pavia. The tower of Boethius subsisted till the year
1584, and the draught is yet preserved, (Tiraboschi, tom. iii. p.
47, 48.)]

[Footnote 99: See the Biographia Britannica, Alfred, tom. i. p.
80, 2d edition. The work is still more honorable if performed
under the learned eye of Alfred by his foreign and domestic
doctors. For the reputation of Boethius in the middle ages,
consult Brucker, (Hist. Crit. Philosoph. tom. iii. p. 565, 566.)]

[Footnote 100: The inscription on his new tomb was composed by
the preceptor of Otho III., the learned Pope Silvester II., who,
like Boethius himself, was styled a magician by the ignorance of
the times. The Catholic martyr had carried his head in his hands
a considerable way, Baronius, A.D. 526, No. 17, 18;) and yet on a
similar tale, a lady of my acquaintance once observed, "La
distance n'y fait rien; il n'y a que lo remier pas qui coute."
Note: Madame du Deffand. This witticism referred to the
miracle of St. Denis. - G.]

[Footnote 101: Boethius applauds the virtues of his
father-in-law, (l. i. pros. 4, p. 59, l. ii. pros. 4, p. 118.)
Procopius, (Goth. l. i. c. i.,) the Valesian Fragment, (p. 724,)
and the Historia Miscella, (l. xv. p. 105,) agree in praising the
superior innocence or sanctity of Symmachus; and in the
estimation of the legend, the guilt of his murder is equal to the
imprisonment of a pope.]

Humanity will be disposed to encourage any report which
testifies the jurisdiction of conscience and the remorse of
kings; and philosophy is not ignorant that the most horrid
spectres are sometimes created by the powers of a disordered
fancy, and the weakness of a distempered body. After a life of
virtue and glory, Theodoric was now descending with shame and
guilt into the grave; his mind was humbled by the contrast of the
past, and justly alarmed by the invisible terrors of futurity.
One evening, as it is related, when the head of a large fish was
served on the royal table, ^102 he suddenly exclaimed, that he
beheld the angry countenance of Symmachus, his eyes glaring fury
and revenge, and his mouth armed with long sharp teeth, which
threatened to devour him. The monarch instantly retired to his
chamber, and, as he lay, trembling with aguish cold, under a
weight of bed-clothes, he expressed, in broken murmurs to his
physician Elpidius, his deep repentance for the murders of
Boethius and Symmachus. ^103 His malady increased, and after a
dysentery which continued three days, he expired in the palace of
Ravenna, in the thirty-third, or, if we compute from the invasion
of Italy, in the thirty-seventh year of his reign. Conscious of
his approaching end, he divided his treasures and provinces
between his two grandsons, and fixed the Rhone as their common
boundary. ^104 Amalaric was restored to the throne of Spain.
Italy, with all the conquests of the Ostrogoths, was bequeathed
to Athalaric; whose age did not exceed ten years, but who was
cherished as the last male offspring of the line of Amali, by the
short-lived marriage of his mother Amalasuntha with a royal
fugitive of the same blood. ^105 In the presence of the dying
monarch, the Gothic chiefs and Italian magistrates mutually
engaged their faith and loyalty to the young prince, and to his
guardian mother; and received, in the same awful moment, his last
salutary advice, to maintain the laws, to love the senate and
people of Rome, and to cultivate with decent reverence the
friendship of the emperor. ^106 The monument of Theodoric was
erected by his daughter Amalasuntha, in a conspicuous situation,
which commanded the city of Ravenna, the harbor, and the adjacent
coast. A chapel of a circular form, thirty feet in diameter, is
crowned by a dome of one entire piece of granite: from the centre
of the dome four columns arose, which supported, in a vase of
porphyry, the remains of the Gothic king, surrounded by the
brazen statues of the twelve apostles. ^107 His spirit, after
some previous expiation, might have been permitted to mingle with
the benefactors of mankind, if an Italian hermit had not been
witness, in a vision, to the damnation of Theodoric, ^108 whose
soul was plunged, by the ministers of divine vengeance, into the
volcano of Lipari, one of the flaming mouths of the infernal
world. ^109

[Footnote 102: In the fanciful eloquence of Cassiodorus, the
variety of sea and river fish are an evidence of extensive
dominion; and those of the Rhine, of Sicily, and of the Danube,
were served on the table of Theodoric, (Var. xii. 14.) The
monstrous turbot of Domitian (Juvenal Satir. iii. 39) had been
caught on the shores of the Adriatic.]

[Footnote 103: Procopius, Goth. l. i. c. 1. But he might have
informed us, whether he had received this curious anecdote from
common report or from the mouth of the royal physician.]

[Footnote 104: Procopius, Goth. l. i. c. 1, 2, 12, 13. This
partition had been directed by Theodoric, though it was not
executed till after his death, Regni hereditatem superstes
reliquit, (Isidor. Chron. p. 721, edit. Grot.)]
[Footnote 105: Berimund, the third in descent from Hermanric,
king of the Ostrogoths, had retired into Spain, where he lived
and died in obscurity, (Jornandes, c. 33, p. 202, edit.
Muratori.) See the discovery, nuptials, and death of his grandson
Eutharic, (c. 58, p. 220.) His Roman games might render him
popular, (Cassiodor. in Chron.,) but Eutharic was asper in
religione, (Anonym. Vales. p. 723.)]

[Footnote 106: See the counsels of Theodoric, and the professions
of his successor, in Procopius, (Goth. l. i. c. 1, 2,) Jornandes,
(c. 59, p. 220, 221,) and Cassiodorus, (Var. viii. 1 - 7.) These
epistles are the triumph of his ministerial eloquence.]

[Footnote 107: Anonym. Vales. p. 724. Agnellus de Vitis. Pont.
Raven. in Muratori Script. Rerum Ital. tom. ii. P. i. p. 67.
Alberti Descrittione d' Italia, p. 311.

Note: The Mausoleum of Theodoric, now Sante Maria della
Rotonda, is engraved in D'Agincourt, Histoire de l'Art, p xviii.
of the Architectural Prints. - M]

[Footnote 108: This legend is related by Gregory I., (Dialog. iv.
36,) and approved by Baronius, (A.D. 526, No. 28;) and both the
pope and cardinal are grave doctors, sufficient to establish a
probable opinion.]
[Footnote 109: Theodoric himself, or rather Cassiodorus, had
described in tragic strains the volcanos of Lipari (Cluver.
Sicilia, p. 406 - 410) and Vesuvius, (v 50.)]

Chapter XL: Reign Of Justinian.

Part I.

Elevation Of Justin The Elder. - Reign Of Justinian. - I.
The Empress Theodora. - II. Factions Of The Circus, And Sedition
Of Constantinople. - III. Trade And Manufacture Of Silk. - IV.
Finances And Taxes. - V. Edifices Of Justinian. - Church Of St.
Sophia. - Fortifications And Frontiers Of The Eastern Empire. -
Abolition Of The Schools Of Athens, And The Consulship Of Rome.

The emperor Justinian was born ^1 near the ruins of Sardica,
(the modern Sophia,) of an obscure race ^2 of Barbarians, ^3 the
inhabitants of a wild and desolate country, to which the names of
Dardania, of Dacia, and of Bulgaria, have been successively
applied. His elevation was prepared by the adventurous spirit of
his uncle Justin, who, with two other peasants of the same
village, deserted, for the profession of arms, the more useful
employment of husbandmen or shepherds. ^4 On foot, with a scanty
provision of biscuit in their knapsacks, the three youths
followed the high road of Constantinople, and were soon enrolled,
for their strength and stature, among the guards of the emperor
Leo. Under the two succeeding reigns, the fortunate peasant
emerged to wealth and honors; and his escape from some dangers
which threatened his life was afterwards ascribed to the guardian
angel who watches over the fate of kings. His long and laudable
service in the Isaurian and Persian wars would not have preserved
from oblivion the name of Justin; yet they might warrant the
military promotion, which in the course of fifty years he
gradually obtained; the rank of tribune, of count, and of
general; the dignity of senator, and the command of the guards,
who obeyed him as their chief, at the important crisis when the
emperor Anastasius was removed from the world. The powerful
kinsmen whom he had raised and enriched were excluded from the
throne; and the eunuch Amantius, who reigned in the palace, had
secretly resolved to fix the diadem on the head of the most
obsequious of his creatures. A liberal donative, to conciliate
the suffrage of the guards, was intrusted for that purpose in the
hands of their commander. But these weighty arguments were
treacherously employed by Justin in his own favor; and as no
competitor presumed to appear, the Dacian peasant was invested
with the purple by the unanimous consent of the soldiers, who
knew him to be brave and gentle, of the clergy and people, who
believed him to be orthodox, and of the provincials, who yielded
a blind and implicit submission to the will of the capital. The
elder Justin, as he is distinguished from another emperor of the
same family and name, ascended the Byzantine throne at the age of
sixty-eight years; and, had he been left to his own guidance,
every moment of a nine years' reign must have exposed to his
subjects the impropriety of their choice. His ignorance was
similar to that of Theodoric; and it is remarkable that in an age
not destitute of learning, two contemporary monarchs had never
been instructed in the knowledge of the alphabet. ^* But the
genius of Justin was far inferior to that of the Gothic king: the
experience of a soldier had not qualified him for the government
of an empire; and though personally brave, the consciousness of
his own weakness was naturally attended with doubt, distrust, and
political apprehension. But the official business of the state
was diligently and faithfully transacted by the quaestor Proclus;
^5 and the aged emperor adopted the talents and ambition of his
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.

[Footnote 1: There is some difficulty in the date of his birth
(Ludewig in Vit. Justiniani, p. 125;) none in the place - the
district Bederiana - the village Tauresium, which he afterwards
decorated with his name and splendor, (D'Anville, Hist. de
l'Acad. &c., tom. xxxi. p. 287 - 292.)]
[Footnote 2: The names of these Dardanian peasants are Gothic,
and almost English: Justinian is a translation of uprauda,
(upright;) his father Sabatius (in Graeco-barbarous language
stipes) was styled in his village Istock, (Stock;) his mother
Bigleniza was softened into Vigilantia.]
[Footnote 3: Ludewig (p. 127 - 135) attempts to justify the
Anician name of Justinian and Theodora, and to connect them with
a family from which the house of Austria has been derived.]

[Footnote 4: See the anecdotes of Procopius, (c. 6,) with the
notes of N. Alemannus. The satirist would not have sunk, in the
vague and decent appellation of Zonaras. Yet why are those names
disgraceful? - and what German baron would not be proud to
descend from the Eumaeus of the Odyssey!
Note: It is whimsical enough that, in our own days, we
should have, even in jest, a claimant to lineal descent from the
godlike swineherd not in the person of a German baron, but in
that of a professor of the Ionian University. Constantine
Koliades, or some malicious wit under this name, has written a
tall folio to prove Ulysses to be Homer, and himself the
descendant, the heir (?), of the Eumaeus of the Odyssey. - M]

[Footnote *: St. Martin questions the fact in both cases. The
ignorance of Justin rests on the secret history of Procopius,
vol. viii. p. 8. St. Martin's notes on Le Beau. - M]

[Footnote 5: His virtues are praised by Procopius, (Persic. l. i.
c. 11.) The quaestor Proclus was the friend of Justinian, and the
enemy of every other adoption.]

Since the eunuch Amantius had been defrauded of his money,
it became necessary to deprive him of his life. The task was
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 Manichaean heresy. ^6


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