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

Part 3 out of 15

workmen, whose payment in pieces of fine silver was never delayed
beyond the evening. The emperor himself, clad in a linen tunic,
surveyed each day their rapid progress, and encouraged their
diligence by his familiarity, his zeal, and his rewards. The new
Cathedral of St. Sophia was consecrated by the patriarch, five
years, eleven months, and ten days from the first foundation; and
in the midst of the solemn festival Justinian exclaimed with
devout vanity, "Glory be to God, who hath thought me worthy to
accomplish so great a work; I have vanquished thee, O Solomon!"
^104 But the pride of the Roman Solomon, before twenty years had
elapsed, was humbled by an earthquake, which overthrew the
eastern part of the dome. Its splendor was again restored by the
perseverance of the same prince; and in the thirty- sixth year of
his reign, Justinian celebrated the second dedication of a temple
which remains, after twelve centuries, a stately monument of his
fame. The architecture of St. Sophia, which is now converted into
the principal mosch, has been imitated by the Turkish sultans,
and that venerable pile continues to excite the fond admiration
of the Greeks, and the more rational curiosity of European
travellers. The eye of the spectator is disappointed by an
irregular prospect of half-domes and shelving roofs: the western
front, the principal approach, is destitute of simplicity and
magnificence; and the scale of dimensions has been much surpassed
by several of the Latin cathedrals. But the architect who first
erected and aerial cupola, is entitled to the praise of bold
design and skilful execution. The dome of St. Sophia,
illuminated by four-and-twenty windows, is formed with so small a
curve, that the depth is equal only to one sixth of its diameter;
the measure of that diameter is one hundred and fifteen feet, and
the lofty centre, where a crescent has supplanted the cross,
rises to the perpendicular height of one hundred and eighty feet
above the pavement. The circle which encompasses the dome,
lightly reposes on four strong arches, and their weight is firmly
supported by four massy piles, whose strength is assisted, on the
northern and southern sides, by four columns of Egyptian granite.

A Greek cross, inscribed in a quadrangle, represents the form of
the edifice; the exact breadth is two hundred and forty-three
feet, and two hundred and sixty-nine may be assigned for the
extreme length from the sanctuary in the east, to the nine
western doors, which open into the vestibule, and from thence
into the narthex or exterior portico. That portico was the
humble station of the penitents. The nave or body of the church
was filled by the congregation of the faithful; but the two sexes
were prudently distinguished, and the upper and lower galleries
were allotted for the more private devotion of the women. Beyond
the northern and southern piles, a balustrade, terminated on
either side by the thrones of the emperor and the patriarch,
divided the nave from the choir; and the space, as far as the
steps of the altar, was occupied by the clergy and singers. The
altar itself, a name which insensibly became familiar to
Christian ears, was placed in the eastern recess, artificially
built in the form of a demi-cylinder; and this sanctuary
communicated by several doors with the sacristy, the vestry, the
baptistery, and the contiguous buildings, subservient either to
the pomp of worship, or the private use of the ecclesiastical
ministers. The memory of past calamities inspired Justinian with
a wise resolution, that no wood, except for the doors, should be
admitted into the new edifice; and the choice of the materials
was applied to the strength, the lightness, or the splendor of
the respective parts. The solid piles which contained the cupola
were composed of huge blocks of freestone, hewn into squares and
triangles, fortified by circles of iron, and firmly cemented by
the infusion of lead and quicklime: but the weight of the cupola
was diminished by the levity of its substance, which consists
either of pumice-stone that floats in the water, or of bricks
from the Isle of Rhodes, five times less ponderous than the
ordinary sort. The whole frame of the edifice was constructed of
brick; but those base materials were concealed by a crust of
marble; and the inside of St. Sophia, the cupola, the two larger,
and the six smaller, semi-domes, the walls, the hundred columns,
and the pavement, delight even the eyes of Barbarians, with a
rich and variegated picture. A poet, ^105 who beheld the
primitive lustre of St. Sophia, enumerates the colors, the
shades, and the spots of ten or twelve marbles, jaspers, and
porphyries, which nature had profusely diversified, and which
were blended and contrasted as it were by a skilful painter. The
triumph of Christ was adorned with the last spoils of Paganism,
but the greater part of these costly stones was extracted from
the quarries of Asia Minor, the isles and continent of Greece,
Egypt, Africa, and Gaul. Eight columns of porphyry, which
Aurelian had placed in the temple of the sun, were offered by the
piety of a Roman matron; eight others of green marble were
presented by the ambitious zeal of the magistrates of Ephesus:
both are admirable by their size and beauty, but every order of
architecture disclaims their fantastic capital. A variety of
ornaments and figures was curiously expressed in mosaic; and the
images of Christ, of the Virgin, of saints, and of angels, which
have been defaced by Turkish fanaticism, were dangerously exposed
to the superstition of the Greeks. According to the sanctity of
each object, the precious metals were distributed in thin leaves
or in solid masses. The balustrade of the choir, the capitals of
the pillars, the ornaments of the doors and galleries, were of
gilt bronze; the spectator was dazzled by the glittering aspect
of the cupola; the sanctuary contained forty thousand pounds
weight of silver; and the holy vases and vestments of the altar
were of the purest gold, enriched with inestimable gems. Before
the structure of the church had arisen two cubits above the
ground, forty-five thousand two hundred pounds were already
consumed; and the whole expense amounted to three hundred and
twenty thousand: each reader, according to the measure of his
belief, may estimate their value either in gold or silver; but
the sum of one million sterling is the result of the lowest
computation. A magnificent temple is a laudable monument of
national taste and religion; and the enthusiast who entered the
dome of St. Sophia might be tempted to suppose that it was the
residence, or even the workmanship, of the Deity. Yet how dull
is the artifice, how insignificant is the labor, if it be
compared with the formation of the vilest insect that crawls upon
the surface of the temple!
[Footnote 103: Among the crowd of ancients and moderns who have
celebrated the edifice of St. Sophia, I shall distinguish and
follow, 1. Four original spectators and historians: Procopius,
(de Edific. l. i. c. 1,) Agathias, (l. v. p. 152, 153,) Paul
Silentiarius, (in a poem of 1026 hexameters, and calcem Annae
Commen. Alexiad.,) and Evagrius, (l. iv. c. 31.) 2. Two legendary
Greeks of a later period: George Codinus, (de Origin. C. P. p. 64
- 74,) and the anonymous writer of Banduri, (Imp. Orient. tom. i.
l. iv. p. 65 - 80.)3. The great Byzantine antiquarian. Ducange,
(Comment. ad Paul Silentiar. p. 525 - 598, and C. P. Christ. l.
iii. p. 5 - 78.) 4. Two French travellers - the one, Peter
Gyllius, (de Topograph. C. P. l. ii. c. 3, 4,) in the xvith; the
other, Grelot, (Voyage de C. P. p. 95 - 164, Paris, 1680, in
4to:) he has given plans, prospects, and inside views of St.
Sophia; and his plans, though on a smaller scale, appear more
correct than those of Ducange. I have adopted and reduced the
measures of Grelot: but as no Christian can now ascend the dome,
the height is borrowed from Evagrius, compared with Gyllius,
Greaves, and the Oriental Geographer.]

[Footnote 104: Solomon's temple was surrounded with courts,
porticos, &c.; but the proper structure of the house of God was
no more (if we take the Egyptian or Hebrew cubic at 22 inches)
than 55 feet in height, 36 2/3 in breadth, and 110 in length - a
small parish church, says Prideaux, (Connection, vol. i. p. 144,
folio;) but few sanctuaries could be valued at four or five
millions sterling!

Note *: Hist of Jews, vol i p 257. - M]

[Footnote 105: Paul Silentiarius, in dark and poetic language,
describes the various stones and marbles that were employed in
the edifice of St. Sophia, (P. ii. p. 129, 133, &c., &c.:)

1. The Carystian - pale, with iron veins.

2. The Phrygian - of two sorts, both of a rosy hue; the one with
a white shade, the other purple, with silver flowers.

3. The Porphyry of Egypt - with small stars.

4. The green marble of Laconia.

5. The Carian - from Mount Iassis, with oblique veins, white and
6. The Lydian - pale, with a red flower.

7. The African, or Mauritanian - of a gold or saffron hue.
8. The Celtic - black, with white veins.

9. The Bosphoric - white, with black edges. Besides the
Proconnesian which formed the pavement; the Thessalian,
Molossian, &c., which are less distinctly painted.]

So minute a description of an edifice which time has
respected, may attest the truth, and excuse the relation, of the
innumerable works, both in the capital and provinces, which
Justinian constructed on a smaller scale and less durable
foundations. ^106 In Constantinople alone and the adjacent
suburbs, he dedicated twenty-five churches to the honor of
Christ, the Virgin, and the saints: most of these churches were
decorated with marble and gold; and their various situation was
skilfully chosen in a populous square, or a pleasant grove; on
the margin of the sea-shore, or on some lofty eminence which
overlooked the continents of Europe and Asia. The church of the
Holy Apostles at Constantinople, and that of St. John at Ephesus,
appear to have been framed on the same model: their domes aspired
to imitate the cupolas of St. Sophia; but the altar was more
judiciously placed under the centre of the dome, at the junction
of four stately porticos, which more accurately expressed the
figure of the Greek cross. The Virgin of Jerusalem might exult
in the temple erected by her Imperial votary on a most ungrateful
spot, which afforded neither ground nor materials to the
architect. A level was formed by raising part of a deep valley
to the height of the mountain. The stones of a neighboring quarry
were hewn into regular forms; each block was fixed on a peculiar
carriage, drawn by forty of the strongest oxen, and the roads
were widened for the passage of such enormous weights. Lebanon
furnished her loftiest cedars for the timbers of the church; and
the seasonable discovery of a vein of red marble supplied its
beautiful columns, two of which, the supporters of the exterior
portico, were esteemed the largest in the world. The pious
munificence of the emperor was diffused over the Holy Land; and
if reason should condemn the monasteries of both sexes which were
built or restored by Justinian, yet charity must applaud the
wells which he sunk, and the hospitals which he founded, for the
relief of the weary pilgrims. The schismatical temper of Egypt
was ill entitled to the royal bounty; but in Syria and Africa,
some remedies were applied to the disasters of wars and
earthquakes, and both Carthage and Antioch, emerging from their
ruins, might revere the name of their gracious benefactor. ^107
Almost every saint in the calendar acquired the honors of a
temple; almost every city of the empire obtained the solid
advantages of bridges, hospitals, and aqueducts; but the severe
liberality of the monarch disdained to indulge his subjects in
the popular luxury of baths and theatres. While Justinian
labored for the public service, he was not unmindful of his own
dignity and ease. The Byzantine palace, which had been damaged
by the conflagration, was restored with new magnificence; and
some notion may be conceived of the whole edifice, by the
vestibule or hall, which, from the doors perhaps, or the roof,
was surnamed chalce, or the brazen. The dome of a spacious
quadrangle was supported by massy pillars; the pavement and walls
were incrusted with many-colored marbles - the emerald green of
Laconia, the fiery red, and the white Phrygian stone, intersected
with veins of a sea-green hue: the mosaic paintings of the dome
and sides represented the glories of the African and Italian
triumphs. On the Asiatic shore of the Propontis, at a small
distance to the east of Chalcedon, the costly palace and gardens
of Heraeum ^108 were prepared for the summer residence of
Justinian, and more especially of Theodora. The poets of the age
have celebrated the rare alliance of nature and art, the harmony
of the nymphs of the groves, the fountains, and the waves: yet
the crowd of attendants who followed the court complained of
their inconvenient lodgings, ^109 and the nymphs were too often
alarmed by the famous Porphyrio, a whale of ten cubits in
breadth, and thirty in length, who was stranded at the mouth of
the River Sangaris, after he had infested more than half a
century the seas of Constantinople. ^110

[Footnote 106: The six books of the Edifices of Procopius are
thus distributed the first is confined to Constantinople: the
second includes Mesopotamia and Syria the third, Armenia and the
Euxine; the fourth, Europe; the fifth, Asia Minor and Palestine;
the sixth, Egypt and Africa. Italy is forgot by the emperor or
the historian, who published this work of adulation before the
date (A.D. 555) of its final conquest.]

[Footnote 107: Justinian once gave forty-five centenaries of gold
(180,000l for the repairs of Antioch after the earthquake, (John
Malala, tom. ii p 146 - 149.)]

[Footnote 108: For the Heraeum, the palace of Theodora, see
Gyllius, (de Bosphoro Thracio, l. iii. c. xi.,) Aleman. (Not.
ad. Anec. p. 80, 81, who quotes several epigrams of the
Anthology,) and Ducange, (C. P. Christ. l. iv. c. 13, p. 175,

[Footnote 109: Compare, in the Edifices, (l. i. c. 11,) and in
the Anecdotes, (c. 8, 15.) the different styles of adulation and
malevolence: stripped of the paint, or cleansed from the dirt,
the object appears to be the same.]
[Footnote 110: Procopius, l. viii. 29; most probably a stranger
and wanderer, as the Mediterranean does not breed whales.
Balaenae quoque in nostra maria penetrant, (Plin. Hist. Natur.
ix. 2.) Between the polar circle and the tropic, the cetaceous
animals of the ocean grow to the length of 50, 80, or 100 feet,
(Hist. des Voyages, tom. xv. p. 289. Pennant's British Zoology,
vol. iii. p. 35.)]

The fortifications of Europe and Asia were multiplied by
Justinian; but the repetition of those timid and fruitless
precautions exposes, to a philosophic eye, the debility of the
empire. ^111 From Belgrade to the Euxine, from the conflux of the
Save to the mouth of the Danube, a chain of above fourscore
fortified places was extended along the banks of the great river.
Single watch-towers were changed into spacious citadels; vacant
walls, which the engineers contracted or enlarged according to
the nature of the ground, were filled with colonies or garrisons;
a strong fortress defended the ruins of Trajan's bridge, ^112 and
several military stations affected to spread beyond the Danube
the pride of the Roman name. But that name was divested of its
terrors; the Barbarians, in their annual inroads, passed, and
contemptuously repassed, before these useless bulwarks; and the
inhabitants of the frontier, instead of reposing under the shadow
of the general defence, were compelled to guard, with incessant
vigilance, their separate habitations. The solitude of ancient
cities, was replenished; the new foundations of Justinian
acquired, perhaps too hastily, the epithets of impregnable and
populous; and the auspicious place of his own nativity attracted
the grateful reverence of the vainest of princes. Under the name
of Justiniana prima, the obscure village of Tauresium became the
seat of an archbishop and a praefect, whose jurisdiction extended
over seven warlike provinces of Illyricum; ^113 and the corrupt
apellation of Giustendil still indicates, about twenty miles to
the south of Sophia, the residence of a Turkish sanjak. ^114 For
the use of the emperor's countryman, a cathedral, a place, and an
aqueduct, were speedily constructed; the public and private
edifices were adapted to the greatness of a royal city; and the
strength of the walls resisted, during the lifetime of Justinian,
the unskilful assaults of the Huns and Sclavonians. Their
progress was sometimes retarded, and their hopes of rapine were
disappointed, by the innumerable castles which, in the provinces
of Dacia, Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia, and Thrace, appeared to
cover the whole face of the country. Six hundred of these forts
were built or repaired by the emperor; but it seems reasonable to
believe, that the far greater part consisted only of a stone or
brick tower, in the midst of a square or circular area, which was
surrounded by a wall and ditch, and afforded in a moment of
danger some protection to the peasants and cattle of the
neighboring villages. ^115 Yet these military works, which
exhausted the public treasure, could not remove the just
apprehensions of Justinian and his European subjects. The warm
baths of Anchialus in Thrace were rendered as safe as they were
salutary; but the rich pastures of Thessalonica were foraged by
the Scythian cavalry; the delicious vale of Tempe, three hundred
miles from the Danube, was continually alarmed by the sound of
war; ^116 and no unfortified spot, however distant or solitary,
could securely enjoy the blessings of peace. The Straits of
Thermopylae, which seemed to protect, but which had so often
betrayed, the safety of Greece, were diligently strengthened by
the labors of Justinian. From the edge of the sea-shore, through
the forests and valleys, and as far as the summit of the
Thessalian mountains, a strong wall was continued, which occupied
every practicable entrance. Instead of a hasty crowd of
peasants, a garrison of two thousand soldiers was stationed along
the rampart; granaries of corn and reservoirs of water were
provided for their use; and by a precaution that inspired the
cowardice which it foresaw, convenient fortresses were erected
for their retreat. The walls of Corinth, overthrown by an
earthquake, and the mouldering bulwarks of Athens and Plataea,
were carefully restored; the Barbarians were discouraged by the
prospect of successive and painful sieges: and the naked cities
of Peloponnesus were covered by the fortifications of the Isthmus
of Corinth. At the extremity of Europe, another peninsula, the
Thracian Chersonesus, runs three days' journey into the sea, to
form, with the adjacent shores of Asia, the Straits of the
Hellespont. The intervals between eleven populous towns were
filled by lofty woods, fair pastures, and arable lands; and the
isthmus, of thirty seven stadia or furlongs, had been fortified
by a Spartan general nine hundred years before the reign of
Justinian. ^117 In an age of freedom and valor, the slightest
rampart may prevent a surprise; and Procopius appears insensible
of the superiority of ancient times, while he praises the solid
construction and double parapet of a wall, whose long arms
stretched on either side into the sea; but whose strength was
deemed insufficient to guard the Chersonesus, if each city, and
particularly Gallipoli and Sestus, had not been secured by their
peculiar fortifications. The long wall, as it was emphatically
styled, was a work as disgraceful in the object, as it was
respectable in the execution. The riches of a capital diffuse
themselves over the neighboring country, and the territory of
Constantinople a paradise of nature, was adorned with the
luxurious gardens and villas of the senators and opulent
citizens. But their wealth served only to attract the bold and
rapacious Barbarians; the noblest of the Romans, in the bosom of
peaceful indolence, were led away into Scythian captivity, and
their sovereign might view from his palace the hostile flames
which were insolently spread to the gates of the Imperial city.
At the distance only of forty miles, Anastasius was constrained
to establish a last frontier; his long wall, of sixty miles from
the Propontis to the Euxine, proclaimed the impotence of his
arms; and as the danger became more imminent, new fortifications
were added by the indefatigable prudence of Justinian. ^118
[Footnote 111: Montesquieu observes, (tom. iii. p. 503,
Considerations sur la Grandeur et la Decadence des Romains, c.
xx.,) that Justinian's empire was like France in the time of the
Norman inroads - never so weak as when every village was

[Footnote 112: Procopius affirms (l. iv. c. 6) that the Danube
was stopped by the ruins of the bridge. Had Apollodorus, the
architect, left a description of his own work, the fabulous
wonders of Dion Cassius (l lxviii. p. 1129) would have been
corrected by the genuine picture Trajan's bridge consisted of
twenty or twenty-two stone piles with wooden arches; the river is
shallow, the current gentle, and the whole interval no more than
443 (Reimer ad Dion. from Marsigli) or 5l7 toises, (D'Anville,
Geographie Ancienne, tom. i. p. 305.)]
[Footnote 113: Of the two Dacias, Mediterranea and Ripensis,
Dardania, Pravalitana, the second Maesia, and the second
Macedonia. See Justinian (Novell. xi.,) who speaks of his
castles beyond the Danube, and on omines semper bellicis
sudoribus inhaerentes.]

[Footnote 114: See D'Anville, (Memoires de l'Academie, &c., tom.
xxxi p. 280, 299,) Rycaut, (Present State of the Turkish Empire,
p. 97, 316,) Max sigli, (Stato Militare del Imperio Ottomano, p.
130.) The sanjak of Giustendil is one of the twenty under the
beglerbeg of Rurselis, and his district maintains 48 zaims and
588 timariots.]

[Footnote 115: These fortifications may be compared to the
castles in Mingrelia (Chardin, Voyages en Perse, tom. i. p. 60,
131) - a natural picture.]

[Footnote 116: The valley of Tempe is situate along the River
Peneus, between the hills of Ossa and Olympus: it is only five
miles long, and in some places no more than 120 feet in breadth.
Its verdant beauties are elegantly described by Pliny, (Hist.
Natur. l. iv. 15,) and more diffusely by Aelian, (Hist. Var. l.
iii. c. i.)]

[Footnote 117: Xenophon Hellenic. l. iii. c. 2. After a long and
tedious conversation with the Byzantine declaimers, how
refreshing is the truth, the simplicity, the elegance of an Attic

[Footnote 118: See the long wall in Evagarius, (l. iv. c. 38.)
This whole article is drawn from the fourth book of the Edifices,
except Anchialus, (l. iii. c. 7.)]

Asia Minor, after the submission of the Isaurians, ^119
remained without enemies and without fortifications. Those bold
savages, who had disdained to be the subjects of Gallienus,
persisted two hundred and thirty years in a life of independence
and rapine. The most successful princes respected the strength
of the mountains and the despair of the natives; their fierce
spirit was sometimes soothed with gifts, and sometimes restrained
by terror; and a military count, with three legions, fixed his
permanent and ignominious station in the heart of the Roman
provinces. ^120 But no sooner was the vigilance of power relaxed
or diverted, than the light-armed squadrons descended from the
hills, and invaded the peaceful plenty of Asia. Although the
Isaurians were not remarkable for stature or bravery, want
rendered them bold, and experience made them skilful in the
exercise of predatory war. They advanced with secrecy and speed
to the attack of villages and defenceless towns; their flying
parties have sometimes touched the Hellespont, the Euxine, and
the gates of Tarsus, Antioch, or Damascus; ^121 and the spoil was
lodged in their inaccessible mountains, before the Roman troops
had received their orders, or the distant province had computed
its loss. The guilt of rebellion and robbery excluded them from
the rights of national enemies; and the magistrates were
instructed, by an edict, that the trial or punishment of an
Isaurian, even on the festival of Easter, was a meritorious act
of justice and piety. ^122 If the captives were condemned to
domestic slavery, they maintained, with their sword or dagger,
the private quarrel of their masters; and it was found expedient
for the public tranquillity to prohibit the service of such
dangerous retainers. When their countryman Tarcalissaeus or Zeno
ascended the throne, he invited a faithful and formidable band of
Isaurians, who insulted the court and city, and were rewarded by
an annual tribute of five thousand pounds of gold. But the hopes
of fortune depopulated the mountains, luxury enervated the
hardiness of their minds and bodies, and in proportion as they
mixed with mankind, they became less qualified for the enjoyment
of poor and solitary freedom. After the death of Zeno, his
successor Anastasius suppressed their pensions, exposed their
persons to the revenge of the people, banished them from
Constantinople, and prepared to sustain a war, which left only
the alternative of victory or servitude. A brother of the last
emperor usurped the title of Augustus; his cause was powerfully
supported by the arms, the treasures, and the magazines,
collected by Zeno; and the native Isaurians must have formed the
smallest portion of the hundred and fifty thousand Barbarians
under his standard, which was sanctified, for the first time, by
the presence of a fighting bishop. Their disorderly numbers were
vanquished in the plains of Phrygia by the valor and discipline
of the Goths; but a war of six years almost exhausted the courage
of the emperor. ^123 The Isaurians retired to their mountains;
their fortresses were successively besieged and ruined; their
communication with the sea was intercepted; the bravest of their
leaders died in arms; the surviving chiefs, before their
execution, were dragged in chains through the hippodrome; a
colony of their youth was transplanted into Thrace, and the
remnant of the people submitted to the Roman government. Yet
some generations elapsed before their minds were reduced to the
level of slavery. The populous villages of Mount Taurus were
filled with horsemen and archers: they resisted the imposition of
tributes, but they recruited the armies of Justinian; and his
civil magistrates, the proconsul of Cappadocia, the count of
Isauria, and the praetors of Lycaonia and Pisidia, were invested
with military power to restrain the licentious practice of rapes
and assassinations. ^124
[Footnote 119: Turn back to vol. i. p. 328. In the course of
this History, I have sometimes mentioned, and much oftener
slighted, the hasty inroads of the Isaurians, which were not
attended with any consequences.]
[Footnote 120: Trebellius Pollio in Hist. August. p. 107, who
lived under Diocletian, or Constantine. See likewise Pancirolus
ad Notit. Imp. Orient c. 115, 141. See Cod. Theodos. l. ix. tit.
35, leg. 37, with a copious collective Annotation of Godefroy,
tom. iii. p. 256, 257.]
[Footnote 121: See the full and wide extent of their inroads in
Philostorgius (Hist. Eccles. l. xi. c. 8,) with Godefroy's
learned Dissertations.]
[Footnote 122: Cod. Justinian. l. ix. tit. 12, leg. 10. The
punishments are severs - a fine of a hundred pounds of gold,
degradation, and even death. The public peace might afford a
pretence, but Zeno was desirous of monopolizing the valor and
service of the Isaurians.]

[Footnote 123: The Isaurian war and the triumph of Anastasius are
briefly and darkly represented by John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 106,
107,) Evagrius, (l. iii. c. 35,) Theophanes, p. 118 - 120,) and
the Chronicle of Marcellinus.]
[Footnote 124: Fortes ea regio (says Justinian) viros habet, nec
in ullo differt ab Isauria, though Procopius (Persic. l. i. c.
18) marks an essential difference between their military
character; yet in former times the Lycaonians and Pisidians had
defended their liberty against the great king, Xenophon.
Anabasis, l. iii. c. 2.) Justinian introduces some false and
ridiculous erudition of the ancient empire of the Pisidians, and
of Lycaon, who, after visiting Rome, (long before Aeenas,) gave a
name and people to Lycaoni, (Novell. 24, 25, 27, 30.)]

Chapter XL: Reign Of Justinian.

Part V.

If we extend our view from the tropic to the mouth of the
Tanais, we may observe, on one hand, the precautions of Justinian
to curb the savages of Aethiopia, ^125 and on the other, the long
walls which he constructed in Crimaea for the protection of his
friendly Goths, a colony of three thousand shepherds and
warriors. ^126 From that peninsula to Trebizond, the eastern
curve of the Euxine was secured by forts, by alliance, or by
religion; and the possession of Lazica, the Colchos of ancient,
the Mingrelia of modern, geography, soon became the object of an
important war. Trebizond, in after- times the seat of a romantic
empire, was indebted to the liberality of Justinian for a church,
an aqueduct, and a castle, whose ditches are hewn in the solid
rock. From that maritime city, frontier line of five hundred
miles may be drawn to the fortress of Circesium, the last Roman
station on the Euphrates. ^127 Above Trebizond immediately, and
five days' journey to the south, the country rises into dark
forests and craggy mountains, as savage though not so lofty as
the Alps and the Pyrenees. In this rigorous climate, ^128 where
the snows seldom melt, the fruits are tardy and tasteless, even
honey is poisonous: the most industrious tillage would be
confined to some pleasant valleys; and the pastoral tribes
obtained a scanty sustenance from the flesh and milk of their
cattle. The Chalybians ^129 derived their name and temper from
the iron quality of the soil; and, since the days of Cyrus, they
might produce, under the various appellations of Cha daeans and
Zanians, an uninterrupted prescription of war and rapine. Under
the reign of Justinian, they acknowledged the god and the emperor
of the Romans, and seven fortresses were built in the most
accessible passages, to exclude the ambition of the Persian
monarch. ^130 The principal source of the Euphrates descends from
the Chalybian mountains, and seems to flow towards the west and
the Euxine: bending to the south-west, the river passes under the
walls of Satala and Melitene, (which were restored by Justinian
as the bulwarks of the Lesser Armenia,) and gradually approaches
the Mediterranean Sea; till at length, repelled by Mount Taurus,
^131 the Euphrates inclines its long and flexible course to the
south-east and the Gulf of Persia. Among the Roman cities beyond
the Euphrates, we distinguish two recent foundations, which were
named from Theodosius, and the relics of the martyrs; and two
capitals, Amida and Edessa, which are celebrated in the history
of every age. Their strength was proportioned by Justinian to
the danger of their situation. A ditch and palisade might be
sufficient to resist the artless force of the cavalry of Scythia;
but more elaborate works were required to sustain a regular siege
against the arms and treasures of the great king. His skilful
engineers understood the methods of conducting deep mines, and of
raising platforms to the level of the rampart: he shook the
strongest battlements with his military engines, and sometimes
advanced to the assault with a line of movable turrets on the
backs of elephants. In the great cities of the East, the
disadvantage of space, perhaps of position, was compensated by
the zeal of the people, who seconded the garrison in the defence
of their country and religion; and the fabulous promise of the
Son of God, that Edessa should never be taken, filled the
citizens with valiant confidence, and chilled the besiegers with
doubt and dismay. ^132 The subordinate towns of Armenia and
Mesopotamia were diligently strengthened, and the posts which
appeared to have any command of ground or water were occupied by
numerous forts, substantially built of stone, or more hastily
erected with the obvious materials of earth and brick. The eye
of Justinian investigated every spot; and his cruel precautions
might attract the war into some lonely vale, whose peaceful
natives, connected by trade and marriage, were ignorant of
national discord and the quarrels of princes. Westward of the
Euphrates, a sandy desert extends above six hundred miles to the
Red Sea. Nature had interposed a vacant solitude between the
ambition of two rival empires; the Arabians, till Mahomet arose,
were formidable only as robbers; and in the proud security of
peace the fortifications of Syria were neglected on the most
vulnerable side.

[Footnote 125: See Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 19. The altar of
national concern, of annual sacrifice and oaths, which Diocletian
had created in the Isla of Elephantine, was demolished by
Justinian with less policy than]
[Footnote 126: Procopius de Edificiis, l. iii. c. 7. Hist. l.
viii. c. 3, 4. These unambitious Goths had refused to follow the
standard of Theodoric. As late as the xvth and xvith century,
the name and nation might be discovered between Caffa and the
Straits of Azoph, (D'Anville, Memoires de l'academie, tom. xxx.
p. 240.) They well deserved the curiosity of Busbequius, (p. 321
- 326;) but seem to have vanished in the more recent account of
the Missions du Levant, (tom. i.,) Tott, Peysonnnel, &c.]

[Footnote 127: For the geography and architecture of this
Armenian border, see the Persian Wars and Edifices (l. ii. c. 4 -
7, l. iii. c. 2 - 7) of Procopius.]

[Footnote 128: The country is described by Tournefort, (Voyage au
Levant, tom. iii. lettre xvii. xviii.) That skilful botanist soon
discovered the plant that infects the honey, (Plin. xxi. 44, 45:)
he observes, that the soldiers of Lucullus might indeed be
astonished at the cold, since, even in the plain of Erzerum, snow
sometimes falls in June, and the harvest is seldom finished
before September. The hills of Armenia are below the fortieth
degree of latitude; but in the mountainous country which I
inhabit, it is well known that an ascent of some hours carries
the traveller from the climate of Languedoc to that of Norway;
and a general theory has been introduced, that, under the line,
an elevation of 2400 toises is equivalent to the cold of the
polar circle, (Remond, Observations sur les Voyages de Coxe dans
la Suisse, tom. ii. p. 104.)]

[Footnote 129: The identity or proximity of the Chalybians, or
Chaldaeana may be investigated in Strabo, (l. xii. p. 825, 826,)
Cellarius, (Geograph. Antiq. tom. ii. p. 202 - 204,) and Freret,
(Mem. de Academie, tom. iv. p. 594) Xenophon supposes, in his
romance, (Cyropaed l. iii.,) the same Barbarians, against whom he
had fought in his retreat, (Anabasis, l. iv.)]
[Footnote 130: Procopius, Persic. l. i. c. 15. De Edific. l.
iii. c. 6.]
[Footnote 131: Ni Taurus obstet in nostra maria venturus,
(Pomponius Mela, iii. 8.) Pliny, a poet as well as a naturalist,
(v. 20,) personifies the river and mountain, and describes their
combat. See the course of the Tigris and Euphrates in the
excellent treatise of D'Anville.]

[Footnote 132: Procopius (Persic. l. ii. c. 12) tells the story
with the tone, half sceptical, half superstitious, of Herodotus.
The promise was not in the primitive lie of Eusebius, but dates
at least from the year 400; and a third lie, the Veronica, was
soon raised on the two former, (Evagrius, l. iv. c. 27.) As
Edessa has been taken, Tillemont must disclaim the promise, (Mem.
Eccles. tom. i. p. 362, 383, 617.)]

But the national enmity, at least the effects of that
enmity, had been suspended by a truce, which continued above
fourscore years. An ambassador from the emperor Zeno accompanied
the rash and unfortunate Perozes, ^* in his expedition against
the Nepthalites, ^! or white Huns, whose conquests had been
stretched from the Caspian to the heart of India, whose throne
was enriched with emeralds, ^133 and whose cavalry was supported
by a line of two thousand elephants. ^134 The Persians ^* were
twice circumvented, in a situation which made valor useless and
flight impossible; and the double victory of the Huns was
achieved by military stratagem. They dismissed their royal
captive after he had submitted to adore the majesty of a
Barbarian; and the humiliation was poorly evaded by the
casuistical subtlety of the Magi, who instructed Perozes to
direct his attention to the rising sun. ^!! The indignant
successor of Cyrus forgot his danger and his gratitude; he
renewed the attack with headstrong fury, and lost both his army
and his life. ^135 The death of Perozes abandoned Persia to her
foreign and domestic enemies; ^!!! and twelve years of confusion
elapsed before his son Cabades, or Kobad, could embrace any
designs of ambition or revenge. The unkind parsimony of
Anastasius was the motive or pretence of a Roman war; ^136 the
Huns and Arabs marched under the Persian standard, and the
fortifications of Armenia and Mesopotamia were, at that time, in
a ruinous or imperfect condition. The emperor returned his
thanks to the governor and people of Martyropolis for the prompt
surrender of a city which could not be successfully defended, and
the conflagration of Theodosiopolis might justify the conduct of
their prudent neighbors. Amida sustained a long and destructive
siege: at the end of three months the loss of fifty thousand of
the soldiers of Cabades was not balanced by any prospect of
success, and it was in vain that the Magi deduced a flattering
prediction from the indecency of the women ^* on the ramparts,
who had revealed their most secret charms to the eyes of the
assailants. At length, in a silent night, they ascended the most
accessible tower, which was guarded only by some monks,
oppressed, after the duties of a festival, with sleep and wine.
Scaling-ladders were applied at the dawn of day; the presence of
Cabades, his stern command, and his drawn sword, compelled the
Persians to vanquish; and before it was sheathed, fourscore
thousand of the inhabitants had expiated the blood of their
companions. After the siege of Amida, the war continued three
years, and the unhappy frontier tasted the full measure of its
calamities. The gold of Anastasius was offered too late, the
number of his troops was defeated by the number of their
generals; the country was stripped of its inhabitants, and both
the living and the dead were abandoned to the wild beasts of the
desert. The resistance of Edessa, and the deficiency of spoil,
inclined the mind of Cabades to peace: he sold his conquests for
an exorbitant price; and the same line, though marked with
slaughter and devastation, still separated the two empires. To
avert the repetition of the same evils, Anastasius resolved to
found a new colony, so strong, that it should defy the power of
the Persian, so far advanced towards Assyria, that its stationary
troops might defend the province by the menace or operation of
offensive war. For this purpose, the town of Dara, ^137 fourteen
miles from Nisibis, and four days' journey from the Tigris, was
peopled and adorned; the hasty works of Anastasius were improved
by the perseverance of Justinian; and, without insisting on
places less important, the fortifications of Dara may represent
the military architecture of the age. The city was surrounded
with two walls, and the interval between them, of fifty paces,
afforded a retreat to the cattle of the besieged. The inner wall
was a monument of strength and beauty: it measured sixty feet
from the ground, and the height of the towers was one hundred
feet; the loopholes, from whence an enemy might be annoyed with
missile weapons, were small, but numerous; the soldiers were
planted along the rampart, under the shelter of double galleries,
and a third platform, spacious and secure, was raised on the
summit of the towers. The exterior wall appears to have been
less lofty, but more solid; and each tower was protected by a
quadrangular bulwark. A hard, rocky soil resisted the tools of
the miners, and on the south-east, where the ground was more
tractable, their approach was retarded by a new work, which
advanced in the shape of a half-moon. The double and treble
ditches were filled with a stream of water; and in the management
of the river, the most skilful labor was employed to supply the
inhabitants, to distress the besiegers, and to prevent the
mischiefs of a natural or artificial inundation. Dara continued
more than sixty years to fulfil the wishes of its founders, and
to provoke the jealousy of the Persians, who incessantly
complained, that this impregnable fortress had been constructed
in manifest violation of the treaty of peace between the two
empires. ^*

[Footnote *: Firouz the Conqueror - unfortunately so named. See
St. Martin, vol. vi. p. 439. - M.]

[Footnote !: Rather Hepthalites. - M.]

[Footnote 133: They were purchased from the merchants of Adulis
who traded to India, (Cosmas, Topograph. Christ. l. xi. p. 339;)
yet, in the estimate of precious stones, the Scythian emerald was
the first, the Bactrian the second, the Aethiopian only the
third, (Hill's Theophrastus, p. 61, &c., 92.) The production,
mines, &c., of emeralds, are involved in darkness; and it is
doubtful whether we possess any of the twelve sorts known to the
ancients, (Goguet, Origine des Loix, &c., part ii. l. ii. c. 2,
art. 3.) In this war the Huns got, or at least Perozes lost, the
finest pearl in the world, of which Procopius relates a
ridiculous fable.]

[Footnote 134: The Indo-Scythae continued to reign from the time
of Augustus (Dionys. Perieget. 1088, with the Commentary of
Eustathius, in Hudson, Geograph. Minor. tom. iv.) to that of the
elder Justin, (Cosmas, Topograph. Christ. l. xi. p. 338, 339.) On
their origin and conquests, see D'Anville, (sur l'Inde, p. 18,
45, &c., 69, 85, 89.) In the second century they were masters of
Larice or Guzerat.]

[Footnote *: According to the Persian historians, he was misled
by guides who used he old stratagem of Zopyrus. Malcolm, vol. i.
p. 101. - M.]
[Footnote !!: In the Ms. Chronicle of Tabary, it is said that the
Moubedan Mobed, or Grand Pontiff, opposed with all his influence
the violation of the treaty. St. Martin, vol. vii. p. 254. - M.]

[Footnote 135: See the fate of Phirouz, or Perozes, and its
consequences, in Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 3 - 6,) who may be
compared with the fragments of Oriental history, (D'Herbelot,
Bibliot. Orient. p. 351, and Texeira, History of Persia,
translated or abridged by Stephens, l. i. c. 32, p. 132 - 138.)
The chronology is ably ascertained by Asseman. (Bibliot. Orient.
tom. iii. p. 396 - 427.)]

[Footnote !!!: When Firoze advanced, Khoosh-Nuaz (the king of the
Huns) presented on the point of a lance the treaty to which he
had sworn, and exhorted him yet to desist before he destroyed his
fame forever. Malcolm, vol. i. p. 103. - M.]

[Footnote 136: The Persian war, under the reigns of Anastasius
and Justin, may be collected from Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 7,
8, 9,) Theophanes, (in Chronograph. p. 124 - 127,) Evagrius, (l.
iii. c. 37,) Marcellinus, (in Chron. p. 47,) and Josue Stylites,
(apud Asseman. tom. i. p. 272 - 281.)]
[Footnote *: Gibbon should have written "some prostitutes." Proc
Pers. vol. 1 p. 7. - M.]

[Footnote 137: The description of Dara is amply and correctly
given by Procopius, (Persic. l. i. c. 10, l. ii. c. 13. De
Edific. l. ii. c. 1, 2, 3, l. iii. c. 5.) See the situation in
D'Anville, (l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 53, 54, 55,) though he
seems to double the interval between Dara and Nisibis.]
[Footnote *: The situation (of Dara) does not appear to give it
strength, as it must have been commanded on three sides by the
mountains, but opening on the south towards the plains of
Mesopotamia. The foundation of the walls and towers, built of
large hewn stone, may be traced across the valley, and over a
number of low rocky hills which branch out from the foot of Mount
Masius. The circumference I conceive to be nearly two miles and a
half; and a small stream, which flows through the middle of the
place, has induced several Koordish and Armenian families to fix
their residence within the ruins. Besides the walls and towers,
the remains of many other buildings attest the former grandeur of
Dara; a considerable part of the space within the walls is arched
and vaulted underneath, and in one place we perceived a large
cavern, supported by four ponderous columns, somewhat resembling
the great cistern of Constantinople. In the centre of the
village are the ruins of a palace (probably that mentioned by
Procopius) or church, one hundred paces in length, and sixty in
breadth. The foundations, which are quite entire, consist of a
prodigious number of subterraneous vaulted chambers, entered by a
narrow passage forty paces in length. The gate is still
standing; a considerable part of the wall has bid defiance to
time, &c. M Donald Kinneir's Journey, p. 438. - M]

Between the Euxine and the Caspian, the countries of
Colchos, Iberia, and Albania, are intersected in every direction
by the branches of Mount Caucasus; and the two principal gates,
or passes, from north to south, have been frequently confounded
in the geography both of the ancients and moderns. The name of
Caspian or Albanian gates is properly applied to Derbend, ^138
which occupies a short declivity between the mountains and the
sea: the city, if we give credit to local tradition, had been
founded by the Greeks; and this dangerous entrance was fortified
by the kings of Persia with a mole, double walls, and doors of
iron. The Iberian gates ^139 ^* are formed by a narrow passage
of six miles in Mount Caucasus, which opens from the northern
side of Iberia, or Georgia, into the plain that reaches to the
Tanais and the Volga. A fortress, designed by Alexander perhaps,
or one of his successors, to command that important pass, had
descended by right of conquest or inheritance to a prince of the
Huns, who offered it for a moderate price to the emperor; but
while Anastasius paused, while he timorously computed the cost
and the distance, a more vigilant rival interposed, and Cabades
forcibly occupied the Straits of Caucasus. The Albanian and
Iberian gates excluded the horsemen of Scythia from the shortest
and most practicable roads, and the whole front of the mountains
was covered by the rampart of Gog and Magog, the long wall which
has excited the curiosity of an Arabian caliph ^140 and a Russian
conqueror. ^141 According to a recent description, huge stones,
seven feet thick, and twenty-one feet in length or height, are
artificially joined without iron or cement, to compose a wall,
which runs above three hundred miles from the shores of Derbend,
over the hills, and through the valleys of Daghestan and Georgia.

Without a vision, such a work might be undertaken by the policy
of Cabades; without a miracle, it might be accomplished by his
son, so formidable to the Romans, under the name of Chosroes; so
dear to the Orientals, under the appellation of Nushirwan. The
Persian monarch held in his hand the keys both of peace and war;
but he stipulated, in every treaty, that Justinian should
contribute to the expense of a common barrier, which equally
protected the two empires from the inroads of the Scythians. ^142

[Footnote 138: For the city and pass of Derbend, see D'Herbelot,
(Bibliot. Orient. p. 157, 291, 807,) Petit de la Croix. (Hist.
de Gengiscan, l. iv. c. 9,) Histoire Genealogique des Tatars,
(tom. i. p. 120,) Olearius, (Voyage en Perse, p. 1039 - 1041,)
and Corneille le Bruyn, (Voyages, tom. i. p. 146, 147:) his view
may be compared with the plan of Olearius, who judges the wall to
be of shells and gravel hardened by time.]

[Footnote 139: Procopius, though with some confusion, always
denominates them Caspian, (Persic. l. i. c. 10.) The pass is now
styled Tatar-topa, the Tartar-gates, (D'Anville, Geographie
Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 119, 120.)]
[Footnote *: Malte-Brun. tom. viii. p. 12, makes three passes:
1. The central, which leads from Mosdok to Teflis.

2. The Albanian, more inland than the Derbend Pass.

3. The Derbend - the Caspian Gates.

But the narrative of Col. Monteith, in the Journal of the
Geographical Society of London. vol. iii. p. i. p. 39, clearly
shows that there are but two passes between the Black Sea and the
Caspian; the central, the Caucasian, or, as Col. Monteith calls
it, the Caspian Gates, and the pass of Derbend, though it is
practicable to turn this position (of Derbend) by a road a few
miles distant through the mountains, p. 40. - M.]

[Footnote 140: The imaginary rampart of Gog and Magog, which was
seriously explored and believed by a caliph of the ninth century,
appears to be derived from the gates of Mount Caucasus, and a
vague report of the wall of China, (Geograph. Nubiensis, p. 267 -
270. Memoires de l'Academie, tom. xxxi. p. 210 - 219.)]

[Footnote 141: See a learned dissertation of Baier, de muro
Caucaseo, in Comment. Acad. Petropol. ann. 1726, tom. i. p. 425 -
463; but it is destitute of a map or plan. When the czar Peter
I. became master of Derbend in the year 1722, the measure of the
wall was found to be 3285 Russian orgyioe, or fathom, each of
seven feet English; in the whole somewhat more than four miles in

[Footnote 142: See the fortifications and treaties of Chosroes,
or Nushirwan, in Procopius (Persic. l. i. c. 16, 22, l. ii.) and
D'Herbelot, (p. 682.)]
VII. Justinian suppressed the schools of Athens and the
consulship of Rome, which had given so many sages and heroes to
mankind. Both these institutions had long since degenerated from
their primitive glory; yet some reproach may be justly inflicted
on the avarice and jealousy of a prince, by whose hand such
venerable ruins were destroyed.

Athens, after her Persian triumphs, adopted the philosophy
of Ionia and the rhetoric of Sicily; and these studies became the
patrimony of a city, whose inhabitants, about thirty thousand
males, condensed, within the period of a single life, the genius
of ages and millions. Our sense of the dignity of human nature
is exalted by the simple recollection, that Isocrates ^143 was
the companion of Plato and Xenophon; that he assisted, perhaps
with the historian Thucydides, at the first representation of the
Oedipus of Sophocles and the Iphigenia of Euripides; and that his
pupils Aeschines and Demosthenes contended for the crown of
patriotism in the presence of Aristotle, the master of
Theophrastus, who taught at Athens with the founders of the Stoic
and Epicurean sects. ^144 The ingenuous youth of Attica enjoyed
the benefits of their domestic education, which was communicated
without envy to the rival cities. Two thousand disciples heard
the lessons of Theophrastus; ^145 the schools of rhetoric must
have been still more populous than those of philosophy; and a
rapid succession of students diffused the fame of their teachers
as far as the utmost limits of the Grecian language and name.
Those limits were enlarged by the victories of Alexander; the
arts of Athens survived her freedom and dominion; and the Greek
colonies which the Macedonians planted in Egypt, and scattered
over Asia, undertook long and frequent pilgrimages to worship the
Muses in their favorite temple on the banks of the Ilissus. The
Latin conquerors respectfully listened to the instructions of
their subjects and captives; the names of Cicero and Horace were
enrolled in the schools of Athens; and after the perfect
settlement of the Roman empire, the natives of Italy, of Africa,
and of Britain, conversed in the groves of the academy with their
fellow-students of the East. The studies of philosophy and
eloquence are congenial to a popular state, which encourages the
freedom of inquiry, and submits only to the force of persuasion.
In the republics of Greece and Rome, the art of speaking was the
powerful engine of patriotism or ambition; and the schools of
rhetoric poured forth a colony of statesmen and legislators.
When the liberty of public debate was suppressed, the orator, in
the honorable profession of an advocate, might plead the cause of
innocence and justice; he might abuse his talents in the more
profitable trade of panegyric; and the same precepts continued to
dictate the fanciful declamations of the sophist, and the chaster
beauties of historical composition. The systems which professed
to unfold the nature of God, of man, and of the universe,
entertained the curiosity of the philosophic student; and
according to the temper of his mind, he might doubt with the
Sceptics, or decide with the Stoics, sublimely speculate with
Plato, or severely argue with Aristotle. The pride of the
adverse sects had fixed an unattainable term of moral happiness
and perfection; but the race was glorious and salutary; the
disciples of Zeno, and even those of Epicurus, were taught both
to act and to suffer; and the death of Petronius was not less
effectual than that of Seneca, to humble a tyrant by the
discovery of his impotence. The light of science could not indeed
be confined within the walls of Athens. Her incomparable writers
address themselves to the human race; the living masters
emigrated to Italy and Asia; Berytus, in later times, was devoted
to the study of the law; astronomy and physic were cultivated in
the musaeum of Alexandria; but the Attic schools of rhetoric and
philosophy maintained their superior reputation from the
Peloponnesian war to the reign of Justinian. Athens, though
situate in a barren soil, possessed a pure air, a free
navigation, and the monuments of ancient art. That sacred
retirement was seldom disturbed by the business of trade or
government; and the last of the Athenians were distinguished by
their lively wit, the purity of their taste and language, their
social manners, and some traces, at least in discourse, of the
magnanimity of their fathers. In the suburbs of the city, the
academy of the Platonists, the lycaeum of the Peripatetics, the
portico of the Stoics, and the garden of the Epicureans, were
planted with trees and decorated with statues; and the
philosophers, instead of being immured in a cloister, delivered
their instructions in spacious and pleasant walks, which, at
different hours, were consecrated to the exercises of the mind
and body. The genius of the founders still lived in those
venerable seats; the ambition of succeeding to the masters of
human reason excited a generous emulation; and the merit of the
candidates was determined, on each vacancy, by the free voices of
an enlightened people. The Athenian professors were paid by
their disciples: according to their mutual wants and abilities,
the price appears to have varied; and Isocrates himself, who
derides the avarice of the sophists, required, in his school of
rhetoric, about thirty pounds from each of his hundred pupils.
The wages of industry are just and honorable, yet the same
Isocrates shed tears at the first receipt of a stipend: the Stoic
might blush when he was hired to preach the contempt of money;
and I should be sorry to discover that Aristotle or Plato so far
degenerated from the example of Socrates, as to exchange
knowledge for gold. But some property of lands and houses was
settled by the permission of the laws, and the legacies of
deceased friends, on the philosophic chairs of Athens. Epicurus
bequeathed to his disciples the gardens which he had purchased
for eighty minae or two hundred and fifty pounds, with a fund
sufficient for their frugal subsistence and monthly festivals;
^146 and the patrimony of Plato afforded an annual rent, which,
in eight centuries, was gradually increased from three to one
thousand pieces of gold. ^147 The schools of Athens were
protected by the wisest and most virtuous of the Roman princes.
The library, which Hadrian founded, was placed in a portico
adorned with pictures, statues, and a roof of alabaster, and
supported by one hundred columns of Phrygian marble. The public
salaries were assigned by the generous spirit of the Antonines;
and each professor of politics, of rhetoric, of the Platonic, the
Peripatetic, the Stoic, and the Epicurean philosophy, received an
annual stipend of ten thousand drachmae, or more than three
hundred pounds sterling. ^148 After the death of Marcus, these
liberal donations, and the privileges attached to the thrones of
science, were abolished and revived, diminished and enlarged; but
some vestige of royal bounty may be found under the successors of
Constantine; and their arbitrary choice of an unworthy candidate
might tempt the philosophers of Athens to regret the days of
independence and poverty. ^149 It is remarkable, that the
impartial favor of the Antonines was bestowed on the four adverse
sects of philosophy, which they considered as equally useful, or
at least, as equally innocent. Socrates had formerly been the
glory and the reproach of his country; and the first lessons of
Epicurus so strangely scandalized the pious ears of the
Athenians, that by his exile, and that of his antagonists, they
silenced all vain disputes concerning the nature of the gods.
But in the ensuing year they recalled the hasty decree, restored
the liberty of the schools, and were convinced by the experience
of ages, that the moral character of philosophers is not affected
by the diversity of their theological speculations. ^150

[Footnote 143: The life of Isocrates extends from Olymp. lxxxvi.
1. to cx. 3, (ante Christ. 436 - 438.) See Dionys. Halicarn. tom.
ii. p. 149, 150, edit. Hudson. Plutarch (sive anonymus) in Vit.
X. Oratorum, p. 1538 - 1543, edit. H. Steph. Phot. cod. cclix.
p. 1453.]

[Footnote 144: The schools of Athens are copiously though
concisely represented in the Fortuna Attica of Meursius, (c.
viii. p. 59 - 73, in tom. i. Opp.) For the state and arts of the
city, see the first book of Pausanias, and a small tract of
Dicaearchus, in the second volume of Hudson's Geographers,) who
wrote about Olymp. cxvii. (Dodwell's Dissertia sect. 4.)]
[Footnote 145: Diogen Laert. de Vit. Philosoph. l. v. segm. 37,
p. 289.]
[Footnote 146: See the Testament of Epicurus in Diogen. Laert.
l. x. segm. 16 - 20, p. 611, 612. A single epistle (ad
Familiares, xiii. l.) displays the injustice of the Areopagus,
the fidelity of the Epicureans, the dexterous politeness of
Cicero, and the mixture of contempt and esteem with which the
Roman senators considered the philosophy and philosophers of
[Footnote 147: Damascius, in Vit. Isidor. apud Photium, cod.
ccxlii. p. 1054.]

[Footnote 148: See Lucian (in Eunuch. tom. ii. p. 350 - 359,
edit. Reitz,) Philostratus (in Vit. Sophist. l. ii. c. 2,) and
Dion Cassius, or Xiphilin, (lxxi. p. 1195,) with their editors Du
Soul, Olearius, and Reimar, and, above all, Salmasius, (ad Hist.
August. p. 72.) A judicious philosopher (Smith's Wealth of
Nations, vol. ii. p. 340 - 374) prefers the free contributions of
the students to a fixed stipend for the professor.]

[Footnote 149: Brucker, Hist. Crit. Philosoph. tom. ii. p. 310,
[Footnote 150: The birth of Epicurus is fixed to the year 342
before Christ, (Bayle,) Olympiad cix. 3; and he opened his school
at Athens, Olmp. cxviii. 3, 306 years before the same aera. This
intolerant law (Athenaeus, l. xiii. p. 610. Diogen. Laertius, l.
v. s. 38. p. 290. Julius Pollux, ix. 5) was enacted in the same
or the succeeding year, (Sigonius, Opp. tom. v. p. 62. Menagius
ad Diogen. Laert. p. 204. Corsini, Fasti Attici, tom. iv. p.
67, 68.) Theophrastus chief of the Peripatetics, and disciple of
Aristotle, was involved in the same exile.]

The Gothic arms were less fatal to the schools of Athens
than the establishment of a new religion, whose ministers
superseded the exercise of reason, resolved every question by an
article of faith, and condemned the infidel or sceptic to eternal
flames. In many a volume of laborious controversy, they exposed
the weakness of the understanding and the corruption of the
heart, insulted human nature in the sages of antiquity, and
proscribed the spirit of philosophical inquiry, so repugnant to
the doctrine, or at least to the temper, of an humble believer.
The surviving sects of the Platonists, whom Plato would have
blushed to acknowledge, extravagantly mingled a sublime theory
with the practice of superstition and magic; and as they remained
alone in the midst of a Christian world, they indulged a secret
rancor against the government of the church and state, whose
severity was still suspended over their heads. About a century
after the reign of Julian, ^151 Proclus ^152 was permitted to
teach in the philosophic chair of the academy; and such was his
industry, that he frequently, in the same day, pronounced five
lessons, and composed seven hundred lines. His sagacious mind
explored the deepest questions of morals and metaphysics, and he
ventured to urge eighteen arguments against the Christian
doctrine of the creation of the world. But in the intervals of
study, he personally conversed with Pan, Aesculapius, and
Minerva, in whose mysteries he was secretly initiated, and whose
prostrate statues he adored; in the devout persuasion that the
philosopher, who is a citizen of the universe, should be the
priest of its various deities. An eclipse of the sun announced
his approaching end; and his life, with that of his scholar
Isidore, ^153 compiled by two of their most learned disciples,
exhibits a deplorable picture of the second childhood of human
reason. Yet the golden chain, as it was fondly styled, of the
Platonic succession, continued forty-four years from the death of
Proclus to the edict of Justinian, ^154 which imposed a perpetual
silence on the schools of Athens, and excited the grief and
indignation of the few remaining votaries of Grecian science and
superstition. Seven friends and philosophers, Diogenes and
Hermias, Eulalius and Priscian, Damascius, Isidore, and
Simplicius, who dissented from the religion of their sovereign,
embraced the resolution of seeking in a foreign land the freedom
which was denied in their native country. They had heard, and
they credulously believed, that the republic of Plato was
realized in the despotic government of Persia, and that a patriot
king reigned ever the happiest and most virtuous of nations.
They were soon astonished by the natural discovery, that Persia
resembled the other countries of the globe; that Chosroes, who
affected the name of a philosopher, was vain, cruel, and
ambitious; that bigotry, and a spirit of intolerance, prevailed
among the Magi; that the nobles were haughty, the courtiers
servile, and the magistrates unjust; that the guilty sometimes
escaped, and that the innocent were often oppressed. The
disappointment of the philosophers provoked them to overlook the
real virtues of the Persians; and they were scandalized, more
deeply perhaps than became their profession, with the plurality
of wives and concubines, the incestuous marriages, and the custom
of exposing dead bodies to the dogs and vultures, instead of
hiding them in the earth, or consuming them with fire. Their
repentance was expressed by a precipitate return, and they loudly
declared that they had rather die on the borders of the empire,
than enjoy the wealth and favor of the Barbarian. From this
journey, however, they derived a benefit which reflects the
purest lustre on the character of Chosroes. He required, that
the seven sages who had visited the court of Persia should be
exempted from the penal laws which Justinian enacted against his
Pagan subjects; and this privilege, expressly stipulated in a
treaty of peace, was guarded by the vigilance of a powerful
mediator. ^155 Simplicius and his companions ended their lives in
peace and obscurity; and as they left no disciples, they
terminate the long list of Grecian philosophers, who may be
justly praised, notwithstanding their defects, as the wisest and
most virtuous of their contemporaries. The writings of
Simplicius are now extant. His physical and metaphysical
commentaries on Aristotle have passed away with the fashion of
the times; but his moral interpretation of Epictetus is preserved
in the library of nations, as a classic book, most excellently
adapted to direct the will, to purify the heart, and to confirm
the understanding, by a just confidence in the nature both of God
and man.

[Footnote 151: This is no fanciful aera: the Pagans reckoned
their calamities from the reign of their hero. Proclus, whose
nativity is marked by his horoscope, (A.D. 412, February 8, at C.
P.,) died 124 years, A.D. 485, (Marin. in Vita Procli, c. 36.)]

[Footnote 152: The life of Proclus, by Marinus, was published by
Fabricius (Hamburg, 1700, et ad calcem Bibliot. Latin. Lond.
1703.) See Saidas, (tom. iii. p. 185, 186,) Fabricius, (Bibliot.
Graec. l. v. c. 26 p. 449 - 552,) and Brucker, (Hist. Crit.
Philosoph. tom. ii. p. 319 - 326]

[Footnote 153: The life of Isidore was composed by Damascius,
(apud Photium, sod. ccxlii. p. 1028 - 1076.) See the last age of
the Pagan philosophers, in Brucker, (tom. ii. p. 341 - 351.)]

[Footnote 154: The suppression of the schools of Athens is
recorded by John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 187, sub Decio Cos. Sol.,)
and an anonymous Chronicle in the Vatican library, (apud Aleman.
p. 106.)]

[Footnote 155: Agathias (l. ii. p. 69, 70, 71) relates this
curious story Chosroes ascended the throne in the year 531, and
made his first peace with the Romans in the beginning of 533 - a
date most compatible with his young fame and the old age of
Isidore, (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient. tom. iii. p. 404. Pagi, tom.
ii. p. 543, 550.)]

About the same time that Pythagoras first invented the
appellation of philosopher, liberty and the consulship were
founded at Rome by the elder Brutus. The revolutions of the
consular office, which may be viewed in the successive lights of
a substance, a shadow, and a name, have been occasionally
mentioned in the present History. The first magistrates of the
republic had been chosen by the people, to exercise, in the
senate and in the camp, the powers of peace and war, which were
afterwards translated to the emperors. But the tradition of
ancient dignity was long revered by the Romans and Barbarians. A
Gothic historian applauds the consulship of Theodoric as the
height of all temporal glory and greatness; ^156 the king of
Italy himself congratulated those annual favorites of fortune
who, without the cares, enjoyed the splendor of the throne; and
at the end of a thousand years, two consuls were created by the
sovereigns of Rome and Constantinople, for the sole purpose of
giving a date to the year, and a festival to the people. But the
expenses of this festival, in which the wealthy and the vain
aspired to surpass their predecessors, insensibly arose to the
enormous sum of fourscore thousand pounds; the wisest senators
declined a useless honor, which involved the certain ruin of
their families, and to this reluctance I should impute the
frequent chasms in the last age of the consular Fasti. The
predecessors of Justinian had assisted from the public treasures
the dignity of the less opulent candidates; the avarice of that
prince preferred the cheaper and more convenient method of advice
and regulation. ^157 Seven processions or spectacles were the
number to which his edict confined the horse and chariot races,
the athletic sports, the music, and pantomimes of the theatre,
and the hunting of wild beasts; and small pieces of silver were
discreetly substituted to the gold medals, which had always
excited tumult and drunkenness, when they were scattered with a
profuse hand among the populace. Notwithstanding these
precautions, and his own example, the succession of consuls
finally ceased in the thirteenth year of Justinian, whose
despotic temper might be gratified by the silent extinction of a
title which admonished the Romans of their ancient freedom. ^158
Yet the annual consulship still lived in the minds of the people;
they fondly expected its speedy restoration; they applauded the
gracious condescension of successive princes, by whom it was
assumed in the first year of their reign; and three centuries
elapsed, after the death of Justinian, before that obsolete
dignity, which had been suppressed by custom, could be abolished
by law. ^159 The imperfect mode of distinguishing each year by
the name of a magistrate, was usefully supplied by the date of a
permanent aera: the creation of the world, according to the
Septuagint version, was adopted by the Greeks; ^160 and the
Latins, since the age of Charlemagne, have computed their time
from the birth of Christ. ^161

[Footnote 156: Cassiodor. Variarum Epist. vi. 1. Jornandes, c.
57, p. 696, dit. Grot. Quod summum bonum primumque in mundo
decus dicitur.]
[Footnote 157: See the regulations of Justinian, (Novell. cv.,)
dated at Constantinople, July 5, and addressed to Strategius,
treasurer of the empire.]
[Footnote 158: Procopius, in Anecdot. c. 26. Aleman. p. 106. In
the xviiith year after the consulship of Basilius, according to
the reckoning of Marcellinus, Victor, Marius, &c., the secret
history was composed, and, in the eyes of Procopius, the
consulship was finally abolished.]

[Footnote 159: By Leo, the philosopher, (Novell. xciv. A.D. 886 -
911.) See Pagi (Dissertat. Hypatica, p. 325 - 362) and Ducange,
(Gloss, Graec p. 1635, 1636.) Even the title was vilified:
consulatus codicilli . . vilescunt, says the emperor himself.]

[Footnote 160: According to Julius Africanus, &c., the world was
created the first of September, 5508 years, three months, and
twenty-five days before the birth of Christ. (See Pezron,
Antiquite des Tems defendue, p. 20 - 28.) And this aera has been
used by the Greeks, the Oriental Christians, and even by the
Russians, till the reign of Peter I The period, however
arbitrary, is clear and convenient. Of the 7296 years which are
supposed to elapse since the creation, we shall find 3000 of
ignorance and darkness; 2000 either fabulous or doubtful; 1000 of
ancient history, commencing with the Persian empire, and the
Republics of Rome and Athens; 1000 from the fall of the Roman
empire in the West to the discovery of America; and the remaining
296 will almost complete three centuries of the modern state of
Europe and mankind. I regret this chronology, so far preferable
to our double and perplexed method of counting backwards and
forwards the years before and after the Christian era.]

[Footnote 161: The aera of the world has prevailed in the East
since the vith general council, (A.D. 681.) In the West, the
Christian aera was first invented in the vith century: it was
propagated in the viiith by the authority and writings of
venerable Bede; but it was not till the xth that the use became
legal and popular. See l'Art de Veriner les Dates, Dissert.
Preliminaire, p. iii. xii. Dictionnaire Diplomatique, tom. i. p.
329 - 337; the works of a laborious society of Benedictine

Chapter XLI: Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius.

Part I.

Conquests Of Justinian In The West. - Character And First
Campaigns Of Belisarius - He Invades And Subdues The Vandal
Kingdom Of Africa - His Triumph. - The Gothic War. - He Recovers
Sicily, Naples, And Rome. - Siege Of Rome By The Goths. - Their
Retreat And Losses. - Surrender Of Ravenna. - Glory Of
Belisarius. - His Domestic Shame And Misfortunes.

When Justinian ascended the throne, about fifty years after
the fall of the Western empire, the kingdoms of the Goths and
Vandals had obtained a solid, and, as it might seem, a legal
establishment both in Europe and Africa. The titles, which Roman
victory had inscribed, were erased with equal justice by the
sword of the Barbarians; and their successful rapine derived a
more venerable sanction from time, from treaties, and from the
oaths of fidelity, already repeated by a second or third
generation of obedient subjects. Experience and Christianity had
refuted the superstitious hope, that Rome was founded by the gods
to reign forever over the nations of the earth. But the proud
claim of perpetual and indefeasible dominion, which her soldiers
could no longer maintain, was firmly asserted by her statesmen
and lawyers, whose opinions have been sometimes revived and
propagated in the modern schools of jurisprudence. After Rome
herself had been stripped of the Imperial purple, the princes of
Constantinople assumed the sole and sacred sceptre of the
monarchy; demanded, as their rightful inheritance, the provinces
which had been subdued by the consuls, or possessed by the
Caesars; and feebly aspired to deliver their faithful subjects of
the West from the usurpation of heretics and Barbarians. The
execution of this splendid design was in some degree reserved for
Justinian. During the five first years of his reign, he
reluctantly waged a costly and unprofitable war against the
Persians; till his pride submitted to his ambition, and he
purchased at the price of four hundred and forty thousand pounds
sterling, the benefit of a precarious truce, which, in the
language of both nations, was dignified with the appellation of
the endless peace. The safety of the East enabled the emperor to
employ his forces against the Vandals; and the internal state of
Africa afforded an honorable motive, and promised a powerful
support, to the Roman arms. ^1
[Footnote 1: The complete series of the Vandal war is related by
Procopius in a regular and elegant narrative, (l. i. c. 9 - 25,
l. ii. c. 1 - 13,) and happy would be my lot, could I always
tread in the footsteps of such a guide. From the entire and
diligent perusal of the Greek text, I have a right to pronounce
that the Latin and French versions of Grotius and Cousin may not
be implicitly trusted; yet the president Cousin has been often
praised, and Hugo Grotius was the first scholar of a learned

According to the testament of the founder, the African
kingdom had lineally descended to Hilderic, the eldest of the
Vandal princes. A mild disposition inclined the son of a tyrant,
the grandson of a conqueror, to prefer the counsels of clemency
and peace; and his accession was marked by the salutary edict,
which restored two hundred bishops to their churches, and allowed
the free profession of the Athanasian creed. ^2 But the Catholics
accepted, with cold and transient gratitude, a favor so
inadequate to their pretensions, and the virtues of Hilderic
offended the prejudices of his countrymen. The Arian clergy
presumed to insinuate that he had renounced the faith, and the
soldiers more loudly complained that he had degenerated from the
courage, of his ancestors. His ambassadors were suspected of a
secret and disgraceful negotiation in the Byzantine court; and
his general, the Achilles, ^3 as he was named, of the Vandals,
lost a battle against the naked and disorderly Moors. The public
discontent was exasperated by Gelimer, whose age, descent, and
military fame, gave him an apparent title to the succession: he
assumed, with the consent of the nation, the reins of government;
and his unfortunate sovereign sunk without a struggle from the
throne to a dungeon, where he was strictly guarded with a
faithful counsellor, and his unpopular nephew the Achilles of the
Vandals. But the indulgence which Hilderic had shown to his
Catholic subjects had powerfully recommended him to the favor of
Justinian, who, for the benefit of his own sect, could
acknowledge the use and justice of religious toleration: their
alliance, while the nephew of Justin remained in a private
station, was cemented by the mutual exchange of gifts and
letters; and the emperor Justinian asserted the cause of royalty
and friendship. In two successive embassies, he admonished the
usurper to repent of his treason, or to abstain, at least, from
any further violence which might provoke the displeasure of God
and of the Romans; to reverence the laws of kindred and
succession, and to suffer an infirm old man peaceably to end his
days, either on the throne of Carthage or in the palace of
Constantinople. The passions, or even the prudence, of Gelimer
compelled him to reject these requests, which were urged in the
haughty tone of menace and command; and he justified his ambition
in a language rarely spoken in the Byzantine court, by alleging
the right of a free people to remove or punish their chief
magistrate, who had failed in the execution of the kingly office.

After this fruitless expostulation, the captive monarch was more
rigorously treated, his nephew was deprived of his eyes, and the
cruel Vandal, confident in his strength and distance, derided the
vain threats and slow preparations of the emperor of the East.
Justinian resolved to deliver or revenge his friend, Gelimer to
maintain his usurpation; and the war was preceded, according to
the practice of civilized nations, by the most solemn
protestations, that each party was sincerely desirous of peace.

[Footnote 2: See Ruinart, Hist. Persecut. Vandal. c. xii. p. 589.

His best evidence is drawn from the life of St. Fulgentius,
composed by one of his disciples, transcribed in a great measure
in the annals of Baronius, and printed in several great
collections, (Catalog. Bibliot. Bunavianae, tom. i. vol. ii. p.

[Footnote 3: For what quality of the mind or body? For speed, or
beauty, or valor? - In what language did the Vandals read Homer?
- Did he speak German? - The Latins had four versions, (Fabric.
tom. i. l. ii. c. 8, p. 297:) yet, in spite of the praises of
Seneca, (Consol. c. 26,) they appear to have been more successful
in imitating than in translating the Greek poets. But the name
of Achilles might be famous and popular even among the illiterate
The report of an African war was grateful only to the vain
and idle populace of Constantinople, whose poverty exempted them
from tribute, and whose cowardice was seldom exposed to military
service. But the wiser citizens, who judged of the future by the
past, revolved in their memory the immense loss, both of men and
money, which the empire had sustained in the expedition of
Basiliscus. The troops, which, after five laborious campaigns,
had been recalled from the Persian frontier, dreaded the sea, the
climate, and the arms of an unknown enemy. The ministers of the
finances computed, as far as they might compute, the demands of
an African war; the taxes which must be found and levied to
supply those insatiate demands; and the danger, lest their own
lives, or at least their lucrative employments, should be made
responsible for the deficiency of the supply. Inspired by such
selfish motives, (for we may not suspect him of any zeal for the
public good,) John of Cappadocia ventured to oppose in full
council the inclinations of his master. He confessed, that a
victory of such importance could not be too dearly purchased; but
he represented in a grave discourse the certain difficulties and
the uncertain event. "You undertake," said the praefect, "to
besiege Carthage: by land, the distance is not less than one
hundred and forty days' journey; on the sea, a whole year ^4 must
elapse before you can receive any intelligence from your fleet.
If Africa should be reduced, it cannot be preserved without the
additional conquest of Sicily and Italy. Success will impose the
obligations of new labors; a single misfortune will attract the
Barbarians into the heart of your exhausted empire." Justinian
felt the weight of this salutary advice; he was confounded by the
unwonted freedom of an obsequious servant; and the design of the
war would perhaps have been relinquished, if his courage had not
been revived by a voice which silenced the doubts of profane
reason. "I have seen a vision," cried an artful or fanatic
bishop of the East. "It is the will of Heaven, O emperor! that
you should not abandon your holy enterprise for the deliverance
of the African church. The God of battles will march before your
standard, and disperse your enemies, who are the enemies of his
Son." The emperor, might be tempted, and his counsellors were
constrained, to give credit to this seasonable revelation: but
they derived more rational hope from the revolt, which the
adherents of Hilderic or Athanasius had already excited on the
borders of the Vandal monarchy. Pudentius, an African subject,
had privately signified his loyal intentions, and a small
military aid restored the province of Tripoli to the obedience of
the Romans. The government of Sardinia had been intrusted to
Godas, a valiant Barbarian he suspended the payment of tribute,
disclaimed his allegiance to the usurper, and gave audience to
the emissaries of Justinian, who found him master of that
fruitful island, at the head of his guards, and proudly invested
with the ensigns of royalty. The forces of the Vandals were
diminished by discord and suspicion; the Roman armies were
animated by the spirit of Belisarius; one of those heroic names
which are familiar to every age and to every nation.

[Footnote 4: A year - absurd exaggeration! The conquest of
Africa may be dated A. D 533, September 14. It is celebrated by
Justinian in the preface to his Institutes, which were published
November 21 of the same year. Including the voyage and return,
such a computation might be truly applied to our Indian empire.]

The Africanus of new Rome was born, and perhaps educated,
among the Thracian peasants, ^5 without any of those advantages
which had formed the virtues of the elder and younger Scipio; a
noble origin, liberal studies, and the emulation of a free state.

The silence of a loquacious secretary may be admitted, to prove
that the youth of Belisarius could not afford any subject of
praise: he served, most assuredly with valor and reputation,
among the private guards of Justinian; and when his patron became
emperor, the domestic was promoted to military command. After a
bold inroad into Persarmenia, in which his glory was shared by a
colleague, and his progress was checked by an enemy, Belisarius
repaired to the important station of Dara, where he first
accepted the service of Procopius, the faithful companion, and
diligent historian, of his exploits. ^6 The Mirranes of Persia
advanced, with forty thousand of her best troops, to raze the
fortifications of Dara; and signified the day and the hour on
which the citizens should prepare a bath for his refreshment,
after the toils of victory. He encountered an adversary equal to
himself, by the new title of General of the East; his superior in
the science of war, but much inferior in the number and quality
of his troops, which amounted only to twenty-five thousand Romans
and strangers, relaxed in their discipline, and humbled by recent
disasters. As the level plain of Dara refused all shelter to
stratagem and ambush, Belisarius protected his front with a deep
trench, which was prolonged at first in perpendicular, and
afterwards in parallel, lines, to cover the wings of cavalry
advantageously posted to command the flanks and rear of the
enemy. When the Roman centre was shaken, their well-timed and
rapid charge decided the conflict: the standard of Persia fell;
the immortals fled; the infantry threw away their bucklers, and
eight thousand of the vanquished were left on the field of
battle. In the next campaign, Syria was invaded on the side of
the desert; and Belisarius, with twenty thousand men, hastened
from Dara to the relief of the province. During the whole summer,
the designs of the enemy were baffled by his skilful
dispositions: he pressed their retreat, occupied each night their
camp of the preceding day, and would have secured a bloodless
victory, if he could have resisted the impatience of his own
troops. Their valiant promise was faintly supported in the hour
of battle; the right wing was exposed by the treacherous or
cowardly desertion of the Christian Arabs; the Huns, a veteran
band of eight hundred warriors, were oppressed by superior
numbers; the flight of the Isaurians was intercepted; but the
Roman infantry stood firm on the left; for Belisarius himself,
dismounting from his horse, showed them that intrepid despair was
their only safety. ^* They turned their backs to the Euphrates,
and their faces to the enemy: innumerable arrows glanced without
effect from the compact and shelving order of their bucklers; an
impenetrable line of pikes was opposed to the repeated assaults
of the Persian cavalry; and after a resistance of many hours, the
remaining troops were skilfully embarked under the shadow of the
night. The Persian commander retired with disorder and disgrace,
to answer a strict account of the lives of so many soldiers,
which he had consumed in a barren victory. But the fame of
Belisarius was not sullied by a defeat, in which he alone had
saved his army from the consequences of their own rashness: the
approach of peace relieved him from the guard of the eastern
frontier, and his conduct in the sedition of Constantinople amply
discharged his obligations to the emperor. When the African war
became the topic of popular discourse and secret deliberation,
each of the Roman generals was apprehensive, rather than
ambitious, of the dangerous honor; but as soon as Justinian had
declared his preference of superior merit, their envy was
rekindled by the unanimous applause which was given to the choice
of Belisarius. The temper of the Byzantine court may encourage a
suspicion, that the hero was darkly assisted by the intrigues of
his wife, the fair and subtle Antonina, who alternately enjoyed
the confidence, and incurred the hatred, of the empress Theodora.

The birth of Antonina was ignoble; she descended from a family of
charioteers; and her chastity has been stained with the foulest
reproach. Yet she reigned with long and absolute power over the
mind of her illustrious husband; and if Antonina disdained the
merit of conjugal fidelity, she expressed a manly friendship to
Belisarius, whom she accompanied with undaunted resolution in all
the hardships and dangers of a military life. ^7

[Footnote 5: (Procop. Vandal. l. i. c. 11.) Aleman, (Not. ad
Anecdot. p. 5,) an Italian, could easily reject the German vanity
of Giphanius and Velserus, who wished to claim the hero; but his
Germania, a metropolis of Thrace, I cannot find in any civil or
ecclesiastical lists of the provinces and cities.

Note *: M. von Hammer (in a review of Lord Mahon's Life of
Belisarius in the Vienna Jahrbucher) shows that the name of
Belisarius is a Sclavonic word, Beli-tzar, the White Prince, and
that the place of his birth was a village of Illvria, which still
bears the name of Germany. - M.]

[Footnote 6: The two first Persian campaigns of Belisarius are
fairly and copiously related by his secretary, (Persic. l. i. c.
12 - 18.)]
[Footnote *: The battle was fought on Easter Sunday, April 19,
not at the end of the summer. The date is supplied from John
Malala by Lord Mabon p. 47. - M.]

[Footnote 7: See the birth and character of Antonina, in the
Anecdotes, c. l. and the notes of Alemannus, p. 3.]

The preparations for the African war were not unworthy of
the last contest between Rome and Carthage. The pride and flower
of the army consisted of the guards of Belisarius, who, according
to the pernicious indulgence of the times, devoted themselves, by
a particular oath of fidelity, to the service of their patrons.
Their strength and stature, for which they had been curiously
selected, the goodness of their horses and armor, and the
assiduous practice of all the exercises of war, enabled them to
act whatever their courage might prompt; and their courage was
exalted by the social honor of their rank, and the personal
ambition of favor and fortune. Four hundred of the bravest of
the Heruli marched under the banner of the faithful and active
Pharas; their untractable valor was more highly prized than the
tame submission of the Greeks and Syrians; and of such importance
was it deemed to procure a reenforcement of six hundred
Massagetae, or Huns, that they were allured by fraud and deceit
to engage in a naval expedition. Five thousand horse and ten
thousand foot were embarked at Constantinople, for the conquest
of Africa; but the infantry, for the most part levied in Thrace
and Isauria, yielded to the more prevailing use and reputation of
the cavalry; and the Scythian bow was the weapon on which the
armies of Rome were now reduced to place their principal
dependence. From a laudable desire to assert the dignity of his
theme, Procopius defends the soldiers of his own time against the
morose critics, who confined that respectable name to the
heavy-armed warriors of antiquity, and maliciously observed, that
the word archer is introduced by Homer ^8 as a term of contempt.
"Such contempt might perhaps be due to the naked youths who
appeared on foot in the fields of Troy, and lurking behind a
tombstone, or the shield of a friend, drew the bow-string to
their breast, ^9 and dismissed a feeble and lifeless arrow. But
our archers (pursues the historian) are mounted on horses, which
they manage with admirable skill; their head and shoulders are
protected by a casque or buckler; they wear greaves of iron on
their legs, and their bodies are guarded by a coat of mail. On
their right side hangs a quiver, a sword on their left, and their
hand is accustomed to wield a lance or javelin in closer combat.
Their bows are strong and weighty; they shoot in every possible
direction, advancing, retreating, to the front, to the rear, or
to either flank; and as they are taught to draw the bow-string
not to the breast, but to the right ear, firm indeed must be the
armor that can resist the rapid violence of their shaft." Five
hundred transports, navigated by twenty thousand mariners of
Egypt, Cilicia, and Ionia, were collected in the harbor of
Constantinople. The smallest of these vessels may be computed at
thirty, the largest at five hundred, tons; and the fair average
will supply an allowance, liberal, but not profuse, of about one
hundred thousand tons, ^10 for the reception of thirty-five
thousand soldiers and sailors, of five thousand horses, of arms,
engines, and military stores, and of a sufficient stock of water
and provisions for a voyage, perhaps, of three months. The proud
galleys, which in former ages swept the Mediterranean with so
many hundred oars, had long since disappeared; and the fleet of
Justinian was escorted only by ninety-two light brigantines,
covered from the missile weapons of the enemy, and rowed by two
thousand of the brave and robust youth of Constantinople.
Twenty-two generals are named, most of whom were afterwards
distinguished in the wars of Africa and Italy: but the supreme
command, both by land and sea, was delegated to Belisarius alone,
with a boundless power of acting according to his discretion, as
if the emperor himself were present. The separation of the naval
and military professions is at once the effect and the cause of
the modern improvements in the science of navigation and maritime
[Footnote 8: See the preface of Procopius. The enemies of
archery might quote the reproaches of Diomede Iliad. Delta. 385,
&c.) and the permittere vulnera ventis of Lucan, (viii. 384:) yet
the Romans could not despise the arrows of the Parthians; and in
the siege of Troy, Pandarus, Paris, and Teucer, pierced those
haughty warriors who insulted them as women or children.]
[Footnote 9: (Iliad. Delta. 123.) How concise - how just - how
beautiful is the whole picture! I see the attitudes of the
archer - I hear the twanging of the bow.]

[Footnote 10: The text appears to allow for the largest vessels
50,000 medimni, or 3000 tons, (since the medimnus weighed 160
Roman, or 120 avoirdupois, pounds.) I have given a more rational
interpretation, by supposing that the Attic style of Procopius
conceals the legal and popular modius, a sixth part of the
medimnus, (Hooper's Ancient Measures, p. 152, &c.) A contrary and
indeed a stranger mistake has crept into an oration of Dinarchus,
(contra Demosthenem, in Reiske Orator. Graec tom iv. P. ii. p.
34.) By reducing the number of ships from 500 to 50, and
translating by mines, or pounds, Cousin has generously allowed
500 tons for the whole of the Imperial fleet! Did he never

In the seventh year of the reign of Justinian, and about the
time of the summer solstice, the whole fleet of six hundred ships
was ranged in martial pomp before the gardens of the palace. The
patriarch pronounced his benediction, the emperor signified his
last commands, the general's trumpet gave the signal of
departure, and every heart, according to its fears or wishes,
explored, with anxious curiosity, the omens of misfortune and
success. The first halt was made at Perinthus or Heraclea, where
Belisarius waited five days to receive some Thracian horses, a
military gift of his sovereign. From thence the fleet pursued
their course through the midst of the Propontis; but as they
struggled to pass the Straits of the Hellespont, an unfavorable
wind detained them four days at Abydus, where the general
exhibited a memorable lesson of firmness and severity. Two of
the Huns, who in a drunken quarrel had slain one of their
fellow-soldiers, were instantly shown to the army suspended on a
lofty gibbet. The national dignity was resented by their
countrymen, who disclaimed the servile laws of the empire, and
asserted the free privilege of Scythia, where a small fine was
allowed to expiate the hasty sallies of intemperance and anger.
Their complaints were specious, their clamors were loud, and the
Romans were not averse to the example of disorder and impunity.
But the rising sedition was appeased by the authority and
eloquence of the general: and he represented to the assembled
troops the obligation of justice, the importance of discipline,
the rewards of piety and virtue, and the unpardonable guilt of
murder, which, in his apprehension, was aggravated rather than
excused by the vice of intoxication. ^11 In the navigation from
the Hellespont to Peloponnesus, which the Greeks, after the siege
of Troy, had performed in four days, ^12 the fleet of Belisarius
was guided in their course by his master-galley, conspicuous in
the day by the redness of the sails, and in the night by the
torches blazing from the mast head. It was the duty of the
pilots, as they steered between the islands, and turned the Capes
of Malea and Taenarium, to preserve the just order and regular
intervals of such a multitude of ships: as the wind was fair and
moderate, their labors were not unsuccessful, and the troops were
safely disembarked at Methone on the Messenian coast, to repose
themselves for a while after the fatigues of the sea. In this
place they experienced how avarice, invested with authority, may
sport with the lives of thousands which are bravely exposed for
the public service. According to military practice, the bread or
biscuit of the Romans was twice prepared in the oven, and the
diminution of one fourth was cheerfully allowed for the loss of
weight. To gain this miserable profit, and to save the expense
of wood, the praefect John of Cappadocia had given orders that
the flour should be slightly baked by the same fire which warmed
the baths of Constantinople; and when the sacks were opened, a
soft and mouldy paste was distributed to the army. Such
unwholesome food, assisted by the heat of the climate and season,
soon produced an epidemical disease, which swept away five
hundred soldiers. Their health was restored by the diligence of
Belisarius, who provided fresh bread at Methone, and boldly
expressed his just and humane indignation the emperor heard his
complaint; the general was praised but the minister was not
punished. From the port of Methone, the pilots steered along the
western coast of Peloponnesus, as far as the Isle of Zacynthus,
or Zante, before they undertook the voyage (in their eyes a most
arduous voyage) of one hundred leagues over the Ionian Sea. As
the fleet was surprised by a calm, sixteen days were consumed in
the slow navigation; and even the general would have suffered the
intolerable hardship of thirst, if the ingenuity of Antonina had
not preserved the water in glass bottles, which she buried deep
in the sand in a part of the ship impervious to the rays of the
sun. At length the harbor of Caucana, ^13 on the southern side
of Sicily, afforded a secure and hospitable shelter. The Gothic
officers who governed the island in the name of the daughter and
grandson of Theodoric, obeyed their imprudent orders, to receive
the troops of Justinian like friends and allies: provisions were
liberally supplied, the cavalry was remounted, ^14 and Procopius
soon returned from Syracuse with correct information of the state
and designs of the Vandals. His intelligence determined
Belisarius to hasten his operations, and his wise impatience was
seconded by the winds. The fleet lost sight of Sicily, passed
before the Isle of Malta, discovered the capes of Africa, ran
along the coast with a strong gale from the north-east, and
finally cast anchor at the promontory of Caput Vada, about five
days' journey to the south of Carthage. ^15
[Footnote 11: I have read of a Greek legislator, who inflicted a
double penalty on the crimes committed in a state of
intoxication; but it seems agreed that this was rather a
political than a moral law.]
[Footnote 12: Or even in three days, since they anchored the
first evening in the neighboring isle of Tenedos: the second day
they sailed to Lesbon the third to the promontory of Euboea, and
on the fourth they reached Argos, (Homer, Odyss. P. 130 - 183.
Wood's Essay on Homer, p. 40 - 46.) A pirate sailed from the
Hellespont to the seaport of Sparta in three days, (Xenophon.
Hellen. l. ii. c. l.)]

[Footnote 13: Caucana, near Camarina, is at least 50 miles (350
or 400 stadia) from Syracuse, (Cluver. Sicilia Antiqua, p. 191.)

Note *: Lord Mahon. (Life of Belisarius, p.88) suggests some
valid reasons for reading Catana, the ancient name of Catania. -
[Footnote 14: Procopius, Gothic. l. i. c. 3. Tibi tollit
hinnitum apta quadrigis equa, in the Sicilian pastures of
Grosphus, (Horat. Carm. ii. 16.) Acragas .... magnanimum quondam
generator equorum, (Virg. Aeneid. iii. 704.) Thero's horses,
whose victories are immortalized by Pindar, were bred in this

[Footnote 15: The Caput Vada of Procopius (where Justinian
afterwards founded a city - De Edific.l. vi. c. 6) is the
promontory of Ammon in Strabo, the Brachodes of Ptolemy, the
Capaudia of the moderns, a long narrow slip that runs into the
sea, (Shaw's Travels, p. 111.)]

If Gelimer had been informed of the approach of the enemy,
he must have delayed the conquest of Sardinia for the immediate
defence of his person and kingdom. A detachment of five thousand
soldiers, and one hundred and twenty galleys, would have joined
the remaining forces of the Vandals; and the descendant of
Genseric might have surprised and oppressed a fleet of deep laden
transports, incapable of action, and of light brigantines that
seemed only qualified for flight. Belisarius had secretly
trembled when he overheard his soldiers, in the passage,
emboldening each other to confess their apprehensions: if they
were once on shore, they hoped to maintain the honor of their
arms; but if they should be attacked at sea, they did not blush
to acknowledge that they wanted courage to contend at the same
time with the winds, the waves, and the Barbarians. ^16 The
knowledge of their sentiments decided Belisarius to seize the
first opportunity of landing them on the coast of Africa; and he
prudently rejected, in a council of war, the proposal of sailing
with the fleet and army into the port of Carthage. ^* Three
months after their departure from Constantinople, the men and
horses, the arms and military stores, were safely disembarked,
and five soldiers were left as a guard on board each of the
ships, which were disposed in the form of a semicircle. The
remainder of the troops occupied a camp on the sea- shore, which
they fortified, according to ancient discipline, with a ditch and
rampart; and the discovery of a source of fresh water, while it
allayed the thirst, excited the superstitious confidence, of the
Romans. The next morning, some of the neighboring gardens were
pillaged; and Belisarius, after chastising the offenders,
embraced the slight occasion, but the decisive moment, of
inculcating the maxims of justice, moderation, and genuine
policy. "When I first accepted the commission of subduing Africa,
I depended much less," said the general, "on the numbers, or even
the bravery of my troops, than on the friendly disposition of the
natives, and their immortal hatred to the Vandals. You alone can
deprive me of this hope; if you continue to extort by rapine what
might be purchased for a little money, such acts of violence will
reconcile these implacable enemies, and unite them in a just and
holy league against the invaders of their country." These
exhortations were enforced by a rigid discipline, of which the
soldiers themselves soon felt and praised the salutary effects.
The inhabitants, instead of deserting their houses, or hiding
their corn, supplied the Romans with a fair and liberal market:
the civil officers of the province continued to exercise their
functions in the name of Justinian: and the clergy, from motives
of conscience and interest, assiduously labored to promote the
cause of a Catholic emperor. The small town of Sullecte, ^17 one
day's journey from the camp, had the honor of being foremost to
open her gates, and to resume her ancient allegiance: the larger
cities of Leptis and Adrumetum imitated the example of loyalty as
soon as Belisarius appeared; and he advanced without opposition
as far as Grasse, a palace of the Vandal kings, at the distance
of fifty miles from Carthage. The weary Romans indulged
themselves in the refreshment of shady groves, cool fountains,
and delicious fruits; and the preference which Procopius allows
to these gardens over any that he had seen, either in the East or
West, may be ascribed either to the taste, or the fatigue, or the
historian. In three generations, prosperity and a warm climate
had dissolved the hardy virtue of the Vandals, who insensibly
became the most luxurious of mankind. In their villas and
gardens, which might deserve the Persian name of Paradise, ^18
they enjoyed a cool and elegant repose; and, after the daily use
of the bath, the Barbarians were seated at a table profusely
spread with the delicacies of the land and sea. Their silken
robes loosely flowing, after the fashion of the Medes, were
embroidered with gold; love and hunting were the labors of their
life, and their vacant hours were amused by pantomimes,
chariot-races, and the music and dances of the theatre.

[Footnote 16: A centurion of Mark Antony expressed, though in a
more manly train, the same dislike to the sea and to naval
combats, (Plutarch in Antonio, p. 1730, edit. Hen. Steph.)]

[Footnote *: Rather into the present Lake of Tunis. Lord Mahon,
p. 92. - M.]
[Footnote 17: Sullecte is perhaps the Turris Hannibalis, an old
building, now as large as the Tower of London. The march of
Belisarius to Leptis. Adrumetum, &c., is illustrated by the
campaign of Caesar, (Hirtius, de Bello Africano, with the Analyse
of Guichardt,) and Shaw's Travels (p. 105 - 113) in the same

[Footnote 18: The paradises, a name and fashion adopted from
Persia, may be represented by the royal garden of Ispahan,
(Voyage d'Olearius, p. 774.) See, in the Greek romances, their
most perfect model, (Longus. Pastoral. l. iv. p. 99 - 101
Achilles Tatius. l. i. p. 22, 23.)]

In a march of ten or twelve days, the vigilance of
Belisarius was constantly awake and active against his unseen
enemies, by whom, in every place, and at every hour, he might be
suddenly attacked. An officer of confidence and merit, John the
Armenian, led the vanguard of three hundred horse; six hundred
Massagetae covered at a certain distance the left flank; and the
whole fleet, steering along the coast, seldom lost sight of the
army, which moved each day about twelve miles, and lodged in the
evening in strong camps, or in friendly towns. The near approach
of the Romans to Carthage filled the mind of Gelimer with anxiety
and terror. He prudently wished to protract the war till his
brother, with his veteran troops, should return from the conquest
of Sardinia; and he now lamented the rash policy of his
ancestors, who, by destroying the fortifications of Africa, had
left him only the dangerous resource of risking a battle in the
neighborhood of his capital. The Vandal conquerors, from their
original number of fifty thousand, were multiplied, without
including their women and children, to one hundred and sixty
thousand fighting men: ^* and such forces, animated with valor
and union, might have crushed, at their first landing, the feeble
and exhausted bands of the Roman general. But the friends of the
captive king were more inclined to accept the invitations, than
to resist the progress, of Belisarius; and many a proud Barbarian
disguised his aversion to war under the more specious name of his
hatred to the usurper. Yet the authority and promises of Gelimer
collected a formidable army, and his plans were concerted with
some degree of military skill. An order was despatched to his
brother Ammatas, to collect all the forces of Carthage, and to
encounter the van of the Roman army at the distance of ten miles
from the city: his nephew Gibamund, with two thousand horse, was
destined to attack their left, when the monarch himself, who
silently followed, should charge their rear, in a situation which
excluded them from the aid or even the view of their fleet. But
the rashness of Ammatas was fatal to himself and his country. He
anticipated the hour of the attack, outstripped his tardy
followers, and was pierced with a mortal wound, after he had
slain with his own hand twelve of his boldest antagonists. His
Vandals fled to Carthage; the highway, almost ten miles, was
strewed with dead bodies; and it seemed incredible that such
multitudes could be slaughtered by the swords of three hundred
Romans. The nephew of Gelimer was defeated, after a slight
combat, by the six hundred Massagetae: they did not equal the
third part of his numbers; but each Scythian was fired by the
example of his chief, who gloriously exercised the privilege of
his family, by riding, foremost and alone, to shoot the first
arrow against the enemy. In the mean while, Gelimer himself,
ignorant of the event, and misguided by the windings of the
hills, inadvertently passed the Roman army, and reached the scene
of action where Ammatas had fallen. He wept the fate of his
brother and of Carthage, charged with irresistible fury the
advancing squadrons, and might have pursued, and perhaps decided,
the victory, if he had not wasted those inestimable moments in
the discharge of a vain, though pious, duty to the dead. While
his spirit was broken by this mournful office, he heard the
trumpet of Belisarius, who, leaving Antonina and his infantry in
the camp, pressed forwards with his guards and the remainder of
the cavalry to rally his flying troops, and to restore the
fortune of the day. Much room could not be found, in this
disorderly battle, for the talents of a general; but the king
fled before the hero; and the Vandals, accustomed only to a
Moorish enemy, were incapable of withstanding the arms and
discipline of the Romans. Gelimer retired with hasty steps
towards the desert of Numidia: but he had soon the consolation of
learning that his private orders for the execution of Hilderic
and his captive friends had been faithfully obeyed. The tyrant's
revenge was useful only to his enemies. The death of a lawful
prince excited the compassion of his people; his life might have
perplexed the victorious Romans; and the lieutenant of Justinian,
by a crime of which he was innocent, was relieved from the
painful alternative of forfeiting his honor or relinquishing his

[Footnote *: 80,000. Hist. Arc. c. 18. Gibbon has been misled by
the translation. See Lord ov. p. 99. - M.]

Chapter XLI: Conquests Of Justinian, Charact Of Balisarius.

Part II.

As soon as the tumult had subsided, the several parts of the
army informed each other of the accidents of the day; and
Belisarius pitched his camp on the field of victory, to which the
tenth mile-stone from Carthage had applied the Latin appellation
of Decimus. From a wise suspicion of the stratagems and
resources of the Vandals, he marched the next day in order of
battle, halted in the evening before the gates of Carthage, and
allowed a night of repose, that he might not, in darkness and
disorder, expose the city to the license of the soldiers, or the
soldiers themselves to the secret ambush of the city. But as the
fears of Belisarius were the result of calm and intrepid reason,
he was soon satisfied that he might confide, without danger, in
the peaceful and friendly aspect of the capital. Carthage blazed
with innumerable torches, the signals of the public joy; the
chain was removed that guarded the entrance of the port; the
gates were thrown open, and the people, with acclamations of
gratitude, hailed and invited their Roman deliverers. The defeat
of the Vandals, and the freedom of Africa, were announced to the
city on the eve of St. Cyprian, when the churches were already
adorned and illuminated for the festival of the martyr whom three
centuries of superstition had almost raised to a local deity.
The Arians, conscious that their reign had expired, resigned the
temple to the Catholics, who rescued their saint from profane
hands, performed the holy rites, and loudly proclaimed the creed
of Athanasius and Justinian. One awful hour reversed the
fortunes of the contending parties. The suppliant Vandals, who
had so lately indulged the vices of conquerors, sought an humble
refuge in the sanctuary of the church; while the merchants of the
East were delivered from the deepest dungeon of the palace by
their affrighted keeper, who implored the protection of his
captives, and showed them, through an aperture in the wall, the
sails of the Roman fleet. After their separation from the army,
the naval commanders had proceeded with slow caution along the
coast till they reached the Hermaean promontory, and obtained the
first intelligence of the victory of Belisarius. Faithful to his
instructions, they would have cast anchor about twenty miles from
Carthage, if the more skilful seamen had not represented the
perils of the shore, and the signs of an impending tempest.
Still ignorant of the revolution, they declined, however, the
rash attempt of forcing the chain of the port; and the adjacent
harbor and suburb of Mandracium were insulted only by the rapine
of a private officer, who disobeyed and deserted his leaders.
But the Imperial fleet, advancing with a fair wind, steered
through the narrow entrance of the Goletta, and occupied, in the
deep and capacious lake of Tunis, a secure station about five
miles from the capital. ^19 No sooner was Belisarius informed of
their arrival, than he despatched orders that the greatest part
of the mariners should be immediately landed to join the triumph,
and to swell the apparent numbers, of the Romans. Before he
allowed them to enter the gates of Carthage, he exhorted them, in
a discourse worthy of himself and the occasion, not to disgrace
the glory of their arms; and to remember that the Vandals had
been the tyrants, but that they were the deliverers, of the
Africans, who must now be respected as the voluntary and
affectionate subjects of their common sovereign. The Romans
marched through the streets in close ranks prepared for battle if
an enemy had appeared: the strict order maintained by the general
imprinted on their minds the duty of obedience; and in an age in
which custom and impunity almost sanctified the abuse of
conquest, the genius of one man repressed the passions of a
victorious army. The voice of menace and complaint was silent;
the trade of Carthage was not interrupted; while Africa changed
her master and her government, the shops continued open and busy;
and the soldiers, after sufficient guards had been posted,
modestly departed to the houses which were allotted for their
reception. Belisarius fixed his residence in the palace; seated
himself on the throne of Genseric; accepted and distributed the
Barbaric spoil; granted their lives to the suppliant Vandals; and
labored to repair the damage which the suburb of Mandracium had
sustained in the preceding night. At supper he entertained his
principal officers with the form and magnificence of a royal
banquet. ^20 The victor was respectfully served by the captive
officers of the household; and in the moments of festivity, when
the impartial spectators applauded the fortune and merit of
Belisarius, his envious flatterers secretly shed their venom on
every word and gesture which might alarm the suspicions of a
jealous monarch. One day was given to these pompous scenes,
which may not be despised as useless, if they attracted the
popular veneration; but the active mind of Belisarius, which in
the pride of victory could suppose a defeat, had already resolved
that the Roman empire in Africa should not depend on the chance
of arms, or the favor of the people. The fortifications of
Carthage ^* had alone been exempted from the general
proscription; but in the reign of ninety-five years they were
suffered to decay by the thoughtless and indolent Vandals. A
wiser conqueror restored, with incredible despatch, the walls and
ditches of the city. His liberality encouraged the workmen; the
soldiers, the mariners, and the citizens, vied with each other in
the salutary labor; and Gelimer, who had feared to trust his
person in an open town, beheld with astonishment and despair, the
rising strength of an impregnable fortress.

[Footnote 19: The neighborhood of Carthage, the sea, the land,
and the rivers, are changed almost as much as the works of man.
The isthmus, or neck of the city, is now confounded with the
continent; the harbor is a dry plain; and the lake, or stagnum,
no more than a morass, with six or seven feet water in the
mid-channel. See D'Anville, (Geographie Ancienne, tom. iii. p.
82,) Shaw, (Travels, p. 77 - 84,) Marmol, (Description de
l'Afrique, tom. ii. p. 465,) and Thuanus, (lviii. 12, tom. iii.
p. 334.)]

[Footnote 20: From Delphi, the name of Delphicum was given, both
in Greek and Latin, to a tripod; and by an easy analogy, the same
appellation was extended at Rome, Constantinople, and Carthage,
to the royal banquetting room, (Procopius, Vandal. l. i. c. 21.
Ducange, Gloss, Graec. p. 277., ad Alexiad. p. 412.)]

[Footnote *: And a few others. Procopius states in his work De
Edi Sciis. l. vi. vol i. p. 5. - M]


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