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Biographies (243)

Emperors

Constantinus (Constantine) the Great (306-337 AD)

, , 288 - 337

Constantinus I., Flavius Valerius Aurelius, surnamed Magnus or "the Great", Roman emperor, A. D. 306-337, the eldest son of the emperor Constantius Chlorus by his first wife Helena, was born in the month or February, A. D. 272. There are many different opinions respecting his birth-place; but it is most probable, and it is now generally believed, that he was born at Naissus, now Nissa, a well-known town in Dardania or the upper and southern part of Moesia Superior.
  Constantine was distinguished by the choicest gifts of nature, but his education was chiefly military. When his father obtained the supreme command in Gaul, Britain, and Spain, he did not accompany him, but remained with the emperor Diocletian as a kind of hostage for the fidelity of his parent, and he attended that emperor on his celebrated expedition in Egypt. After the capture of Alexandria and the pacification of that country in A. D. 296, Constantine served under Galerius in the Persian war, which resulted in the conquest and final cession to the Romans of Iberia, Armenia, Mesopotamia, and the adjoining countries, for which Diocletian and Maximian celebrated a triumph in Rome in 303. In these wars Constantine distinguished himself so much by personal courage as well as by higher military talents, that he became the favourite of the army, and was as a reward appointed tribunus militum of the first class. But he was not allowed to enjoy quietly the honours which he so justly deserved. In his position as a kind of hostage he was exposed to the machinations of the ambitious, the jealous, and the designing; and the dangers by which he was surrounded increased after the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian and the accession of his father and Galerius as emperors (A. D. 305). He continued to live in the East under the eyes of Galerius, whose jealousy of the superior qualities of Constantine was so great, that he meditated his ruin by exposing him to personal dangers, from which Constantine, however, escaped unhurt. In such circumstances he was compelled to cultivate and improve his natural prudence and sagacity, and to accustom himself to that reserve and discretion to which he afterwards owed a considerable part of his greatness, and which was the moreremarkable in him as he was naturally of a most lively disposition. The jealousy of Galerius became conspicuous when he conferred the dignity of Caesar upon his sons, Severus and Maximin, a dignity to which Constantine seemed to be entitled by his birth and merits, but which was withheld from him by Galerius and not conferred upon him by his father. In this, however, Constantius Chlorus acted wisely, for as his son was still in the hands of Galerius, he would have caused his immediate ruin had he proclaimed him Caesar; so that if Constantine spoke of disappointment he could only feel disappointed at not being in the camp of his father. To bring him thither became now the great object of the policy of both father and son. Negotiations were carried on for that purpose with Galerius, who, aware of the consequences of the departure of Constantine, delayed his consent by every means in his power, till at last his pretexts were exhausted, and he was obliged to ailow him to join his father. Justly afraid of being detained once more, or of being cut off by treachery on his journey, Constantine had no sooner obtained the permission of Galerius than he departed from Nicomedeia, where they both resided, without taking leave of the emperor, and travelled through Thrace, Illyricum, Pannonia, and Gaul with all possible speed, till he reached his father at Boulogne just in time to accompany him to Britain on his expedition against the Picts, and to be present at his death at York (25th of July, 306). Before dying, Constantius declared his son as his successor.
  The moment for seizing the supreme power, or for shrinking back into death or obscurity, had now come for Constantine. He was renowned for his victories in the East, admired by the legions, and beloved by the subjects, both heathen and Christian, of Constantius, who did not hesitate to believe that the son would follow the example of justice, toleration, and energy set by the father. The legions proclaimed him emperor; the barbarian auxiliaries, headed by Crocus, king of the Alemanni, acknowledged him; yet he hesitated to place the fatal diadem on his head. But his hesitation was mere pretence; he was well prepared for the event; and in the quick energy with which he acted, he gave a sample of that marvellous combination of boldness, cunning, and wisdom in which but a few great men have surpassed him. In a conciliatory letter to Galerius, he protested that he had not taken the purple on his own account, but that he had been pressed by the troops to do so, and he solicited to be acknowledged as Augustus. At the same time he made preparations to take the field with all his father's forces, if Galerius should refuse to grant him his request. But Galerius dreaded a struggle with the brave legions of the West, headed by a man like Constantine. He disguised his resentment, and acknowledged Constantine as master of the countries beyond the Alps, but with the title of Caesar only: he conferred the dignity of Augustus upon his own son Severus.
  The peace in the empire was of short duration. The rapacity of Galerius, his absence from the capital of the empire, and probably also the example of Constantine, caused a rebellion in Rome, which resulted in Maxentius, the son of Maximian, seizing the purple; and when Maximian was informed of it, he left his retirement and reassumed the diadem, which he had formerly renounced with his colleague Diocletian. The consequence of their rebellion was a war with Galerius, whose son, Severus Augustus, entered Italy with a powerful force; but he was shut up in Ravenna; and, unable to defend the town or to escape, he surrendered himself up to the besiegers, and was treacherously put to death by order of Maxentius (A. D. 307). Galerius chose C. Valerius Licinianus Licinius as Augustus instead of Severus, and he was forced to acknowledge the claims of Maximin likewise, who had been proclaimed Augustus by the legions under his command, which were stationed in Syria and Egypt. The Roman empire thus obeyed six masters: Galerius, Licinius, and Maximin in the East, and Maximian. Maxentius, and Constantine in the West (308). The union between the masters of the West was cemented by the marriage of Constantine, whose first wife Minervina was dead, with Fausta, the daughter of Maximian, which took place as early as 306; and at the same time Constantine was acknowledged as Augustus by Maximian and Maxentius. But before long serious quarrels broke out between Maxentius and Maximian; the latter was forced by his son to fly from Rome, and finally took refuge with Constantine, by whom he was well received. Maximian once more abdicated the throne; but during the absence of Constantine, who was then on the Rhine, he reassumed the purple, and entered into secret negotiations with his son Maxentius for the purpose of ruining Constantine. He was surprised in his plots by Constantine, who on the news of his rebellion had left the Rhine, and embarking his troops in boats, descended the SaΓ΄ne and RhΓ΄ne, appeared under the walls of Arles, where Maximian then resided, and forced him to take refuge in Marseilles. That town was immediately besieged; the inhabitants gave up Maximian, and Constantine quelled the rebellion by one of those acts of bloody energy which the world hesitates to call murder, since the kings of the world cannot maintain themselves on their thrones without blood. Maximian was put to death (A. D. 309); he had deserved punishment, yet he was the father of Constantille's wife.
  The authority of Constantine was now unrestrained in his dominions. He generally resided at Trier, and was greatly beloved by his subjects on account of his excellent administration. The inroads of the barbarians were punished by him with great severity: the captive chiefs of the Franks were devoured by wild beasts in the circus of Trier, and many robbers or rebels suffered the same barbarous punishment. These occasional cruelties did not prejudice him in the eyes of the people, and among the emperors who then ruled the world Constantine was undoubtedly the most beloved, a circumstance which was of great advantage to him when he began his struggle with his rivals. This struggle commenced with Maxentius, who pretended to feel resentment for the death of his father, insulted Constantine, and from insults proceeded to hostile demonstrations. With a large force assembled in Italy he intended to invade Gaul, but so great was the aversion of his subjects to his cruel and rapacious character, that Roman deputies appeared before Constantine imploring him to deliver them from a tyrant. Constantine was well aware of the dangers to which he exposed himself by attacking Maxentius, who was obeyed by a numerous army, chiefly composed of veterans, who had fought under Diocletian and Maximian. At the same time, the army of Constantine was well disciplined and accustomed to fight with the brave barbarians of Germany, and while his rival was only obeyed by soldiers he met with obedience among both his troops and his subjects. To win the affections of the people he protected the Christians in his own dominions, and he persuaded Galerius and Maximin to put a stop to the persecutions to which they were exposed in the East. This was a measure of prudence, but the Christians in their joy, which increased in proportion as Constantine gave them still more proofs of his conviction, that Christianity had become a moral element in the nations which would give power to him who understood how to wield it, attributed the politic conduct of their master to divine inspiration, and thus the fable became believed, that on his march to Italy, either at Autun in France, or at Verona, or near Audernach on the Rhine in Germany as some pretend, Constantine had a vision, seeing in his sleep a cross with the inscription en toutoi nika. Thus, it is said, he adopted the cross, and in that sign was victorious.
  Constantine crossed the Cottian Alps (Mount Cenis), defeated the vanguard of Maxentius at Turin, entered Milan, and laid seige to Verona, under the walls of which Maxentius suffered a severe defeat. Another battle fought near Rome on the 28th of October, 312, decided the fate of Maxentius : his army was completely routed, and while he tried to escape over the Milvian bridge into Rome, he was driven by the throng of the fugitives into the Tiber and perished in the river. Constantine entered Rome, and displayed great activity in restoring peace to that city, and in removing the causes of the frequent disturbances by which Rome had been shaken during the reign of Maxentius; he disbanded the body of the Praetorians, and in order that the empire might derive some advantage from the existence of the senators, he subjected them and their families to a heavy poll-tax. He also accepted the title of Pontifex Maximus, which shews that at that time he had not the slightest intention of elevating Christianity at the expense of Paganism.
  The fruit of Constantine's victories was the undisputed mastership of the whole western part of the empire, with its ancient capital, Rome, which, however, had then ceased to be the ordinary residence of the emperors. At the same time, important events took place in the East. The emperor Galerius died in A. D. 311, and Licinius, having united his dominions with his own, was involved in a war with Maximin, who, after having taken Byzantium by surprise, was defeated in several battles, and died, on his flight to Egypt, at Tarsus in Cilicia, in 313. Thus Licinius became sole master of the whole East, and the empire had now only two heads. In the following year, 314, a war broke out between Licinius and Constantine. At Cibalis, a town on the junction of the Sau with the Danube, in the southernmost part of Pannonia, Constantine defeated his rival with an inferior force; a second battle, at Mardia in Thrace, was indecisive, but the loss which Licinius sustained was immense, and he sought for peace. This was readily granted him by Constantine, who perhaps felt himself not strong enough to drive his rival to extremities; but, satisfied with the acquisition of Illyricum, Pannonia, and Greece, which Licinius ceded to him, he established a kind of mock friendship between them by giving to Licinius the hand of his sister Constantina. During nine years the peace remained undisturbed, a time which Constantine employed in reforming the administration of the empire by those laws of which we shall speak below, and in defending the northern frontiers against the inroads of the barbarians. Illyricum and Pannonia were the principal theatres of these devastations, and among the various barbarians that dwelt north of the Danube and the Black Sea, the Goths, who had occupied Dacia, were the most dangerous. Constantine chastised them several times in Illyricum, and finally crossed the Danube, entered Dacia, and compelled them to respect the dignity of the Roman empire. His fame as a great monarch, distinguished both by civil and military abilities, increased every year, and the consciousness of his talents and power induced him to make a final struggle for the undivided government of the empire. In 323, he declared war against Licinius, who was then advanced in years and was detested for his cruelties, but whose land forces were equal to those of Constantine, while his navy was more numerous and manned with more experienced sailors. The first battle took place near Adrianople on the 3rd of July, 323. Each of the emperors had above a hundred thousand men under his command; but, after a hard struggle, in which Constantine gave fresh proofs of his skill and personal courage, Licinius was routed with great slaughter, his fortified camp was stormed, and he fled to Byzantium. Constantine followed him thither, and while he laid siege to the town, his eldest son Crispus forced the entrance of the Hellespont, and in a three days' battle defeated Amandus, the admiral of Licinius, who lost one-third of his fleet. Unable to defend Byzantium with success, Licinius went to Bithynia, assembled his troops, and offered a second battle, which was fought at Chrysopolis, now Skutari, opposite Byzantium. Constantine obtained a complete victory, and Licinius fled to Nicomedeia. He surrendered himself on condition of having his life spared, a promise which Constantine made on the intercession of his sister Constantina, the wife of Licinius; but, after spending a short time in false security at Thessalonica, the place of his exile, he was put to death by order of his fortunate rival. We cannot believe that he was killed for forming a conspiracy; the cause of his death was undoubtedly the dangerous importance of his person. Constantine acted towards his memory as, during the restoration in France, the memory of Napoleon was treated by the Bourbons: his reign was considered as an usurpation, his laws were declared void, and infamy was cast upon his name.
  Constantine was now sole master of the empire, and the measures which he adopted to maintain himself in his lofty station were as vigorous, though less bloody, as those by which he succeeded in attaining the great object of his ambition. The West and the East of the empire had gradually become more distinct from each other, and as each of those great divisions had already been governed during a considerable period by different rulers, that distinction became dangerous for the integrity of the whole, in proportion as the people were accustomed to look upon each other as belonging to either of those divisions, rather than to the whole empire. Rome was only a nominal capital, and Italy, corrupted by luxury and vices, had ceased to be the source of Roman grandeur. Constantine felt the necessity of creating a new centre of the empire, and, after some hesitation, chose that city which down to the present day is a gate both to the East and the West. He made Byzantium the capital of the empire and the residence of the emperors, and called it after his own name, Constantinople, or the city of Constantine. The solemn inauguration of Constantinople took place in A. D. 330, according to Idatius and the Chronicon Alexandrinum. The possibility of Rome ceasing to be the capital of the Roman empire, had been already observed by Tacitus, who says (Hist. i. 4), "Evulgato imperii arcano, posse principem alibi quam Romae fieri". Constantinople was enlarged and embellished by Constantine and his successors; but when it is said that it equalled Rome in splendour, the cause must partly be attributed to the fact, that the beauty of Constantinople was ever increasing, while that of Rome was constantly decreasing under the rough hands of her barbarian conquerors. By making Constantinople the residence of the emperors, the centre of the empire was removed Irom the Latin world to the Greek; and although Latin continued to be the official language for several centuries, the influence of Greek civilization soon obtained such an ascendancy over the Latin, that while the Roman empire perished by the barbarians in the West, it was changed into a Greek empire by the Greeks in the East. There was, however, such a prestige of grandeur connected with Rome, that down to the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, in 1453, the rulers of the Eastern empire retained the name of Roman emperors as a title by which they thought that they inherited the government of the world. The same title and the same presumption were assumed by the kings of the German barbarians, seated on the ruins of Rome, and they were the pride of their successors till the downfall of the Holy Roman empire in Germany in 1806.
  The year 324 was signalized by an event which caused the greatest consternation in the empire, and which in the opinion of many writers has thrown indelible disgrace upon Constantine. His accomplished son, Crispus, whose virtues and glory would perhaps have been the joy of a father, but for their rendering him popular with the nation, and producing ambition in the mind of Crispus himself, was accused of high treason, and, during the celebration at Rome of the twentieth anniversary of Constantine's victory over Maxentius, was arrested and sent to Pola in Istria. There he was put to death. Licinius Caesar, the son of the emperor Licinius and Constantina, the sister of Constantine, was accused of the same crime, and suffered the same fate. Many other persons accused of being connected with the conspiracy were likewise punished with death. It is said, that Crispus had been calumniated by his step-mother, Fausta, and that Constantine, repenting the innocent death of his son, and discovering that Fausta lived in criminal intercourse with a slave, commanded her to be suffocated in a warm bath. As our space does not allow us to present more than a short sketch of these complicated events, some additions to which are given in the lives of Priscus and Fausta, we refer the reader to the opinion of Niebuhr, who remarks (History of Rome), "Every one knows the miserable death of Constantine's son, Crispus, who was sent into exile to Pola, and then put to death. If however people will make a tragedy of this event, I must confess that I do not see how it can be proved that Crispus was innocent. When I read of so many insurrections of sons against their fathers, I do not see why Crispus, who was Caesar, and demanded the title of Augustus, which his father refused him, should not have thought - 'Well, if I do not make anything of myself, my father will not, for he will certainly prefer the sons of Fausta to me, the son of a repudiated woman'. Such a thought, if it did occur to Crispus, must have stung him to the quick. That a father should order his own son to be put to death is certainly repulsive to our feelings, but it is rash and inconsiderate to assert that Crispus was innocent. It is to me highly probable that Constantine himself was quite convinced of his son's guilt: I infer this from his conduct towards the three step-brothers of Crispus, whom he always treated with the highest respect, and his unity and harmony with his sons is truly exemplary. It is related that Fausta was suffocated, by Constantine's command, by the steam of a bath; but Gibbon has raised some weighty doubts about this incredible and unaccountable act, and I cannot therefore attach any importance to the story."
  During the latter part of his reign, Constantine enjoyed his power in peace. As early as 315, Arius denied at Alexandria the divinity of Christ. His doctrine, which afterwards gave rise to so many troubles and wars, was condemned by the general council assembled at Nicaea in 325, one of the most important events in ecclesiastical history. Constantine protected the orthodox fathers, though he must be looked upon as still a Pagan, but he did not persecute the Arians; and the dissensions of a church to which he did not belong, did not occupy much of his attention, since the domestic peace of the empire was not yet in danger from them. Notwithstanding the tranquillity of the empire, the evident result of a man of his genius being the sole ruler, Constantine felt that none of his sons was his equal; and by dividing his empire among them, he hoped to remove the causes of troubles like those to which he owed his own accession. He therefore assigned to Constantine, the eldest, the administration of Gaul, Britain, Spain, and Tingitania; to Constantius, the second, Egypt and the Asiatic provinces, except the countries given to Hannibalianus; to Constans, the youngest, Italy, Western Illyricum, and the rest of Africa: they all received the title of Augustus. He conferred the title of Caesar upon his nephew Dalmatius, who obtained the administration of Eastern Illyricum, Macedonia, Thrace, and Greece; and his nephew Hannibalianus, who received the new title of Nobilissimus, was placed over Pontus, Cappadocia, and Armenia Minor, with Caesareia as capital. They were to govern the empire, after his death, as a joint property. Among the three Augusti, Constantine, the eldest, was to be the first in rank, but they were to be equal in authority : the Caesar and the Nobilissimus, though sovereign in their dominions, were inferior in rank, and, with regard to the administration of the whole empire, in authority also to the Augusti. The failure of this plan of Constantine's is related in the lives of his sons.
  In 337, Constantine was going to take the field against Sapor II., king of Persia, who claimed the provinces taken from him by Galerius and Maximian. But his health was bad; and having retired to Nicomedeia for the sake of the air and the waters, he died there, after a short illness, on the 22nd of May, 337. Shortly before his death, he declared his intention of becoming a Christian, and was accordingly baptized. His death was the signal for the massacre of nearly all his kinsmen, which was contrived by his own sons, and subsequently of the violent death of two of his sons, while the second, Constantius, succeeded in becoming sole emperor. The following were the most important ot the laws and regulations of Constantine. He devel oped and brought to perfection the hierarchical system of state dignities established by Diocletian on the model of the Eastern courts, and of which the details are contained in the Notitia Dignitatum. The principal officers were divided into three classes : the Illustres, the Spectabiles, and the Clarissimi; for officers of a lower rank other titles were invented, the pompous sounds of which contrasted strangely with the pettiness of the functions of the bearers. The consulship was a mere title, and so was the dignity of patricius; both of these titles were in later years often conferred upon barbarians. The number of public officers was immense, and they all derived their authority from the supreme chief of the empire, who could thus depend upon a host of men raised by their education above the lower classes, and who, having generally nothing but their appointments, were obliged to do all in their power to prevent revolutions, by which they would have been deprived of their livelihood. A similar artificial system, strengthening the government, is established, in our days, in Prussia, Austria, France, and most of the states of Europe. The dignity and dangerous military power of the praefecti praetorio were abolished. Under Diocletian and Maximian there were four praefecti, but they were only lieutenants of the two Augusti and their two Caesars. Constantine continued the number, and limited their power by making them civil officers : under him there was the Praefectus Orienti over the Asiatic provinces and Thrace; the Praefectus Italiae, over Italy, Rhaetia, Noricum, and Africa between Egypt and Tingitania; the Praefectus Illyrico, who had Illyricum, Pannonia, Macedonia, and Greece; and the Praefectus Galliae, over Gaul, Britain, Spain, and Tingitania or the westernmost part of Africa. Rome and Constantinople had each their separate praefect. Under the praefecti there were thirteen high functionaries, who were civil governors of the thirteen dioceses into which the empire was divided, and who had either the title of comes or count, or of vicarious or vice praefect. Between these officers and the praefecti there were three proconsuls, of Asia, Achaia, and Africa, who however were but governors of provinces, the whole number of which was one hundred and sixteen, and which were governed, besides the proconsuls, by thirty-seven consulares, five correctores, and seventy-one presidentes.
  The military administration was entirely separated from the civil, and as the Praefecti Praetorio were changed into civil officers, as has been mentioned above, the supreme military command was conferred at first upon two, then four, and finally eight Magistri Militum, under whom were the military Comites and Duces. The number of legions was diminished, but the army was nevertheless much increased, especially by barbarian auxiliaries, a dangerous practice, which hastened the overthrow of the Western and shook the Eastern empire to its foundations. The increase of the army rendered various oppressive taxes necessary, which were unequally assessed, and caused many revolts. There were seven high functionaries, who may be compared with some of the great officers of state in our country, viz. the Praepositus Sacri Cubiculi, or Lord Chamberlain the Magister Officiorum, who acted in many concerns as a secretary for home affairs; the Quaestor, or Lord Chancellor and Seal-Keeper; the Comes Sacrarum Largitionum, or Chancellor of the Exchequer for the public revenue; the Comes Rerum Privatarun Divinae Domus for the private property of the emperor; and, finally, two Comites Domesticorum, or simply Domestici, the commanders of the imperial life-guard. For further details we refer to the authorities enumerated at the end of this article, and to Gutherius, "De Officiis Domus Augustae".
  Constantine deserves the name of Great: he rose to the highest pinnacle of power, and owed his fortune to nobody but himself. His birth was a source of dangers to him; his exalted qualities caused jealousy among his enemies, and during the greater part of his reign his life was one continued struggle. He overcame all obstacles through his own exertions; his skill vanquished his enemies; his energy kept the hydra of anarchy headless; his prudence conducted him in safety through conspiracies, rebellions, battles, and murder, to the throne of Rome; his wisdom created a new organization for an empire, which consisted of huge fragments, and which no human hand seemed powerful enough to raise to a solid edifice. Christianity was made by him the religion of the state, but Paganism was not persecuted though discouraged. The Christianity of the emperor himself has been a subject of warm controversy both in ancient and modern times, but the graphic account which Niebuhr gives of Constantine's belief seems to be perfectly just. Speaking of the murder of Licinius and his own son Crispus, Niebuhr remarks (Hist. of Rome), "Many judge of him by too severe a standard, because they look upon him as a Christian; but I cannot regard him in that light. The religion which he had in his head must have been a strange compound indeed. The man who had on his coins the inscription Sol invictus, who worshipped pagan divinities, consulted the haruspices, indulged in a number of pagan superstitions, and, on the other hand, built churches, shut up pagan temples, and interfered with the council of Nicaea, must have been a repulsive phaenomenon, ard was certainly not a Christian. He did not allow himself to be baptized till the last moments of his life, and those who praise him for this do not know what they are doing. He was a superstitious man, and mixed up his Christian religion with all kinds of absurd superstitions and opinions. When, therefore, certain Oriental writers call him isapostolos they do not know what they are saying, and to speak of him as a saint is a profanation of the word".
  The blame which falls upon Constantine for the death of Maximian, Licinius, and Crispus, will fall upon many kings, and we have only fabulous accounts of the mental sufferings which his bloody deeds might have caused him. Constantine was not so great during the latter part of his reign. In proportion as he advanced in years he lost that serene generosity which had distinguished him while he was younger; his temper grew acrimonious, and he gave way to passionate bursts of resentment which he would have suppressed while he was in the bloom of manhood. He felt that the grandenr of Rome could be maintained only in the East, and he founded Constantinople; but the spirit of the East overwhelmed him, and he sacrificed the heroic majesty of a Roman emperor to the showy pomp and the vain ceremonies of an Asiatic court. His life is an example of a great historical lesson: the West may conquer the East, but the conqueror will die on his trophies by the poison of sensuality.
  As Constantine the Great was a successful political reformer, and the protector of a new religion, he has received as much undeserved reproaches as praise; the Christian writers generally deified him, and the Pagan historians have cast infamy on his memory. To judge him fairly was reserved for the historians of later times. (Euseb. Vita Constantini; Eutrop. lib. x.; Sextus Rufus, Brev. 26; Aurel. Vict. Epit. 40, 41, de Caes. 40, &c.; Zosim. lib. ii., Zosimus is a violent antagonist of Constantine; Zonar. lib. xiii.)
  The accounts of, and the opinions on, Constantine given by Eumenius, Nazarius, &c., in the Panegyrics, and by the emperor Julian, in his Caesars as well as in his Orations, are of great importance, but full of partiality: Julian treats Constantine very badly, and the Panegyrics are what their name indicates. Among the ecclesiastical writers, Eusebius, Lactantius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theophanes, &c., are the principal; but it has already been observed that their statements must be perused with great precaution. The Life of Constantine by Praxagoras, which was known to the Byzantines, is lost. Besides these sources, there is scarcely a writer of the time of Constantine and the following centuries, who does not give some account of Constantine; and even in the works of the later Byzantines, such as Constantine Porphyrogenitus and Cedrenus, we find valuable additions to the history of that great emperor. The most complete list of sources, with critical observations, is contained in Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs. See also Manso, Leben Constantins des Grossen.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Fausta, Flavia Maximiana, wife of Constantine

Fausta, Flavia Maximiana, the daughter of Maximianus Herculius and Eutropia, was married in A. D. 307 to Constantine the Great, to whom she bore Constantinus, Constantius, and Constans. She acquired great influence with her husband in consequence of having saved his life by revealing the treacherous schemes of her father, who, driven to despair by his failure, soon after died at Tarsus. But although, on this occasion at least, she appeared in the light of a devoted wife, she at the same time played the part of a most cruel stepmother, for, in consequence of her jealous machinations, Constantine was induced to put his son Crispus to death. When, however, the truth was brought to light by Helena, who grieved deeply for her grandchild, Fausta was shut up in a bath heated far above the common temperature, and was thus suffocated, probably in A. D. 326. Zosimus seems inclined to throw the whole blame in both instances on Constantine, whom he accuses as the hypocritical perpetrator of a double murder, while others assign the promiscuous profligacy of the empress as the true origin of her destruction, but in reality the time, the causes, and the manner of her death are involved in great obscurity in consequence of the vague and contradictory representations of our historical authorities. (Zosim. ii. 10, 29; Julian, Orat. i; Auctor, de Mort. persec. 27; Eutrop. x. 2, 4; Victor. Epit. 40, 41; Philostorg. H. E. ii. 4)


Crispus, Glavius Julius (317-326 AD)

Crispus, Glavius Julius, eldest of the sons of Constantinus Magnus and Minervina, derived his name without doubt from his greatgreat-grandfather Crispus, the brother of Claudius Gothicus. Having been educated, as we are told by St. Jerome, under Lactantius, he was nominated Caesar on the 1st of March, A. D. 317, along with his brother Constantinus and the younger Liciniusand was invested with the consulship the year following. Entering forthwith upon his military career, he distinguished himself in a campaign against the Franks, and soon after, in the war with Licinius, gained a great naval victory in the Hellespont, A. D. 323. But unhappily the glory of these exploits excited the bitter jealousy of his step-mother Fausta, at whose instigation he was put to death by his father in the year A. D. 326.(Euseb. Chron. ad ann. 317; Sozomen. Hist. Eccl. i. 5)


Calocaerus (333-334 AD)

In 333/334 A.D., on the island of Cyprus, the Magister pecoris camelorum Calocaerus revolted and took up the purple. He was defeated by Dalmatius the Censor. The usurper and his accomplices were tried and executed at Tarsus in Cilicia.


Delmatius

Flavius Julius Delmatius, who was educated at Narbonne under the care of the rhetorician Exsuperius; distinguished himself by suppressing the rebellion of Calocerus in Cyprus; was appointed consul A. D. 333; two years afterwards was created Caesar by his uncle, whom he is said to have resembled strongly in disposition; upon the division of the empire received Thrace, Macedonia, together with Achaia, as his portion; and was put to death by the soldiers in A. D. 337, sharing the fate of the brothers, nephews, and chief ministers of Constantine. It must be observed that there is frequently great ditfficulty in distinguishing Delmatius the father from Delmatius the son. Many historians believe the former to have been the consul of A. D. 333, and the conqueror of Calocerus, the date of whose revolt is very uncertain. A few coins of the younger in gold, silver, and small brass, are to to be found in all large collections, and on these his name is conjoined with the title of Caesar and Princeps Juventutis, the orthography being for the most part Delmatius, although Dalmatius also occasionally appears.


Constantius II., Flavius Julius (337-361 AD)

Constantius II., Flavius Julius, Roman emperor, A. D. 337-361, whose name is sometimes written Flavius Claudius Constantius, Flavius Valerius Constantius, and Constantinus Constantius. He was the third son of Constantine the Great, and the second whom he had by his second wife, Fausta; he was born at Sirmium in Pannonia on the 6th of August, A. D. 317, in the consulate of Ovidius Gallicanus and Septimius Bassus. He was educated with and received the same careful education as his brothers, Constantine and Con stans, was less proficient in learned pursuits and fine arts, but surpassed them in gymnastic and military exercises. He was created consul in 326, or perhaps as early as 324, and was employed by his father in the administration of the eastern provinces. At the death of his father in 337, Constantius was in Asia, and immediately hastened to Constantinople, where the garrison had already declared that none should reign but the sons of Constantine, excluding thus the nephews of the late emperor, Dalmatius and Hannibalianus, from the government of those provinces which had been assigned to them by Constantine, who had placed Dalmatius over Greece, Macedonia, Thrace, and part of Illyricum, and Hannibalianus over Pontus, Cappadocia, and Armenia Minor, with Caesareia as the capital. The declaration of the army, whether preconcerted between them and the sons of Constantine or not, was agreeable to Constantius, who was apparently resolved to act in accordance with the same views. In a wholesale murder, where the troops were the executioners, the male descendants of Constantius Chlorus by his second wife perished through the cruel perfidy of Constantius, who spared the lives of only two princes, Flavius Julius Gallus and Flavius Claudius Julianus, the sons of Flavius Julianus Constantius, youngest son of Constantius Chlorus, who himself became a victim of his nephew's ambition. Besides those princes, the patrician Optatus and the praefectus praetorio Ablavius were likewise massacred. It would be difficult to exculpate Constantius from the part which he took in this bloody affair, even if it were true that his crime was not so much that of a murderer as that of a cool spectator of a massacre which he could have prevented.
  After this the three sons of Constantine the Great had an interview at Sirmium in Pannonia, and made a new division of the empire (September, 337), in which Constantine, the eldest, received Gaul, Spain, Britain, and part of Africa; Constantius, the second and the subject of this article, Thrace, Macedonia, Greece, the Asiatic provinces, and Egypt; and Constans, the youngest, Italy, Illyricum, and the rest of Africa. The ancient world was thus governed by three youths of twenty-one, twenty, and seventeen years of age. Immediately after the death of Constantine the Great a war broke out with the Persian king, Sapor II., which was chiefly carried on in Mesopotamia and on the frontiers of Syria, and, with short interruptions, lasted during the whole reign of C(onstantius. This war was to the disadvantage of the Romans (Greeks), who were vanquished in many battles, especially at Singara, in 343, where Constantius commanded in person, and after having carried the day, was routed with great slaughter of his troops in the succeeding night. On the other hand, the Persians sustained great losses in their fruitless attempts to take the strong fortress of Nisibis, the key of Mesopotamia; and as other fortified places in that country as well as in the mountains of Armenia were equally well defended, Sapor gained victories without making any acquisitions.
  Being thus engaged in the east, Constantius was prevented from paying due intention to the west, and he was obliged to be a quiet spectator of the civil war between his brothers, in which Constantine was slain at Aquileia, and Constans got possession of the whole share of Constantine in the division of the empire (A. D. 340). In 350, Constans was murdered by the troops of Magnentius, who assumed the purple and was obeyed as emperor in Britain, Gaul, and Spain; at the same time Vetranio, commander of the legions in the extensive province of Illyricum, was forced by his troops to imitate the example of Magnentius, and he likewise assumed the purple. It was now time for Constantius to prove with his sword that none but a son of the great Constantine should rule over Rome. At the head of his army he marched from the Persian frontier to the West. At Heracleia in Thrace ambassadors of Magnentius waited upon him, proposing that he should acknowledge their master as emperor, and cement their alliance by a marriage of Constantius with the daughter of Magnentius, and of Magnentius with Constantina, eldest sister of Constantius; they threatened him with the consequences of a war should he decline those propositions. Constantius dismissed the ambassadors with a haughty refusal, and, sending one of them back to Magnentius, ordered the others to be put in prison as the agents of a rebel. His conduct towards Vetranio tended to a reconciliation; but while he promised to acknowledge him as co-emperor if he would join him against Magnentius, he secretly planned treachery. Having bribed or persuaded the principal officers of Vetranio to forsake their master if it should suit his plans, he advanced towards Sardica, now Sophia, where he met with Vetranio, both of them being at the head of an army, that of Vetranio, however, being by far the stronger. Had Vetranio, a straightforward veteran, who could disobey but was not made for more refined perfidy, now acted in the spirit of Constantius, he could have seized his rival in the midst of his camp; but the result was very different. On a plain near Sardica a tribune was erected, where the two emperors showed themselves to their troops, who filled the plain apparently for the purpose of being witnesses of a ceremony by which the empire was to have two lawful heads. Constantius first addressed the armed crowd, and artfully turning upon his " legitimate" opinion, that a son of the great Constantine was alone worthy to reign, suddenly met with a thunder of applause from his own troops as well as those of Vetranio, who, either spontaneously or in accordance with the instructions of their officers, declared that they would obey no emperor but Constantius. Vetranio at once perceived his situation : he took off his diadem, knelt down before Constantius, and acknowledged him as his master, himself as his guilty subject. Constantius evinced equal wisdom: he raised Vetranio from the ground, embraced him, and, as he despised a throne, assigned him a pension, and allowed him to spend the rest of his days at Prusa (A. D. 351).
  Constantius now turned his arms against Magnentius, after having appointed his cousin Gallus as Caesar and commander-in-chief of the army against the Persians. At Mursa, now Essek, a town on the river Drave in Hungary, Magnentius was routed (28th of September, A. D. 351) in a bloody battle, in which Constantius evinced more piety than courage; but where the flower of both armies perished. The conquest of Illyricum and Italy was the fruit of that victory, and Magnentius fled into Gaul. There he was attacked in the east by the army under Constantius, and in the west by another army, which, after having conquered Africa and Spain, crossed the Pyrenees and penetrated into Gaul. After another complete defeat at mount Seleucus in the Cossian Alps, and the rebellion of the principal cities in Gaul, Magnentius, reduced to extremity, put an end to his life, and his brother Decentius followed his example (A. D. 353). Constantius became thus master of the whole West. He avenged the murder of his brother Constans, and established his authority by cruel measures, and neither the guilty nor the innocent were exempt from his resentment.
  Once more the immense extent of the Roman empire was ruled by one man. The administration of the government and the public and private life of Constantius, approached more and more those of an Asiatic monarch: eanuchs reigned at the court, and secret murders, dictated by jealousy or suspicion, were committed by order of the emperor, whenever justice disdained or was too weak to assist him in his plans. One of the victims of his malice was his cousin, Gallus Caesar. Guilty of negligence, disobedience, and cruelty in his administration of the East, he deserved punishment; and his guilt became still greater when he put to death the imperial commissioners, Domitian, praefectus praetorio Orientis, and Montius, quaestor palatii, who were sent to his residence, Antioch, to inquire into his conduct, but conducted themselves with the most imprudent haughtines, threatening and defying Gallus, when they ought to have ensnared him with gentle persuasions and intrigues, according to their instructions. They were torn to pieces by the mob excited by Gallus, who after such an atrocious act seemed to have had but one means of saving himself from the emperor's resentment -rebellion. But deceived by new promises from the artful Constantius, he went to meet him at Milan. At Petovio in Pannonia he was arrested, and sent to Pola in Istria, where he was beheaded in a prison (A. D. 354). Julian, the brother of Gallus was likewise arrested; but, after having spent about a year in prison and exile, was pardoned at the intervention of his protectress, the empress Eusebia, and in November, 355, was created Caesar and appointed to the command-in-chief in Gaul, which was suffering from the consequences of the rebellion of Sylvanus, who had assumed the purple, but was ensnared by Ursicinus, by whom he was murdered in the church of St. Severin at Cologne in September, 355.
  In 357, Constantius visited Rome, where he celebrated an undeserved triumph. Imitating the example of Augustus, he ordered the great obelisk which stood before the temple of the Sun at Heliopolis to be carried to Rome, where it was erected in the Circus Maximus. (Having been thrown down, it was placed by order of pope Sixtus V. before the portal of the church of St. John Lateran, and is known as the Lateran obelisk.) From Rome Constantius went to Illyricum, where his generals made a successful campaign against the Quadi and Sarmatians, and thence returned in 359 to Asia to meet the armies of Sapor, who had once more invaded Mesopotamia, and taken Amida, now Diyarbekr, and the minor fortresses of Singara and Bezabde. Before Sapor appeared in the field, Gaul was invaded by the Alemanni and the Franks, but their power was broken in a three years' campaign by Julian, who made Chnodomarius, the king of the Alemanni prisoner; and not only by his martial deeds, but also by his excellent administration, which won him the hearts of the inhabitants, he excited the jealousy of Constantius. Accordingly, orders arrived in Gaul that the legions employed there should march to the defence of the East. The pretext for this command was, that Gaul being tranquil, no great army was required there, but the real motive was the fear that Julian might abuse his popularity, and assume the purple. Instead of preventing tnat event, the iniprudent order caused it. The troops refused to march; and Julian having nevertheless brought thicu into motion, they suddenly proclaimed him emperor (A. D. 360). It is related in the life of Julian how he acted under these circumstances; his protestations of innocence were misconstrued; his ambassadors, who met with Constantius at Caesareia, were dismissed with anger, and war was declared. Constantius, with the greater part of his army, marched to the West, and the empire was on the eve of being shaken by a dreadful civil war, when the sudden death of Constantius at Mopsocrene, near Tarsus in Cilicia (3rd of November, A. D. 361), prevented that calamity, and made Julian the sole master of the empire. By his third wife, Maxima Faustina, Constantius left one daughter, who was afterwards married to the emperor Gratian. (Amm. Marc. lib. xiv.-xxi.; Zosimus, lib. ii. iii.; Agathias, lib. iv.; Euseb. Vita Constantin. lib. iv.; Eutrop. lib. x. 5, &c.; Julian. Oral. i. ii.; Liban. Orat. iii.-x.; Zonar. lib. xiii.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Faustina, Maxima, wife of Contantius II.

Maxima Faustina, the third wile of Constantius, whom he married at Antioch in A. D. 360, a short period before his death. She gave birth to a posthumous daughter, who received the name of Flavia Maxima Constantia, and was eventually united to the emperor Gratian. We know nothing with regard to the family of this Faustina, but she appears again in history along with her child, as one of the supporters of the rebel Procopius, who made good use of the presence of the youthful princess to inflame the zeal of his soldiers by rekindling their enthusiasm for the glories of the house from which she sprung. (Ducange, Fam. Byz.; Amm. Marc. xxi. 6.4, 15.6, xxvi. 7. 10, 9.8)


Julian, the Apostate & Helena (361-363 AD)

Julianus, Flavius Claudius, surnamed Apostata, "the Apostate," Roman emperor, A. D. 361-363, was born at Constantinople on the 17th of November, A. D. 331 (332?). He was the son of Julius Constantius by his second wife, Basilina, the grandson of Constantius Chlorus by his second wife, Theodora, and the nephew of Constantine the Great.
  Julian and his elder brother, Flavius Julius Gallus, who was the son of Julius Constantius by his first wife, Galla, were the only members of the imperial family whose lives were spared by Constantius II., the son of Constantine the Great, when, upon his accession, he ordered the massacre of all the male descendants of Constantine Chlorus and his second wife, Theodora. Both Gallus and Julian were of too tender an age to be dangerous to Constantius, who accordingly spared their lives, but had them educated in strict confinement at different places in Ionia and Bithynia, and afterwards in the castle of Macellum near Caesareia: and we know from Julian's own statement in his epistle to the senate and people of Athens, that, although they were treated with all the honours due to their birth, they felt most unhappy in their royal prison, being surrounded by spies who were to report the least of their words and actions to a jealous and bloodthirsty tyrant. However, they received a careful and learned education, and were brought up in the principles of the Christian religion: their teachers were Nicocles Luco, a grammarian, and Ecebolus, a rhetorician, who acted under the superintendence of the eunuch Mardonius, probably a pagan in secret, and of Eusebius, an Arian, afterwards bishop of Nicomedeia. Gallus was the first who was released from his slavery by being appointed Caesar in A. D. 351, and governor of the East, and it was through his mediation that Julian obtained more liberty. The conduct of Gallus in his government, and his execution by Constantius in A. D. 354, are detailed elsewhere. Julian was now in great danger, and the emperor would probably have sacrificed him to his jealousy but for the circumstance that he had no male issue himself, and that Julian was consequently the only other surviving male of the imperial family. Constantius was satisfied with removing Julian from Asia to Italy, and kept him for some time in close confinement at Milan, where he lived surrounded by spies, and in constant fear of sharing the fate of his brother. Owing to the mediation of the empress Eusebia, an excellent woman, who loved Julian with the tenderness of a sister, the young prince obtained an interview view Constantius, and having succeeded in cahniag the cmperor's suspicions, was allowed to lead a private life at Athens (A. D. 355). Athens was then the centre of Greek learning, and there Julian spent short but delightful period in intercourse with the most celebrated philosophers, scholars, and artists of the time, and in the society of a company of young men who were devoted to the pursuit of knowledge, and among whom was Gregory Nazianzen, who became afterwards so celebrated as a Christian orator. Among those learned men Julian was not the least in renown, and he attracted universal attention both by his talents and his knowledge. The study of Greek literature and philosophy was his principal and favourite pursuit. He had been brought up by Greeks and among Greeks, and his predilection for whatever was Greek was of course very natural ; but he did not neglect Latin literature, and we Jearn from Ammianus Marcellinus (xvi. 5), that he had a fair knowledge of the Latin language, which was then stil spoken at the court of Constantinople. While Julian lived in happy retirement at Athens, the cmperor was bent down by the weight of public affairs, and the empire being exposed to the invasions of the Persians in the east, and of the Germans and Sarmatians in the west and the north, he followed the advice of Eusebia, in opposition to his eunuchs, in conferring the rank of Caesar upon Julian, who was accordingly recalled from Athens and summoned to Milan, where Constantius was residing. Julian obeyed reluctantly : the Greek Minerva had more charms for him than the Roman Jupiter, and he was too well acquainted with the mythology of his ancestors not to know that even the embraces of Jupiter are sometimes fatal. On the 6th of November, A. D. 355, Julian was solemnly proclaimed Caesar, and received, as a guarantee of the emperor's sincerity, the hand of his sister Helena, who was the youngest child of Constantine the Great. At the same time he was invested with the government of the provinces beyond the Alps, but some time elapsed before he set out for Gaul, where he was to reside, and during this time he began to accustom himself to behave with that composure and artihcial dignity which suited a person of his exalted station, but which corresponded so little with his taste and habits. When he first entered upon public life he was timid and clumsy, and he used afterwards to laugh at his own awkwardness on those occasions. The internal peace of Gaul was still suffering from the consequences of the revolt of Sylvanus, and her frontiers were assailed by the Germans, who had crossed the Rhine, burnt Strassburg, Treves, Cologne, and many other flourishing cities, and made devastating inroads into the midland provinces of Gaul. Accustomed to the quiet occupations of a scholar, Julian seemed little fitted for the command in the field, but he found an experienced lieutenant in the person of the veteran general Sallustius, and the wisdom he had learned in the schools of Greece was not merely theoretical philosophy, but virtue : temperate to the extreme, he despised the luxuries of a Roman court, and his food and bed were not better than those of a common soldier. In his administration he was just and forbearing; and never discouraged by adversity nor inflated by success, he showed himself worthy to reign over others, because he could reign over himself.
  Julian arrived in Gaul late in A. D. 355, and, after having stayed the winter at Vienna (Vienne in Dauphine), he set out in the spring of 356 to drive the barbarians back over the Rhine. In this campaign he fought against the Alemanni, the invaders of Southern Gaul. He made their first acquaintance near Rheims, and paid dearly for it : they fell unexpectedly upon his rear, and two legions were cut to pieces. But as he nevertheless advanced towards the Rhine, it seems that the principal disadvantage of his defeat was only a loss of men. In the following spring (357) he intended to cross the Rhine, and to penetrate into the country of the Alemanni; and he would have executed his plan but for the strange conduct of the Roman general Barbation, who was on his march from Italy with an army of 25,000, or perhaps 30,000 men, in order to effect his junction with Julian. A sufficient number of boats was collected at Basel for the purpose of throwing a bridge over the Rhine, and provisions were kept there for supporting his troops, but barbation remained inactive on the left bank, and proved his treacherous designs by burning both the ships and the provisions. In consequence of this, Julian was compelled to adopt the defensive, and the Alemanni, headed by their king Chnodomarius, crossed the Rhine, and took up a position near Strassburg (August, A. D. and took up a position near Strassburg strong : Julian had only 13,000 veterans; but he did not decline the engagement, and, after a terrible conflict, he gained a decisive victory, which was chiefly owing to the personal valour of the young prince. Six thousand of the barbarians remained on the field, perhaps as many were slain in their flight or drowned in the Rhine, and their king Chnodomarius was made prisoner. The loss of the Romans in this memorable battle is stated by Ammianus Marcellinus to have been only 243 privates and four officers; but this is not credible. Chnodomarius was well treated by Julian, who sent him to the court of Constantius.
  Immediately after this victory Julian invaded the territory of the Alemanni on the right bank of the Rhine, but more for the purpose of exhibiting his power than of making any permanent conquests, for he advanced only a few miles, and then returned and led his troops against the Franks, who had conquered the tract between the Seheldt, the Maas, and the Lower Rhine. Some of the Frankish tribes he drove back into Germany, and others he allowed to remain in Gaul, on condition of their submitting to the Roman authority. Upon this he invaded Germany a second time, in 358, and a third time in 359, in order to make the Alemanni desist from all further attempts upon Gaul, and he not only succeeded, but returned with 20,000 Romans, whom the Alemanni had taken, and whom he compelled them to give up.
  The peace of Gaul being now established, Julian exerted himself to rebuild the cities that had been ruined on the frontiers of Germany: among those rebuilt and fortified by him were Bingen, Andernach, Bonn, and Neuss, and, without doubt, Cologne also, as this city had been likewise laid in ashes by the Germans. As the constant inroads of the barbarians had interrupted all agricultural pursuits in those districts, there was a great scarcity of corn, but Julian procured an abundant supply by sending six hundred barges to England, which came back with a sufficient quantity for both grinding and sowing. The minimum of the quantity of corn thus exported from England has been calculated at 120,000 quarters, and it has been justly observed that the state of agriculture in this country must have been in an advanced condition, since so much corn could be exported nearly altogether at the same time. Julian bestowed the same care upon the other provinces of Gaul, and the country evidently recovered under his administration, although the power with which he was invested was by no means extensive enough to check the system of rapacity and oppression which characterises the government of the later Roman emperors. His usual residence was Paris: he caused the large island in the Seine, which is now called l'ile de la Cite, and whereupon stood ancient Paris or Lutetia, to be surrounded by a stone wall and towers, and he built the Thermae Juliani, a palace with baths, the extensive remains of which, "les thermes de Julien", are still visible in the Rue de la Harpe, between the palace of Cluny and the School of Medicine.
  While Julian became more and more popular in the provinces entrusted to his administration, and his fame was spreading all over the empire, Constantius once more gave way to the suggestions of jealousy and distrust, and believed that Julian aimed at popularity in order to gain for himself the supreme authority. It happened that in A. D. 360 the eastern provinces were again threatened by the Persians. Constantius commanded Julian to send to the frontiers of Persia four of his best legions and a number of picked soldiers from his other troops, apparently that he might be able apprehend him, which it was impossible to do while he was surrounded by so many thousands devoted warriors. This order surprised Julian in April 360: to obey it was to expose Gaul to new inroads of the Germans, and Britain to the ravages of the Scots and Picts, whose incursions had assumed such a dangerous character that Julian just despatched Lupicinus to defend the island; but to disobey the order was open revolt. His soldiers also were unwilling to march into Asia; but Julian, notwithstanding the dangers that awaited him, resolved to obey, and endeavoured to persuade his troops to submit quietly to the will of their master. His endeavours were in vain. In the night large bodies of soldiers surprised the palace of Julian, and proclaimed him emperor. He had hid himself in his apartments; but they soon discovered him, dragged him, though respectfully, before the assembled troops, and compelled him to accept the crown. Upon this he despatched Pentadius and Eutherius with a conciliatory message to Constantius, in which, however, he positively demanded to be acknowledged as Augustus, and to be invested with the supreme authority in those provinces over which he had ruled as Caesar, viz. Gaul, Spain, and Britain. The conditions of Julian were haughtily declined; and after a considerable time had elapsed in fruitless negotiations, which Julian employed in making two more expeditions beyond the Rhine against the Franks and the Alemanni, he at last resolved to wage open war, and to march upon Constantinople. His army was numerous and well disciplined, and the frontier along the Rhine in an excellent state of defence: his troops, who had refused leaving Gaul without him, now joyfully left it with him. Meanwhile, Constantius likewise collected a strong army, and gave directions for the defence of his capital from Antioch, from whence he had superintended the Persian war. Informed of his plans, Julian resolved to thwart them by quickness and energy. At Basel on the Rhine he divided his army into two corps: one, commanded by Novitta, was to march through Rhaetia and Noricum; the other, under the orders of Jovius and Jovinus, was to cross the Alps and march through the north-eastern corner of Italy: both divisions were to unite at Sirmium, a town on the Savus, now Save. Julian, at the head of a small but chosen body of 3000 veterans, plunged into the wildernesses of the Marcian, now Black Forest; and for some time the rival of Constantius seemed to be lost in those dark glens whence issue the sources of the Danube. But when Novitta, Jovius and Jovinus arrived at Sirmium, they be held, to their joy and astonishment, the active Julian with his band, who had descended the Danube and had already defeated the extreme outposts of Lucilian, the lieutenant of Constantius in those regions.
  From Sirmium Julian moved upon Constantinople: the officers of Constantius fled before him, but the inhabitants received him with acclamations of joy; and at Athens, Rome, and other important cities, he was either publicly or privately acknowledged as emperor, having previously sent explanatory letters to the authorities of those distant places. Informed of the unexpected appearance of Julian on the Danube, Constantius set out from Syria to defend his capital; and a terrible civil war threatened to desolate Italy and the East, to when Constantius suddenly died at Mopsocrene in Cilicia, on the third of November, A. D. 361, leaving the whole empire to the undisputed posses sion of Julian. On the 11th of December following, Julian made his triumphal entrance into Constantinople. Shortly afterwards the mortal remains of Constantius arrived in the Golden Horn, and had were buried by Julian in the church of the Holy Apostles with great solemnity and magnificence.
  While Julian thus gave a Christian burial to the body of his rival, he had long ceased to be a Christian himself. According to Julian's own statement (Epist. ii.), he was a Christian up to his twentieth year; and the manner in which he praises his tutor, Mardonius, seems to imply that Mardonius and the philosopher Maximus first caused him to love the religion of the ancient Greeks, without, however, precisely estranging him from the Christian religion, which seems to have been the effect of his study of the ancient Greek philosophers. The vile hypocrisy of the base and cruel Constantius, the conviction of Julian that Con stantine the Great had at first protected, and afterwards embraced, Christianity from mere political motives, the persecuting spirit manifested equally by the Orthodox and Arians against one another,-- had also a great share in the conversion of Julian. During ten years he dissembled his apostacy, which was, however, known to many of his friends, and early suspected by his own brother Gallus and it was not till he had succeeded to the throne that he publicly avowed himself a pagan. Our space does not allow us to enter into the details of his apostacy, and we must refer the reader to the sources cited below. His apostasy was no sooner known than the Christians feared a cruel persecution, and the heathens hoped that paganism would be forced upon all who were not heathens; but they were beth disappointed by an edict of [p. 647] Julian, in which lie proclaimed a perfect toleration of all parties. He was not, however, impartial in his conduct towards the Christians, since he preferred pagans as his civil and military officers, forbade the Christians to teach rhetoric and grammar in the schools, and, in order to annoy them, allowed the Jews to rebuild their great temple at Jerusalem 1 and compelled the followers of Jesus to pay money towards the erection of pagan temples, and, in some instances, to assist in building them. Had Julian lived longer he would have seen that his apostacy was not followed by those effects, either religious or political, which he flattered himself would take place: he would have learnt that paganism, as he understood it, was not the religion of the great mass of pagans, and that paganism, as it actually existed, was a rotten institution, destitute of all religious and moral discipline; and he would have witnessed that, however divided the Christians were, there was something better and healthier in Christianity than futile subjects for subtle controversies.
  Soon after his accession Julian set out for Antioch, where he remained some time busy in organising a powerful army for the invasion, and perhaps subjugation, of Persia. The people of Antioch received him coolly: they were Christians, but also the most frivolous and luxurious people in the East, and they despised the straightforward and somewhat rustic manners of an emperor who had formed his character among stern Celts and Germans. At Antioch Julian made the acquaintance of the orator Libanius; but the latter was unable to reconcile the emperor to the sort of life which prevailed in that splendid city. He therefore withdrew to Tarsus in Cilicia, where he took up his winter-quarters. In the following spring (March, 363) he set out for Persia. The different corps of his army met at Hierapolis, where they passed the Euphrates on a bridge of boats, and thence moved to Carrhae, now Ilarran, a town in Mesopotamia about fifty miles E. N. E. from Hierapolis. Julian's plan was to march upon Ctesiphon, but in order to deceive the Persian king, Sapor, he despatched Procopius and Sebastianus with 30,000 men against Nisibis (east of Carrhae), while he himself wheeled suddenly round to the south, following the course of the Euphrates on its left or Mesopotamian side. Procopius and Sebastianus were to join Arsaces Tiranus, king of Armenia, and Julian expected to effect a junction with their united forces in the environs of Ctesiphon ; but the treachery of Arsaces prevented the accomplishment of his plan, as is mentioned below. While Julian marched along the Euphrates in a south-eastern direction, he was accompanied by a fleet of 1100 ships, fifty of which were well-armed galleys, and the rest barges, carrying a vast supply of provisions and military stores. At Circesium, situated on the confluence of the Chaboras, now the Khabur, with the Euphrates, he arrived at the Persian frontier, which rail along the lower part of the Chaboras, and he Fntered the Persian territory on the 7th of April, 363, at the head of an army of 65,000 veterans. The bridge of the Chaboras was broken down behind them by his orders, to convince the soldiers that a retreat was no plan of their master. From Circesium he continued marching along the Euphrates till he came to that narrow neck of land which separates the Euphrates from the Tigris in the latitude of Ctesiphon. This portion of the route lies partly through a dreary desert, where the Romans experienced some trifling losses from the light Persian horse, who hovered round them, and occasionally picked up stragglers or assailed the rear or the van. Previous to crossing the neck of land, Julian besieged, stormed, and burned Perisabor, a large town on the Euphrates; and while crossing that tract, he was delayed some time under the walls of Maogamalcha, which lie likewise took after a short siege and razed to the ground. Julian now accomplished a most difficult and extraordinary task: he conveyed his whole fleet across the above-mentioned neck of land, by an ancient canal called Nahar-Malcha, which, however, he was obliged to deepen before he could trust his ships in such a passage; and, as the canal joined the Tigris below Ctesiphon, he looked for and found an old cut, dug by Trajan, from Colche to a place somewhat above Ctesipllon, which, however, he was likewise compelled to make deeper and broader, so that at last his fleet run safely out into the Tigris. The canal of Nahar-Malcha is now called the canal of Saklawiyeh, or Isa; it joins the Tigris a little below Baghdad, and it still affords a communication between the two rivers. Through a very skilful manoeuvre, he brought over his army on the left bank of the Tigris, -a passage not only extremely difficult on account of the rapid current of the Tigris, but rendered still more so through the stout resistance of a Persian army, which, however, was routed and pursued to the walls of Ctesiphon. The city would have been entered by the Romans together with the fugitive Persians, but for the death of their leader, Victor. Julian was now looking out for the arrival of Procopius and Sebastianus, and the main army of the Armenian king, Arsaces or Tiranus. He was sadly disappointed: his lieutenants did not arrive, and Tiranus arranged for a body of his Armenians to desert which had joined the Romans previously, and which now secretly withdrew from the Roman camp at Ctesiphon. Julian nevertheless began the siege of that vast city, which was defended by the flower of the Persian troops, king Sapor, with the main body of his army, not having yet arrived from the interior of Persia. Unable to take the city, and desirous of dispersing the king's army, Julian imprudently followed the advice of a Persian nobleman of great distinction, who appeared in the Roman camp under the pretext of being persecuted by Sapor, and who recommended the emperor to set out in search of the Persian king. In doing so, Julian would have been compelled to Abandon his fleet on the Tigris to the attacks of a hostile and infuriated populace: this he avoided by setting fire to his ships,--the best thing he could have done, if his march into the interior of Persia had been dictated by absolute necessity; but as he was not obliged to leave the city, even success would not have compensated for the loss of 1200 ships. In proportion as the Romans advanced eastward, the country became more and more barren, and Sapor remained invisible. The treachery of the Persian noble was discovered after his secret flight, and Julian was obliged to retreat. He took the direction of the province of Corduene. The Persians now appeared: swarms of light horse were seen hovering round the army; larger bodies followed, and ere long Sapor, with his main army, came in sight, and harassed fearfully the rear of the Romans. Still the Romans remained victorious in many a bloody engagement, especially at Maronga; but it was in the mouth of June, and the oppressive heat, and the want of water and provisions had a pernicious effect upon the troops. On the 26th of June the Roman rear was suddenly assailed by the Persians, and Julian, who commanded the van, hastened to the relief of the rear without his cuirass, the heat making a heavy armour almost insupportable. The Persians were repulsed, and fled in confusion. Julian was pursuing them with the utmost bravery, when in the middle of the melee he was shot by an arrow, that pierced through his liver. He fell from his horse mortally wounded, and was conveyed to his tent. Feeling his death approaching, he took leave of his friends with touching words, but certainly not with that fine and elegant speech with which Ammianus Marcellinus (xxv. 3) makes him bid farewell to the world.
  Jovian was chosen emperor in his stead, on the field of battle.
  We cannot enter into a long description of Juliain's character. His talents, his principles, and his deeds, were alike extraordinary. His pride was to be called by others and by himself a philosopher, yet many facts prove that he was very superstitious. Most Christian writers abused and calumniated him because he abandoned Christianity: if they had pitied him they would have acted more in accordance with that sublime precept of our religion, which teaches us to forgive our enemies. It must ever be recollected that the bigotry, the hypocrisy, and the uncharitableness, of the majority of the Christians of Julian's time, were some of the principal causes that led to his apostacy. In reading the ancient authorities, the student oughlt to bear in mind that the heathen writers extol Julian far too high, and that the Christians debase him far too low.
  Julian was great as an emperor, unique as a man, and remarkable as an author. He wrote an immense number of works, consisting of orations on various subjects, historical treatises, satires, and letters : most of the latter were intended for public circulation. All these works are very elaborately composed, so much so as to afford a fatiguing and monotonous reading to those who peruse them merely for their merits as specimens of Greek literature but they are at the same time very important sources for the history and the opinions of the age on religion and philosophy. Julian also tried to write poetry, but he was no poet: lie lacks imagination, and his artificial manner of embellishing prose shows that he had no poetical vein. He was a man of reflection and thought, but possessed no creative genius. His style is remarkably pure for his time, and shows that lie had not only studied the classical Greek historians and philosophers, but had so far identified himself with his models, that there is scarcely a page in his works where we do not meet with either reminiscences from the classical writers, or visible efforts to express his ideas in the same way as they did. With this painful imitation of his classical models he often unites the exaggerated and over-elaborate style of his contemporaries, and we trace in his writings the influence of the Platonists no less than that of Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides, and so many other writers of the golden age. There is, however, one circumstance which reconciles the reader to many of the author's defects: Julian did not merely write for writing's sake, as so many of his contemporaries did, but he shows that he had his subjects really at heart, and that in literature as well as in business his extraordinary activity arose from the wants of a powerful mind, which desired to improve itself and the world. In this respect Julian excites our sympathy much more, for instance, than the rhetorician Libanius.
  The following are the editions of the entire works of Julian:
Juliani Imperatoris Opera quae exlant, with a Latin translation by P. Martinius and C. Cantoclarus, and the author's life by Martinius, Paris, 1583: Juliani Opera, quae quidem reperiri pottuerunt, omnia, Paris, 1630, by Petavius, with notes and a Latin translation. A better edition than either of the two preceding is: Juliani Impcratoris Opera, quae supersunt omnia, Leipzig, 1696, by Ezechiel Spanheim, who perused an excellent codex, which enabled him to publish a much purer text than Petavius, and he added the notes of Petavius and his translation, which he corrected, as well as an excellent commentary of his own. This edition contains 63 letters of Julian. Spanheim further added to it S. Cyrilli, Aleaandrini Archiepiscopi, contra impium Julianum Libri Decem, which is the more valuable as Cyrillus was one of the most able adversaries of Julian, as is mentioned below. The following is a list of Julian's works, with the principal separate editions of each:
I. Letters. The first collection, published by Aldus, Venice, 1499, contains only 48 letters; Spanheim published 63 in his edition of the works of Julian; others were found in later times, four of which are printed in Fabricius, Biblioth. Graec. ; the last and best edition is by L. H. Heyler, Mainz, 1828; it contains 83 letters, with a Latin translation and a commentary of the editor. There are besides some fragments of lost letters. Among the letters of Julian, there is also one which was written to him by his brother Gallus, in A. D. 353, who advises him to remain faithful to the Christian religion. The authenticity of several letters is contested. They treat on various subjects, and are of great importance for the history of the time. One, which was addressed to the senate and people of Athens, and in which the author explains the motives of his having taken up arms against the emperor Constantius, is an interesting and most important historical document.
II. Orations. 1. Elkomion pros autokratora Konstantion, with a Latin translation by Petavius, Paris, 1614: an encomium of the emperor Constantius, in which Julian is not consisteit with his usual feelings of contempt and hatred towards that emperor. In general Julian speaks very badly of the whole imperial family, and even Constantine the Great does not escape his severe censure. Wyttenbach, in the work quoted below, has written some excellent observations on this work. 2. Peri ton Autokpatoros Tpraxeon, e tepi Basileias, two orations on the deeds and tile reign of the emperor Constantius, which are of great importance for the knowledge of the time: in the complete editions. Julian wrote these orations in Gaul, and betray in many a passage his preference of paganism to Christianity, as well as his enthusiastic love of the new Platonic philosophy. 3. Eusebias tes basilidos Elkomion, an encomiurnon the empress Eusebia, tile patroness of Julian: ed. Petavius, Paris, 1614. 4. Eis ton basilea Helion, an oration on the worship of the sun, addressed to Sallustius, his old military councillor and friend, first in Gaul and afterwards in Germany: ed. by Theodorus Marcilius, Paris, 1583; by Vincentius Marinerius, Madrid, 1625. 5. Eis ten metera ton theon, an oration on the mother of gods (Cybele): Julian visited the temple of Cybele at Pessinus, and restored her worship. 6. Eis tous ataideutous Kunas; and 7. Pros Herakleion Kunikon, peri tou pos Kunisteun, kai ei prepei toi Kuni muthous, prattein two orations on true and false Cynicism, the latter addressed to the Cynic Heracleius. 8. Epi te exudoi tou alathotatou ealloudtion taramuthetikos,a letter to the aforesaid Sallustius, in which he consoles himself and his friends on the recal of Sallustius, by the emperor Constantius, from Gaul to the East. 9. A letter, or more correctly dissertation, addressed to his former tutor, the philosopher Themistius, on the difficulty the author thinks he would experience in showing himself so perfect an emperor as Themistis expected.
III. Otler Works. 1. Kaisapes e Sumtosion, the "Caesars or the Banquet," a satirical composition, which Gibbon justly calls one of the most agreeable and instructive productions of ancient wit. Julian describes the Roman emperors approaching one after the other to take their seat round a table placed in the heavens; and as they come up, their faults, vices, and crimes, are censured with a sort of bitter mirth by old Silenus, whereupon each Caesar defends himself as well as he can, that is, as well as Julian allows him to do; but in this Julian shows much partiality, especially towards Constantine the Great and other members of the imperial family. Alexander the Great also appears. He and other great heroes at last acknowledge that a royal philosopher is greater than a royal hero, and the piece finishes with a great deal of praise bestowed upon Julian by himself. There are many editions and translations of this remarkable production. Of these, the most important are the text with a Latin translation by C. Cantoclarus, Paris, 1577, the Editio Princeps; the same Ibid. 1583; the same, corrected by Frederic Sylburg, in the third volume of his Romanae Hisitoriae Scriptores Minorcs, and separately, Frankfort, 1590; by Petrus Cunaeas, with an elegant Latin translation, Leyden, 1632; the same with the notes of Cellarius, Leipzig, 1693, 1735. The best editions are by J. M. Heusinger, Gotha, 1736, 1741, and by Harless, the editor of Fabricius, Bibl. Graeca, Erlangen, 1785. An English translation of the Caesares, the Misopogon, and several other productions of Julian, is contained in "Select Works of the Emperor Julian, and some Pieces of the Sophist Libanius, &c., with Notes from Petav, La Bleterie, Gibbon, &c., and a translation of La Bleterie's Vie de Jovien, by John Duncombe", London, 1784. Several French, German, Italian, and Dutch translations are mentioned by Fabricius.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Helena, Flavia Julia, daughter of Constantine the Great and Fausta, was given in marriage by her brother Constantius to her cousin Julian the Apostate, when the latter was nominated Caesar, towards the end of A. D. 355. She survived the union for five years only, until A. D. 360, having borne one child, a boy, which died immediately after its birth. Her sterility, as well as the fate of this solitary infant, were ascribed, as we learn from Ammianus Marcellinus, to the guilty arts of her sister-in-law, the empress Eusebia. (Amm. Marc. xv. 8.18, xvi. 10.18, xxi. 1.5)


Jovianus (363-364 AD)

Jovianus, Flavius Claudius, Roman emperor (A. D. 363-364), was the son of the Comes Varronianus, one of the most distinguished generals of his time, who had retired from public life when the accession of his son took place. Jovianus was primus ordinis domesticorum, or captain of the lifeguards of the emperor Julian, and accompanied him on his unhappy campaign against the Persians. Julian having been slain on the field of battle, on the 26th of June, A. D. 363, and the election of another emperor being urgent, on account of the danger in which the Roman army was placed, the choice of the leaders fell first upon their veteran brother Sallustius Secundus, who, however, dedined the honour, and proposed Jovian. The merits of his father more than his own induced the Roman generals to follow the advice of their colleague, and Jovian was proclaimed emperor on the day after the death of Julian. He immediately professed himself to be a Christian. The principal and most difficult task of the new emperor was to lead his army back into the old Roman territories. No sooner had he begun his retreat, than Sapor, the Persian king, who had been informed of the death of Julian, made a general attack upon the Romans. Jovian won the day, continued his retreat under constant attacks, and at last reached the Tigris, but was unable with all his efforts to cross that broad, deep, and rapid river in presence of the Persian army. In this extremity he listened to the propositions of Sapor, who was afraid to rouse the despair of the Romans. After four days' negotiations he purchased the safety of his army by giving up to the Persian king the five provinces, or rather districts, beyond the Tigris, which Galerius had united to the Roman empire in A. D. 297, viz. Arzanene, Moxoene, Zabdicene, Rehimene and Corduene, as well as Nisibis and several other fortresses in Mesopotamia. Great blame has been thrown upon Jovian for having made such a disgraceful peace; but the circumstances in which he was placed rendered it necessary, and he was, moreover, anxious to secure his crown, and establish his authority in the western provinces. He had no sooner crossed the Tigris than he despatched officers to the West, investing his father-in-law Lucillianus with the supreme command in Italy, and Malaricus with that in Gaul. On the western banks of the Tigris he was joined by Procopius with the troops stationed in Mesopotamia, and being now out of danger, he devoted some time to administrative and legislative business. His chief measure was the celebrated edict, by which he placed tile Christian religion on a legal basis, and thus put an end to the persecutions to which the Christians had been exposed during the short reign of Julian. The heathens were, however, equally protected, and no superiority was allowed to the one over the other. The different sectaries assailed him with petitions to help them against each other, but he declined interfering, and referred then to the decision of a general council ; and the Arians showing themselves most troublesome, he gave them to understand that impartiality was the first duty of an emperor. His friend Athanasins was restored to his see at Alexandria. After having abandoned Nisibis to tile Persians, he marched through Edessa, Antioch, Tarsus, and Tyana in Cappadocia, where he learnt that Malaricus having declined the command of Gaul, Lucillianus had hastened thither from Italy, and had been slain in a riot by the soldiers, but that the army had been restored to obedience by Jovinus. From Tyana Jovian pursued his march to Constantinople, in spite of an unusually severe winter. On the 1st of January, 364, he celebrated at Ancyra his promotion to the consulship, taking as colleague his infant son Varronianus, whom he called nobilissimus on the occasion. Having arrived at Dadastana, a small town in Galatia, on the borders of Bithynia, he indulged in a hearty supper and copious libations of wine, and endeavoured to obtain sound repose in an apartment which had lately been whitewashed, by ordering burning charcoals to be placed in the damp room. On the following morning (17th of February, 364) he was found dead in his bed. His death is ascribed to various causes -to intemperance, the coal-gas, and the poison of an assassin. It is possible, though not probable, that he died a violent death, to which Ammianus Marcellinus (xxv. 10) seems to allude when he compares his death with that of Aemilianus Scipio.
(Amm. Marc. xxv. 5-10; Eutrop. x. 17, 18; Zosim. iii.; Zonar.; Oros. vii. 31; Sozomen. vi. 3; Philostorg. viii. 5; Agathias, iv.; Themistius dwells upon the history of Jovian in several orations, especially Or. 5 and 7, and bestows all the praise on him which we might expect from a panegyrist; De la Bleterie, Histoire de Jovien, Amsterd. 1740, the best work on the subject.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Valens (364-378 AD)

Valens, emperor of the East A. D. 364-378, the brother of Valentinian I., was born about A. D. 328. The name of his wife was Albia Dominica, by whom he had a son and two daughters. Under Julian he was one of the Domestici. He was made emperor of the East by his brother on the 28th of March A. D. 364, as is told in the article Valentinianus I.
  Valens had in his service the Prefect Sallustius, and the generals Lupicinus, Victor, and Arinthaeus. By a constitution of the 16th of December of this year, he forbade the practice of giving presents to those who carried to the provinces important news, such as the accession of an emperor or his assumption of the consulship : he allowed the carriers of such news to receive the presents which persons of property or condition might choose to give, but not to exact anything from those who were not in easy circumstances. The Goths are spoken of as having made their appearance in Thrace in this year, but they were induced to retire, probably by money. Valens left Constantinople in the spring of A. D. 365, for Asia Minor, and he was at Caesarea in Cappadocia in the month of July, when the great earthquake happened, which shook all the country round the Mediterranean. The revolt of Procopius for a time rendered the throne of Valens insecure. Procopius assumed the imperial title at Constantinople, on the 28th of September, A. D. 365, and Valens received the intelligence as he was going to leave Caesarea. After the death of Procopius, A. D. 366, Valens treated the partisans of the rebel with great clemency according to Themistius; but Ammianus and Zosimus say that he punished many innocent persons. The fact of some persons being punished is certain: the nature and degree of their participation in the revolt may be doubtful. The emperor had sworn to demolish the walls of Chalcedon for the share which it had taken in the insurrection, but at the prayer of the people of Nicaea, Nicomedia, and Constantinople, he satisfied his superstition by pulling down some small portion of the walls and rebuilding it. Probably about this time he did Constantinople the service of improving the supply of water by building an aqueduct.
  The year A. D. 367 is memorable in the reign of Valens for an extraordinary event, the diminution of the taxes by one fourth, a measure which rarely happens in the history of a nation, the general rule being progressive taxation till people can pay no more. The diminution was the less expected as a war with the Goths was imminent. These barbarians had for some time hung on the northern frontier, and occasionally pillaged the Roman lands. Three thousand Goths, who had been sent by Athanaric to aid Procopius, were compelled to surrender after the death of the rebel, and were distributed in the towns along the Danube and kept under surveillance. The Gothic king, Ermenric, demanded these Goths back, but Valens refused then, and resolved on war, as he had nothing else to do.
  Before undertaking the war, for which he made great preparation, Valens received the rite of baptism from Eudoxus, the chief of the Arians who was then seated in the chair of Constantinople. Thus, says Tillemont, "he began by an act which involved him in a thousand mishaps, and finally precipitated his body and his soul to death". The emperor posted his troops on the Danube, and fixed his camp at Marcianopolis, the capital of Lower Maesia. He was ably assisted by Auxonius, who was made Praefectus Praetorio in place of Sallustius, who was relieved of his office on account of his age. Valens crossed the Danube, and finding no resistance, ravaged the country of the enemy. He was again at Marcianopolis in January A. D. 368, where he appears to have passed the winter. An incursion of the Isaurians, who extended their ravages to Cilicia and Pamphylia, and cut to pieces Musonius, the Vicarius of Asia, and his troops, may perhaps be referred to this year.
  The military events of the year A. D. 368 were unimportant. Valens was unable to cross the Danube, and he passed the winter again at Marcianopolis. On the 10th of October, the city of Nicaea was destroyed by an earthquake. On the 3d of May, A. D. 369, Valens left Marcianopolis for Noviodunum, where he crossed the Danube and entered the country of the Goths. The Goths sustained considerable loss; and Valens also defeated Athanaric, who opposed him with a numerous army. He returned to Marcianopolis, intending to pass another winter there, but the Goths sued for peace, which was granted on the condition that they should not cross the Danube, and should only be allowed to trade at two towns on the river. The treaty between Valens and Athanaric was concluded on vessels in the Danube, for Athanaric refused to set his foot on the Roman territory. At the end of this year, Valens was at Constantinople.
  The year A. D. 370 is memorable for the cruel punishment of eighty ecclesiastics. The Arians were persecuted by the Catholics at Constantinople, and the Catholics sent a deputation of eighty ecclesiastics to Valens, who was then at Nicomedia. It is said that Valens ordered them to be put to death, and that his order was executed by Modestus, Praefectus Praetorio, by placing them in a vessel on the sea, and setting fire to it. "This inhumanity", observes Tillemont, "was punished by a famine which desolated Phrygia and the neighbouring country"; but the pious historian does not explain how the sufferings of the innocent are to be considered as a punishment on the guilty.
  Valens spent the early part of A. D. 371 at Constantinople, whence he moved to Caesarea in Cappadocia, where he probably spent the winter. About this time he lost his only son. When the youth was taken ill, the emperor who had entertained a design of banishing Basilius, bishop of Caesarea, applied to him for his help, and the bishop promised that the boy should recover, if the emperor would allow him to be baptized by Catholic priests : "but Valens caused him to be baptized by Arians, and the child immediately died." It was about this time also that Valens divided Cappadocia into two provinces, and made Tyana the capital of the second.
  In A. D. 372 Modestus, the Praefect, and Arinthaeus were consuls. Arinthaeus, who was a man of extraordinary stature, and of perfect form, of great courage and superior military skill, had been employed both by Julian and Jovian, and he had served Valens well in the war against Procopius. On the 13th of April, Valens was at Antioch in Syria, whither he had gone to conduct the war against Sapor king of Persia. Sapor had made a treaty with Jovian, in which it seems that Armenia was comprehended. However this may be, Sapor had set his mind on getting possession of Armenia, and about A. D. 369, having prevailed on Arsaces, the Armeniian king, to come to an entertainment, he made him prisoner, put out his eyes, and finally ordered him to be executed. He gave the government of Armenia to Cylax and Artabanus, two natives, and creatures of his. Olympias, the wife of Arsaces, escaped with her son Para and her treasures to a strong place, which Cylax and Artabanns with some Persian troops made an unsuccessful attempt to take: it is said that Cylax and Artabanus were treacherous to their Persian allies.
  Para implored the assistance of Valens, who supported him at New Caesarea in Pontus, in a manner suitable to his rank, and he sent Comes Terentius to put him in possession of Armenia, but without conferring on him the insignia of royalty, which, it was supposed, might be taken as an infraction of the treaty with the Persians. On hearing of this Sapor sent troops into Armenia, who drove Para into the mountains. Sapor, not being able to seize Para, made a show of reconciliation and Para of submission, one of the tokens of which was the heads of Cylax and Artabanus, for which Sapor had asked, on the ground that they were rather the masters than the servants of Para. Valens upon this sent Arinthaeus into Armenia, who checked the approach of the Persian troops. Sapor complained, but Valens paid no attention to his complaints. The Persian king threatened an attack, but nothing was done this year, though Valens appears to have advanced into Mesopotamia.
  In the following year A. D. 373, the Roman and the Persian armies met; the Romans, commanded by Comes Trajanus and Vadomarus, formerly a king of the Allemanni (Amm. Marc. xxix. 1). Mesopotamia was apparently the seat of the war. Sapor was defeated, and retired to Ctesiphon after a truce was agreed on. Valens spent the winter at Antioch.
  During this winter there was a conspiracy to assassinate Valens, to which some persons, said to be pagans, were encouraged by believing that some person whose name began with Theod, was destined to succeed Valens. This was learned by the application of certain magical arts, and the person pointed out as the successor of the emperor was Theodorus, one of the notarii or secretaries of the emperor. This affair is told at length by Ammianus (xxix. 1). Theodorus and many other persons were put to death, some innocent and others guilty, for the existence of a plot appears probable enough. Sozomen says that all persons of rank who bore a name beginning with Theod were put to death, which is not credible. He also assigns this as the cause of the death of Theodosiolus or Theodosius, a grandee of Spain, and it seems that he must mean Theodosius, the father of the emperor Theodosius, who was executed at Carthage, A. D. 376. However, many persons were executed who had dealt in magic ; Maximus, once the teacher of the emperor Julian, Simonides, Hilarius and others. Books of magic were diligently sought after, and all that could be found were burnt. Chrysostom, then a young man, who by chance found a book of magic, expected and feared to share the fate of those who had dealt in this wicked art.
  The same year in which Gabinius in the West fell a victim to Roman treachery (A. D. 374), Para perished by the same shameful means. Pail, it appears, was established on the throne of Armenia, but Valens was for some reason dissatisfied with him, and sent for him to Tarsus under some pretext, leaving him to wait there, until Para, suspecting that it was intended to keep him prisoner, made his escape to Armenia. Valens commissioned Comes Trajanus, the commander of the Roman forces in Armenia, to put him to death, and Trajanus executed the order by inviting Para to a banquet and assassinating him.
  Negotiations for peace were still going on with Sapor (A. D. 375), but they resulted in nothing. The emperor spent this year at Antioch, taking little care of the administration, and allowing his ministers to enrich themselves by unjust means. Ammianus (xxx. 4) has a chapter on these matters. The pretext for these odious inquisitions was the vague charge of treason against the emperor.
  The events of A. D. 376 were unimportant. Valens was consul for the fifth time with Valentinianus, junior, who with his elder brother Gratianus had succeeded their father Valentinianus I., who died at the close of A. D. 375. Valens was preparing for war against the Persians, and he assembled a great force, but there is no record of what was the result of all this preparation. Sapor made conquests in Iberia and Armenia, which Valens could not prevent. Valens sent Victor to Persia to come to terms with the Persian king, and peace was made on terms, as it appears, not advantageous to the Romans.
  At this time the Romans became acquainted with the name of the Huns. The Huns, after attacking various tribes and the Alans, who inhabited the banks of the Tanais, fell upon the Goths called Greuthingi or Eastern Goths, and so alarmed them that Ermenric, their king, killed himself. Vithimis, his successor, fell in battle against the Huns, and Alatheus and Saphrax, the guardians of his son Vitheric, retreated before this formidable enemy, to the country between the Borysthenes and the Danube. Athanaric and his Goths attempted a useless resistance to the Huns on the banks of the Dniester. The Goths, and among them were some of the people of Athanaric, to the number of about 200,000, appeared on the banks of the Danube and asked for permission to enter the Roman territories. Valens was then at Antioch, and the Goths sent a deputation to him at the head of which was their bishop Ulphilas. Valens granted the request of the Goths, but ordered that their children should be carried over to Asia as hostages, and that the Goths should not bring their arms with them; but the last part of the order was imperfectly executed. Accordingly the Goths were received into Thrace and spread over the country on the borders of the Danube. Their chiefs were Alavif and Fritigern.
  Valens was still at Antioch (A. D. 377). It was the policy of the Romans to draw away the Goths from the immediate banks of the Danube, who bad not moved off, because they were not supplied with provisions, as the emperor had ordered. Lupicinus, Comes of Thrace and Maximus, who held the rank of Dux, are accused of irritating the barbarians by their treatment, and of driving them to arms. Lupicinus attempted to make the Goths leave the Danube, and employed for that purpose the soldiers who were stationed on the river; but as soon as the Greuthingi, under Saphrax and Alatheus, saw the banks unprotected, they crossed over, having previously been refused permission. The Greuthingi joined Fritigern and his Goths at Marcianopolis. Lupicinus invited Alavif and Fritigern to a feast, but instead of a reconciliation, this brought about a quarrel, and a battle, in which Lupicinus was defeated. Some Goths, who were already encamped near Hadrianople, were ordered to cross the Hellespont, but they asked for two days' delay and supplies for the journey. The chief magistrate of the city, being irritated at some damage done by the Goths to a country-house of his, attacked them, and had the worst in the combat. These Goths soon joined Fritigern, who had advanced as far as Hadrianople, and they besieged the city. They could not take Hadrianople, but they were masters of all the country, which they pillaged.
  Valens was at Antioch when he heard this news, and he sent forward Profuturus and Trajanus with the legions from Armenia to bring the Goths to obedience. These two generals were joined by Ricimer, who brought some help from Gratian. The Romans found the main body of the Goths at a place called Salices or the Willows, supposed to be in the tract called Scythia Parva between the lower course of the Danube and the sea, where a great battle was fought, apparently with no advantage to the Romans, for they returned to Marcianopolis. The further operations of this campaign led to no decisive result, and there was loss on both sides. The Goths appear to have spread themselves all over the country between the Danube and the Archipelago, and to have advanced even to the suburbs of Constantinople. Valens reached Constantinople on the 30th of May, A. D. 378. He deprived Trajanus of the command of the infantry, which he gave to Sebastianus, to whom he entrusted the conduct of the war. "It was", says Tillemont, "worthy of an Arian emperor to entrust his troops to a Manichaean. It was he who with the emperor determined on the unfortunate battle where they perished, against the advice of the most prudent, and principally Victor, general of the cavalry, a man altogether Catholic". Valens left Constantinople on the 11th of June, with evil omens. A solitary named Isaac, whose cell was near Constantinople, threatened him with the vengeance of God. "Restore", he said, "to the flocks their holy pastors, and you will gain a victory without trouble : if you fight before you have done it, you will lose your army and you will never return".
  The emperor encamped with a powerful army near Hadrianople. Trajanus, it appears, was restored to his command, or held some command; but the advice of Sebastianus prevailed with the emperor over that of Victor and the other generals, and a battle was resolved on. It was on the 9th of August, A. D. 378, and some few hours from Hadrianople, where the Romans sustained a defeat so bloody, that none can be compared with it in the Annals of Rome, except the fight of Cannae, Ammianus (xxxi. 13) has given a laboured description of the battle, not particularly clear. The Theuringi under Fritigern, and the Greuthungi under Alatheus and Saphrax, destroyed two-thirds of the Imperial army. Trajanus, Sebastianus, Valerianus Comes Stabuli, and Equitius, fell. Valens was never seen after the battle. He was wounded by an arrow, and, as some say, died on the field. According to another story, he was carried to a peasant's house, to which the barbarians set fire without knowing who was in it, and Valens was burnt. Though the mode of his death is not certain, all authorities agree in saying that his body was never found. The commentary of Orosius on the death of Valens is instructive (vii. 33 : "The Goths some time before sent ambassadors to Valens to pray that bishops (episcopi) might be sent to them to teach them the rule of Christian faith. Valens, through pestiferous depravity, sent teachers of the Arian dogma. The Goths retained the instruction in their first faith, which they received. Therefore by the just judgment of God the very persons burnt him alive, who through him even after death, are destined to burn on account of the vice of their error".
  The reign of Valens is important in the history of the empire on account of the admission of the Goths into the countries south of the Danube, the commencement of the decline of the Roman power. the furious contests between the rival creeds of the Catholics and the Arians, and the persecution of the Catholics by Valentinian, also characterize this reign. These religious quarrels, which we night otherwise view with indifference, are not to be overlooked in forming our judgment of this period, nor must we forget them when we attempt to estimate the value of the historians for this period.
  The character of Valens is drawn by Gibbon and Tillemont; by Gibbon perhaps with as much impartiality as he could exercise, by Tillemont under the influence of strong religious convictions, with as much fairness as we can expect from one who condemned the persecutions of Valens, both as a man of humanity and a zealous Catholic.
  The chronicle of Hieronymus terminates with the death of Valens, and here also ends the history of Ammianus, the last of the Roman historians. Eutropius, who does not deserve the name of historian, wrote his Breviariam Historiae Romanae in the time of Valens, and by the order of the emperor, to whom his work is dedicated.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Procopius (365-366 AD)

Procopius (Prokopios), Roman emperor in the East, through rebellion, from A. D. 363 to 366. According to all probability, he was a relation of the emperor Julian through Basilina, the mother of that emperor, and the second wife of Constantius Consul, who was the youngest son of Constantius Chlorus. Procopius was a native of Cilicia, where he was born about A. D. 365. Constantius II. made him his secretary, and employed him in the field as tribune. The emperor Julian created him comes, and appointed him commander in Mesopotamia, when he set out against Persia in A. D. 363. It was then said that Julian had advised him to assume the purple, or manifested a wish that he should be his successor in case he should lose his life in the projected expedition, and this saying afterwards found many believers, to the great advantage of Procopius. However, it was Jovian who succeeded Julian, in 363, and by him Procopius was charged with conducting the body of the fallen hero to Tarsus. Aware that Jovian entertained suspicions against him, or, perhaps, in order to carry out schemes which, at that period, nobody expected, Procopius went to Caesareia in Cappadocia, instead of returning to the imperial quarters. This step was sufficient to rouse the suspicions of Jovian, whatever might have been his previous disposition, and some troops were despatched to seize the fugitive, who, however, deceived his pursuers, and escaped with his family to Tauris. Afraid of being betrayed by the barbarians, he soon left that country and returned to Asia Minor; a dangerous step, which, however, throws some light on his secret plans. During some time he wandered from place to place, and his return having been discovered by Valentinian and Valens, the successors of Jovian (364), he hid himself in the mountains, till at last he found refuge at the house of the senator Strategius, who lived near Chalcedon. Strategius became a confidant of the ambitious schemes of Procopius, who found further adherents among the numerous adversaries of Valens in Constantinople, whither the fugitive general often proceeded on secret visits. The eunuch Eugenius became one of the principal promoters of the plans of Procopius, which were now manifestly those of deposing Valens, and making himself master of the East. The plot broke out in 365, and owing to his numerous partisans and his own artifices, the people of Constantinople proclaimed him emperor on the 28th of September of that year. The emperor Valens was at that period staying at Caesareia in Cappadocia, but was soon informed of the rebellion, and prepared for effective resistance. Meanwhile, Procopius set out for Asia Minor with a well-disciplined army, advanced as far as the Sangarius, and, through a bold stratagem, caused an imperial body, which defended the passage of that river, to desert their master, and join his own army. However, Valens advanced in his turn, and laid siege to Chalcedon, but was defeated under its walls, and obliged to retreat into Phrygia; Marcellus, a general of Procopius, took the important town of Cyzicus, and Procopius became master of Bithynia; a series of successes which turned his mind, made him haughty, and caused him more adversaries than adherents. The war was renewed with vigour in the spring of the following year 366, but to the great disadvantage of Procopius, whose army, commanded by the fugitive Persian prince, Hormisdas, was totally defeated by the celebrated general Arbetion. Soon afterwards, on the 27th of May, 366, another battle was fought at Nacolia, in Phrygia, the two rivals commanding their armies in person, and it ended in the rout of the rebels. Procopius fled, accompanied by a few attendants, with whom he wandered some days in the mountains, when they treacherously seized him, and delivered him into the hands of Valens, by whose order he was immediately put to death. Socrates says that Procopius suffered death by being tied to two trees forcibly bent together, which, on snapping asunder, tore the body of the unfortunate man to pieces. The cruel conduct of Valens against the partisans of Procopius belongs to the history of the former.
(Amm. Marc. xxvi. 6; Zosim. lib. iv.; Themist. Orat. 7; Socrat. iv. 3, &c.; Philostorg. ix. 5)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Theodosius I, The Great (379-395 AD)

, , 11/1/347 - 17/1/395

Theodosius I., was the son of Theodosius, who restored Britain to the empire, and was beheaded at Carthage. The family of Theodosius was Spanish, and the future emperor was born in Spain, about A. D. 346, as some say at Italica, the birth-place of Trajan, though other authorities say that he was a native of Cauca in Gallicia. His panegyrists derive his descent from Trajan, but this lofty lineage seems not to have been discovered until Theodosius was invested with the imperial purple.
  Theodosius received a good education; and he learned the art of war under his own father, whom he accompanied in his British campaigns. During his father's lifetime he was raised to the rank of Duke (dux) of Moesia, where he defeated the Sarmatians (A. D. 374), and saved the province. On the death of his father (A. D. 376), he retired before court intrigues to his native country, where he cultivated his own lands, which probably lay near his native place between Segovia and Valladolid. At this tile he was already married to a Spanish woman, Aelia Flacilla or Placilla, who is sometimes called Placidia, by whom he became the father of Arcadius, Honorius, and a daughter Pulcheria. From this peaceful retirement he was called in the thirty-third year of his age to receive the imperial purple. Valens, the colleague of Gratian, had recently lost his life at Hadrianople (A. D. 378), where the Roman army was completely broken by the Goths, and Gratian, feeling himself unable to sustain the burden of the empire, invited Theodosius to fill the place of Valens. Theodosius was declared Augustus by Gratian at Sirmium in Pannonia, on the 19th of January A. D. 379. He was intrusted with the administration of Thrace, Asia, and Egypt, which had been held by Valens, together with Dacia and Macedonia. The new emperor of the East had the conduct of the war against the Goths.
  The history of Ammianus Marcellinus ends with the death of Valens, and the authorities on which the historian of the reign of Theodosius has to rely, are greatly inferior to Ammianus. Their character is well expressed by Gibbon in a few words, and they are referred to by Tillemont (Histoire des Empereurs, v.), with his usual diligence and accuracy.
  The Romans were disheartened by the bloody defeat which they had sustained on the plains of Hadrianople, and the Goths were insolent in their victory. Theodosius was too prudent to lead dispirited troops against a successful enemy, and he formed his head quarters at Thessalonica, the capital of the diocese or division of Macedonia, from whence he could watch the movements of the Goths. In four years' campaigns (A. D. 379-382), of which the particulars are imperfectly recorded, Theodosius revived the courage of the Roman soldiers, and while he seems to have prudently kept aloof from any general engagement, he took all opportunities of attacking his enemy in detail, and securing for his men the advantage of victory without the danger of defeat. The Goths, who were not held together by any well-constituted authority, and only by the ability of their commander Fritigern, became disorganized by his death, and were split up into numerous bands which went about seizing all that they wanted, and destroying that which they had not the prudence to reserve for another time. Jealousy arose between the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths; and Theodosius by his agents added the inducement of money to those who were discontented. Modares, a chieftain of rank, went over to the Romans, among whom he obtained the rank of mastergeneral, and he earned his reward by surprising and massacring a body of Goths, and carrying off a great number of captives with four thousand waggons (Zosimus, iv. 25). In A. D. 381, Athanaric was compelled to leave his forests, and to cross the Danube; and many of those who had formerly acknowledged Fritigern as their leader, and were weary of anarchy, now yielded obedience to this Gothic judge. Tillemont conjectures that Athanaric was expelled by Fritigern, Alatheus, and Saphrax; but Gibbon's narrative seems to signify (for seems is all the meaning that in many cases can be imputed to it) that Fritigern was already dead. However Athanaric was too old and too prudent to carry on war with the new emperor : he listened to proposals of peace, and he even went to Constantinople to visit the emperor. Theodosius left the city to meet him, and received him with the greatest respect. The Goth was struck with amazement at the magnificence of Constantinople, and exclaimed that the Roman emperor was an "earthly God". Athanaric fell ill at Constantinople, and died there. Theodosius gave him a splendid funeral, and erected a monument to his memory. This politic behaviour gained over the whole army of Athanaric; and the adhesion of so large a body of the Visigoths was followed by the submission of the rest. "The general or rather final capitulation of the Goths may be dated four years, one month, and twenty-five days after the defeat and death of the emperor Valens".
  The Ostrogoths, who had retired from the provinces of the Danube about four years ago, returned (A. D. 386) to the lower course of that river recruited by an army of Scythians, whom none of the inhabitants on the banks of the Danube had ever seen before (Zosimus, iv. 38). Promotus, the general on the Thracian frontier, who knew that he was a match for the invaders, thought it prudent to draw them over to the south bank, without letting them wait for their opportunity in the winter; and by his spies he encouraged them to hope that by secretly crossing the river, they might destroy the Roman army. The passage was made on a dark night in numerous canoes; but the Ostrogoths discovered their mistake when they found the south bank of the Danube guarded by a triple row of vessels through which they could not penetrate. At the same time the Roman galleys descending the river, swept before them the frail boats of the Ostrogoths, and Alatheus the king, and his bravest troops, were either drowned in the Danube or destroyed by the sword. Those who escaped sued for mercy to the Romans. It is uncertain whether Theodosius had personally any share in this victory. Zosimus says that after the victory Promotus sent for Theodosius, who was at no great distance. If the historian Zosimus unjustly deprives Theodosius of all merit, the poet Claudian made amends for it by flattery and exaggeration.
  A treaty was made with the Goths, the precise date and terms of which do not appear to be known; but they were settled within the limits of the empire, in tracts which were neglected or unoccupied. A colony of Visigoths was established in Thrace, and the remains of the Ostrogoths were planted in Phrygia and Lydia. They were not scattered among the population of Thrace or Asia Minor, but they obtained whole districts in which they still lived as a Gothic people, acknowledging [p. 1064] the emperor as their sovereign. but probably retaining jurisdiction in all disputes among themselves The chieftains still governed their followers, lowers, but there was no kingly dignity. Forty thousand Goths were kept in the service of the Eastern empire, under the title of Foederati, and were distinguished from the other troops by golden collars, better pay. and more licence. But though the Goths were thus converted from enemies into dubious allies. their settlement within the limits of the empire is justly viewed as the immediate cause of the downfal of the western division. In the civil war against Maximus (A. D. 388), some of those barbarians who were in his army listened to the proposals of Maximus. but their treachery being discovered, they fled into the marshes and forests of Macedonia, where they were pursued by Theodosius and cut to pieces.
  Maximus, a native of Spain, like Theodosius, was living in Britain in retirement or in exile. When this province revolted against Gratian. Maxims was chosen their leader. and he invaded Gaul with a powerful army. Gratian fled from Paris to Lyon, where he was overtaken by Andragathius, the commander of the cavalry of Maximus and put to death (A. D. 383). Maximus sent an envoy to Theodosius to explain and justify his conduct, to excuse the assassination of Gratian as having been accomplished without his orders. and to offer to the emperor of the East peace or war. A war with the fierce soldiers of the north would perhaps have been an unequal contest for Theodosius, whose dominions had recently suffered from the ravages of the Goths; and reluctantly, as we may conclude, he made a treaty with Maximus, whom he acknowledged emperor of the countries north of the Aips, but he secured to Valentinian the brother of Gratian, Italy, Africa, and western Illyricum Thus the empire was divided into three parts; one of which, an empire won by usurpation, consisted of three rich countries -Spain, Gaul, and Britain.
  Theodosius was the son of a Christian father, whose ancestors acknowledged the creed of Nicaea; and next to Constantine he became the great glory of tile Christian church. The merits of Gratian secured him from the orthodox Christians a rank equivalent to that of a saint; and after his death they found a worthy successor to his orthodoxy in the more vigorous emperor of the East. Theodosius was not baptized until the end of the first year of his reign, when he was admonished by a serious illness no longer to delay this ceremony. In A. D. 380, before he commenced operations tions against the Goths, he was baptized at Thessalonica salonica by the archbishop Ascolius, in the orthodox faith of the Trinity; and his baptism was immeddiately followed by a solemn edict which fixed the faith of his subjects (Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs; Cod. Theod. 16. tit. 1. s. 2), and branded with the name of heretics all who dissented front the imperial creed. The edict declared "according to the discipline of the apostles, and the doctrine of the gospel, let us believe the sole deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, under an equal Majesty and a pious Trinity: we authorise the followers of this doctrine to assume the title of Catholic Christians; and as we judge that all others are extravagant madmen. we brand them with the name of heretics, and declare that their conventicles shall no longer usurp the respectable appellation of churches: besides the condemnation of divine justice, they must expect to suffer the severe penalties which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, shall think proper to inflict on them" . The faith which Theodosius so ardently embraced can hardly be supposed to be the result of a subtle inquiry into the metaphysical distinction between the sameness of substance or strict homoousian doctrine of Athanasius, and the similarity of substance in the Father and the Son, or the homoiousian doctrine it which some of the Arians sought refuge. A singular anecdote is told of Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium and afterwards a saint, who administered to Theodosius a practical lesson on the homoousian doctrine. It was in A. D. 383, just after Theodosius had raised his son Arcadius to the rank of Augustus, and the two emperors were seated on a throne to receive the homage of their subjects. Amphilochius saluted Theodosius with reverence; his son he addressed with the familiarity of an equal. The emperor, indignant at this rudeness, ordered the bishop to be dragged from his presence, when he exclaimed. "Such is the treatment, O emperor, which the King of heaven has prepared for those impious men who affect to worship the Father, but who refuse to acknowledge the equal majesty of his divine Son". Theodosius embraced the bishop, and never forgot the lesson. Arcadius was at this time about six years of age.
  Constantinople was the head-quarters of Arianism at the time of the accession of Theodosius ; but his baptism in the orthodox faith and his edict gave the Catholics hopes of their supremacy being re-established. The emperor entered Constantinople with his army, and offered Damophilus the Arian prelate the alternative of subscribing to the creed of Nicaea or of resignation. Damophilus resigned his dignities, and retired into exile and poverty. Gregory of Nazianzus, who had laboured hard to restore the Catholic faith at Constantinople, was placed on the archiepiscopal throne which Damophilus had left vacant. Early in A. D. 381, Theodosius declared his intention to expel from all the churches both bishops and clergy who should refuse to profess the creed of Nicaea; and Sapor, his lieutenant, was armed with full powers to effect a change, which was accomplished without disturbance in all the Eastern empire. In the month of May (A. D. 381) a meeting of one hundred and fifty bishops who formed the first general council of Constantinople, and the second of the oecumenical general councils, was assembled to confirm and complete the creed that had been established by the council of Nicaea. The council had to explain some things which were ambiguous, and to dispose of the sect of the Macedonians, who, to the heresy of homoiousianism, added that of a belief that the Holy Ghost was created (ktiston). The council declared the equal divinity of the Holy Ghost, the third person in the Trinity, which dootrine has prevailed in the Eastern church without interruption to the present time. After the death of Meletius, Gregory of Nazianzus presided in this council, and he has left a picture of the turbulent and disorderly proceedings which characterised its close.
  Theodosius, after establishing the supremacy of the Catholic faith by the council of Constantinople, proceeded to give it effect. In the course of fifteen years (A. D. 380-394) he published fifteen decrees against heretics, or those who were not of his own creed. The penalties were most particularly directed against those who rejected the doctrine trine of the Trinity; and they extended to ministers, assemblies, and the persons of heretics. It was about the time that the council was sitting that he deprived all persons who apostatised from Christianity to Paganism of the right which every Roman citizen had enjoyed at least from the time of the Twelve Tables, of disposing of his property by testament. In July (A. D. 381) he forbade the Arians and Eunomians to build any church; and the law appears to mean that every place of worship which they already possessed should be taken from then. The various enactments against heretics are contained in the Code of Theodosius (16. tit. 5. s. 6-23; and the commentary of Gothofredus): the Eunomians, whose guilt consisted in denying any resemblance between the two substances, stances, and who were accordingly Anomoeans, were also deprived of the power of testamentary disposition, and of taking by testamentary gift : they seem, in fact, to have been deprived of all the rights of citizens. The Manichaean heresy was punishable with death; and the same penalty threatened the Audians or the Quartodecimans, who celebrated the festival of Easter on the wrong day. To the reign of Theodosius belonged the glory or the infamy of establishing Inquisitors of Faith, who seem to have been specially enjoined to look after the crime of the Quartodecimans. Though Theodosius thus established the principle of persecution, it is said that his rival Maximus was the first Christian prince "who shed the blood of his Christian subjects on account of their religious opinions". It is fortunate for the fame of Theodosius that there is not the same evidence of his giving effect to his own laws as there is for the severity of Maximus, under whose reign Priscillianus and others suffered death for heresy at Treves, A. D. 385.
  In A. D. 387 Maximus, not content with the possession of Spain, Gaul, and Britain, aspired to wrest Italy from the feeble hands of Valentinian II., who as an Arian was disliked by his Catholic subjects of Italy, and was opposed in his heretical projects by the zeal of Ambrose, the Catholic archbishop of Milan. Maximus was in sight of Milan, before Valentinian and his mother Justina, who directed the administration, were aware of his hostile intentions; and he entered the city without resistance. Justina and her son embarked from one of the harbours in the north part of the Hadriatic and arrived in safety at Thessalonica. No resistonce was made to Maximus, except by the small town of Aemona, on the border of Italy. Theodosius visited Justina and her son at Thessalonica, and reminded Valentinian that his opposition to the faith of Nicaea was the cause of his own ruin and of the success of Maximus. Valentinian, it is said, acknowledged his errors, and returned to the true faith; and the orthodox emperor promised to restore him to his throne: but perhaps he was influenced by other motives than gratitude to Gratian, and zeal in support of the Catholic faith. Theodosius was a widower; and Valentinian had a sister Galla, young and beautiful. Tillemont would fix the marriage of Theodosius and Galla a year before the visit to Thessalonica at the close of A. D. 886; or he would make a compromise by admitting that Theodosius asked her in marriage in A. D. 386, but did not actually marry her till A. D. 387: his desire was to protect the piety of Theodosius from the scandal of a sensual motive. But Zosimus (iv. 44) states that Justina, a woman of influence, fluence, who knew the amorous propensities of Theodosius, prevailed over the irresolution of the emperor by her daughter's tears and beauty. Theodosius saw her and was captivated: he asked her of her mother for his wife, but he only obtained tained her on condition of restoring Valentinian. Though Gibbon has preferred the authority of Zosimus, there is some evidence opposed to it; and yet the narrative of Zosimus is so precise and circumstantial that it is difficult not to give credit to it. There is nothing improbable in the fact of a passion for a woman determining a political question.
  After Theodosius had decided on his course, his operations were rapid and vigorous. He found Maximus encamped near Siscia, in Pannonia, a city situated on the great river Save. Maximus had not talent equal to his ambition, and Theodosius had a force which confounded the soldiers of the usurper by a mode of attack to which they were unaccustomed. His Huns, Alans, and his Goths were mounted archers, who annoyed the heavy troops of Gaul and Germany by the irregularity of a Parthian attack. Maximus, after sustaining one defeat on the banks of the Save, and probably a second, fled across the Alps, and shut himself up in Aquileia, just before Theodosius reached the gates. But in spite of his Moorish guard, he was given up to Theodosius by his own soldiers and the people of Aquileia, with his hands tied behind him. Theodosius, according to his panegyrist Pacatus, was not indisposed to pardon but his soldiers , saved him the difficulty of a decision, by dragging Maximus from his presence and beheading him. Maximus had left his son Victor in Gaul, with the title of Caesar, or perhaps of Augustus. Arbogastes, the active general of Theodosius, seized the youth, and put him to death a short time after his father. Theodosius spent the winter at Milan, and in the following year (June 13th, 389) he entered Rome in triumph, accompanied by Valentinian and his own son Holnorius.
  Two events in the life of Theodosius may be brought into juxtaposition as evidence of his uncertain character and his savage temper. In A. D. 387, the city of Antioch complained of increased taxation, the necessary consequence of the wars in which the emperor had been engaged; and Antioch, as it had not suffered from an enemy whose ravages had been confined to Europe, was unwilling to bear its share of the expense of the Gothic campaigns. The complaints of the citizens were soon changed into active riot (February): the states of the emperor, of his father, and of his wife Placilla, were thrown down; but these idle demonstrations were quickly suppressed by an armed force. The governor sent to the emperor at Constantinople an account of these riots, and the citizens of Antioch, in great alarm, despatched Flavian their bishop, and the senator Hilarius, to acknowledge their guilt and to pray for forgiveness. In March the judgment of the emperor was brought by Hellebicus and Caesarius, two of his officers, who declared that Antioch was degraded from the rank of a city, was stripped of its possessions and privileges, and reduced to the condition of a village dependent on Laodicea. The places of public amusement were shut up, and the usual distribution of corn was stopped, which was equivalent to a sentence of starvation against those who were accustomed to receive this pauper's allowance. A severe investigation was made into the circumstances of the riot, and those who were convicted by the extraordinary commissioners of the emperor peror lost their property, and were reduced to beggary. Some of the rioters, or of the accused, were put to death. The commissioners, however, suspended the complete execution of the emperor's sentence against the city, and Caesarius went to Constantinople to obtain a final answer from the emperor to the petition of the people and the prayers of the monks and hermits, who left their solitudes, and crowded to Antioch, to intercede for the metropolis of the East. The emperor had already relented at the entreaty of the bishop and the eloquent address of the senator; the senate of Constantinople had interceded for Antioch, and Theodosius pardoned the city, and all who had taken part in the riot. The property of those who had been convicted was restored, the poor got their allowance again, and Antioch resumed its former dignity and jurisdiction. Tillemont has collected all the circumstances of this affair of Antioch (Histoire, &c., vol. v. p. 261, &c.), at great length.
  In A. D. 390, Thessalonica, the metropolis of the Illyrian provinces, was disturbed by a riot during the emperor's residence at Milan. Botheric, who commanded the soldiers there, had imprisoned one of the charioteers of the Circus, who had solicited a youth to a shameless intercourse. The populace in vain called for their favourite charioteer during the celebration of the games: the general kept him in the prison which his crime had merited. It seems that the populace was ready for insurrection; a trifling cause was enough to set them in motion, and the garrison was weak. Botheric and his officers were overpowered and assassinated by the people, and their bodies were dragged about the streets. An inquiry into the riot, and the punishment of the guilty, was necessary and just; but Theodosius punished a whole city, guilty and innocent together. It is said that his minister Rufmus prompted the emperor to issue his savage orders, notwithstanding the intercession of the bishops. An army of barbarians was sent to Thessalonica instead of a civil commission supported by a sufficient force. The people were invited to the games of the Circus, and they came without suspicion; but as soon as the place was full, the soldiers received the signal for a massacre. For three hours the spectators were indiscriminately exposed to the fury of the soldiers, and seven thousand of them, or, as some accounts say, more than twice that number, paid the penalty of the insurrection. The soldiers, it is said, were ordered to produce a certain number of heads, an order which aggravates the guilt of Theodosius, who, if not softened by the usual feelings of humanity, might have remembered the city in which he had so often resided. This massacre, unparalleled in history, is a stain on the name of Theodosius, an eternal brand of infamy. Tillemont, who has so minutely recorded the clemency of Theodosius in the affair of Antioch, observes, "that this year (A. D. 390) is celebrated for the cruelties which the order of Theodosius caused to be committed at Thessalonica, and still more celebrated for the penance which Theodosius performed to expiate so great a crime. We only touch, in a few words, on an event so illustrious and important, because we reserve it for the his tory of St. Ambrosius.The illustrious and important event was the penance, more illustrious and important in the eyes of the pious historian than the unpardonable crime of massacring thousands. It is singular, as Gibbon remarks, that Zosimus, who is certainly not partial to Theodosius, perhaps hardly just, and exposes his faults, dots not mention the massacre of Thessalonica; and yet the fact is not doubtful.
  Ambrosius, the archbishop of Milan, thought that the civil administration was an affair in which the clergy had an interest; and a riot at Callinicum on the Persian frontier, in which the fanatics of the place, at the instigation of their bishop, had burnt a place of worship of the Valentinians, and the synagogue of the Jews, found an apologist in the archbishop of Milan. The provincial magistrate had condemned the bishop to rebuild the synagogue, or to make good the damage, and the rioters to be punished; and the emperor confirmed this equitable and moderate sentence. But to tolerate difference of opinion was, in the archbishop's judgment, the same as to persecute the orthodox; and Theodosius was compelled, by the archbishop's monitions and lectures, to let the bishop and his turbulent flock go unpunished. "St. Ambrosius", says Tillemont, " thought that a prince who pardoned so many other similar acts, ought not to expose the Christian religion to the insults of its enemies by so rigorous an order". The massacre of Thessalonica was a trial for the firmness of Ambrosius: he who thought that the burning of a Jew synagogue ought not to be punished could hardly overlook the massacre of a Christian city. He retired from the emperor's presence, but he represented his crime to him in a letter, and he told him that penitence alone could efface his guilt. But the archbishop was prudent in his remonstrances, and to protect himself, he called in the aid of a vision, in which he said that he had been warned not to offer the oblation in the name of Theodosius, nor in his presence. When the emperor proceeded to perform his devotions in the usual manner in the great church of Milan, the archbishop stopped him at the door, and demanded a further acknowledgment of his guilt. The conscience-struck Theodosius humbled himself before the church, which has recorded his penance as one of its greatest victories. He laid aside the insignia of imperial power, and in the posture of a suppliant in the-church of Milan, entreated pardon for his great sin before all the congregation. After eight months, the emperor was restored to communion with the church, at Christmas, A. D. 390.
  Theodosius spent three years in Italy, daring which he established Valentinian on the throne of the West, a measure for which his historians may claim the merit of generosity; for he probably would have had no difficulty in keeping the western empire, which he had wrested from the usurpation of Maximus. Theodosius returned to Constantinople early in November A. D. 391.
  Valentinian II. did not long maintain his power, Arbogastes, who had served Gratian with fidelity, and had contributed under Theodosius to the overthrow of Maximus, was appointed master-general of the forces in Gaul. But he aspired to govern a master who had not vigour enough to command obedience, and the emperor's authority gradually declined. In A. D. 392 Valentinian made a last effort to resume his power, and he personally announced to Arbogastes that he was dismissed from all his employments. The general received the announcement with contempt; and in a few days after Valentinian was found dead. It was believed that he had been strangled by order of Arbogastes. The barbarian, who did not think it prudent to assume the imperial purple, set up Eugenius, a rhetorician, and formerly his secretary, as emperor of the West. Theodosius received the ambassadors of Eugenius, who announced his elevation, with dissembled indignation, for he was ill disposed to renew a war in the west, which he had only just ended. But his own pride, and the tears of his wife Galla, the sister of Valentinian, urged him to punish the usurper. Two years were spent in the preparation for this war; but the emperor, with prudent precaution, imitating the example of those who consulted the god of Delphi in the times of heathenism, sent a favourite eunuch to ask the advice of John of Lycopolis, an Egyptian anchorite, whether he should make war on Eugenius, or wait till Eugenius attacked him. John declared that Theodosius would be victorious, but yet not without loss and bloodshed, as in the war with Maximus ; that he would die in Italy after his victory, and leave to his son the empire of the west. "Thus Theodosius did not engage in this war any more than in the other, except by the order which God gave to him by his prophet". (Tillemont).
  Theodosius prepared himself to fulfil the prophecy by recruiting his legions, with the aid of his two master-generals Stilicho and Timasius. Arbogastes, who commanded for Eugenius, posted himself on the border of Italy, but allowed Theodosius to pass the Julian Alps, and enter the plains which extend to Aquileia. Here he found the formidable army of Arbogastes, consisting of hardy Gauls and Germans. Theodosius attacked the enemy, but he was compelled to retire with great loss, particularly of his Gothic allies. Arbogastes now occupied the passes in his rear, and the emperor's position was most critical. But he was saved by the treachery of the generals of Eugenius, who sent to express their readiness to desert, if the rewards which they asked were granted. Theodosius accepted their conditions, and led his troops to a fresh attack on the camp of the enemy. A tempest, that rose during the battle, and blew full in the face of the troops of Eugenius, contributed to their discomfiture and the victory of Theodosius. The head of Eugenius was separated from his body, while he was suing for mercy at the feet of his conqueror; and Arbogastes, after wandering in the mountains, terminated his fortunes by his own sword. Theodosius received the submission of the west, and, at the intercession of Ambrosius, used his victory with moderation.
  Theodosius died on the seventeenth of January A. D. 395, four months after the defeat of Eugenius, whether, as some say, in consequence of the fatigues of war, or, as others, in consequence of intemperate habits, it is not possible to decide. The two sons, Arcadius and Honorius, had already been elevated to the rank of Augusti, and it was arranged that the empire should be divided between them. Honorius was not in the war against Eugenius, but he came to Milan before his father died, and received from him the gift of the empire of the west. The arrival of Honorius was celebrated by the games of the Circus, at which the dying emperor assisted.
  The formal destruction of paganism marks the reign of this orthodox emperor. "The ruin of paganism, in the age of Theodosius", says Gibbon, "is perhaps the only example of the total extirpation of any ancient and popular superstition, and may therefore deserve to be considered as a singular event in the history of the human mind". Without admitting the truth of this remark as to the total extirpation of paganism, we must assign to Theodosius the design to extirpate it. His rigorous steps to wards the overthrow of the ancient religion are traced by Tillemont with minute diligence (vol. v. p. 229, &c.). In December 381 he prohibited sacrifices, either by day or by night, in the temples or out of the temples; and also he forbade the curious inquisition into futurity by the examination of the viscera of animals. Libanius, in his oration in defence of the temples, written probably about A. D. 384, says, that the laws of Theodosius at that time had not closed the temples, nor prohibited persons from going there, nor the burning of incense, but only the sacrifice of animals. But so long as the temples existed, the old religion would subsist; and therefore to destroy it the temples must be destroyed. Libanius complains that people, clothed in black (no doubt he means monks,) ran in bodies to the temples,overthrew the altars, pulled down the roofs and the walls, and sometimes killed the priests who resisted. He says, however, that soldiers were also employed in this work of demolition, and that in fact no temples were destroyed without the order of the emperor. Some few temples were converted into Christian churches, and thus preserved; "but in almost every province of the Roman world, an army of fanatics, without authority and without discipline, invaded the peaceful inhabitants; and the ruin of the fairest structures of antiquity still displays the ravages of those barbarians, who alone had time and inclination to execute such laborious destruction"' (Gibbon.) The lands of the temples were probably given to the Christian churches as a general rule. (Tillemont.) Cynegius, the praetorian prefect of the East, was sent by Theodosius in 386 into Egypt, the seat of all monstrous superstitions, with a commission to prohibit idolatry, and to close the temples. It does not appear that he had any power to destroy them. It was probably not till 389 that the Christians obtained their great triumph over the idolatry of Egypt, by the destruction of the magnificent temple of Serapis at Alexandria. The fall of this great idol shook the popular belief of Egypt to its foundation. The emperor had given his orders to destroy the statue of Serapis; but the heathens believed that the deity would resent the slightest affront to his majesty. A soldier, bolder than the rest, encouraged by the archbishop Theophilus, dealt a blow against the cheek of Serapis with a ponderous axe, and the face of the idol fell to the ground. The deity silently submitted to his fate; the idol was broken in pieces, and dragged through the streets of Alexandria. The overthrow of the old religion, which was still practised, was accomplished by the last edict of Theodosius in 390 (Cod. Theod. 16. tit. 10. s. 12), which in harsh and intolerant terms, censured by a modern Christian writer, forbade, under severe penalties, in some cases extending to death, "the worship of an inanimate idol by the sacrifice of a guiltless victim". The spirit of the Theodosian edicts was that of the most bitter persecution; and while we commend his wishes to purge society of gross and debasing superstitions, we cannot reconcile the laws of the emperor with the religion which he professed, nor admit that persecution would have been so efficient a cure of idolatry as the inculcation of the doctrines of Christ, and the example of a practice conformable to them. But he who could order the massacre of Thessalonica was ill adapted to teach a faith which was contradicted by his practice.
T  he reign of Theodosius is one of the most important periods of the later empire. Gibbon has sketched it in a masterly manner, but too favourably for the character of Theodosius; who was probably a voluptuary, a sensualist, certainly a persecutor, cruel and vindictive. That he possessed some great qualities cannot be denied; and his natural temper may have been mild, but it was unequal and uncertain ; it wanted sufficient consistency to entitle him to the name of a truly great and good man. Tillemont has, with unwearied industry which allows nothing to escape it, collected, in his dry, annalistic fashion. all the materials for the reign of Theodosius; and Gibbon has largely availed himself of the labours of the learned ecclesiastic.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Flacilla, 1st wife of Theodosius the Great

Flacilla or Flaccilla, Aelia (in Greg. Nyss. Plakilla, in Chron. Alex. Phlakkilla), first wife of Theodosius the Great. Several moderns infer from an obscure passage in Themistius (Orat. xvi. De Saturnino), that she was the daughter of Antonius, who was consul A. D. 382, but this is very doubtful. She appears to have been born in Spain (Claudian, Laus Serenae, vs. 69), and to have had a sister, the mother of Nebridius, who was married after A. D. 388 to Salvina, daughter of Gildo, the Moor (Hieron. Epist.ad Salvin.). Flaccilla had at least three children by Theodosius -namely, Arcadius, born about A. D. 377, Honorius, born A. D. 384, both afterwards emperors; and Pulcheria, who was apparently born before 379, as Claudian (Laus Seren. 113, 136) intimates that Theodosius had more than one child when raised to the throne. This Pulcheria died before her mother, and Gregory Nyssen composed a consolatory discourse upon the occasion. Some have supposed that she had another child, Gratian, but without reason. Flaccilla herself died A. D. 385, at a place called Scotoamin, in Thrace, and Gregory Nyssen, composed a funeral discourse for her. All writers conspire to praise Flaccilla for her piety, and charity, and orthodoxy, and she has been canonized in the Greek Church (Greg. Nyss. Orat. Funeb. pro Flaccilla ; Theodoret, Hist. Eccl. v. 19; Themist. De Human. Theodos. Imp.; Sozom. Hist. Eccles. vii. 6; Chron. Alex. v. Paschal.).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Galla, 2nd wife of Theodosius the Great

Galla, the daughter of the emperor Valentinian I., and second wife of Theodosius the Great. According to Zosimus, she accompanied her mother, Justina, and her brother, Valentinian II., when they fled to Theodosius, on the invasion of Italy by the usurper Maximus (A. D. 387). Theodosius met the fugitives at Thessalonica, and Justina artfully placed her weeping daughter before him, to work at once on his compassion and his love. Galla was eminent for beauty, and the emperor was smitten, and requested her in marriage. Justina refused her consent, except on condition of his undertaking to attack Maximus, and restore Valentinian, to which condition he consented, and they were married, probably about the end of A. D. 387. Tillemont, who rejects the account of Zosimus as inconsistent with the piety of Theodosius, places the marriage in A. D. 386, before the flight of Valentinian; but we prefer, with Gibbon, the account of Zosimus. During the absence of Theodosius in Italy, Galla was turned out of the palace at Constantinople by her step-son, the boy Arcadius, or by those who governed in his name. She died in childbirth, A. D. 394, just as Theodosius was setting out to attack Arbogastes and Eugenius, after giving to Theodosius a daughter, Galla Placidia, and apparently a son named Gratian. Whether the latter, who certainly died before his father, was the child whose birth occasioned her death, or whether there was a third child, is not clear. Tillemont understands Philostorgius to claim Galla as an Arian; but the passage in Philostorgius (x. 7) appears to refer rather to her mother, Justina. However, the Paschal Chronicle calls her an Arian, and the marked silence of Ambrose with respect to Galla in the passage just referred to makes it not unlikely that she was suspected or known to be not orthodox. (Zosim. iv. 44, 45, 55, 57; Marcellin. Chron.; Chron. Pasch.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Arcadius & Eudoxia (395-408 AD)

Arcadius, emperor of the East, was the elder of the two sons of the emperor Theodosius I. and the empress Flaccilla, and was born in Spain in A. D. 383. Themistius, a pagan philosopher, and afterwards Arsenius, a Christian saint, conducted his education. As early as 395, Theodosius conferred upon him the title of Augustus; and, upon the death of his father in the same year, he became emperor of the East, while the West was given to his younger brother, Honorius; and with him begins the series of emperors who reigned at Constantinople till the capture of the city by the Turks in 1453. Arcadius had inherited neither the talents nor the manly beauty of his father; he was ill-shapen, of a small stature, of a swarthy complexion, and without either physical or intellectual vigour; his only accomplishment was a beautiful handwriting. Docility was the chief quality of his character; others, women or eunuchs, reigned for him; for he had neither the power to have his own will, nor even passion enough to make others obey his whims. Rufinus, the praefect of the East, a man capable of every crime, had been appointed by Theodosius the guardian of Arcadius, while Stilicho became guardian of Honorius. Rufinus intended to marry his daughter to the young emperor, but the eunuch Eutropius rendered this plan abortive, and contrived a marriage between Arcadius and Eudoxia, the beautiful daughter of Bauto, a Frank, who was a general in the Roman army. Exposed to the rivalship of Eutropius, as well as of Stilicho, who pretended to the guardianship over Arcadius also, Rufinus was accused of having caused an invasion of Greece by Alaric, chief of the Goths, to whom he had neglected to pay the annual tribute. His fall was the more easy, as the people, exasperated by the rapacity of the minister, held him in general execration; and thus Rufinus was murdered as early as 395 by order of the Goth Gainas, who acted on the command of Stilicho. His successor as minister was Eutropius, and the emperor was a mere tool in the hands of his eunuch, his wife, and his general, Gainas. They declared Stilicho an enemy of the empire, confiscated his estates within the limits of the Eastern empire, and concluded an alliance with Alaric, for the purpose of preventing Stilicho from marching upon Constantinople (397). After this, Eutropius was invested with the dignities of consul and general-in-chief -the first eunuch in the Roman empire who had ever been honoured with those titles, but who was unworthy of them, being as ambitious and rapacious as Rufinus.
  The fall of Eutropius took place under the following circumstances. Tribigildus, the chief of a portion of the Goths who had been transplanted to Phrygia, rose in rebellion, and the disturbances became so dangerous, that Gainas, who was perhaps the secret instigator of them, advised the emperor to settle this affair in a friendly way. No sooner was Tribigildus informed of it, than he demanded the bead of Eutropius before he would enter into negotiations; and the emperor, per-suaded by Eudoxia. gave up his minister. St. Chrysostom, afraid of Arianism, pleaded the cause of Eutropius, but in vain; the minister was banished to Cyprus, and soon afterwards beheaded (399). Upon this, the Goths left Phrygia and returned to Europe, where they stayed partly in the neighbourhood of Constantinople, and partly within the walls of the city. Gainas, after having ordered the Roman troops to leave the capital, demanded liberty of divine service for the Goths, who were Arians; and as St. Chrysostom energetically opposed such a concession to heresy, (Gainas tried to set fire to the imperial palace. But the people of Constantinople took up arms, and Gainas was forced to evacuate the city with those of the Goths who had not been slain by the inhabitants. Crossing the Bosporus, he suffered a severe defeat by the imperial fleet, and fled to the banks of the Danube, where he was killed by the Huns, who sent his head to Constantinople.
  After his fall the incompetent emperor became entirely dependent upon his wife Eudoxia, who assumed the title of "Augusta", the empress hitherto having only been styled " Nobilissima". Through her influence St. Chrysostom was exiled in 404, and popular troubles preceded and followed his fall. As to Arcadius, he was a sincere adherent of the orthodox church. He confirmed the laws of his father, which were intended for its protection; he interdicted the public meetings of the heretics; he purged his palace from heretical officers and servants; and in 396 he ordered that all the buildings in which the heretics used to hold their meetings should be confiscated. During his reign great numbers of pagans adopted the Christian religion. But his reign is stigmatized by a cruel and unjust law concerning high treason, the work of Eutropius, which was issued in 397. By this law, which was a most tyrannical extension of the Lex Julia Majestatis, the principal civil and military officers of the emperor were identified with his sacred person, and offences against them, either by deeds or by thoughts, were punished as crimes of high treason (Cod. ix. tit. 8. s. 5; Cod. Theod. ix. tit. 14. s. 3). Arcadius died on the 1st of May, 408, leaving the empire to his son Theodosius II., who was a minor.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Eudoxia, the daughter of the Frank Bauto, married to the emperor Arcadius, A. D. 395, by whom she had four daughters, Flacilla or Flaccilla or Falcilla, Pulcheria, Arcadia, and Marina, and one son, Theodosius II. or the younger. She was a woman of high spirit, and exercised great influence over her husband: to her persuasion his giving up of the eunuch Eutropius into the power of his enemies may be ascribed. She was involved in a fierce contest with Chrysostom, who fearlessly inveighed against the avarice and luxury of the court, and scrupled not to attack the empress herself. The particulars of the struggle are given elsewhere. She died of a miscarriage in the sixth consulship of Honorius, A. D. 404, or, according to Theophanes, A. D. 406.


Theodosius II. (408-450 AD)

Theodosius II., was the only son of the emperor Arcadius, who died on the first of May, A. D. 408. Theodosius was born early in A. D. 401, and was declared Augustus by his father in January A. D. 402. There is a story that Arcadius, by his testament, made Yezdigerd, king of Persia, the guardian of his son; but it hardly deserves notice, and certainly not refutation. On the death of Arcadius, the government was given to or assumed by the praefect Anthemius, the grandson of Philip, a minister of Constantius, and the grandfather of the emperor Anthemius. In A. D. 405 Anthemius was made consul and praetorian praefect of the East. He faithfully discharged his duty as guardian of the empire and the infant emperor. In the year in which Arcadius died. the Huns and the Scyrri entered Thrace under Uldin. who rejected all terms of accommodation. but. being deserted by some of his officers, the recrossed the Danube, after losing a great number of his Huns. The Scyrri, who loitered in his rear, were either killed or made prisoners, and many of the captives were sent to cultivate the lands in Asia. Anthenius strengthened the Illyrian frontiers. and protected Constantinople, by building what were called the great walls, probably in A. D. 413.
  Theodosius had a sister, Pulcheria, born A. D. 399, who, in A. D. 414, became the guardian of her brother and the administrator of the empire, before she was sixteen years of age: she was declared Augusta on the fourth of July, A. D. 414. Pulcheria was undoubtedly a woman of some talent, though of a peculiar kind. She superintended the education of her brother, and directed the government at the same time; nor did her influence cease with the minority of Theodosius. She educated her brother after her own ascetic notions; and though his literary instruction was not neglected, nor the exercises proper to form his health and strengthen his body, his political education was limited to the observance of the forms and ceremonials of the court. It may be that Pulcheria, with some vigour of understanding, had no knowledge of the more important duties of a man who is at the head of a nation. Pulcheria and her sisters, Arcadia and Marina, had publicly dedicated themselves to the service of God and to a life of chastity; and the whole imperial household was regulated in conformity to this principle. "Pulcheria", says Tillemont, a great admirer of this saint, "accustomed Theodosius to pray incessantly, to visit the churches often, and to make them presents; to respect the bishops and other ministers of the altar, &c".But if the young emperor was carefully protected against the dangers to which a youth in an exalted station is exposed, he was not trained in those studies which befit a man and an emperor. To excel in mechanical occupations, to write a fine hand, which, in a private station, may give amusement, and are at least harmless, imply in a prince a want of taste and of talent for more important things, or an illdirected education. Theodosius had, in fact, little talent, and his education was not adapted to improve it. He passed a blameless youth, for he was shut up in his palace, except when he went a hunting; and he possessed the negative virtues of a retired and austere life. The ecclesiastics extol him for his piety and his respect to the church; and he prosecuted the work which his grandfather commenced, by demolishing to their foundations the temples of idols, the monuments of the superstition and of the taste of the pagans. It was his ambition not to leave a vestige of the ancient religion behind him.
  He published various edicts against heretics, and an edict specially directed against Gamaliel. the last patriarch of the Jews. By an edict of the 16th May, 415, he declared it incest for a widower to marry his wife's sister. and the children of such a marriage were made bastards. Constantius, in A. D. 355, had already enacted the same law, which, though enacted again in our own times, is protested against by the common understanding of mankind.
  The great event of the life of an emperor who was a nullity, was his marriage, which was managed by his sister, who managed every thing. The woman whom his sister chose for his wife and whom Theodosius married (probably in A. D. 421), was the accomplished Athenais, who, after her baptism, for she was a heathen, received the name of Eudocia. Her life from this time is intimately connected with the biography of her husband, and is told at length elsewhere.
  About the close of A. D. 421 war broke out between the emperor of the East and Varanes or Bahram, the successor of Yezdigerd. A Christian bishop had signalized his zeal by burning a temple of the fire-worshippers at Susa, and this excess was followed by a persecution of the Christians by the Magi. This persecution, begun at tile close of the reign of Yezdigerd, was continued under his successor; and some Christian fugitives crossed the frontiers into the Roman territories to seek protection. The Persian king claimed the fugitives, but his demand was refused; and this, added to other causes of dispute, kindled a war between the two empires. Theodosius was not a soldier, and the war was carried on for about two years by his general Ardaburius, with no important results. The defence of Theodosiopolis in Mesopotamia has immortalised the name of its warrior bishop Eunomus. The town had been besieged by the enemy for some time, but the bishop and his flock stoutly held out, and destroyed the wooden towers of the enemy. Tile obstinate resistance of the place provoked the blasphemy of a Persian prince, who threatened to burn the temple of God when he took tile town. The bishop, shocked at his impious threats, pointed at him a balista, which bore the potent name of St. Thomas, and tile formidable machine discharged a stone which struck the blasphemer dead. Upon this the king of Persia lost heart, and withdrew his troops.
  Socrates, the chief authority for the history of the Persian war, says that Theodosius, notwithstanding his success in the war, was the first to propose terms of peace. A truce for one hundred years was concluded between the Persians and the Romans. The kingdom of Armenia, now extin-guished, was divided between the Persians and the Romans, an arrangement which gave to tile empire of the East a new and extensive province. The division of Armenia probably followed the conclusion of a second Persian war, A. D. 441. In A. D. 423 died Honorius the emperor of the West. Placidia, the sister of Honorius, had been sent away from Italy, with her sons Valentinian and Honorius, by the Western emperor, a short time before his death, and she took refuge at Constantinople. The throne of the West was usurped by Joannes, who declared himself emperor. Theodosius refused to acknowledge the usurper, and sent against him a force commanded by Ardaburius. The usurper was taken in Ravenna, and his head was cut off, A. D. 425. Theodosius was enjoying the games of the Circus at Constantinople when the news came, and he showed his piety, as Tillemont remarks, by stopping the entertainment, and inviting all the people to go to the church with him, to return thanks to God for the death of the tyrant. Whether Theodosius had no ambition to keep the empire of the West, or those who governed him determined his conduct, he resolved to confer it on his youthful cousin Valentinian. Eudocia, the daughter of Theodosius, was betrothed to the young emperor, and she was married to him in A. D. 437.
  The reign of the younger Theodosius was not free from the religious troubles which had distracted the reign of his grandfather Theodosius. The great dispute which originated with Nestorius, who was made patriarch of Constantinople in A. D. 428, and ended in the Council of Ephesus, A. D. 431, is described at length under Nestorius.
  The Huns had ravaged the eastern provinces in the reign of Arcadius, the father of Theodosius ; and they were now tile formidable neighbours of the empire on the frontier of the Danube. In A. D. 441 the Huns, under Attila and his brother Bleda, crossed the Danube, and took Viminiacum in Moesia; they broke through the Illyrian frontier, the fortresses of which offered only a feeble resistance, destroyed Sirmium, Singidunum (Belgrade), Sardica, and other towns, and extended their ravages into Thrace. Theodosius recalled the troops from Sicily which he had sent against Genseric king of the Vandals, and collected from Asia and Europe all the men that he could muster; but his generals were unable to direct this force efficiently, and after several defeats they retreated towards Constantinople, which alone, of all the cities between the Archipelago and the Euxine, remained for the protection of the emperor. The history of the ravages of Attila comprehends several years, and they were apparently interrupted by intervals of peace, for it was not till A. D. 447, the year of the great earthquake which destroyed part of the walls of Constantinople and threw down fifty seven towers, that the Huns approached, the capital, and peace was finally made. In A. D. 447 448 Theodosius concluded a disgraceful peace with the king of the Huns, to whom was given up a territory on the Danube extending from Singidunum to Novae, in the diocese of Thrace, and fifteen days' journey in breadth. The annual subsidy that had hitherto been paid to Attila, was increased from seven hundred pounds of gold to twenty-one hundred, and six thousand pounds of gold were to be paid on the spot. Theodosius had exhausted his treasury by extravagant expenditure, and his unfortunate subjects, who had been pillaged by the Huns, were pillaged again by this unwarlike and feeble emperor, to supply the demands of the barbarian conqueror. Attila also required all the deserters from his camp to be given up, and he claimed back, without any ransom, all his men who had been taken prisoners.
  In A. D. 448 or 449 Theodosius sent an embassy to Attila, at the head of which was Maximin. The ambassador was accompanied by the historian Priscus, who has left a most interesting account of the domestic habits of Attila. The proposed object of the embassy was to maintain the good understanding between the emperor of the East and the king of the Huns; but Theodosius had a private object to accomplish, the execution of which was entrusted only to Vigilius, the interpreter ; and this was the assassination of Attila. The ambassador passed through Sardica, and crossed the Danube; and in some place north of this river he had his first interview with Attila, whom he was obliged to follow in his progress northwards before he could conclude the business on which he was sent. The narrative of Priscus leads us to infer that the place in which the king of the Huns gave his final reception to the ambassador was in the plains of northern Hungary. The proposal to assassinate Attila had been made at Constantinople by the eunuch Chrysaphius, who then reigned in the name of Theodosius, and made to Edecon, a chieftain of the Scyrri. Vigilius was the median of communication between Chrysaphius and Edecon, who was to receive for his reward some of the wealth on which he had gazed with admiration at Constantinople. The scheme was communicated to the emperor, who approved of it. The emperor's conduct was rendered more disgraceful by the fact that Maximin, his ambassador, was exposed to all the danger of the discovery of this treachery, and, being kept in ignorance of it, had not even the choice of refusing to conduct the embassy. Edecon discovered the treachery to Attila, who, more generous than the Christian emperor, disdained to punish Vigilius, though he confessed his guilt; and looking at the affair as a matter of business, the barbarian took two hundred pounds of gold, instead of the life of Vigilius. But he sent two ambassadors to Constantinople, who boldly rebuked the emperor for his guilt, and demanded the head of Chrysaphius. Instead of directly refusing the demand, Theodosius sent a fresh embassy, loaded with presents, to deprecate the wrath of Attila, who preferring gold to vengeance, pardoned the emperor and his guilty associates: he even abandoned all claim to the country south of the Danube; but here his liberality was not great, for he had made it a desert.
  In June A. D. 450, Theodosius was thrown from his horse as he was hunting near Constantinople, and received an injury from which he died, in the fiftieth year of his age and the forty-second of his long and inglorious reign. His sister Pulcheria succeeded him, but prudently took for her colleague in the empire the senator Marcian, and made him her husband.
  In the reign of Theodosius, and that of Valentinian III., who was emperor of the West from A. D. 425 to 455, was made the compilation called the Codex Theodosianus. In A. D. 429 the administration of the Eastern Empire declared that there should be formed a collection of the Constitutions of the Roman emperors from the time of Constantine to that date, after the model of the two collections of Gregorianus and Hermogenianus. The arrangement of the constitutions was to be determined by the matter to which they referred, and those which treated of several matters were to be divided, and each part placed under its appropriate title. Those constitutions which had been altered by subsequent constitutions were not always to be rejected, but the date of each constitution was to be given, and they were to be arranged in the order of time. Eight functionaries (illustres et spectabiles) and an advocate were appointed to compile this code. Nothing was done till A. D. 435, when a new commission was appointed with the same power as the former commission, and the additional power of making changes in the constitutions. The new commissioners were sixteen, part of whom were of the rank of Illustres, and part of the rank of Spectabiles. On the fifteenth of February, A. D. 438, the Code was published, and it was declared to be from the first of January, A. D. 439, the only authority for the "Jus Principale", or that law which was formed by imperial constitutions, from the time of Constantine. In the same year the Code was published at Rome, as law for the Western Empire also, by Valentinian.
  The Code consists of sixteen books, which are divided into titles, with appropriate rubricae or headings; and the constitutions belonging to each title are arranged under it in chronological order. The first five books comprise the greater part of the constitution which relates to Jus Privatum ; the sixth, seventh, and eighth books contain the law that relates to the constitution and administration ; the ninth book treats of criminal law; the tenth and eleventh treat of the public revenue and some matters relating to procedure; the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth books treat of the constitution and the administration of towns and other corporations; and the sixteenth contains the law relating to ecclesiastical matters.
  The Theodosian Code has been preserved in an epitome contained in the Breriarium which was made by order of Alaric II., king of the Visigoths, in A. D. 506, but several constitutions and some entire titles are omitted in this epitome. It has also been preserved in the MSS. of the original Code, yet only in an incomplete form, and we have consequently to refer to the Breviarium for a considerable part of the Theodosian Code. The constitutions in the Code of Justinian, which belong to the period comprised in the Theodosian Code, are taken from the Code of Theodosius, but have undergone considerable alterations. After the edition of Cujacius, Paris, 1686, fol., the foundation for the text of the last eleven books of the Code was the MSS. of the original Code; but for the first five books and the beginning of the sixth book (tit. 1, and the beginning of title 2) the text of the epitome in the Breviarium was the foundation. The best of these editions, after the time of Cujacius, and that which is invaluable for the commentary, is that of J. Gothofredus. which was edited after his death by A. Marville, Lyon, 1665; and afterwards by Ritter, Leipzig, 1736-1745.
  Recent discoveries have added to the last eleven books, and furnished considerable and most important additions to the first five books. The first discoveries which furnished materials for the text of the Code, were made by A. Peyron, at Turin, in a palimpsest : these discoveries have enabled us to make considerable additions to the first five books. These additions were published by Peyron in 1823. In 1820 Clossius discovered, in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, a MS. of the Breviarium, into which the copyist has transferred various pieces from a MS. of the original Code: they were published by Clossius in 1824. Wenck published in 1825, Leipzig, the first five books of the Code, as we now possess them, with critical and explanatory notes.
  The last and most complete edition of the text of the Theodosian Code is that by Hanel in the Corpus Juris Ante-justiniancum, published at Bonn, 1837.
The Theodosian Code, by its adoption in the Western Empire, established a uniformity of law in the East and the West. But as new laws would occasionally be necessary, and it was desirable to maintain this uniformity, it was agreed between the Eastern and the Western emperors, that future constitutions, which might be published in one part of the empire, should be forwarded to the other, and promulgated there also. The new constitutions were called Novellae Leges, or simply Novellae. In A. D. 447 Theodosius sent a number of such Novellae to Valentinian, who in the following year confirmed and promulgated them in the Western Empire. These Novelle form the first collection of Novellae which followed the compilation of the Theodosian Code.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Eudocia Augusta, wife of the emperor Theodosius II. She was the daughter of the sophist Leontills, or Leon, or, as he is called in the Paschal Chronicle, Heracleitus of Athens, where she was born. The year of her birth is doubtful. Nicephorus Callisti, who has given the fullest account of her, states (xiv. 50) that she died in the fourth year of the emperor Leo, which corresponds to A. D. 460-61, aged sixty-seven; and that she was in her twentieth year when she married Theodosius. According to this statement, she must have been born A. D. 393-4, and married A. D. 413-14. But the age of Theodosius (born A. D. 401) leads us to prefer, for the marriage, the date given by the Paschal or Alexandrian Chronicle and by Marcellinus (Chron.), viz. the consulship of Eustathius and Agricola, A. D. 421. We must then give up the calculation of Nicephorus as to the time of her death, or as to her age at that time or at her marriage. Possibly she came to Constantinople in her twentieth year, in 413-14, but was not married till 421. She was called originally Athenais, and having excellent natural abilities, was educated by her father and by the grammarians Hyperechius and Orion in every branch of science and learning then cultivated. She was familiar with Greek and Latin literature, rhetoric, astronomy, geometry, and the science of arithmetic. She was also eminent for her beauty; and in consideration of these advantages, natural and acquired, her father at his death left her no share in his property, all of which he bequeathed to her two brothers Valerius and Aetins, called Genesius by Zonaras, or Gesius in the Paschal Chronicle, saying that her good fortune and the fruits of her education would be a sufficient inheritance.
  From dissatisfaction either at this arrangement, or at some wrong she had suffered, Athenais went to Constantinople to appeal against her brothers; and Pulcheria, sister of Theodosius, who managed alike him and his empire, fixed on her as a suitable wife for him. Athenais was a heathen; but her heathenism yielded to the arguments or persuasions of Pulcheria and of Atticas. patriarch of Constantinople, by whom she was baptized, receiving at her baptism the name of Eudocia, and being adopted in that ordinance by Pulcheria as a daughter--an expression apparently indicating that she had that princess for a sponsor. The date of her marriage (A. D. 421), given by Marcellinus and the Paschal Chronicle, is probably correct, though Theophanes places it one if not two years earlier.
  Most historians mention only one child of this union, Eudoxia, who, according to Marcellinus, was born in the thirteenth consulship of Honorius, and the tenth of Theodosius, i. e. A. D. 422, and betrothed, in the consulship of Victor and Castinus, A. D. 424, to her cousin Valentinian, afterwards emperor of the West as Valentinian III. Tillemont thinks there are notices which seem to show that there was a son, Arcadius, but he must have died young. Marcellinus mentions another daughter of the emperor Theodosius, and therefore (if legitimate) of Eudocia also, Flacilla; but Tillemont suspects that Marcellinus speaks of a sister of Theodosius so named. Flacilla died in the consulship of Antiochus and Bassus, A. D. 431. The marriage of Valentinian with Eudoxia was celebrated, not, as at first appointed, at Thessalonica, but at Constantinople (comp. Socrates, Hist. Eccles. vii. 44; Niceph. Call. Hist. xiv. 23; Marcellin. Chron. Aetio II et Sigisuldo Coss), in the year 436 or 437, most likely the latter. In 438, Eudocia set out for Jerusalem, in discharge of a vow which she had made to visit "the holy places" on occasion of her daughter's marriage; and returned the year following to Constantinople, bringing with her the reputed relics of Stephen the proto-martyr. It was probably in this journey that she visited Antioch, addressed the people of that city, and was honoured by them with a statue of brass, as related by Evagrius. At her persuasion Theodosius enlarged the boundaries and the walls of Antioch, and conferred other marks of favour on that city. She had received the title of Augusta A. D. 423.
  Hitherto it is probable that Eudocia had interfered but little with the influence exercised by Pulcheria in public affairs. Nicephorus says, she lived twenty-nine years in the palace, "submitting to (hupo) Pulcheria as mother and Augusta". As Nicephorus places Eudocia's marriage in 413-14, he makes 442-43 the period of the termination of Pulcheria's administration. He states, that Eudocia's administration lasted for seven years. which brings us to 449-50 as the date of her last journey to Jerusalem, a date which, from other circumstances, appears to be correct.
  During the seven years of her administration, in A. D. 444, according to the Paschal Chronicle, but later according to Theophanes, occurred the incident which was the first step to her downfall. An apple of remarkable size and beauty had been brought to Constantinople, which the emperor purchased and presented to his wife. She sent it to Paulinus, the magister officiorum, who was then confined by a fit of the gout; and Paulinus, deeming it a suitable offering, sent it to the emperor. Theodosius recognized it as the one which he had given to Eudocia; and, without mentioning the reason to her, enquired what she had done with it. She, apprehensive of his displeasure at having parted with his gift, replied that she had eaten it, and confirmed her assertion by an oath. This falsehood increased the emperor's suspicions that Eudocia regarded Paulinus with undue affection; and he banished him to Cappadocia, where he was either then or afterwards put to death. Marcellinus places his death in the fifth consulship of Valentinian A. D. 440; but we prefer the statement of Nicephorus, that his banishment was after 442-3, and are disposed to place his death in A. D. 449-50. Eudocia, however, soothed for a time the jealousy of her husband, but it was not eradicated, as subsequent events shewed. Gibbon rejects the whole story of the apple " as fit only for the Arabian Nights ;" but his scepticism appears unreasonable.
  The quarrels of the ecclesiastics were the immediate occasion of her downfall. Chrysaphius, the eunuch and head chamberlain, a supporter of the monk Eutyches, wished to procure the deposition of Flavian, patriarch of Constantinople, who had just been elected, A. D. 447. Chrysaphius, finding that Flavian was supported by Pulcheria, who, though no longer directing the government, retained considerable influence, applied to Eudocia, whom he reminded of the grievances she had sustained "on Pulcheria's account". Eudocia, after a long continued effort, at last succeeded in alienating her husband from his sister. Pulcheria was forbidden the court, and retired from Constantinople; and in the second or pscudo-council of Ephesus (A. D. 449), known as "the council of robbers" (e lestrike), Flavian was deposed, and so roughly treated by the assembled prelates, that he died of their violence a few days after. But Theodosius was soon led to take up the cause of the murdered patriarch. He banished Chrysaphius, and stripped him of all his possessions; and shewed his anger with Eudocia by reviving the quarrel about the apple; so that she begged and obtained permission to retire to Jerusalem. Pulcheria was recalled, and resumed the now vacant management of affairs, which she retained during the short remainder of the reign of Theodosius and that of her husband Marcian, who succeeded him.
  Eudocia might possibly have been reconciled to her husband, but for an event recorded by Marcellinus, which rendered the breach irreparable. Saturninus, who held the office of comes domesticorum, being sent for the purpose by Theodosius, on what account is not stated, but probably through jealousy, slew two ecclesiastics, Severus, a priest, and Johannes or John, a deacon, who were in the service of Eudocia at Jerusalem. She, enraged, put Saturninus to death, and was in return stripped of the state and retinue of empress, which she had been hitherto allowed to retain. Marcellinus places these sad events in the eighteenth consulship of Theodosius, A. D. 444; but this date is altogether inconsistent with the facts mentioned by Nicephorus. Theophanes placed them in A. M. 5942, Alex. era (A. D. 450), which is probably correct; if so, it must have been before the death of Theodosius, which took place in that year.
  Eudocia spent the rest of her life in the Holy Land, devoting herself to works of piety and charity. She repaired the walls of Jerusalem, conversed much with ecclesiasties, built monasteteries and hospitals, and a church in honour of the proto-martyr Stephen on the spot where he was said to have been stoned; enriched existing churches with valuable offerings, and bestowed great sums in charity on the priests and the poor. But she was, for some years, obnoxious to the imputation of heresy. The opinion of Eutyches on the union of the two natures in Christ, which she held, and which had triumphed in the "council of robbers" at Ephesus (A. D. 449), was condemned in another council held at Chalcedon (A. D. 451), soon after the death of Theodosius. The decrees of this latter council Eudocia for some years rejected. When, however, she heard of the captivity of her daughter Eudoxia, whom, with her two daughters, Genseric, king of the Vandals, had carried into Africa (A. D. 455), she sought to be reconciled to Pulcheria, that she might interest her and her husband, the emperor Marcian, in behalf of the captives. By the intervention of Olybrius, to whom one of the captive princesses was betrothed, and of Valerius, the reconciliation was effected; and Pulcheria anxiously sought to restore Eudocia to the communion of the church. She engaged her brothers and daughters (according to Nicephorus) to write to her for this purpose: from which it may be gathered that the brothers of Eudocia had become Christians, and were still living. According to the Paschal Chronicle, they had been advanced to high offices, Aetius or Gesius in the provinces, and Valerius at court. Possibly the Valerius who had been one of the mediators between the princesses, was one of them. Who "the daughters" of Eudocia were, is not clear. We read only of two, Eudoxia, now in captivity, and Flacilla, long since dead. If the letters were from the captive princesses, we must understand daughters in the more extended sense of female descendants. These letters and the conversations which Eudocia held with Symeon the Stylite, and Euthymius, an eminent monk of Jerusalem, determined her to renounce Eutychianism; and her conversion led many others to follow her example; but it is honourable to her that she continued her gratuities to those who retained as well as to those who renounced these opinions. She died at Jerusalem in the fourth year of the reign of Leo I. A. D. 460-61, and was buried in the church of St. Stephen, which she herself had built. Theophanes places her death in A. M. 5947 Alex. era (A. D. 455), but this is too early. Her age has been already noticed. She solemnly declared at her death that she was free from any guilty connexion with Paulinus.
  Eudocia was an author. She wrote:
1. A poem on the victory obtained by the troops of her husband Theodosius over the Persians, A. D. 421 or 422. This was in heroic verse, and is mentioned by Socrates (Hist. Eccles. vii. 21).
2. A paraphrase of the Octateuch, also in heroic verse. Photius describes it as consisting of eight books, according to the division of that part of Scripture which it embraced ; and says it was well and perspicuously written, and conformable to tile laws of tile poetic art; but that the writer had not allowed herself the poetic licences of digression and of mingling fiction with truth, having kept very close to the sense of the sacred books
3. A Paraphrase of the Prophecies of Daniel and Zechariah, in the same measure.
4. A poem, in the same measure and in three books, on the history and martyrdom of Cyprian and Justina, who suffered in the persecution under Diocletian. Photius gives a pretty full account of this poem.
5. Zonaras land Joannes Tzetzes ascribe to Eudocia Homero-Centones; and a poem under that title, composed of verses and parts of verses from Homer, and having for its subject the history of the fall and of the redemption of man by Jesus Christ, has been repeatedly published, both in the original and in a Latin version. In one edition, it is said to be by Eudocia Augusta, or Patricius Pelagius. The genuineness of this work is, however, very disputable, and even the fact o

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Pulcheria

Pulcheria (Poulcheria), co-empress and empress of the East, A. D. 414-453, was the eldest daughter of the emperor Arcadius, who died in A. D. 414, and was succeeded by his son Theodosius the Younger. But as this prince was then only fourteen years old, Pulcheria took the reins of government in his stead, although she too had scarcely passed the limits of childhood, being born in A. D. 399. She was created Augusta on the 4th of July, 414, and henceforth reigned in the name of her weak brother with the consent and to the satisfaction of the senate and the people. The historical and political part of her reign is, however, more properly told in the life of Theodosius Il., and we shall consequently only relate such facts as are more particularly connected with the person and character of this extraordinary woman. Immediately after her accession she took the veil, together with her younger sisters Arcadia and Marina, the latter probably against their will, but Pulcheria decidedly from political motives, although the ceremony took place with a religious solemnity, as if she had parted for ever with earthly affairs. She probably intended to bar every ambitious scheme upon her and her sisters' hand, leet she should lose her power, or the empire become an object of contest between three brothers-in-law. But although she lived separated from the world, she did not remain strange to its interests, and her long and peaceful reign, at least in Asia, give evidence of her eminent abilities. In her personal intercourse she was extremely mild and amiable, her superior education giving additional charms to it: she spoke and wrote Latin and Greek with equal facility and elegance, and was well versed in arts, literature, and science. Her piety was sincere, and although she gave millions to the poor and the distressed, and likewise for the building and embellishment of churches and convents, she was bountiful without ostentation. To her brother Theodosius she was a guardian angel, instilling into his mind the most virtuous principles, and watching his education; and if she could not make an energetic man of him, it was not her fault but that of his original mental and intellectual constitution. He trusted her with the utmost confidence, and was happier in seeing the administration in her hands, than he would have been had the cares of it devolved upon him. Pulcheria brought about the marriage between her brother and the beautiful and virtuous Athenais (Eudoxia), and she performed her task in so charming a manner that many a modern chaperone would do well to take her for a model (A. D. 421). Theodosius died in 450, and, leaving only a daughter, was succeeded by her husband Valentinian III., who also was unfit for the throne. Pulcheria consequently remained at the head of affairs, and began her second reign by inflicting the punishment of death upon the dangerous and rapacious eunuch Chrysaphius. Fearing lest the ambition of that haughty intriguer should be imitated by others, she resolved to marry, and of course was released from her vows of chastity. The object of her choice was the excellent Marcian, with whom she continued to reign in common till her death, which took place on the 18th of February, 453, at the age of 54 years and one month. She was lamented by every body, and was afterwards canonised; her feast is still celebrated in the Greek church. There is a story told by Suidas that Pulcheria had a lover, Paulinus. and that she had lived in incestuous intercourse with her brother; but we doubt the first, and do not believe the second, because it is not to be reconciled with the well-known character and principles of both Pulcheria and Theodosius.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Marcianus (450-457 AD)

Marcianus, emperor of the East (A. D. 450-457), was the son of an obscure but respectable man, who had served in the imperial armies. He was born either in Thrace or in Illyricum, about A. D. 391; and at an early age he entered the imperial army. Of his earlier history we are acquainted with a few trifling stories and adventures. His way to fortune was slow, for in 421, at the age of thirty, he was still a common soldier, or, perhaps, a non-commissioned officer. Some years afterwards he attached himself to the famous general Aspar, and subsequently to his son Ardaburius, as private secretary, obtaining, at the same time, the office of captain of the guards. During fifteen, or perhaps nineteen years, he continued in the service of those eminent men, and found ample opportunities for developing his military talents. He accompanied Aspar in his unfortunate campaign against Genseric, king of the Vandals in Africa, in 431, when he was made a prisoner of war; but on account of his reputation, and perhaps for services which history does not record, obtained his release, and returned to Constantinople. His history during the following nineteen years is veiled in obscurity; and it is only from subsequent events that we are allowed to conclude that he distinguished himself in no ordinary degree; for the emperor, Theodosius the Younger, having died in 450, his widow, the celebrated Pulcheria, offered her hand and the imperial title to Marcian, on condition that he would not prevent her from continuing the state of virginity which she had hitherto enjoyed; and Marcian, who was then about sixty, consented to it gladly, and married the chaste empress, who was then above fifty. At that time Marcian held the rank of tribune and senator; and he was so favourably known among the people, that his elevation to supreme power was received by them with applause and demonstrations of joy. His coronation took place on the 24th of August, 450; and the whole transaction, as it seems, was so little premeditated, and was settled in so short a time, that Valentinian, the emperor of Rome, was not even asked to give his consent, which he did, however, at a later period, for he stood in great want of the assistance of a man like Marcian, who, to military renown, acquired in the war against the Vandals and Persians, joined a kind disposition and accomplished diplomatic skill.
  Both the Eastern and the Western empire were then in great apprehension from the unbounded ambition and power of Attila, who had no sooner heard of the election of Marcian than he despatched ambassadors to him, demanding, in an imperative tone, the tribute which the younger Theodosius had engaged to pay annually to the king of the Huns. "I have iron for Attila", was the emperor's stern answer, "but no gold". Upon this Apollonius was sent into Attila's camp to negotiate the continuance of peace, and was charged with presents for the barbarian, which he was to deliver on the express condition that they were presents, but no tribute. Attila having declined to admit the ambassador into his presence, though not to accept the presents, Apollonius firmly refused to give up the latter previous to having obtained an audience; and being at last admitted, behaved so and fearlessly, that the king swore he would take bloody revenge. lie thought it, however, more prudent to turn his wrath against Valentinian, who had likewise affronted him, by refusing to give up his sister Honoria, whom Attila claimed as his betrothed wife. Without disclosing his intention as to the countries he had chosen for an invasion, Attila sent messengers at once to Rome and Constantinople, who addressed each of the emperors with the haughty and insulting words: "Attila, my lord and thy lord, commands thee to provide a palace for his immediate reception". Upon this he set out for the invasion of Gaul, A. D. 451.
  In the same year Marcian assembled the council of Chalcedon, where the doctrines of the Eutychians were condemned. In the following year, 452, the celebrated Ardaharius, then dux Orientis, defeated the Arabs near Damascus, and made them sue for pence; and Maximin met with similar success against the Blemmyes, who had invaded the Thebais in Upper Egypt. A strong army was also sent towards the frontiers of the Western empire to assist Valentinian against Attila, who was then invading Italy, and to secure the Eastern empire against any unexpected diversion of the barbarians. In short Marcian neglected nothing to prepare peace and happiness for his subjects, who had so cruelly suffered under his predecessors. The death of Attila, in 453, relieved him not only from great and just anxiety, but the subsequent, and almost immediate dissolution of the empire of the Huns, afforded him an opportunity of repopulating those provinces which had been laid waste by the Huns in their previous campaigns against Theodosius. Thus the Eastern Goths received extensive lands in Pannonia; Sarmatians (Slavonians) and Herules, in Illyricum; and Scyri, Alans and Huns, under Attila's youngest son Hernac, in Scythia and Lower Moesia. The death of the excellent empress Pulcheria, in 454, cased a general affliction; but the popularity of Marcian only gained by it. In the following year, 455, Valentinian was murdered; Maximin usurped the crown; Italy and Gaul were covered with ruins and blood; and the Vandal Genseric pillaged Rome. In the midst of these terrible commotions, Marcian secured the peace of his own dominions with his wonted wisdom and firmness; and some disturbances having broken out in Lazica, in 456, which were kindled by the Armenians and Persians, he sent able officers against the latter, who soon compelled the enemy to desist from farther hostilities. But in the beginning of 457 Marcian fell ill, and after five months' suffering, died on the 26th of June following. His death would have been the signal of great calamities but for the power of Aspar, who caused Leo the Great to be chosen emperor. Marcian had, of course, no issue from Pulcheria. He had, however, a daughter, the offspring of a former marriage, who was called Euphemia, and was married to Anthemius, who became afterwards emperor of the West. Marcian was decidedly an excellent man, who deserves our admiration for the manner in which he governed his wide dominions, and procured for them domestic and external peace during the terrible expeditions of the Huns and the Vandals. His laudable efforts to put down the venality and corruption of the public functionaries and advocates were crowned with success; and the Codex Theodosianus connobly tains many of his constitutions, from which we may draw a favourable conclusion as to his honesty and wisdom. His orthodoxy caused him to be praised in an exaggerated degree by the orthodox writers.
(Evagr. ii. 12; Theophan.; Theodor. Lect. i. 28; Nicephor. Call. xv. 1-4; Zonar. vol. i.; Procop. Vand. 1, 4)

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Leo I., Flavius the Great (457-474 AD)

Leo I., Flavius, surnamed the Great, and Thrax, emperor of Constantinople (A. D. 457-474), was of barbarian origin, and was born about A. D. 400, in the country of the Bessi, in Thrace, whence he received the surname of " the Thracian". At the death of the emperor Marcian (457) he was an obscure tribunus militurn, and held the command of Selymbria. The powerful patrician, Aspar, despairing to seize the crown without creating a civil and religious war, which might have proved his downfall, resolved upon remaining in power by proclaiming emperor a man whom he thought equally weak and obedient; and he consequently contrived the election of Leo, who was recognised by the senate on the 7th of February, 457. Leo was crowned by Anatolius, patriarch of Constantinople; and this is the first instance of a Christian sovereign having received his crown from the hands of a priest, a ceremony which was afterwards adopted by all other Christian princes, and from which the clergy, as Gibbon justly observes, have deduced the most formidable consequences. Shortly after Leo's accession, religious troubles broke out in Egypt, which afforded the new emperor an opportunity of showing that he did not intend to be a tool of his minister. The Eutychians of Alexandria slew the orthodox bishop Proterius, and chose one of their own creed, Elurus, in his stead, who was protected by the Arian, Aspar, in spite of the emperor's authority. Leo, however, did not give way, and in 460 he had Elurus deposed, and superseded by an orthodox bishop, to the great annoyance of Aspar. This minister, finding himself checked in many other instances by the man whom he had raised from the dust, once had tile impudence to reproach the emperor with faithless conduct towards his benefactor; upon which Leo calmly replied, that no prince should be compelled to resign his own judgment and the interest of his subjects to the will of his servants.
  In 466 the Huns threatened at once the northern provinces of Persia and the Eastern empire. Hormidac, one of their chiefs, crossed the Danube on the ice, but Leo had assemled a sufficient force to check them. His general, Anthemius, afterwards emperor of Rome, defeated them at Sardica, and some time afterwards Anagastus routed them in another pitched battle. Their principal chief, Dengizec, who was a son of Attila, was killed, and his head was sent to Constantinople, where it was exposed to the public. The Huns now sought for peace, and desisted from further hostilities. About this time also Leo made serious preparations for restoring peace to the western empire, where the ambition of Ricimer and Genseric, the king of the Vandals in Africa, had caused interminable troubles and bloodshed. Ricimer entered with him into negotiations, which were not without beneficial effects for Italy, since they led to the election of Anthemius, mentioned above, as emperor of Rome; but Genseric was rather obstinate, though he tried to avoid war by sending back to Constantinople Eudoxia, the widow of the Western emperor, Valentinian III., and her daughter, Placidia, whom he had kept as captives during seven years. No sooner, however, was Anthemius proclaimed in Rome, than the two emperors concerted a joint attack upon Carthage, the deplorable issue of which is told in the life of Basiliscus, who had the chief command in this unfortunate expedition. The defeat of Basiliscus gave Leo an opportunity of getting rid of Aspar and his three haughty sons, Ardaburius, Patricius, and Ermenaric, for public opinion pointed out Aspar as the secret contriver of the failure of the expedition; and the people, especially the orthodox, declared themselves against him in most violent language. In order to exasperate the people still more against the minister, Leo treacherously proposed to him to give his daughter, Ariadne, in marriage to Aspar's son, Patricius, or Patriciolus. When the news of the intended marriage spread abroad, the inhabitants of Constantinople rose in arms, and stormed the palace of Aspar, who escaped assassination by flying, with his sons, into the church of St. Euphemia. They left it on the promise of Leo that no harm should be done to them; but they had scarcely arrived within the precincts of the imperial palace, when Trascalisseus rushed upon them with a band of the emperor's body guard, and assassinated Aspar and Ardaburius. This foul deed was perpetrated at the command of Leo, on whose memory it is an indelible stain. Trascalisseus, the stanch adherent of Leo, was rewarded with the hand of his daughter, Ariadne, adopted the Greek name of Zeno, and thus finally filled the imperial throne. Aspar had left many friends among his fellow-believers, the Arians, who, in revenge of his death, excited Ricimer to fresh intrigues in the West, and persuaded the Goths to invade Thrace. They came accordingly, and during two years the very environs of Constantinople were rendered unsafe till they yielded to the superior skill of the Roman generals, and sued for peace. The end of Leo's reign was thus disturbed by a calamity which was the immediate consequence and the deserved punishment of the murder of Aspar, although the emperor suffered less from it than his innocent subjects. Feeling his strength decline, and having no son, Leo chose in 473 his grandson Leo, the infant son of Zeno and Ariadne, his future successor, and proclaimed him Augustus. He died in less than a year afterwards, after a long and painful illness, in the month of January, 474, and was buried in the mausoleum of Constantine.
  Although Leo does not deserve the name of the Great, he was distinguished by remarkable talents and moral qualities; his mind was enlightened; he was active, wise, and always knew how to attain his ends. His piety was sincere; he showed great respect to the clergy, and sincerely admired the famous Daniel Stylites, who passed his life on the top of a column in Constantinople. He is reproached with want of firmness in his conduct towards Aspar and Basiliscus. Leo was illiterate, but appreciated literature and science. On one occasion one of his courtiers reproached him with having given a pension to the philosopher Eulogius: " Would God", answered the emperor, "that I had to pay no other people than scholars". Theodoric the Great was educated at the court of Leo. The reign of this emperor is signalised by some extraordinary events. In 458 Antioch was destroyed by an earthquake; in 465 a fire broke out in Constantinople, and destroyed the public and private buildings on a space 1750 paces long, from east to west, and 500 wide from north to south. In 469 inundations caused an immense loss of life and property in various parts of the empire; and in 572 there was an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which was not only felt in Constantinople, but all the historians agree that there were such showers of ashes that the roofs of the houses were covered with a coat three inches thick. Whether this is true or not is another question.
  The wife of Leo, Verina, was renowned for her virtues. He had a son by her who died young, and two daughters, Ariadne, married to Zeno, and Leontia, who married Marcian, the son of Anthemius.
(Cedren; Zonar. vol. ii.; Suidas, s. v. Leon and Zenon.)


Leo II. (474 AD)

Leo II., emperor, succeeded his grandfather, Leo 1., in A. D. 474, at four years of age, and died in the same year, after having reigned under the guardianship of his mother, Verina, and his father, Zeno, by whom he was succeeded.


Zenon (Zeno) (474-491 AD)

Zenon or Zeno, emperor of the East, A.D.474-491, was descended from a noble Isaurian family. His name was originally Trascalisseus, which he exchanged for that of Zeno when he married Ariadne, the daughter of the emperor Leo I. in 468. He probably assumed this name because another Isaurian of the name of Zeno had obtained distinction under Theodosius II., and been elevated to the consulship in 448. Of the early life of Zeno we have no particulars; but we are told that Leo gave him his daughter in marriage in order to secure the support of the Isaurians against his ambitious minister Aspar, from which we may conclude that Zeno had great influence among his countrymen. On his marriage with Ariadne, he was raised by the emperor to the rank of patrician, was appointed commander of the imperial guards and of the armies in the East, and was elevated to the consulship along with Marcianus in 469. The elevation of Zeno brought great trouble upon the church in consequence of his patronage of Peter, surnamed the Fuller, who had been expelled from the monastery of the Acoemetae both for immorality and heresy. Through the influence of Zeno Peter obtained possession of the patriarchate of Antioch in this year, but the means by which he gained his object, and his subsequent deposition by Leo are related elsewhere. Though Zeno was thus the means of giving some trouble to the emperor, he nevertheless was regarded by Leo as the main stay of his throne, and accordingly excited the jealousy of Aspar. While engaged in a campaign against the barbarians, who were ravaging Thrace, he narrowly escaped being assassinated by the friends of Aspar. On his return to court he persuaded Leo to get rid of his dangerous minister, and by his advice and contrivance Aspar was murdered in 471. Leo had no male children, and he wished to appoint his son-in-law his successor; but as soon as the emperor's intentions became known, there were great tumults at Constantinople, for the Greeks could not bear the idea of submitting to an Isaurian, and they hated Zeno personally both for the ugliness of his person and of his mind (Zonar. xiv. 2). Leo accordingly gave up his intention, and appointed as his successor his grandson Leo, the son of Zeno and Ariadne. This was in the year 473, and on the 3d of February in the following year (474) the emperor died, and was succeeded by his grandson. As the young emperor was only a child, the government devolved upon Zeno; and now that he had the real power, he soon acquired the title as well. Assisted by the dowager empress Verina, he was declared emperor with the approbation of the senate; and his own son put the crown upon his head. His son, however, had still the precedence, and in the laws promulgated in this year in the names of the two Augusti, the name of Leo always precedes that of Zeno. By the death of Leo, which occurred towards the end of the year (474), Zeno became sole emperor. Some writers accuse him of having made away with his son to secure the undivided sovereignty for himself; and they even allege that Ariadne was privy to the crime : but as the Greek historians, who never miss an opportunity of blackening the character of Zeno, do not say a word respecting the murder of his son, we may safely reject the tale as a calumny.
  The reign of Zeno was marked by great disasters, by intestine commotions, and foreign wars. He is represented by the Greek historians as a voluptuary, a miser, and a tyrant. His contemptible character and his oppressive government occasioned frequent revolts among his subjects. The barbarians ravaged the fairest provinces of his empire; and the Goths, after encamping under the very walls of Constantinople, founded a new kingdom in Italy under the sway of Theodoric the Great. Zeno had not been many months upon the throne before he was driven out of Constantinople by a formidable rebellion excited by Verina and her brother Basiliscus, A. D. 475. Zeno took refuge in Isauria along with his wife Ariadne, and Basiliscus was proclaimed emperor. Basiliscus sent Illus and his brother Trocundus, who were also Isaurians, with a powerful army against the fugitive emperor, whom they defeated in July, A. D. 476. But Basiliscus was still more unpopular at Constantinople than Zeno. His adherents were discontented and divided; and Zeno accordingly found no difficulty in persuading Illus to desert his new master, and espouse his cause. Zeno and Illus now marched upon Constantinople, and they appear to have received support from Theodoric. who had succeeded his father Theodemir as king of the Ostrogoths. Near Nicaea they were met by the troops of Basiliscus under the command of his nephew Harmatius or Harmatus, but the latter was also gained over, and Zeno entered Constantinople without opposition in the month of July, A. D. 477, twenty months after his expulsion. Basiliscus was deposed and sent to Phrygia, where he perished in the winter of the same yea. The treachery of Harmatius had been purchased by great promises, which Zeno was now obliged to fulfill. He was made commander-in-chief of the army, and his son was raised to the rank of Caesar ; but these high dignities only caused his ruin. Illus, who was jealous of any rival in power, easily persuaded the weak and timid emperor that Harmatius was aiming at the sovereignty, and accordingly before the end of the year Harmatius was murdered, and his son, the Caesar, was made reader in the church of Blachernae, in the neighbourhood of Constantinople.
  Zeno now devolved the cares of government upon Illus, while he gave himself up to the enjoyment of his pleasures. In A. D. 478 Illus was sole consul. In this year Theodoric, son of Triarius, a Gothic chief, who had been one of the supporters of the emperor Basiliscus, and who had retired into Thrace upon the fall of the latter, appeared before Constantinople at the head of a formidable army, and pillaged the surrounding country. Zeno called to his aid Theodoric, the son of Theodemir, who proceeded against his namesake; but the treachery of the emperor, who neglected to supply him with the troops and provisions he had promised him, led the son of Theodemir to conclude a peace with the son of Triarius. Zeno, who now feared to have the whole force of the Gothic nation turned against him, hastened to make peace with the son of Triarius, which he was only able to obtain by the most humiliating concessions.
  In the following year, 479, a new and dangerous revolt broke out. At the head of it was Marcian, the grandson of the emperor of that name, and the son of Anthemius, the emperor of the West. Marcian had married Leontia, the daughter of the late emperor Leo, and the sister of Ariadne, the wife of Zeno. He raised the standard of revolt in Constantinople itself, was joined by a powerful party, and defeated the forces of Zeno, whom he besieged in his palace. In the course of the night, however, Illus found means to corrupt his troops, and Marcian was obliged to take refuge in a church. He was dragged out, ordained forthwith as a presbyter, and banished to a monastery in Cappadocia. As soon as Theodoric, the son of Triarius, heard of this revolt, he marched upon Constantinople under the pretext of coming to the assistance of his ally, but in reality in hopes of obtaining possession of the city without a struggle. He was, however, induced by large sums of money to retire. Meantime war had been continued against Theodoric, the son of Theodemir, who, enraged at the treachery of the emperor in the preceding year, had been turned from an ally into a foe. The war was ably conducted by Sabinianus, Zeno's general, who gained some advantages over Theodoric.
In A. D. 481, war broke out again with Theodoric, the son of Triarius. He marched against Constantinople at the head of a more formidable army than he had ever collected previously, but was accidentally killed by his own javelin, while riding one day upon a new horse. Unexpectedly delivered from this formidable enemy, Zeno purchased peace with the other Theodoric in 483, by conferring upon him the most extraordinary honours. [Vol. III. p. 1044, a.] In the following year, 484, Theodoric was consul. This year was signalised by the commencement of a new rebellion, which lasted longer than any of the preceding ones, and brought Zeno to the brink of ruin. It was headed by Illus, the powerful minister of Zeno, who had now become an object of suspicion to his master, and of hatred both to Verina and Ariadne. The history of this rebellion is related at length elsewhere [IILUS]. It was not finally suppressed till A. D. 488, when Illus and Leontius, whom the former had proclaimed emperor, were both taken prisoners and put to death. During the revolt of Illus, misunderstandings occurred between Theodoric and Zeno. In 487 the Gothic king again took up arms and threatened Constantinople. To save himself and his capital, Zeno gave Theodoric permission to invade Italy, and expel the usurper Odoacer from the country. The terms were gladly accepted by Theodoric, and Zeno lived to see she foundation of a powerful Gothic kingdom in Italy. Zeno died in the month of April A. D. 491, after a reign of seventeen years. He left no children, and was succeeded by Anastasius, an officer of the imperial life-guard of the Silentiarii, who married Ariadne, the widow of Zeno.
  In A. D. 482, Zeno published the famous Henoticon (henotikon), which was signed by all the bishops of the East under his reign, and that of Anastasius. It is preserved by Evagrius (iii. 13). The various modern writers who comment upon it are given by Fabricius (Bibl. Graec. vol. xi.).
(Tillemont, Histoire des Empereurs, vol. vi., and Clinton, Fasti Romani, in which works all the authorities are collected.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Illus

Illus, a leading personage in the troubled reign of the Byzantine emperor Zeno, who reigned A. D. 474-491. His name is variously written Illos (which is the most common form), Illos, Illous, Hillos, and Hillous, and by Latin writers, ILLUS, ELLUS, and HYLLUS. Victor of Tunes in one place calls him Patricius, mistaking his title of Patrician for a proper name.
  Illus was an Isaurian, but the time and place of his birth are unknown. He is said to have held various offices under the Emperor Leo I. (A. D. 457-474), and to have been an intimate friend of Zeno, apparently before his accession. But we first read of him in Zeno's reign and in hostility to that emperor. Basiliscus, brother of the empress dowager Verina,the widow of Leo,hadexpelled Zeno from Constantinople (A. D. 475) and sent an army in pursuit of him under Illus and his brother Trocondus (whose name is variously written Trokondos, Trokoundos, Troboundos, Prokoundos, Promondos, and Sekooundos, and by the Latin writers Trocundus and Tricundius) into Isauria, where Zeno had taken refuge. The brothers defeated the fugitive emperor (July, A. D. 476) and blockaded him on a hill called by the people near it "Constantinople." (Suidas, s. v. Zenon.) During the blockade Illus and Trocondus, instigated by the senate of Constantinople, with whom Basiliscus had fallen into odium and contempt, and themselves discontented with the usurper, were prevailed on by the promises and gifts of Zeno to embrace his side, and to march with united forces towards the capital. At Nice in Bithynia they were met by the troops of Basiliscus under his nephew and general Armatus, or Harmatus (Armatos or Armatos), or Harmatius; but he, too, was gained over, and Basiliscus, forsaken by his supporters, was dethroned and put to death (A. D. 477).
  Illus was sole consul A. D. 478, and in 479 he was instrumental in crushing the dangerous revolt of Marcian, grandson of the Byzantine emperor of that name, and son of Anthemius, emperor of the West. Marcian had married Leontia, daughter of the late Emperor Leo by Verina, and sister of Ariadne, Zeno's wife. His revolt took place at Constantinople, where he defeated the troops of Zeno and besieged him in the palace. For a moment Illus wavered, but his failing courage or fidelity was restored by the assurances of an Egyptian soothsayer whom he patronised. Marcian's forces were corrupted by Illus; and Marcian himself, with his brothers Procopius and Romulus, was taken. The brothers escaped, but Marcian was sent, either to Tarsus in Cilicia, and made a priest in the church there, or to the foot of Papurius (Papouoios), or Papyrius, a stronghold in Isauria, then used as a state prison. Trocondus, the brother of Illus, was consul A. D. 482; and Illus himself enjoyed the dignities of patricius and [p. 570] magister officiorum. He is said to have employed his power and influence well, and to have rendered good service to the state in peace as well as in war. He assiduously cultivated science and literature.
  It was perhaps his literary predilections that made him the friend and patron of Pamprepius (Pamprepios) for whom he obtained a salary from the public revenue, and to whom also he made an allowance from his private resources. Pamprepius was a native of Thebes, or, according to others, of Panopolis in Egypt, an avowed heathen, and eminent as a poet, a grammarian, and especially for his skill in divining the future. Pamprepius was hated both by Zeno and by the dowager empress Verina, and during the absence of Illus, who had gone on some business into Isauria, they banished him on a charge of attempting to divine future events in favour of Illus and against the emperor. Illus, knowing that his intimacy with him had been the real cause of his banishment, received him into his household, and, on his return to the capital, took him with him. The date of these events is doubtful : it is possible that they occurred before Marcian's revolt, though a later date is on the whole more probable.
  As the weakness of Zeno's character made him jealous of all persons of influence and talent, it is not wonderful that the commanding position and popular favour of Illus rendered him an object of suspicion, and that the emperor in various ways sought to rid himself of him. The ambitious Verina, the dowager empress, was also his enemy, and formed a plot against his life. The assassin, an Alan, employed by her, is said to have wounded Illus; but this is doubtful, as historians have confounded her plot with the later one of her daughter Ariadne. At any rate Verina's attempt was defeated, and Zeno, equally jealous of her and of Illus, banished her at the instance of the latter, and confined her in the fort of Papurius. There is some doubt as to the time of these events also. Candidus places the banishment of Verina before the revolt of Marcian, and Theodore Lector assigns as the cause of it her share in the revolt of Basiliscus. It is not unlikely, indeed, that this turbulent woman was twice banished, once before Marcian's revolt, for her connection with Basiliscus, and again after Marcian's revolt, for her plot against Illus. From her prison she managed to interest her daughter Ariadne, the wife of Zeno, in her favour, and Ariadne endeavoured to obtain her release, first from Zeno, and then from Illus, to whom the emperor referred her. Illus not only refused her request, but charged her with wishing to place another person on her husband's throne. This irritated her; and she, like her mother, attempted to assassinate Illus. Jornandes ascribes her hatred to another cause: he says that Illus had infused jealous suspicions into Zeno's mind which had led Zeno to attempt her life, and that her knowledge of these things stimulated her to revenge. The assassin whom she employed failed to kill Illus, but cut off his ear in the attempt. The assassin was taken, and Zeno, who appears to have been privy to the affair, was unable to prevent his execution.
  Illus, with his friend Pamprepius, now retired from court, first to Nice, and then, on pretence of change of air and of procuring the cure of his wound, into the East, where he was made general of all the armies, with the power of appointing the provincial officers. Marsus, an Isaurian officer of reputation, who had first introduced Pamprepius to Illus, and the patrician Leontius, a Syrian, and an officer of reputation, either accompanied him or joined him in the East, and probably also his brother Trocondus. Having traversed Asia Minor they erected the standard of revolt (A. D. 483 or 484). Illus declared Leontius emperor, defeated the army of Zeno near Antioch, and having drawn over the Isaurians to his party, and obtained possession of Papurius, released Verina, and induced her to crown Leontius at Tarsus, and to send a circular letter to the imperial officers at Antioch, in Egypt, and the East, by which they were prevailed on to join Illus. This important service did not, however, prevent Illus from sending Verina back to Papurius, where she soon after closed her restless life. Zeno (A. D. 485) sent against the rebels a fresh army. said to consist of Macedonians and Scythians (Tillemont conjectures, not unreasonably, that these were Ostro-Goths) under John "the Hunchback". or, more probably, John "the Scythian", and Theodoric the Ostro-Goth, who was at this time consul. John defeated the rebels near Seleuceia (which town of that name is not clear, perhaps the Isaurian Seleuceia) and drove them into the fort of Papurius where he blockaded them. In this difficulty Trocondus attempted to escape and gather forces for their relief, but was taken by the besiegers and put to death. Illus and Leontius were ignorant of his fate, and, encouraged by Pamprepius, who gave them assurance of his return and of ultimate victory, held out with great pertinacity for above three years. In the fourth year the death of Trocondus was discovered, and Illus, enraged at the deceit practised on him by Pamprepius, put him to death. The fort was soon after taken by the treachery of Trocondus's brother-in-law, who had been sent for the purpose from Constantinople by Zeno, and Illus and Leontius were beheaded (A. D. 488) and their heads sent to the emperor.
  Tillemont and Le Beau regard the revolt of Illus as an attempt to re-establish heathenism; but for this view there seems no foundation. We do not know that Illus was a heathen, though Pamprepius was one : it is more likely that Illus was a man of no fixed religious principles, and that his revolt originated either in ambition, or in a conviction that his only prospect of safety from the intrigues of his enemies and the suspicions of Zeno was the dethronement of the emperor. It is remarkable that Gibbon does not mention the name of Illus, and scarcely notices his revolt.
(Suidas, s. vv. Zenon, Pamprepios; Zonar. xiv. 2; Theophan. Chronog.; Evagrius, H. E. iii. 8, 16, 24, 26, 27; Candidus, apud Phot. Bibl. cod. 79; Malchus, apud Phot. Bibl. cod. 78; Damascius, apud Phot. Bibl. cod. 242; Procop. B. V. i. 7; Marcellinus, Chronicon ; Victor Tun. Chronicon.; Theodor. Lector, H. E. i. 37, ii. 3, 4; Jornandes, de Reg. Success. c. 47 ; Cedrenus, Compendium; Liberatus Diaconus, Breviarium Caussae Nestorianorum et Eutychianorum, c. 16, 17, apud Galland. Biblioth. Patrum, vol. x ; Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, vol. vi; Le Beau, Bas Empire, c. 36; Gibbon, ch. 39.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Henoticon

Henoticon. The story of the Henoticon forms a chapter in that of the Monophysite heresy in the fifth and sixth centuries. It is the name of the unhappy and unsuccessful law made by the Emperor Zeno in order to conciliate Catholics and Monophysites. Really, it satisfied no one and brought about the first great schism between Rome and Constantinople.
  When Zeno (474-91) came to the throne the Monophysite trouble was at its height. The mass of the people of Egypt abd Syria rejected the Council of Chalcedon (451) altogether, and found in Monophysitism an outlet for their national, anti-imperial feeling. The three Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem were in schism. The Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, Proterius, had been murdered in 457; a fanatical Monophysite, Timothy Aelurus (Ailuros), had been elected as his successor. He died in 477; the heretics elected one Peter Mongus - the "Stammerer" -to succeed him; the Catholics, John Talaia. Peter Gnapheus (Fullo), one of the most determined leaders of the heretical party, occupied the See of Antioch; Theodosius, also a Monophysite, that of Jerusalem. Over 500 bishops in these patriarchates were open partisans of Eutyches's heresy. Zeno found himself in a difficult position. On the one hand he was a friend of Peter Fullo of Antioch and sympathized with the Monophysites, on the other he was forced into the defence of the Catholic Faith by the fact that his rival Basiliscus (whom he succeeded in deposing) had made himself the protector of the heretics. Zeno, in spite of his personal feeling, came to the throne as the champion of the Catholic party. At first he protected the Catholic bishops (John Talaia, for instance). But he was anxious to conciliate his old friends in Egypt and Syria, and he realized how much harm this schism was doing to the empire. He therefore issued a law that was meant to satisfy every one, to present a compromise that all could accept. This law was the famous Henoticon (henotikon, "union"). It was published in 482.
  As an attempt at conceding what both parties most desired, the Henoticon is a very skillful piece of work. It begins by insisting on the faith defined at Nicaea, confirmed at Constantinople, followed faithfully by the Fathers at Ephesus. Nestorius and Eutyches are both condemned, the anathemas of Cyril approved. Christ is God and man, one, not two. His miracles and Passion are works of one (whether person or nature, is not said). Those who divide or confuse, or introduce a phantasy (i.e. affirm a mere appearance) are condemned. One of the Trinity was incarnate. This is written not to introduce a novelty, but to satisfy every one. Who thinks otherwise, either now or formerly, either at Chalcedon or at any other synod, is anathematized, especially Nestorius, Eutyches, and all their followers. It will be noticed that the Henoticon carefully avoids speaking of nature or person, avoids the standard Catholic formula (one Christ in two natures), approves of Peter Fullo's expression (one of the Trinity was incarnate), names only the first three councils with honour, and alludes vaguely but disrespectfully to Chalcedon. There is no word against Dioscurus of Alexandria. Otherwise it offends rather by its omissions than by its assertions. It contains no actually heretical statement (the text is in Evagrius, "H. E.", III, 14; Liberatus, "Breviarium", XVII). Peter Mongus accepted it, explaining that it virtually condemned Chalcedon and thereby secured his place as Patriarch of Alexandria. His rival, John Talaia, was banished. Peter Fullo at Antioch accepted the new law too. But the strict Monophysites were not content, and separated themselves from Mongus, forming the sect called the Acephali (akephaloi, "without a head" - with no patriarch). Nor were Catholics satisfied with a document that avoided declaring the Faith on the point at issue and alluded in such a way to Chalcedon. The emporer succeeded in persuading Acacius (Akakios), Patriarch of Constantinople (471-80), to accept the Henoticon, a fact that is remarkable, since Acacius had stood out firmly for the Catholic Faith under Basiliscus. It is perhaps explained by his personal enmity against John Talaia, orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria. The Henoticon was addressed in the first place to the Egyptians, but was then applied to the whole empire. Catholic and consistent Monophysite bishops were deposed, their sees were given to people who agreed to the compromise. But the emporer had not counted with Rome. From all parts of the East Catholics sent complaints to Pope Felix II (or III: 483-92) entreating him to stand out for the Council of Chalcedon. He then wrote two letters, one to Zeno and one to Acacius, exhorting them to continue defending the Faith without compromise, as they had done before (Epp. i et ii Felicis III in Thiel, "Epistolae Rom. Pontificum genuinae" Braunsberg, 1868. 222-39). Then John Talaia, exiled from Alexandria, arrived at Rome and gave a further account of what was happening in the East. The pope wrote two more letters, summoning Acacius to Rome to explain his conduct (Epp. iii et iv, ibid). The legates who brought these letters to Constantinople were imprisoned as soon as they landed, then forced to receive Communion from Acacius in a Liturgy in which they heard Peter Mongus and other Monophysites named in the diptychs. The pope, having heard of this from the Acoemeti (akoimetoi, sleepless) monks at Constantinople, held a synod in 484 in which he denounced his legates, deposed and excommunicated Acacius (Epp. vi, vii, viii, ibid., 243 sq.). Acacius retorted by striking Felix's name from his diptychs. Thus began the Acacian schism that lasted thirty-five years (484-519). The Acoemeti monks alone at Constantinople stayed in communion with the Holy See; Acacius put their abbot, Cyril, in prison. Acacius himself died in schism in 489. His successor, Flavitas (or Fravitas, 489-90), tried to reconcile himself with the pope, but refused to give up communion with Monophysites and to omit Acacius's name in his diptychs. Zeno died in 491; his successor, Anastasius I (491-518), began by keeping the policy of the Henoticon, but gradually went over to complete Monophysitism. Euphemius (490-496), patriarch after Flavitus, again tried to heal the schism, restored the pope's name to his diptychs, denounced Peter Mongus, and accepted Chalcedon; but his efforts came to nothing, since he, too, refused to remove the names of Acacius and Flavitas from the diptychs (see Euphemius of Consstantinople). Gelasius I (492-96) succeeded Felix II at Rome and maintained the same attitude, denouncing absolutely the Henoticon and any other compromise with the heretics. Eventually, when the Emporer Anastasius died (518), the schism was healed. His successor, Justin I (518-27), was a Catholic; he at once sought reunion with Rome. John II, the patriarch (518-20), was also willing to heal the schism. In answer to their petitions, Pope Hormisdas (514-23) sent his famous formula. This was then signed by the emperor, the patriarch, and all the bishops at the capital. On Easter day, 24 March, 519, the union was restored. Monophysite bishops were deposed or fled, and the empire was once more Catholic, till the troubles broke out again under Justinian I (527-65).

Adrian Fortescue, ed.

This text is cited Jan 2006 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.


Basiliscus (475-477 AD)

Basiliscus (Basiliskos), usurper of the throne of Constantinople, was the brother of the empress Verina, the wife of Leo I., who conferred upon his brother-in-law the dignities of patrician and "dux " or commander-in-chief in Thrace. In this country Basiliscus made a successful campaign against the Bulgarians in A. D. 463. In 468, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the famous expedition against Carthage, then the residence of Genseric, king of the Vandals--one of the greatest military undertakings which is recorded in the annals of history. The plan was concerted between Leo I. Anthemius, emperor of the West, and Marcellinus, who enjoyed independence in Illyricum. Basiliscus was ordered to sail direct to Carthage, and his operations were preceded by those of Marcellinus, who attacked and took Sardinia, while a third army, commanded by Heraclius of Edessa, landed on the Libyan coast east of Carthage, and made rapid progress. It appears that the combined forces met in Sicily, whence the three fleets started at different periods. The number of ships and troops under the command of Basiliscus, and the expenses of the expedition have been differently calculated by different historians. Both were enormous; but while we must reject the account of Nicephorus Gregoras, who speaks of one hundred thousand ships, as either an error of the copyists or a gross exaggeration, everything makes us believe that Cedrenus is correct in saying that the fleet that attacked Carthage consisted of eleven hundred and thirteen ships, having each one hundred men on board. Sardinia and Libya were already conquered by Marcellinus and Heraclius when Basiliscus cast anchor off the Promontorium Mercurii, now cape Bon, opposite Sicily. Genseric, terrified, or feigning to be so, spoke of submission, and requested Basiliscus to allow him five days in order to draw up the conditions of a peace which promised to be one of the most glorious for the Roman arms. During the negotiations, Genserie assembled his ships, and suddenly attacked the Roman fleet, which was unprepared for a general engagement. Basiliscus fled in the heat of the battle; his lieutenant, Joannes, one of the most distinguished warriors of his time, when overpowered by the Vandals, refused the pardon that was promised him, and with his heavy armour leaped overboard, and drowned himself in the sea. One half of the Roman ships was burnt, sunk, or taken, the other half followed the fugitive Basiliscus. The whole expedition had failed. After his arrival at Constantinople, Basiliscus hid himself in the church of St. Sophia, in order to escape the wrath of the people and the revenge of the emperor, but he obtained his pardon by the mediation of Verina, and he was punished merely with banishment to Heraclea in Thrace.
  Basiliscus is generally represented as a good general, though easily deceived by stratagems; and it may therefore be possible that he had suffered himself to be surprised by Genseric. The historians generally speak ambiguously, saying that he was either a dupe or a traitor; and there is much ground to believe that he had concerted a plan with Aspar to ruin Leo by causing the failure of the expedition. This opinion gains further strength by the fact, that Basiliscus aspired to the imperial dignity, which, however, he was unable to obtain during the vigorous government of Leo. No sooner had Leo died (474), than Basiliscus and Verina, Leo's widow, conspired against his feeble successor, Zeno, who was driven out and deposed in the following year. It seems that Verina intended to put her lover, Priscus, on the throne; but Basiliscus had too much authority in the army, and succeeded in being proclaimed emperor (October or November, 475). His reign was short. He conferred the title of Augusta upon his wife, Zenonida; he created his son, Marcus, Caesar, and afterwards Augustus; and he patronised the Eutychians in spite of the decisions of the council of Chalcedon. During his reign a dreadful conflagration destroyed a considerable part of Constantinople, and amongst other buildings the great library with 120,000 volumes. His rapacity and the want of union among his adherents caused his ruin, which was accelerated by the activity of Zeno, his wife, the empress Ariadne, and generally all their adherents. Illus, the general despatched by Basiliscus against Zeno, who had assembled some forces in Cilicia and Isauria, had no sooner heard that the Greeks were dissatisfied with the usurper, than he and his army joined the party of Zeno; and his successor, Armatius or Harmatus, the nephew of Basiliscus, either followed the example of Illus, or at least allowed Zeno to march unmolested upon Constantinople. Basiliscus was surprised in his palace, and Zeno sent him and his family to Cappadocia, where they were imprisoned in a stronghold, the name of which was perhaps Cucusus. Food having been refused them, Basiliscus, his wife, and children perished by hunger and cold in the winter of 477-478, several months after his fall, which took place in June or July, 477 (Zonaras, xiv. 1, 2; Procop. De Bell. Vand. i. 6, 7)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Leontius Ι. (482-488 AD)

Leontius Ι. a Syrian, and an officer of reputation, joined Illus in rebelling against Zeno, the emperor of Constantinople. Leontius was proclaimed emperor in A. D. 482, and was taken prisoner and put to death at Constantinople in A. D. 488.


Anastasius I (491-518 AD)

Anastasius I. (Anastasios), emperor of Constantinople, surnamed Dicorus (Dikoros) on account of the different colour of his eye-balls, was born about 430 A. D., at Dyrrachium in Epeirus. He was descended from an unknown family, and we are acquainted with only a few circumstances concerning his life previously to his accession. We know, however, that he was a zealous Eutychian, that he was not married, and that he served in the imperial lifeguard of the Silentiarii, which was the cause of his being generally called Anastasius Silentiarius. The emperor Zeno, the Isaurian, having died in 491 without male issue, it was generally believed that his brother Longinus would succeed him; but in consequence of an intrigue carried on during some time, as it seems, between Anastasius and the empress Ariadne, Anastasius was proclaimed emperor. Shortly afterwards he married Ariadne, but it does not appear that he had had an adulterous intercourse with her during the life of her husband. When Anastasius ascended the throne of the Eastern empire he was a man of at least sixty, but though, notwithstanding his advanced age, he evinced uncommon energy, his reign is one of the most deplorable periods of Byzantine history, disturbed as it was by foreign and intestine wars and by the still greater calamity of religious troubles. Immediately after his accession, Longinus, the brother of Zeno, Longinus Magister Officiorum, and Longinus Selinuntius, rose against him, and being all natives of Isauria, where they had great influence, they made this province the centre of their operations against the imperial troops. This war, which is known in history under the name of the Isaurian war, lasted till 497, and partly till 498, when it was finished to the advantage of the emperor by the captivity and death of the ringleaders of the rebellion. John the Scythian, John the Hunchbacked, and under them Justinus, who became afterwards emperor, distinguished themselves greatly as commanders of the armies of Anastasius. The following years were signalized by a sedition in Constantinople occasioned by disturbances between the factions of the Blue and the Green, by religious troubles which the emperor was able to quell only by his own humiliation, by wars with the Arabs and the Bulgarians, and by earthquakes, famine, and plague (A. D. 500). Anastasius tried to relieve his people by abolishing the chrusarguros, a heavy poll-tax which was paid indifferently for men and for domestic animals. Immediately after these calamities, Anastasius was involved in a war with Cabadis, the king of Persia, who destroyed the Byzantine army commanded by Hypacius and Patricius Phrygius, and ravaged Mesopotamia in a dreadful manner. Anastasius purchased peace in 505 by paying 11,000 pounds of gold to the Persians, who, being threatened with an invasion of the Huns, restored to the emperor the provinces which they had overrun. From Asia Anastasius sent his generals to the banks of the Danube, where they fought an unsuccessful but not inglorious campaign against the East-Goths of Italy, and tried, but in vain, to defend the passage of the Danube against the Bulgarians. These indefatigable warriors crossed that river in great numbers, and ravaging the greater part of Thrace, appeared in sight of Constantinople; and no other means were left to the emperor to secure the immediate neighbourhood of his capital but by constructing a fortified wall across the isthmus of Constantinople from the coast of the Propontis to that of the Pontus Euxinus (A. D. 507). Some parts of this wall, which in a later period proved useful against the Turks, are still existing. Clovis, king of the Franks, was created consul by Anastasius.
  The end of the reign of Anastasius cannot well be understood without a short notice of the state of religion during this time, a more circumstantial account of which the reader will find in Evagrius and Theophanes cited below.
  As early as 488, Anastasius, then only a Silentiarius, had been active in promoting the Eutychian Palladius to the see of Antioch. This act was made a subject of reproach against him by the orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, Euphemius, who, upon Anastasius succeeding Zeno on the throne, persuaded or compelled him to sign a confession of faith according to the orthodox principles laid down in the council of Chalcedon. Notwithstanding this confession, Anastasius continued an adherent to the doctrines of Eutychius, and in 496 he had his enemy, Euphemius, deposed and banished. It is said, that at this time Anastasius showed great propensities to the sect of the Acephali. The successor of Euphemius was Macedonius, who often thwarted the measures of the emperor, and who but a few years afterwards was driven from his see, which Anastasius gave to the Eutychian Timotheus, who opposed the orthodox in many matters. Upon this, Anastasius was anathematized by pope Symmachus, whose successor, Hormisdas, sent deputies to Constantinople for the purpose of restoring peace to the Church of the East. However, the religious motives of these disturbances were either so intimately connected with political motives, or the hatred between the parties was so great, that the deputies did not succeed. In 514, Vitalianus, a Gothic prince in the service of the emperor, put himself at the head of a powerful army, and laid siege to Constantinople, under the pretext of compelling Anastasius to put an end to the vexations of the orthodox church. In order to get rid of such an enemy, Anastasius promised to assemble a general council, which was to be presided over by the pope, and he appointed Vitalianus his commander-in-chief in Thrace. But no sooner was the army of Vitalianus disbanded, than Anastasius once more eluded his promises, and the predomination of the Eutychians over the orthodox lasted till the death of the emperor. Anastasius died in 518, at the age of between eighty-eight and ninety-one years. Evagrius states, that after his death his name was erased from the sacred "Diptychs" or tables.
Religious hatred having more or less guided modern writers as well as those whom we must consider as the sources with regard to Anastasius, the character of this emperor has been described in a very different manner. The reader will find these opinions carefully collected and weighed with prudence and criticism in Tillemont's " Histoire des Empereurs." Whatever were his vices, and however avaricious and faithless he was, Anastasius was far from being a common man. Tillemont, though he is often misled by bigotry, does not blame him for many actions, and praises him for many others for which he has been frequently reproached. Le Beau, the author of the "Histoire du Bas Empire," does not condemn him; and Gibbon commends him, although principally for his economy (Evagrius, iii. 29, seq.; Theophanes, pp. 115-141, ed. Paris; Gregor. Turon. ii. 38).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Justinus I. (518-527 AD)

Justinus I., or the elder, emperor of the East from A. D. 518-527, was of barbarian, probably Gothic extraction. Tired of the humble occupation of a shepherd, for which he had been brought up in his native village, Tauresium, in Dardania, he went to Constantinople in company with two youthful comrades, to try his fortune in the capital. Justin entered the guards of the emperor Leo, and through his undaunted courage soon rose to some eminence. He served with great distinction against the Isaurians and the Persians, and his merits were successively rewarded with the dignities of tribunus, comes, senator, and at last commander-in-chief of the imperial guards, an important post, which he held in the reign of the emperor Anastasius. It was expected that the aged Anastasius would appoint one of his three nephews his future successor, but as they evinced little capacity, the emperor hesitated. His prime minister, the eunuch Amantius, availed himself of his master's irresolution to promote his own interest by bringing about the election of his creature Theodatus, and for this purpose entrusted large sums of money to Justin, with which he was to bribe the guards and other persons of influence to espouse the cause of Theodatus. He expected that an illiterate and rude barbarian, who resembled Hercules more than Mercury, would faithfully execute his orders. But he was greatly mistaken. Justin employed the money for his own elevation; and when Anastasius died, on the 10th July, 518, it was not Theodatus whom the army proclaimed emperor, but Justin, who thus ascended the throne without opposition, at the advanced age of sixty-eight. Justin could neither read nor write, and was in every respect a rude soldier; but his predecessor Anastasius was scarcely more civilized, and the people preferred a brave master to a learned one. Feeling his incapacities as a statesman, Justin committed the direction of affairs to the quaestor Proclus, and this excellent man discharged his functions to the satisfaction of both master and subjects. Soon after his accession, as it appears, Justin assumed the noble name of Anicius; some, however, believe that he had previously been adopted by a member of that illustrious family. Amantius, indignant at being cheated by a rustic, gave vent to his feelings, and perhaps conspired with Theodatus. They were accordingly accused of treason, and, what was still worse, of heresy, and they paid for their imprudence with their heads. Several of their associates shared their fate. In 519 Justin, who was a stanch adherent of the orthodox church, and had adopted energetic measures against the Eutychians, concluded an ararngement with pope Hormisdas, in consequence of which the harmony between Rome and Constantinople remained undisturbed during a considerable time, to the great satisfaction of the East. In the following year, 520, Justin adopted his nephew Justinian, whom he had withdrawn in early youth from their native village, and the government was henceforth in the hands of Justinian. The elevation of Justinian was signalized by an event which occasioned great discontent and disorders in the empire. The Goth Vitalian, so famous by his war against Anastasius, and who held the offices of consul and magister militum, under Justin, became an object of suspicion and jealousy to the emperor and his crafty nephew, and on rising from a banquet to which he had been invited, was treacherously assassinated by the order and in presence of Justin and Justinian. Vitalian was beloved by the faction of the Green, who immediately took up arms, and as they were opposed by the Blue, who enjoyed the favour of the emperor, great troubles arose, which lasted during three years, without Justin's becoming well acquainted with the extent of danger. When he was at last apprised of it, he appointed one Theodotus prefect of the capital, who succeeded in restoring peace. In 522 some misunderstanding arose between Justin and Theodoric, king of the East Goths in Italy, who was offended with Justin because he continued to appoint consuls, a dignity which, in the opinion of Theodoric, could only be conferred by the master of Rome; but Justin prudently renounced the privilege, leaving its exercise entirely to the Gothic king, who accordingly appointed Symmachus and the famous Boethius consuls for the year 522. In the same year misunderstandings arose between Justin and the Persian king Cabades, on account of the kingdom of Colchis or Lazica. Cabades proposed to the emperor, as a guarantee for their mutual friendship, to adopt his favourite son Nushirwan or Chosroes, who afterwards reigned over Persia with so much glory, and Justin would have complied with the king's wishes, but for the interference of the wise quaestor Proclus, on whose advice the emperor declined the proposition. Annoyed by the failure of his plan, Cabades prepared for war, the outbreak of which was hastened by Gurgenus, king of Iberia, throwing himself upon the protection of the emperor. The Persians having invaded Iberia, Justin dispatched Sittas and Belisarius against them, and this is the first time that the name of Belisarius becomes known in history. He was, however, not successful in this campaign, but was, nevertheless, appointed governor of the great fortress of Dara, on the confines of Mesopotamia and Syria. and the historian Procopius was appointed his secretary. The war was carried on for some years without leading to important results on either side. In 525 a terrible earthquake and the overflowing of several rivers carried destruction through some of the finest cities of the empire. In the East Edesa, Anazarba, and Pompeiopolis were laid in ruins, and in Europe Corinth and Dyrrachium met with a similar fate. But the destruction of Antioch at the same time by fire and water offered a still more heart-rending sight. When Justin heard of its awful fate, he ordered the theatres to be closed, took off his royal diadem, and dressed himself in mourning. He spent two million pounds sterling towards the rebuilding of Antioch, which was done with the utmost splendour, and he evinced a proportionate liberality towards the other sufferers. On the whole, Justin, though a barbarian and a fanatic, was a man of good sense, a sincere well wisher of his subjects, and successful in choosing capable persons to govern them; his knowledge of the human character was remarkably sound. He died on the 1st of August, 527, shortly after having conferred the dignity of Augustus upon his nephew and successor, the great Justinian. He was buried in the church of Euphemia near his wife Euphemia, a woman as illiterate and rude as her husband, but who never interfered with public affairs, and who caused that church to be built at her expense. (
Evagr. iv. 1-10, 56; Procop. Vandal. i. 9; De Aed. ii. 6, 7, iii. 7, iv. 1; Arcan. c. 6, 9; Pers. i. 19. ii. 15, &c.; Theoph.; Zonar. vol. ii.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Justinianus I. (527-565)

Justinianus, I. Flavius Anicius, surnamed Magnus, or The Great, emperor of Constantinople and Rome from A. D. 527 to 565. The date of the birth of Justinian is fixed on the 11th of May, A. D. 483, in L' Art de Verifier les Dates, where the question is critically investigated. His birthplace was the village of Tauresium, in the district of Bederiana, in Dardania, where he afterwards built the splendid city of Justiniana, on the site of which stands the modern town of Kostendil.
  At an early age Justinian went to Constantinople, where his uncle Justin, who had risen to high military honours, took care of his education and advancement. During some time he lived as an hostage at the court of Theodoric, king of the East Goths. After the accession of his uncle Justin to the imperial throne, in 518, he rose to eminence, and prepared his own fortune by securing that of the emperor. Active in the destruction of the eunuch Amantius and his associates, he contrived or perpetrated the murder of Vitalian, the Goth, so famous by his rebellion against the emperor Anastasius, and who was stabbed at a banquet in the presence of Justin and Justinian. In reward for his faithful allegiance, Justinian was made commander-in-chief of the armies in Asia; but he was no warrior, and preferred remaining at Constantinople, where he canvassed the friendship of the clergy and the senators. He was advanced to the consulship in 521, and his influence became so great, that, at the suggestion of the senate, the aged emperor adopted him, and proclaimed him co-emperor, 1st of April, 527. Justin died a few months afterwards, and Justinian was crowned by the patriarch of Constantinople, together with his wife, the actress Theodora, whom he raised to the dignity of empress, in spite of the opposition of his mother and other relatives.
  Justinian signalised his accession by public festivals more splendid than the Greeks had ever witnessed, and the money alone which was distributed among the people is said to have amounted to 288,000 pieces of gold. Had he not been an excellent financier, his extravagances might have impeded his operations against the enemies of the empire, against whom he was obliged to prosecute the war which had been begun by his predecessor; but lie understood thoroughly the subtle art of emptying those purses again which his liberality had filled; and if his generals were not successful against the Persians, it was not for want of money. The Huns on the northern shores of the Euxine, especially around the Palus Maeotis, or the Sea of Azof, were either subjugated or submitted voluntarily; and the Arabs, who made frequent inroads into Syria as far as Antioch, were likewise, though with more difficulty, compelled to desist from hostilities. The relations between Constantinople and Persia were of an indifferent character, and an open war broke out between the two powers, when Justinian promised to assist Tzathus, the king of the Lazi, between Pontus and the Caucasus, who came to Constantinople to implore the aid of the Romans against the Persians. In the first campaign against these hereditary enemies of Rome, the generals of Justinian, Belisarius, Cyricus, and Petrus, were defeated; but their successor, Petrus Notarius, was successful. The war was chiefly carried on in Armenia, but also on the frontiers of Syria and Mesopotamia, and lasted till 532, when, after as many defeats as victories, but without being compelled by necessity, Justinian made peace with Chosroes, the Persian king, who desisted from further hostilities on receiving an annual tribute of 440,000 pieces of gold. Justinian wished for peace with Persia, because he intended to make war against the Vandals in Africa, and to subdue, if possible, the political factions by which the empire had so often been shaken, and which had created a fearful riot in the very year that the peace was concluded with Persia. In January, 532, Justinian honoured the public feast in the hippodrome with his presence, being surrounded by vast numbers of the "Blue faction" (hoi Benetoi), who were adherents of the orthodox Catholic church, and, consequently, partisans of the orthodox emperor. Suddenly some of the "Green faction" (hoi Prasinoi), who had already made much noise, rose and complained of several grievances, especially that the emperor patronised the Blue, and showed himself too indulgent towards their riotous and dissolute conduct. They further complained of fiscal oppression and the partial administration of justice. In all these points they were perfectly right. The emperor answered them through a crier (Mandator, the Latin Mandator), and a long dialogue ensued, which grew more and more violent on both sides, and which Theophanes gives with apparent fidelity. The Blues took the emperor's part; the quarrel came to blows, and after a short struggle within the hippodrome, the infuriated factions rushed into the streets, and soon Constantinople was filled with murder and bloodshed. The houses of the leaders of the two parties were demolished, others were set on fire; and every body being engaged either in saving their own lives or in attempting the lives of others, the flames spread from street to street, and a general conflagration consumed thousands of houses, the church of St. Sophia, a large part of the imperial palace, the baths of Zeuxippus (Alexander), the great hospital of Sampso, and a vast number of churches and public or private palaces. After five days' murder and plunder, many thousands of dead bodies covered the streets, or lay roasting among burning ruins. These riots are known by the name of the Wika riots, the word Wika, "be victorious", having been the war-cry of both the Blue and the Green. Unfortunately for the emperor, the two factions, after fighting against each other, perceived that the victory of neither would remove those abuses against which the Green had first risen, and they consequently formed an union, and turned their fury against such of the imperial officers as were most suspected of peculation and oppression. The chief objects of their hatred were the quaestor Tribonian, the jurist, and the praefect John, of Cappadocia; Justinian deposed them both, in order to appease the popular fury, but in vain. Hypatius and Pompeius, two nephews of the late emperor Anastasius, who were removed from the court because they were suspected of being engaged in the riots, were, apparently against their will, chosen by the populace to act as their leaders; Hypatius was proclaimed emperor, and Justinian, despairing of quelling the rebellion, prepared to fly with his treasures to Heracleia, in Thrace, none of his ministers, not even Belisarius, having succeeded in discovering any means of saving their master in this critical moment. He would have been lost but for his wife Theodora, who exercised an extraordinary influence over him. Being present at the privy council, where the emperor declared his resolution of leaving the city, she rose, and with impressive words, sometimes reproaching and sometimes encouraging, produced a happy change in the minds of Justinian and his councillors. Narses bribed the chiefs of the Blue, and soon rekindled those hostilities between the two factions which only an extraordinary event had appeased for a moment; and, sure of the assistance of the Blue, Belisarius led a body of 3000 veterans against the hippodrome, where the Green had fortified themselves. In a dreadful carnage 30,000 of the Green were massacred within the space of one day; and IIypatius and Pompeius having been made prisoners, were led to death, with eighteen other leaders of patrician or consular rank. Thus ended one of the most terrible riots that had ever happened at Constantinople; but the power of the Green was far from being broken, and the two factions continued to make the hippodrome an occasional scene of bloodshed during the whole reign of Justinian.
  Immediately after these troubles Justinian made serious preparations for a war against the Vandals. His pretext was to avenge the deposition of the aged Hilderic, the lawful king of the Vandals, and a great favourite of Justinian, on account of his orthodoxy, who had been deprived of his throne by the warrior Gelimer; but his design upon Carthage was blamed by the people, who had in mind the unhappy campaign of Basiliscus against the Vandals in A. D. 468, and still more so by most of his ministers, especially John of Cappadocia, who, however, acted from very selfish motives. Nor does it appear that Justinian originated the plan, which seems to have been suggested to him by Theodora and Antonina, the wife of Belisarius, and to which he was finally persuaded by this great general. This was the last contest between Rome and Carthage, but on neither side was it carried on by Romans or Carthaginians, those who boasted of the former name being Greeks and Scythian or Gothic barbarians, while the defenders of Carthage were a mixture of Germans and Slavonians, commanded by Germanic chiefs. An army of 35,000 soldiers, commanded by Belisarius, left the Bosporus in June, 533, in a fleet of 500 ships, manned by 20,000 mariners, and among the troops were several thousand archers with coats of mail, who fought on horseback, and of which Procopius gives a description which strongly resembles that of the brave Caucasians in our time. From the Bosporus the fleet made for Methone (Modon), in Messenia, where the troops were landed, and remained a short time on the shore to refresh themselves; thence they sailed round the Peloponnesus, reached Zante, and cast anchor at Caucana, about 50 miles from Syracuse, where they were well treated by the Goths -a great act of imprudence on their part- and they finally landed on the African shore, near the promontory of Caput Vada, now Capaudia, at five days' journey south of Carthage. Gelimer, having dispatched part of his army and fleet for the conquest of Sardinia, was unable to offer any effective resistance: moreover, the aborigines of the country, and the descendants of the former Roman settlers, received the Romans as Catholic brethren, and Belisarius advanced as far as the palace of Grasse, only 50 miles from Carthage, meeting only with friends, and not with enemies. At 10 miles distance from Carthage the Romans encountered the main army of the Vandals, who were routed, and so completely dispersed, that Gelimer despaired of defending his capital with success, and fled into the interior, in order to collect a new army. A few days afterwards, on the 15th of September, 533, the inhabitants of Carthage opened their gates to the victor, hot only without resistance, but with manifestations of joy. While Belisarius employed his time in repairing the fortifications of Carthage, Gelimer succeeded in raising a considerable number of troops, and his brother Zano, who had meanwhile conquered Sardinia, returned in haste with his army, which, however, was only 5000 men strong, and joined Gelimer in his camp at Balla, five days' journey from the capital. They marched upon Carthage, and their forces increased daily; so that when they arrived at Tricameron, 20 miles from Carthage, they commanded an army ten times more numerous than that of Belisarius. But the Vandals who defended Africa were no longer the same who had conquered it: they were enervated by the climate and the luxuries of the South; and in a pitched battle at Tricameron they were entirely defeated. Gelimer fled into the mountains in the South, but was pursued by the Roman Pharas, who kept him besieged in a castle on Mount Papua, where he was reduced to such extremity that he at last surrendered, and after having been presented to Belisarius at Carthage, was sent to Constantinople, where he was treated by Justinian with great generosity.After the conquest of Carthage, Belisarius reduced the whole tract of Africa along the shore of the Mediterranean, as far as the columns of Hercules, and brought likewise the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, as well as the Baleares, under the authority of Justinian.
  The overthrow of the Vandal kingdom in Africa was followed by a war with the East Goths in Italy, which arose out of the following circumstances, in which the cunning and artfulness of Justinian were no less conspicuous than the frank heroism of Belisarius. Shortly after the accession of Justinian, the young king of the East Goths,Athalaric, died,and his mother Amalasuntha, a highly gifted woman, who was the youngest daughter of the great Theodoric, succeeded her son, and, in order to establish her power the better, married her cousin Theodat. It happened, however, that Justinian contemplated a marriage with that queen, although he was already married to Theodora; and we cannot doubt that, in order to obtain his ends, he would have sacrificed both his wife and king Theodat. Suspecting his designs, Theodora secretly negotiated with Theodat, and made him great promises, if he would put Amalasuntha to death. Theodat saw his danger, and lost no time in seizing his unfortunate queen, and confining her in a castle, where she was found strangled some time after her imprisonment (534). The anger of Justinian was extreme, and as the Gothic kingdom was shaken by political factions, while his own power had much increased through his conquest of Africa, he prepared for an invasion of Italy. The pretext he alleged was to avenge the murder of Amalasuntha. He began his hostile demonstrations by demanding the fortress of Lilybaeum, in Sicily, from the Goths: this town had been given to Thrasimond, king of the Vandals, by Theodoric the Great, but after the overthrow of the Vandals in 534, the Goths occupied the town, and refused to surrender it to Justinian, when he claimed it as an appendage of the Vandal kingdom. Thus the war broke out, the chief events of which, till the final recal of Belisarius in 548, are related in the life of Belisarius. When Belisarius was recalled, the Roman army was in a critical position, because the brave Gothic king, Totilas, had gained great advantages over Belisarius, and after his recal the Goths made such progress as to reduce the Roman power in Italy to a shadow. Totilas took Rome by a stratagem, restored the senate, and made it once more the seat of the Gothic empire. Thence he sailed to Calabria, took Tarentum and Rhegium, conquered Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica, and despatched a fleet of 300 gallies, which were probably manned by Greek natives of Southern Italy, for the Goths were no mariners, to the coast of Greece, where the Gothic warriors landed, and spread terror among the inhabitants. They pushed as far as Nicopolis and Dodona, and Totilas sent envoys to Justinian, offering him peace, and promising to assist him against any enemy, if he would desist from his designs upon Italy. Justinian would perhaps have accepted his offers but for the circumstance that the Goths being Arians, the orthodox church in Italy was in danger of being overthrown by schismatics. Fresh troops were consequently sent to Italy, and Germanus, the nephew of Justinian, who was renowned by many victories over the Bulgarians, the Persians, and the Mauritanians, was destined to command them, but died at Sardica, in Illyricum, on his march to Italy. The choice of Germanus proves the danger in which the empire was placed by the victories of Totilas. This prince was dear to the Goths through his marriage with Mathasuntha, daughter of Amalasuntha, and grand-daughter of Theodoric the Great; and as he was also one of the best Roman generals, a suspicious man like Justinian must have had urgent motives for sending him into Italy, where, in case of success, he had still greater chances of becoming king of the Goths than Belisarius could have had in making himself independent in Africa. But Germanus was a man of so excellent a character as to be above the suspicions even of a Justinian. The mere fact of his being appointed to the command roused the spirit of the Roman army, and ere the eunuch Narses was chosen to succeed him, the Gothic fleet had been defeated, and Sicily reconquered by Artabanus. Narses led the Roman army round the Adriatic into Italy, while a fleet followed him along the shore, and in a dreadful battle at Tagina (July, 552) slew 6000 Goths, and dispersed the rest. Totilas fell in the conflict, and his bloody dress was sent as the most acceptable trophy to Justinian. The successor of Totilas, Teias, continued the war, but he likewise was killed in a pitched battle on the river Sarnus, near Naples, and his death was the downfal of the Gothic kingdom in Italy. A host of Franks and Alemanni descended from the Alps to dispute the possession of Italy with Narses, and their first inroad was so irresistible that they penetrated as far as the straits of Sicily. But in a battle on the river Volturnus, near the bridge of Casilinum, they were routed with great slaughter by Narses, who drove their scattered remnants beyond the Alps (554). Narses was appointed exarch, or viceroy, of Italy, and took up his residence at Ravenna, and he united his efforts with those of his master in settling the domestic state of Italy, which was nearly ruined through the protracted war, while millions of her inhabitants had perished by the sword and famine.
  To these conquests the lieutenants of Justinian in Africa added a considerable tract in Spain, along the shores of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, from the south-western extremity of Algarve in the west to the confines of the modern kingdom of Murcia in the east, which the West Goths were obliged to cede to the victorious Romans; and the fortunate Justinian now reigned over the whole extent of the Roman empire as it existed under the earlier emperors, except the greater part of Spain, Gaul, and Britain, where the most warlike of all the barbarians of those times exercised an authority unchecked by either Romans or Greeks. The strength of Justinian's empire, however, did not correspond with its dimensions. Both the Romans and Greeks were enervated, and little disposed to serve in the field, when they could buy foreigners to defend Rome and Constantinople; and the practice of enlisting barbarians proved very dangerous, since so many veterans, who returned into their native forests or steppes, informed their brethren of the internal weakness of the Roman empire. We thus see that, notwithstanding the fear which the victories of Belisarius, Narses, Germanus, and so many other great generals, necessarily caused among the immediate neighbours of the Romans, many barbarian nations, that lived at greater distances from the Roman frontiers, pushed slowly towards Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor, in order to be ready to invade the empire at the first opportunity. From the extreme north of Germany, the Longobards, of Saxon origin, advanced towards the Danube, and settled in Moravia and Northern Hungary, whence, but a few years after the death of Justinian, they broke forth for the conquest of Italy. Their neighbourhood appeared so dangerous to Justinian, that he tried to gain them to his interests, and to use them as a barrier against other enemies, by ceding to them Pannonia and Noricum. The latter province was, however, soon taken from the Longobards by the Franks. The neighbours of the Longobards, the Gepidae, had founded a kingdom in Eastern Hungary and Transylvania as early as the middle of the fifth century; and since they were always annoying the Romans in Illyricum, Justinian availed himself of their feuds with the Longobards, and assisted the latter. In consequence of this, the power of the Gepidae was weakened, but that of the Longobards increased in proportion; and had Justinian lived but two years longer, he would have seen that the final overthrow of the Gepidae had, as its immediate consequence, the destruction of the Roman power in Italy by the Longobards. Still farther in the East, on the river Don, appeared in 557 the Avars, a nation of Turkish origin. In accordance with his usual policy of turning the feuds of the barbarians to his own profit, Justinian lavished his money upon the Avars, and employed them together with his own forces against some barbarian tribes which annoyed the Roman possessions in the Chersonnesus Taurica (the Crimea). This was in 558. Only four years afterwards the whole of the nations north of the Danube, as far west as modern Bavaria, was subjugated by the Avars, and Justinian II. paid dearly for the timid and wavering conduct of Justinian I. [p. 664] Among the nations subdued by the Avars were the Bulgarians, between the Don and the Volga, who, in 559, passed the frozen Danube, and under their chief, Zabergan, ravaged Thrace and Macedonia, and appeared under the walls of Constantinople. The capital was saved by Belisarius, whom Justinian rewarded with a dry compliment.
  If we turn our eyes from the West to the East, we find that the treaty of peace had scarcely been concluded between Constantinople and Persia, before the Persian king Chosroes or Nushirwan, with his accustomed faithlessness, violated its conditions, and a new and terrible war broke out in 540. According to Procopius, however, Justinian purposely excited the Persian king to take up arms, and, at any rate, wished for a new war, which is the more likely, as he was then at the pinnacle of his power. In the year mentioned Nushirwan invaded Syria, and the Roman army being too weak to arrest his progress, he spoiled the principal towns of their riches, and laid siege to Antioch, which was defended by Germanus. This general thought his forces insufficient for an effective resistance, and consequently withdrew, a step for which he has been charged with cowardice, although on many other occasions he had shown himself a brave and fearless man. The "queen of the East" soon became a prey to the Persians, and after having been plundered, was destroyed by fire. The Asiatic provinces of Justinian would have been lost but for the timely arrival of Belisarius (541), who through a well calculated invasion of Mesopotamia and Assyria, compelled Nushirwan to leave the province of Pontus which he was ravaging, and to hasten to the defence of his hereditary dominions. Suddenly Belisarius was recalled to Constantinople, and during his absence Nushirwan collected his forces, and set out for a new invasion of Syria and Palestine. In this emergency Belisarius was again put at the head of the Roman armies in those quarters; and the mere fact of his presence was sufficient to induce Nushirwan to repass the Euphrates. Every body now expected that Belisarius would march forthwith upon Ctesiphon, when the unfavourable turn of the Gothie war required his presence in Italy (543). No sooner was he gone than 30,000 Romans suffered a severe defeat from 4000 Persians ; but the differences between the two empires were nevertheless settled to the satisfaction of Justinian, and a sort of truce was made, in consequence of which that part of the East was no longer disturbed by the Persians. It happened, however, that the Lazians and Colchians became tired of their dependence upon Constantinople, and implored the protection of Nushirwan, who accepted the offer, and placed garrisons in the principal towns of those nations. A few years were sufficient to show them that the rapacity of the king was still greater than that of the emperor, and they accordingly entreated Justinian to receive them again among his subjects, and to deliver them from their Persian oppressors. Justinian despatched Dagisteus with 7000 Romans and 1000 Zani into Lazica; and Petra, the strongest fortress of the country, was taken from the Persians by storm, after a memorable and protracted siege (549-551). This war lasted, with various success, till 561, when, tired of eternal bloodshed, the two monarchs came at last to an agreement. Through the peace of 561 the tranquillity of the East was finally restored, but Justinian bought it on the dishonourable condition of an annual payment of 30,000 pieces of gold. Yet the profit of this negotiation was on the side of Justinian, because Nushirwan renounced his claims upon Colchis and Lazica, both of which countries were then renowned for their gold mines; and the restoration of peace in all his Eastern dominions was a sufficient consideration to induce Justinian to expend so small a sum as 30,000 pieces of gold. In the beginning of the Persian war Justinian concluded a singular alliance. At that time there was a Christian kingdom in Southern Arabia, which extended over the provinces of Yemen and Hadhramaut, and was then commonly called the kingdom of the Homeritae. Dunaan having seized the supreme power, persecuted the Christians, who found assistance in the person of Eleesbam, the Negus or Christian king of Abyssinia, who came over to Arabia, and made himself master of the Homeritic kingdom. With this Eleesbam Justinian entered into negotiations, and in 533 despatched Nonnosus as ambassador to him, to induce him to unite his forces with the Romans against the Persians, and to protect the trade between Egypt and India, especially that of silk, which Justinian wished to establish by sea, through the assistance of the inhabitants of Abyssinia and Arabia. Nonnosus ascended the Nile, and was received by Eleesbam at Axum, but he did not attain his objects. Soon afterwards the Homeritae freed themselves from the Abyssinian supremacy; but the rise of Mohammedanism proved the ruin of the Christians in Arabia, for the power of the Abyssinian kings in Africa was weakened through internal discord and revolutions. Gibbon remarks with great justness, that " these obscure and remote events are not foreign to the decline and fall of the Roman empire. If a Christian power had been maintained in Arabia, Mohammed must have been crushed in his cradle, and Abyssinia would have prevented a revolution which has changed the civil and religious state of the world".
  The final overthrow of the Gothic power in Italy, the peace with Persia, the reconquest of Lazica, and the last victories of Belisarius over the Bulgarians in 559, followed each other so closely, and were of such importance in their consequences, that Justinian was allowed during the last years of his life to enjoy in peace the extraordinary power which his ambition made him wish for, but which he owed entirely to the skill and heroism of Belisarius, Narses, and Germanus, and many other generals, as well as to the valour and discipline of the troops formed by those eminent officers. Nino months after Belisarius, the victim of his base ingratitude, had sunk into the grave, the emperor Justinian died, on the 14th of November, 565, at the age of eighty-three, and left an empire, colossal in size, threatening in its appearance, but rotten in its foundations, to the imbecile son of his sister Vigilantia, Justinus II.
  After this sketch of the principal political events of the reign of Justinian, it remains to say a few words on the manner in which he guarded his empire against so many enemies which surrounded it, and on the system of his government at home.
  The ancient Roman system of fortifying the frontiers of the empire was carried by Justinian to an extent which plainly shows the great danger to which his subjects were constantly exposed; for not only were the outer frontiers secured by an immense number of forts and towers, interspersed with larger regular fortresses, but even most of the towns in the very heart of Greece, Thrace, and Asia were provided with walls and towers, to protect the inhabitants against the irresistible inroads of the barbarians. Thence Montesquieu observes, that the Roman empire at the time of Justinian resembled the Frankish kingdom in the time of the Norman inroads, when, in spite of every village being a fortress, the kingdom was weaker than at any other period. The entire course of the Danube was defended by about eighty forts, of different dimensions, all of which were guarded by numerous garrisons; other fortresses were erected beyond the river, in the middle of the countries of the barbarians. But these detached forts were utterly unable to protect Thrace against an enemy who used to appear suddenly with overwhelming forces, leaving no alternative to the Roman garrisons than of shutting themselves up within their walls, and of beholding as inactive spectators the Bulgarians swimming over the Danube with 20,000 horses at once, or crossing it in the winter on the solid ice. Similar forts were built, too, from the junction of the Save with the Danube north, towards Pannonia, and they proved quite as ineffective against the Avars as the forts along the Danube against the Bulgarians. Italy was fortified by nature, yet the Franks crossed the Alps with impunity. Thence the necessity of creating a system of inland fortifications. The ancient Greek wall across the Thracian Chersonnese, near Constantinople, was carefully restored, and brought to a degree of strength which caused the admiration of Procopius; the Bulgarians nevertheless crossed it, and fed their horses in the gardens round Constantinople. Similar walls, with towers, were constructed across Thessaly (beginning with the defiles of Thermopylae) and across the isthmus of Corinth; yet Bulgarians, Slavonians, and other barbarians, kept the inhabitants of Greece in constant fear of being carried off as slaves. At whatever point these savage warriors appeared, they were always the strongest, and the poor Romans had no other chance of safety left than of taking refuge within the larger towns, the solid fortifications of which were sufficient to keep the enemy at a distance. In the north-east the isthmus of the Chersonnesus Taurica, the present Crimea, was fortified in the same way as the isthmus of Corinth, by a long wall. The Roman possessions along the eastern shores of the Euxine and in the Caucasus were covered with forts and military stations; and from the corner of Colchis to the sources of the Euphrates, and along the river as far as Syria, and thence along the edge of the Syro Arabic desert, there was scarcely a town or a defile but was surrounded by walls and ditches, or shut up by massive barriers of stone, against the inroads of the Persians. Syria was thought to be sufficiently guarded by the great desert between the Euphrates and the Lebanon, and the fortifications of the Syrian towns were allowed to fall into decay, till the repeated invasions of Nushirwan and the sack of Antioch directed the attention of Justinian to that quarter also. Dara, not far fron Nisibis, was the strongest bulwark of the empire on the side of Mesopotamia, and constantly prooked the jealousy of the Persians.
  The enormous suns which the defence of the empire required, together with the gold which Justinian lavished upon the barbarians, involuntarily led to the system of his administration. Procopius, in his Secret History or Anecdota, gives an awful description of it but however vicious that administration was, the colours of Procopius are too dark, and his motives in writing that work were not fair. There was decided order and regularity in the administration, but the leading principles of it were suspicion and avarice. The taxes were so heavy, their assessment so unequal, that Gibbon compares them to a hail-storm that fell upon the land, and to a devouring pestilence with regard to its inhabitants. In cases of necessity, the inhabitants of whole districts were compelled to bring their stores of corn to Constantinople, or other places where the troops might be in want of it, and they were either not paid at all, or received such bad prices that they were often completely ruined. In all the provinces the officers of the crown took much more from the people than the law allowed, because the venality of places was carried on openly as a means of filling the emperor's treasury, and the purses of his prime minister; and those who purchased places, which were, after all, badly paid, could not keep their engagements with the sellers, nor enrich themselves, without carrying on that system of robbery, which is at the present day the general practice in Turkey and most of the other countries in the East. Justinian certainly tried to check peculation and venality (Novella, viii.), but this thundering edict was soon forgotten, and it would seem that the emperor himself lent his endeavours to throw it into oblivion. Another great abuse which the principal officers made of their power was that of prevailing upon wealthy persons to make wills in their favour, to the disadvantage of the natural heirs. A great source of revenue for the imperial treasury consisted in the numberless duties, entry fees, andothercharges, mostly arbitrary, laid upon trade and manufactures, and we may fairly presume that the tradespeople were as much oppressed as the land-owners. Some branches of trade, as for instance silk, were made monopolies of the crown, and, in short, there were no means left untried to fill his treasury. However, he never tampered with the coinage, nor gave it an artificial value. The millions thus obtained by Justinian were not only sufficient to cover the expenses occasioned by the army, the fortifications, the wars, and the bribery of barbarians, but enough remained to enable him to indulge his passion of perpetuating his name by public festivals, and especially by those beautiful buildings and monuments which were erected by his order, and render his time conspicuous in the history of art. Procopius describes them in his work "De Aedificiis Justiniani". The church of St. Sophia in Constantinople, that splendid edifice, which, though now transformed into a Turkish mosque, still excites the admiration of the spectator, was the most magnificent building erected by Justinian. Besides this Church of St. Sophia, there were twenty-five other churches constructed in Constantinople and its suburbs, among which were the beautiful churches of St. John the Apostle and St. Mary the Virgin, near the Blachernae, the latter of which he perhaps only repaired. The imperial palace at Constantinople was embellished with unparalleled splendour and taste; and his new palace with the gardens at Heraeum, near Chalcedon, was praised as the most beautiful residence in the world. The "Antiquities of Constantinople", by Petrus Gyllius (English translation by John Ball, London, 1729), give a description of the most remarkable buildings of Justinian, in Constantinople. Justinian paid 45 centenaries of gold (nearly 200,000 l.), towards the rebuilding and embellishment of Antioch, after it had been destroyed by an earthquake; his native village he transformed into a large and splendid city, to which he gave his name; and, in short, there was not a town of consequence in his vast dominions, from the Columns of Hercules to the shores of the Caspian, but could show some beautiful monument of the emperor's splendour and taste. Asia Minor still contains a great number of edifices erected by Justinian, and our modern travellers have discovered many which were formerly unknown. Indeed his love of splendour and his munificence in matters of taste, show, or luxury, no less than his extraordinary power, made his name known over the world, whence he received embassies from the remotest nations of Asia. In his reign the silk-worm was brought to Constantinople, by some Nestorian monks, who had visited their fellow-Christians in China.
  In 541 Justinian abolished the consulship, or, more correctly, discontinued the old-established custom of choosing consuls. The consulate being a mere title, it was but reasonable to do away with it, although the name was still dear to the people; but it was not abolished by law until the reign of the emperor Leo Philosophus (886-911.) Justinian likewise shut up the schools at Athens and Alexandria, where the Neo-Platonists still professed dogmas which the orthodox emperor thought dangerous to Christianity. In the time of Justinian, however, those schools were only a shadow of what they had been in the first centuries of our era. Christian orthodoxy was one of the most important objects which Justinian endeavoured to establish in his empire, and many of his laws testify his zeal on behalf of the church and the clergy. But his piety was exaggerated, and toleration was a thing unknown to him. He persecuted Christian sectaries, Jews, and pagans, in an equally heartless manner, and actually endeavoured to drive them all out of his dominions. Towards the end of his life, however, Justinian changed his religious opinions so much that he was considered a complete heretic. Nestorianism, which he was so active in condemning at the fifth General Council, the second of Constantinople, in 553, was the doctrine which he embraced.
  The character of Justinian presented a strange mixture of virtues and vices, but he was neither so depraved as Procopius depicts him, nor so accomplished as the modern jurists of Germany and France represent him in their admiration for his legislation. His private life was exemplary. He was frugal, laborious, affable, and generous, but his mean suspicions and unreasonable jealousy never allowed him to gain the love of his friends or the esteem of his subjects. His conduct towards Belisarius was execrable. Another of his vices was rapacity, and it would seem that he considered men created to work, not for themselves, but for him alone. Thence the little regard he paid to the complaints of his subjects with reference to his perpetual wars; and although he assisted them with great liberality when they were suffering from the consequences of those plagues and earthquakes which signalized his time, his motive was vanity as much as humanity. If we look at his endless and glorious wars, we should think that he was a great warrior himself, or possessed at least great military talents : but however great his talents were, they were not in that line; he never showed himself in the field, and his subjects called him a bigoted and cowardly tyrant. As a statesman he was crafty rather than wise; yet his legislation is a lasting monument of his administrative genius, and has given him a place in the opinion of the world far beyond that which he really deserves.
(Procopius, with special reference to his Anecdota and De Aedificiis; Agathias, Hist.; Paulus Silentiarius ; Cedrenus; Zonaras, xiv.; Joannes Malala, vol. ii.; Marcellinus, Chron. ad an. 520, &c.; Theophanes; Evagrius, iv. 8, &c.; Jornandes, De Regn. Succ., De Reb. Goth.; Paulus Diaconus, De Gest. Longobard. i. 25, &c., ii. 4, &c.; the best description of the reign and character of Justinian is given in Gibbon's Decline and Fall.)


THE LEGISLATION OF JUSTINIAN.
The idea of forming a complete code of law has been attributed to Pompey, to Cicero, and to Julius Caesar. Such, too, was the original plan of Theodosius the younger, although a much more limited design was ultimately carried into effect in the Theodosian Code. Shortly before the reign of Justinian, upon the submission of the Western empire to Germanic rule, the Roman law was still allowed to retain its force in the West by the side of a newly-introduced Germanic jurisprudence. The Lex Romana, as it was barbarously called, remained the law of the subjugated Romans, while the Barbari, as the Germans were proud to be styled, continued to live under their own Teutonic institutions. Under this anomalous system of personal laws, many difficulties must have arisen, and it was found necessary to make separate collections of such sources of law as were to be recognised for the future in regulating the respective rights and duties of the subjugated Roman provincials and their conquerors. In the West Gothic kingdom, which was established in Spain and a part of Gaul, a collection of Roman laws was formed during the reign of Alaric II. (A. D. 484--507), partly from the Theodosian, Gregorian, and Herimogenian Codes, and partly from the works of jurists. This collection is known in modern times by the name Breviariumn Aniani, or Breviarium Alaricianum. In A. D. 493 the Ostrogoths became masters of Italy, and in A. D. 500 Theodoric the Great published for the use of the whole population of the Ostrogothic kingdom a set of rules based on the Roman, not the Gothic law. About the year A. D. 517 the Lex Romiana Burgundiorunm was compiled for the use of the Burgundian Romans. The Burgundian conquerors, who, towards the middle of the fifth century, established a kingdom upon the banks of the Rhone, had already a similar code of their own, called Gundobada.
  Though the necessities which called for these legislative efforts in the kingdoms of the West did not exist to the same extent in the Oriental empire, ther, were not wanting other reasons for legal reform and consolidation. From the time of Constantine, he fresh and vigorous spirit of the classical jurists seems to have vanished. Many of the most active intellects were now turned away from legal to religious discussions. Jurisprudence, no longer the pursuit of the minister and statesman, became the handicraft of freedmen (Mamert. Panegyr. x. 20). The law was oppressed by its own weight. The complexity of practice, the long series of authoritative writings, the unwieldy bulk of express enactments, and the multitude of voluminous commentators, were sufficient to bewilder the most resolute jurist. In the midst of conflicting texts, it was hard to find out where the true law lay. By the citation law of Theodosius II. and Valentinian III. (Theod. Cod. 1. tit. 4. s. 3), the majority of juristic suffrages was substituted for the victory of scientific reasoning. The schools of law established by Theodosius II. at Rome and Constantinople (Cod. 11, tit. 18) were unable to revive the practical energy of former times. A host of pedants and pretenders came into existence. Some quoted at second-hand the names of ancient jurists, whose works they had never read, while others derided all appeal to scarce and antiquated books, which they boasted that they had never seen. To them the name of an old jurist was no better than the name of some outlandish fish. (Amm. Marcell. xxx. 4; Jac. Gothofredus, Proleyomena ad Theod. Cod. i.)
  Such were the evils which Justinian resolved to remedy. In his conceptions of the measures necessary for this purpose he was more vast than all who had preceded him, and he was more successful in the complete execution of his plan. It seems to have been his intention to establish a perfect system of written legislation for all his dominions ; and, to this end, to make two great collections, one of the imperial constitutions, the other of all that was valuable in the works of jurists. He was personally not unacquainted with the theory and the working of the law; for, in his youth, he had devoted careful attention to the study of jurisprudence at Constantinople; and, in his manhood, had discharged the duties of the most important offices in the state.
  The first work attempted by Justinian, as the most practical and the most pressing, was the collection of imperial constitutions. This he commenced in A. D. 528, in the second year of his reign. The task was entrusted to a commission of ten, who are named in the following order: Joannes, Leontius, Phocas, Basilides, Thomas, Tribonianus, Constantinus, Theophilus, Dioscorus, Praesentinus. (Const. Haec quae necessario.) In compiling preceding constitutions, and making use of the Gregorian, Hermogenian, and Theodosian Codes, the commission was armed with very ample powers. It was authorized to correct and retrench, as well as to consolidate and arrange. The commissioners executed their task speedily. In the following year, on the 7th of April, A. D. 529, the emperor confirmed the "Novum Justinianeum Codicem", giving it legal force from the 16th of April following, and abolishing from the same date all preceding collections. Little did he then think how short was destined to be the duration of his own new code ! (Const. Summa Reipublicae.)
  At the end of the following year (Const. Deo Auctore, dated Dec. 15. A. D. 530), Tribonian, who had given proof of his great ability in drawing up the code, was authorised to select fellow-labourers to assist him in the other division of the undertaking -a part of Justinian's plan which the emperor justly regarded as the most difficult, but also as the most important and the most glorious. Tribonian was endowed with rare qualifications for such an appointment. He was himself deeply learned in law, and possessed in his library a matchless collection of legal sources. He had passed through many gradations of rank, knew mankind well, and was remarkable for energy and perseverance. "His genius", says Gibbon, "like that of Bacon, embraced as its own all the business and knowledge of the age". In pursuance of his commission, he selected the following sixteen coadjutors: Constantinus, comes sacrarum largitionum; Theophilus, professor at Constantinople; Dorotheus, professor at Berytus; Anatolius, professor at Berytus; Cratinus, professor at Constantinople, and eleven advocates who practised in the courts of the praefecti praetorio, namely, Stephanus, Menna, Prosdocius, Eutolmius, Timotheus, Leonidas, Leontius, Plato, Jacobus, Constantinus, Joannes. This commission proceeded at once to lay under contribution the works of those jurists who had received from former emperors "auctoritatem conscribendarum interpretandique legum". They were ordered to divide their materials, under fitting titles, into fifty books, and to pursue the arrangement of the first code and the perpetual edict. Nothing that was valuable was to be excluded, nothing that was obsolete was to be admitted, and neither repetition nor inconsistency was to be allowed. This "juris enucleati codex" was to bear the name Digesta or Pandectae, and to be compiled with the utmost care, but with all convenient speed. Rapid indeed was the progress of the commissioners. That which Justinian scarcely hoped to see completed in less than ten years, was finished in little more than three; and on the 30th of Dec. A. D. 533, received from the imperial sanction the authority of law. It comprehends upwards of 9000 extracts, in the selection of which the compilers made use of nearly 2000 different books, containing more than 3,000,000 (trecenties decem millia) lines (versus or stichoi). (Const. Tanta, Const. Dedoken.)
  This extraordinary work has been blamed by men of divers views on divers accounts. Tribonian and his associates, regarding rather practical utility than the curiosity of archaeologists, did not scruple at times so to adulterate the extracts they made, that a theorizer in legal history might easily be misled if he trusted implicitly to their accuracy. Hence the emblemata Triboniani have been to many critics a fertile topic of reprehension. The complaints of others are levelled against scientific rather than historical delinquencies. Unity and system, say they, could result only from a single complete code of remodelled laws, and not from the lazy plan of two separate collections, made out of independent pre-existing writings; and though, from the circumstances of the time, Justinian may have been forced to adopt the latter alternative, it was unphilosophical to commence with the constitutions in place of the jurists. Those principles which lie at the foundation of jurisprudence pervade the [p. 668] writings of the Roman lawyers, and their works are in reality more full of practical law than the constitutions to which occasional exigency gave birth. Then the arrangement of the Digest sins against science. The order of the Edict, which it followed, was itself based on the order of the twelve tables, and was historical or accidental, not systematic. There is no pars generalis -no connected statement of first principles- no regular development of consequences. Leading maxims are introduced incidentally, and matters of the greatest moment, as the law of procedure, are scattered under various heads -here a little, and there a little.
  The Digest is divided into seven partes, and is also divided into fifty books. The partes begin respectively with the 1st, 5th, 12th, 20th, 28th, 37th, and 45th books. Each book is divided into titles, and each title has a rubric or heading denoting the general nature of its contents. The division into seven parts, though the late Hugo often took occasion to insist upon its importance, has been little attended to in modern times. Under each title are separate extracts from ancient jurists--sometimes only a single extract. These were not originally numbered, but they were headed by the name of the author, and a reference to his work (inscriptiones). Justinian directed that a catalogue should be prefixed to the Digest with the names of all the authors cited, and of the particular works from which the extracts were taken. Such a catalogue, though not perhaps the genuine original, is placed at the beginning of the celebrated Florentine manuscript of the Digest, and is thence called the Florentine Index. The jurists from whom extracts are directly taken, often cite other jurists, but seldom literally. These are, however, pure or literal, though not direct extracts, from Q. Mucius Scaevola, Aelius Gallus, and Labeo. There are 39 jurists, from whose works the Digest contains literal extracts, whether made directly or at second-hand ; and these 39 are often called the classical jurists, a name sometimes extended to all those jurists who lived not later than Justinian, and sometimes confined to Papinian, Paulus, Ulpian, Gaius, and Modestinus, from the special manner in which these five are mentioned in the citation law of Valentinian III. Extracts from Ulpian constitute about one third of the Digest; from Paulus about one sixth; from Papinian about one twelfth. In Hommnel's Palingenesia Pandectarum the fragments of each jurist are collected and printed separately: an attempt is made to reanimate the man--to restore his individuality--by bringing together his dispersed limbs and scattered bones.
  The internal arrangement of the separate fragments of jurists under each title would appear at first sight to be completely fortuitous. It is neither chronological nor alphabetical; nor does it consistently and uniformly follow any rational train of thought, depending on the subject treated of. Blume (as he now writes himself, or Bluhme, as the name was formerly written) has elaborately expounded a theory which, though rejected by Tigerstrom and others seems to rest upon the foundation of facts, and must at least be something like the truth. No one can form a sound opinion of the merits of Blume's theory without a careful examination of a great number of titles in the Digest. It is found that the extracts under each title usually resolve themselves into three masses or series--that the first series is headed by extracts taken from commentaries on Sabinus; the second from commentaries on the Edict; and the third from commentaries on Papinian. Hence he supposes that the commission was divided into three sections, and that to each section was given a certain set of works to analyse and break up into extracts. The masses or series he names from the works that head them : the Sabinian, Edictal, and Papinian masses; although each mass contains extracts from a great number of other works unconnected with Sabinus, the Edict, or Papinian. Besides these three principal masses of extracts, a set of miscellaneous extracts, forming an appendix to the Papinian mass, seems to have been drawn up in order to complete the selection, and may be said to form a fourth, or supplementary mass, called by Blume the Post-Papinian.
  Regularly, the mass that contained the greatest number of fragments relating to any particular title appears first in that title. The total number of fragments belonging to the Sabinian mass exceeds the number in the Edictal, and the Edictal fragments are more numerous than the Papinian. Hence the usual order is S, E, P. By these initial letters (previously used by Blume) the brothers Kriegel in their edition of the Digest (Lips. 1833), mark the separate fragments, to denote the masses with which they are classed. The fragments belonging to the supplementary mass are marked Pp. For the details of exceptions from this arrangement, and the reasons for such exceptions; for lists of the works of ancient jurists, so classed as to show to what mass the fragments of each work belong ; and for applications of the theory to critical purposes, the reader is referred to Blume's justly celebrated essay on the Ordnung der Fragmenta in den Pandectentiteln, in the 4th volume of Savigny's Zeitschrift, and to the following works: Hugo, Lehrbuch der Digesten, 2te Ausg. Berl. 1828; Reimarus, Bemerkungen uber die Inscriptionenruhen der Pandecten fragmenta, Gotting. 1830; the synoptic tables appended to the Digest in the edition of the brothers Kriegel, which forms part of the last Leipzig edition of the Corpus Juris Civilis.
  It may seem remarkable that the credit of this discovery should be reserved to so recent a date. Most of the moderns who investigated the subject had sought, by reference to the actual contents of the fragments, to make out the principle on which they were arranged; but it was an examination of the inscriptiones that led Blume to his theory. Some approximations to it had been previously made by inquirers who followed the same clue. Ant. Augustinus had observed that, in each title, the fragments taken from different books of the same work were regularly arranged, an extract from book 2. never coming before an extract from book 1. Giphanius (Oeconomia Juris, Franc. 1606) had gone further than Augustinus ; and Jac. Gothofredus, in his commentary on the title of the Digest, "De Regulis Juris" (Opera Minora), approaches more closely than Giphianius to Blume's discovery.
  It is to be remarked that most of the institutional works, and most of the dogmatic treatises on the pure jus civile of Rome -on the law of Rome as unaltered by legislation or equitable construction- furnish extracts to the Sabinian mass. The works which relate to the modifications of the original law introduced by jus honorarium fall naturally into the Edictal mass; while the Papinian mass consists of fragments from works which relate chiefly to the practical application of the law, e. g. cases and opinions relating to miscellaneous points in the construction of wills. Those who are still opposed to Blume's theory think that the compilers of the Digest were led to their arrangement of the fragments by something like a natural development of the subject treated under each title : that they inserted at the commencement of a title such passages as explain the law institutionally, or such as relate chiefly to the original principles of the jus civile: that they then proceeded to the modifications of the original law, and finally to its practical applications. According to this theory, the principle of internal arrangement, though rude, would lead incidentally to something like uniformity in the order of the works analysed: according to Blume's theory, where the contents of a title proceed from the simple to the more complex, such an arrangement is secondary and dependent on the general character of the three groups of works analysed by different sections of the commissioners. He admits, however, that some of the exceptions to the general rule of arrangement which his theory propounds result from attention to the natural order of ideas. Thus, at the beginning of a title, fragments are placed, severed from the mass to which they regularly belong if they contain definitions of words or general divisions of the subject, or give a summary explanation of leading principles.
  Considering the short time in which the Digest was completed, and the peculiarity of its arrangement, its compliance with the requisitions of Justinian deserves high commendation. It was not, however, entirely free from repetitions of the same passage under different titles (leges geminatae), nor from the insertion of fragments under unappropriate heads (leges fugitivae or erraticae), nor from the admission of actual inconsistencies or contradictions (antinomiae, leges inter se pugnantes).
  Justinian forbade all commentary on his collections, and prohibited the citation of older writings. It is said that Napoleon exclaimed, when he saw the first commentary on the Code Civil, "Mon Code est perdu!" and Justinian seems to have been animated with the same spirit. He allowed no explanation save the comparison of parallel passages (indices, paratitla), and the interpretation of single words or phrases. Such at least were his original injunctions, though they were not long obeyed. The text was to be written in letters at length, all abbreviations (notae, sigla) and numeral figures being interdicted.
  The emperor was desirous that the body of law to be compiled under his direction should be all in all, not only for practice, but for academical instruction; but the Digest and the Code, though they were to form part of an advanced stage of legal education, led far into detail, which could not well be understood by beginners. It became necessary therefore to compose an elementary work for students. Already in the constitution, Deo Auctore, of Dec. A. D. 530, Justinian had declared his intention of ordering an elementary work to be written. The composition of it was entrusted to Tribonian, in conjunction with Theophilus and Dorotheus, who were respectively professors in the two great schools of law at Constantinople and Bervtus. Florentinus and other Roman jurists had written elementary works (Institutiones, Regularumn libri), but none were so famous as the Institutes and Res Quotidianae of Gaius, which were taken as the basis of Justinian's Institutes. Other treatises, however, were also made use of, and alterations were made for the purpose of bringing the new treatise into harmony with the Code and the Digest. Hence there is an occasional incongruity in the compilation, from the employment of heterogeneous materials. For example, at the very commencement the discordant notions of Gains and Ulpian on the jus naturale and the jus gentium are brought together, but refuse to blend in consistent union. The general arrangement of the work, which is divided into four books, does not materially differ from that of the Institutes of Gaius, of which we have given a sketch under Gaius. The Institutes received the imperial sanction on the 21st of November, 533, and full legal authority was conferred upon them, from the 30th of December, A. D. 533, the same day from which the Digest was to take effect as law. (Prooem. Instit.; Const. Tanta, 23)
  Had it been possible to make law for ever fixed, and had the emperor's workmen been able to accomplish this object, the desire of Justinian's heart would have been fulfilled. But there were many questions upon which the ancient jurists were divided. Under the earlier emperors, these differences of opinion had given rise to permanent sects; nor were they afterwards entirely extinguished, when party spirit had yielded to independent eclecticism. The compilers of the Digest tacitly, by their selection of extracts, manifested their choice; but a Catholic doctrine, the great object of Justinian's wishes, was not thus to be accomplished. At the suggestion of Tribonianus, the emperor began, while his compilations were yet in progress, to issue constitutions having for their object the decision of the ancient controversies. These constitutions helped to guide the compilers of the Digest and Institutes; but, as they were issued from time to time after the first constitutionum codex (the greater part of them in the years 529 and 530), it was found desirable, when they had reached the number of fifty, to form them into a separate collection, which seems to have been published under the title L. Constitutionum Liber. This collection has not come down to us in a separate form, for its legal authority was repealed upon the revision of the Constitutionum Codex; and the separate publication of the Fifty Decisions has been doubted; but the phrase in the ancient Turin Gloss upon the Institutes, Sicut libro L. constitutionum invenies (Savigny, Gesch. des R. R. im Mittelalter, vol. ii.), confirms the inference to be drawn from Const. Cordi, 1, and Inst. 1. tit. 5. 3. (Brunquell, Hist. Jur. Rom. ed. 1742; Hugo, Civilist. Mag. vol. v.)
  Even after the publication of the fifty decisions, the imperfection and ambiguity of the existing law required to be remedied by further constitutions. The incompleteness of the Code of A. D. 529 was now apparent, and Justinian was not indisposed to the revision of a compilation, which, having been made at the commencement of his reign, contained but little of his own legislation. Accordingly, the task of revision was entrusted to Tribonianus (who had no part in the original compilation), with the assistance of the legal professor Dorotheus, and [p. 670] the advocates, Menna, Constantinus, and Joannes. They were empowered to omit, to improve, and to add; and, in the formation of the secunda editio, or repetita praelectio, care was taken to insert the constitutions of Justinian which had appeared since the first edition. It is probable that all the Fifty Decisions were incorporated, although we have not the means of precisely identifying them. On the 16th of Nov. A. D. 534, Justinian issued a constitution, giving legal force to the new edition of the Code, from the 29th of Dec. 534. To this new edition, in contradistinction to the former (which was now superseded and carefully suppressed), has been usually given the name Codex Repetitae Praelectionis. It is now ordinarily called the Code of Justinian, although it is more correctly called Constitutionum Codex, since the other collections of Justinian are also entitled to the name of Codes. The earliest constitution contained in the Code is one of Hadrian, the latest one of Justinian, dated Nov. 4., A. D. 534. The matter of constitutions older than Hadrian had been fully developed in the works of jurists. The Code is divided into 12 books, and the books into titles, with rubrics denoting their contents. Under each title, the constitutions are arranged chronologically. Each constitutio is headed by an inscriptio, or address, and ended by a subscriptio, announcing the place and time of its date, The general arrangement corresponds on the whole with that of the Digest, so far as the two works treat of the same subject, but there are some variations which cannot be accounted for. For instance, the law of pledges and the law of the father's power occupy very different relative positions in the Digest and the Code. Some constitutiones, which are referred to in the Institutes, do not appear in the modern manuscripts of the Code; and it is doubtful whether they were omitted by the compilers of the second edition, or left out by subsequent copyists.
  Justinian, though fond of legal unity, was fond of law-making. If he had lived long enough, there might perhaps have been a second edition of the Digest. When the new Code was published, he contemplated the necessity of a supplement to it, and promised that any legislative reforms which he might afterwards make should be formed into a collection of Novellae Constiiutiones.(Const. Cordi, 4). Many such Novells (neari diataxeis), with various dates, from Jan. 1. 535, to Nov. 4. 564, were published from time to time, by authority, in his life-time. The greater part were promulgated in the first five years after the publication of the new Code; and there is a marked diminution in the number of Novells subsequent to the death of Tribonian in 545. There are extant at least 165 Novells of Justinian, making many reforms of great consequence, and seriously affecting the law as laid down in the Digest, Institutes, and Code. Though the imperial archives contained all the Novells that were issued from time to time, no collective publication by official authority seems to have taken place before Justinian's death, for Joannes Scholasticus, at the beginning of his collection of 87 chapters, compiled from the Novells of Justinian, between A. D. 565 and 578, speaks of those Novells as still sporaden keieenon. (Heimbach, Anecdota, vol. ii)
  Such were Justinian's legislative works -works of no mean merit- nay, with all their faults, considering the circumstances of the time, worthy of very great praise. They have long exercised, and, pervading modern systems of law, continue to exercise, enormous influence over the thoughts and actions of men. It is true that they exhibit a certain enslavement to elements originally base, for there was much that was narrow and barbarous in the early law of Rome; but, partly by tortuous fictions, and partly by bolder reform, the Roman jurisprudence of later times struggled to arrive at better and more rational rules. The Digest is especially precious, as preserving the remains of jurists whose works would otherwise have been wholly lost, notwithstanding their great value as illustrations of history, as materials for thinking, and as models of legal reasoning and expression. If adherence to the contents of the imperial law during the middle ages cramped on the one hand the spontaneity of indigenous development, it opposed barriers on the other to the progress of feudal barbarism.
  We proceed now to give some account of the literary history, and to mention the principal editions, separate and collective, of Justinian's compilations. The editions up to the end of the first third of the 16th century are scarce, for, from the inconvenience of their form, and the variety of contractions they employ, they have been subjected to the sane fate with the early manuscripts : but, like the early manuscripts, they are often of use in correcting the text.
  The first printed edition of the Institutes is that of Petrus Schoyffer, fol. Mogunt. 1468. The last edition of importance is that of Schrader, Berlin, 1832. This is an exceedingly learned and elaborate performance, and is intended to form part of an intended Berlin Corpus Juris Civilis, which is still promised, but has hitherto made no further visible progress. Among the exegetical commentators, Vinnius, a Costa, and Otto, will be found the most useful. The Institutiones cum Commentario Academico, by Vinnius, first appeared, Amst. 1642, and has been frequently reprinted. The Elzevir Vinnius of 1665 is, typographically, the neatest; but the jurist will prefer those editions which are enriched with the notes of Heineccius, and contain the Quaestiones Selectae of Vinnius. (2 vols. 4to. Lugd. 1747, 1755, 1761, 1767, 1777). The Commentarius ad Institutiones of a Costa (Jean de la Coste) first appeared, Paris, 1659; but the best editions are those of Van de Water Ultraj. 1714, and Rucker Lugd. 1744. The Commentarius et Notae Criticae of Everard Otto first appeared Traj. ad Rhen. 1729; and the best edition is that of Iselin Basil. 1760. The commentaries of Balduinus Paris, 1546, Hotomann Basil. 1560, 1569, Lugd. 1588, Giphanius Ingols. 1596, Bachovius Frank, 1628, 1661, Merillius Paris, 1654, Traj. ad Rhen. 1739, and Hoppius Dantz. 1693; and edited by Walchius, Frank. ad Moen. 1772, also deserve mention. There are modern French commentaries and translations by Blondeau, Ducaurroy, Ortolan, and Etienne ; and there is an English translation, with the Latin text and notes, by George Harris, LL.D. London, 1796, 1812. We regard the Greek Paraphrasis of Theophilus as the most useful of all commentaries, but the original work is so clear as seldom to require voluminous explanation; and not without reason was an Essay, as long ago as the first year of the 18th century, composed by Homberg, professor of law at Helmstadt, De Multitudine nimia Commentatorum in Institutiones Juris. The Institutes of Justinian were edited, jointly with those of Gaius, by Klenze and Bocking Berol. 1829. The most valuable critical editions anterior to Schrader's are those of Haloander Nuremb. 1529, Contius Paris, 1567, Cujas Paris, 1585; re-edited by Kohler, Gottingen, 1773, Biener, Berlin, 1812, and Bucher, Erlangen, 1826. A complete account of the literature connected with the Institutes would fill a volume. The reader is referred for full and authentic information on the subject to Spangenberg, Einleitung in das Corpus Juris Civilis; Boking, Institutionen; Prodromus Corporis Juris Civilis a Schradero, Clossio, Tafelio edendi, Berol. 1823; Beck, Indicis Codicum et Editionum, Juris Justiniani Prodromus, Lips. 1823; and the editions of the Institutes by Biener and Schrader.
  The literary history of the Digest has been a subject of hot and still unextinguished controversy. The most celebrated existing manuscript of this work is that called the Florentine, consisting of two large quarto volumes, written by Greek scribes, probably not later than the end of the sixth, or the beginning of the seventh century. It was formerly supposed by some to be one of the authentic copies transmitted to Italy in the lifetime of Justinian, but this opinion is now abandoned. It is, in general, free from contractions and abbreviations, which were strictly forbidden by the emperor, but letters and parts of letters are sometimes made to do double duty, as necesset for necesse esset (geminationes), and AB for A B (monogranmmata). The Florentine manuscript was for a long time at Pisa, and hence the glossators refer to its text as litera Pisana (P. or Pi.), in contradistinction to the common text (litera vulgata). Its history before it arrived at Pisa, is doubtful. According to the testimony of Odofredus, who wrote in the 13th century, it was brought to Pisa from Constantinople, and Bartolus, in the 14th century, relates that it was always at Pisa. We are strongly inclined to put faith in the constant tradition that it was given to the Pisans by Lothario the Second, after the capture of Amalfi, in A. D. 1135 (?), as a memorial of his gratitude to them for their aid against Roger the Norman. The truth or falsehood of this tradition would be a matter of little importance, if it were not usually added, among other more apocryphal embellishments, that Lothario directed the Digest to be taught in the schools, and to be regarded as law in the courts, and that the Roman law had been completely forgotten, until the attention of the school of Bologna was turned to it by the ordinance of the emperor, consequent upon the finding of the manuscript. (Sigonius, de Regno Ital. xi. in fine.) It is certain that soon after the capture of Amalfi, the Roman law, which had long been comparatively neglected, was brought into remarkable repute by the teaching of Irnerius, but this resuscitation is attributed by Savigny to the growing illumination of men's minds, and to that felt want of legal science which the progress of commerce and civilisation naturally produces. He thinks that civilisation, excited by these causes, not by any sudden discovery, had only to put forth its arm and seize the sources of Roman law, which were previously obvious and ready for its grasp.
  Pisa was conquered by the Florentine Caponius, in 1406, and the manuscript was brought to Florence in 1411 (?), ever since which time it has been kept there as a valuable treasure, and regarded with the utmost reverence.
  Where the Florentine manuscript may have been before the siege of Amalfi is of little consequence ; but it is of great consequence that we should be able to decide another much disputed question, namely, whether the Florentine manuscript be or be not the sole authentic source whence the text of all other existing manuscripts, and of all the printed editions, is derived. In favour of the affirmative opinion there are several facts, which have not, we think, been satisfactorily accounted for. The leaves of the Florentine manuscript are written on both sides and the last leaf but one, in binding the volume, has been so placed as to reverse the order of the pages. The fault is copied in all the existing manuscripts. The order of the 8th and 9th titles in the 37th book of the Digest is reversed in the Florentine manuscript, but the error is corrected by the scribe by a Greek note in the margin. There are fragments similarly reversed in lib. 35, tit. 2, and lib. 40, tit. 4, and similarly corrected. In the other existing old manuscripts, written by men who did not understand Greek, the error is reproduced, but not the correction. On the other hand, an interpolation added in Latin in the margin of the Florentine manuscript, is inserted in the text of the other manuscripts. For this reason, the last four fragments of lib. 41, tit. 3, are wrongly converted into a separate title, with the rubric de Solutto. In the 20th and 22nd titles of the 48th book, there are blanks in the Florentine manuscript, indicating the omission of several fragments, which were first restored by Cujas from the Basilica. The omissions exist in all the ancient manuscripts. In general, where the text of the Florentine manuscript presents insuperable difficulties, no assistance is to be derived from the other manuscripts, whereas they all, in many passages, retain the errors of the Florentine. Their variations are nowhere so numerous and arbitrary as where the Florentine is defective or corrupt. Moreover, they appear to be all later than the beginning of the twelfth century; and, in general, the older they are, the less they depart from the Florentine.
  In opposition to these facts, the supporters of the conflicting theory adduce many passages of the ordinary text in which the omissions and faults of the Florentine manuscript are corrected and supplied. Some of the variations are not improvements, some may be ascribed to critical sagacity and happy conjecture, and some may have been drawn from the Basilica or other Eastern sources : yet, in the list which Savigny has given, a few variations remain, which can scarcely be accounted for in any of these ways. Passages from the Digest, containing readings different from those of the Florentine manuscript, occur in canonists and other authors, anterior to the supposed discovery at Amalfi. Four palimpsest leaves of a manuscript of the Digest, nearly as old as the Florentine, were found at Naples by Gaupp, and an account of them was published by him at Breslau, in 1823. They belong to the tenth book, but are nearly illegible.
  In most of the manuscripts and early editions, the Digest consists of three nearly equal volumes. The first, comprehending lib. 1-24, tit. 2, is called Digestum Vetus ; the second, comprehending lib. 24, tit. 3--lib. 38, is called Infortiatum ; the third, comprehending lib. 39--lib. 50, is called Digestum Novum. The Digestum Vetus and Digestum Novum are each again divided into two parts; the second part of the former beginning with the 12th book ; the second part of the latter with the 45th. The Infortiatum is divided into three parts, of which the second begins with the 30th book, and the third (strangely enough) with the words tres partes occurring in the middle of a sentence, in Dig. 35, tit. 2. s. 82. The third part of the Infortiatum is hence called Tres Partes. The glossators often use the name Infortiatum for the first two parts of the second volume, e. g. Infortiatum cum Tribus Partibus ; and sometimes the Tres Partes are attached to the Digestum Novum. In order to explain these peculiarities, many conjectures have been hazarded. It is most probable that the division owes its origin partly to accident; that the Digestum Vetus first came to the knowledge of the earliest glossators; that they were next furnished with the Digestum Novum ; then with the Tres Partes, which they added to the Digestum Novum ; and that then they got the Infortiatum, so called, perhaps, from its being forced in between the others; and that finally, in order to equalize the size of the volumes, they attached the Tres Partes to the Infortiatum. The common opinion is that the Infortiatum derived its name from having been reinforced by the Tres Partes.
  The editions of the Digest, with reference to the character of their text, may be divided into three classes, the Florentine, the vulgate, and the mixed. Politianus and Bologninus had both carefully collated the Florentine manuscript, but no edition represented the Florentine text before the year A. D. 1553, when the beautiful and celebrated edition of Laelius Taurelius (who, out of paternal affection, allowed his son Franciscus to name himself as the editor) was published at Florence. This edition is the basis of that given by Gebauer and Spangenberg in their Corpus Juris Civilis, and these editors had the advantage of referring to the later collation of Brenkmann. The vulgate editions have no existing standard text to refer to. The ideal standard is the text formed by the glossators, as revised by Accursius. Their number is immense. The first known edition of the Digestum Vetus was printed by Henricus Clasm (fol. Perusiae, 1476), although Montfaucon (Bibl. MSS. p. 157) mentions the existence of an edition of 1473, of the first and second parts of the Digest. The first edition of the Infortiatum is that of Piicher (fol. Rom. 1475), and the first Digestum Novum was printed by Pucher (fol. Rom. 1476). In the early vulgate editions the Greek passages of the original are given for the most part in an old Latin translation, and the inscriptions prefixed to the extracts, and referring to the work and the author, are either imperfect or wanting. Of the mixed editions, the earliest is that which was edited by Baublommius (Paris, 1523, 1524), with the aid of the collation of Politianus, but the most celebrated is that of Haloander (4to. Nuremb. 1529), published without the gloss. Haloander was, himself, a daring and adventurous critic, and made much use of the conjectural emendations of Budaeus and Alciatus.
  The commentators upon the Digest and upon separate portions of it are extremely numerous. Among the most useful are Duarenus (Opera, Luc. 1765), Cujacius, Ant. Faber (Rationalia in Pandectas, Lugd. 1659-1663), Donellus, Ant. Matthaeus (De Criminibus, Commenturius ad lib. 47 et 48 Dig.), Bynkershoek, Noodt. The commentaries of Voet and Pothier are well known in this country. The voluminous Meditationes in Pandectas of Leyserus, and the still more voluminous German Erlauterungen of Gluck, with the continuations of Muhlenbruch and Reichardt, are interesting, as showing the construction put upon the law of the Digest, in cases that occur in modern practice. One of the most valuable works upon the Digest is Ant. Schulting's Notae ad Digesta, cum animadversionibus Nic. Smallenberg, Lug. Bat. 1804-1835. Here the reader will find ample references to the work where the difficulties of the text are best explained. The Pandectenrecht of Thibaut and the Doctrina Pandectarum of Muhlenbruch are not commentaries on the Digest, but are systematic expositions of the civil law, as it exists in Germany at this day.
  In Brenkmann's Historia Pandectarum will be found a full account of the early state of the controversy relating to the history of the Florentine manuscript. The writings of Augustinus, Grandi, Tanucci, Guadagni, Schwartz, and others, who have signalised themselves in this field, are referred to in Walch's note on Eckhard's Ermeneutica Juris, 74; and the researches of Savigny on the same subject will be found in the second and third volumes of his "History of the Roman Law in the Middle Ages". For detailed information as to editions of the Digest and Commentaries on that work, Spangenberg's Einleitung, and Beck's Prodromus, may be consulted with advantage.
  The earliest manuscript containing a portion of the Constitutionum Codex is a palimpsest in the Chapter House at Verona, and two of the 10th century have been lately discovered by Blume at Pistoia and Monte Casino. In the early editions the first nine books are separated from the other three, which, relating principally to the public law of the Roman empire, were often inapplicable in practice under a different government. Hence, by the glossators, the name Codex is given exclusively to the first nine books; while the remainder are designated by the name Tres Libri. At first the inscriptions and subscriptiones of the constitutions were almost always omitted, and the Greek constitutions were wanting. Haloander considerably improved the text, and was followed by Russardus. Cujas, Augustinus, and Contius, were of service in restoring to their places the omitted constitutions (leges restitutae). Leunclavius (1575), Charondas (1575), Pacius (1580), Dionysius Gothofredus (1583), Petrus and Franciscus Pithoeus (Obs. ad Cod. Par. fol. 1689), all contributed to the criticism and restoration of the text; and in more modern times, Biener, Witte, and the brothers Heimbach, have similarly distinguished themselves.
  The first edition of the first nine books was printed by P. Schoyffer, Mogunt. 1475; and the Tres Libri first appeared (along with the Novells and the Libri Feudorum) at Rome, 1476. The first edition of the twelve books was given by Haloander, Noremb. 1530.
  Cujas and Wissenbach are among the best commentators on the Code. The commentaries of the latter comprise the first seven books (in lib. iv. prior. 4to. Franeq. 1660; in lib. v. et vi. ib. 1664 ; in lib. vii. ib. 1664).
  For further particulars as to the other editions and commentators, reference may be made to Spangenberg's Einleitung, Beck's Prodromus, Biener's Beitrage zur Revision der Justin. Cod., and the preface of S. Hermanni to his edition of the Code in the Leipzig edition of the Corpus Juris Civilis, commenced by the brothers Kriegel.
  An abstract of the first eight books of the Code, made at latest in the 9th century, was discovered by Niebuhr at Perugia; and this Summa Perusina has been edited by G. E. Heimbach, in the second volume of his Anecdota,. Lips. 1840.
W  e possess the Novells of Justinian in three ancient forms; the Latin Epitome of Julianus, of which we have already spoken (article Junianus); an ancient Latin translation (the Authenticum, or Versio Vulgata), containing 134 Novells, and the Greek collection, numbering 168 Novells.
  Of the 134 Novells contained in the Versio Vulgata, the glossators recognised only 97 as practically useful, and these were the only Novells to which they appended a gloss. As the Institutes, Digest, and Code, were divided into books and titles, the glossators divided the 97 glossed Novells (which they arranged chronologically) into nine books, intended to correspond with the first nine books of the Code. These books were called collationes. Under each collatio was placed a certain number of constitutions, and each constitution formed a separate title, except the 8th, which was divided into two titles. There were thus 98 titles. The rubrics of the constitutions, and the division into chapters and paragraphs, though not due to Justinian, were probably older than the glossators, and to be attributed to the original collectors or translators. The 97 glossed Novells, thus divided, constituted the liber ordinarius ; the remaining Novells of. the Authenticum were called extravagantes or authenticae extraordinariae, and were divided into three collationes, to correspond with the last three books of the Code : but, as they were not used in forensic practice, they soon ceased to be copied in the manuscripts. The oldest printed edition of the versio vulgata is that of Vit. Piicher, containing the 97 Novells, with the gloss, followed by the last three books of the Code (Rom. 1476).
  The Greek collection of the Novells of Justinian was made for the use of the Oriental lawyers, probably under Tiberius II., who reigned A. D. 578-582. The Greek collection was not confined to constitutions of Justinian. There are four of Justin II., three of Tiberius II., and four edicts (eparchica, formae) of the praefectus urbi and praefectus praetorio. A list of the rubrics of the 168 Novells was first printed in Latin by Cujas (Exposit. Novell. fol. Lugd. 1570), and the original Greek text of this list is given in the second volume of Heimbach's Anecdota. It is called Index Reginae, from having been found in the queen's library at Paris.
  The Greek Novells were wholly unknown to the glossators. Haloander was the first who published them at Nuremburg, in 1531, from an imperfect Florentine manuscript. Scrimger, a Scotchman and Professor of the Civil Law at Geneva, afterwards published them from a less imperfect Venetian manuscript. The collection of Scrimger was printed by H. Stephanus at Geneva in 1558. Neither the Venetian nor the Florentine manuscript contains in full the 168 Novells. Sometimes the mere title of an omitted Novell is inserted; sometimes only the number of the Novell is given, and the lacuna is marked by asterisks.
  Haloander gave a Latin version of the Novells he published. Scrimger published the Greek without a translation; but the Novells, which are contained in Scrimger and not in Haloander, were translated by Agylaeus. (Supplementum Novelarum, Colon. 1560.)
  The labours of Contius constituted the next important stage in the literary history of the Novells. He formed a Greek text from combining Haloander and Scrimger. He formed a Latin text from the Versio Vulgata, so far as he was acquainted with it. This he supplied by a translation from the Greek, partly his own and partly compiled from Haloander. He subjoined the matter contained in Julian's Epitome, so far as it was not contained either in the Versio Vulgata or in the published Greek Novells. In this manner he made up the 168 Latin Novells, which compose the stock of Novells in ordinary modern editions of the Corpus Juris Civilis.
  Contius published many editions of the Novells, differing among themselves in a way which it is necessary to remark. Some of the editions contained the gloss, and in these the 97 glossed Novells were arranged as usual in the old nine collationes, while all the remaining Novells were subjoined as a tenth collatio. An important change, however, took place in the unglossed edition of 1571. In this, Contius classed the 168 Novells with reference to their dates (though there are some exceptions to the chronological order), and distributed them, so arranged, into nine collationes, and subdivided the collationes into titles. The same order was reproduced in the edition of 1581, and has been followed ever since in all but the glossed editions. From the account which we have given, it will easily be conceived that great confusion has been occasioned in references by the varieties of arrangement in different editions of the Novells. for example, the 131st Novell of modern editions of the Corpus Juris Civilis forms, according to the arrangement of Contius, the 14th title of the 9th collatio, while it was the 6th title of the 9th collatio of the old glossators.
Of modern editions since the time of Contius, it is unnecessary to say much. Under the title Novellae Constitutiones Justiniani, a Graeco in Latinum versae opera Hombergk zu Vach, Marburg, 1717, more is performed than is promised. The author presents to us not only a very good new Latin translation, but the Greek text, and a series of Latin Novells from the versio vulgata, of which the original Greek has not been preserved, and valuable critical notes. The translation of Hombergk zu Vach is the basis of that of Osenbriiggen, the editor of the Novells in the Leipzig Corpus Juris Civilis.
  Among the best commentators upon the Novells may be mentioned Cujas, Joach. Stephanus (Expositio Novellarum, Franc. 1608), and Matthaeus Stephanus. (Commentarius Novellarum, Gryphsw. 1631. Cum notis Brunnemanni, Viteb. 1700, Lips. 1707).
  G. E. Heimbach, in the first volume of his Anecdota, has published the remains of the ancient commentators, Athanasius Scholasticus, Theodorus Hermopolitanus, Philoxenus, Symbatius, and Anonymus.
  Much labour and learning have been recently expended in unravelling the intricacies of this part of literary history, and in correcting the errors of former writers on the Novells. Biener's Geschichte der Novellen Justinian's contains the most accurate [p. 674] and elaborate information upon this subject. G. E. Heimbach's essay, De Origine et Fatis Corporis quod clxviii. Novellis Constitutionibus constat, Lips. 1844, contains some questionable views. Mortreueil has treated of the Novells in his Histoire du Droit Byzantin, vol. i..
  The separate Novells were designated by the glossators by the name Authenticae, but that word has also another signification, which it is necessary to explain, in order to prevent the mistakes which have sometimes occurred in consequence of this verbal ambiguity. In their lectures on the Institutes and the first nine books of the Code, the earliest glossators were accustomed to insert in the margin of their copies abbreviated extracts from such parts of the Novells as made alterations in the law contained in the text. In reading the Digest, they referred to the notes contained in the margin of the Code. At a later period these abstracts were discontinued in the Institutes. In the Code they were taken from the margin, and placed under the text, where they still appear, distinguished by Italic type in most of the modern editions. They are called Authenticae either, as some assert, from their representing the latest authentic state of the law, or from the name of the source whence they were taken, and which, in practice, they nearly superseded. Certain capitularies of Frederic I. and Frederic II., emperors of Germany, about the end of the 12th century, were treated by the glossators as Novells, and thirteen extracts taken from them are inserted in the Code, with the inscription "Nova Constitutio Frederici". They are known by the name Authenticae Fredericianae.
  The collections of Justinian, together with some later appendages, formed into one great work, are commonly known by the name Corpus Juris Civilis. The later appendages are really arbitrary and misplaced additions, having no proper connection with the law of Justinian, and they vary in different editions. They consist, for the most part, of a collection of constitutions of Leo the Philosopher, anterior to A. D. 893; of some other constitutions of Byzantine emperors, from the 7th to the 14th century; of the so-called Canones Sanctorum Apostolorum ; of the Feudorum Consuetudines ; a few constitutions of German and French monarchs ; and the Liber de Pace Conslantiae.
  The expression Corpus Juris was employed by Justinian himself (Cod. 5. tit. 13. s. 1); but the earliest editions of the whole of his legal collections have no single title. Russardus first chose the title Jus Civile. The modem name Corpus Juris Civilis appears first in D. Godefroi's edition of 1583, though the phrase had been employed by others before him. The old glossed editions consist of five volumes, folio (usually bound in five different colours), namely : 1. Digestum Vetus; 2. Infortiatum ; 3. Digestum Novum; 4. The Codex, i. e. the first nine books of the Code; 5. Volumen, or Volumen Parvum, or Volumen Legum Parvum, containing the Tres Libri, the Authenticae, and the Institutiones. The latter had a separate title-page, and was sometimes bound as a separate volume, distinct from the Volumen. This arrangement was first departed from by R. Stephanus in his edition of the Digest in five instead of three volumes (Paris, 1527-1528). The editions of the Corpus Juris Civilis may be divided into the glossed and the unglossed. The gloss is an annotation which was gradually formed in the school of Bologna, and finally settled by Accursius. It is of great practical importance, since, in the countries which adopted the civil law, the portions without the gloss did not possess legal authority in the courts. Quod non recipit glossa, id non recipit curia, was the general maxim. All the editions up to that of Claud. Chevallon (Paris, 15250-1527) have the gloss. The latest glossed edition is that of J. Fehiu. (Lugd. 1627). This celebrated edition has on the title-page of every volume (in allusion to the place of its publication, Lyons) the representation of a living lion, surrounded by bees, with the motto Ex forti dulcedo. Hence it is known by the name Edition du Lion Mouchete--a name also given to one of the previous editions of D. Gothofredus (Fol. Lugd. 1589). The very valuable index of Daoyz is appended as a sixth volume to the edition of J. Fehius. Of the unglossed editions, some have notes and some have none. Of the unglossed editions with notes, the two most celebrated and useful are that of D. Godefroi and Van Leeuwen (2 vols. fol. apud Elzeviros, Amst. 1663), and that of Gebauer and Spangenberg (Gotting. 1776, 1797). Of the editions without notes the most beautiful and convenient is the well-known, but not very correct, Elzevir of 1664, distinguished as the Pars Secundus edition. Two editions by Beck, were published at Leipzig in 1825-1836. The latest edition is that which was commenced by the brothers Kriegel in 1833, and completed in 1840, Hermanni having edited the Code, and Osenbriiggen the Novells. The edition undertaken by Schrader and other eminent scholars will, if completed as it has been begun, supersede for some purposes all that have gone before it. The old editions of Contius, Russardus, Charondas and Pacius, are sought for by critics. A more complete enumeration of the editions of the collective Corpus Juris Civilis will be found in Bocking's Institutionen.
  There is a French translation of the whole Corpus, with the Latin text en regard, published at Paris 1805-1811. In this work we have : 1. The Institutes, by Hulot; 2. The Digest, by Hulot and Berthelot; 3. The Code, by Tissot; 5. The Novells, by Berenger; 6. La Clef des Lois Romaines, ou Dictionnaire. There is also a German translation of the whole Corpus, by a society of savans, edited by C. E. Otto, Bruno Schlilling, and C. F. F. Sintenis (Lips. 1830-1833).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Joannes of Cappadocia, minister of Justinian I.


Justinus II. (565-578 AD)

Justinus II., the younger, emperor of the East, from A. D. 565-578, and nephew of the great Justinian. His reign is signalized by important and extraordinary events. Justin had infinitely less merit than his cousins Justinus and Justinian, the sons of Germanus, who had distinguished themselves in the field against the Persians, and were universally beloved for the frankness of their character; but he was of a crafty disposition, and while his cousins exposed their lives in the defence of the empire, he prudently remained at Constantinople and courted the aged Justinian. In order to insinuate himself the better into his uncle's favour, he married Sophia, the niece of the empress Theodora, a beautiful and clever woman, but ambitious, imperious and revengeful. In the night that Justinian died (13th of November, 565), Justin had retired to his apartments, and was fast asleep, when he was suddenly awakened by a loud knocking against his door: it was a deputation of the senate, composed of some of its members who had witnessed the emperor's death, and now came to congratulate Justin, whom, according to their report, the dying monarch had appointed his successor. Whether this was true or not, no time was lost by Justin and his friends. He went immediately to the senate, who were already waiting for him, and after a document had been read to him, which purported to be the will of Justinian, he was forthwith proclaimed emperor. Early in the following morning he repaired to the hippodrome, which was filled by an immense and anxious crowd. and after having delivered divers fine speeches, which met with boisterous acclamation, he issued a general pardon for all offenders, and, in order to convince the people the more completely of his vir tuous and generous sentiments, summoned the numerous creditors of Justinian to come forth with their claims. They obeyed eagerly, and their as tonishment was still greater when a file of porters made their appearance, each sighing under the weight of an enormous bag of gold: in a few hours the whole of Justinian's debts was discharged. The people found no limits to their praise and delight, and their admiration of their new master was at its height, when Sophia, imitating the noble example set by her lord, opened her treasury and paid the debts of a host of poor people. At the same time the orthodox Justin issued an edict of universal toleration; all persons exiled for their religion, except Eutychius, were recalled and restored to their families or friends; and the church enjoyed a state of peace for fifty years, unprecedented in the annals of the ecclesiastical history of the East. The golden age seemed to have arrived in Constantinople and the provinces.
  Too soon, however, did the real character of Justin show itself, and sadly disappointed the sanguine hopes of the Greeks. An embassy of the khan of the Avars having solicited an audience, Justin dismissed them haughtily and provoked the resentment of their chief; and he exhibited an equally overbearing conduct in his negotiations with the Persians, whence an early rupture might easily be prognosticated. In 566 the indignation of the Greeks was provoked by the murder of Justin the younger, the emperor's cousin. This distinguished prince excited the jealousy of both Justin and Sophia, and, from the Danube, where he commanded against the Avars, he was suddenly sent as governor to Egypt, but had scarcely put his foot on the shore of Alexandria, when he fell under the dagger of a hired assassin. His numerous friends were exasperated; it was said that they had conspired against the emperor, and the alleged conspiracy was stifled in blood. The treasures Justin had spent in satisfying the creditors of Justinian, he recovered by a system of oppression and rapacity which surpassed even that of his predecessor, and the places under government were sold without shame or disguise. Italy, exhausted and ravaged by the Gothic war and its consequences famine and disease, was in a deplorable state. Alboin, king of the Longobards, coveted that fair conquest of Justinian, but his hopes were checked through fear of Narses, who still held the command at Ravenna. Yet Narses was approaching the extreme limits of human life, and Alboin resolved to wait, and to increase his power by breaking that of his troublesome neighbours the Gepidae, who reigned in Hungary. He entered into an alliance with the Avars, and in 566 the Gepidae disappeared from among the independent barbarians in Europe. Every one could now foresee an invasion of Italy, and Justin ought consequently to have concentrated his power in the plains of the Po, and put both his treasures and soldiers at the free disposition of Narses. Narses, however, was hated by Sophia, and he had given just causes of complaint to the Italians, by his arbitrary government and his extreme rapacity. Justin, listening to the foolish advice of his wife, sent him an order to return to Constantinople, and bring with him his own riches and those of the public treasury; and Narses, having remonstrated, pointing out the imminent danger from the Longobards, Sophia sent him a most insulting letter, which so roused the fury of the old general that he invited Alboin to turn his arms against Italy, promising that he would not take the command of the Romans. Soon afterwards, however, he deeply regretted his faithlessness, and tried to dissuade Alboin from the undertaking. But it was too late, the Longobards descended into Italy, and Narses died of grief.
  In 568 Alboin descended the Julian Alps, with his stern Longobards and numerous contingents of Bavarians, Suevians, and other Germans: 20,000 Saxons, the kinsmen and old confederates of the Longobards, joined the expedition with their wives and children. Longinus, the successor of Narses, was an incompetent general, who had neglected to fortify the passes through the Alps, and thus the barbarians rushed down into Italy like an Alpine torrent. Forum Julii, built by Caesar, was the first town they conquered, and, having been made by Alboin the seat of a feudal duchy, which extended over the adjacent districts, was the cause of that province being now called Friuli, or in German Friaul, which is a corruption of Forum Julii: Grasulf was its first duke. Aquileia soon followed the fate of Forum Julii, and its fugitive inhabitants took refuge on the Venetian islands. In 569 Alboin took Mantua, conquered Liguria as far as the Cottian Alps, and on the 5th of September of the same year, victoriously entered Milan (Mediolanum), where he was crowned king of Italy. Henceforth the country surrounding Milan was called Longobardia, or Lombardy, the name which it still bears. In the following year Alboin made himself master of a large portion of Central Italy, and founded a second feudal duchy at Spoleto, where Faroald reigned under his supremacy. The establishment of a third duchy at Benevento was the fruit of the campaign of 570: Alboin found a strong colony of Longobards in that place, who had settled there nineteen years previously, having received the town with its territory from Narses, in reward for their services in the Greek armies; their chief, Zotto, was made duke. In 571 Calabria fell into the hands of the Longobards, and now the name of Calabria was given by the Greek government to the narrow peninsula of Bruttium and part of Lucania, countries which are still called Calabria. Rome and Ravenna, however, as well as different other portions of Italy in the north and in the south, withstood the conqueror, and remained under the sway of the emperor.
  While the most splendid conquest of Justinian was thus wrested from the Greeks, Justin found consolation in pleasures and, luxury, leaving the government in the hands of his wife, his ministers, and his eunuchs. At the very time that Italy was taken from him, he was involved in a dangerous war with the Persians, which broke out under the following circumstances. The Turks having by this time made great conquests in the countries to the north of Persia, gave umbrage to the Persian king Chosroes, especially since they concluded an alliance with Justin, and Chosroes began hostilities by invading and subjugating the kingdom of the Homeritae, in Southern Arabia. Encouraged by the approach and success of the Turks, the Iberians and Persarmenians threw off the Persian yoke, and submitted to Justin, on condition of his defending them against Chosroes. The emperor promised to do so, and at the same time refused to pay the annual tribute of 30,000 pieces of gold, which had been fixed by former treaties. Thus war broke out in 572. Justin sent Marcian against the Persians, an able general, who found no army on his arrival at the frontiers, but created one in a short time, and did more than could have been expected under such circumstances. He was shut up for some time in the important fortress of Dara. Reinforced by the contingents of the Lazians and other Caucasian nations, he suddenly sallied forth, laid siege to Nisibis, and offered battle to Chosroes, who approached with an army of 100,000 men. At this critical moment Acacius arrived from Constantinople with an order for Marcian to hasten directly to the capital, and surrender the command to him. Marcian obeyed, but no sooner was he gone than the whole Greek army disbanded, as Acacius was known to be destitute of all military talent. The consequence was that Syria was ravaged by the Persians with fire and sword, Dara, the bulwark of the empire, was taken by Chosroes, after a long and gallant resistance. When this news reached Constantinople, Justin showed all the symptoms of insanity, and his mental disorder increased so much as to make him unfit for any business (574). The entire government now devolved upon the empress Sophia.
  Two years previously Alboin had been assassinated, shortly after he had taken Pavia, where his successor Clepho took up his residence. This king was slain a short time after his accession, but the Longobards, nevertheless, maintained themselves in the greater part of Italy. These events were coincident with a war against the Avars, who worsted the Greek commander Tiberius, a great general at the head of a bad army. The state of the empire was so critical that Sophia persuaded Justin to adopt Tiberius and to make him Caesar. The emperor followed the advice, and in 574 the new Caesar was presented to the senate. Sophia acted wisely in buying a truce of one year from the Persians for the sum of 45,000 pieces of gold, which was soon afterwards prolonged for three years, by an annual tribute of 30,000 pieces. But this truce did not include Armenia, and thus Chosroes set out in 576, or more probably as early as 574, with a large army to extend the frontiers of his realm in the north-west. With great exertions and sacrifices Tiberius succeeded in raising an army of 150,000 foreign mercenaries, with whom he despatched Justinian,the emperor'scousin, against the Persians, thus leaving Italy unprotected and Greece open to the inroads of the Slavonians. The details of this remarkable campaign are narrated in the lives of Tiberius and Justinian. Justinian obtained splendid victories, and sent 24 elephants to Constantinople; but he sustained in his turn severe defeats, and was succeeded in the supreme command by Mauricius, who, in 578, penetrated as far as the Tigris. The war was still raging with unabated fury, when Justin, whose mental sufferings were increased by an ulcer on his leg, felt his dissolution approaching, and consequently created Tiberius Augustus on the 26th of September, 578, and had him crowned and publicly acknowledged as his successor. Justin died on the 5th of October following; the best action of his life was the choice of his successor.
(Corippus, De Laud. Justini; Evagrius, v. 1-13; Theophan.; Cedren.; Zonaras, vol. ii; Glycas; Const. Manasses)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Tiberius II. (578-582 AD)

Tiberius II., emperor of the East A. D. 578-582. His full name was Anicius Thrax, Fflavius Constamtinus. He was captain of the guards to the emperor Justinus II., who elevated him to the rank of Caesar or Augustus, A. D. 574. He was a native of Thrace, whence he has the addition of Thrax to his name. He assumed the name of Constantinus after he became emperor. The date of his birth is uncertain. He was brought up at the court of Justinian, and employed by Justinus II., who succeeded Justinian A. D. 565. In A. D. 573 Tiberius commanded the imperial troops against the Avars, in the neighbourhood of the Save and the Danube. He lost one battle against them, but he soon recovered this failure, and secured for the empire the possession of Sirmium, near the junction of the Save and the Danube. Justinus, feeling himself incompetent for the labour of administration, associated Tiberius with him, and it is said that the influence of his wife Sophia, who admired the handsome captain, contributed to determine the emperor's choice. The speech which the emperor addressed to Tiberius on this occasion is preserved by Theophylactus Simocatta, and has been translated by Gibbon : it contained wise advice, and Tiberius followed it. Justinus survived this ceremony four years, during which the weight of administration fell on Tiberius alone.
  The Longobards were now in Italy, but a war with Persia prevented Tiberius from directing all his attention to that quarter. Yet he maintained his authority in the exarchate of Ravenna, and in other parts of Italy, and he saved Pelagius II., the pope of Rome, and the Roman citizens, from the Longobards, by a timely supply of provisions, which were forwarded by a fleet. To check the progress of the Longobards in the north of Italy, he concluded an alliance some years later with Chilperic the king of the Franks. The war with Chosroes, king of Persia, demanded all the resources of Tiberius. In A. D. 576. Justinian, who was in command of the armies of the Eastern Empire, crossed the Bosporus with a force of 150,000 men, to relieve Theodosiopolis in Armenia, which was defended by Theodorus, a Byzantine general. This force comprehended a great number of Germans and Slavonians. A battle was fought with Chosroes near Melitene in Armenia, in which the Persians were defeated, and many of them perished in the Euphrates. An immense booty, carried by twenty-four elephants, was brought to Constantinople. Justinian is said to have advanced into the very centre of the Persian empire, and was about concluding a treaty with Chosroes, but it was interrupted by some advantage gained over Justinian by one of the generals of Chosroes. Justinian was recalled. and Mauricius, afterwards the successor of Tiberius was appointed to command in his place. Mauricius secured himself against sudden attacks by adopting the old Roman plan of never resting, except in an entrenched camp. The winter (A. D. 577-578) Mauricius spent in Mesopotamia.
  Justinus died on the fifth of October A. D. 578, and Tiberius was now sole emperor. Sophia, it is said, hoped to become the wife of Tiberius, but when the people in the Hippodrome called for the new empress, Tiberius produced as his wife Anastasia, to whom he had been for some time secretly married. Sophia, though treated with respect by the new emperor, and enjoying an ample allowance, could not forget her disappointment, and she is said to have induced Justinian to conspire with her to overthrow the man whom she had loved. The plot was discovered: Sophia was deprived of all power of doing further mischief, and Justinian, who was pardoned, became a faithful friend of Tiberius.
  In A. D. 579 Chosroes, the Persian, was succeeded by Hormisdas, and the war began again. Mauricius defeated the Persians, overran a large part of Persia, and in a bloody contest on the Euphrates, A. D. 580, gave the forces of Hormisdas a most signal defeat; and again in the following year. In Africa, which had long been disturbed by the natives, Gennadius, the exarch of Ravenna, defeated (A. D. 580) Gasmul, king of the Mauritani. Mauricius enjoyed a triumph at Constantinople for his Persian victories, A. D. 581, and in August of that year, Tiberius, whose health was rapidly failing, raised him to the dignity of Caesar, having no sons of his own. He also gave him his daughter Constantina in marriage. Tiberius died on the 14th of August, A. D. 582, and was succeeded by Mauricius.
  Tiberius was universally regretted. By an economical administration he diminished the taxation of his subjects, and always had his treasury full.
There were at least six constitutions of the emperor Tiberius; three of which (Nos. 161, 163, 164) form part of the collection of 168 Novellac, one is found by itself in the Venice manuscript, the fifth is lost, and the sixth only exists in Latin. The constitution (No. 163, Peri kouphismon demosion, "On the Diminution of Taxes", expresses a humane desire to relieve the people from their burdens, combined with a prudent regard to supply the necessary demands of the state.
(Gibbon, Decline and Fall, &c., ch. 45, who also gives the references to the authorities for the reign of Tiberius)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Mauricius (582-602 AD)

Mauricius (Maurikios), Flavius Tiberius, one of the greatest emperors of Constantinople (A. D. 582-602), was descended from an ancient Roman family which settled in Asia Minor, perhaps some centuries previous to his birth, which took place about A. D. 539, in the town of Arabissus. in Cappadocia.
  Maurice spent his youth at the court of the emperor Justin II.; and although he undoubtedly served also in the army, his name does not become conspicuous in history previous to 578. At that period he was comes cubiculorum; and Tiberius had no sooner succeeded Justin (578) than he appointed Maurice magister militum, and gave him the command in Mesopotamia against the Persians, in place of the general Justinian, with whose military conduct the emperor was not satisfied. As Tiberius was considered to be the greatest captain of his time, he would not have entrusted so important a command to an inexperienced courtier, and consequently one cannot but infer that he was perfectly acquainted with the great capabilities of Maurice. The event fully justified the emperor's choice. A truce of three years had been made between Persia and the empire, extending to the whole of the frontier except Armenia, where war was carried on as before. But Chosroes violated the truce, and invaded Mesopotamia before the Romans were at all aware of his hostile intentions. At this critical moment Maurice arrived in Mesopotamia, and forthwith began by restoring the relaxed discipline of the troops: one of his first measures was the re-establishment of the ancient custom of the legions never going to rest at night before fortifying their camp. This custom had long since been neglected; and the favourite manoeuvre of the Persians of surprising the Romans in the night was thus rendered abortive. At the opening of the campaign, however, the Persian general, Tamchosroes, made himself master of the important fortress of Thomane, and pushed as far as Amida. Maurice soon drove him back, and in his turn invaded the province of Arzanene, sending some detachments beyond the Tigris. The first campaign ended without any decisive battle. In the second campaign, 579, Maurice and his excellent lieutenant Narses-who must not be confounded with Narses, the general of Justinianmade a successful invasion of Media, and took up their winter-quarters in Mesopotamia. In 580 he crossed the Euphrates at Circesium (Circessus or Cercusium), a town situated in the angle made by the Chaboras joining the Euphrates, with a view of marching across the desert upon Ctesiphon. His plan was frustrated through the treachery of some Arab allies, and he found himself unexpectedly compelled to make head against the main army of the Persians. The contest was sharp, and ended with a total overthrow of the Persians, who evacuated whatever places they held in Mesopotamia, and fled in confusion beyond the Euphrates. Now Chosroes offered peace, but Maurice peremptorily demanded the restoration of the great fortress of Dara, the bulwark of the empire, declining to accept any indemnity in money, and the war was renewed with more fury than before (581). A pitched battle, in which the Persian army was almost annihilated, and their commander, Tamchosroes, died the death of a hero, concluded the war, to the advantage of the Romans, and Maurice hastened to Constantinople to surprise the emperor and the nation with the welcome news that the most dangerous enemy of Greece was humbled, and peace restored to the East. This was more than what even Tiberius expected; and Maurice having gained universal popularity by his brilliant victories, the emperor invited him to enter Constantinople in triumph (582).
  Soon afterwards the brave Tiberius fell dangerously ill; and feeling his end approach, assembled the senate, and proposed Maurice as his successor. His touching speech met with no opposition; Constantinople was in rapture; and the dying emperor increased the joy of his subjects by giving his eldest daughter Constantina in marriage to Maurice. A few days afterwards Tiberius died (13th of August, 582); and the fortunate Maurice now ascended the throne.
  His mature age (43) was a guarantee to the nation that the rapid fortune of their new master was not likely to turn his head; and indeed he did not deceive their expectation, although his reign was an uninterrupted series of wars. We shall first speak of the Persian war.
  Maurice had scarcely ascended the throne, and given proof of his forbearance, by pardoning instead of punishing various persons who had been guilty of treason, when news came from the Persian frontier that Hormisdas, the son of Chosroes, had broken the peace, and attacked the empire. Before the end of the year (582) John Mystacon, the commander-in-chief in those quarters, engaged in a pitched battle with the Persians near the of the Nymphius and the Tigris; but although the Romans fought with great valour, the day was lost, through the jealousy of one of their generals, Curs, and their army was dispersed. They suffered another defeat at Acbas, and Mystacon was compelled, through misfortune and illness, to spend the whole season of 583 on the defensive. Maurice, dissatisfied with his conduct, recalled him, and sent Philippus or Philippicus in his stead, having previously given him his sister Gordia in marriage. This general would have ventured some decisive blow in 584, but his army was decimated famine, diseases, and fatigues; he took the offensive in 585, but performed nothing particular. In 586 Philippicus at last brought the enemy to a stand at Solacon, not far from Dara, and obtained a decisive victory, which he owed especially to his infantry, which, until the time of Maurice, was made little use of in the later wars in the East. The Persian army was nearly destroyed. A strong body of their veterans, however, reached safely a hill at some distance from the field of battle, where they entrenched themselves, but were routed, with great slaughter, by the Roman, Stephanus. Now Philippicus invaded Arzanene. He was in sight of another Persian army, and ready to fight them, when some trifling circumstance caused such a panic among his troops, that they gave way to the impulse, and fled in the utmost confusion. The Persians followed them without loss of time, took and plundered the baggage, and pursued them as far as Amida. Philippicus fell ill through grief, for the fruit of his great victory at Solacon seemed to be entirely lost; and being unable to appear in the field, he gave the command to Heraclius, Andreas and Theodore of Addea. Heraclius, who afterwards became emperor, retrieved the fortune of the Romans, and gave such splendid proofs of his military skill, that, Philippicus having been recalled in 588, he was entrusted with the temporary command-in-chief till the arrival of Priscus, whom the emperor had despatched to supersede Philippicus. The latter was so extremely jealous of his successor, that lie employed treason in order to avenge himself for the insult, and kindled a rebellion among the troops which threatened to ruin the emperor's affairs in the East. They refused to acknowledge Priscus, forced Germanus to take the supreme command, and deposed all officers with whom they were displeased, choosing others in their stead. In this emergency Aristobulus arrived, whom Maurice had sent into Mesopotamia, immediately upon being informed of the mutiny; and this able man having gained some ascendancy over the rioters, availed himself of his advantage, and together with Heraclius led the army, who were then encamped under the walls of Martyropolis (on the Nymphius, in Sophene) against the main body of the Persians, who approached to besiege that great fortress. The Romans carried the day; but in the pride of victory the soldiers once more raised the standard of rebellion. At his critical time, Gregory, bishop of Antioch, arrived, as the emperor's plenipotentiary, and he at last succeeded in soothing the turbulent spirit of the legions, and prevailed upon them to obey Philippicus as their commander-in-chief. This was ex actly what this ambitious man wished for; but as he was unable to do honour to his important funetion, when he had obtained it in a fair way, he junction was found to be still less competent now his mind was inflated by unfair success (589). His first act of incompetency was the loss of Martyropolis, of which the Persians made themselves master by a stratagem and the recapture of the fortress became next to impossible, when, through his carelessness, a strong body of Persians was allowed to relieve the garrison. Maurice was extremely vexed at these proceedings, and full of rancour against all those who had promoted the mutiny; he showed no further indulgence to his brother-in-law, but deprived him of his post, and appointed Comentiolus in his place. By this was the very man who commanded those legions which first mutinied in 588. This faithless and incompetent general would have made a sorry figure but for the aid of the gallant Heraclius: at the battle of Sisarbene he was among the first who took to flight; and the Romans seemed to be lost when Heraclius restored order, and gained one of the most glorious victories ever obtained over the Persians: the camp of the enemy was taken, and an immense booty sent to Constantinople, creating the most unlimited satisfaction and joy in the court as well as in the town. Soon afterwards Acbas was re-taken by Heraclius; and affairs speedily took a turn in favour of tile Romans, by a commotion in Persia, which, on account of its important consequences for the empire, deserves a short explanation. While the Roman arms became more and more dangerous, Hormisdas concluded an alliance with the Turks in Bactriana (Turkistan), whose khan consequently came to his apparent relief with a host of some hundred thousand marauders on horseback. They behaved like allies till they had quartered themselves on the frontier of Media, when they altered their conduct, and it became manifest that they had made a secret alliance with Maurice; and being now in the heart of Persia, were ready to fall upon the rear of the royal armies engaged in Mesopotamia. In this extremity Persia was saved by Baram, a general highly distinguished for his former campaigns against the Romans, who attacked the Turks in the passes of the Hyrcanian mountain, and gave them such a bloody lesson, that they desisted from further hostile attempts. Baram was rewarded with ingratitude for he was deprived of his command, and insulted in a most poignant manner. Compelled to rebel or to lose his head, he took up arms against the king, and a general defection ensued, during which Hormisdas was seized and blinded by Bindoes, a prince of royal blood, who had been ill-treated by his master. Chosroes, the son of Hormisdas, now ascended the throne, with the consent of Bindoes, and prepared for marching against Baram. The royal troops were defeated, Chosroes fled into the Roman territory, and during the ensuing troubles in Persia the blinded king, Hormisdas, was murdered by Bindoes, or, as Theophylact states, beaten to death by order of his own son, Chosroes. Gibbon rejects the latter account. When Chosroes, with a few attendants, suddenly arrived at the gates of Circesium, the Roman commander would scarcely trust his own eyes, and immediately requested him to remove to the more stately city of Hierapolis, whence the king sent a touching letter to Maurice, imploring his generous aid for the recovery of his throne. When our pride is flattered, our honour satisfied, and our heart moved at one and the same time, human nature seldom withstands the dictates of its better feelings ; Maurice shed tears when he read the letter, and granted his protection to the royal fugitive. A powerful army, under the command of Narses, was assembled on the frontier; loyal Persians flocked to the Roman camp to serve their legitimate sovereign ; Narses and Chosroes entered Persia; and in a decisive battle at Balarath they routed the rebel Baram, whose troops were dispersed, while he himself fled into Turkistan, where he met with an untimely death, either by poison or grief. Chosroes now re-ascended the throne of his ancestors (591), and peace and friendship reigned henceforth between Persia and the empire as long as Maurice sat on the throne. Dara and Martyropolis, the bulwarks of Mesopotamia, and the objects of so many a bloody contest, were given to Maurice as a reward or on condition of his assistance.
  We now turn to the war with the Avars, of which our account must be brief. The first war against the chagan or khan of these barbarians, who ruled over an extent of country nearly equal to that which once obeyed Attila, broke out in 587. Comentiolus, who commanded against them, being unfortunate, Mystacon was sent to supersede him, although he could not boast of much success in Persia. But his lieutenant Droctulf, a German, who had long served in the imperial armies, watched over the blunders of his chief, and in a pitched battle so utterly discomfited the Avars, that the khan refrained from any incursion during the following five years. The next war broke out some time after the peace with Persia, and Maurice had leisure to withdraw a great portion of from Asia, and employ them against the Avars. He intended to put himself at their head, but it was already customary at the court of Constantinople that the emperor should not command in the field, and he consequently gave way to the remonstrances of the senate, and sent Priscus in his stead, who, however, was soon superseded by the emperor's brother Peter. The choice was a bad one, and as early as 598 Priscus resumed the supreme command. He was less successful than was expected, though he was an excellent general, and in 600 the army received a new commander in the person of Comentiolus, that faithless and cowardly intriguer, whose conduct had been so very suspicious in Asia. In appointing him, Maurice committed either a great blunder or secretly wished to ruin him. Comentiolus had no sooner taken the field, when he suffered a severe defeat from the chagan: 12,000 Romans remained prisoners of war with the Avars. We shall speak hereafter of their fate, an evert intimately connected with that of the emperor. The honour of the Roman arms was restored in five successful battles by the gallant Priscus, but Comentiolus thwarted his plans by intrigues and treacherous manoeuvres, and at last Priscus was again put at the head of the army. In the autumn of 602 he intended to winter along the southern bank of the Danube, when Maurice ordered him to take up his quarters on the northern side, where they would have been exposed to the attacks of the Avars. Some pretend that Maurice gave this order for the purpose of paring the magazines within the empire; but it would seem as if he rather intended to punish those troops for previous acts of disobedience and mutiny, by assigning them winter-quarters in an inhospitable country. However this may be, the measure was imprudent, and proved the ruin of the emperor.
  Gibbon observes with great justness, that, while in the camp alone the emperors ought to have exercised a despotic command, it was only in the camps that his authority was disobeyed and insuited. The spirit of mutiny and arrogance in the army, that hereditary cancer of Roman administration, reigned unabated when Maurice took the reins of government, and he who met with blind obedience when a mere magister militum, had to encounter that dangerous mutiny of his Persian army immediately upon exchanging the baton for the sceptre. Nor was this the only outbreak, though the others were of less magnitude. It has been told above that 12,000 Romans were made prisoners of war by the Avars. The trifling sum of 6000 pieces of gold was demanded for their ransom. Maurice, moved by avarice, as some say, refused to pay it, and now 12,000 veterans were put to death by their captors. The army and the nation were deeply indignant at this atrocious deed, and cursed Maurice for his abominable conduct. However, in acting as he did, the emperor had a powerful though secret motive: those 12,000 were the soldiers of Comentiolus, it was they who had chiefly caused the great mutiny during the Persian war; and in abandoning them to the fury of barbarians, he at once assuaged his resentment and got rid of a band of dangerous mercenaries. But his conscience continually reproached him with this barbarous act. He wrote to the most eminent divines of his realm, to receive consolation from their censure or their indulgence; he tried to forget his forces his pangs by redoubled activity in the cabinet. It was all in vain: he neither recovered the peace of his soul nor the love of his subjects; and the army bore such hatred against him, that they only seemed to wait for a suitable pretext to break out in open rebellion. His own imprudence furnished them with an opportunity, by ordering them, in the autumn of 602, to take up their winter-quarters on the Avarian side of the Danube. They complained that the emperor desired to sacrifice them, like their 12,000 brethren. They held tumultuous meetings, which the emperor's brother Peter tried in vain to counteract; and Phocas having been chosen by them for the command-in-chief, Peter had no alternative left but escaping secretly, and [p. 978] carrying the news of the revolt to the emperor in Constantinople. There the green faction assumed a threatening attitude, and information having reached them that Phocas was marching upon Constantinople, such a commotion arose in the capital, that Maurice thought it best to fly into the provinces, and there to prepare for resistance. He effected his escape by sea, together with his wife and children. A storm compelled him to land near the church of St. Autonomus, not far from Chalcedon. Thence he despatched his eldest son Theodosius to the court of Chosroes, to implore him to confer the same favour upon the emperor which the emperor had once conferred upon the king. Maurice with his family took sanctuary in the church of St. Autonomus: he was tortured by sufferings of body and despair of mind. During this time Phocas arrived in Constantinople, and was proclaimed emperor on the 23d of November, 602. He immediately sent executioners in search of Maurice, who was dragged with his family from the sanctuary to the scaffold. Five of his sons, Tiberius, Petrus, Paulus, Justin, and Justinian, had their heads cut off while their father stood by praying, but not trembling, awaiting the fatal stroke in his turn. He was murdered on the 27th of November, 602; his eldest son Theodosius, who had not proceeded far on his way to Persia, was arrested, and shared his fate soon afterwards. The empress and three of her daughters were thrown into prison, but in 605, or perhaps 607, they were likewise put to death, and their bodies thrown into the sea. The heads of Maurice and his sons were carried on pikes to Phocas, who, after having enjoyed the sight for some time, gave orders for the execution of Petrus, the brother of Maurice, Comentiolus, Constantine Lardys, and a great number of other persons of distinction.
  Among the papers of the murdered emperor was found his will, which he had made in the fifteenth year of his reign (597), and by which he left Constantinople and the East to Theodosius; Rome, Italy and the Islands, to his second son Tiberius. Maurice was indeed preparing for wresting Italy from the Lombards, and might have carried his plan into execution, but for the great wars against the Persians and the Avars. Although greater as a general than as a king, Maurice was yet one of the best emperors of the East. Constantly active, he knew no other pleasure than that which arises from doing one's duty; he was firm without being obstinate, bold yet prudent, and both severe or forbearing according to circumstances. He was completely master of his passions and appetites, sober to the extreme, a loving and virtuous husband and father, and full of filial piety. No sooner was he informed of the intentions of the emperor Tiberius towards him, than he entreated his father Paulus and his mother Joanna to come to Constantinople, and they were both present at his marriage with the princess Constantina. They continued to live at his court, and his father became one of his most influential ministers: the fame of Paulus as a wise and well-disposed man spread abroad, and the views of Maurice upon Italy being likely to lead to either an alliance or a war with the Franks in Gaul, their king Childebert wrote a letter to Paulus on that subject, which is given in Hist. Francor. vol. i. A natural and timely death in 593 saved Paulus from being involved in the wholesale murder of the imperial family. Maurice is said to have loved money too much; but he was so far from oppressing his subjects from taxes, that, on the contrary, he lowered them considerably; on one occasion he took off one-third of the land-tax. Arts and sciences were protected by this great emperor, who possessed considerable learning.
  Maurice wrote twelve books on the military art, which have fortunately come down to posterity. They are entitled Strategika, and were published with a Latin version, together with Arrian's "Tactica", by John Scheffer, Upsala, 1664. The text contains 382 half pages, and the version as much; the editor added 157 pages of notes, and a few pages with very curious representations of the different battle arrays spoken of in the work.
(Theophylact. Simocatta, Vita Mauricii ; Evagr. lib. v. vi.; Theoph.; Cedren.; Zonar. vol. ii.; Menander.; Niceph. Call. xviii. 5, &c.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Phocas (602-610 AD)

Phocas (Phokas), emperor of Constantinople from A. D. 602 to 610. The circumstances under which this monster was raised to the throne are related at the end of the life of the emperor Mauricius. Phocas was of base extraction, and a native of Cappadocia. For some time he was groom to the celebrated general Priscus, and at the time of his accession he held the humble office of a centurion. His brutal courage had gained him a name among the common soldiers, and among those of his companions who liked warfare as the art of butchering mankind. His coronation took place on the 23d of November 602; his wife Leontia was likewise crowned. After he had momentarily quenched his thirst for revenge and murder in the blood of Mauricius, of his five sons, and of his most eminent adherents, such as Constantine Lardys, Comentiolus and others, he bought an ignoble peace from the Avars, but was prevented from enjoying it by a fierce attack of the Persian king Chosroes. This prince considered the accession of a despicable murderer to the Byzantine throne as a fair opportunity of avenging himself for the many defeats he had suffered from Mallritius; and he was still more urged to take up arms by Narses, a faithful adherent of the late emperor, and then commanderin-chief on the Persian frontier. Anxious to escape the fite of so many of his friends, Narses made overtures to Chosrocs, left the head-quarters of his army, and remained in a sort of neutral position at Hierapolis. Thus a war broke out with Persia which lasted twenty-four years, the first eighteen of which presented an uninterrupted series of misfortunes to the Romans, and which was decidedly the most disastrous that was ever carried on between the two empires. Asia Minor from the Euphrates to the very shores of the Bosporus was laid waste by the Persians; a great number of its populous and fllorishing cities was laid in ashes; and hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants were carried off into slavery beyond the Tigris. But for this war Asia Minor would have better withstood the attacks of the Arabs, who some years later achieved what the Persians had begun. Afraid to lose his crown if he absented himself from Constantinople, and feeling, as it seems, the inferiority of his military capacities, Phocas remained in his capital to enjoy executions and beastly pleasures, while the eunuch Leontiau started for the theatre of the war with a motley army composed of the most incongruous elements, He thus encountered the Persian veterans commanded by their king Chosroes, the greatest man of the East. At Dara the eunuch was utterly defeated. His successor Domentiolus, the emperor's brother, was not able to stop the progress of the enemy, and from the Black Sea to the confines of Egypt the Persians ravaged the country. During this time Domentiolus entered into negotiations with Narses with a view of reconciling hint with the emperor. Beguiled by the brilliant promises of Domentiolus, Narses imprudently left his stronghold, and finally proceeded to Constantinople. While he hoped to be placed again at the head of the Roman armies, he was suddenly arrested, and without further inquiries condemned to death. He was burnt alive. Thus perished the worthy namesake of the great Narses, with whom he has often been confounded, although the one was a centenarian when the other first tried his sword against the Persians. This Narses was so much feared by the Persians that mothers used to frighten their children with his name. His murder increased the unpopularity of the emperor. Germanus, the father-in-law of the unfortunate Theodosius, the eldest son of Mauricius, who had once had a chance of obtaining the crown, now persuaded the captive empress Constantina to form a plot against the life of the tyrant. She consented, being under the impression that her son Theodosius was still alive, and accompanied by one Scholasticus, who seems to have been the scape-goat in this affair, she left her dwelling, together with her three daughters, and followed him to the church of St. Sophia. At her aspect the people were moved with pity. They took up arms, and a terrible riot ensued. But for the bad will of John, the leader of the Greens, who paid for his conduct by being burnt alive by the mob, the outbreak would have been crowned with success. As it was, however, Phocas had the upper hand. The riot was quelled; Scholasticus was put to death; and Germnanus was forced to take the monastic habit : he had managed things so cleverly that no evidence could be produced against him : else he would have paid for the plot with his life. The empress Constantine found a protector in the person of the patriarch Cyriacus, and her life was spared; but she was confined in a monastery with her three daughters. The general hatred against Phocas, however, was so great that Constantina braved the dangers of another conspiracy which broke out in 607, and in which she interested several of the principal personages of the empire : she still believed that her son Constantine was alive. A woman contrived this plot, and a woman frustrated it. This was Petronea who, being in the entire confidence of the empress, was employed by her as a messenger between the different parties, and who sold the secret to Phocas as soon as she had gathered sufficient evidence against its leaders. The tyrant quelled the plot by bloody, but decisive measures. Constantina and her three daughters had their heads cut off at Chalcedon, on the same spot where her husband and her five sons had suffered death. Among those of her chief adherents who paid for their rashness with their lives were Georgius, governor of Cappadocia; Romanis, advocates curiae; Theodorus praefectus Orientis; Joannes, primus e secretariis; Athanasius, the minister of finances; David, master of the palace, and many others besides great numbers of inferior people, who all suffered death under the most horrible torments. The tyrant's fury, the devastations of the Avars, the alarming success of the Persians, threw the empire into consternation and despair. Dara, the bulwark of the empire towards the Tigris, was taken by Chosroes in 606; Edessa, of no less importance, shared its fate; Syria was a heap of ruins; Mesopotamia yielded to the king; whosoever was suspected of having been a friend to Mauricius, or of being opposed to the present state of things, was seen bleeding under the axe of the executioner. At last Phocas insulted his former favourite Crispus, the husband of his only daughter Domentia, who had vainly endeavored to produce a change in the conduct of the emperor. Crispus, a sensible and well-disposed man, looked out for assistance, and fully aware of the chances which any conspiracy ran that was carried on in the corrupted capital, he sought it at the farthest extremity of the empire, in Mauritania. Heraclius, exarch of Africa, was the person upon whom his choice fell. Confiding in his strength and the love of the Africans, Heraclius entered into the plans of Crispus, and began to show his sentiments by prohibiting the exportation of corn from the ports of Africa and Egypt, from whence Constantinople used to draw its principal supplies. The consequence was, as was expected, discontent in the capital. Although urged by Crispus to declare himself openly, Heraclius wisely continued his policy during two years. Meanwhile, the name of Phocas was execrated throughout the whole empire; and owing to a mad order which he gave for the baptism of all the Jews in his dominions, a terrible riot broke out in Alexandria. Shortly before this, the Persians, after having routed Domentiolus near Edessa, inundated all Asia Minor, appeared at Chalcedon, opposite Constantinople, and laden with booty retired at the approach of the winter (609-610). This led to riots in Constantinople, and a bloody strife between the Blues and the Greens. Phocas was insulted by the populace, and the means he chose to restore quiet were only calculated to increase the troubles; for by a formal decree he incapacitated every adherent of the green faction from holding any office, either civil or military. Now, at the proper moment, Heraclius, the eldest son of the exarch Heraclius, left the shores of Africa with a fleet, and his cousin Nicetas set out at the head of an army for Constantinople, where Crispus was ready to receive and assist them without the tyrant having the slightest presentiment of the approaching storm. Their success is related in the life of Heraclius. On the third of October, 610, Constantinople was in the hands of Heraclius, after a sharp contest with the mercenaries of Phocas, who spent the ensuing night in a fortified palace, which was defended by a strong body. The guard fled during the night. Early in the morning the senator Photins approached it with a small band, and finding the place unguarded, entered and seized upon Phocas, whom they put into a boat and paraded through the fleet. He was then brought before Heraclius on board the imperial galley. Heraclus, forgetting his dignity, felled the captive monster to the ground, trampled upon him with his feet, and charged him with his abominable government. "Wilt thou govern better", was the insolent answer of the fallen tyrant. After suffering many tortures and insults, Phocas had his head struck off. His body was dragged through the streets, and afterwards burned, together with that of Domentiolus, who had fallen in the battle. Phocas, the most blood-thirsty tyrant that ever disgraced the throne of Constantinople, was as ugly in body as monstrous in mind. He was short, beardless, with red hair, shaggy eyebrows; and a great scar disfigured his face all the more, as it became black when his passions were roused. Heraclius was crowned immediately after the death of his rival.
(Theoph.; Cedren.; Chron. Pasch.; Zonar. vol. ii.; Simocatta, viii. c. 7, &c.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Heraclius (610-641 AD)

Heraclius, (Herakleios), a Roman emperor of the East, reigned from A. D. 610 to 641. The character of this extraordinary man is a problem ; his reign, signalised by both splendid victories and awful defeats, is the last epoch of ancient Roman grandeur: he crushed Persia, the hereditary enemy of Rome, and he vainly opposed his sword to the rise and progress of another enemy, whose followers achieved their prophet's prediction, the extermination of the Roman empire in the East.
  Heraclius was the son of Heraclius the elder, exarch or governor-general of Africa, who was renowned for his victories over the Persians, and who was descended from another Heraclius, of Edessa, who wrested the province of Tripolitana from the Vandals during the reign of the emperor Leo the Great. Heraclius the younger, the subject of this notice, was born in Cappadocia, about A. D. 575. We know little of his earlier life, but we must suppose that he showed himself worthy of his ancestors, since in A. D. 610, his father destined hint to put an end to the insupportable tyranny of the emperor Phocas. This prince, the assassin of the emperor Mauritius, whose throne he had usurped, committed such unheard-of cruelties, and misgoverned the empire in so frightful a manner, that conspiracies were formed in all the provinces to deprive him of his ill-gotten crown. The principal conspirator was Crispus, the son-in-law of Phocas, who urged Heraclius the elder to join him in the undertaking. During two years the prudent exarch declined rising in open rebellion, but lie manifested his hostile intentions by prohibiting the export of corn from Africa and Egypt into Constantinople, thus creating discontent among the inhabitants of the capital, who depended almost entirely upon the harvests of Africa. He then withheld from the imperial treasury the revenue of his province, and at last promised open assistance to Crispus, who had offered him the imperial crown. This, however, the exarch declined, alleging his advanced age. In his stead lie sent his son Heraclius with a fleet, and Nicetas, the son of his brother, and his lieutenant, Gregorius or Gregoras, with an army, with which they were to proceed through Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor. They started from Carthage in the autumn of A. D. 610. There is a strange story that the one who should first arrive at Constantinople should be emperor. But a fleet requires only twelve days or a fortnight to sail from Africa to the Bosporus, and no army can march from Carthage to Constantinople in less than three months. When Heraclius with his fleet appeared off Constantinople, Crispus rose in revolt; Heraclius forced the entrance of the Golden Horn; and the emperor, abandoned by his mercenaries, hid himself in his palace. The ignominious death, which Phocas suffered from the infuriated mob, is related in the life of that emperor. When Phocas was conducted before Heraclius, " Is it thus, wretch," exclaimed the victor, " that thou misgovernest the empire ?" " Govern it better," was the sturdy answer; and Heraclius, in a fit of vulgar passion, knocked the royal captive down with his fist, and trampled upon him with his feet.
  Constantinople was then agitated by two factions, the blue and the green. The green saluted Heraclius as emperor; the greater part of the population followed their example; and whatever might have been the secret designs of Crispus, he had no chance of prevailing upon the people while a conqueror filled their souls with admiration and gratitude. No enmity, however, arose between Heraclius and Crispus, who was rewarded with riches and honours, and entrusted with the supreme command against the Persians. Nicetas, of course, arrived long after the downfal of the tyrant; but as he could not traverse so many provinces without preparing the people for the revolution, he received his share, likewise, in the favours of the new emperor, with whom he continued to live in the most intimate friendship.
  The Eastern empire was then in a miserable condition. Torn to pieces by political factions, attacked and ravaged in all quarters by barbarous and implacable enemies, its ruin was imminent, and a great monarch only could prevent its downfal. Heraclius was a great man, and yet he accomplished nothing. He had certainly great defects: his love of pleasure was unbounded, but his virtues were still greater; yet we search in vain for a single powerful exertion to extricate himself and his subjects from their awful position. This seems strange and wholly unaccountable; but when we call to mind his heroic exploits in a subsequent part of his reign, we have every reason for believing that he could not act vigorously on account of the circumstances in which he was placed, and therefore we are not justified in condemning his inactivity.
  The following was the state of the empire: the European provinces between the Bosporus and the Danube were laid waste by the Bulgarians, Slavonians, and especially the Avars, who, in (619, overran and plundered all the country as far as Constantinople. Heraclius tried all the means within his power to persuade them to retreat; and having at last found their king disposed to return to his native wildernesses, he went into his camp, which was pitched in the neighborhood of Constantinople, for the purpose of concluding a definite truce through a personal interview. The barbarian having pledged his word to refrain from all hostilities, the gates of Constantinople were left open, and a motley crowd of soldiers citizens, and women left the town to witness the interview. No sooner had Heraclius entered the camp of the Avars, than he was suddenly surrounded by their horsemen, who sabred his escort, and would have made him a prisoner but for the swiftness of his horse. He succeeded in reaching the town, but the immense crowd of spectators were less fortunate. Many of them were unmercifully slain, others trampled down by the horses, and such was the flight and the eagerness of the pursuit, that the gates were closed before the last of the fugitives were in safety, as there was. the greatest danger lest the pursuers should enter the town together with the flying Greeks, and make themselves masters of the capital. The barbarian then withdrew, with 250,000 prisoners, into his kingdom beyond the Danube. As the part of Illyricum between the Haemus, the Danube, the Adriatic sea, and the frontier of Italy was laid waste and most of its inhabitants slain or carried off, Heraclius allotted it to the Servians and Croates, with a view of making them serve as a barrier against the Avars, and those nations have ever since continued to live in that part of Europe. In Italy the exarchatte was exposed to the attacks of the Lombards and some Slavonian tribes: the latter conquered Istria, where they still continue to dwell. In Spain and on the opposite coast of Africa, part of the Greek dominions was conquered by the West-Gothic king, Sisibut, in 616, and the remaining part by king Suinthila, in 624. These calamities, however, were trifling in comparison with those inflicted upon the empire by the inroads and conquests of the Persians. The war which broke out in A. D. 603 between the emperor Phocas and the Persian king Chosroes or Khosrew II., was still raging, and to the conquest of Mesopotamia and parts of Arminia, the king added, in the beginning of the reign of Heraclius, all Syria and Palaestine. Sarlbar, the Persian general, conquered and pillaged Jerusalem in A. D. 615, and sent the holy lance, as his noblest trophy, to his master at Ctesiphon. In A. D. 616, Sarbar took and plundered Alexandria, conquered Egypt, and penetrated as far as Abyssinia; the export of corn from Egypt to Constantinople was interrupted, and famine soon began to increase the sufferings of the capital. Having been urged by a Greek officer to abandon Egypt as a country of which the Persians could only keep transient possession, the proud victor pointed out a lofty column in Alexandria, and said, " I shall leave Egypt after you have swallowed that column !" During this year, another Persian army overran Asia Minor, laid siege to Chalcedon, opposite Constantinople, and took it, in A. D. 616. The Greeks, however, reconquered it a few years afterwards. Heraclius made an attempt to enter into negotiations with Chosroes, but his ambassadors were thrown into prison, where they were afterwards put to death. It seems that Heraclius remained unshaken in the midst of all these tempests: he kept his eye upon Persia; he organised and increased his means, and when at last the time was come when he thought himself able to keep the field, he took the command of his troops in person, against the persuasion of his courtiers, and astonished the world by a series of campaigns worthy of comparison with those of the most consummate generals of all times. " Since the days of Scipio and Hannibal," says Gibbon, " no bolder enterprise has been attempted than that which Heraciius achieved for the deliverance of the empire."
  Heraclius spent a whole year in disciplining a host of Greeks and barbarians into a compact army. In 622 he embarked them on vessels lying in the Bosporus, and made sail for Cilicia. He pitched his camp in the plain of Issus, and occupied the Pylae Ciliciae and the other passes of the Taurus and Anti-Taurus that lead into the plain round the corner of the gulf of Iskenderun, between Mount Taurus and Mount Amanus. He was soon surrounded by a Persian army, but defeated it in a decisive battle, and, in spite of repeated attacks, fought his way across the Taurus and Anti-Taurus into the province of Pontus. There his army took up its winter-quarters. He himself returned to Constantinople, and in the spring of 623 sailed with another army, small but select. to Trebizond. This campaign and those of the following years led to great results: the campaign of 624, however, is fall of obscurities. Heraclius crossed Armenia, and soon was in sight of Gandzaca, now Tauris, which yielded to him after a short siege, Chosroes being unable or un willing to defend it, although he was in the neighbourhood with 40,000 veteran soldiers. Thence the emperor marched into the Caucasian countries, destroying some of the most famous temples of the Magi, on his way through Albania (Daghestan), along the Caspian Sea. His motive in approaching the Caucasus was probably to put himself into communication with Ziebel, the khan of the Khazars, with whom he afterwards concluded a very advantageous alliance. The Khazars were masters of the steppes north of the Caucasus as far as the Don and the Ural. Joined by the Colchians and other Caucasian nations, he directed his attacks against the northern part of Media, and he penetrated probably as far, and perhaps beyond, the present Persian capital, Ispahan. He then returned to the Caucasus, but before taking up his winter-quarters, he was attacked by the main army of the Persians commanded by Chosroes in person, who, however, suffered a total defeat. Having been informed that Chosroes meditated another expedition against Constantinople, which would be commanded by Sarbar, Heraclius descended, in 625, into Mesopotamia, and from thence went into Cilicia in order to fall upon the rear of the Persians, if Sarbar should venture to penetrate into Asia Minor with a Greek army at his back. In order to drive the emperor before him, Sarbar attacked him on the river Sarus, now Sihfun. A terrible conflict took place; the Persians were routed with great slaughter, and Heraclius gained the entire devotion of his soldiers, not only for having led them to a decisive victory, but also for the most splendid proofs of personal courage: on the bridge of the Sarus he slew a giant-like Persian, whom nobody dared to meet in single combat. Sarbar hurried into Persia, and Heraclius once more marched into Pontus. During this year Chosroes concluded an alliance with the Avars: they had been on friendly terms with the emperor since the year 620, but they now listened to the proposals of the Persian, and in 626 they descended into Thrace, laying siege to Constantinople, while Sarbar with a powerful army advanced from Persia, and took up his former quarters on the Asiatic shore of the Bosporus. Heraclius was then encamped on the lower Halys. Every body expected lie would fly to the relief of his capital; but he did just the contrary. He despatched his son Theodore with an army against Sais, the lieutenant of Chosroes, who invaded Mesopotamia, and he himself, with the main body, took up a position in the Caucasus, taking no notice of Sarbar and the Avars. His plan was admirable, and crowned with complete success. In the Caucasus he was joined by the khan Ziebel, with whom lie had just concluded an offensive and defensive alliance, and who now hastened to his assistance with a powerful army of Khazars. The khan with his main army invaded Media; Heraclius, with his Greeks and 50,000 Khazarian auxiliaries, attacked Assyria; and Constantinople stood firmly against its assailants. As neither of the besiegers had ships, they could not effect a junction, and thus the Avars withdrew, after having sustained several severe defeats, and Sarbar amused himself with besieging Chalcedon, thus running the risk of being cut off from Persia: for in the following year, 627, Heraclius made an irresistible attack against tile very heart of the Persian empire. He crossed the Great Zab, and encamped on the ruins of Nineveh. Rhazates, the Persian general, took up a fortified position [p. 405] near the junction of the Little Zab and the Tigris. There he was attacked and routed by the emperor, in the month of December, 627, and an immense booty remained in the hands of the victors. A few days afterwards Heraclius took Dastagerd or Artemita, not far from Ctesiphon, which was the favourite residence of Chosroes, and the numerous palaces of the king in the neighbourhood of that town were likewise taken and plundered. The booty was so great as to baffle description, though we must not believe the Arabic historians when they say that in the treasury of Dastagerd the king used annually to deposit the greater part of the income of the empire, which amounted to two hundred millions of pounds sterling, and that the Greek emperor found in the treasury a thousand chests full of diamonds and other precious stones. Chosroes fled to Seleuceia, and thence into the interior of Persia. The only army left to him was that of Sarbar, and he sent messengers to Chalcedon to urge his immediate return. The messengers were intercepted, but Heraclius ordered them to be released, taking care, however, to substitute another letter for that written by the king, in which it was said that the king was victorious on all sides, and that Sarbar might continue the siege of Chalcedon.
  The protracted absence of Sarbar in such a critical moment was certain proof of high treason in the eyes of the Persian king, and a confident officer was despatched into the camp of Chalcedon, bearing an order to the second in command, directing him to kill Sarbar. The despatch fell into Sarbar's hands: he inserted after his name those of four hundred of the principal officers, who seeing their lives in danger, agreed with the proposition of their commander to conclude a separate peace with the Greeks. Deprived of his only army and his best general, Chosroes was unable to oppose resistance to a new attack of Heraclius upon the heart of Persia. He fled to the East, abandoning the West to the victorious Greeks; but the loyalty of his subjects ceased with his victories, and Chosroes became the victim of a rebellion headed by his own son, Siroes, by whom he was put to death in the month of February, A. D. 628. In the following month of March a peace was concluded between Heraclius and Siroes, in consequence of which the ancient limits of the two empires were restored, and the holy cross was given back to the Christians. It was presented to the holy sepulchre by Heraclius himself in A. D. 629. Previous to this, however, the emperor celebrated his victories by a triumphal entrance into Constantinople : the blessings of his subjects followed him wherever he went, and his fame spread over the world from Europe to the remotest corners of India. Ambassadors from that country, from the Frankish king, Dagobert, and many other eastern and western princes, came to Constantinople to congratulate the emperor on his having overthrown the hereditary enemy of the Roman empire.
  The glory acquired by Heraclius was of short duration. The provinces reconquered from the Persians he was deprived of for ever by the Arabs. Our space does not allow us to give more than a short sketch of the long and bloody war that gave a new religion and a new master to the East.
  On his way to Jerusalem in A. D. 629, Heraclius received at Edessa an ambassador of Mohammed, who summoned the empeior to adopt the new religion. In spite of this insult the emperor condescended to conclude a treaty of friendship with the prophet. A small town, however, on the frontier of Syria was plundered by some Arabs, and this trifling circumstance was the signal of a general war, which Mohammed feared all the less as the Greek empire was exhausted through the long wars with the Persians. The war was continued by Mohammed's successors, Abubekr and Omar; and before Heraclius died, Syria, Palaestine, and Jerusalem, Mesopotamia and Egypt, were annexed to the dominion of the Khalifs. Heraclius did not command his armies, as he had done with so much success against Chosroes, but spent his days in pleasures and theological controversies in his palace at Constantinople. The motives of his inactivity are unknown to us, and we are inclined to ascribe the misfortunes of the last ten years of his reign to bodily sufferings and debility, the consequence of his numerous campaigns and of the many wounds which he had received in his daring exploits, rather than to some mental derangement, or to that sort of character which has been given him by modern historians, who represent him as possessing a mixture of energy and laziness of such an extraordinary description as to be hardly consistent with the organisation of the human mind. So Iong as there is no positive evidence of the most unequivocal character, no man, and still less a great man, ought to be declared either a madman or a fool. Heraclius died on the 11 th of March (February), A. D. 641, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Heraclius, called Constantine III., whom he had by his first wife, Eudoxia; lie left another son, Heracleonas, by his second wife, Martina. A colossal statue of Heraclius was shown at Barletto in Apulia so late as the end of the fifteenth century. (Theophan., ed. Paris; Nicephor., ed. Paris; Cedrenus, ed. Paris; Chronicon Alexandrinum; Zonar. vol. ii., ed. Paris; Manasses; Glycas, &c., ed. Paris.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Eudocia Fabia, wife of the emperor Heraclius. She was the daughter of a certain African noble, and was at Constantinople (A. D. 610) when Heraclius, to whom she was betrothed, having assumed the purple in Africa, sailed to Constantinople to dethrone the tyrant Phocas. Phocas shut her up in a monastery with the mother of Heraclius; but his fall led to their release. She was married on the day of Heraclius's coronation, and crowned with him, and, according to Zonaras, received from him the name of Fabia; but Cedrenus makes Fabia her original name, which is more likely. She had by Heraclius, according to Zonaras, three children, a daughter Epiphania, and two sons, the elder named Heraclius and the younger Constantine. She died soon after the birth of the youngest child. Cedrenus assigns to them only a daughter and one son, who was, according to him, called both Heraclius and Constantine. He places the death of Eudocia in the second year of Heraclius, A. D. 612. (Zonaras, Annales; Cedrenus, Compendium)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Dec 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Heracleonas

Heracleonas (Herakleionas), the second son of the emperor Heraclius, reigned together with his brother, Constantine III., after the death of their father in March (February), A. D. 641, and he succeeded his brother in the month of June (May) following. Constantine III. had two sons, but their legitimate rights were disregarded by his ambitious stepmother Martina, who placed her younger son, Heracleonas, on the throne, and reigned in his name till the following month of September, when her misgovernment was put an end to by a revolt of the people, headed by Valentinus, the commander of the troops in Asia. Martina was punished with the loss of her tongue, and Heracleonas was deprived of his nose. They were both confined in a convent, and finished their days in obscurity. Heracleonas was succeeded by Constans II., the son of his brother, Constantine III.


Constantinus III., Flavius Heraclius (641 AD)

Constantinus III., Flavius Heraclius, called Novus Constantinus, emperor of the East,A. D. 641, the son of the emperor Heraclius by his first wife, Eudoxia, was born in May, 612, and succeeded his father on the 11th of March (February), 641, together with his younger half-brother Heracleonas, the succession being thus established by the testament of their father. Constantine died as early as the 22nd of June (25th of May) A. D. 641, after a reign of 103 days, either from ill-health, or probably from poison administered to him by his step-mother Martina. His successor was his brother Heracleonas. Constantine distinguished himself personally in a war against the Persians. Advised by his rapacious treasurer, Philagrius, he sacrilegiously ordered the grave of his father to be robbed of a golden crown of seventy pounds' weight, which stuck so fast to the head of the dead emperor, that the corpse was mutilated in removing the crown from it. (Theophan.; Cedren.; Zonar.; Glycas)


Constans II., Flavius Heraclius, (641-668 AD)

Constans II., Flavius Heraclius, emperor of the East, A. D. 641-668, the elder son of the emperor Constantine III. and the empress Gregoria, was born on the 7th of November, A. D. 630, and his original name was Heraclius. After the death of his father, who reigned but a few months, in A. D. 641, the throne was seized by Heracleonas, the younger brother of Constantine III.; but as Heracleonas was a tool in the hands of his ambitious mother, Martina, he incurred the hatred of the people, and a rebellion broke out, which was headed by Valentinus Caesar. Valentine at first compelled Heracleonas to admit his nephew Heraclius as co-regent, and on this occasion Heraclius adopted the name of Constantine, which he afterwards changed into that of Constans. Not satisfied with this result, Valentine proclaimed Constans sole emperor: Heracleonas and Martina were made prisoners, and, after being mutilated, were sent into exile. Thus Constans II. succeeded in the month of August, A. D. 641, and on account of his youth was obliged to be satisfied with only the name of emperor, and to abandon his authority to Valentine, who is probably identical with one Valentinian, who rebelled in A. D. 644, but was killed in a skirmish in the streets of Constantinople.
  The reign of Constans II. is remarkable for the great losses which the empire sustained by the attacks of the Arabs and Longobards or Lombards. Egypt, and at last its capital, Alexandria, had been conquered by 'Amru, the general of the khalif 'Omar, towards the close of the reign of the emperor Heraclius, the grandfather of Constans (A. D. 610-641). Anxious to regain possession of Alexandria, Constans fitted out an expedition against Egypt, and we are informed by the Chinese annalists, that he sent ambassadors to the emperor of China, Taisum, to excite him to a war against the Arabs, by whom the Chinese possessions in Turkistan were then infested. This emperor reigned from A. D. 627 till 650, and as the Christian religion was preached in China during his reign by Syrian monks, from which we may conclude that an intercourse existed between China and the Greek empire, the fact related by the Chinese annalists seems worthy of belief, especially as the danger from the Arabs was common to both the empires. When Manuel, the commander of the imperial forces, appeared with a powerful fleet off Alexandria, the inhabitants took up arms against the Arabic governor 'Othman, and with their assistance Manuel succeeded in taking the town (A. D. 646). But he maintained himself there only a short time. 'Amru approached with a strong army; he took the town by assault, and Manuel fled to Constantinople with the remnants of his forces. A considerable portion of Alexandria was destroyed, and the Greeks never got possession of it again. Encouraged by this success, the khalif 'Omar ordered his lieutenant 'Abdu-l-lah to invade the Greek possessions in northern Africa. 'Abdu-l-lah met with great success; he conquered and killed in battle Gregorius, the imperial governor of Africa, and the Greeks ceded to him Tripolitana, and promised to pay an annual tribute for the remaining part of the imperial dominions in Africa. This treaty was concluded without the consent of Constans, and although it was dictated by necessity, the emperor blamed and punished his officers severely, and shewed so much resentment against his subjects in Africa, that he took revenge upon them seventeen years afterwards, as is mentioned below.
  While 'Abdu-l-lah was gaining these advantages in Africa, Mu'awiyah, who subsequently became khalif, drove the Greeks out of Syria, and, after conquering that country, sailed with a fleet of 1700 small craft to Cyprus, conquered the whole island, and imposed upon the inhabitants an annual tribute of 7200 pieces of gold. The island, however, was taken from the Arabs two years after the conquest, by the imperial general Cacorizus. The Arabs made also considerable progress in Cilicia and Isauria, which were ravaged by Bizr, one of their best generals. While the finest provinces of the East thus became a prey to the khalifs, the emperor was giving all his attention towards the protection of monothelism, to which sect he was addicted, and the persecution of the orthodox catholic faith. Unable to finish the religious contest by reasonable means, Constans issued an edict by which he prohibited all discussions on religious subjects, hoping thus to establish monothelism by oppressive measures. This edict, which is known by the name of "Typus", created as much discontent as laughter: it was rejected by the pope and generally by all the churches in Italy, and contributed much to ruin the emperor in public opinion. His subjects manifested publicly their contempt for his character, and the governors of distant provinces paid so little respect to his authority, that they seemed to be independent princes. A revolt broke out in Armenia under Pasagnathus, who made himself completely independent; but he afterwards returned to obedience.
  As early as 648, a truce for two years had been concluded between the Arabs and Constans. 'Abdu-l-lah availed himself of that truce to invade and conquer Nubia and Abyssinia; but he returned in 651, renewed hostilities, and sent an expedition against Sicily, where the Arabs took several places, and maintained themselves there. In the same year Mu'awiyah spread terror through both the East and the West by the conquest of Rhodes, and it was on this occasion that the famous colossus was sold to a Jew of Edessa.
  The fall of Rhodes failed to rouse Constans from his carelessness. He still endeavoured to compel obedience to his "Typus" in Italy, although it had been condemned by pope Martin I. Theodorus Calliopas, the imperial exarch in Italy, arrested Martin in his own palace in 653, and sent him from thence to Messina, afterwards to the island of Naxos, and at last, in 654, to Constantinople. Here, after a mock trial, he was condemned of holding treacherous correspondence with the infidels, and was mutilated and banished to Cherson, in the Chersonnesus Taurica, where he died in September, A. D. 655. Many other bishops of the orthodox faith were likewise persecuted, among whom was St. Maximus, who died in exile in the Caucasus, in 662.
  In 655, the war with the Arabs became alarmingly dangerous. Mu'awiyah, then governor of Syria, fitted out a fleet, which he entrusted to the command of Abu-l-abar, while he himself with the land forces marched against Caesareia, whence he intended to proceed to the Bosporus. In this imminent danger Constans gave the command of Constantinople to his eldest son, Constantine, and sailed himself with his own ships against the hostile fleet. The two fleets met off the coast of Lycia, and an obstinate battle ensued, in which the Greeks were at last completely defeated. Constantinople seemed to be lost. But the khalif 'Othman was assassinated in 655, and Mu'awiyah, who was chosen in his stead, was obliged to renounce the conquest of Constantinople, and to defend his own empire against the attempts of 'Ali, and afterwards of his son Hasan, who assumed the title of khalif, and maintained themselves at Kufa till 668. Delivered from the Arabs, Constans made war upon the Slavonian nations south and north of the Danube with great success.
  In 661, Constans put his brother Theodosius to death. The reasons for this crime are not well known; for, as Theodosius had taken orders, and was consequently unfit for reigning, political jealousy could not be the cause; perhaps there was some religious difference between the two brothers. The murder of his brother pressed heavily upon him; he constantly dreamt about him, and often awoke, crying out that Theodosius was standing at his bedside, holding a cup of blood, and saying, "Drink, brother, drink !" His palace at Constantinople was insupportable to him, and he at last resolved to quit the East and to fix his residence in Italy. The political state of this country, however, was as strong a reason for the emperor's presence there as the visions of a murderer.
  As early as A. D. 641, Rotharis, king of the Longobards, attacked the imperial dominions in northern Italy, and conquered the greater part of them. One of his successors, Grimoald, had formed designs against the Greek possessions in southern Italy, where the emperor was still master of the duchies of Rome and Naples, with both the Calabrias. Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica belonged likewise to the Greek empire. The emperor's authority in Italy was much shaken by the religious and civil troubles which he had caused there by his absurd edict, the "Typus"; but, on the other hand, the dissensions among the dukes and other great chiefs of the Longobards seemed to afford a favourable chance for the re-establishment of the Roman empire of Italy by the Greeks, an enterprise which one hundred years before the emperor Justinian had so gloriously achieved by his general Narses. Under these circumstances, Constans resolved not only to imitate the example of Justinian, but to make Rome once more the centre of the Roman empire. His resolution caused the greatest surprise, for since the downfall of the Western empire no emperor had resided, nor even made a momentary stay, in Italy. "But", said Constans, "the mother (Rome) is worthier of my care than the daughter (Constantinople)"; and, having fitted out a fleet, he fixed the day of his departure, and ordered the empress and his three sons to accompany him. He waited for them on board of his galley, but no sooner had they left the imperial palace, than the people of Constantinople rose in revolt and prevented them by force from joining the emperor. Being informed of this, Constans spit against the city, cursed its inhabitants, and ordered the sailors to weigh anchor. This took place towards the end of 662. Constans stayed the winter at Athens, having previously appointed his eldest son, Constantine, governor of Constantinople. Our space prevents us from giving an account of his campaign in Italy ; it is sufficient to state, that though he met at first with some success, his troops were afterwards defeated by the Longobards, and he was obliged to relinquish his design of subduing them. After plundering the churches and other public buildings of Rome of their finest ornaments and treasures, he took up his residence at Syracuse for a time. In this city also he gratified his love of avarice and cruelty to such an extent, that many thousands fled from the island and settled in different parts of Syria, especially at Damascus, where they adopted the religion of Mohammed. The emperor's absence from the seat of government excited Mu'awiyah to make fresh inroads into the Greek provinces.
  It has been already related that Constans was deeply offended on account of the treaty having been concluded without his consent between his officers in Africa and the Arabian general 'Abdu-l-lah. In 665, Mu'awiyah being then chiefly occupied in the eastern part of the Khalifate, Constans resolved to revenge himself upon his subjects in Africa, and accordingly imposed a tribute upon them which was more than double what they had engaged to pay to the Arabs. This avaricious and imprudent measure caused a revolt. They invited the Arabs to take possession of their country, promising to make no resistance. Upon this Mu'awiyah entered Africa, defeated the few troops who were faithful to Constans, and extended his conquests as far as the frontiers of Mauretania. During the same time the Longobards extended their conquests in Italy. Despised and hated by all his subjects, Constans lost his life by the hand of an assassin, at least in a most mysterious manner, perhaps by the intrigues of orthodox priests. On the 15th of July, 668, he was found drowned in his bath at Syracuse. He left three sons, Constantine IV. Pogonatus, his successor, Heraclius, and Tiberius. The name of his wife is not known. (Theophanes; Cedrenus; Zonaras; Glycas; Philo Byzantinus, Libellus de, Septem Orbis Spectaculis; Paulus Diaconus (Warnefried), De Gestis Longobardorum; Abulfeda, Vita Mohammed)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Gregorius

Gregorius, a Patrician, as Theophanes calls him, of the Byzantine province of Africa at the time of its first invasion by the Saracens. By the aid of the "Africans" Gregory revolted from the Byzantine empire, and made himself " tyrannus", or independent sovereign of the province. This was in A. D. 646, in the reign of Constans II. Perhaps his insurrection suggested or encouraged the purpose of invading the province; for the next year (A. D. 647), the Mohammedan army advanced westward from Egypt, and Gregory was entirely defeated by them. We gather from Theophanes only the bare facts of Gregory's revolt and defeat; but Arab or Moorish writers afford various particulars of a very romantic and improbable character, which have been embodied in the work of Cardonne, and copied at length by Gibbon.
(Theophan. Chronog. vol. i.; Cardonne, Histoire de de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne sous la Domination des Arabes, vol. i.; Gibbon, c. 51)


Constantinus IV., Flavius (668-685 AD)

Constantinus IV., Flavius, surnamed Pogonatus or Barbatus, emperor of the East, A. D. 668-685, the eldest son of Constans II., succeeded his father in 668. Constans having lost his life by assassination at Syracuse, his murderers, who seemed to have had great power, and who were assisted by the Greek army stationed in Sicily, chose as emperor one Mizizus, Mecentius, or Mezzetius, an Armenian. Constantine fitted out an expedition against the usurper, quelled the rebellion in 669, and put Mizizus to death. After a short stay at Syracuse, Constantine sailed back to Constantinople, carrying with him the body of his father; but no sooner [p. 838] was he gone, than an Arabic fleet, perhaps invited thither by the rebels, appeared off Syracuse. The place was taken by surprise and partly destroyed, and the riches and statues, the plunder of Rome, collected there by Constans, were carried by the Arabs to Alexandria. The Greek troops in Asia revolted soon after the return of the emperor. They would be governed by a "Trinity", and not by a sole sovereign, and demanded that Constantine should divide his authority with his two brothers, Heraclius and Tiberius, who had the title but not the power of Augusti. This rebellion was likewise soon quelled, and Constantine pardoned both his brothers. At the same time, an Arabic army commanded by Ukbah and Dinar invaded the remaining part of the Greek dominions in Africa (Mauretania), penetrated as far as the shores of the Atlantic, and ravaged the country so fearfully, that both the Greek and Berber inhabitants rose in despair, and, under the command of a native chief named Kussileh, surprised the Moslems, and killed nearly all of them. This however was no advantage to the emperor, since Kussileh succeeded in seizing the supreme power in that country.
  In 671 the Arabs equipped a powerful fleet with the intention of laying siege to Constantinople. They conquered Smyrna and nearly all the islands of the Grecian archipelago, and began the blockade of Constantinople in the spring of 672; but, after a protracted siege of five months,were compelled to sail back, after sustaining immense losses from the Greek fire, which had just been invented by Callinicus, a native of Heliopolis in Syria, and was first employed in that siege. Yezid, the son of the khalif Mu'awiyah, who commanded the Arabic forces, returned in the following spring, and, during a period of seven years, regularly appeared before Constantinople in the spring, and sailed to his winter-quarters in the autumn, but was not able to take the city. During the last siege, in 679, the Arabic fleet lost so many ships by the Greek fire, that Yezid was compelled to make a hasty retreat, and not having a sufficient number of ships for his numerous forces, despatched a body of 30,000 men by land for Syria, while he embarked the rest on board his fleet. But his fleet was destroyed by a storm, and the land army was overtaken and cut to pieces by a Greek army commanded by Florus, Petronas, and Cyprianus. This unfortunate campaign, and the war at the same time with the Maronites or Druses of Mount Lebanon, pressed so heavily upon the khalif Mu'awiyah, that, wishing for peace, he signed the conditions offered him by Constantine, and he thus became liable, for the period of thirty years, to an annual tribute of 3000 pounds of gold accompanied by rich presents of slaves and horses. By this glorious peace the authority of the Greek emperor rose to such a height, that all the minor powers of Asia sought his protection. But his name was less dreaded in Europe, for he was compelled by the Bulgarians to cede to them that country south of the Danube which is still called Bulgaria.
  In 680 Constantine assembled the sixth general council at Constantinople, by which the Monothelists were condemned and peace was restored to the church. In 681 the emperor's brothers, Heraclius and Tiberius, were both deprived of their dignity of Augustus, which title Constantine conferred upon his son Justinian. We know almost nothing of the last five years of the reign of Constantine: he died in the month of September, 685, and was succeeded by his son, Justinian II.
  Besides the wars which signalized the reign of Constantine IV., there is an event not less remarkable, which most probably took place during the same period. We allude to the new division of the empire, which had hitherto been administered according to the ancient system, so that, for instance, all the Asiatic dominions were ruled by a civil governor or proconsul, and the whole army stationed in that part of the empire had likewise but one chief commander, the praefect of Asia. The constant incursions of the Arabs required the presence of different moveable corps stationed in the frontier provinces, the commanders of which were independent of one another : these bodies were called themata (themata), from thema (pema), a position. This name was afterwards given to the districts in which such corps were stationed, and its use became so general, that at last the whole empire was divided into twenty-nine themata, seventeen of which were in the eastern and southern or Asiatic part of the empire, and twelve in the northern and western parts, from the Cimmerian Bosporus to Sicily. This important change in the administration of the empire took place in the latter years of the reign of Heraclius, or in the reign of Constantine IV., that is, from about 635 to 685. But although we do not precisely know the year, there are many reasons for believing that Constantine IV. was the originator of that plan. (Cedren.; Zonar.; Glycas; Theophan.; Paulus Diacon. De Gestis Longobard.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Justinian II. (685-695 & 704-711 AD)

Justinian II., surnamed Rhinotmetus (he whose nose is cut off), emperor of the East (A. D. 685-695 and 704-711), succeeded his father Constantine IV. Pogonatus, in the month of September, A. D. 685, at the age of sixteen. Soon after his accession he made a truce of ten years with the khalif 'Abdu-l-malek, which is very remarkable in the history of the Eastern empire. The civil wars by which the empire of the Arabs was shaken compelling the khalif to cease making war without his realm, in order to obtain peace within, he bound himself to pay a daily "tribute of 1000 pieces of gold, one slave, and one horse of noble breed". The emperor in his turn ceded to the khalif one moiety of the income of Armenia, Iberia (in the Caucasus), and Cyprus, which were henceforth held in joint occupancy by the two monarchs, and he promised to employ his forces and authority in compelling the Mardaites or Maronites, in Mount Lebanon, to refrain from molesting the Arabs. This promise was a great political blunder, the consequences of which are still felt by the inhabitants of the Lebanon and Syria. Leontius, one of the most distinguished generals of the Greeks, and afterwards emperor, having been charged with executing the treaty in the case of the Maronites, assassinated their chief Joannes, compelled the people to take the oath of allegiance, and persuaded 10,000 Maronites to leave their native mountains with their wives and children, and to settle in Thrace and Armenia. Until then the Christian Maronites had been a barrier against the progress of the Arabs in these quarters, and no sooner were they thus dispersed than the Mohammedans obtained a firm footing in the Taurus and Anti-Taurus, and found themselves enabled to invade Asia Minor at their leisure. It is true the Maronites never lost their independence entirely, but other tribes, hostile to them, settled in Lebanon; and they continued to be what they still are, an outpost surrounded by the enemies of Christianity, scarcely able to maintain themselves on their native rocks, and unable to make a step beyond them.
  It was expected that the energy which young Justinian had shown on many occasions would lead him to perform great and good actions; but his bad character soon became manifest, and caused a universal and deep disappointment throughout his dominions. Instead of establishing peace in the church, he caused new dissensions through his intolerance : the Manichaeans were cruelly persecuted ; many thousands were put to death by the sword or by fire; and the remainder were driven into merciless exile. In 688 he broke the peace with the Bulgarians, and obtained a splendid victory over them; but having allowed himself to be surprised by another army, he was totally routed, lost half of his troops, and fled in confusion to Constantinople. About the same time the Arabs set out for their fourth invasion of Africa. Justinian exerted himself with great activity in opposing their designs; a numerous fleet carrying a strong body of troops, left Constantinople, and, being reinforced by the garrisons of Sicily, compelled the Arabs to retreat in haste to their native country. Instead of availing himself of his success, Justinian foolishly gave up his joint occupancy of Cyprus, which was forthwith seized by the Arabs, who, encouraged by the strange conduct of the emperor, invaded Asia Minor and Mesopotamia in 692, and in the following year conquered all Armenia. Justinian consoled himself with pleasures, and found relief in torturing his subjects. His luxury, especially his love of erecting magnificent buildings, in which he rivalled his great namesake Justinian I., involved him in extraordinary expenses, and the art of inventing new taxes soon became his favourite occupation. He was ably assisted by two monsters whose names are branded in the history of civilisation. Stephanus, the minister of finances, so pleased his master by his skill in plundering, that he continued to enjoy his favours, although he threatened the emperor's mother, Anastasia, with the punishment inflicted upon naughty children; and the monk Theodatus, who rose to the dignity of Logotheta, was unsurpassed in the art of realising the rapacious measures of his colleague. Those who could not pay the taxes were driven out of their homes, tortured, or hanged by hundreds; and those who refused paying them were stifled with the smoke of damp burning straw, till they gave up either their property or their lives. The people of Constantinople, exasperated by rapacity and cruelty, showed symptoms of rebellion, and, in a moment of fury, Justinian ordered his guards to rush into the streets and to massacre all whom they might find abroad. The order became known before it was executed, and a general rebellion ensued, to which chance gave an able and successful leader. Leontius, the commander against the Maronites, having become suspected by Justinian, soon after his return from that campaign was arrested and confined in a prison, where he remained about three years, till the emperor, who neither dared to put him to death, nor liked to have him alive in his capital, suddenly restored him to liberty, and gave him the government of Greece, with an order to set out immediately. As he was in the act of stepping on board a galley in the Golden Horn, he was stopped by an exasperated and trembling crowd, who implored him to save them from the fury of Justinian. Without hesitation he put himself at the head of the people. To St. Sophia! they shouted. Thousands of well-armed men soon surrounded the cathedral, and in a few hours the revolution was achieved, and Leontius was seated on the imperial throne. Justinian, a prisoner loaded with chains, was dragged before him; the mob demanded his head; but Leontius remembering the kindness of the father of Justinian, saved the life of his rival, and banished him to Cherson in the present Crimea. Previous to his departure, however, Justinian had his nose cut off: hence his name Rhinotmetos. (A. D. 695)
  After a reign of three years Leontius was dethroned and confined in a prison, in 698, by Tiberius Absimarus, who reigned till 704, when the exiled Justinian regained possession of his throne under the following circumstances:
In his exile Justinian thought of nothing but revenge, and his misfortunes, far from smoothing his violent temper, increased the fury of his passions. He ill treated the inhabitants of Cherson, where he seems to have exercised some power, or enjoyed at least too much liberty, so unmercifully that they formed a plan to put him to death. He escaped their just resentment by a sudden flight to Busirus, the khan of the Khazars, who received him well, gave him his sister Theodora in marriage, and assigned him the town of Phanagoria, in the present island of Taman- on the Cimmerian Bosporus, as a residence. When Tiberius became informed of this, he bribed Busirus, who sent out messengers with an order to kill the imperial refugee. But Theodora discovered their designs, and having communicated them to her husband, he killed two of the messengers, sent his faithful wife back to her brother, and escaped to Terbelis, the king of the Bulgarians. Terbelis was soon persuaded to undertake one of those sudden inroads for which the Bulgarians were so much dreaded in those times, and before Tiberius knew that his rival had fled from Phanagoria, he saw him with fifteen thousand Bulgarian horse under the walls of Constantinople. Some adherents of Justinian led the barbarians secretly into the city, and flight was now the only safety for Tiberius. Overtaken at Apollonia, he was carried back to Constantinople, and together with his brother Heraclius, and the deposed and still captive emperor Leontius, dragged before Justinian, who was just amusing himself in the Hippodrome. While they lay prostrate before him the tyrant placed his feet on the necks of his two rivals, and continued to look at the performances and to listen to the savage demonstration of joy of the people, who were shouting the verses of the psalmist: "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under thy feet." Having at last satisfied his revenge he ordered them to be put to death. A system of persecution was now carried on against the adherents of Leontius and Tiberius, of which few examples are found in Byzantine history: the capital and the provinces swarmed with informers and executioners, who committed unheard of cruelties, while the confiscated property of the unhappy victims was employed in satisfying the demands of Terbelis. As early as 708 the friendship between the khan and the emperor was at an end. Terbelis treated and was justified in treating Justinian as a madman. War was declared, and Justinian having suffered a total defeat at Anchialus, returned to Constantinople to commit fresh cruelties. About this time the Arabs took Tyana and made great progress in Asia Minor, and the inhabitants of Ravenna having shown their discontent with the rapacity of the exarch, an expedition was sent against them, and after the town had been taken, it was treated worse than if it had belonged to the Persians or Bulgarians: the rich spoil of that ruined city was carried to Constantinople. In 710 Pope Constantine was summoned to appear at Nicomedeia before the emperor, who had some ecclesiastical reform in view, and he went thithertrembling, but against his expectation was treated with great honours, and returned in the following year. From Nicomedeia, where he had resided for some time, Justinian was compelled to fly suddenly to his capital, as a body of Arabs had penetrated as far as Chalcedon. Unable to obtain any advantage over them, Justinian resolved to cool his fury in the blood of the Chersonites, and the savage Stephanus was sent against them with a fleet and the order to destroy the whole population. They found, however, time to fly into the country, and Stephanus returned in anger, after having hanged, drowned, or roasted alive, only a few hundreds where he hoped to massacre thousands. Neither he nor his fleet reached the capital: a storm destroyed the ships, and the Euxine swallowed up the crew. He had no sooner left Cherson than the inhabitants returned to their city, a general insurrection arose, and Bardanes was proclaimed emperor, and assumed the purple under the name of Philippicus (Philepicus). Infuriated at the loss of his fleet, and the escape of the Chersonites, Justinian fitted out a second expedition, under the command of Maurus, who, however, found Cherson well fortified and still better defended. Trembling to appear before their master without having executed his bloody orders, Maurus with his whole army joined Philippicus, who, with them and his own forces, forthwith sailed for Constantinople. Meanwhile, Justinian was gone to Sinope, on the Euxine, opposite the Crimea, in order to be as near as possible to the theatre of the war, and he was delighted when he discovered his fleet on the main in the direction of the Bosporus. He was soon informed of the rebellion, and hastened to his capital, in order to prepare a vigorous defence, but on his way thither he received the terrible news that Constantinople had surrendered to Philippicus, and that his son, the youthful Tiberius, had been assassinated on the altar of the Church of the Holy Virgin. He hastened back to Sinope, but while he was hesitating what to do, he was overtaken by Elias, once his friend, but whom he had cruelly persecuted, and who put him to death (December, 711). Elias struck off the tyrant's head and sent it to Constantinople, where it arrived in January, 712. Philippicus now reigned without opposition. Justinian was the last emperor of the family of the great Heraclius; and he was the first who caused the image of Christ to be put on his coins.
(Theophan.; Niceph. Call.; Cedren.; Zonaras, vol. ii.; Glycas; Const. Manasses; Const. Porphyr. De Adm. Imp. c. 22, 27; Suidas, s. v. Ioustinianos; Paulus Diacon. De Gest. Longob. vi. 11, 12, 31, 32)

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Leontius II., (695-698 AD)

Leontius II. (Leontios), emperor of Constantinople (A. D. 695-698), deposed and succeeded the emperor Justinian II. towards the end of A. D. 695. He appears first in history as commander of the imperial troops against the Maronites, in which capacity he gave cause for suspicion, and accordingly after his return to Constantinople, he was put into prison. His popularity, however, was so great, that the emperor did not dare to give him a fair trial, but kept him in confinement during three years, when, at last, he released him on condition of his leaving the capital, and taking the supreme civil and military command in Greece. Leontius was on the point of sailing from the Golden Horn, when the people, exasperated by the tyranny of Justinian, rose in rebellion, in consequence of which Justinian was deposed, and Leontius raised to the imperial dignity. The particulars of this revolution are given in the life of Justinian II. In the first year of the reign of Leontius the empire enjoyed universal peace, as Theophanus says, except, however, at Ravenna, where a frivolous riot caused much destruction and bloodshed. In the second year of his reign (697) an event occurred which is of the greatest importance in the history of Italy, as well as of all Europe and the East. Until that year Venice had belonged to the Byzantine empire, forming part of the government of Istria; but its advantageous position, and the independent and enterprising spirit of its inhabitants, had raised it to such importance and wealth, that its ruin was certain, if it remained any longer exposed to the consequences of the numerous court-revolutions at Constantinople. The Venetians, accordingly, resolved upon forming an independent government, and in 697 chose Paulus Lucas Anafestus, commonly called Paoluccio, their first sovereign duke or doge. It seems, however, that this change took place with the connivance of the Byzantine government, for during many years afterwards friendly relations were kept up between Venice and Constantinople. In the same year, 697, the Arabs set out for their fifth invasion of Africa; and, after having defeated the Greeks in many engagements, their commander, Hasan, took Carthage. He lost it again, but retook it in the following year, 698. In order to expel the Arabs from the capital of Africa, Leontius sent reinforcements to the Patrician Joannes, the commander-in-chief in Africa, who succeeded in forcing the entrance of the harbour, but was beaten back again, and compelled to a shameful flight. Carthage now was destroyed by the Arabs, and has since disappeared from among the cities of the world. Joannes sailed for Constantinople in order to obtain a re-inforcement, and try another chance. His land and sea forces were both equally mortified at the disgraceful result of the expedition; and Absimarus, one of their leaders, persuaded them that they would suffer for a defeat of which the commander-in-chief was the only cause. His words took effect; a mutiny broke out when the fleet was off Crete; Joannes was put to death by the exasperated soldiers; and Absimarus was proclaimed emperor. The surprise of Leontius was extreme when he saw his fleet return to the harbour of Constantinople, and, instead of saluting him, raise the standard of rebellion. Absimarus having bribed the guards on the water side, entered the city without resistance, and seized upon the person of Leontius, who was treated by the usurper as he had treated his predecessor Justinian Rhino tmetus, for the captive emperor had his nose and ears cut off, and was confined in a convent, where he finished his days. The deposition of Leontius and the accession of Absimarus, who adopted the name of Tiberius, took place in 698.
(Theoph.; Cedren.; Niceph. ; Const. Manasses; Zonar. vol. ii; Glycas; Paul. Diacon. vi. 10-14)

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Tiberius III? (698-705 AD)

Tiberius Absimarus, who held the command of the Cibyratae in the fleet of Leontius II., was proclaimed emperor by the mutinous soldiers and sailors, and, returning to Constantinople, he usurped the throne and put Leontius in prison, A. D. 698. The usurper added to his name Absimarus, the respected name of Tiberius. His brother Heraclius, whom he appointed to conduct the war against the Arabs, invaded Syria (A. D. 699--700), and treated the inhabitants with the most inhuman cruelty. The events of this usurper's reign are unimportant. The strangeness of his rise was only equalled by the suddenness of his fall, and by the restoration to the imperial throne of Justinian II. (A. D. 704), who had been expelled by Leontius, as Leontius was expelled by Tiberius.


Philippicus Bardanes (711-713 AD)

Philippicus, or more correctly Philepicus (Philippikos or Philepikos), emperor of Constantinople from December, A. D. 711, to the fourth of June, 713. The account of his accession to the throne is related in the life of the emperor Justinian II. Rhinotmetus. His original name was Bardanes; he was the son of Nicephorus Patricius ; and he had distinguished himself as a general during the reigns of Justinian and his predecessors; he was sent into exile by Tiberius Absimarus, on the charge of aspiring to the crown. After having been proclaimed by the inhabitants of Cherson and by the army, with which he was commanded to exterminate those people by the emperor Justinian II., he assumed the name of Philippicus, or, as extant coins of him have it, Filepicus; Theophanes, however, calls him Philippicus previous to his accession. After the assassination of the tyrant Justinian, Philippicus ruled without opposition, though not without creating much dissatisfaction through his dissolute course of life, and his unwise policy in religious matters. Belonging to the sect of the Monothelists, he deposed the orthodox patriarch Cyrus, and put the heretic John in his stead. The whole East soon embraced, or at least tended towards, Monothelisml; the emperor brought about the abolition of the canons of the sixth council; and the names of the patriarchs, Sergius and Honorius, who had been anathematized by that council, were, on his order, inserted in the sacred diptychs. Philippicus had scarcely arrived in his capital when Terbilis, king of Bulgaria, made his sudden appearance under its walls, burned the suburbs, and retired with many captives and an immense booty.
  During this time the Arabs took and burnt Amasia (712), and in the following year (713) Antioch in Pisidia fell into their hands. The emperor did nothing to prevent these or further disasters ; a plot, headed by the patricians Georgius, surnamed Boraphus, and Theodore Myacius, was entered into to deprive him of his throne; and the fatal day arrived without Philippicus being in the least prepared for it. On the 3rd of June, 713, he celebrated the anniversary of his death; splendid entertainments were given in the hippodrome, the emperor with a brilliant cavalcade paraded through the streets of Constantinople, and when the evening approached, the prince sat down with his courtiers to a sumptuous banquet. According to his habit, Philippicus took such copious libations that his attendants were obliged to put him to bed in a senseless state. On a given signal, one of the conspirators, Rufus, entered the bed-room, and, with the assistance of his friends, carried the drunken prince off to a lonely place, where he was deprived of his eyesight. A general tumult ensued, and the people, disregarding the pretensions of the conspirators, proclaimed one of their own favourites, Anastasius II. Philippicus ended his life in obscurity, but we have no particulars referring to the time of his death.
(Theophan.; Niceph. Const.; Zonar. vol. ii.; Cedrenus; Paul. Discon. de Gest. Longob. vi. 31-33; Suid. s.v. Philippikos)

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Anastasius II (713-715 AD)

Anastasius II.,emperor of Constantinople. The original name of this emperor was Artemius, and he was one of the ministers (Protoasecretis) of the emperor Philippicus, who had his eyes put out by the traitor Rufus, in the month of June A. D. 713. Artemius, universally esteemed for his character and his qualities, was chosen in his stead, and, although his reign was short and disturbed by troubles, he gave sufficient proofs of being worthy to reign. After having punished Rufus and his accomplices, he appointed the Isaurian Leo, who became afterwards emperor, his general in chief against the Lazes and other Caucasian nations, and himself made vigorous preparations against the Arabs, by whom the southern provinces of the empire were then continually harassed. He formed the bold plan of burning the naval stores of the enemy on the coast of Syria, stores necessary for the construction of a large fleet, with which the Arabs intended to lay siege to Constantinople. The commander of the Byzantine fleet was John, who combined the three dignities of grand treasurer of the empire, admiral, and dean of St. Sophia, and who left Constantinople in 715. But the expedition failed, and a mutiny broke out on board the ships, in consequence of which John was massacred, and Theodosius, once a receiver of the taxes, proclaimed emperor. It is probable that the rebel had many adherents in the Asiatic provinces; for while he sailed with his fleet to Constantinople, Anastasius, after having left a strong garrison for the defence of his capital, went to Nicaea for the purpose of preventing all danger from that side. After an obstinate resistance during six months, Constantinople was taken by surprise in the month of January 716, and Anastasius, besieged in Nicaea, surrendered on condition of having his life preserved. This was granted to him by the victorious rebel, who ascended the throne under the name of Theodosius III. Anastasius retired to a convent at Thessalonica. In the third year of the reign of Leo III. Isaurus (721), Anastasius conspired against this emperor at the instigation of Nicetas Xylonites. They hoped to be supported by Terbelis or Terbelius, king of Bulgaria; but their enterprise proved abortive, and the two conspirators were put to death by order of Leo.

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Theodosius III. (716-717 AD)

Theodosius III., was compelled, perhaps, against his will, to be proclaimed emperor of the East in A. D. 716, by the fleet, which also declared that Anastasius, his predecessor, was unfit to reign. Theodosius filled the unimportant office of a collector of the revenue when he was taken to Constantinople to be crowned Emperor of the East. In January 716, he was proclaimed emperor, and in the following year he prudently abdicated, and left the throne for Leo the Isaurian, who commanded the troops in the East. Theodosius spent the rest of his life in the tranquil retirement of a monastery.


Leo III., Flavius Isaurus (718-741 AD)

Leo III., Flavius, surnamed Isaurus, or the Isaurian, emperor of Constantinople (A. D. 718-741), and one of the most remarkable of the emperors of the East, was a native of Isauria, and the son of a respectable farmer, who settled in Thrace, taking his son with him. Young Conon, which was Leo's original name, obtained the place of a spatharius in the army of the emperor Justinian II. Rhinotmetus, and soon rose to eminence through his military talents. Anastasius II., who reigned from A. D. 713-716, gave him the supreme command in Asia, which he was still holding when Theodosius III. deposed that emperor, and seized the crown in January, 716. Summoned to acknowledge Theodosius, the gallant general called him an usurper, and immediately took up arms against him, alleging that he would restore the deposed Anastasius to the throne, but really intending [p. 736] to make himself master of the empire. Artabazes, the commander of the Armenian legions, supported Leo, who had besides many friends in the army. Leo was then holding the field against the Arabs, who had laid siege to Armorium in Galatia. After outwitting Muslima, the general of the Arabs, he set out for Cappadocia, where he found the inhabitants willing to submit to him, but was closely followed by Muslima. Leo would ere long have been pressed by two enemies, had he not anticipated the attack of theweakerof them, the emperor Theodosius. He accordingly left Cappadocia, and his rapid marches afforded him at once the double advantage of leaving the Arabs far behind him, while he daily came nearer to the imperial troops, who were far from being strong enough to resist him in the field. At Nicomedeia he was stopped by a son of Theodosius, who was defeated and taken prisoner. Leo now marched upon Constantinople; and Theodosius, despairing of success, resigned his crown (March 718), and retired to a convent at Ephesus, where he lived peacefully during more than thirty years. Scarcely had Leo received the homage of the people, when the khalif Soliman appeared before Constantinople with a powerful army and a numerous fleet. He considered the trick played by Leo upon Muslima at Armorium as a personal insult, and now came to take revenge. This siege of Constantinople, the third by the Arabs, and one of the most memorable of all, lasted just two years, from the 15th of August, 718, to the 15th of the same month in 720. Soliman died soon after its commencement, and was succeeded by the khalif Omar, who swore by his beard that he would take revenge upon Leo. But Leo sallied out from the Golden Horn with his galleys, the Greek fire consumed the Arabian ships, and the emperor returned laden with booty and captives. In two other naval engagements the Arabs were beaten with still greater losses; and in the beginning of August, 720, their land forces were routed in a pitched battle, with a loss of 28,000 men. Unable to continue the siege any longer, the khalif raised it on the 15th of August, but only a small portion of his fleet -the third he had built for the conquest of Constantinople- reached the harbours of Syria, the greater portion having been destroyed by a storm. So close was the siege, so enormous the preparations of the Arabs, that even the splendid victories of Leo could not prevent the inhabitants of the provinces from thinking Constantinople was lost, since the very news of those victories could not reach them on account of the watchfulness of the besiegers. The whole empire was in consternation, and in the western kingdoms rumours were afloat that the khalif had ascended the throne of the Byzantine emperors. Among those who believed these rumours was Sergius, governor of Sicily, who took measures to make himself independent, and to that effect proclaimed his lieutenant, Basil, king of Sicily and Calabria. Basil accepted the dignity, and adopted the name of Tiberius; while Sergius took proper steps to secure the crown for himself in case of complete success. Meanwhile, however, Leo had bettered his condition so much that he could despatch his general. Paulus, with a few loyal veterans, to Sicily; and through the exertions of this energetic man, the rebellion was soon quelled. Basil was taken prisoner and lost his head; but Sergius escaped to the Lombards in Italy He was subsequently pardoned, and finally succeeded in obtaining again the same government in Italy, which he intended to wrest from the emperor. Another conspiracy that took place in consequence of the critical position of Leo, was that of the deposed emperor, Anastasius II. The plot was not discovered till 721, after the termination of the siege of Constantinople, and Anastasius paid for his temerity with his head.
  In spite of his defeats before Constantinople, the khalif Omar continued the war, and in 726 took Caesareia in Cappadocia, and Neo-Caesareia in Pontus. Leo, however, had not only sufficient forces to make the Arabs feel that he was still more powerful than they, but his authority was so well established, that he undertook to carry out his favourite design, the abolition of the worship of images in the Catholic church. To this effect he issued a general edict, which is one of the most important acts of legislation in the Eastern empire, and perhaps in the whole Christian world. The question of the images was not only a matter of religion, but concerned as much the political state of the empire. The abuse of the images on one side, and the horror in which they were held by the numerous Mohammedans and Jews in the East on the other, gave origin at last to the iconoclasts, or image-breakers. In declaring for them, Leo certainly intended to purify the Catholic creed; but there seems to be no doubt that by removing the images from the churches, he hoped to make the Jews and Mohammedans more favourably inclined to the Christians and a Christian government; and although the adherents of images were very numerous, it cannot be doubted that they would have lost all power if Leo had succeeded in rallying the Iconoclasts, the Jews, the Mohammedans, and the numerous worshippers of fire in Asia, round the throne of an energetic and enlightened emperor. Indeed it seems that the protectors of the Iconoclasts in those earlier times entertained some hope of making them the medium through which the unbelievers would be led to Christ, and the Eastern empire restored to its ancient splendour; and this explains at once the religious and the political importance of the question. In the West the question of the images produced scarcely any effect upon the people, though more upon the Frankish clergy, and still more upon the conduct of the bishops of Rome, who, by declaring in favour of the Iconoclasts, would have been abandoned by the last of their followers. In short, the question of the images, like so many others connected with the domestic history of tile Byzantine empire, was at once religious and political; and while, among the modern writers, Le Beau is but too often influenced by religious opinions, and Gibbon treats the history of that empire too much as a philosopher and an orator, we are entitled to hope that time will bring us another historian who, starting from a mere historical and political point of view, will satisfactorily explain the overwhelming influence of religious controversies upon the social development of the Eastern empire.
  The edict of Leo through which the images were condemned caused a general revolution throughout the whole empire, and was the immediate cause of the loss of Ravenna, Rome, and several other possessions of the Greeks in Italy, which were taken by the Lombards, and of the final separation of the Latin from the Greek church. Germanus, patriarch of Constantinople, Joannes Damascenus, and the violent Joannes Chrysorrhoas, in the East, and pope Gregory II. in the West, were the principal leaders of those who opposed that edict, either by words, writings, or deeds. The pope became so troublesome, that Paulus, exarch of Ravenna, was ordered to make an expedition against Rome. But the ardour of the Romans, who were assisted by the Lombards of Spoleto and Tuscia, and the failure of a plot to assassinate the pope, compelled Paulus to return to Ravenna, where he had trouble enough to maintain his authorityover the inhabitants who worshipped images. In the East a rebellion broke out in the Peloponnesus and the Cyclades, and the inhabitants besieged Constantinople by sea, but Leo compelled them to sail back and to submit to his government. A revolt in Constantinople was not so easily quelled, till, after much bloodshed, Leo felt himself strong enough to depose and banish the patriarch Germanus, and to appoint the iconoclast Anastasius in his place (730). The majority of the professors in the numerous schools and academies of Constantinople declared for the images, which enraged Leo so much, that it is said he gave orders to burn the library of St. Sophia, hoping thereby to prevent the doctors from strengthening their opinions by historical arguments. But this is decidedly an idle story, invented by some ignorant monk, and repeated by fanatics: the library, which contained 36,000 volumes, became probably the prey of some conflagration. Upon this Gregory III., the successor of Gregory II., assembled in 731 a council at Rome, by which the Iconoclasts were condemned; and now the opposition against the emperor became so great as to induce him to send a powerful expedition against Italy, with a special command to reduce Ravenna (734). The expedition failed, and Ravenna and the exarchate fell into the hands of the Lombards, who, after having lost it and gained it again, kept it till 756, when king Aistulph was compelled by Pipin of France to cede it to pope Stephen II., and ever since that province has continued to belong to the papal states. This check in Italy induced Leo to detach Greece, Illyria, and Macedonia from the spiritual authority of the popes, and to submit them to that of the patriarchs of Constantinople; and this is the real, effective cause of the fatal division of the Latin and Greek churches (734).
  During the seven following years the history of Leo offers little more than the horrible details of a protracted war with the Arabs. The khalif Hesham endeavoured to produce an effect upon the minds of the Syrians by supporting an adventurer, who pretended to be Tiberius, the son of Justinianus II., and who was sent by the khalif to Jerusalem, where he made his entrance, in the dress of a Roman emperor. But this was a mere farce. Things were more serious when, in 739, the Arab general Soliman invaded the Roman territories with an army of 90,000 men, who were divided into three separate bodies. The first entered Cappadocia, and ravaged it with fire and sword; the second, commanded by Malek and Batak, penetrated into Phrygia; and the third, under Soliman, covered the rear. Leo, though surprised, had assembled sufficient forces, and his general Acroninus defeated the second body in Phrygia in a pitched battle, in which Malek and Batak were both killed. Soliman withdrew in haste into Syria. In October, 740, an awful earthquake caused great calamities throughout the empire. In Constantinople many of the principal buildings were levelled to the ground; the statues of Constantine the Great, Theodosius the Great, and Arcadius, were thrown from their pedestals; and the wall along the Propontis, together with all its towers, fell at once into the sea. Thrace was covered with ruins. In Bithynia, Nicomedeia and Prenetus were thrown down, and of the entire town of Nicaea, only one building, a church, remained standing. In Egypt several towns disappeared, as it were, with all their inhabitants. On the 18th of June, 741, the emperor Leo died, after long sufferings, and was interred in the church of the Apostles: he was succeeded by his son Constantine V., surnamed Copronymus.
  Leo III., the founder of the Isaurian dynasty, may be charged with cruelty and obstinacy, and he had only received a soldier's education; but he was prudent, active, energetic, just, and decidedly the kind of king whom the corrupted Greeks required. Moreover, he acted upon principles, and never abandoned one of them during the whole course of his life. The orthodox writers have outraged his name because he protected the Iconoclasts, but we know too well the degree of impartiality which they can claim.
(Theophan; Cedren.; Niceph.; Glyc.; Zonar. vol. ii.; Paul. Diacon., De Gest. Long. vi. 47, &c.)

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Gregorius

Gregorius, a pretender to the purple in the time of the emperor Leo III., the Isaurian. Intelligence of the siege of Constantinople by the Saracens, soon after Leo's accession, having reached Sicily, Sergius, general of the Byzantine forces in that island, revolted, and appointed Gregory, who had been one either of his servants or his soldiers, emperor, changing his name to Tiberius (A. D. 718). Theophanes and Cedrenus call this puppet emperor not Gregory, but Basil the son of Gregory Onomagulus, and state that he was a native of Constantinople; but Zonaras calls him Gregory, though he agrees with the other historians as to his taking the name of Tiberius. When the intelligence of these transactions reached Constantinople, Leo, who was already relieved from the pressure of the Saracens, sent one of his officers, Paul, who had held the office of "Chartularius," to put down the revolt. Paul landed at Syracuse with the intelligence of the deliverance of Constantinople, and with letters to the troops, who immediately returned to their allegiance, and seizing Gregory and those whom under Sergius's direction he had appointed to office, delivered them up in bonds to Paulus. Sergius himself fled to the Lombards on the borders of Calabria. Paul put Gregory to death, and sent his head to the emperor, and punished his supporters in various ways. (Theophanes, Chronog. vol. i.; Cedren. vol. i. ; Zonar. xv. 2.)


Constantine V. Copronymus (741-775 AD)

Constantine V., surnamed Copronymus (ho Kopronumos), because he polluted the baptismal font at the time of his baptism, emperor of the East, A. D. 741-775, was the only son of the emperor Leo III. Isaurus. He was born in 719, and succeeded his father in 741. The unfortunate commencement of his reign is related in the life of the emperor Artavasdes. The downfall of this usurper in 743 and the complete success of Constantine caused much grief to pope Zacharias, who had recognized Artavasdes because he protected the worship of images, while Constantine was an iconoclast, at whose instigation a council held at Constantinople in 754 condemned the worship of images throughout the whole Eastern empire. Constantine was most cruel in his proceedings against the orthodox: he anathematized Joannes Damascenus and put to death Constantine, the patriarch of Constantinople, St. Stephanus, and many other fathers who had declared for the images. In 751 Eutychius, exarch of Ravenna, was driven out by Astolf (Astaulphus), king of the Longobards, who united that province with his dominions after the dignity of exarch had been in existence during a period of 185 years. A war having broken out between Astolf and Pipin the Short, king of the Franks, the latter conquered the exarchate and gave it to pope Stephen (755), the first pope who ever had temporal dominions, the duchy of Rome being still a dependency of the Eastern empire. Constantine sent ambassadors to Pipin, Astolf, and the pope, to claim the restitution of the exarchate; but the negotiations proved abor tive, since the emperor could not give them sufficient weight by the display of a formidable army in Italy; for his troops were engaged in disastrous wars with the Arabs, who ravaged Pamphylia, Cilicia, and Isauria; with the Slavonians, who conquered Greece; and with the Bulgarians, who penetrated several times as far as the environs of Constantinople. The Bulgarian king, Paganus, however, suffered a severe defeat from Constantine in 765, in which he was treacherously killed, and Constantine entered his capital in triumph; but in the following year he sustained a severe defeat from the Bulgarians, and was compelled to fly ingloriously, after losing his fleet and army. Constantine still flattered himself with regaining Ravenna, either by force or arms; but after Charlemagne became king of the Franks he relinquished this hope, and united his dominions on the continent of southern Italy with the island of Sicily, putting all those provinces under the authority of the Patricius or governor-general of Sicily. The continental part of the new province or Thema of Sicily was sometimes called Sicilia secunda, whence arose the name of both the Sicilies, which is still the regular designation of the kingdom of Naples. In 774, the empire was once more invaded by the Bulgarians under their king Telericus; but Constantine checked his progress, and in the following year fitted out a powerful expedition to chastise the barbarian. Having resolved to take the command of it in person, he set out for the Haemus ; but some ulcers on his legs, the consequence of his debaucheries, having suddenly burst, he stopped at Arcadiopolis, and finally went on board his fleet off Selembria, where he died from an inflammatory fever on the 14th of September, 775.
  Constantine V. was a cruel, profligate, and most fanatical man; but he was, nevertheless, well adapted for the business of government. He was addicted to unnatural vices; his passion for horses procured him the nickname of Caballinus. He was thrice married : viz. to Irene, daughter of the khagan or khan of the Khazars; a lady called Maria; and Eudoxia Melissena. His successor was his eldest son, Leo IV., whom he had by Irene. During the reign of Constantine V. the beautiful aqueduct of Constantinople, built by the emperor Valens, which had been ruined by the barbarians in the time of the emperor Heraclius, was restored by order of Constantine. (Theophan.; Cedren.; Nicephor. Gregoras; Glycas; Zonar.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Eudocia, 3rd wife of Constantine V.

Eudocia, third wife of the emperor Constantine V. (Copronymus). She was crowned and received the title of Augusta from her husband in the twenty-eighth year of his reign, A. D. 768. (Cedreni Compendium)


Artavasdes (743 AD)

Artavasdes or Artavasdus (Artabasdos) Emperor of Constantinople, was probably descended from a noble Armenian family. During the reign of Constantine V. Copronymus (A. D. 741-775), he was appointed Curopalatus, and married Anna, a daughter of this emperor. Constantine, as his nick-name Caballinus indicates, would havc made an excellent groom, but was a bad emperor; excited by fanaticism, he was active in the destruction of images in the churches, and thus acquired the name of the new Mohammed. Artavasdes, an adherent of the worship of images, profited from the discontent of the people against Constantine, and during a campaign of the emperor against the Arabs, prepared a revolt in Phrygia. Constantine, doubtful of his fidelity, demanded the sons of Artavasdes as hostages for the good conduct of their father, who refused to give them up, and suddenly surprised his master at the head of an army. Constantine was defeated, and fled into Phrygia Pacotiana, where he assembled his troops. Meantime, the rebel had won over the patrician Theophanes Monotes and Anastasius, the patriarch of Constantinople, to his cause. Both these men had great influence among the people, whom they persuaded that Constantine was dead; and thus Artavasdes was proclaimed emperor. He and Constantine both tried to obtain the aid of the Arabs: but they assisted neither, and shewed hostility to both. Artavasdes re-established the worship of images. He conferred the title of emperor upon his eldest son, Nicephorus; and he sent his second son, Nicetas, with an army into Armenia. Constantine found assistance among the warlike inhabitants of Isauria, and early in 743 opened a campaign against Artavasdes, which terminated in the fall of the usurper. In May, 743, Artavasdes was defeated near Sardis; and in August, 743, his son Nicctas was routed at Comopolis in Bithynia : in this battle fell Tigranes, a noble Armenian, the cousin of Artavasdes. The usurper fled to Constantinople, where he was besieged by the imperial forces; and while this city was exposed to the horrors of famine, Nicetas was taken prisoner near Nicomedeia. On the 2nd of November, 743, the besiegers took Constantinople by storm. Artavasdes, his sons, and his principal adherents, had their eyes put out, were conducted through the city on asses, with the tails in their hands, and were afterwards all put to death. Artavasdes was recognized as emperor by pope Zacharias. (Cedrenus, i.; Zonaras, ii; Procopius, de Bell. Pers. i. 2, &c.;)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Leo IV., Flavius Chazarus (775-780 AD)

Leo IV., Flavius, surnamed Chazarus, emperor of Constantinople (A. D. 775-780), belonged to the Isaurian dynasty, and was the eldest son of the emperor Constantine V. Copronymus, whom he succeeded on the 14th of September, 775. He was born on the 25th of January, 750, and received his surname Chazarus on account of his mother Irene, who was a Chazarian princess. Leo, being in weak health, had his infant son Constantine (VI.) crowned in the year after his accession, and his five brothers, Nicephorus Caesar, Christophorus Caesar, Nicetas, Anthemeus, and Eudoxas, took a sacred oath to acknowledge the young Augustus as their future master. This oath, however, they broke repeatedly, formed conspiracies, and were punished with mutilation and exile. After some fruitless attempts at recovering freedom and power, they finally disappeared from the world at Athens, which was their last place of exile. In 777 Teleric, king of the Bulgarians, fled to Constantinople, in consequence of some domestic commotions, and was well received by Leo, although he had behaved very treacherously against Leo's father. In 778 the Arabs invaded the empire. Leo sent against them an army of 100,000 men, commanded by Lachano Draco, who routed them, after they had gained various successes in Syria, in 780: in this battle Othman, the son of the khalif Mahadi or Modi, lost his life. When the news of this victory arrived at Constantinople the emperor was no more among the living: his death took place on the 8th of September, 780. He was succeeded by his infant son Constantine VI., who reigned under the guardianship of his mother Irene. Leo IV. was an honest man, much better than his profligate father, but weak in body and mind.
(Theophan.; Cedren; Const. Manass.; Zonar. vol. ii.; Glycas)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Constantinus VI., Flavius (780-797 AD)

Constantinus VI., Flavius, emperor of the East, A. D. 780-797, the son of Leo IV. Chazarus Isaurus and Irene, was born in 771, and succeeded his father in 780, under the guardianship of his mother, a highly-gifted but ambitious and cruel woman, a native of Athens. The reign of Constantine VI. presents a hideous picture of wars, civil and religious troubles, and pitiless crimes. Elpidus, governor of the thema of Sicily, revolted in 781; and it seems that his intention was either to place himself or one of the four paternal uncles of the young emperor on the throne; but the eunuch Theodore, an able general, defeated him in several engagements in 782, and Elpidus fled with his treasures to the Arabs in Africa, by whom he was treated till his death with the honours due to an emperor. The power of the Arabs grew every year more dangerous to the empire. In 781 they suffered a severe defeat from the eunuch Joannes in Armenia, evacuated that country, and fled in confusion to Syria; but in the following year, a powerful Arabian army, divided into three strong bodies, and commanded by Harun-ar-Rashid, the son of the khalif Mahadi, penetrated as far as the Bosporus, and compelled Irene to pay an annual tribute of 60,000 pieces of gold. The peace, however, was broken some years afterwards, and the new war lasted till the end of the reign of Constantine, who in 790 lost half of his fleet in the gulf of Attalia, but obtained several victories over the Arabs by land. He was likewise victorious in a war with the Slavonians, who had conquered all Greece, but were driven back by Stauracius in 784.
  At an early age, Constantine was betrothed to Rotrudis, daughter of Charlemagne; but quarrels having broken out with that emperor on the subject of the Greek dominions in Italy, the match was broken off, and Constantine married Maria, an Armenian lady, whom he repudiated three years afterwards, and married one Theodata. In 787, the sect of the Iconoclasts was condemned in the seventh general council held at Nicaea, and the worship of images was restored throughout the empire. When Constantine came of age, he was of course intrusted with the administration of the empire; but Irene's influence was so great, that she remained the real sovereign. Tired of his vassalage, Constantine intrigued against her, and had already resolved to arrest her, when the plot was discovered; his partisans were severely punished, and he himself received the chastisement of a boy from the hands of his mother. Infuriated by this outrage, the young emperor requested the assistance of his Armenian life-guard, and, having found them all devoted to him, seized upon his mother, and confined her in one of her palaces, where she was kindly treated, but was allowed to have no other company but that of her attendants. A reconciliation took place some time afterwards, but Irene finally contrived the ruin of her son.
  After succeeding in being recognized as the lawful master of the empire, Constantine put himself at the head of his army, and set out to meet the Bulgarians, who were plundering all Thrace. He obtained some advantages over them, but lost a pitched battle, saw his army cut to pieces, and with difficulty escaped to Constantinople. There he received intelligence that a conspiracy against his life, formed by his four uncles and supported by the Armenian guard, was on the eve of breaking out. His measures were at once quick and energetic: he seized the conspirators, disarmed the Armenians, whose commander, Alexis, had his eyes put out, and punished his uncles with equal severity: one of them was blinded, and the three others had their tongues cut off, and they were all forced to become ecclesiastics, in order to incapacitate them for reigning. They were afterwards banished, and died in obscurity.
  The reconciliation which had taken place between Constantine and his mother was a hollow one; Irene could not forget that she had once ruled, and during an expedition of her son against the Arabs she formed another conspiracy. On Constantine's return in 797, he was suddenly assailed by assassins while he was sitting in the Hippodrome to look at the races. He escaped unhurt, fled from the city, and directed his course to Phrygia. Before arriving there, he was joined by the empress and a host of partisans. Relying on the promises of Irene, he returned to Constantinople, but was surprised in his palace by a band of assassins hired by Irene and her favourite, the general Stauracius. His eyes were put out by their order with so much violence that he died on the same day. By a singular coincidence of circumstances, he was murdered in the " Porphyra", the name of the apartment where the empresses were accustomed to be confined, and where he was born. His only son, Leo, having died in his lifetime, he was succeeded by his mother Irene. Constantine VI. was the last of the Isaurian dynasty. Zonaras and Cedrenus say, that he survived his excaecation for a considerable time; but their opinion seems to be untenable, although Le Beau believes it to be correct. (Theophan.; Cedren.; Zonar.; Joel; Glycas)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Nicephorus I. (802-811 AD)

Nicephorus I., (Nikephoros), emperor of Constantonople, A. D. 802-811, was a native of Seleuceia in Pisidia, and by all sorts of court intrigues rose to the important post of logotheta, or minister of finances,with which he was invested by the empress Irene. The prime minister Aetius, an eunuch, conspired against that excellent princess with a view of putting his brother Leo on the throne. His schemes were seen through by several of the grand functionaries of state, and a counterconspiracy took place, which is decidedly one of the most remarkable recorded in history. The principal leaders on both sides were eunuchs, of whom seven were against Aitius, viz., Nicetas, the commander of the guard, his two brothers, Sisinnius and Leo Clocas, the quaestor Theoctistus, Leo of Sinope, Gregorius, and Petrus, all of whom held the patrician rank. Their object was to raise Nicephorus to the throne, and they succeeded through one of those sudden strokes which are so characteristic of the revolutions of Constantinople. On the 31st of October, 802, Nicephorus was suddenly proclaimed emperor. He began his career by deceiving Irene by false promises; and no sooner had she entrusted her safety to him, than he sent her into exile in the island of Lesbos, where she died soon afterwards of misery and grief. The vices of the new master of the empire soon became so conspicuous that he incurred the hatred of the very parties to whom he was indebted for his elevation; but as he was supported by the clergy, and a crowd of reckless characters, he attacked his former friends openly, and put their leader Nicetas to death. Upon this Bardanes. surnamed the Turk, the bravest man and best general of Greece, rose in revolt, was proclaimed emperor by his adherents, and marched against Nicephorus, who was unable to vanquish him in the field, and took refuge in intrigues. Forsaken by his principal supporters Bardanes promised to submit on condition of enjoying his life and property. Both were granted him by the emperor. As soon, however, as Bardanes was in the power of his faithless rival, he was forced to take the monastic habit, had his property confiscated, was deprived of his eyes, and continued till his death to be a victim of unremitting cruelty and revenge. In 803 Nicephorus sent ambassadors to Charlemagne, and received in his turn an embassy from the latter. A treaty was made between them, by which the frontiers of the two empires were regulated: Charlemagne was confirmed in the possession of Istria, Dalmatia, Liburnia, Slavonia, Croatia, and Bosnia; but the Dalmatian islands and sea-towns were left to Nicephorus. In these transactions Nicephorus showed no small deference to his great rival in the West, while he behaved with impudence towards his equally great rival in the East, the khalif Harun-ar-Rashid, who resented the insult by invading the empire. After a bloody war of several years, during which a great portion of Asia Minor was laid waste, Nicephorus was compelled to accept the disgraceful conditions of a peace, by which he was bound to pay to the khalif an annual tribute of 30,000 pieces of gold, out of which three were considered as being paid by the Greek emperor personally, and three others by his son Stauracius. In 807 Nicephorus set out for Bulgaria, being involved in a war with king Crum, and in the same year the Arabs ravaged Rhodes and Lycia. A dangerous conspiracy obliged him to return to Constantinople, where a few months after his arrival another one broke out of which he nearly became a victim. Through the death of Harun-ar-Rashid, in 809, Nicephorus was relieved from his most formidable enemy, but was nevertheless unable to secure peace to his subjects, king Crum of Bulgaria proving as dangerous as the khalif. In order to carry on th e war against the Bulgarians with effect, Nicephorus established a strong and permanent cordon, or army of observation, along the Danube, and oppressed his people with taxes. The public indignation was roused, and an attempt was made to assassinate him. However, he was destined to die a more honourable death. Having drained the people of their gold and silver he was enabled to raise a very strong army, at the head of which he penetrated very far into Bulgaria (811), and so weakened Crum that the latter sued for peace. Nicephorus, proud of his success, rejected the request; but the barbarian king now rose with all the energy of despair, and, as often happens in such cases, ruined the man who was too sure of ruining him. The Greeks being encamped on a plain surrounded on all sides by steep rocks, intersected by a few narrow ravines, Crum contrived to block up all these defiles but one with enormous quantities of dry wood and other combustible materials, which one night were set on fire, while the Bulgarians from all sides shouted their war cries as if they intended to descend into the plain and take the camp by assault. The terrified Greeks rushed towards the only defile that was still open, but there were received by Crum with his main forces, and a conflict in the night ensued in which the Greek army was nearly destroyed, and Nicephorus lost his life, slain either by the enemy or his own enraged soldiers (25th of July 811). His son Stauracius, although badly wounded, escaped and hastened to Constantinople, where he was proclaimed emperor.
(Theophan.; Cedren; Zonar. vol. ii.; Manass. Glycas)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Michael I. Ragabe (811-813 AD)

Michael I. Ragabe, emperor of Constantinople from A. D. 811 to 813, was the son of Theophylactus, one of the high functionaries who, together with Stauracius, conspired against the emperor Constantine VI., and the grandson of one Rhangabe, from whom he derived his surname. Michael was at once honest, handsome, and gifted with many talents, but he was of a weak character, and his amiability could not always efface the unfavourable impression which his want of energy made upon persons of stouter hearts than his. He stood in great favour with the emperor Nicephorus I. (802-811), who, by creating him master of the palace, raised him to the highest rank in the empire after the emperor and his family, and finally gave him his daughter Procopia in marriage. Stauracius, however, the son and successor of Nicephorus, was far from sharing the sentiments of his father towards the master of the palace, and feeling himself dying from the effects of a wound, received some months previously on the battle-field where his father was slain by the Bulgarians, he gave orders to blind Michael, in order that his wife Theophano, to whom lie intended to bequeath the throne, might find no obstacles at her succession. One Stephanus was charged with executing the emperor's order. He wisely refrained from doing so, and informed Michael of it. They immediately assembled the chief officers of the state, and being all willing to support Michael, they proclaimed him emperor while Stauracius was still alive (2nd of October, 811). The dying emperor implored and obtained mercy from his brother-in-law, and went to expire in a convent. The accession of Michael caused great joy among the people, though little in the army: the soldiers, however, were soon satisfied by the liberal use which the new emperor made of the rich treasures hoarded up by the late Nicephorus. Michael, a peaceful man, began his reign by restoring peace to the disturbed church, and recalling from exile Leo Armenus, a celebrated general, who now enjoyed the emperor's full confidence, for which he afterwards rewarded him by hurling his benefactor from his throne. In the spring of 812, Crum, the king of the Bulgarians, again invaded the territories of the empire. Michael set out at the head of his army to meet him, but committed the imprudence of allowing the empress Procopia to accompany him. A general discontent and symptoms of sedition among the troops were the consequences of his thoughtlessness; a woman with more than seeming authority in the camp being then an unheard of thing. Distrusting the army, the emperor hastened back to the capital, followed by a host of reckless barbarians who laid the country waste with fire and sword. At their approach, multitudes of people, mostly iconoclasts, fled before them; and a sedition in consequence broke out among the numerous iconoclasts in Constantinople, which was quelled, not without difficulty, by Leo Armenus: their leader Nicolaus was confined in a convent; and they were finally all driven out of the city and dispersed in the provinces, by order of the emperor. About the same time great numbers of Christians of all sects took refuge within the empire, flying from the dominions of the khalifs, which were then filled with commotion and civil wars. Crum, meanwhile, pursued his victorious course, and laid siege to Mesembria, whereupon he made offers of peace, which, on account of their moderation, the emperor was inclined to accept, but his councillors were for further resistance. Mesembria was now taken by assault, and the danger from the Bulgarians grew daily more alarming. In February 813, Michael once more set out to meet them, again accompanied by his wife Procopia. Her presence in the camp had the same consequences as before. Leo Armenus secretly fomented the discontent of the troops, and carried on those intrigues which led to the loss of the battle of Adrianople (22d of June, 813), the flight of Michael to Constantinople, and his deposition by the successful rebel, as is related in the life of Leo V. The deposed Michael retired into a convent, where he led an obscure, but quiet and happy life, during more than thirty years. Leo succeeded him on the throne.
(Cedren.; Zonar. vol. ii.; Const. Manass.; Theoph. Contin.; Author. incert. post Theoph.; Glycas; Joel,; Genesius,; Leo Gram.; Symeon Metaphrastes)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


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