صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

quæstor will hereafter be weighed in the reformation of CHAP.

XL. the Roman law; but the economy of the East was subordinate to the Prætorian præfect, and Procopius has justified his anecdotes by the portrait which he exposes in his public history, of the notorious vices of John of Cappa- John of

Capppadodocia.92 His knowledge was not borrowed from the cia! schools, 23 and his style was scarcely legible ; but he excelled in the powers of native genius, to suggest the wisest counsels, and to find expedients in the most desperate situations. The corruption of his heart was equal to the vigour of his understanding. Although he was suspected of magic and Pagan superstition, he appeared insensible to the fear of God or the reproaches of man; and his aspiring fortune was raised on the death of thousands, the poverty of millions, the ruin of cities, and the desolation of provinces. From the dawn of light to the moment of dinner, he assiduously laboured to enrich his master and himself at the expense of the Roman world; the remainder of the day was spent in sensual and obscene pleasures, and the silent hours of the night were interrupted by the perpetual dread of the justice of an assassin. His abilities, perhaps his vices, recommended him to the lasting friendship of Justinian : the emperor yielded with reluctance to the fury of the people ; his victory was displayed by the immediate restoration of their enemy; and they felt above ten years, under his oppressive administration, that he was stimulated by revenge, rather than instructed by misfortune. Their murmurs served only to fortify the resolution of Justinian; but the præfect, in the insolence of favour, provoked the resentment of Theodora, disdained a power

judgment! The complaints and clamours of the people in Agathias (1.v.p. 145, 147.) are almost an echo of the anecdote. The aliena pecunia red. der.da of Corippus (1. ij. 381, &c.) is not very honourable to Justinian's memory.

92 See the history and character of John of Capadocia in Procop'us (Persic. I. i. c. 24, 25. 1. ii.c. 30. Vandal. 1. i. c. 13. Anecdot. c. 2. 17. 12). The agreement of the history and anecdotes is a morial wound to the reputation of the præfect.

03 Ου γαρ αλλο δεν εκαι γραμματισες φοιτων εμαθεν οτι μη γράμματα, και ταυτα κακα κακως γραψαι....a forcible expression.



CHAP. before which every knee was bent, and attempted to sow the seeds of discord between the emperor and his beloved

Even Theodora herscif was constrained to dissemble, to wait a favourable moment, and by an artsul conspiracy to render John of Cappadocia the accomplice of his own destruction. At a time when Belisarius, unless he had been a hero, must have shewn himself a rebel, his wife Antonina, who enjoyed the secret confidence of the empress communicated his feigned discontent to Euphemia, the daughter of the præfect; the credulous virgin imparted to her father the dangerous project, and John, who miglit have known the value of oaths and promises, was tempted to accept a nocturna!, and almost treasonable, interview with the wife of Belisarius. An ambuscade of gurds and eunuchs had been posted by the command of Theodora; they rushed with drawn swords to scize or to punish the guilty minister; he was saved by the fidclity of his attendants; but instead of appealing to a gracious sovereign, who had privately warned him of his danger, he pusilianimously led to the sanctuary of the church. The favourite of Justinian was sacrificed to conjugal tenderness or domestic tranquillity; the conversion of a præfect into a priest extinguished his ambitious hopes; but the friendship of the emperor alleviated his disgrace, and he retained in the mild exile of Cyzicus an ample portion of his riches. Such imperfect revenge could not satisfy the unrelenting haured of Theodora; the murder of his old enemy, the bishop of Cyzicus, afforded a decent pretence; and John of Cappadocia, whose actions had deserved a thousand deaths, was at last condemned for a crime of which he was innocent. A great minister, who had been invested with the honours of consul and parrician, was ignominiously scourged like the vilest of malefactors; a taitered cloak was the sole remnant of his fortunes; he was transported in a bark to the place of his banishment at Antinopolis in Upper Egypt, and the præfect of the East begged his bread through the cities which had tremblesi at liis name. During an exile of seven years, his life was protracted and threatened by the ingenious cruclty of Theodora; and when her death


and architects.

permitted the emperor to recal a seryant whom he had СНАР. abandoned with regret, the ambition of John of Cappadocia was reduced to the humble duties of the sacerdotal profession. His successors convinced the subjects of Justinian, that the arts of oppression might still be improved by experience and industry: the frauds of a Syrian banker were introduced into the administration of the finances; and the example of the præfect was diligently copied by the quæstor, the public and private treasurer, the governors of provinces, and the principal magistrates of the Eastern empire.94

V. The edifices of Justinian were cemented with the His edificos blood and treasure of his people; but those stately structures appeared to announce the prosperity of the empire, and actually displayed the skill of their archi. tects. Both the theory and practice of the arts which' depend on mathematical science and mechanical power were cultivated under the patronage of the emperors; the fame of Archimedes was rivalled by Proclus and Anthemius; and if their miracles had been related by intelligent spectators, they might now enlarge the speculations, instead of exciting the distrust, of philosophers. A tradition has, prevailed, that the Roman fleet was reduced to ‘ashes in the port of Syracuse by the burning-glasses of Archimedes; 95 and it is asserted, that a similar expedient was employed by Proclus to destroy the Gothic ves. sels in the harbour of Constantinople, and to protect his benefactor Anastasius against the bold enterprise of Vita. lian.96 A machine was fixed on the walls of the city, con

94 The chronology of Procopius is loose and obscure ; but with the aid of Pagi I can discern that John was appointed Prætorian præfect of the East in the year 530: that he was removed in January 532...restored before June 533...banished in 541...and recalled between June 548 and April 1, 549. Aleman. (p. 96, 97.) gives the list of his ten successors... a rapid series in a part of a single reign.

95 This conflagration is hinted by Lucian (in Hippia, c. 2.) and Galen (1. in. de temperamentis, tom. i. p. 81. edit. Basil) in the second century. A thousand years afterwards, it is positively affirmed by Zonaras (1 ix. p. 424), on the faith of Dion Cassius, by Tzetzes (Chiliad ii. 119, &c.) Eusta, thius (ad Iliad. E. p. 338), and the scholiast of Lucian. See Fabricius (Bibliot. Græc. 1. iii. c. 22. tom. ii. p. 551, 552), to whom I am more or less indebted for several of these quotations.

96 Zonaras (1. xiv. p. 55.) affirms the fact, without quoting any evidenco. VOL. V.



CHAP. sisting of an hexagon mirror of polished brass, with many

smaller and moveable polygons to receive and reflect the rays of the meridian sun; and a consuming flame was darted, to the distance, perhaps, of two hundred feet.” The truth of these two extraordinary facts is invalidated by the silence of the most authentic historians; and the use of burning-glasses was never adopted in the attack or defence of places. Yet the admirable experiments of a French philosopher 99 have demonstrated the possibility of such a mirror; and, since it is possible, I am more disposed to attribute the art to the greatest mathematicians of antiquity, than to give the merit of the fiction to the idle fancy of a monk or a sophist. According to another story, Proclus applied sulphur to the destruction of the Gothic fleet; 100 in a modern imagination, the name of sulphur is instantly connected with the suspicion of gunpowder, and that suspicion is propagated by the secret arts of his disciple Anthemius.101 À citizen of Tralles in Asia had five sons, who were all distinguished in their respective professions by merit and success. Olympius excelled in the knowledge and practice of the Roman jurisprudence. Dioscorus and Alexander became learned physicians; but the skill of the former was exercised for the benefit of his fellow-citizens, while his more ambitious

97 Tzetzes describes the artifice of these burning-glasses, which he had read, perhaps with no learned eyes, in a maihematical treatise of Anthemius. That treatise, περι παραδοξων μηχανηματων, has been lately publ shed, translated, and illustra:ed, by M. Dupuys, a scholar and ma he. matician (Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xlii.p. 392...451).

98 In the siege of Syracuse, by the silence of Polybius, Plutarch, Livy, in the siege of Constantinople, by that of Marcelinus and all the contem, poraries of the sixth century.

99 Without any previous knowledge of Tzetzes or Anthemius, the immortal Burfon imagiiied and executed a set of burning-glasses, with wirich he could intame planks at the distance of 200 feet (Supplerent à l'Hist. Na-urelle, tom. i. p. 399...483. quarto edition). What miracles would not his genius have performed for the public service, with royal expense, and in the strong sun of Constantinople or Syracuse ?

100 John Malala (tom. ii. p. 120...124.) relates the fact: but he seems to confound the names or persons of Proclus and Marinus.

101 Agathias, I. v. p. 149... 152. The merit of Anthemius as an architect is loudly praised by Procopius (de Edif. 1. i. c. 1.) and Paulus Silentia. tius (part i. 134, &c).


In a

brother acquired wealth and reputation at Rome. The CHAP. fame of Metrodorus the grammarian, and of Anthemius the mathematician and architect, reached the ears of the emperor Justinian, who invited them to Constantinople; and while the one instructed the rising generation in the schools of eloquence, the other filled the capital and provinces with more lasting monuments of his art. trifling dispute relative to the walls or windows of their contiguous houses, he had been vanquished by the eloquence of his neighbour Zeno; but the orator was defeated in his turn by the master of mechanics, whose malicious, though harmless, stratagems, are darkly represented by the ignorance of Agathias. In a lower room, Anthemius arranged several vessels or cauldrons of water, each of them covered by the wide bottom of a leathern tube, which rose to a narrow top, and was artificially conveyed among the joists and rafters of the adjacent building. A fire was kindled beneath the cauldron; the steam of the boiling water ascended throug the tubes; the house was shaken by the efforts of imprisoned air, and its trembling inhabitants might wonder that the city was unconscious of the earthquake which they had felt. At another time, the friends of Zeno, as they sat at table, were dazzled by the intolerable light which flashed in their eyes from the reflecting mirrors of Anthemius; they were astonished by the noise which he produced from a collision of certain minute and sonorous particles; and the orator declared in tragic style to the senate, that a mere mortal must yield to the power of an antagonist, who shook the earth with the trident of Neptune, and imitated the thunder and lightning of Jove himself. The genius of Anthemius and his colleague Isidore the Milesian, was excited and employed by a prince, whose taste for architecture had degenerated into a mischievous and costly passion. His favourite architects submitted their designs and difficulties to Justinian, and discreetly confessed how much their laborious meditations were surpassed by the intuitive knowledge or celestial inspiration of an emperor, whose views were always directed to the

« السابقةمتابعة »