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African subjects; and he allowed them to claim, CH A P. even in the third degree, and from the collateral line, the houses and lands of which their families had been unjustly despoiled by the Vandals. After the departure of Belisarius, who acted by an high and special commission, no ordinary provision was made for a master-general of the forces; but the office of prætorian præfect was entrusted to a soldier; the civil and military powers were united, according to the practice of Justinian, in the chief governor; and the representative of the emperor in Africa, as well as in Italy, was soon distinguished by the appellation of Exarch *. Yet the conquest of Africa was imperfect, till Distress

and capti her former sovereign was delivered, either alive vity of Ge. or dead into the hands of the Romans. Doubtful A.D. 534 of the event, Gelimer had given secret orders the

spring that a part of his treasure should be transported to Spain, where he hoped to find a secure refuge at the court of the king of the Visigoths. But these intentions were disappointed by accident, treachery, and the indefatigable pursuit of his enemies, who intercepted his flight from the seashore, and chased the unfortunate monarch, with some faithful followers, to the inaccessible mountain of Papua t, in the inland country of Numedia.



• The African laws of Justinian are illustrated by his German biographer (Cod. 1. i. tit. 27. Novel. 36, 37. 131. Vit. Justinian, p. 349—377.).

+ Mount Papua is placed by d'Anville (tom. iii. p. 92. and Tabul. Imp. Rom. Occident.) near Hippo Regius and the sea ; yet this situation ill agrees with the long pursuit beyond Hippo, and the words of Procopius l. ii. c.4), W Toss Nxudsa; try«Tus.

CHAP. He was immediately besieged by Pharas, an of XLI. ficer whose truth and sobriety were the more ap

plauded, as such qualities could seldom be found among the Heruli, the most corrupt of the Barbarian tribes. To his vigilance Belisarius had entrusted this important charge; and, after a bold attempt to scale the mountain, in which he lost an hundred and ten soldiers, Pharas expected, during a winter siege, the operation of distress and famine on the mind of the Vandal king. From the softest habits of pleasure, from the unbounded command of industry and wealth, he was reduced to share the poverty of the Moors *, supportable only to themselves by their ignorance of a happier condition. In their rude hovels of mud and hurdles, which confined the smoke and excluded the light, they promiscuously slept on the ground, perhaps on a sheep-skin, with their wives, their children, and their cattle. Sordid and scanty were their garments; the use of bread and wine was unknown; and their oaten or barley cakes, imperfectly baked in the ashes, were devoured almost in a crude state by the hungry savages. The health of Gelimer must have sunk under these strange and unwonted hardships, from whatsoever cause they had been endured; but his actual misery was embittered by the recollection of past greatness, the daily insolence of his protectors, and the just apprehension that the


* Shaw (Travels, p. 220.) most accurately represents the manners of the Bedoweens and Kabyles, the last of whom, by their language, are the remnant of the Moors; yet how changed how civilized are these modern savages!-provisions are plenty among them, and bread is common.


light and venal Moors might be tempted to betray CH A P. the rights of hospitality. The knowledge of his situation dictated the humane and friendly epistle of Pharas. “ Like yourself," said the chief of the Heruli, “ I am an illiterate Barbarian, but “ I speak the language of plain sense, and an “ honest heart. Why will you persist in hopeless “ obstinacy? Why will you ruin yourself, your

family, and nation? The love of freedom and “ abhorrence of slavery? Alas! my dearest Geli

mer, are you not already the worst of slaves, " the slave of the vile nation of the Moors ? “ Would it not be preferable to sustain at Con

stantinople a life of poverty and servitude, “ rather than to reign the undoubted monarch of “ the mountain of Papua? Do you think it a

disgrace to be the subject of Justinian? Beli“ sarius is his subject; and we ourselves, whose " birth is not inferior to your own, are not o ashamed of our obedience to the Roman em

peror. That generous prince will grant you a * rich inheritance of lands, a place in the senate, “ and the dignity of Patrician: such are his

gracious intentions, and you may depend with “ full assurance on the word of Belisarius. So

long as heaven has condemned us to suffer,

patience is a virtue ; but if we reject the prof" fered deliverance, it degenerates into blind and u stupid despair.” “ I am not insensible," replied the king of the Vandals, “ how kind and “ rational is your advice. But I cannot persuade “ myself to become the slave of an unjust enemy, i who has deseryed my implacable hatred. Him

6 I had

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CH À P. “ I had never injured either by word or deed : нАР

yet he has sent against me, I know not from whence, a certain Belisarius, who has cast me headlong from the throne into this abyss of misery. Justinian is a man ; he is a prince; does he

not dread for himself a similar reverse of for“ tune? I can write no more : my grief oppresses

Send me, I beseech you, my dear Pharas, send me, a lyre *, a spunge, and a loaf of “ bread.” From the Vandal messenger, Pharas was informed of the motives of this singular request. It was long since the king of Africa had tasted bread; a defluxion had fallen on his eyes, the effect of fatigue or incessant weeping; and he wished to solace the melancholy hours, by singing to the lyre the sad story of his own misfortunes. The humanity of Pharas was moved; he sent the three extraordinary gifts; but even his humanity prompted him to redouble the vigilance of his guard, that he might sooner compel his prisoner to embrace a resolution advantageous to the Romans, but salutary to himself. The obstinacy of Gelimer at length yielded to reason and necessity; the solemn assurances of safety and honourable treatment were ratified in the emperor's name, by the ambassador of Belisarius; and the king of the Vandals descended from the mountain. The first public interview was in one of the suburbs of Carthage; and when the royal captive accosted his

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By Procopius it is styled a lyre; perhaps harp would have been more national. The instruments of music are thus distinguished by Venatius Fortanatus :

Romanusque lyrå tibi plaudat, Barbarus barpå.

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conqueror, he burst into a fit of laughter. The CHA P. crowd might naturally believe, that extreme grief XLI. had deprived Gelimer of his senses; but in this mournful state, unseasonable mirth insinuated to more intelligent observers, that the vain and transitory scenes of human greatness are unworthy of a serious thought *.


triumph of


Their contempt was soon justified by a new Return and example of a vulgar truth; that flattery adheres Belisarius, to power, and envy to superior merit. The chiefs A. D. 534. of the Roman army presumed to think themselves the rivals of an hero. Their private dispatches maliciously affirmed, that the conqueror of Africa, strong in his reputation and the public love, conspired to seat himself on the throne of the Vandals. Justinian listened with too patient an ear; and his silence was the result of jealousy rather than of confidence. An honourable alternative, of remaining in the province, or of returning to the capital, was indeed submitted to the discretion of Belisarius; but he wisely concluded, from intercepted letters, and the knowledge of his sovereign's temper, that he must either resign his head, erect his standard, or confound his enemies by his presence and submission: Innocence and courage decided his choice: his guards, captives, and treasures, were diligently embarked; and so prosperous was the navigation, that his arrival at VOL. VII. Constan

* Herodotus elegantly describes the strange effects of grief in another royal captive, Psammetichus of Egypt, who wept at the lesser and was silent at the greatest of his calamities (1. iii. c. 14.). In the interview of Baulus Emilius and Perses, Belisarius might study his part: But it is probable that he never read either Livy or Plutarch; and it is certain that his gene rosity did not need a tutor.

Joan. 21.35

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