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CHA P. his nobles and musicians. He was clad in & XLII. linen garment and cap, holding in his hand two

javelins and a light shield; and, although his nakedness was imperfectly covered, he displayed the Barbaric pomp of gold chains, collars, and bracelets, richly adorned with pearls and precious stones. The ambassador of Justinian knelt ; the Negus raised him from the ground, embraced Nonnosus, kissed the seal, perused the letter, accepted the Roman alliance, and brandishing his weapons, denounced implacable war against the worshippers of fire. But the proposal of the silk. trade was eluded; and notwithsanding the assurances, and perhaps the wishes, of the Abyssinians, these hostile menaces evaporated without effect. The Homerites were unwilling to abandon their aromatic groves, to explore a sandy desert, and to encounter, after all their fatigues, a formidable nation from whom they had never received any personal injuries. Instead of enlarging his conquests, the king of Æthiopia was incapable of defending his possessions. Abrahah, the slave of a Roman merchant of Adulis, assumed the sceptre of the Homerites; the troops of Africa were seduced by the luxury of the climate; and Justinian solicited the friendship of the usurper, who honoured, with a slight tribute, the supremacy of his prince. After a long series of prosperity, the power of Abrahah was overthrown before the gates of Mecca; his children were despoiled by the Persian conqueror; and the Æthiopians were finally expelled from the continent of Asia. This nar. rative of obscure and remote events is not foreign

to

XLII.

to the decline and fall of the Roman empire. If CHA P. a Christian power had been maintained in Arabia, Mahomet 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 *.

CHAP.

The revolutions of Yemen in the sixth century must be collected from Procopius (Persic. 1. i. c. 19, 20.). Theopha neş Byzant. (apud Photcod. lxiii. p. 80.), St. Theophanes (in Chronograph. p. 144, 145. 188, 189. 206, 207, who is full of strange blunders), Pocock (Specimen Hist. Arab. p. 62. 65.), d'Herbelot (Bibliot. Orientale, p. 12. 477.), and Sale's Preliminary Discourse and Koran (c. 105.). The revolt of Abrahah is mentioned by Procopius; and his fall, though clouded with miracles, is an historical fact,

СНАР.
XLIII.

CHAP. XLIII.

Rebellions of Africa.-Restoration of the Gothic
Kingdom by Totila.-Loss and Recovery of Rome.
-Final Conquest of Italy by Narses.-Extinction
of the Ostrogoths.-Defeat of the Franks and
Alemanni-Last Victory, Disgrace, and Death of
Belisarius.-Death and Character of Justinian.
-Comet, Earthquakes, and Plague.

TH

The trou

bles of Africa,

A. D.

535---545

HE review of the nations from the Danube to the Nile has exposed on every side the weakness of the Romans; and our wonder is reasonably excited that they should presume to enlarge an empire, whose ancient limits they were incapable of defending. But the wars, the conquests, and the triumphs of Justinian, are the feeble and pernicious efforts of old age, which exhaust the remains of strength, and accelerate the decay of the powers of life. He exulted in the glorious act of restoring Africa and Italy to the republic; but the calamities which followed the departure of Belisarius betrayed the impotence of the conqueror, and accomplished the ruin of those unfortunate countries.

From his new acquisitions, Justinian expected that his avarice as well as pride, should be richly gratified. A rapacious minister of the finances closely pursued the footsteps of Belisarius; and as the old registers of tribute had been burnt by the

Vandals,

.

Vandals, he indulged his fancy in a liberal calcu- CHAP. lation and arbitrary assessment of the wealth of XLIII. Africa *. The increase of taxes which were drawn away by a distant sovereign, and a general resumption of the patrimony or crown lands, soon dispelled the intoxication of the public joy : but the emperor was insensible to the modest complaints of the people, till he was awakened and alarmed by the clamours of military discontent. Many of the Roman soldiers had married the widows and daughters of the Vandals. As their own, by the double right of conquest and inheritance, they claimed the estates which Genseric had assigned to his victorious troops. They heard with disdain the cold and selfish representation of their officers, that the liberality of Justinian had raised them from a savage or servile condition; that they were already enriched by the spoils of Africa, the treasure, the slaves, and the moveables, of the vanquished Barbarians; and that the ancient and lawful patrimony of the emperors would be applied only to the support of that government on which their own safety and reward must ultimately depend. The mutiny was secretly inflamed by a thousand soldiers, for the most part Heruli, who

had

* For the troubles of Africa, I neither have nor desire ano. ther guide than Procopius, whose eye contemplated the image, and whose ear collected the reports, of the memorable events of his own times. In the second book of the Vandalic war he relates the revolt of Stoza (c. 14–24.), the return of Belisarius (c. 15 ), the victory of Germanus (c. 16, 17, 18.), the second administration of Solomon (c. 19, 20, 21.), the goo vernment of Sergius (c. 22, 23.), of Areobindus (c. 24.), the tyranny and death of Gontharis (c. 25, 26, 27, 28.); nor can I discern any symptoms of Aattery or malevolence in his varis ous portraits.

CHAP, had imbibed the doctrines, and were instigated by

the clergy, of the Arian sect; and the cause of perjury and rebellion was sanctified by the dispensing powers of fanaticism. The Arians deplored the ruin of their church, triumphed above a century in Africa ; and they were justly provoked by the laws of the conqueror, which interdicted the baptism of their children and the exercise of all religious worship. Of the Vandals chosen by Belisarius, the far greater part, in the honours of the Eastern service, forgot their country and religion. But a generous band of four hundred obliged the mariners, when they were in sight of the işle of Lesbos, to alter their course : they touched on Peloponnesus, ran ashore on a desert coast of Africa, and boldly erected on mount Aurasius, the standard of independence and revolt, While the troops of the province disclaimed the command of their superiors, a conspiracy was formed at Carthage against the life of Solomon, who filled with honour the place of Belisarius; and the Arians had piously resolved to sacrifice the tyrant at the foot of the altar, during the awful mysteries of the festival of Easter. Fear or remorse restrained the daggers of the assassins, but the patience of Solomon emboldened their discontent; and at the end of ten days a furious sedition was kindled in the Circus, which desolated Africa above ten years. The pillage of the city, and the indiscriminate slaughter of its inhabitants, were suspended only by darkness, sleep, and intoxication: the governor, with seven companions, among whom was the historian Procopius, escaped to Sicily: two thirds of the army

XLIII.

were

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