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involved in the guilt of treason ; and eight CH A P. thousand insurgents, assembling in the field of Bulla, XLIII. elected Stoza for their chief, a private soldier, who possessed in a superior degree the virtues of a rebel. Under the mask of freedom, his eloquence could lead, or at least impel, the passions of his equals. He raised himself to a level with Belisarius, and the nephew of the emperor, by daring to encounter them in the field; and the victorious generals were compelled to acknowledge, that Stoza deserved a purer cause and a more legitimate commando Vanquished in battle he dexterously employed the arts of negociation; a Roman army was seduced from their allegiance, and the chiefs who had trusted to his faithless promise were murdered by his order in a church of Numidia. When every resource either of force or perfidy, was exhausted, Stoza, with some desperate Vandals, retired to the wilds of Mauritania, obtained the daughter of a Barbarian prince, and eluded the pursuit of his enemies, by the report of his death. sonal weight of Belisarius, the rank, the spirit, and the temper, of Germanus, the emperor's nephew, and the vigour and success of the second adminis stration of the eunuch Solomon, restored the modesty of the camp, and maintained for a while the tranquillity of Africa. But the vices of the Byzantine court were felt in that distant province; the troops complained that they were neither paid nor relieved, and as soon as the public disorders were sufficiently mature, Stoza was again alive, in arms, and at the gates of Carthage. He fell in

2 sin.

The per

CHA P. a single combat, but he smiled in the agonies of XLIII. death, when he was informed that his own javelin

had reached the heart of his antagonist. The example of Stoza, and the assurance that the fortunate soldier had been the first king, encouraged the ambition of Gontharis, and he promised, by a private treaty, to divide Africa with the Moors, if, with their dangerous aid, he should ascend the throne of Carthage. The feeble Areobindus, un. skiled in the affairs of peace and war, was raised by his marriage with the niece of Justinian, to the otlice of Exarch. He was suddenly oppressed by a sedition of the guards, and his abject supplications, which provoked the contempt could not move the pity, of the inexorable tyrant. After a reign of thirty days, Gontharis himself was stabbed at a banquet by the hand of Artaban; and it is singular enough, that an Armenian prince, of the royal family of Arsaces, should re-establish at Carthage the authority of the Roman empire. In the conspiracy which unsheathed the dagger of Brutus against the life of Cæsar, every circumstance is curious and important to the eyes of posterity : but the guilt or merit of these loyal or rebellious assassins could interest only the contemporaries of Procopius, who, by their hopes and fears, their friendship or resentment, were personally engaged in the revolutions of Africa *.

That

. Yet I must not refuse him the merit of painting, in lively colours, the murder of Gontharis. One of the assassins uttered a sentiment not unworthy of a Roman patriot: “If I fail, said Artasires, " in the first stroke, kill me on the spot lest the “ rack should extort a discovery of my accomplices."

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That country was rapidly sinking into the state C HA P. of barbarism, from whence it had been raised by XLIII. the Phænician colonies and Roman laws: and

Rebellionof every step of intestine discord was marked by some the Moors, deplorable victory of savage man over civilized

543-558 society. The Moors *, though ignorant of justice, were impatient of oppression: their vagrant life and boundless wilderness disappointed the arms, and eluded the chains, of a conqueror; and experience had shewn, that neither oaths nor obligations could secure the fidelity of their attachment. The victory of mount Auras had awed them into momentary submission ; but if they respected the character of Solomon, they hated and despised the pride and luxury of his two nephews, Cyrus and Sergius, on whom their uncle had imprudently bestowed the provincial governments of Tripoli and Pentapolis. A Moorish tribe encamped under the walls of Leptis, to renew their alliance, and receive from the governor the customary gifts. Fourscore of their deputies were introduced as friends into the city ; but on the dark suspicion of a conspiracy, they were massacred at the table of Sergius; and the clamour of arms and revenge was re-echoed through the vallies of mount Atlas, from both the Syrtes to the Atlantic ocean. A personal injury, the unjust execution or murder of his brother, rendered Antalus the enemy of the Romans. The defeat of the Vandals had formerly signalized his

valour

* The Moorish wars are occasionally introduced into the narrative of Procopius (Vandal. 1. ii. c. 19-23. 25. 27, 28. Gothic. 1. iv. c. 17.); and Theophanes adds some prosperous and adverse events in the last years of Justinian.

XLIII.

CHAP. valour; the rudiments of justice and prudence were

still more conspicious in a Moor; and while he
laid Adrumetum in ashes, he calmly admonished
the emperor that the peace of Africa might be
secured by the recal of Solomon and his unworthy
hephews. The exarch led forth his troops from
Carthage: but, at the distance of six day's journey
in the neighbourhood of Tebeste *, he was ‘asto-
nished by the superior numbers and fierce aspect
of the Barbarians. He proposed a treaty; solicited
a reconciliation; and offered to bind himself by the
most solemn oaths. “By what oaths can he bind
“ himself ? " interrupted the indgnant Moors.
" Will he swear by the gospels, the divine books
it
és of the Christians? It was on those books that
" the faith of his nephew Sergius was pledged to

eighty of our innocent and unfortunate brethren. “ Before we trust them a second time, let us try “ their efficacy in the chastisement of perjury and " the vindication of their own honour." Their ho. nour was vindicated in the field of Tebeste, by the death of Solomon, and the total loss of his army. The arrival of fresh troops and more skilful commanders, soon checked the insolence of the Moors; seventeen of their princes were slain in the same battle : and the doubtful and transient submission

of

* Now Tibesh, in the kingdom of Algiers. It is watered by a river, the Sujerass, which falls into the Mejerda (Bagradas). Tibesh is still remarkable for its walls of large stones (like the Coliseum of Rome), a fountain, and a grove of walnut-trees : the country is fruitful, and the neighbouring Bereberes are warlike. It appears from an inscription, that under the reiga of Adrian, the road from Carthage to Tebeste was construct. ed by the third legion (Marmol. Description de l'Afrique, tom. ii. p. 442, 443. Shaw's Travels, p. 64, 65, 66.).

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of their tribes was celebated with lavish applause CHAP. by the people of Constantinople. Successive in- XLIII. roads had reduced the province of Africa to one third of the measure of Italy ; yet the Roman emperors continued to reign above a century over Carthage, and the fruitful coast of the Mediterranean. But the victories and the losses of Justinian were alike pernicious to mankind ; and such was the desolation of Africa, that in many parts a stranger might wander whole days without meeting the face either of a friend or an enemy. The nation of the Vandals had disappeared : they once amounted to an hundred and sixty thousand warriors, without including the children, the women, or the slaves. Their numbers were infinitely surpassed by the number of the Moorish families extirpated in a relentless war; and the same destruction was retaliated on the Romans and their allies, who perished by the climate, their mutual quarrels, and the rage of the Barbarians. When Procopius first landed, he admired the populousness of the cities and country, strenuously exercised in the labours of commerce and agriculture. In less than twenty years, that busy scene was converted into a silent solitude ; the wealthy citizens escaped to Sicily and . Constantinople ; and the secret historian has confidently affirmed, that five millions of Africans were consumed by the wars and government of the emperor Justinian *.

The jealousy of the Byzantine court had not Revolt of permitted Belisarius to achieve the conquest

of

the Goths, Vol. VII.

Аа

Italy;

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A D. 546

Procopius, Anecdot, c. 18. The series of the African history attests this melancholy truth.

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