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CHA P. even of the circus, were hastily collected; the

emulation of the old and young was roused by the name of Belisarius, and his first encampment was in the presence of a victorious enemy. His prudence, and the labour of the friendly peasants, secured, with a ditch and rampart, the repose of the night : innumerable fires, and clouds of dust, were artrully contrived to magnify the opinion of his strength : his soldiers suddenly passed from despondency to presumption; and while ten thousand voices demanded the battle, Belisarius dissembled his knowledge that in the hour of trial he must depend on the firmness of three hundred veterans, The next morning the Bulgarian cavalry advanced to the charge. But they heard the shouts of multitudes, they beheld the arms and discipline of the front; they were assaulted on the flanks by two ambuscades which rose from the woods; their foremost warriors fell by the hand of the aged hero and his guards; and the swiftness of their evolutions was rendered useless by the close attack and rapid pursuit of the Romans. In this action (so speedy was their flight) the Bulgarians lost only four hundred horse; but Constantinople was saved; and Zabergan, who felt the hand of a master, withdrew to a respectful distance. But his friends wéie numerous in the council of the emperor, and Belisarius obeyed with reluctance, the commands of envy and Justinian, which forbade him to achieve the deliverance of his country. On his return to the city, the people still conscious of their danger, accompanied his triumph with acclamations of joy and gratitude, which were imputed as a crime to the victorious general. But when he C H A P. entered the palace, the courtiers were silent, and XLIII. the emperor, after a cold and thankless embrace, , dimissed him to mingle with the train of slaves. Yet so deep was the impression of his glory on the minds of men, that Justinian, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, was encouraged to advance near forty miles from the capital, and to inspect in person the restoration of the long wall. The Bulgarians wasted the summer in the plains of Thrace; but they were inclined to peace by the failure of their rash attempts on Greece and the Chersonesus. A menace of killing their prisoners quickened the payment of heavy ransoms; and the departure of Zabergan was hastened by the report, that. double-prowed vessels were built on the Danube to intercept his passage. The danger was soon for. gotten; and a vain question, whether their sovereign had shewn more wisdom or weakness, amused the idleness of the city * About two years after the last victory of Belisa- His dis.


grace and rius, the emperor returned from a Thracian journey death. of health, or business, or devotion. Justinian was A. D. Søfa

561 afflicted by a pain in his head ; and his private entry countenanced the rumour of his death. Before the third hour of the day, the bakers’ shops were plundered of their bread, the houses were shut, and every citizen, with hope or terror, prepared for the impending tumult. The senators themselves, fearful and suspicious, were convened



Dd 3

* The Bulgarian war, and the last victory of Belisarius, are imperfectly represented in the prolix declamation of Agathias (1. 5. p. 154-174.) and the dry Chronicle of Theophanes (p. 197, 198.).

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CHA P. at the ninth hour; and the præfect received their
XLII. commands to visit every quarter of the city, and

proclaim a general illumination for the recovery of
the emperor's health. The ferment subsided; but
every accident betrayed the impotence of the
government and the factious temper of the peo-
ple; the guards were disposed to mutiny as often
as their quarters were changed or their pay was
withheld : the frequent calamities of fires and earth-
quakes afforded the opportunities of disorder; the
disputes of the blues and greens, of the orthodox
and heretics, degenerated into bloody battles; and
in the presence of the Persian ambassador, Justinian
blushed for himself and for his subjects. Capri-
cious pardon and arbitrary punishment embittered
the irksomeness and discontent of a long reign :
a conspiracy was formed in the palace; and, unless
we are deceived by the names of Marcellus and
Sergius, the most virtuous and the most profligate
of the courtiers were associated in the same de-
signs. They had fixed the time of the execution;
their rank gave them access to the royal banquet;
and their black slaves * were stationed in the vesti-
bule and porticos, to announce the death of the
tyrant, and to excite a sedition in the capital. But
the indiscretion of an accomplice saved the poor
remnant of the days of Justinian, The conspi-



• lodeThey could scarcely be real Indians; and the Æthiopians, sometimes known by that name, were never used by the ancients as guards or followers: they were the trifling, though costly, objects of female and royal luxury (Terent. Eunuch. act i. scene üi. Sueton, in August. c. 83. with a good note of Casaubon, in Caligula, c. 57.).

rators were detected and seized, with daggers hid... CHA P. den under their garments: Marcellus died by his XLI'I. own hand, and Sergius was dragged from the sanctuary * Pressed by remorse, or tempted by the hopes of safety, he accused two officers of the household of Belisarius; and torture forced them to declare that they had acted according to the secret instructions of their patron t. Posterity will not hastily believe that an hero who, in the vigour of life, had disdained the fairest offers of ambition and revenge, should stoop to the murder of his prince, whom he could not long expect to survive. His followers were impatient to fly; but flight must have been supported by rebellion, and he had lived

A..D. 563 enough for nature and for glory. peared before the council with less fear than indignation : after forty years service, the emperor had prejudged his guilt; and injustice was sanctified by the presence and authority of the patriarch. The life of Belisarius was graciously spared ; but his fortunes were sequestered, and from December to July, he was guarded as a prisoner in his own palace. At length his innocence was acknow. A. D. 564; ledged ; his freedom and honours were restored ; July 19. and death, which might be hastened by resentment and grief, removed him from the world about

A. D. 5656 eight months after his deliverance. The name of March in

17 Belia

Belisarius ap- Dec. so


• The Sergius (Vandal. 1. ii. c. 21, 22. Anecdot c. 5.) and Márcellus (Goth. l. iii. c. 32.) are mentioned by procopius.

. See Theophanes, p. 197. 201.

+ Alemannus (p. 3.) quotes an old Byzantine MS. which has been printed in the Imperium Orientale of Banduri.

CHAP. Belisarius can never die: but instead of the funeral, XLIII.

the monuments, the statues, so justly due to his memory, I only read, that his treasures, the spoils of the Goths and Vandals, were immediately confiscated by the emperor.

Some decent portion was reserved, however, for the use of his widow;

3 and as Antonina had much to repent, she devoted the last remains of her life and fortune to the foundation of a convent. Such is the simple and genuine narrative of the fall of Belisarius and the ingratitude of Justinian *. That he was deprived of his eyes, and reduced by envy to beg his bread, “Give a penny to Belisarius the general !” is a fiction of later times t, which has obtained


. Of the disgrace and restoration of Belisarius, the genuine original record is preserved in the fragment of John Malala, tom. ii. p. 234-243.) and the exact Chronicle of Theophanes (p. 194–204.). Cedrenus (Compend. p. 387, 388.) and Zonaras (tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 69.) seem to hesitate between the obsolete truth and the growing false hood.

+ The source of this idle fable may be derived from a miscellaneous work of the xiith century, the Chiliads of John Tzetzes, a monk (Basil, 1546, ad calcem Lycophront, Colon. Allobrog. 1614 in Corp. Poet Græc.). He relates the blindness and beggary of Belisarius in ten vulgar or political verses (Chiliad iii. No. 88 339-348. in Corp. Poet. Græc. tom. i.p. 311.).

Extepec gulivou regata for the peshagen
Βελισάριο οβολον δoτε το τρατηλατη
Ον τυχη μεν εσόξασει, αποτυφλοι και φθoνος.

This' moral or romantic.tale was imported into Italy with the language and mauuscripts of Greece; repeated before the end of the xvth century by Crinitus, Pontanus, and Volaterranus; attacked by Alciat, for the honour of the law; and defended by Baronius (A. D. 561, No. 2, &c.) for the honour of the church. Yet Tzetzes himself had read in other chronicles, that Belisarius did not lose his sight, and that he recovered his fame and fortunes,

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