« 上一頁繼續 »
credit, or rather favour, as a strange example of CHA P. the vicissitudes of fortune *.
If the emperor could rejoice in the death of Belisarius, he enjoyed the base satisfaction only character eight months, the last period of a reign of thirty- nian, eight, and a life of eighty-three years. It would A. D. 565, be difficult to trace the character of a prince who is not the most conspicuous object of his own times: but the confessions of an enemy may be received as the safest evidence of his virtues. The resemblance of Justinian to the bust of Domitian is maliciously urged †; with the acknowledgement, however, of a well-proportioned figure, a ruddy complexion, and a pleasing countenance. The emperor was easy of access, patient of hearing, courteous and affable in discourse, and a master of the angry passions, which rage with such destructive voilence in the breast of a despot. Pro→ copius praises his temper to reproach him with calm and deliberate cruelty; but in the conspira. cies which attacked his authority and person, a more candid judge will approve the justice or admire
The statue in the villa Borghese at Rome, in a sitting posture, with an open hand, which is vugarly given to Belisarius, may be ascribed with more dignity to Augustus in the act of propitiating Nemesis (Winkelman, Hist. de l'Art, tom. iii. P. 266.). Ex nocturno visu etiam stipem, quotannis, die certo, emendicabat a populo, cavam manum asses porrigentibus præbens (Sueton. in August. c. 91. with an excellent note of Casaubon).
+ The rubor of Domitian is stigmatised, quaintly enough, by the pen of Tacitus (in Vit. Agricol. c. 45.); and has been likewise noticed by the younger Pliny (Panegyr. c. 48.), and Suetonius (in Domitian, c. 18. and Casaubon ad locum.). Procopius (Anecdot. c. 8.) foolishly believes that only one bust of Domitian had reached the vith century.
CHA P. admire the clemency of Justinian. He exceled in
the private virtues of chastity and temperance: but the impartial love of beauty would have been less mischievous, than his conjugal tenderness for Theodora ; and his abstemious diet was regulated not by the prudence of a philosopher, but the superstition of a monk. His repasts were short and
a frugal: on solemn fasts, he contented himself with water and vegetables; and such was his strength, as well as fervour, that he frequently passed two days and as many nights, without tasting any food. The measure of his sleep was not less. rigorous : after the repose of a single hour, the body was awakened by the soul, and, to the astonishment of his chamberlains, Justinian walked or studied till the morning light. Such restless application prolonged his time for the acquisition of knowledge * and the dispatch of business; and he might seriously deserve the reproach of confounding, by minute and preposterous diligence, the general order of his adıninistration. The emperor professed himself a musician and architect, a poet and philosopher, a lawyer and a theologian ; and if he failed in the enterprise of reconciling the Christian sects, the review of the Roman jurisprudence is a noble monument of his spirit and industry. In the government of the empire, he was less wise or less successful; the age was unfortunate ; the people
The studies and science of Justinian are attested by the confes. sion (Anecdot. c. 8. 13.), still more than by the praises (Gothic. 1. n.c. 31. de Edific. 1. i. Proem. c. 7.) of Procopius. Corisult the copious index of Alemannus, and read the life of Justinian by Ludewig (p. 135–142.).
was oppressed and discontented; Theodora abused CHAP. her power; a succession of bad ministers disgraced XLIII. his judgment; and Justinian was neither beloved in his life, nor regretted at his death. The love of fame was deeply implanted in his breast, but he condescended to the poor ambition of titles, honours, and contemporary praise ; and while he laboured to fix the admiration, he forfeited the esteem and affection of the Romans. The design of the African and Italian wars was boldly conceived and executed; and his penetration discover.. ed the talents of Belisarius in the camp, of Narses in the palace. But the name of the emperor is eclipsed by the names of his victorious genenrals; and Belisarius still lives, to upbraid the envy and ingratitude of his soveriegn. The partial favour of mankind applauds the genius of a conqueror, who leads and directs his subjects in the exercise of
The characters of Philip the Second and of Justinian are distinguished by the cold ambition which delights in war, and declines the dangers of the field. Yet a colossal statue of bronze represented the emperor on horseback, preparing to march against the Persians in the habit and armour of Achilles. In the great square before the church of St. Sophia, this monument was raised on a brass column and a stone pedestal of seven steps : and the pillar of Theodosius, which weighed seven thousand four hnndred pounds of silver, was removed from the same place by the avarice and vanity of Justinian. Future princes were more just or indulgent to his memory, the elder Andro
CHAP, nicus, in the beginning of the fourteenth centurý; XLII. repaired and beautified his equestrian statue : since
the fall of the empire, it has been melted into cannon by the victorious Turks *.
I shall conclude this chapter with the comets, the earthquakes, and the plague, which astonished or afflicted the age of Justinian.
A. D. 531-539.
I. In the fifth year of his reign, and in the month of September, a comet + was seen during twenty days in the western quarter of the heavens, and which shot its rays into the north. Eight years afterwards, while the sun was in Capricorn, another comet appeared to follow in the Sagitary : the size was gradually increasing; the head was in the east, the tail in the west, and it remained visible above forty days. The nations who gazed with astonishment, expected wars and calamities from the baleful influence; and these expectations were abundantly fulfilled. The astronomers dissembied their ignorance of the nature of these blazing stars, which they affected to represent as the floating meteors of the air; and a few among them embraced the simple notion of Seneca and the Chaldæans, that they are only planets of a longer period and
* See in the C. P. Christiana of Ducange (1. i. c. 24. No.1.), a chain of original testimonies, from Procopius in the vith, to Gyllius in the xvith century.
+ The first comet is mentioned by John Malala (tom. ii. p. 190. 219.) and Theophanes (p. 154); the second by Procopiu's (Persic. 1. ii. c. 4.). Yet I strongly suspect their identity. The paleness of the sun (Vandal. I. c. ii. 14.) is applied by Theophanes . (p. 158.) to a different year.
more eccentric motion *. Time and science have cha P. justified the conjectures and predictions of the XLIII. Roman sage: the telescope has opened new worlds to the eyes of astronomers t; and, in the narrow space of history and fable, one and the same comet is already found to have revisited the earth in seven equal revolutions of five hundred and seventy-five years. The first t, which ascends beyond the Christian æra one thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven years, is coeval with Ogyges the father of Grecian antiquity. And this appearance explains the tradition which Varro has preserved, that under his reign the planet Venus changed her colour, size, figure, and course ; a prodigy without example either in past or succeeding ages 5. The second visit, in the year eleven hundred and ninetythree, is darkly implied in the fable of Electra the seventh of the Pleiads, who have been reduced to six since the time of the Trojan war. That nymph,
Seneca's viith book of Natural Questions displays, in the theory of comets, a philosophic mind. Yet should we not too candidly confound a vague prediction, a veniet tempus, &c. with the merit of real dicoveries.
+ Astronomers may study Newton and Halley. I draw my humble science from the article Comere, in the French Encyclopedie by M d'Alembert.
# Whiston, the honest, pious, visionary Whiston, had fancied, for the æra of Noah's flood (2242 years before Christ), a prior apparition of the same comet which drowned the earth with its tail.
$ A Dissertation of Freret (Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. x. p. 357–377 ) affords an happy union of phi. losophy and erudition. The phenomenon in the time of Ogyges was preserved by Varro (apud Augustin. de Civitate Dei, xxi. 8 ), who quotes Castor, Dion of Naples, and Adrastus of Cyzicus-nobiles mathematici. The two subsequent periods are preserved by the Greek mythologists and the spurious books of Sibylliue verscs.