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XL.

overawed the palace, the senate, and the capitals & H A P. of the East. Insolent with royal favour, the blues affected to strike terror by a peculiar and Barbaric dress, the long hair of the Huns, their close sleeves and ample garments, a lofty step, and a sonorous voice. In the day they concealed their two-edged ponyards, but in the night they boldly assembeld in arms, and in numerous bands, prepared for every act of violence and rapine. Their adversaries of the green faction, or even inoffensive citizens, were stripped and often murdered by these nocturnal robbers, and it became dangerous to wear any gold buttons or girdles, or to appear at a late hour in the streets of a peaceful capital. A daring spirit rising with impunity, proceeded to violate the safeguard of private houses; and fire was employed to facilitate the attack, or to conceal the crimes of these factious rioters. was safe or sacred from their depredations; to gratify either avarice or revenge, they profusely spilt the blood of the innocent; churches and altars were polluted by atrocious murders; and it was the boast of the assassins, that their dexterity could always inflict a mortal wound with a single stroke of their dagger. The dissolute youth of Constantinople adopted the blue livery of disorder; the laws were silent, and the bonds of society were relaxed : creditors were compelled to resign their obligations; judges to reverse their sentence; masters to enfranchise their slaves; fathers to supply the extravagance of their children; noble matrons were prostituted to the lust of their servants; beautiful boys were torn from the arms of

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CH A P their parents; and wives, unless they preferred a

voluntary death, were ravished in the presence of their husbands * The despair of the greens, who were persecuted by their enemies, and deserted by the magistrate, assumed the privilege of defence, perhaps of retaliation : but those who survived the combat, were dragged to execution, and the unhappy fugitives escaping to woods and caverns, preyed without mercy on the society from whence they were expelled. Those ministers of justice who had courage to punish the crimes, and to brave the resentment of the blues, became the victims of their indiscreet zeal; a præfect of Constantinople fled for refuge to the holy sepulchre, a count of the East was ignominiously whipped, and a governor of Cilicia was hanged, by the order of Theodora, on the tomb of two assassins whom he had condemned for the murder of his groom, and a daring attack upon his own life f. An aspiring

t candidate may be tempted to build his greatness on the public confusion, but it is the interest as well as duty of a sovereign to maintain the authority of the laws. The first edict of Justinian, which was often repeated, and sometimes executed, announced his firm resolution to support the innocent, and to chastise the guilty of every

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* A wife (says Procopius), who was seited and almost ravished by a blue coat, threw herself into the Bosphorus. The bishops of the second Syria (Aleman. p. 26.) deplore a similar suicide, the guilt or glory of female chastity, and name the heroine.

+ The doubtful credit of Procopius (Anecdot. c. 17.) is supported by the less partial Evagrius, who confirms the fact, and specifies the names. The tragic fate of the præfect of Constantinople, is related by John Malala (tom. ii. p. 139.).

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denomination and colour. Yet the balance of CHAP. justice was still inclined in favour of the blue faction, by the secret affection, the habits, and the fears of the emperor; his equity, after an apparent struggle, submitted, without reluctance, to the implacable passions of Theodora, and the empress never forgot, or forgave, the injuries of the comedian. At the accession of the younger Justin, the proclamation of equal and rigorous justice indirectly condemned the partiality of the former reign. "Ye blues, Justinian is no more! ye greens, "he is still alive *!"

1

Sedition of

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January.

A sedition, which almost laid Constantinople in ashes, was excited by the mutual hatred and momentary reconciliation of the two factions. In Nika, the fifth year of his reign, Justinian celebrated the A. D. 532. festival of the ides of January: the games were incessantly disturbed by the clamorous discontent of the greens; till the twenty-second race, the emperor maintained his silent gravity; at length, yielding to his impatience, he condescended to hold, in abrupt sentences, and by the voice of a cryer, the most singular dialogue † that ever passed between a prince and his subjects. Their first complaints were respectful and modest; they accused VOL. VII. the

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* See John Malala (tom. ii. p. 147.); yet he owns that Justinian was attached to the blues. The seeming discord of the emperor and Theodora, is perhaps viewed with too much jealousy and refinement by Procopius (Anecdot. c. 10.). See Aleman, Præfat. p. 6.

This dialogue, which Theophanes has preserved, exhibits the popular language, as well as the manners, of Constantinople in the vith century. Their Greek is mingled with many strange and barbarous words, for which Ducange cannot always find a meaning or etymology.

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CHA P. the subordinate ministers of oppression, and pro

claimed their wishes for the long life and victory of the emperor.

“ Be patient and attentive, ye insolent railers !” exclaimed Justinian; “ be " mute, ye Jews, Samaritans, and Manichæans!” The greens still attempted to awaken his compassion. “ We are poor, we are innocent, we are

injured, we dare not pass through the streets : “ a general persecution is exercised against our “ name and colour. Let us die, 0. emperor! but " let us die by your command, and for your ser“ vice!" But the repetition of partial and passionate invectives degraded, in their eyes, the majesty of the purple ; they renounced allegiance to the prince who refused justice to his people ; lamented that the father of Justinian had been born; and branded his son with the opprobious names of an homicide, an ass, and a perjured tyrant, " Do you despise your lives ?” cried the indignant monarch: the blues rose with fury from their seats; their hostile clamours thundered in the hippodrome; and their adversaries, deserting the unequal contest, spread terror and despair through the streets of Constantinople. At this dangerous moment, seven notorious assassins of both face tions, who had been condemned by the præfect, were carried round the city, and afterwards trans. ported to the place of execution in the suburb of Pera. Four were immediately beheaded ; a fifth was hanged: but when the same punishment was inflicted on the remaining two, the rope broke, they fell alive to the ground, the populace applauded their escape, and the monks of St. Co,

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XL.

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non, issuing from the neighbouring convent, con. C HA P. veyed them in a boat to the sanctuary of the church * As one of these criminals was of the blue, and the other of the green livery, the two factions were equally provoked by the cruelty of of their oppressor, or the ingratitude of their patron; and a short truce was concluded till they had delivered their prisoners, and satisfied their revenge. The palace of the præfect, who withstood the seditious torrent, was instantly burnt, his officers and guards were massacred, the prisons were forced open, and freedom was restored to those who could only use it for the public destruction. A military force, which had been dispatched to the aid of the civil magistrate, was fiercely encountered by an armed multitude, whose numbers and boldness continually increased ; and the Heruli, the wildest Barbarians in the service of the empire, overturned the priests and their relics, which, from a pious motive, had been rashly interposed to separate the bloody conflict. The tumult was exasperated by this sacrilege, the people fought with enthusiasm in the cause of God; the women, from the roofs and windows, showered stones on the heads of the soldiers; who darted firebrands against the houses; and the various flames, which had been kindled by the hands of citizens and strangers, spread without control

, over the face of the city. The conflagration in. volved the cathedral of St. Sophia, the baths of Zeuxippus, a part of the palace, from the first enG2

trance

• See this church and monastery in Ducange, C. P. Christ. iana, 1. iv. p. 182.

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