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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Between Aradus and Botrys Polyb


[Footnote 82: For the cause of earthquakes, see Buffon, (tom. i. p. 502--536 Supplement a l'Hist. Naturelle, tom. v. p. 382-390, edition in 4to., Valmont de Bomare, Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle, Tremblemen de Terre, Pyrites,) Watson, (Chemical Essays, tom. i. p. 181--209.)]

[Footnote 83: The earthquakes that shook the Roman world in the reign of Justinian are described or mentioned by Procopius, (Goth. l. iv. c. 25 Anecdot. c. 18,) Agathias, (l. ii. p. 52, 53, 54, l. v. p. 145-152,) John Malala, (Chron. tom. ii. p. 140-146, 176, 177, 183, 193, 220, 229, 231, 233, 234,) and Theophanes, (p. 151, 183, 189, 191-196.) * Note *: Compare Daubeny on Earthquakes, and Lyell's Geology, vol. ii. p. 161 et seq.--M]

[Footnote 84: An abrupt height, a perpendicular cape, between Aradus and Botrys (Polyb. l. v. p. 411. Pompon. Mela, l. i. c. 12, p. 87, cum Isaac. Voss. Observat. Maundrell, Journey, p. 32, 33. Pocock's Description, vol. ii. p. 99.)]

[Footnote 85: Botrys was founded (ann. ante Christ. 935--903) by Ithobal, king of Tyre, (Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 387, 388.) Its poor representative, the village of Patrone, is now destitute of a harbor.]

[Footnote 86: The university, splendor, and ruin of Berytus are celebrated by Heineccius (p. 351--356) as an essential part of the history of the Roman law. It was overthrown in the xxvth year of Justinian, A. D 551, July 9, (Theophanes, p. 192;) but Agathias (l. ii. p. 51, 52) suspends the earthquake till he has achieved the Italian war.]

III. Aethiopia and Egypt have been stigmatized, in every age, as the original source and seminary of the plague. [87] In a damp, hot, stagnating air, this African fever is generated from the putrefaction of animal substances, and especially from the swarms of locusts, not less destructive to mankind in their death than in their lives. The fatal disease which depopulated the earth in the time of Justinian and his successors, [88] first appeared in the neighborhood of Pelusium, between the Serbonian bog and the eastern channel of the Nile. From thence, tracing as it were a double path, it spread to the East, over Syria, Persia, and the Indies, and penetrated to the West, along the coast of Africa, and over the continent of Europe. In the spring of the second year, Constantinople, during three or four months, was visited by the pestilence; and Procopius, who observed its progress and symptoms with the eyes of a physician, [89] has emulated the skill and diligence of Thucydides in the description of the plague of Athens. [90] The infection was sometimes announced by the visions of a distempered fancy, and the victim despaired as soon as he had heard the menace and felt the stroke of an invisible spectre. But the greater number, in their beds, in the streets, in their usual occupation, were surprised by a slight fever; so slight, indeed, that neither the pulse nor the color of the patient gave any signs of the approaching danger. The same, the next, or the succeeding day, it was declared by the swelling of the glands, particularly those of the groin, of the armpits, and under the ear; and when these buboes or tumors were opened, they were found to contain a coal, or black substance, of the size of a lentil. If they came to a just swelling and suppuration, the patient was saved by this kind and natural discharge of the morbid humor. But if they continued hard and dry, a mortification quickly ensued, and the fifth day was commonly the term of his life.


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