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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Consult likewise Muratori Annali d' Italia


[Footnote

87: Rex avidus communis exitii, &c., (Boethius, l. i. p. 59:) rex colum Romanis tendebat, (Anonym. Vales. p. 723.) These are hard words: they speak the passions of the Italians and those (I fear) of Theodoric himself.]

[Footnote 8711: Gibbon should not have omitted the golden words of Theodoric in a letter which he addressed to Justin: That to pretend to a dominion over the conscience is to usurp the prerogative of God; that by the nature of things the power of sovereigns is confined to external government; that they have no right of punishment but over those who disturb the public peace, of which they are the guardians; that the most dangerous heresy is that of a sovereign who separates from himself a part of his subjects because they believe not according to his belief. Compare Le Beau, vol viii. p. 68.--M]

[Footnote 88: I have labored to extract a rational narrative from the dark, concise, and various hints of the Valesian Fragment, (p. 722, 723, 724,) Theophanes, (p. 145,) Anastasius, (in Johanne, p. 35,) and the Hist Miscella, (p. 103, edit. Muratori.) A gentle pressure and paraphrase of their words is no violence. Consult likewise Muratori (Annali d' Italia, tom. iv. p. 471-478,) with the Annals and Breviary (tom. i. p. 259--263) of the two Pagis, the uncle and the nephew.]

The senator Boethius [89] is the last of the Romans whom Cato or Tully could have acknowledged

for their countryman. As a wealthy orphan, he inherited the patrimony and honors of the Anician family, a name ambitiously assumed by the kings and emperors of the age; and the appellation of Manlius asserted his genuine or fabulous descent from a race of consuls and dictators, who had repulsed the Gauls from the Capitol, and sacrificed their sons to the discipline of the republic. In the youth of Boethius the studies of Rome were not totally abandoned; a Virgil [90] is now extant, corrected by the hand of a consul; and the professors of grammar, rhetoric, and jurisprudence, were maintained in their privileges and pensions by the liberality of the Goths. But the erudition of the Latin language was insufficient to satiate his ardent curiosity: and Boethius is said to have employed eighteen laborious years in the schools of Athens, [91] which were supported by the zeal, the learning, and the diligence of Proclus and his disciples. The reason and piety of their Roman pupil were fortunately saved from the contagion of mystery and magic, which polluted the groves of the academy; but he imbibed the spirit, and imitated the method, of his dead and living masters, who attempted to reconcile the strong and subtile sense of Aristotle with the devout contemplation and sublime fancy of Plato. After his return to Rome, and his marriage with the daughter of his friend, the patrician Symmachus, Boethius still continued, in a palace of ivory and marble, to prosecute the same studies. [92] The church was edified by his profound defence of the orthodox creed against the Arian, the Eutychian, and the Nestorian heresies; and the Catholic unity was explained or exposed in a formal treatise by the indifference of three distinct though consubstantial


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