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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

The fifth and sixth books of Evagrius


[Footnote

29: It is therefore singular enough that Paul (l. iii. c. 15) should distinguish him as the first Greek emperor--primus ex Graecorum genere in Imperio constitutus. His immediate predecessors had in deed been born in the Latin provinces of Europe: and a various reading, in Graecorum Imperio, would apply the expression to the empire rather than the prince.]

[Footnote 30: Consult, for the character and reign of Maurice, the fifth and sixth books of Evagrius, particularly l. vi. c. l; the eight books of his prolix and florid history by Theophylact Simocatta; Theophanes, p. 213, &c.; Zonaras, tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 73; Cedrenus, p. 394.]

[Footnote 31: Evagrius composed his history in the twelfth year of Maurice; and he had been so wisely indiscreet that the emperor know and rewarded his favorable opinion, (l. vi. c. 24.)]

From Italy the emperors were incessantly tormented by tales of misery and demands of succor, which extorted the humiliating confession of their own weakness. The expiring dignity of Rome was only marked by the freedom and energy of her complaints: "If you are incapable," she said, "of delivering us from the sword of the Lombards, save us at least from the calamity of famine." Tiberius forgave the reproach, and relieved the distress: a supply of corn was transported from Egypt to the Tyber; and the Roman people, invoking the name, not of Camillus, but of St. Peter

repulsed the Barbarians from their walls. But the relief was accidental, the danger was perpetual and pressing; and the clergy and senate, collecting the remains of their ancient opulence, a sum of three thousand pounds of gold, despatched the patrician Pamphronius to lay their gifts and their complaints at the foot of the Byzantine throne. The attention of the court, and the forces of the East, were diverted by the Persian war: but the justice of Tiberius applied the subsidy to the defence of the city; and he dismissed the patrician with his best advice, either to bribe the Lombard chiefs, or to purchase the aid of the kings of France. Notwithstanding this weak invention, Italy was still afflicted, Rome was again besieged, and the suburb of Classe, only three miles from Ravenna, was pillaged and occupied by the troops of a simple duke of Spoleto. Maurice gave audience to a second deputation of priests and senators: the duties and the menaces of religion were forcibly urged in the letters of the Roman pontiff; and his nuncio, the deacon Gregory, was alike qualified to solicit the powers either of heaven or of the earth.

The emperor adopted, with stronger effect, the measures of his predecessor: some formidable chiefs were persuaded to embrace the friendship of the Romans; and one of them, a mild and faithful Barbarian, lived and died in the service of the exarchs: the passes of the Alps were delivered to the


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