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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

And almost English Justinian is a translation of uprauda


dangers which threatened his

life was afterwards ascribed to the guardian angel who watches over the fate of kings. His long and laudable service in the Isaurian and Persian wars would not have preserved from oblivion the name of Justin; yet they might warrant the military promotion, which in the course of fifty years he gradually obtained; the rank of tribune, of count, and of general; the dignity of senator, and the command of the guards, who obeyed him as their chief, at the important crisis when the emperor Anastasius was removed from the world. The powerful kinsmen whom he had raised and enriched were excluded from the throne; and the eunuch Amantius, who reigned in the palace, had secretly resolved to fix the diadem on the head of the most obsequious of his creatures. A liberal donative, to conciliate the suffrage of the guards, was intrusted for that purpose in the hands of their commander. But these weighty arguments were treacherously employed by Justin in his own favor; and as no competitor presumed to appear, the Dacian peasant was invested with the purple by the unanimous consent of the soldiers, who knew him to be brave and gentle, of the clergy and people, who believed him to be orthodox, and of the provincials, who yielded a blind and implicit submission to the will of the capital. The elder Justin, as he is distinguished from another emperor of the same family and name, ascended the Byzantine throne at the age of sixty-eight years; and, had he been left to his own guidance, every moment of
a nine years' reign must have exposed to his subjects the impropriety of their choice. His ignorance was similar to that of Theodoric; and it is remarkable that in an age not destitute of learning, two contemporary monarchs had never been instructed in the knowledge of the alphabet. [411] But the genius of Justin was far inferior to that of the Gothic king: the experience of a soldier had not qualified him for the government of an empire; and though personally brave, the consciousness of his own weakness was naturally attended with doubt, distrust, and political apprehension. But the official business of the state was diligently and faithfully transacted by the quaestor Proclus; [5] and the aged emperor adopted the talents and ambition of his nephew Justinian, an aspiring youth, whom his uncle had drawn from the rustic solitude of Dacia, and educated at Constantinople, as the heir of his private fortune, and at length of the Eastern empire.

[Footnote 1: There is some difficulty in the date of his birth (Ludewig in Vit. Justiniani, p. 125;) none in the place--the district Bederiana--the village Tauresium, which he afterwards decorated with his name and splendor, (D'Anville, Hist. de l'Acad. &c., tom. xxxi. p. 287--292.)]

[Footnote 2: The names of these Dardanian peasants are Gothic, and almost English: Justinian is a translation of uprauda, (upright;) his father Sabatius (in Graeco-barbarous language stipes) was styled in his village Istock, (Stock;) his mother Bigleniza was softened into Vigilantia.]

[Footnote 3: Ludewig (p. 127--135) attempts to justify the Anician name of Justinian and Theodora, and to connect them with a family from which the house of Austria has been derived.]

[Footnote 4: See the anecdotes of Procopius, (c. 6,) with the notes of N. Alemannus. The satirist would not have sunk, in the vague and decent appellation of Zonaras. Yet why are those names disgraceful?--and what German baron would not be proud to descend from the Eumaeus of the Odyssey! Note: It is whimsical enough that, in our own days, we should have, even in jest, a claimant to lineal descent from the godlike swineherd not in the person of a German baron, but in that of a professor of the Ionian University. Constantine Koliades, or some malicious wit under this name, has written a tall folio to prove Ulysses to be Homer, and himself the descendant, the heir (?), of the Eumaeus of the Odyssey.--M]


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