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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

And Aleman's Notes with Theophanes


themselves did not agree with

the astronomical calculations of their sovereign: the people of Constantinople delayed the beginning of their Lent a whole week after it had been ordained by authority; and they had the pleasure of fasting seven days, while meat was exposed for sale by the command of the emperor. The Samaritans of Palestine [88] were a motley race, an ambiguous sect, rejected as Jews by the Pagans, by the Jews as schismatics, and by the Christians as idolaters. The abomination of the cross had already been planted on their holy mount of Garizim, [89] but the persecution of Justinian offered only the alternative of baptism or rebellion. They chose the latter: under the standard of a desperate leader, they rose in arms, and retaliated their wrongs on the lives, the property, and the temples, of a defenceless people. The Samaritans were finally subdued by the regular forces of the East: twenty thousand were slain, twenty thousand were sold by the Arabs to the infidels of Persia and India, and the remains of that unhappy nation atoned for the crime of treason by the sin of hypocrisy. It has been computed that one hundred thousand Roman subjects were extirpated in the Samaritan war, [90] which converted the once fruitful province into a desolate and smoking wilderness. But in the creed of Justinian, the guilt of murder could not be applied to the slaughter of unbelievers; and he piously labored to establish with fire and sword the unity of the Christian faith. [91]

[Footnote

84: This alternative, a precious circumstance, is preserved by John Malala, (tom. ii. p. 63, edit. Venet. 1733,) who deserves more credit as he draws towards his end. After numbering the heretics, Nestorians, Eutychians, &c., ne expectent, says Justinian, ut digni venia judicen tur: jubemus, enim ut...convicti et aperti haeretici justae et idoneae animadversioni subjiciantur. Baronius copies and applauds this edict of the Code, (A.D. 527, No. 39, 40.)]

[Footnote 85: See the character and principles of the Montanists, in Mosheim, Rebus Christ. ante Constantinum, p. 410--424.]

[Footnote 86: Theophan. Chron. p. 153. John, the Monophysite bishop of Asia, is a more authentic witness of this transaction, in which he was himself employed by the emperor, (Asseman. Bib. Orient. tom. ii. p. 85.)]

[Footnote 87: Compare Procopius (Hist. Arcan. c. 28, and Aleman's Notes) with Theophanes, (Chron. p. 190.) The council of Nice has intrusted the patriarch, or rather the astronomers, of Alexandria, with the annual proclamation of Easter; and we still read, or rather we do not read, many of the Paschal epistles of St. Cyril. Since the reign of Monophytism in Egypt, the Catholics were perplexed by such a foolish prejudice as that which so long opposed, among the Protestants, the reception of the Gregorian style.]

[Footnote 88: For the religion and history of the Samaritans, consult Basnage, Histoire des Juifs, a learned and impartial work.]


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