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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Unde tot exhaustus contraxit debita fiscus


[Footnote 7711: See the character of Anastasius in Joannes Lydus de Magistratibus, iii. c. 45, 46, p. 230--232. His economy is there said to have degenerated into parsimony. He is accused of having taken away the levying of taxes and payment of the troops from the municipal authorities, (the decurionate) in the Eastern cities, and intrusted it to an extortionate officer named Mannus. But he admits that the imperial revenue was enormously increased by this measure. A statue of iron had been erected to Anastasius in the Hippodrome, on which appeared one morning this pasquinade. This epigram is also found in the Anthology. Jacobs, vol. iv. p. 114 with some better readings. This iron statue meetly do we place To thee, world-wasting king, than brass more base; For all the death, the penury, famine, woe, That from thy wide-destroying avarice flow, This fell Charybdis, Scylla, near to thee, This fierce devouring Anastasius, see; And tremble, Scylla! on thee, too, his greed, Coining thy brazen deity, may feed. But Lydus, with no uncommon inconsistency in such writers, proceeds to paint the character of Anastasius as endowed with almost every virtue, not excepting the utmost liberality. He was only prevented by death from relieving his subjects altogether from the capitation tax, which he greatly diminished.--M.]

[Footnote 78: Evagrius (l. ii. c. 39, 40) is minute and grateful, but angry with Zosimus for calumniating the great Constantine. In collecting all the bonds and records of the tax, the humanity of Anastasius was diligent and artful: fathers were sometimes compelled to prostitute their daughters, (Zosim. Hist. l. ii. c. 38, p. 165, 166, Lipsiae, 1784.) Timotheus of Gaza chose such an event for the subject of a tragedy, (Suidas, tom. iii. p. 475,) which contributed to the abolition of the tax, (Cedrenus, p. 35,)--a happy instance (if it be true) of the use of the theatre.]

[Footnote 79: See Josua Stylites, in the Bibliotheca Orientalis of Asseman, (tom. p. 268.) This capitation tax is slightly mentioned in the Chronicle of Edessa.]

[Footnote 80: Procopius (Anecdot. c. 19) fixes this sum from the report of the treasurers themselves. Tiberias had vicies ter millies; but far different was his empire from that of Anastasius.]

[Footnote 81: Evagrius, (l. iv. c. 30,) in the next generation, was moderate and well informed; and Zonaras, (l. xiv. c. 61,) in the xiith century, had read with care, and thought without prejudice; yet their colors are almost as black as those of the anecdotes.]

[Footnote 82: Procopius (Anecdot. c. 30) relates the idle conjectures of the times. The death of Justinian, says the secret historian, will expose his wealth or poverty.]

[Footnote 83: See Corippus de Laudibus Justini Aug. l. ii. 260, &c., 384, &c "Plurima sunt vivo nimium neglecta parenti, Unde tot exhaustus contraxit debita fiscus." Centenaries of gold were brought by strong men into the Hippodrome, "Debita persolvit, genitoris cauta recepit."]

[Footnote 84: The Anecdotes (c. 11--14, 18, 20--30) supply many facts and more complaints. * Note: The work of Lydus de Magistratibus (published by Hase at Paris, 1812, and reprinted in the new edition of the Byzantine Historians,) was written during the reign of Justinian. This work of Lydus throws


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