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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Chapter XL Reign Of Justinian


[Footnote

85: One to Scythopolis, capital of the second Palestine, and twelve for the rest of the province. Aleman. (p. 59) honestly produces this fact from a Ms. life of St. Sabas, by his disciple Cyril, in the Vatican Library, and since published by Cotelerius.]

[Footnote 86: John Malala (tom. ii. p. 232) mentions the want of bread, and Zonaras (l. xiv. p. 63) the leaden pipes, which Justinian, or his servants, stole from the aqueducts.]

[Footnote 8611: Hullman (Geschichte des Byzantinischen Handels. p. 15) shows that the despotism of the government was aggravated by the unchecked rapenity of the officers. This state monopoly, even of corn, wine, and oil, was to force at the time of the first crusade.--M.]

[Footnote 87: For an aureus, one sixth of an ounce of gold, instead of 210, he gave no more than 180 folles, or ounces of copper. A disproportion of the mint, below the market price, must have soon produced a scarcity of small money. In England twelve pence in copper would sell for no more than seven pence, (Smith's Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations, vol. i. p. 49.) For Justinian's gold coin, see Evagrius, (l. iv. c. 30.)]

[Footnote 88: The oath is conceived in the most formidable words, (Novell. viii. tit. 3.) The defaulters imprecate on themselves, quicquid haben: telorum armamentaria coeli: the part of Judas, the leprosy of Gieza, the tremor

of Cain, &c., besides all temporal pains.]

[Footnote 89: A similar or more generous act of friendship is related by Lucian of Eudamidas of Corinth, (in Toxare, c. 22, 23, tom. ii. p. 530,) and the story has produced an ingenious, though feeble, comedy of Fontenelle.]

[Footnote 90: John Malala, tom. ii. p. 101, 102, 103.]

Chapter XL: Reign Of Justinian.--Part IV.

Dishonor might be ultimately reflected on the character of Justinian; but much of the guilt, and still more of the profit, was intercepted by the ministers, who were seldom promoted for their virtues, and not always selected for their talents. [91] The merits of Tribonian the quaestor will hereafter be weighed in the reformation of the Roman law; but the economy of the East was subordinate to the Praetorian praefect, and Procopius has justified his anecdotes by the portrait which he exposes in his public history, of the notorious vices of John of Cappadocia. [92]

[921] His knowledge was not borrowed from the schools, [93] and his style was scarcely legible; but he excelled in the powers of native genius, to suggest the wisest counsels, and to find expedients in the most desperate situations. The corruption of his heart was equal to the vigor of his understanding. Although he was suspected of magic and Pagan superstition, he appeared insensible to the fear of God or the reproaches of man; and his aspiring fortune was raised on the death of thousands, the poverty of millions, the ruins of cities, and the desolation of provinces. From the dawn of light to the moment of dinner, he assiduously labored to enrich his master and himself at the expense of the Roman world; the remainder of the day was spent in sensual and obscene pleasures, [931] and the silent hours of the night were interrupted by the perpetual dread of the justice of an assassin. His abilities, perhaps his vices, recommended him to the lasting friendship of Justinian: the emperor yielded with reluctance to the fury of the people; his victory was displayed by the immediate restoration of their enemy; and they felt above ten years, under his oppressive administration, that he was stimulated by revenge, rather than instructed by


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