free ebooks

History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Footnote 932 According to Lydus


[Footnote

93: A forcible expression.]

[Footnote 931: Joannes Lydus is diffuse on this subject, lib. iii. c. 65, p. 268. But the indignant virtue of Lydus seems greatly stimulated by the loss of his official fees, which he ascribes to the innovations of the minister.--M.]

[Footnote 932: According to Lydus, Theodora disclosed the crimes and unpopularity of the minister to Justinian, but the emperor had not the courage to remove, and was unable to replace, a servant, under whom his finances seemed to prosper. He attributes the sedition and conflagration to the popular resentment against the tyranny of John, lib. iii. c 70, p. 278. Unfortunately there is a large gap in his work just at this period.--M.]

[Footnote 94: The chronology of Procopius is loose and obscure; but with the aid of Pagi I can discern that John was appointed Praetorian praefect of the East in the year 530--that he was removed in January, 532--restored before June, 533--banished in 541--and recalled between June, 548, and April 1, 549. Aleman. (p. 96, 97) gives the list of his ten successors--a rapid series in a part of a single reign. * Note: Lydus gives a high character of Phocas, his successor tom. iii. c. 78 p. 288.--M.]

V. The edifices of Justinian were cemented with the blood and treasure of his people; but those stately structures appeared to announce the prosperity of the empire,

and actually displayed the skill of their architects. Both the theory and practice of the arts which depend on mathematical science and mechanical power, were cultivated under the patronage of the emperors; the fame of Archimedes was rivalled by Proclus and Anthemius; and if their miracles had been related by intelligent spectators, they might now enlarge the speculations, instead of exciting the distrust, of philosophers. A tradition has prevailed, that the Roman fleet was reduced to ashes in the port of Syracuse, by the burning-glasses of Archimedes; [95] and it is asserted, that a similar expedient was employed by Proclus to destroy the Gothic vessels in the harbor of Constantinople, and to protect his benefactor Anastasius against the bold enterprise of Vitalian. [96] A machine was fixed on the walls of the city, consisting of a hexagon mirror of polished brass, with many smaller and movable polygons to receive and reflect the rays of the meridian sun; and a consuming flame was darted, to the distance, perhaps of two hundred feet. [97] The truth of these two extraordinary facts is invalidated by the silence of the most authentic historians; and the use of burning-glasses was never adopted in the attack or defence of places. [98] Yet the admirable experiments of a French philosopher [99] have demonstrated the possibility of such a mirror; and, since it is possible, I am more disposed to attribute the art to the greatest mathematicians of antiquity, than to give the merit of the fiction to the idle fancy of a monk or a sophist. According to another story, Proclus applied sulphur to the destruction of the Gothic fleet; [100] in a modern imagination, the name of sulphur is instantly connected with the suspicion of gunpowder, and that suspicion is propagated by the secret arts of his disciple Anthemius. [101] A citizen of Tralles in Asia had five sons, who were all


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us