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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

111 From Belgrade to the Euxine


the honors of a temple; almost

every city of the empire obtained the solid advantages of bridges, hospitals, and aqueducts; but the severe liberality of the monarch disdained to indulge his subjects in the popular luxury of baths and theatres. While Justinian labored for the public service, he was not unmindful of his own dignity and ease. The Byzantine palace, which had been damaged by the conflagration, was restored with new magnificence; and some notion may be conceived of the whole edifice, by the vestibule or hall, which, from the doors perhaps, or the roof, was surnamed chalce, or the brazen. The dome of a spacious quadrangle was supported by massy pillars; the pavement and walls were incrusted with many-colored marbles--the emerald green of Laconia, the fiery red, and the white Phrygian stone, intersected with veins of a sea-green hue: the mosaic paintings of the dome and sides represented the glories of the African and Italian triumphs. On the Asiatic shore of the Propontis, at a small distance to the east of Chalcedon, the costly palace and gardens of Heraeum [108] were prepared for the summer residence of Justinian, and more especially of Theodora. The poets of the age have celebrated the rare alliance of nature and art, the harmony of the nymphs of the groves, the fountains, and the waves: yet the crowd of attendants who followed the court complained of their inconvenient lodgings, [109] and the nymphs were too often alarmed by the famous Porphyrio, a whale of ten cubits in breadth, and thirty in
length, who was stranded at the mouth of the River Sangaris, after he had infested more than half a century the seas of Constantinople. [110]

[Footnote 106: The six books of the Edifices of Procopius are thus distributed the first is confined to Constantinople: the second includes Mesopotamia and Syria the third, Armenia and the Euxine; the fourth, Europe; the fifth, Asia Minor and Palestine; the sixth, Egypt and Africa. Italy is forgot by the emperor or the historian, who published this work of adulation before the date (A.D. 555) of its final conquest.]

[Footnote 107: Justinian once gave forty-five centenaries of gold (180,000 L.) for the repairs of Antioch after the earthquake, (John Malala, tom. ii p 146--149.)]

[Footnote 108: For the Heraeum, the palace of Theodora, see Gyllius, (de Bosphoro Thracio, l. iii. c. xi.,) Aleman. (Not. ad. Anec. p. 80, 81, who quotes several epigrams of the Anthology,) and Ducange, (C. P. Christ. l. iv. c. 13, p. 175, 176.)]

[Footnote 109: Compare, in the Edifices, (l. i. c. 11,) and in the Anecdotes, (c. 8, 15.) the different styles of adulation and malevolence: stripped of the paint, or cleansed from the dirt, the object appears to be the same.]

[Footnote 110: Procopius, l. viii. 29; most probably a stranger and wanderer, as the Mediterranean does not breed whales. Balaenae quoque in nostra maria penetrant, (Plin. Hist. Natur. ix. 2.) Between the polar circle and the tropic, the cetaceous animals of the ocean grow to the length of 50, 80, or 100 feet, (Hist. des Voyages, tom. xv. p. 289. Pennant's British Zoology, vol. iii. p. 35.)]

The fortifications of Europe and Asia were multiplied by Justinian; but the repetition of those timid and fruitless precautions exposes, to a philosophic eye, the debility of the empire. [111] From Belgrade to the Euxine, from the conflux of the Save to the mouth of the Danube, a chain of above fourscore fortified places was extended along the banks of the great river.


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