The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 4
by Edward Gibbon
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[Footnote 23: The Romans were still attached to the monuments of their ancestors; and according to Procopius, (Goth. l. iv. c. 22,) the gallery of Aeneas, of a single rank of oars, 25 feet in breadth, 120 in length, was preserved entire in the navalia, near Monte Testaceo, at the foot of the Aventine, (Nardini, Roma Antica, l. vii. c. 9, p. 466. Donatus, Rom Antiqua, l. iv. c. 13, p. 334) But all antiquity is ignorant of relic.]

[Footnote 24: In these seas Procopius searched without success for the Isle of Calypso. He was shown, at Phaeacia, or Cocyra, the petrified ship of Ulysses, (Odyss. xiii. 163;) but he found it a recent fabric of many stones, dedicated by a merchant to Jupiter Cassius, (l. iv. c. 22.) Eustathius had supposed it to be the fanciful likeness of a rock.]

[Footnote 25: M. D'Anville (Memoires de l'Acad. tom. xxxii. p. 513—528) illustrates the Gulf of Ambracia; but he cannot ascertain the situation of Dodona. A country in sight of Italy is less known than the wilds of America. Note: On the site of Dodona compare Walpole's Travels in the East, vol. ii. p. 473; Col. Leake's Northern Greece, vol. iv. p. 163; and a dissertation by the present bishop of Lichfield (Dr. Butler) in the appendix to Hughes's Travels, vol. i. p. 511.—M.]

Justinian was deaf to the voice of peace: but he neglected the prosecution of war; and the indolence of his temper disappointed, in some degree, the obstinacy of his passions. From this salutary slumber the emperor was awakened by the pope Vigilius and the patrician Cethegus, who appeared before his throne, and adjured him, in the name of God and the people, to resume the conquest and deliverance of Italy. In the choice of the generals, caprice, as well as judgment, was shown. A fleet and army sailed for the relief of Sicily, under the conduct of Liberius; but his youth [2511] and want of experience were afterwards discovered, and before he touched the shores of the island he was overtaken by his successor. In the place of Liberius, the conspirator Artaban was raised from a prison to military honors; in the pious presumption, that gratitude would animate his valor and fortify his allegiance. Belisarius reposed in the shade of his laurels, but the command of the principal army was reserved for Germanus, [26] the emperor's nephew, whose rank and merit had been long depressed by the jealousy of the court. Theodora had injured him in the rights of a private citizen, the marriage of his children, and the testament of his brother; and although his conduct was pure and blameless, Justinian was displeased that he should be thought worthy of the confidence of the malecontents. The life of Germanus was a lesson of implicit obedience: he nobly refused to prostitute his name and character in the factions of the circus: the gravity of his manners was tempered by innocent cheerfulness; and his riches were lent without interest to indigent or deserving friends. His valor had formerly triumphed over the Sclavonians of the Danube and the rebels of Africa: the first report of his promotion revived the hopes of the Italians; and he was privately assured, that a crowd of Roman deserters would abandon, on his approach, the standard of Totila. His second marriage with Malasontha, the granddaughter of Theodoric endeared Germanus to the Goths themselves; and they marched with reluctance against the father of a royal infant the last offspring of the line of Amali. [27] A splendid allowance was assigned by the emperor: the general contribute his private fortune: his two sons were popular and active and he surpassed, in the promptitude and success of his levies the expectation of mankind. He was permitted to select some squadrons of Thracian cavalry: the veterans, as well as the youth of Constantinople and Europe, engaged their voluntary service; and as far as the heart of Germany, his fame and liberality attracted the aid of the Barbarians. [2711] The Romans advanced to Sardica; an army of Sclavonians fled before their march; but within two days of their final departure, the designs of Germanus were terminated by his malady and death. Yet the impulse which he had given to the Italian war still continued to act with energy and effect. The maritime towns Ancona, Crotona, Centumcellae, resisted the assaults of Totila Sicily was reduced by the zeal of Artaban, and the Gothic navy was defeated near the coast of the Adriatic. The two fleets were almost equal, forty-seven to fifty galleys: the victory was decided by the knowledge and dexterity of the Greeks; but the ships were so closely grappled, that only twelve of the Goths escaped from this unfortunate conflict. They affected to depreciate an element in which they were unskilled; but their own experience confirmed the truth of a maxim, that the master of the sea will always acquire the dominion of the land. [28]

[Footnote 2511: This is a singular mistake. Gibbon must have hastily caught at his inexperience, and concluded that it must have been from youth. Lord Mahon has pointed out this error, p. 401. I should add that in the last 4to. edition, corrected by Gibbon, it stands "want of youth and experience;"—but Gibbon can scarcely have intended such a phrase.—M.]

[Footnote 26: See the acts of Germanus in the public (Vandal. l. ii, c. 16, 17, 18 Goth. l. iii. c. 31, 32) and private history, (Anecdot. c. 5,) and those of his son Justin, in Agathias, (l. iv. p. 130, 131.) Notwithstanding an ambiguous expression of Jornandes, fratri suo, Alemannus has proved that he was the son of the emperor's brother.]

[Footnote 27: Conjuncta Aniciorum gens cum Amala stirpe spem adhuc utii usque generis promittit, (Jornandes, c. 60, p. 703.) He wrote at Ravenna before the death of Totila]

[Footnote 2711: See note 31, p. 268.—M.]

[Footnote 28: The third book of Procopius is terminated by the death of Germanus, (Add. l. iv. c. 23, 24, 25, 26.)]

After the loss of Germanus, the nations were provoked to smile, by the strange intelligence, that the command of the Roman armies was given to a eunuch. But the eunuch Narses [29] is ranked among the few who have rescued that unhappy name from the contempt and hatred of mankind. A feeble, diminutive body concealed the soul of a statesman and a warrior. His youth had been employed in the management of the loom and distaff, in the cares of the household, and the service of female luxury; but while his hands were busy, he secretly exercised the faculties of a vigorous and discerning mind. A stranger to the schools and the camp, he studied in the palace to dissemble, to flatter, and to persuade; and as soon as he approached the person of the emperor, Justinian listened with surprise and pleasure to the manly counsels of his chamberlain and private treasurer. [30] The talents of Narses were tried and improved in frequent embassies: he led an army into Italy acquired a practical knowledge of the war and the country, and presumed to strive with the genius of Belisarius. Twelve years after his return, the eunuch was chosen to achieve the conquest which had been left imperfect by the first of the Roman generals. Instead of being dazzled by vanity or emulation, he seriously declared that, unless he were armed with an adequate force, he would never consent to risk his own glory and that of his sovereign. Justinian granted to the favorite what he might have denied to the hero: the Gothic war was rekindled from its ashes, and the preparations were not unworthy of the ancient majesty of the empire. The key of the public treasure was put into his hand, to collect magazines, to levy soldiers, to purchase arms and horses, to discharge the arrears of pay, and to tempt the fidelity of the fugitives and deserters. The troops of Germanus were still in arms; they halted at Salona in the expectation of a new leader; and legions of subjects and allies were created by the well-known liberality of the eunuch Narses. The king of the Lombards [31] satisfied or surpassed the obligations of a treaty, by lending two thousand two hundred of his bravest warriors, [3111] who were followed by three thousand of their martial attendants. Three thousand Heruli fought on horseback under Philemuth, their native chief; and the noble Aratus, who adopted the manners and discipline of Rome, conducted a band of veterans of the same nation. Dagistheus was released from prison to command the Huns; and Kobad, the grandson and nephew of the great king, was conspicuous by the regal tiara at the head of his faithful Persians, who had devoted themselves to the fortunes of their prince. [32] Absolute in the exercise of his authority, more absolute in the affection of his troops, Narses led a numerous and gallant army from Philippopolis to Salona, from whence he coasted the eastern side of the Adriatic as far as the confines of Italy. His progress was checked. The East could not supply vessels capable of transporting such multitudes of men and horses. The Franks, who, in the general confusion, had usurped the greater part of the Venetian province, refused a free passage to the friends of the Lombards. The station of Verona was occupied by Teias, with the flower of the Gothic forces; and that skilful commander had overspread the adjacent country with the fall of woods and the inundation of waters. [33] In this perplexity, an officer of experience proposed a measure, secure by the appearance of rashness; that the Roman army should cautiously advance along the seashore, while the fleet preceded their march, and successively cast a bridge of boats over the mouths of the rivers, the Timavus, the Brenta, the Adige, and the Po, that fall into the Adriatic to the north of Ravenna. Nine days he reposed in the city, collected the fragments of the Italian army, and marching towards Rimini to meet the defiance of an insulting enemy.

[Footnote 29: Procopius relates the whole series of this second Gothic war and the victory of Narses, (l. iv. c. 21, 26—35.) A splendid scene. Among the six subjects of epic poetry which Tasso revolved in his mind, he hesitated between the conquests of Italy by Belisarius and by Narses, (Hayley's Works, vol. iv. p. 70.)]

[Footnote 30: The country of Narses is unknown, since he must not be confounded with the Persarmenian. Procopius styles him (see Goth. l. ii. c. 13); Paul Warnefrid, (l. ii. c. 3, p. 776,) Chartularius: Marcellinus adds the name of Cubicularius. In an inscription on the Salarian bridge he is entitled Ex-consul, Ex-praepositus, Cubiculi Patricius, (Mascou, Hist. of the Germans, (l. xiii. c. 25.) The law of Theodosius against ennuchs was obsolete or abolished, Annotation xx.,) but the foolish prophecy of the Romans subsisted in full vigor, (Procop. l. iv. c. 21.) * Note: Lord Mahon supposes them both to have been Persarmenians. Note, p. 256.—M.]

[Footnote 31: Paul Warnefrid, the Lombard, records with complacency the succor, service, and honorable dismission of his countrymen—reipublicae Romanae adversus aemulos adjutores fuerant, (l. ii. c. i. p. 774, edit. Grot.) I am surprised that Alboin, their martial king, did not lead his subjects in person. * Note: The Lombards were still at war with the Gepidae. See Procop. Goth. lib. iv. p. 25.—M.]

[Footnote 3111: Gibbon has blindly followed the translation of Maltretus: Bis mille ducentos—while the original Greek says expressly something else, (Goth. lib. iv. c. 26.) In like manner, (p. 266,) he draws volunteers from Germany, on the authority of Cousin, who, in one place, has mistaken Germanus for Germania. Yet only a few pages further we find Gibbon loudly condemning the French and Latin readers of Procopius. Lord Mahon, p. 403. The first of these errors remains uncorrected in the new edition of the Byzantines.—M.]

[Footnote 32: He was, if not an impostor, the son of the blind Zames, saved by compassion, and educated in the Byzantine court by the various motives of policy, pride, and generosity, (Procop. Persic. l. i. c. 23.)]

[Footnote 33: In the time of Augustus, and in the middle ages, the whole waste from Aquileia to Ravenna was covered with woods, lakes, and morasses. Man has subdued nature, and the land has been cultivated since the waters are confined and embanked. See the learned researches of Muratori, (Antiquitat. Italiae Medii Aevi. tom. i. dissert xxi. p. 253, 254,) from Vitruvius, Strabo, Herodian, old charters, and local knowledge.]

Chapter XLIII: Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of Justinian.—Part III.

The prudence of Narses impelled him to speedy and decisive action. His powers were the last effort of the state; the cost of each day accumulated the enormous account; and the nations, untrained to discipline or fatigue, might be rashly provoked to turn their arms against each other, or against their benefactor. The same considerations might have tempered the ardor of Totila. But he was conscious that the clergy and people of Italy aspired to a second revolution: he felt or suspected the rapid progress of treason; and he resolved to risk the Gothic kingdom on the chance of a day, in which the valiant would be animated by instant danger and the disaffected might be awed by mutual ignorance. In his march from Ravenna, the Roman general chastised the garrison of Rimini, traversed in a direct line the hills of Urbino, and reentered the Flaminian way, nine miles beyond the perforated rock, an obstacle of art and nature which might have stopped or retarded his progress. [34] The Goths were assembled in the neighborhood of Rome, they advanced without delay to seek a superior enemy, and the two armies approached each other at the distance of one hundred furlongs, between Tagina [35] and the sepulchres of the Gauls. [36] The haughty message of Narses was an offer, not of peace, but of pardon. The answer of the Gothic king declared his resolution to die or conquer. "What day," said the messenger, "will you fix for the combat?" "The eighth day," replied Totila; but early the next morning he attempted to surprise a foe, suspicious of deceit, and prepared for battle. Ten thousand Heruli and Lombards, of approved valor and doubtful faith, were placed in the centre. Each of the wings was composed of eight thousand Romans; the right was guarded by the cavalry of the Huns, the left was covered by fifteen hundred chosen horse, destined, according to the emergencies of action, to sustain the retreat of their friends, or to encompass the flank of the enemy. From his proper station at the head of the right wing, the eunuch rode along the line, expressing by his voice and countenance the assurance of victory; exciting the soldiers of the emperor to punish the guilt and madness of a band of robbers; and exposing to their view gold chains, collars, and bracelets, the rewards of military virtue. From the event of a single combat they drew an omen of success; and they beheld with pleasure the courage of fifty archers, who maintained a small eminence against three successive attacks of the Gothic cavalry. At the distance only of two bow-shots, the armies spent the morning in dreadful suspense, and the Romans tasted some necessary food, without unloosing the cuirass from their breast, or the bridle from their horses. Narses awaited the charge; and it was delayed by Totila till he had received his last succors of two thousand Goths. While he consumed the hours in fruitless treaty, the king exhibited in a narrow space the strength and agility of a warrior. His armor was enchased with gold; his purple banner floated with the wind: he cast his lance into the air; caught it with the right hand; shifted it to the left; threw himself backwards; recovered his seat; and managed a fiery steed in all the paces and evolutions of the equestrian school. As soon as the succors had arrived, he retired to his tent, assumed the dress and arms of a private soldier, and gave the signal of a battle. The first line of cavalry advanced with more courage than discretion, and left behind them the infantry of the second line. They were soon engaged between the horns of a crescent, into which the adverse wings had been insensibly curved, and were saluted from either side by the volleys of four thousand archers. Their ardor, and even their distress, drove them forwards to a close and unequal conflict, in which they could only use their lances against an enemy equally skilled in all the instruments of war. A generous emulation inspired the Romans and their Barbarian allies; and Narses, who calmly viewed and directed their efforts, doubted to whom he should adjudge the prize of superior bravery. The Gothic cavalry was astonished and disordered, pressed and broken; and the line of infantry, instead of presenting their spears, or opening their intervals, were trampled under the feet of the flying horse. Six thousand of the Goths were slaughtered without mercy in the field of Tagina. Their prince, with five attendants, was overtaken by Asbad, of the race of the Gepidae. "Spare the king of Italy," [3611] cried a loyal voice, and Asbad struck his lance through the body of Totila. The blow was instantly revenged by the faithful Goths: they transported their dying monarch seven miles beyond the scene of his disgrace; and his last moments were not imbittered by the presence of an enemy. Compassion afforded him the shelter of an obscure tomb; but the Romans were not satisfied of their victory, till they beheld the corpse of the Gothic king. His hat, enriched with gems, and his bloody robe, were presented to Justinian by the messengers of triumph. [37]

[Footnote 34: The Flaminian way, as it is corrected from the Itineraries, and the best modern maps, by D'Anville, (Analyse de l'Italie, p. 147—162,) may be thus stated: Rome to Narni, 51 Roman miles; Terni, 57; Spoleto, 75; Foligno, 88; Nocera, 103; Cagli, 142; Intercisa, 157; Fossombrone, 160; Fano, 176; Pesaro, 184; Rimini, 208—about 189 English miles. He takes no notice of the death of Totila; but West selling (Itinerar. p. 614) exchanges, for the field of Taginas, the unknown appellation of Ptanias, eight miles from Nocera.]

[Footnote 35: Taginae, or rather Tadinae, is mentioned by Pliny; but the bishopric of that obscure town, a mile from Gualdo, in the plain, was united, in the year 1007, with that of Nocera. The signs of antiquity are preserved in the local appellations, Fossato, the camp; Capraia, Caprea; Bastia, Busta Gallorum. See Cluverius, (Italia Antiqua, l. ii. c. 6, p. 615, 616, 617,) Lucas Holstenius, (Annotat. ad Cluver. p. 85, 86,) Guazzesi, (Dissertat. p. 177—217, a professed inquiry,) and the maps of the ecclesiastical state and the march of Ancona, by Le Maire and Magini.]

[Footnote 36: The battle was fought in the year of Rome 458; and the consul Decius, by devoting his own life, assured the triumph of his country and his colleague Fabius, (T. Liv. x. 28, 29.) Procopius ascribes to Camillus the victory of the Busta Gallorum; and his error is branded by Cluverius with the national reproach of Graecorum nugamenta.]

[Footnote 3611: "Dog, wilt thou strike thy Lord?" was the more characteristic exclamation of the Gothic youth. Procop. lib. iv. p. 32.—M.]

[Footnote 37: Theophanes, Chron. p. 193. Hist. Miscell. l. xvi. p. 108.]

As soon as Narses had paid his devotions to the Author of victory, and the blessed Virgin, his peculiar patroness, [38] he praised, rewarded, and dismissed the Lombards. The villages had been reduced to ashes by these valiant savages; they ravished matrons and virgins on the altar; their retreat was diligently watched by a strong detachment of regular forces, who prevented a repetition of the like disorders. The victorious eunuch pursued his march through Tuscany, accepted the submission of the Goths, heard the acclamations, and often the complaints, of the Italians, and encompassed the walls of Rome with the remainder of his formidable host. Round the wide circumference, Narses assigned to himself, and to each of his lieutenants, a real or a feigned attack, while he silently marked the place of easy and unguarded entrance. Neither the fortifications of Hadrian's mole, nor of the port, could long delay the progress of the conqueror; and Justinian once more received the keys of Rome, which, under his reign, had been five times taken and recovered. [39] But the deliverance of Rome was the last calamity of the Roman people. The Barbarian allies of Narses too frequently confounded the privileges of peace and war. The despair of the flying Goths found some consolation in sanguinary revenge; and three hundred youths of the noblest families, who had been sent as hostages beyond the Po, were inhumanly slain by the successor of Totila. The fate of the senate suggests an awful lesson of the vicissitude of human affairs. Of the senators whom Totila had banished from their country, some were rescued by an officer of Belisarius, and transported from Campania to Sicily; while others were too guilty to confide in the clemency of Justinian, or too poor to provide horses for their escape to the sea-shore. Their brethren languished five years in a state of indigence and exile: the victory of Narses revived their hopes; but their premature return to the metropolis was prevented by the furious Goths; and all the fortresses of Campania were stained with patrician [40] blood. After a period of thirteen centuries, the institution of Romulus expired; and if the nobles of Rome still assumed the title of senators, few subsequent traces can be discovered of a public council, or constitutional order. Ascend six hundred years, and contemplate the kings of the earth soliciting an audience, as the slaves or freedmen of the Roman senate! [41]

[Footnote 38: Evagrius, l. iv. c. 24. The inspiration of the Virgin revealed to Narses the day, and the word, of battle, (Paul Diacon. l. ii. c. 3, p. 776)]

[Footnote 39: (Procop. Goth. lib. iv. p. 33.) In the year 536 by Belisarius, in 546 by Totila, in 547 by Belisarius, in 549 by Totila, and in 552 by Narses. Maltretus had inadvertently translated sextum; a mistake which he afterwards retracts; out the mischief was done; and Cousin, with a train of French and Latin readers, have fallen into the snare.]

[Footnote 40: Compare two passages of Procopius, (l. iii. c. 26, l. iv. c. 24,) which, with some collateral hints from Marcellinus and Jornandes, illustrate the state of the expiring senate.]

[Footnote 41: See, in the example of Prusias, as it is delivered in the fragments of Polybius, (Excerpt. Legat. xcvii. p. 927, 928,) a curious picture of a royal slave.]

The Gothic war was yet alive. The bravest of the nation retired beyond the Po; and Teias was unanimously chosen to succeed and revenge their departed hero. The new king immediately sent ambassadors to implore, or rather to purchase, the aid of the Franks, and nobly lavished, for the public safety, the riches which had been deposited in the palace of Pavia. The residue of the royal treasure was guarded by his brother Aligern, at Cumaea, in Campania; but the strong castle which Totila had fortified was closely besieged by the arms of Narses. From the Alps to the foot of Mount Vesuvius, the Gothic king, by rapid and secret marches, advanced to the relief of his brother, eluded the vigilance of the Roman chiefs, and pitched his camp on the banks of the Sarnus or Draco, [42] which flows from Nuceria into the Bay of Naples. The river separated the two armies: sixty days were consumed in distant and fruitless combats, and Teias maintained this important post till he was deserted by his fleet and the hope of subsistence. With reluctant steps he ascended the Lactarian mount, where the physicians of Rome, since the time of Galen, had sent their patients for the benefit of the air and the milk. [43] But the Goths soon embraced a more generous resolution: to descend the hill, to dismiss their horses, and to die in arms, and in the possession of freedom. The king marched at their head, bearing in his right hand a lance, and an ample buckler in his left: with the one he struck dead the foremost of the assailants; with the other he received the weapons which every hand was ambitious to aim against his life. After a combat of many hours, his left arm was fatigued by the weight of twelve javelins which hung from his shield. Without moving from his ground, or suspending his blows, the hero called aloud on his attendants for a fresh buckler; but in the moment while his side was uncovered, it was pierced by a mortal dart. He fell; and his head, exalted on a spear, proclaimed to the nations that the Gothic kingdom was no more. But the example of his death served only to animate the companions who had sworn to perish with their leader. They fought till darkness descended on the earth. They reposed on their arms. The combat was renewed with the return of light, and maintained with unabated vigor till the evening of the second day. The repose of a second night, the want of water, and the loss of their bravest champions, determined the surviving Goths to accept the fair capitulation which the prudence of Narses was inclined to propose. They embraced the alternative of residing in Italy, as the subjects and soldiers of Justinian, or departing with a portion of their private wealth, in search of some independent country. [44] Yet the oath of fidelity or exile was alike rejected by one thousand Goths, who broke away before the treaty was signed, and boldly effected their retreat to the walls of Pavia. The spirit, as well as the situation, of Aligern prompted him to imitate rather than to bewail his brother: a strong and dexterous archer, he transpierced with a single arrow the armor and breast of his antagonist; and his military conduct defended Cumae [45] above a year against the forces of the Romans.

Their industry had scooped the Sibyl's cave [46] into a prodigious mine; combustible materials were introduced to consume the temporary props: the wall and the gate of Cumae sunk into the cavern, but the ruins formed a deep and inaccessible precipice. On the fragment of a rock Aligern stood alone and unshaken, till he calmly surveyed the hopeless condition of his country, and judged it more honorable to be the friend of Narses, than the slave of the Franks. After the death of Teias, the Roman general separated his troops to reduce the cities of Italy; Lucca sustained a long and vigorous siege: and such was the humanity or the prudence of Narses, that the repeated perfidy of the inhabitants could not provoke him to exact the forfeit lives of their hostages. These hostages were dismissed in safety; and their grateful zeal at length subdued the obstinacy of their countrymen. [47]

[Footnote 42: The item of Procopius (Goth. l. iv. c. 35) is evidently the Sarnus. The text is accused or altered by the rash violence of Cluverius (l. iv. c. 3. p. 1156:) but Camillo Pellegrini of Naples (Discorsi sopra la Campania Felice, p. 330, 331) has proved from old records, that as early as the year 822 that river was called the Dracontio, or Draconcello.]

[Footnote 43: Galen (de Method. Medendi, l. v. apud Cluver. l. iv. c. 3, p. 1159, 1160) describes the lofty site, pure air, and rich milk, of Mount Lactarius, whose medicinal benefits were equally known and sought in the time of Symmachus (l. vi. epist. 18) and Cassiodorus, (Var. xi. 10.) Nothing is now left except the name of the town of Lettere.]

[Footnote 44: Buat (tom. xi. p. 2, &c.) conveys to his favorite Bavaria this remnant of Goths, who by others are buried in the mountains of Uri, or restored to their native isle of Gothland, (Mascou, Annot. xxi.)]

[Footnote 45: I leave Scaliger (Animadvers. in Euseb. p. 59) and Salmasius (Exercitat. Plinian. p. 51, 52) to quarrel about the origin of Cumae, the oldest of the Greek colonies in Italy, (Strab. l. v. p. 372, Velleius Paterculus, l. i. c. 4,) already vacant in Juvenal's time, (Satir. iii.,) and now in ruins.]

[Footnote 46: Agathias (l. i. c. 21) settles the Sibyl's cave under the wall of Cumae: he agrees with Servius, (ad. l. vi. Aeneid.;) nor can I perceive why their opinion should be rejected by Heyne, the excellent editor of Virgil, (tom. ii. p. 650, 651.) In urbe media secreta religio! But Cumae was not yet built; and the lines (l. vi. 96, 97) would become ridiculous, if Aeneas were actually in a Greek city.]

[Footnote 47: There is some difficulty in connecting the 35th chapter of the fourth book of the Gothic war of Procopius with the first book of the history of Agathias. We must now relinquish the statesman and soldier, to attend the footsteps of a poet and rhetorician, (l. i. p. 11, l. ii. p. 51, edit. Lonvre.)]

Before Lucca had surrendered, Italy was overwhelmed by a new deluge of Barbarians. A feeble youth, the grandson of Clovis, reigned over the Austrasians or oriental Franks. The guardians of Theodebald entertained with coldness and reluctance the magnificent promises of the Gothic ambassadors. But the spirit of a martial people outstripped the timid counsels of the court: two brothers, Lothaire and Buccelin, [48] the dukes of the Alemanni, stood forth as the leaders of the Italian war; and seventy-five thousand Germans descended in the autumn from the Rhaetian Alps into the plain of Milan. The vanguard of the Roman army was stationed near the Po, under the conduct of Fulcaris, a bold Herulian, who rashly conceived that personal bravery was the sole duty and merit of a commander. As he marched without order or precaution along the Aemilian way, an ambuscade of Franks suddenly rose from the amphitheatre of Parma; his troops were surprised and routed; but their leader refused to fly; declaring to the last moment, that death was less terrible than the angry countenance of Narses. [4811] The death of Fulcaris, and the retreat of the surviving chiefs, decided the fluctuating and rebellious temper of the Goths; they flew to the standard of their deliverers, and admitted them into the cities which still resisted the arms of the Roman general. The conqueror of Italy opened a free passage to the irresistible torrent of Barbarians. They passed under the walls of Cesena, and answered by threats and reproaches the advice of Aligern, [4812] that the Gothic treasures could no longer repay the labor of an invasion. Two thousand Franks were destroyed by the skill and valor of Narses himself, who sailed from Rimini at the head of three hundred horse, to chastise the licentious rapine of their march. On the confines of Samnium the two brothers divided their forces. With the right wing, Buccelin assumed the spoil of Campania, Lucania, and Bruttium; with the left, Lothaire accepted the plunder of Apulia and Calabria. They followed the coast of the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, as far as Rhegium and Otranto, and the extreme lands of Italy were the term of their destructive progress. The Franks, who were Christians and Catholics, contented themselves with simple pillage and occasional murder. But the churches which their piety had spared, were stripped by the sacrilegious hands of the Alamanni, who sacrificed horses' heads to their native deities of the woods and rivers; [49] they melted or profaned the consecrated vessels, and the ruins of shrines and altars were stained with the blood of the faithful. Buccelin was actuated by ambition, and Lothaire by avarice. The former aspired to restore the Gothic kingdom; the latter, after a promise to his brother of speedy succors, returned by the same road to deposit his treasure beyond the Alps. The strength of their armies was already wasted by the change of climate and contagion of disease: the Germans revelled in the vintage of Italy; and their own intemperance avenged, in some degree, the miseries of a defenceless people. [4911]

[Footnote 48: Among the fabulous exploits of Buccelin, he discomfited and slew Belisarius, subdued Italy and Sicily, &c. See in the Historians of France, Gregory of Tours, (tom. ii. l. iii. c. 32, p. 203,) and Aimoin, (tom. iii. l. ii. de Gestis Francorum, c. 23, p. 59.)]

[Footnote 4811:.... Agathius.]

[Footnote 4812: Aligern, after the surrender of Cumae, had been sent to Cesent by Narses. Agathias.—M.]

[Footnote 49: Agathias notices their superstition in a philosophic tone, (l. i. p. 18.) At Zug, in Switzerland, idolatry still prevailed in the year 613: St. Columban and St. Gaul were the apostles of that rude country; and the latter founded a hermitage, which has swelled into an ecclesiastical principality and a populous city, the seat of freedom and commerce.]

[Footnote 4911: A body of Lothaire's troops was defeated near Fano, some were driven down precipices into the sea, others fled to the camp; many prisoners seized the opportunity of making their escape; and the Barbarians lost most of their booty in their precipitate retreat. Agathias.—M.]

At the entrance of the spring, the Imperial troops, who had guarded the cities, assembled, to the number of eighteen thousand men, in the neighborhood of Rome. Their winter hours had not been consumed in idleness. By the command, and after the example, of Narses, they repeated each day their military exercise on foot and on horseback, accustomed their ear to obey the sound of the trumpet, and practised the steps and evolutions of the Pyrrhic dance. From the Straits of Sicily, Buccelin, with thirty thousand Franks and Alamanni, slowly moved towards Capua, occupied with a wooden tower the bridge of Casilinum, covered his right by the stream of the Vulturnus, and secured the rest of his encampment by a rampart of sharp stakes, and a circle of wagons, whose wheels were buried in the earth. He impatiently expected the return of Lothaire; ignorant, alas! that his brother could never return, and that the chief and his army had been swept away by a strange disease [50] on the banks of the Lake Benacus, between Trent and Verona. The banners of Narses soon approached the Vulturnus, and the eyes of Italy were anxiously fixed on the event of this final contest. Perhaps the talents of the Roman general were most conspicuous in the calm operations which precede the tumult of a battle. His skilful movements intercepted the subsistence of the Barbarian deprived him of the advantage of the bridge and river, and in the choice of the ground and moment of action reduced him to comply with the inclination of his enemy. On the morning of the important day, when the ranks were already formed, a servant, for some trivial fault, was killed by his master, one of the leaders of the Heruli. The justice or passion of Narses was awakened: he summoned the offender to his presence, and without listening to his excuses, gave the signal to the minister of death. If the cruel master had not infringed the laws of his nation, this arbitrary execution was not less unjust than it appears to have been imprudent. The Heruli felt the indignity; they halted: but the Roman general, without soothing their rage, or expecting their resolution, called aloud, as the trumpets sounded, that unless they hastened to occupy their place, they would lose the honor of the victory. His troops were disposed [51] in a long front, the cavalry on the wings; in the centre, the heavy-armed foot; the archers and slingers in the rear. The Germans advanced in a sharp-pointed column, of the form of a triangle or solid wedge. They pierced the feeble centre of Narses, who received them with a smile into the fatal snare, and directed his wings of cavalry insensibly to wheel on their flanks and encompass their rear. The host of the Franks and Alamanni consisted of infantry: a sword and buckler hung by their side; and they used, as their weapons of offence, a weighty hatchet and a hooked javelin, which were only formidable in close combat, or at a short distance. The flower of the Roman archers, on horseback, and in complete armor, skirmished without peril round this immovable phalanx; supplied by active speed the deficiency of number; and aimed their arrows against a crowd of Barbarians, who, instead of a cuirass and helmet, were covered by a loose garment of fur or linen. They paused, they trembled, their ranks were confounded, and in the decisive moment the Heruli, preferring glory to revenge, charged with rapid violence the head of the column. Their leader, Sinbal, and Aligern, the Gothic prince, deserved the prize of superior valor; and their example excited the victorious troops to achieve with swords and spears the destruction of the enemy. Buccelin, and the greatest part of his army, perished on the field of battle, in the waters of the Vulturnus, or by the hands of the enraged peasants: but it may seem incredible, that a victory, [52] which no more than five of the Alamanni survived, could be purchased with the loss of fourscore Romans. Seven thousand Goths, the relics of the war, defended the fortress of Campsa till the ensuing spring; and every messenger of Narses announced the reduction of the Italian cities, whose names were corrupted by the ignorance or vanity of the Greeks. [53] After the battle of Casilinum, Narses entered the capital; the arms and treasures of the Goths, the Franks, and the Alamanni, were displayed; his soldiers, with garlands in their hands, chanted the praises of the conqueror; and Rome, for the last time, beheld the semblance of a triumph.

[Footnote 50: See the death of Lothaire in Agathias (l. ii. p. 38) and Paul Warnefrid, surnamed Diaconus, (l. ii. c. 3, 775.) The Greek makes him rave and tear his flesh. He had plundered churches.]

[Footnote 51: Pere Daniel (Hist. de la Milice Francoise, tom. i. p. 17—21) has exhibited a fanciful representation of this battle, somewhat in the manner of the Chevalier Folard, the once famous editor of Polybius, who fashioned to his own habits and opinions all the military operations of antiquity.]

[Footnote 52: Agathias (l. ii. p. 47) has produced a Greek epigram of six lines on this victory of Narses, which a favorably compared to the battles of Marathon and Plataea. The chief difference is indeed in their consequences—so trivial in the former instance—so permanent and glorious in the latter. Note: Not in the epigram, but in the previous observations—M.]

[Footnote 53: The Beroia and Brincas of Theophanes or his transcriber (p. 201) must be read or understood Verona and Brixia.]

After a reign of sixty years, the throne of the Gothic kings was filled by the exarchs of Ravenna, the representatives in peace and war of the emperor of the Romans. Their jurisdiction was soon reduced to the limits of a narrow province: but Narses himself, the first and most powerful of the exarchs, administered above fifteen years the entire kingdom of Italy. Like Belisarius, he had deserved the honors of envy, calumny, and disgrace: but the favorite eunuch still enjoyed the confidence of Justinian; or the leader of a victorious army awed and repressed the ingratitude of a timid court. Yet it was not by weak and mischievous indulgence that Narses secured the attachment of his troops. Forgetful of the past, and regardless of the future, they abused the present hour of prosperity and peace. The cities of Italy resounded with the noise of drinking and dancing; the spoils of victory were wasted in sensual pleasures; and nothing (says Agathias) remained unless to exchange their shields and helmets for the soft lute and the capacious hogshead. [54] In a manly oration, not unworthy of a Roman censor, the eunuch reproved these disorderly vices, which sullied their fame, and endangered their safety. The soldiers blushed and obeyed; discipline was confirmed; the fortifications were restored; a duke was stationed for the defence and military command of each of the principal cities; [55] and the eye of Narses pervaded the ample prospect from Calabria to the Alps. The remains of the Gothic nation evacuated the country, or mingled with the people; the Franks, instead of revenging the death of Buccelin, abandoned, without a struggle, their Italian conquests; and the rebellious Sinbal, chief of the Heruli, was subdued, taken and hung on a lofty gallows by the inflexible justice of the exarch. [56] The civil state of Italy, after the agitation of a long tempest, was fixed by a pragmatic sanction, which the emperor promulgated at the request of the pope. Justinian introduced his own jurisprudence into the schools and tribunals of the West; he ratified the acts of Theodoric and his immediate successors, but every deed was rescinded and abolished which force had extorted, or fear had subscribed, under the usurpation of Totila. A moderate theory was framed to reconcile the rights of property with the safety of prescription, the claims of the state with the poverty of the people, and the pardon of offences with the interest of virtue and order of society. Under the exarchs of Ravenna, Rome was degraded to the second rank. Yet the senators were gratified by the permission of visiting their estates in Italy, and of approaching, without obstacle, the throne of Constantinople: the regulation of weights and measures was delegated to the pope and senate; and the salaries of lawyers and physicians, of orators and grammarians, were destined to preserve, or rekindle, the light of science in the ancient capital. Justinian might dictate benevolent edicts, [57] and Narses might second his wishes by the restoration of cities, and more especially of churches. But the power of kings is most effectual to destroy; and the twenty years of the Gothic war had consummated the distress and depopulation of Italy. As early as the fourth campaign, under the discipline of Belisarius himself, fifty thousand laborers died of hunger [58] in the narrow region of Picenum; [59] and a strict interpretation of the evidence of Procopius would swell the loss of Italy above the total sum of her present inhabitants. [60]

[Footnote 54: (Agathias, l. ii. p. 48.) In the first scene of Richard III. our English poet has beautifully enlarged on this idea, for which, however, he was not indebted to the Byzantine historian.]

[Footnote 55: Maffei has proved, (Verona Illustrata. P. i. l. x. p. 257, 289,) against the common opinion, that the dukes of Italy were instituted before the conquest of the Lombards, by Narses himself. In the Pragmatic Sanction, (No. 23,) Justinian restrains the judices militares.]

[Footnote 56: See Paulus Diaconus, liii. c. 2, p. 776. Menander in (Excerp Legat. p. 133) mentions some risings in Italy by the Franks, and Theophanes (p. 201) hints at some Gothic rebellions.]

[Footnote 57: The Pragmatic Sanction of Justinian, which restores and regulates the civil state of Italy, consists of xxvii. articles: it is dated August 15, A.D. 554; is addressed to Narses, V. J. Praepositus Sacri Cubiculi, and to Antiochus, Praefectus Praetorio Italiae; and has been preserved by Julian Antecessor, and in the Corpus Juris Civilis, after the novels and edicts of Justinian, Justin, and Tiberius.]

[Footnote 58: A still greater number was consumed by famine in the southern provinces, without the Ionian Gulf. Acorns were used in the place of bread. Procopius had seen a deserted orphan suckled by a she-goat. Seventeen passengers were lodged, murdered, and eaten, by two women, who were detected and slain by the eighteenth, &c. * Note: Denina considers that greater evil was inflicted upon Italy by the Urocian conquest than by any other invasion. Reveluz. d' Italia, t. i. l. v. p. 247.—M.]

[Footnote 59: Quinta regio Piceni est; quondam uberrimae multitudinis, ccclx. millia Picentium in fidem P. R. venere, (Plin. Hist. Natur. iii. 18.) In the time of Vespasian, this ancient population was already diminished.]

[Footnote 60: Perhaps fifteen or sixteen millions. Procopius (Anecdot. c. 18) computes that Africa lost five millions, that Italy was thrice as extensive, and that the depopulation was in a larger proportion. But his reckoning is inflamed by passion, and clouded with uncertainty.]

I desire to believe, but I dare not affirm, that Belisarius sincerely rejoiced in the triumph of Narses. Yet the consciousness of his own exploits might teach him to esteem without jealousy the merit of a rival; and the repose of the aged warrior was crowned by a last victory, which saved the emperor and the capital. The Barbarians, who annually visited the provinces of Europe, were less discouraged by some accidental defeats, than they were excited by the double hope of spoil and of subsidy. In the thirty-second winter of Justinian's reign, the Danube was deeply frozen: Zabergan led the cavalry of the Bulgarians, and his standard was followed by a promiscuous multitude of Sclavonians. [6011] The savage chief passed, without opposition, the river and the mountains, spread his troops over Macedonia and Thrace, and advanced with no more than seven thousand horse to the long wall, which should have defended the territory of Constantinople. But the works of man are impotent against the assaults of nature: a recent earthquake had shaken the foundations of the wall; and the forces of the empire were employed on the distant frontiers of Italy, Africa, and Persia. The seven schools, [61] or companies of the guards or domestic troops, had been augmented to the number of five thousand five hundred men, whose ordinary station was in the peaceful cities of Asia. But the places of the brave Armenians were insensibly supplied by lazy citizens, who purchased an exemption from the duties of civil life, without being exposed to the dangers of military service. Of such soldiers, few could be tempted to sally from the gates; and none could be persuaded to remain in the field, unless they wanted strength and speed to escape from the Bulgarians. The report of the fugitives exaggerated the numbers and fierceness of an enemy, who had polluted holy virgins, and abandoned new-born infants to the dogs and vultures; a crowd of rustics, imploring food and protection, increased the consternation of the city, and the tents of Zabergan were pitched at the distance of twenty miles, [62] on the banks of a small river, which encircles Melanthias, and afterwards falls into the Propontis. [63] Justinian trembled: and those who had only seen the emperor in his old age, were pleased to suppose, that he had lost the alacrity and vigor of his youth. By his command the vessels of gold and silver were removed from the churches in the neighborhood, and even the suburbs, of Constantinople; the ramparts were lined with trembling spectators; the golden gate was crowded with useless generals and tribunes, and the senate shared the fatigues and the apprehensions of the populace.

[Footnote 6011: Zabergan was king of the Cutrigours, a tribe of Huns, who were neither Bulgarians nor Sclavonians. St. Martin, vol. ix. p. 408—420.—M]

[Footnote 61: In the decay of these military schools, the satire of Procopius (Anecdot. c. 24, Aleman. p. 102, 103) is confirmed and illustrated by Agathias, (l. v. p. 159,) who cannot be rejected as a hostile witness.]

[Footnote 62: The distance from Constantinople to Melanthias, Villa Caesariana, (Ammian. Marcellin. xxx. 11,) is variously fixed at 102 or 140 stadia, (Suidas, tom. ii. p. 522, 523. Agathias, l. v. p. 158,) or xviii. or xix. miles, (Itineraria, p. 138, 230, 323, 332, and Wesseling's Observations.) The first xii. miles, as far as Rhegium, were paved by Justinian, who built a bridge over a morass or gullet between a lake and the sea, (Procop. de Edif. l. iv. c. 8.)]

[Footnote 63: The Atyras, (Pompon. Mela, l. ii. c. 2, p. 169, edit. Voss.) At the river's mouth, a town or castle of the same name was fortified by Justinian, (Procop. de Edif. l. iv. c. 2. Itinerar. p. 570, and Wesseling.)]

But the eyes of the prince and people were directed to a feeble veteran, who was compelled by the public danger to resume the armor in which he had entered Carthage and defended Rome. The horses of the royal stables, of private citizens, and even of the circus, were hastily collected; the emulation of the old and young was roused by the name of Belisarius, and his first encampment was in the presence of a victorious enemy. His prudence, and the labor of the friendly peasants, secured, with a ditch and rampart, the repose of the night; innumerable fires, and clouds of dust, were artfully contrived to magnify the opinion of his strength; his soldiers suddenly passed from despondency to presumption; and, while ten thousand voices demanded the battle, Belisarius dissembled his knowledge, that in the hour of trial he must depend on the firmness of three hundred veterans. The next morning the Bulgarian cavalry advanced to the charge. But they heard the shouts of multitudes, they beheld the arms and discipline of the front; they were assaulted on the flanks by two ambuscades which rose from the woods; their foremost warriors fell by the hand of the aged hero and his guards; and the swiftness of their evolutions was rendered useless by the close attack and rapid pursuit of the Romans. In this action (so speedy was their flight) the Bulgarians lost only four hundred horse; but Constantinople was saved; and Zabergan, who felt the hand of a master, withdrew to a respectful distance. But his friends were numerous in the councils of the emperor, and Belisarius obeyed with reluctance the commands of envy and Justinian, which forbade him to achieve the deliverance of his country. On his return to the city, the people, still conscious of their danger, accompanied his triumph with acclamations of joy and gratitude, which were imputed as a crime to the victorious general. But when he entered the palace, the courtiers were silent, and the emperor, after a cold and thankless embrace, dismissed him to mingle with the train of slaves. Yet so deep was the impression of his glory on the minds of men, that Justinian, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, was encouraged to advance near forty miles from the capital, and to inspect in person the restoration of the long wall. The Bulgarians wasted the summer in the plains of Thrace; but they were inclined to peace by the failure of their rash attempts on Greece and the Chersonesus. A menace of killing their prisoners quickened the payment of heavy ransoms; and the departure of Zabergan was hastened by the report, that double-prowed vessels were built on the Danube to intercept his passage. The danger was soon forgotten; and a vain question, whether their sovereign had shown more wisdom or weakness, amused the idleness of the city. [64]

[Footnote 64: The Bulgarian war, and the last victory of Belisarius, are imperfectly represented in the prolix declamation of Agathias. (l. 5, p. 154-174,) and the dry Chronicle of Theophanes, (p. 197 198.)]

Chapter XLIII: Last Victory And Death Of Belisarius, Death Of Justinian.—Part IV.

About two years after the last victory of Belisarius, the emperor returned from a Thracian journey of health, or business, or devotion. Justinian was afflicted by a pain in his head; and his private entry countenanced the rumor of his death. Before the third hour of the day, the bakers' shops were plundered of their bread, the houses were shut, and every citizen, with hope or terror, prepared for the impending tumult. The senators themselves, fearful and suspicious, were convened at the ninth hour; and the praefect received their commands to visit every quarter of the city, and proclaim a general illumination for the recovery of the emperor's health. The ferment subsided; but every accident betrayed the impotence of the government, and the factious temper of the people: the guards were disposed to mutiny as often as their quarters were changed, or their pay was withheld: the frequent calamities of fires and earthquakes afforded the opportunities of disorder; the disputes of the blues and greens, of the orthodox and heretics, degenerated into bloody battles; and, in the presence of the Persian ambassador, Justinian blushed for himself and for his subjects. Capricious pardon and arbitrary punishment imbittered the irksomeness and discontent of a long reign: a conspiracy was formed in the palace; and, unless we are deceived by the names of Marcellus and Sergius, the most virtuous and the most profligate of the courtiers were associated in the same designs. They had fixed the time of the execution; their rank gave them access to the royal banquet; and their black slaves [65] were stationed in the vestibule and porticos, to announce the death of the tyrant, and to excite a sedition in the capital. But the indiscretion of an accomplice saved the poor remnant of the days of Justinian. The conspirators were detected and seized, with daggers hidden under their garments: Marcellus died by his own hand, and Sergius was dragged from the sanctuary. [66] Pressed by remorse, or tempted by the hopes of safety, he accused two officers of the household of Belisarius; and torture forced them to declare that they had acted according to the secret instructions of their patron. [67] Posterity will not hastily believe that a hero who, in the vigor of life, had disdained the fairest offers of ambition and revenge, should stoop to the murder of his prince, whom he could not long expect to survive. His followers were impatient to fly; but flight must have been supported by rebellion, and he had lived enough for nature and for glory. Belisarius appeared before the council with less fear than indignation: after forty years' service, the emperor had prejudged his guilt; and injustice was sanctified by the presence and authority of the patriarch. The life of Belisarius was graciously spared; but his fortunes were sequestered, and, from December to July, he was guarded as a prisoner in his own palace. At length his innocence was acknowledged; his freedom and honor were restored; and death, which might be hastened by resentment and grief, removed him from the world in about eight months after his deliverance. The name of Belisarius can never die but instead of the funeral, the monuments, the statues, so justly due to his memory, I only read, that his treasures, the spoil of the Goths and Vandals, were immediately confiscated by the emperor. Some decent portion was reserved, however for the use of his widow: and as Antonina had much to repent, she devoted the last remains of her life and fortune to the foundation of a convent. Such is the simple and genuine narrative of the fall of Belisarius and the ingratitude of Justinian. [68] That he was deprived of his eyes, and reduced by envy to beg his bread, [6811] "Give a penny to Belisarius the general!" is a fiction of later times, [69] which has obtained credit, or rather favor, as a strange example of the vicissitudes of fortune. [70]

[Footnote 65: They could scarcely be real Indians; and the Aethiopians, sometimes known by that name, were never used by the ancients as guards or followers: they were the trifling, though costly objects of female and royal luxury, (Terent. Eunuch. act. i. scene ii Sueton. in August. c. 83, with a good note of Casaubon, in Caligula, c. 57.)]

[Footnote 66: The Sergius (Vandal. l. ii. c. 21, 22, Anecdot. c. 5) and Marcellus (Goth. l. iii. c. 32) are mentioned by Procopius. See Theophanes, p. 197, 201. * Note: Some words, "the acts of," or "the crimes cf," appear to have false from the text. The omission is in all the editions I have consulted.—M.]

[Footnote 67: Alemannus, (p. quotes an old Byzantian Ms., which has been printed in the Imperium Orientale of Banduri.)]

[Footnote 68: Of the disgrace and restoration of Belisarius, the genuine original record is preserved in the Fragment of John Malala (tom. ii. p. 234—243) and the exact Chronicle of Theophanes, (p. 194—204.) Cedrenus (Compend. p. 387, 388) and Zonaras (tom. ii. l. xiv. p. 69) seem to hesitate between the obsolete truth and the growing falsehood.]

[Footnote 6811: Le Beau, following Allemannus, conceives that Belisarius was confounded with John of Cappadocia, who was thus reduced to beggary, (vol. ix. p. 58, 449.) Lord Mahon has, with considerable learning, and on the authority of a yet unquoted writer of the eleventh century, endeavored to reestablish the old tradition. I cannot acknowledge that I have been convinced, and am inclined to subscribe to the theory of Le Beau.—M.]

[Footnote 69: The source of this idle fable may be derived from a miscellaneous work of the xiith century, the Chiliads of John Tzetzes, a monk, (Basil. 1546, ad calcem Lycophront. Colon. Allobrog. 1614, in Corp. Poet. Graec.) He relates the blindness and beggary of Belisarius in ten vulgar or political verses, (Chiliad iii. No. 88, 339—348, in Corp. Poet. Graec. tom. ii. p. 311.) This moral or romantic tale was imported into Italy with the language and manuscripts of Greece; repeated before the end of the xvth century by Crinitus, Pontanus, and Volaterranus, attacked by Alciat, for the honor of the law; and defended by Baronius, (A.D. 561, No. 2, &c.,) for the honor of the church. Yet Tzetzes himself had read in other chronicles, that Belisarius did not lose his sight, and that he recovered his fame and fortunes. * Note: I know not where Gibbon found Tzetzes to be a monk; I suppose he considered his bad verses a proof of his monachism. Compare to Gerbelius in Kiesling's edition of Tzetzes.—M.]

[Footnote 70: The statue in the villa Borghese at Rome, in a sitting posture, with an open hand, which is vulgarly given to Belisarius, may be ascribed with more dignity to Augustus in the act of propitiating Nemesis, (Winckelman, Hist. de l'Art, tom. iii. p. 266.) Ex nocturno visu etiam stipem, quotannis, die certo, emendicabat a populo, cavana manum asses porrigentibus praebens, (Sueton. in August. c. 91, with an excellent note of Casaubon.) * Note: Lord Mahon abandons the statue, as altogether irreconcilable with the state of the arts at this period, (p. 472.)—M.]

If the emperor could rejoice in the death of Belisarius, he enjoyed the base satisfaction only eight months, the last period of a reign of thirty-eight years, and a life of eighty-three years. It would be difficult to trace the character of a prince who is not the most conspicuous object of his own times: but the confessions of an enemy may be received as the safest evidence of his virtues. The resemblance of Justinian to the bust of Domitian, is maliciously urged; [71] with the acknowledgment, however, of a well-proportioned figure, a ruddy complexion, and a pleasing countenance. The emperor was easy of access, patient of hearing, courteous and affable in discourse, and a master of the angry passions which rage with such destructive violence in the breast of a despot. Procopius praises his temper, to reproach him with calm and deliberate cruelty: but in the conspiracies which attacked his authority and person, a more candid judge will approve the justice, or admire the clemency, of Justinian. He excelled in the private virtues of chastity and temperance: but the impartial love of beauty would have been less mischievous than his conjugal tenderness for Theodora; and his abstemious diet was regulated, not by the prudence of a philosopher, but the superstition of a monk. His repasts were short and frugal: on solemn fasts, he contented himself with water and vegetables; and such was his strength, as well as fervor, that he frequently passed two days, and as many nights, without tasting any food. The measure of his sleep was not less rigorous: after the repose of a single hour, the body was awakened by the soul, and, to the astonishment of his chamberlain, Justinian walked or studied till the morning light. Such restless application prolonged his time for the acquisition of knowledge [72] and the despatch of business; and he might seriously deserve the reproach of confounding, by minute and preposterous diligence, the general order of his administration. The emperor professed himself a musician and architect, a poet and philosopher, a lawyer and theologian; and if he failed in the enterprise of reconciling the Christian sects, the review of the Roman jurisprudence is a noble monument of his spirit and industry. In the government of the empire, he was less wise, or less successful: the age was unfortunate; the people was oppressed and discontented; Theodora abused her power; a succession of bad ministers disgraced his judgment; and Justinian was neither beloved in his life, nor regretted at his death. The love of fame was deeply implanted in his breast, but he condescended to the poor ambition of titles, honors, and contemporary praise; and while he labored to fix the admiration, he forfeited the esteem and affection, of the Romans.

The design of the African and Italian wars was boldly conceived and executed; and his penetration discovered the talents of Belisarius in the camp, of Narses in the palace. But the name of the emperor is eclipsed by the names of his victorious generals; and Belisarius still lives, to upbraid the envy and ingratitude of his sovereign. The partial favor of mankind applauds the genius of a conqueror, who leads and directs his subjects in the exercise of arms. The characters of Philip the Second and of Justinian are distinguished by the cold ambition which delights in war, and declines the dangers of the field. Yet a colossal statue of bronze represented the emperor on horseback, preparing to march against the Persians in the habit and armor of Achilles. In the great square before the church of St. Sophia, this monument was raised on a brass column and a stone pedestal of seven steps; and the pillar of Theodosius, which weighed seven thousand four hundred pounds of silver, was removed from the same place by the avarice and vanity of Justinian. Future princes were more just or indulgent to his memory; the elder Andronicus, in the beginning of the fourteenth century, repaired and beautified his equestrian statue: since the fall of the empire it has been melted into cannon by the victorious Turks. [73]

[Footnote 71: The rubor of Domitian is stigmatized, quaintly enough, by the pen of Tacitus, (in Vit. Agricol. c. 45;) and has been likewise noticed by the younger Pliny, (Panegyr. c. 48,) and Suetonius, (in Domitian, c. 18, and Casaubon ad locum.) Procopius (Anecdot. c. 8) foolishly believes that only one bust of Domitian had reached the vith century.]

[Footnote 72: The studies and science of Justinian are attested by the confession (Anecdot. c. 8, 13) still more than by the praises (Gothic. l. iii. c. 31, de Edific. l. i. Proem. c. 7) of Procopius. Consult the copious index of Alemannus, and read the life of Justinian by Ludewig, (p. 135—142.)]

[Footnote 73: See in the C. P. Christiana of Ducange (l. i. c. 24, No. 1) a chain of original testimonies, from Procopius in the vith, to Gyllius in the xvith century.]

I shall conclude this chapter with the comets, the earthquakes, and the plague, which astonished or afflicted the age of Justinian. I. In the fifth year of his reign, and in the month of September, a comet [74] was seen during twenty days in the western quarter of the heavens, and which shot its rays into the north. Eight years afterwards, while the sun was in Capricorn, another comet appeared to follow in the Sagittary; the size was gradually increasing; the head was in the east, the tail in the west, and it remained visible above forty days. The nations, who gazed with astonishment, expected wars and calamities from their baleful influence; and these expectations were abundantly fulfilled. The astronomers dissembled their ignorance of the nature of these blazing stars, which they affected to represent as the floating meteors of the air; and few among them embraced the simple notion of Seneca and the Chaldeans, that they are only planets of a longer period and more eccentric motion. [75] Time and science have justified the conjectures and predictions of the Roman sage: the telescope has opened new worlds to the eyes of astronomers; [76] and, in the narrow space of history and fable, one and the same comet is already found to have revisited the earth in seven equal revolutions of five hundred and seventy-five years. The first, [77] which ascends beyond the Christian aera one thousand seven hundred and sixty-seven years, is coeval with Ogyges, the father of Grecian antiquity. And this appearance explains the tradition which Varro has preserved, that under his reign the planet Venus changed her color, size, figure, and course; a prodigy without example either in past or succeeding ages. [78] The second visit, in the year eleven hundred and ninety-three, is darkly implied in the fable of Electra, the seventh of the Pleiads, who have been reduced to six since the time of the Trojan war. That nymph, the wife of Dardanus, was unable to support the ruin of her country: she abandoned the dances of her sister orbs, fled from the zodiac to the north pole, and obtained, from her dishevelled locks, the name of the comet. The third period expires in the year six hundred and eighteen, a date that exactly agrees with the tremendous comet of the Sibyl, and perhaps of Pliny, which arose in the West two generations before the reign of Cyrus. The fourth apparition, forty-four years before the birth of Christ, is of all others the most splendid and important. After the death of Caesar, a long-haired star was conspicuous to Rome and to the nations, during the games which were exhibited by young Octavian in honor of Venus and his uncle. The vulgar opinion, that it conveyed to heaven the divine soul of the dictator, was cherished and consecrated by the piety of a statesman; while his secret superstition referred the comet to the glory of his own times. [79] The fifth visit has been already ascribed to the fifth year of Justinian, which coincides with the five hundred and thirty-first of the Christian aera. And it may deserve notice, that in this, as in the preceding instance, the comet was followed, though at a longer interval, by a remarkable paleness of the sun. The sixth return, in the year eleven hundred and six, is recorded by the chronicles of Europe and China: and in the first fervor of the crusades, the Christians and the Mahometans might surmise, with equal reason, that it portended the destruction of the Infidels. The seventh phenomenon, of one thousand six hundred and eighty, was presented to the eyes of an enlightened age. [80] The philosophy of Bayle dispelled a prejudice which Milton's muse had so recently adorned, that the comet, "from its horrid hair shakes pestilence and war." [81] Its road in the heavens was observed with exquisite skill by Flamstead and Cassini: and the mathematical science of Bernoulli, Newton [8111], and Halley, investigated the laws of its revolutions. At the eighth period, in the year two thousand three hundred and fifty-five, their calculations may perhaps be verified by the astronomers of some future capital in the Siberian or American wilderness.

[Footnote 74: The first comet is mentioned by John Malala (tom. ii. p. 190, 219) and Theophanes, (p. 154;) the second by Procopius, (Persic. l. ii. 4.) Yet I strongly suspect their identity. The paleness of the sun sum Vandal. (l. ii. c. 14) is applied by Theophanes (p. 158) to a different year. Note: See Lydus de Ostentis, particularly c 15, in which the author begins to show the signification of comets according to the part of the heavens in which they appear, and what fortunes they prognosticate to the Roman empire and their Persian enemies. The chapter, however, is imperfect. (Edit. Neibuhr, p. 290.)—M.]

[Footnote 75: Seneca's viith book of Natural Questions displays, in the theory of comets, a philosophic mind. Yet should we not too candidly confound a vague prediction, a venient tempus, &c., with the merit of real discoveries.]

[Footnote 76: Astronomers may study Newton and Halley. I draw my humble science from the article Comete, in the French Encyclopedie, by M. d'Alembert.]

[Footnote 77: Whiston, the honest, pious, visionary Whiston, had fancied for the aera of Noah's flood (2242 years before Christ) a prior apparition of the same comet which drowned the earth with its tail.]

[Footnote 78: A Dissertation of Freret (Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. x. p. 357-377) affords a happy union of philosophy and erudition. The phenomenon in the time of Ogyges was preserved by Varro, (Apud Augustin. de Civitate Dei, xxi. 8,) who quotes Castor, Dion of Naples, and Adastrus of Cyzicus—nobiles mathematici. The two subsequent periods are preserved by the Greek mythologists and the spurious books of Sibylline verses.]

[Footnote 79: Pliny (Hist. Nat. ii. 23) has transcribed the original memorial of Augustus. Mairan, in his most ingenious letters to the P. Parennin, missionary in China, removes the games and the comet of September, from the year 44 to the year 43, before the Christian aera; but I am not totally subdued by the criticism of the astronomer, (Opuscules, p. 275 )]

[Footnote 80: This last comet was visible in the month of December, 1680. Bayle, who began his Pensees sur la Comete in January, 1681, (Oeuvres, tom. iii.,) was forced to argue that a supernatural comet would have confirmed the ancients in their idolatry. Bernoulli (see his Eloge, in Fontenelle, tom. v. p. 99) was forced to allow that the tail though not the head, was a sign of the wrath of God.]

[Footnote 81: Paradise Lost was published in the year 1667; and the famous lines (l. ii. 708, &c.) which startled the licenser, may allude to the recent comet of 1664, observed by Cassini at Rome in the presence of Queen Christina, (Fontenelle, in his Eloge, tom. v. p. 338.) Had Charles II. betrayed any symptoms of curiosity or fear?]

[Footnote 8111: Compare Pingre, Histoire des Cometes.—M.]

II. The near approach of a comet may injure or destroy the globe which we inhabit; but the changes on its surface have been hitherto produced by the action of volcanoes and earthquakes. [82] The nature of the soil may indicate the countries most exposed to these formidable concussions, since they are caused by subterraneous fires, and such fires are kindled by the union and fermentation of iron and sulphur. But their times and effects appear to lie beyond the reach of human curiosity; and the philosopher will discreetly abstain from the prediction of earthquakes, till he has counted the drops of water that silently filtrate on the inflammable mineral, and measured the caverns which increase by resistance the explosion of the imprisoned air. Without assigning the cause, history will distinguish the periods in which these calamitous events have been rare or frequent, and will observe, that this fever of the earth raged with uncommon violence during the reign of Justinian. [83] Each year is marked by the repetition of earthquakes, of such duration, that Constantinople has been shaken above forty days; of such extent, that the shock has been communicated to the whole surface of the globe, or at least of the Roman empire. An impulsive or vibratory motion was felt: enormous chasms were opened, huge and heavy bodies were discharged into the air, the sea alternately advanced and retreated beyond its ordinary bounds, and a mountain was torn from Libanus, [84] and cast into the waves, where it protected, as a mole, the new harbor of Botrys [85] in Phoenicia. The stroke that agitates an ant-hill may crush the insect-myriads in the dust; yet truth must extort confession that man has industriously labored for his own destruction. The institution of great cities, which include a nation within the limits of a wall, almost realizes the wish of Caligula, that the Roman people had but one neck. Two hundred and fifty thousand persons are said to have perished in the earthquake of Antioch, whose domestic multitudes were swelled by the conflux of strangers to the festival of the Ascension. The loss of Berytus [86] was of smaller account, but of much greater value. That city, on the coast of Phoenicia, was illustrated by the study of the civil law, which opened the surest road to wealth and dignity: the schools of Berytus were filled with the rising spirits of the age, and many a youth was lost in the earthquake, who might have lived to be the scourge or the guardian of his country. In these disasters, the architect becomes the enemy of mankind. The hut of a savage, or the tent of an Arab, may be thrown down without injury to the inhabitant; and the Peruvians had reason to deride the folly of their Spanish conquerors, who with so much cost and labor erected their own sepulchres. The rich marbles of a patrician are dashed on his own head: a whole people is buried under the ruins of public and private edifices, and the conflagration is kindled and propagated by the innumerable fires which are necessary for the subsistence and manufactures of a great city. Instead of the mutual sympathy which might comfort and assist the distressed, they dreadfully experience the vices and passions which are released from the fear of punishment: the tottering houses are pillaged by intrepid avarice; revenge embraces the moment, and selects the victim; and the earth often swallows the assassin, or the ravisher, in the consummation of their crimes. Superstition involves the present danger with invisible terrors; and if the image of death may sometimes be subservient to the virtue or repentance of individuals, an affrighted people is more forcibly moved to expect the end of the world, or to deprecate with servile homage the wrath of an avenging Deity.

[Footnote 82: For the cause of earthquakes, see Buffon, (tom. i. p. 502—536 Supplement a l'Hist. Naturelle, tom. v. p. 382-390, edition in 4to., Valmont de Bomare, Dictionnaire d'Histoire Naturelle, Tremblemen de Terre, Pyrites,) Watson, (Chemical Essays, tom. i. p. 181—209.)]

[Footnote 83: The earthquakes that shook the Roman world in the reign of Justinian are described or mentioned by Procopius, (Goth. l. iv. c. 25 Anecdot. c. 18,) Agathias, (l. ii. p. 52, 53, 54, l. v. p. 145-152,) John Malala, (Chron. tom. ii. p. 140-146, 176, 177, 183, 193, 220, 229, 231, 233, 234,) and Theophanes, (p. 151, 183, 189, 191-196.) * Note *: Compare Daubeny on Earthquakes, and Lyell's Geology, vol. ii. p. 161 et seq.—M]

[Footnote 84: An abrupt height, a perpendicular cape, between Aradus and Botrys (Polyb. l. v. p. 411. Pompon. Mela, l. i. c. 12, p. 87, cum Isaac. Voss. Observat. Maundrell, Journey, p. 32, 33. Pocock's Description, vol. ii. p. 99.)]

[Footnote 85: Botrys was founded (ann. ante Christ. 935—903) by Ithobal, king of Tyre, (Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 387, 388.) Its poor representative, the village of Patrone, is now destitute of a harbor.]

[Footnote 86: The university, splendor, and ruin of Berytus are celebrated by Heineccius (p. 351—356) as an essential part of the history of the Roman law. It was overthrown in the xxvth year of Justinian, A. D 551, July 9, (Theophanes, p. 192;) but Agathias (l. ii. p. 51, 52) suspends the earthquake till he has achieved the Italian war.]

III. Aethiopia and Egypt have been stigmatized, in every age, as the original source and seminary of the plague. [87] In a damp, hot, stagnating air, this African fever is generated from the putrefaction of animal substances, and especially from the swarms of locusts, not less destructive to mankind in their death than in their lives. The fatal disease which depopulated the earth in the time of Justinian and his successors, [88] first appeared in the neighborhood of Pelusium, between the Serbonian bog and the eastern channel of the Nile. From thence, tracing as it were a double path, it spread to the East, over Syria, Persia, and the Indies, and penetrated to the West, along the coast of Africa, and over the continent of Europe. In the spring of the second year, Constantinople, during three or four months, was visited by the pestilence; and Procopius, who observed its progress and symptoms with the eyes of a physician, [89] has emulated the skill and diligence of Thucydides in the description of the plague of Athens. [90] The infection was sometimes announced by the visions of a distempered fancy, and the victim despaired as soon as he had heard the menace and felt the stroke of an invisible spectre. But the greater number, in their beds, in the streets, in their usual occupation, were surprised by a slight fever; so slight, indeed, that neither the pulse nor the color of the patient gave any signs of the approaching danger. The same, the next, or the succeeding day, it was declared by the swelling of the glands, particularly those of the groin, of the armpits, and under the ear; and when these buboes or tumors were opened, they were found to contain a coal, or black substance, of the size of a lentil. If they came to a just swelling and suppuration, the patient was saved by this kind and natural discharge of the morbid humor. But if they continued hard and dry, a mortification quickly ensued, and the fifth day was commonly the term of his life. The fever was often accompanied with lethargy or delirium; the bodies of the sick were covered with black pustules or carbuncles, the symptoms of immediate death; and in the constitutions too feeble to produce an irruption, the vomiting of blood was followed by a mortification of the bowels. To pregnant women the plague was generally mortal: yet one infant was drawn alive from his dead mother, and three mothers survived the loss of their infected foetus. Youth was the most perilous season; and the female sex was less susceptible than the male: but every rank and profession was attacked with indiscriminate rage, and many of those who escaped were deprived of the use of their speech, without being secure from a return of the disorder. [91] The physicians of Constantinople were zealous and skilful; but their art was baffled by the various symptoms and pertinacious vehemence of the disease: the same remedies were productive of contrary effects, and the event capriciously disappointed their prognostics of death or recovery. The order of funerals, and the right of sepulchres, were confounded: those who were left without friends or servants, lay unburied in the streets, or in their desolate houses; and a magistrate was authorized to collect the promiscuous heaps of dead bodies, to transport them by land or water, and to inter them in deep pits beyond the precincts of the city. Their own danger, and the prospect of public distress, awakened some remorse in the minds of the most vicious of mankind: the confidence of health again revived their passions and habits; but philosophy must disdain the observation of Procopius, that the lives of such men were guarded by the peculiar favor of fortune or Providence. He forgot, or perhaps he secretly recollected, that the plague had touched the person of Justinian himself; but the abstemious diet of the emperor may suggest, as in the case of Socrates, a more rational and honorable cause for his recovery. [92] During his sickness, the public consternation was expressed in the habits of the citizens; and their idleness and despondence occasioned a general scarcity in the capital of the East. [Footnote 87: I have read with pleasure Mead's short, but elegant, treatise concerning Pestilential Disorders, the viiith edition, London, 1722.]

[Footnote 88: The great plague which raged in 542 and the following years (Pagi, Critica, tom. ii. p. 518) must be traced in Procopius, (Persic. l. ii. c. 22, 23,) Agathias, (l. v. p. 153, 154,) Evagrius, (l. iv. c. 29,) Paul Diaconus, (l. ii. c. iv. p. 776, 777,) Gregory of Tours, (tom. ii. l. iv. c. 5, p 205,) who styles it Lues Inguinaria, and the Chronicles of Victor Tunnunensis, (p. 9, in Thesaur. Temporum,) of Marcellinus, (p. 54,) and of Theophanes, (p. 153.)]

[Footnote 89: Dr. Friend (Hist. Medicin. in Opp. p. 416—420, Lond. 1733) is satisfied that Procopius must have studied physic, from his knowledge and use of the technical words. Yet many words that are now scientific were common and popular in the Greek idiom.]

[Footnote 90: See Thucydides, l. ii. c. 47—54, p. 127—133, edit. Duker, and the poetical description of the same plague by Lucretius. (l. vi. 1136—1284.) I was indebted to Dr. Hunter for an elaborate commentary on this part of Thucydides, a quarto of 600 pages, (Venet. 1603, apud Juntas,) which was pronounced in St. Mark's Library by Fabius Paullinus Utinensis, a physician and philosopher.]

[Footnote 91: Thucydides (c. 51) affirms, that the infection could only be once taken; but Evagrius, who had family experience of the plague, observes, that some persons, who had escaped the first, sunk under the second attack; and this repetition is confirmed by Fabius Paullinus, (p. 588.) I observe, that on this head physicians are divided; and the nature and operation of the disease may not always be similar.]

[Footnote 92: It was thus that Socrates had been saved by his temperance, in the plague of Athens, (Aul. Gellius, Noct. Attic. ii. l.) Dr. Mead accounts for the peculiar salubrity of religious houses, by the two advantages of seclusion and abstinence, (p. 18, 19.)]

Contagion is the inseparable symptom of the plague; which, by mutual respiration, is transfused from the infected persons to the lungs and stomach of those who approach them. While philosophers believe and tremble, it is singular, that the existence of a real danger should have been denied by a people most prone to vain and imaginary terrors. [93] Yet the fellow-citizens of Procopius were satisfied, by some short and partial experience, that the infection could not be gained by the closest conversation: [94] and this persuasion might support the assiduity of friends or physicians in the care of the sick, whom inhuman prudence would have condemned to solitude and despair. But the fatal security, like the predestination of the Turks, must have aided the progress of the contagion; and those salutary precautions to which Europe is indebted for her safety, were unknown to the government of Justinian. No restraints were imposed on the free and frequent intercourse of the Roman provinces: from Persia to France, the nations were mingled and infected by wars and emigrations; and the pestilential odor which lurks for years in a bale of cotton was imported, by the abuse of trade, into the most distant regions. The mode of its propagation is explained by the remark of Procopius himself, that it always spread from the sea-coast to the inland country: the most sequestered islands and mountains were successively visited; the places which had escaped the fury of its first passage were alone exposed to the contagion of the ensuing year. The winds might diffuse that subtile venom; but unless the atmosphere be previously disposed for its reception, the plague would soon expire in the cold or temperate climates of the earth. Such was the universal corruption of the air, that the pestilence which burst forth in the fifteenth year of Justinian was not checked or alleviated by any difference of the seasons. In time, its first malignity was abated and dispersed; the disease alternately languished and revived; but it was not till the end of a calamitous period of fifty-two years, that mankind recovered their health, or the air resumed its pure and salubrious quality.

No facts have been preserved to sustain an account, or even a conjecture, of the numbers that perished in this extraordinary mortality. I only find, that during three months, five, and at length ten, thousand persons died each day at Constantinople; that many cities of the East were left vacant, and that in several districts of Italy the harvest and the vintage withered on the ground. The triple scourge of war, pestilence, and famine, afflicted the subjects of Justinian; and his reign is disgraced by the visible decrease of the human species, which has never been repaired in some of the fairest countries of the globe. [95]

[Footnote 93: Mead proves that the plague is contagious from Thucydides, Lacretius, Aristotle, Galen, and common experience, (p. 10—20;) and he refutes (Preface, p. 2—13) the contrary opinion of the French physicians who visited Marseilles in the year 1720. Yet these were the recent and enlightened spectators of a plague which, in a few months, swept away 50,000 inhabitants (sur le Peste de Marseille, Paris, 1786) of a city that, in the present hour of prosperity and trade contains no more then 90,000 souls, (Necker, sur les Finances, tom. i. p. 231.)]

[Footnote 94: The strong assertions of Procopius are overthrown by the subsequent experience of Evagrius.]

[Footnote 95: After some figures of rhetoric, the sands of the sea, &c., Procopius (Anecdot. c. 18) attempts a more definite account; that it had been exterminated under the reign of the Imperial demon. The expression is obscure in grammar and arithmetic and a literal interpretation would produce several millions of millions Alemannus (p. 80) and Cousin (tom. iii. p. 178) translate this passage, "two hundred millions:" but I am ignorant of their motives. The remaining myriad of myriads, would furnish one hundred millions, a number not wholly inadmissible.]

Chapter XLIV: Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.—Part I.

Idea Of The Roman Jurisprudence.—The Laws Of The Kings—The Twelve Of The Decemvirs.—The Laws Of The People.—The Decrees Of The Senate.—The Edicts Of The Magistrates And Emperors—Authority Of The Civilians.—Code, Pandects, Novels, And Institutes Of Justinian:—I. Rights Of Persons.—II. Rights Of Things.—III. Private Injuries And Actions.—IV. Crimes And Punishments.

Note: In the notes to this important chapter, which is received as the text-book on Civil Law in some of the foreign universities, I have consulted,

I. the newly-discovered Institutes of Gaius, (Gaii Institutiones, ed. Goeschen, Berlin, 1824,) with some other fragments of the Roman law, (Codicis Theodosiani Fragmenta inedita, ab Amadeo Peyron. Turin, 1824.)

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