[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail:
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]
Italiano

[Link to a series of help pages]
Help
[Link to the next level up]
Up
[Link to my homepage]
Home

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Ch. 12
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
History of the Later Roman Empire

by J. B. Bury

published by Macmillan & Co., Ltd.,
1923

The text is in the public domain.

This page has not been proofread.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
Ch. 13, §5

Vol. I
p429
Chapter XIII

THE REIGN OF ANASTASIUS I
AND THE VICEROYALTY OF THEODERIC

(Part 1 of 2)

§ 1. The Elevation of Anastasius (A.D. 491) and the Isaurian War

On the evening of the day after Zeno's death, the Senate, the ministers, and Euphemius the Patriarch assembled in the palace, and a crowd of citizens and soldiers gathered in the Hippodrome (December 10, 491).1 Ariadne,2 wearing the Imperial cloak, and accompanied by the Grand Chamberlain Urbicius, the Master of Offices, the Castrensis, the Quaestor, and others, but not by the Patriarch, then entered the Kathisma of the Hippodrome to address the people. She was warmly acclaimed. "Long live the Augusta! Give the world an orthodox Emperor." Her speech was delivered by the Magister a libellis, who stood on the steps in front of the Kathisma. "Anticipating your request, we have commanded the illustrious ministers, the sacred Senate, with the approval of the brave armies, to select a Christian and Roman Emperor, endowed with every royal virtue, who is not the slave of money, and who is, so far as a man may be, free p430 from every human vice." People: "Ariadne Augusta, thou conquerest! O heavenly king, give the world a Basileus who is not avaricious!" Ariadne: "In order that the choice may be pure and pleasing to God, we have commanded the ministers and the Senate, the vote of the army concurring, to make the election, in the presence of the Gospels, and in the presence of the Patriarch, so that no one may be influenced by friendship or enmity, or kinship, or any other private motive, but may vote with his conscience clear. Therefore, as the matter is weighty and concerns the welfare of the world, you must acquiesce in a short delay, till the obsequies of Zeno, of pious memory, have been duly performed, so that the election may not be precipitate." People: "Long live the Augusta! Cast out the thieving Prefect of the City! May all be well in thy time, Augusta, if no foreigner is imposed on the Romans!"3 Ariadne: "We have already anticipated your wishes. Before we came in, we appointed the illustrious Julian to the office of Prefect." People: "A good appointment! Long live the Augusta." After a few more words, Ariadne withdrew to the palace,4 and the ministers held a council in front of the Delphax to consult about the election. Urbicius proposed that the choice should be left to Ariadne, and the Patriarch, who was present, was sent to summon her. She chose Anastasius, a silentiary, and the Master of Offices sent the Counts of the Domestics and Protectors to fetch Anastasius from his house. He was kept that night in the Consistorium; notices were issued for a silentium5 to be held on the morrow; and the funeral of Zeno was performed.

Anastasius was a remarkable and well-known figure in Constantinople. He held unorthodox opinions, partly due, perhaps, to an Arian mother and a Manichaean uncle,6 and he was possessed by religious enthusiasm, which led him to attempt to convert others to his own opinions. He did this in a curiously public manner. Having placed a chair in the church of St. Sophia, he used to attend the services with unfailing regularity p431 and give private heterodox instruction to a select audience from his cathedra. By this conduct he offended the Patriarch Euphemius, who by Zeno's permission expelled him from the church and removed his chair of instruction;7 but he was well thought of by the general public on account of his piety and liberality. It even appears that he may have at one time dreamt of an ecclesiastical career, for he was proposed for the vacant see of Antioch.8 The Patriarch was highly displeased at the Empress's choice of Anastasius, whom he stigmatised as unworthy to reign over Christians. His objections were overruled by the Senate and the Empress, but before he consented to take part in the coronation ceremony he insisted that the new Emperor should be required to sign a written declaration of orthodoxy. This was agreed to.

The officials dressed in white gathered in the Consistorium9 on the following day (April 11), and were received ceremonially by Anastasius. The Patriarch was present, and now, if not before, he must have obtained the Emperor's signature to the declaration, which was lodged in the archives of St. Sophia under the care of the treasurer. Anastasius then left the Consistorium and ascended the steps of the portico10 of the triklinos of the Nineteen Akkubita. Here at the request of the senators he took a public oath that he would distress no person against whom he had a grudge, and that he would govern conscientiously. Then he proceeded to the triklinos of the Hippodrome, put on the Imperial tunic, girdle, leggings, and red boots,11 and entered the Kathisma, in front of which stood the troops, the standards lying on the ground. When he had been raised on a shield, and the torc placed on his head, the standards were raised, and he was acclaimed. Then he returned to the triklinos, when the Patriarch covered him with the Imperial cloak and crowned him. Reappearing in the Kathisma, he addressed the people, promising a donation of 5 nomismata and a pound of silver to p432 each soldier — the same amount which had been given by Leo I. Among the enthusiastic acclamations with which he was greeted we may notice, "Reign as thou hast lived! Thou hast lived piously! reign piously! Restore the army! Reign like Marcian!" and "Cast out the informers!"

A few weeks later Anastasius married Ariadne (May 20). His accession was undoubtedly a welcome change to Byzantium. He was a man of tall stature and remarkable for his fine eyes, which differed in hue.12 He is described as intelligent, well-educated, gentle, and yet energetic, able to command his temper, and generous in bestowing gifts.13 A bishop of Rome wrote to him, "I know that in private life you always strove after piety."14

The first task imposed upon the new Emperor was to put an end to the unpopular predominance of the Isaurians, which had lasted for over twenty years. The choice of Anastasius had disappointed and alarmed the Isaurians, who had looked forward to the succession of Longinus. A riot in the Hippodrome soon gave Anastasius a pretext for driving them out of the city. During a spectacle at which the Emperor was present, the people clamoured against Julian, the Prefect of the City, who had done something which public opinion disapproved. Anastasius ordered his guards to intimidate the rioters, who then set fire to the Hippodrome, and pulled down and insulted the bronze statues of the Emperors. Not a few were slain in the tumult.15 The Emperor found it politic to replace Julian by his own brother-in‑law Secundinus, but he attributed the disturbance to the machinations of the Isaurians. He expelled them all from the city. He forced Zeno's brother Longinus to take orders and banished him to the Thebaid. He confiscated Zeno's property, even selling his Imperial robes. He naturally withdrew the large allowances which Zeno had made to his fellow-countrymen, amounting to 1400 lbs. of gold.16 A revolt had already broken out in Isauria,17 and the rebels were now reinforced by the exiles p433 from Constantinople, among them Longinus of Kardala.18 Their total force is said to have numbered 100,000, and included Romans as well as Isaurians. The leaders in command were Linginines and Athenodorus.19 They were met at Cotyaeum in Phrygia by an Imperial army under John the Scythian and John the Hunchback,20 and were completely defeated, Linginines being slain. This battle shattered the power of the Isaurians irretrievably. But the defeated leaders did not submit and, just as in the case of the struggle between Illus and Zeno, warfare was carried on in the Isaurian mountains for several years before all the rebels were captured and killed.21 It was not till A.D. 498 that the last of them, Longinus of Selinus, was taken and done to death by torture at Nicaea.

The Emperor settled large colonies of Isaurians in Thrace.22 The brief ascendancy of this people was now over for ever, but it was not to be regretted, for it had served the purpose of averting the far more serious peril of a German ascendancy, which might have brought upon the East the fate of Italy. Henceforward the foreign elements in the army were kept well in control by a preponderance of native troops.

It was fortunate for the Empire that the Isaurian struggle was over before a serious war broke out with Persia, which will p434 be described in another chapter. But there was fighting from time to time with other enemies. The Blemyes troubled Egypt,23 the Mazices attacked Libya,24 the Tzani overran Pontus.25 The Saracens of the desert invaded Euphratesia, Syria, and Palestine in 498, but were thoroughly defeated. Another raid four years later was followed by a treaty of peace.26 In A.D. 515 Cappadocia was laid waste by an irruption of the Sabeiroi who came down from the region of the Caucasus.27 But a more dangerous foe than any of these were the Bulgarians beyond the Danube.

After the disruption of the Hunnic empire in A.D. 454, a portion of the Huns had occupied the regions between the mouths of the Danube and the Dniester, where they were ruled by two of the sons of Attila. During the reign of Leo and Zeno, they sometimes raided the Roman provinces and sometimes supplied auxiliaries to the Roman armies.28 They were kept in check by the Ostrogothic federates, but the departure of Theoderic from Italy had left the field clear for their devastations in Thrace and Illyricum, which throughout the reign of Anastasius suffered severely. These Huns now come to be known under the p435 name of Bulgarians.29 But we must distinguish these Bulgarians, who were also known as Unogundurs, from two other great Hunnic hordes who will presently come upon the scene of history: the Kotrigurs who lived between the Dnieper and the Don, and the Utigurs who lived to the south of the Don. These latter peoples were to disappear in the course of time; the Unogundurs were to be the founders of Bulgaria.

The Bulgarians were undoubtedly the foes who invaded the Empire in A.D. 493, defeated a Roman army, and killed Julian, Master of Soldiers.30 The next recorded incursion was in A.D. 499, when Aristus, Master of Soldiers in Illyricum, lost more than a quarter of his army of 15,000 men in a battle against the Bulgarians.31 Their depredations were repeated three years later (A.D. 502), and on this occasion their progress was unopposed.32 Anastasius had determined to secure at least the immediate neighbourhood of the capital against the raids of the barbarians, and for this purpose he built a Long Wall,33 the line of which can still be traced, from the Propontis to the Black Sea, at a distance of about 40 miles west of Constantinople. The southern extremity was just to the west of Selymbria, and the northern between Podima and Lake Derkos. The fortification consisted of a stone wall about 11 feet thick, without earthworks or ditch, and traces of round towers projecting about 31 feet in front p436 have been found. The length of the wall was 41 miles, and it corresponds roughly to the modern Turkish fortifications known as the Chatalja Lines, though the extreme points were further west.34 We do not hear of another invasion till A.D. 517, when a host of barbarian cavalry laid waste Macedonia, Epirus, and Thessaly, penetrating as far as Thermopylae.35 The consequences of the devastations of Germans and Huns for more than a hundred years was the depopulation of the Balkan provinces, the decline of its agricultural produce, and a considerable diminution of the Imperial revenue.36

§ 2. Church Policy

If the elevation of Anastasius had been popular, his popularity did not continue. His reign was frequently troubled by seditions in Constantinople, which were in many cases provoked by his ecclesiastical policy. His purpose was to maintain the Henotikon of Zeno; his personal predilections were Monophysitic. We are ignorant of the cause of the sedition which broke out in A.D. 493, but it was evidently serious, as the statues of the Emperor and Empress were dragged through the city.37 The relations between Anastasius and the Patriarch Euphemius, who had been opposed to his elevation, were strained. Euphemius was devoted to the doctrine of Chalcedon, and had been planning a campaign against the Patriarch of Alexandria, first Peter, and then his successor Athanasius, both of whom anathematised the Council of Chalcedon and the Tome of Leo. Without the Emperor's knowledge he wrote a letter to Felix, the bishop of Rome, invoking his aid. The Patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem informed p437 the Emperor that Euphemius was a heretic;38 and a council was held at Constantinople which confirmed the Henotikon and deposed Euphemius (A.D. 496).39 This led to a disturbance, and the people, rushing to the Hippodrome, supplicated the Emperor in vain to restore the Patriarch. Macedonius was appointed to the Patriarchal throne. He seems to have held much the same opinions as Euphemius, but he did not scruple to sign the Henotikon.40

A serious riot in the Hippodrome occurred in A.D. 498. The Prefect of the City had thrown into prison some members of the Green faction for the not uncommon offence of stone-throwing. The Greens demanded their release, and when the Emperor summoned the Excubitors to suppress them, there was a great uproar. Stones were thrown at the Kathisma, and one of these nearly hit Anastasius. The man who had thrown it was hewn in pieces by the Excubitors, and then the Greens set fire to the Bronze Gate of the Hippodrome. The fire spread not only to the Kathisma but also, in the other direction, to the Forum of Constantinople. Many offenders were punished, but a new Prefect, Plato, was appointed.41

The pagan festival of the Brytae, which was celebrated with dancing,42 repeatedly caused sanguinary riots among the demes, p438 and in one of these disturbances (A.D. 501) a bastard son of the Emperor was killed, and the Emperor forbade its celebration for the future throughout the Empire, thereby "depriving the cities of the most beautiful dancing." He had already abolished the practice of contests with wild beasts (A.D. 499).43

In A.D. 511 the Patriarch Macedonius, who no longer concealed his adhesion to the Council of Chalcedon, met the same fate as his predecessors. The Monophysites represented him as plotting against the Emperor, while the orthodox asserted that he was deposed because he declined to give up the profession of orthodoxy signed by the Emperor at his coronation. In any case, Anastasius had begun to move in the Monophysitic direction so far as to abandon the neutral spirit of the Henotikon. The position of Macedonius was not strong, because by signing the Henotikon he had alienated the orthodox monks of the capital. Seeking to win back their confidence he did not scruple to denounce Anastasius as a Manichaean. He was deposed by a local council in August, A.D. 511, was forced to surrender the document with the Emperor's signature, and was banished to Euchaita. Timothy, an undisguised Monophysite, was elected in his stead.

A distinguished Monophysite monk, Severus of Sozopolis, had, a few years before, arrived at Constantinople with a company of two hundred fellow-heretics and had been received with honour by Anastasius.44 He caused scandal and disturbances by holding services in which the Trisagion ("Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts") was chanted with the Monophysitic addition p439 "Who wast crucified for us," which had been introduced at Antioch fifty years before. The new Patriarch Timothy interpolated this heretical phrase into the liturgy in St. Sophia. Anastasius, supported by the counsels of Marinus, Praetorian Prefect of the East,45 determined to defy the religious sentiment of the people of Byzantium. On Sunday, Nov. 4 (A.D. 512),46 the orthodox multitude in the Church drowned with their shouts the chanting of the heretical priests, and there was such a disturbance that Marinus and Plato, the Prefect of the City, interfered with armed force. Some were slain and others imprisoned. On the following day there was a more sanguinary conflict in the court of a church, and on Tuesday (Nov. 6) the orthodox congregated and formed a camp in the Forum of Constantine. The rioting now assumed the dimensions of a revolt. The general Areobindus was the husband of Juliana Anicia, who was the granddaughter of Valentinian III,47 and thus a member of the Theodosian house. The people proclaimed him Emperor and pulled down the statues of Anastasius. Celer, the Master of Offices, and Patricius, Master of Soldiers in praesenti, who were sent to pacify them, were driven off with showers of stones; the house of Marinus was burnt. On the next day the Emperor sent heralds to the people proclaiming that he was ready to abdicate, and appeared in the Kathisma of the Hippodrome without his crown. He was greeted with demands that Marinus and Plato should be thrown to the beasts. But in some extraordinary way he succeeded in calming the tumult. The crowd begged him to put on his crown and promised good behaviour.

It was unfortunate for the peace of the East that Anastasius was not indifferent in questions of religious doctrine. His reason prompted him to enforce the Henotikon and to lean to neither party in his ecclesiastical measures. He honestly endeavoured to carry out this policy up to the year A.D. 511‑512, but he was growing old, and, despairing of maintaining peace p440 between the extreme parties, he threw himself into the arms of his Monophysite friends. It is to be observed that neither all the orthodox nor all the Monophysites demanded at this time a repudiation of the Henotikon; for the Monophysites could argue that it condemned the doctrines of Chalcedon, the orthodox that it did not.48 The middle party, of whom Flavian of Antioch was the most prominent, sought to act more or less in the true spirit of the act of Zeno and leave the doctrine of Chalcedon severely alone. In the capital the difficulty of preserving peace was aggravated by the agitation of the Sleepless Monks of the monastery of Studion, who were uncompromising opponents of the Henotikon, and remained in communion with the Church of Rome. Some vain attempts had been made to end the schism. Pope Anastasius II, in his brief pontificate,49 desired to conclude it by a concession which was almost equivalent to a partial acceptance of the Henotikon. He sent to Constantinople two bishops proposing to withdraw the demand of his predecessors that the name of Acacius should be expunged from the roll of Patriarchs. On account of this policy he is one of the Popes for whom the Catholic Church has little good to say, and Dante found for him a suitable place in hell.50 His successors obstinately refused to heal the breach.51

Far more significant than the deposition of Macedonius, who had never approved of the Imperial policy, was the deposition of the Patriarch of Antioch, the moderate Flavian,52 and the election of the Pisidian Severus, whom we have already met as the leading theologian of the Monophysites and bitter foe of Chalcedon (A.D. 512).53 On the occasion of his enthronement at Antioch, Severus anathematised the doctrinal decisions of that Council, and he determined to make his own Patriarchate as p441 Monophysitic as that of Egypt. A synod at Tyre (A.D. 513)54 condemned Chalcedon and confirmed the Henotikon, which was interpreted in the Monophysite sense. The triumphant party were ready for extreme measures, and the Emperor had to warn the Duke of Phoenicia Libanensis that he would countenance no bloodshed in dealing with recalcitrant bishops. But the general proceedings of the Monophysites, under the guidance of Severus, during the next few years, seem to have amounted to a persecution.

The reply to the revolution in the Emperor's policy was soon to come in the shape of a rebellion in Thrace.55

§ 3. Financial Policy

Anastasius was a conscientious ruler, and one of the great merits of his government was the personal attention which he paid to the control of the finances. A civil servant, who belonged to the bureau of the Praetorian Prefect, and began his career in this reign, asserts that the careful economy of Anastasius and his strictures in supervising the details of the budget saved the State, which ever since the costly expedition of Leo I against the Vandals had been on the brink of financial ruin.56

The economy of the Emperor enabled him to abolish the tax on receipts, known as the Chrysargyron, which weighed heavily on the poorest classes of the population.57 This act (May, A.D. 498) earned for him particular glory and popularity. The reception of the edict in the city of Edessa illustrates the universal joy which the measure evoked. "The whole city rejoiced, and they all put on white garments, both small and great, and carried lighted tapers and censers full of burning incense," and praising the Emperor went to a church and celebrated the eucharist. They kept a merry festival during the whole week and resolved to celebrate this festival every year.58

p442 The consequent loss of revenue suffered by the fisc was made good by an equivalent contribution from the revenue of the Private Estates.59 The Imperial Estates seem to have received considerable additions in this reign, principally from the confiscation of the property of Zeno and the Isaurian rebels. In consequence of this increase, Anastasius found it expedient to institute a new finance minister, with similar functions to those of the Count of the Private Estates, who was to administer the recently acquired domains and all that should in future be acquired by the crown. This minister was designed by the title of Count of the Patrimony.60

Perhaps the most important financial innovation introduced by Anastasius was in the method of collecting the annona. He relieved the town corporations of the responsibility for this troublesome task,61 and assigned it to officials named vindices, who were probably appointed by the Praetorian Prefect. The appointments seem to have been given by auction to those who promised most,62 so that this form was equivalent to a revival of the old system of farming the revenue. Opinion was divided as to the effects of this change. On one hand it was said that the result was to impoverish the provinces;63 on the other, that it was a great relief to the farmers.64 One of the abuses which the measure may have been intended to remove was the unfair advantage enjoyed by the richer and more influential landowners, whom the curial bodies were afraid to offend. Under the new system, however, inequality of treatment could p443 be secured in another way, by bribing the vindices. Anastasius hoped perhaps to mitigate this danger by strengthening the hands of the defensores and bishops, who were expected to protect the rights of subjects against official oppression. Those who condemned the new policy said that the vindices treated the cities like hostile communities.65

The originator of this revolutionary measure was an able financier of Syrian birth, named Marinus, who seems to have been the most trusted adviser of Anastasius, throughout the latter part of his reign. He began his career as a financial clerk under the Count of the East,66 and attained to the post of head of the tax department of the Praetorian Prefect.67 In this capacity he gained the ear of the Emperor, and ultimately was elevated to the Praetorian Prefecture. The reform was probably carried out during his tenure of that post, but the date and duration of his Prefecture are a little uncertain.68 The immediate result of the new method of collecting the taxes was a considerable increase of the revenue and also of the private income of the Praetorian Prefect.69

It is not clear whether the reform of Marinus meant that the actual tax-collectors, who had hitherto been members of the town communities, were replaced by government officials. It seems more probable that the change consisted in placing the local collectors under direct government control. They received their instructions from the vindex, and the provincial governor, who remained responsible for the taxation of the province, communicated with the vindex and not with the corporation of decurions. The new system was not permanent. Though it was not completely done away with, it was considerably modified in the following reigns. In some places the vindex survived, p444 but in most of the provinces he disappeared, and there was probably a return to the old methods.70

Other revenue questions occupied the anxious attention of the government at this period. The practice of converting the annona into money payments seems to have been considerably enlarged.71 But the problem of sterile lands appears now to have become more acute than ever. This grave difficulty perpetually solicited the care and defied the statesmanship of the Imperial government. Farms were constantly falling out of cultivation through the impoverishment of their owners or the deficiency of labour. The heavy public burdens, aggravated by the oppression of officials, reduced many of the small struggling farmers to bankruptcy. This would have meant a considerable loss to the revenue, in the natural course of things, and the problem for the government was to avoid this loss by making others suffer for the unfortunate defaulters. For this purpose the small properties of the free farmers of a commune were regarded as a fiscal unity, liable for the total sum of the fiscal assessments of its members;72 and when for any cause one property ceased to be solvent, the others were required to make good the deficiency. This addition to their proper contributions was known as an epibole.73 In the case of larger estates, which were not included in a commune, if one part became unproductive, the whole estate remained liable for the tax as originally estimated.74 But a difficulty rose when parts of such an estate were sold or when it was divided among several heirs. Notwithstanding the division it was still treated as a fiscal unity, and if one of the proprietors became insolvent the government was determined that the deficiency should be made good by other portions of the original estate.75 But there was a considerable difference of opinion as to the apportionment of the epibole in such a p445 case. Should the whole estate be liable, or should the sterile property be annexed, along with its obligations, to the productive land in its immediate neighbourhood? The former solution would have assimilated the treatment of these estates to the lands of the communes. It is not clear what method was applied before the sixth century. We only know that the epibole in the two cases was not the same. In the reign of Anastasius an attempt seems to have been made to break down the distinction, and to have been successfully opposed by the Praetorian Prefect Zoticus (A.D. 511‑512).76 Perhaps he defined the general method of dealing with sterile lands which was developed in the following reign by the Praetorian Prefect Demosthenes (A.D. 520‑524).77 The most important points in this ruling were, that the provincial governor was empowered to decide in each case on whom the epibole should fall; that the unproductive land, with all that appertained to it, including the colons, should be transferred to those who were made liable for its burdens; and that this liability should be determined not by proximity, but by the history of the property.

p446 The result of the economical policy of Anastasius and his financial reforms was that he not only saved the State from the bankruptcy which had threatened it, but, at his death, left in the treasury what in those days was a large reserve, amounting to 320,000 pounds of gold (about £14,590,000).78 His strict control of expenditure made him extremely unpopular with the official classes whose pockets suffered, and his saving policy, which probably included a great reduction of the expenses of the court, did not endear him to the nobles and ladies accustomed to the pageants and pleasures of Byzantine festivals. He was accused of avarice and stinginess, vices for which the men of Dyrrhachium, his native place, had a bad repute.79 This accusation was unjust, and can be refuted by the admissions of one of the writers who report it.80 Personally Anastasius was generous and open-handed; he seldom sent any petitioners empty away; and several instances of his liberality to individuals are recorded. His "parsimonious resourcefulness," stigmatised by his successor Justin,81 was entirely in the interests of the State; and the general tenor of his policy was to finance the Empire by economy in expenditure, and not to increase, but rather to reduce, the public burdens.82 This feature of his administration corresponded to his character. Though resolute and energetic, he was distinguished, like Nerva, by his mildness.

Et mitem Nervam lenissima pectora vincunt.83

If he had not held heretical opinions, historians would have had little but praise for the Emperor Anastasius.

It remains to mention his useful monetary reform. For a long time past the general public had suffered great inconvenience through the bad quality of the copper money in circulation. It consisted of coins of very small denomination with no marks of value. Anastasius introduced a large copper follis, equivalent p447 to forty sesterces, with smaller coins of the value of twenty, ten, and five sesterces, each clearly marked by a letter showing the value.84 This mintage was a great practical benefit, and must have been highly appreciated by the poorer citizens.

He was always ready to spend money on useful public works. Besides the Long Wall of Thrace, he constructed a canal in Bithynia connecting the Gulf of Nicomedia with Lake Sophon, and thus realised an old project of the younger Pliny.a Liberal sums were always forthcoming to repair injuries caused by war, to assist towns which were damaged by earthquake, to cleanse harbours, to build aqueducts or baths.85

§ 4. The Rebellion of Vitalian86 and the Death of Anastasius (A.D. 513‑518)

Partly through his religious policy and partly through his public economy Anastasius failed to secure the goodwill of various classes of his subjects; his unpopularity increased in the later years of his reign; and it was not surprising that an ambitious soldier should conceive the hope of dethroning him. Vitalian held the post of Count of the Federates, who were stationed in Thrace, and these troops now consisted chiefly of p448 Bulgarians.87 The immediate pretext for his revolt was the conduct of Hypatius, the Master of Soldiers in Thrace, whom the Federates regarded as responsible for depriving them of the provisions to whom they were entitled. But Vitalian claimed to be more than merely the leader of aggrieved soldiers.88 He pretended to represent the religious discontent, to voice orthodox indignation at the new form of the Trisagion, and to champion the cause of the deposed Patriarch Flavian who was his personal friend, and the deposed Patriarch Macedonius. Vitalian was a man of exceptionally small stature and afflicted with a stammer; his enemies acknowledged his courage and cunning in war.

Hypatius seems to have been unpopular with the army. In A.D. 51389 Vitalian, by stratagem, compassed the death of two of the chief officers of the general's staff; gained over to his side the Duke of Lower Moesia; and then, capturing Carinus, a trusted friend of Hypatius, granted him his life on condition that he should help him to seize Odessus. Hypatius, unable to cope with the situation, withdrew to Constantinople. The rebel reinforced his Federate troops by a multitude of rustics, and, at the head of 50,000 men (it is said), advanced to Constantinople, hoping that the populace of the capital would rally to him as the champion of orthodoxy.

The Emperor commanded bronze crosses to be set up over the gates of the city, with inscriptions setting forth his own view of the cause of the rebellion.90 He reduced by one-quarter the tax on the import of live stock for the inhabitants of Bithynia and Asia, in order to secure the loyalty of these provinces. The military authorities made what arrangements they could to meet the sudden crisis. When Vitalian occupied the suburbs and appeared before the walls, Patricius, Master of Soldiers in praesenti, who had won distinction in the Persian war and p449 had considerably helped the advancement of Vitalian, was sent to confer with the rebel. Vitalian explained the purpose of his resort to arms. He was determined to rectify the injustices committed by Hypatius, and to obtain the ratification of the orthodox theological creed. He and his chief officers were invited into the city to discuss the matters at issue. He refused to accept the invitation himself, but his chief officers went on the following day and had an audience of the Emperor. Anastasius won them over by gifts and promises that the soldiers would receive all that was due, and by undertaking that the Church of Rome would be allowed to settle the religious questions in dispute. Vitalian had no option but to yield to the unanimous opinion of his officers, and he returned with his army to Lower Moesia to bide his time and mature new schemes.

The Emperor deposed the unpopular Hypatius and appointed in his stead Cyril, an officer of some experience, who immediately proceeded to Lower Moesia, perhaps with the purpose of capturing Vitalian by guile. But Vitalian was on the alert, and Cyril was assassinated. This act made it clear that the rebel was still a rebel, and a decree of the Senate was passed, in old Roman style, that Vitalian was an enemy of the republic. Alathar, a soldier of Hunnic origin, was appointed to succeed Cyril, but the supreme command of the Imperial army was assigned to another Hypatius, a nephew of the Emperor. This army, said to have been 80,000 strong, gained an inconsiderable victory (autumn, A.D. 513), which was soon followed by serious reverses.91 Hypatius then fortified himself behind a rampart of wagons at Acris, on the Black Sea, near Odessus. In this entrenchment the barbarians attacked him, and, assisted by a sudden darkness, which a superstitious historian attributed to magic arts, gained a signal victory. The Romans, driven over precipices and into ravines, are said to have lost about 60,000 men. Hypatius himself ran into the sea, if perchance he might conceal himself in the waves, but his head betrayed him. Vitalian preserved him alive as a valuable hostage.92 This victory enabled him to pay his barbarian allies richly, and placed him in possession p450 of all the cities and fortresses in Moesia and Scythia. The Emperor sent ambassadors with ten pounds of gold to ransom his nephew, but they were captured at Sozopolis (Sizeboli), which at the same time fell into the rebels' hands.

In the meantime a tumult, attended with loss of life, occurred at Constantinople, because Anastasius forbade the celebration of festivities in the evening on account of disorders in the Hippodrome. Among others the Prefect of the Watch was slain. This disturbance may have helped to dispose the Emperor to consider a compromise, when shortly afterwards (A.D. 514) Vitalian, flushed with victory, appeared in the neighbourhood of the capital. He had collected in the Thracian ports a fleet of 200 vessels. These he sent to the Bosphorus, and marching himself along the coast occupied the European shores of the Straits. A certain John,93 who seems to have been Master of Soldiers in praesenti, was sent to Sosthenion (Stenia) to treat with him. Conditions were arranged. Vitalian was appointed to the post of Master of Soldiers in Thrace, and Hypatius was liberated for a ransom of 9000 pounds of gold.

But the most important provision of the contract was that measures should be taken to establish peace in the Church by the convocation of a general Council, and it was agreed that a Council should be held at Heraclea in the following year.94 Vitalian expressly insisted that Rome should be represented, and it was arranged that both he and the Emperor should communicate with Pope Hormisdas.95 The date of the Council was p451 fixed for July 1, A.D. 515, but it never met. Delegates indeed were sent from Rome and arrived at Constantinople late in the year, but as the Pope adopted an uncompromising attitude in regard to the condemnation of the memory of Acacius, and as the Emperor held that it was unjust that living persons should be excluded from the Church on account of the dead,96 no conciliation could be effected. A fruitless correspondence between Hormisdas and Anastasius ensued.

The Emperor appears to have also promised Vitalian that the bishops who had been driven from their sees should be restored,97 but it is not clear whether this measure was intended to depend on the decisions of the Council. As the Council did not meet, and as the bishops were not restored, Vitalian was convinced that the Emperor had no intention of fulfilling his part of the bargain, and it was probably in the later months of the same year that he assembled his fleet anew, and reappeared with his army on the banks of the Bosphorus,98 whence he occupied Sycae, the region of the city, on the north side of the Golden Horn, which was in later times called Galata. It is surprising to find that the command of the Imperial forces was committed to Marinus, the Emperor's influential adviser, who had hitherto been employed only in civil affairs. This exceptional arrangement was due to the attitude of the two Masters of Soldiers in praesenti, Patricius and John, who were personal friends of Vitalian and his father. They hesitated to take command on the ground that if they were defeated they would be suspected of treason. The great financier, however, was equal to the crisis. The issue was decided by a naval battle at the mouth of the Golden Horn, in which the ships of the rebel were completely routed.99 It is related that this victory was achieved by the use of a chemical compound, similar to the p452 Greek fire of later days, which, projected upon the enemy's ships, set them on fire.100 Marinus then landed his forces at Sycae, slew the rebels whom he found there, and in the evening took up a position on the shores of the Bosphorus.101 In the night Vitalian fled with all the troops that were left to him and reached Anchialus, where he seems to have remained undisturbed during the next three years. The Emperor made a solemn procession to Sosthenion, which Vitalian had made his headquarters, and in the church of St. Michael, for which that place was noted, offered thanks to the archangel for the deliverance. All the rebels did not escape as easily as Vitalian. Tarrach, one of his henchmen, whom he had employed to assassinate Cyril, was burned at Chalcedon, and two others who happened to be taken were put to death.

The Empress Ariadne died in this year.102 Anastasius survived her by three years. He died at the age of eighty on the night of July 8‑9, A.D. 518.103 He had no children and made no provision for the succession, though it was probably his intention to designate one of his three nephews, Probus, Pompeius, or Hypatius.104 His last months seem to have been troubled by new hostilities on the part of Vitalian, but the details are unknown to us.105


The Author's Notes:

1 The following description is taken from the contemporary document preserved in Constantine Porph. De cer. I.92. Cp. above, p316, n2.

2 Ariadne is represented on five diptychs belonging to the later part of the reign: namely, those of (1) Clementinus, cons. 513, at Liverpool; (2) Anthemius, cons. 515, one leaf, at Limoges; (3) Anastasius, cons. 517, in Bibl. nationale; (4) same, one leaf, at Verona; (5) same, one leaf, at Berlin; the other at South Kensington. With the help of these, by comparing the character of the head-dress, Delbrück has identified three female marble heads found in Italy as Ariadne's: (1) the head in the Lateran Museum, vulgarly known as St. Helena, on a bust which does not belong to it; (2) a head in the Palazzo dei Conservatori at Rome, found in 1887 near S. Maria dei Monti; (3) a head found at Rome but now in the Louvre. He considers them as probably Byzantine work. See his Porträts byz. Kais.

3 Εἰ οὐδὲν ξένον αὔξει τὸ γένος τῶν Ῥωμαίων. Probably the unpopular Prefect of the City was an Isaurian.

4 Εἰς τὸν Αὐγουστέα (so read for αὐγουσταῖον), De cer. p421, l. 7.— The delphax seems to have been in the palace, but adjoining the Hippodrome. Ebersolt (Grand Palais, p66) thinks it was an isolated building. See above, p395.

5 Σιλέντιον καὶ κοβέντον (= conventus), see above, p24, n2.

6 Theodore Lector, II.7; Theoph. A.M. 5983.

7 See Theophanes, A.M. 5982.

8 In 488, when Palladius was elected. Compare A. Rose, Kaiser Anastasius I (p13), who translates συνεψηφίσθη rightly.

9 Not, it is expressly noticed, in the Arma (p422). Αἱ πύλαι τοῦ ἄρματος are mentioned in a seventh-century document, Const. De cer. p628. Ebersolt (Le Grand Palais, 63) thinks that the Arma was a dépôt of arms, near the Tribunal of the 19 Akkubita.

10 The space in front of the Portico was the Tribunal of the 19 Akkubita. For details see Ebersolt, 62.

11 Στιχάριν διβητήσιν αὐρόκλαβον, ζωνάριν, τουβία, καμπάγια βασιλικά (p423).

12 Hence called Dikoros. John Mal. XVI p392 describes his personal appearance.

13 John Lydus, De mag. I.47. Zacharias Myt., well disposed to him as a Monophysite, says (VII.1) "he was powerful in aspect, vigorous in mind, and a believer."

14 Gelasius, in Mansi, XIII.30.

15 John Ant. fr. 100 (De ins. p141). For date, Marcellinus, sub 491.

16 John Ant. ib. p142. Evagrius (III.35) says 5000 pounds. His account of the war (from Eustathius?) is very inaccurate.

17 John Ant. ib. p141 ἤδη ἀγγελθείσης τῆς κατὰ τὴν χώραν αὐτῶν ἀποστάσεως.

18 The ex-Master of Offices.

19 A man of wealth. (In Evagrius he is called Theodorus.) There was also a second leader of the same name. Linginenes (John Ant.) = Λονγινίνης ὁ χωλός (John Mal. p393) = Libingis (Marcellinus). He was the comes Isauriae. Other prominent leaders were Conon, the fighting bishop, and Longinus of Selinus. The number of their forces is probably much exaggerated.

20 John the Hunchback (ὁ κυρτός) was Master of Soldiers in praesenti (John Mal. p393) and we may suppose that John the Scythian was still Master of Soldiers in the East. (Otherwise Theophanes A.M. 5985). Another general was the patrician Diogenianus, kinsman of the Empress (John Mal. ib.). Justin (afterwards Emperor) took part in this battle. The number of the army given by John Ant. (2000) is corrupt. There were both Hunnic and Gothic auxiliaries.

21 The chronology has been elucidated by Brooks, op. cit. 235 sqq.:—

A.D. 493. Claudiopolis besieged by Diogenianus; his army blockaded by the Isaurians, and relieved by John the Hunchback; bishop Conon slain.

494‑497. Isaurians hold out in their fortresses, and are furnished with provisions by Longinus of Selinus, from the seaport of Antioch (not far from Selinus).

497. Longinus of Kardala and Athenodorus captured by John the Scythian, and their heads exposed on poles at Constantinople (cp. Evagrius, ib. and Marcellinus, sub 497).

498. Longinus of Selinus and two others who were holding out at Antioch captured. (Evagrius, ib. and Marcellinus, sub 498).

The year 497 was reckoned as the last of the war (cp. Marcellinus, and Theodore Lector, II.9).

The two Johns who conduct the war were rewarded by the consulship (498 and 499).

22 Theoph. A.M. 5988. Cp. Procopius Gaz. Panegyr. c10.

23 See Joshua Styl. c20.

24 John Ant. fr. 74 (Exc. de virt. et vit. p205). Probably during the Prefecture of Marinus, which seems to have begun in 512.

25 Theodore Lector, II.19, perhaps in 505 or 506.

26 (1) The Saracens of Hira, under Naman, who were vassals of Persia, overran the Euphratesian province and were defeated at Bithrapsas by Eugenius, the military commander in that province. Theoph. A.M. 5990. (2) The Saracens of Ghassan, of whom Harith was chief, overran Palestine and were defeated by Romanus, Dux of Palestine, ib. Cp. Evagr. III.36; John of Nikiu, c89. (3) In 502 Phoenicia, Syria, and Palestine were overrun again by the bands of Harith, who retreated so quickly that Romanus could not reach them. Theoph. A.M. 5994. For the treaty see id. A.M. 5995 and Nonnosus in F. H. G. IV p179. For these Saracens see above, Chap. IV § 1.

27 Marcellinus, sub a.; John Ant. 103, Exc. de ins. p146 (from which it appears that this was a second incursion); John Mal. XVI p406. The Emperor then fortified the larger villages of Cappadocia, and remitted the taxes of the provinces which had suffered, for three years. The Sabeiroi were a Hunnic people (Οὗννοι Σαβήρ) who lived north of the Caucasus, near the Caspian. Cp. Procopius, B. P. II.29, B. G. IV.3 and 11; above p115.

28 For the relations of the Empire to the Huns see Priscus, fr. 18 Exc. de leg. gent. p587 (where we learn that they were ruled by two of Attila's sons, Dengisch and Ernach), and fr. 20; Marcellinus and Chron. Pasch., sub a. 469, where the defeat of the Huns and the slaying of Dengisch, whose head was brought to Constantinople, by Anagastus, mag. mil. of Thrace, is recorded (cp. John Ant. fr. 89, Exc. de ins. 205, where the date is 468, but perhaps the same event is not referred to. The text seems corrupt). In 480 Zeno called on the Huns (Bulgarians) to support him against the Ostrogoths, John Ant. fr. 211.4. We have seen that Huns were employed by Anastasius against the Isaurians (p433, n3).

29 See Marquart, Die Chronologie der alttürkischen Inschriften, p77. (Cp. also Zeuss, Die Deutschen, etc., 710 sq.) The national Bulgarian tradition began the series of their kings with Avitochol, who may well be identical with Attila, and the second is Irnik, in whom we can hardly refuse to recognise Ernach (Attila's favourite son). Cp. Bury, The Chronological Cycle of the Bulgarians, B. Z. XIX p135.

30 Marcellinus, sub a. (Scythico ferro).

31 Id. sub a. The scene of the battle was iuxta Tzurtam fluvium. The Roman army was accompanied by 520 wagons laden with arms. In the following year Anastasius encouraged the Illyrian troops by sending them a donative (id. sub 500).

32 Id. sub a., Theoph. A.M. 5994.

33 The building is recorded in Chron. Pasch., apparently under Indiction 15 =3rd consulship of Anastasius, that is A.D. 507. There are two entries under this year, (1) a demonstration in the circus, in favour of raising Areobindus to the throne; (2) the building of the Wall. Now (1) is recorded much more fully by Marcellinus under Ind. 5 = cons. of Paulus and Muscianus = 512; and all at dates between Ind. 15 and Ind. 6 have fallen out of our text. Hence it was inferred by Ducange that these two entries belong to Ind. 5. Rightly, but there is a deeper error, due not to the scribe but to the chronicler. The building of the Wall is lauded in the Panegyric of Procopius (c21), and that oration cannot be dated later than 502 (as C. Kempen has shown in the Preface to his text). My view is that the date of the Wall is 497, which corresponded to an Ind. 5; and that the mistake arose through entering the notice under the Ind. 5 of the following cycle. Cp. above, p289, n2.

34 This account of the Wall is taken from C. Schuchhardt, Die Anastasius Mauer bei Constantinopel und die Dobrudscha-Wälle, in the Jahrbuch des k. d. arch. Instituts, XVI.107 sqq. (1901). The dimensions given by Evagrius, III.38, and in Suidas (whose source is doubtless John Ant.), sub Ἀναστάσιος and sub Τεῖχος disagree with each other, and are all inaccurate. The settlements of Heruls "in the lands and cities of the Romans" recorded by Marcellinus, sub 512, were evidently designed to strengthen the depopulated lands of the Illyrian peninsula.

35 Marcellinus, sub a., Getae equites. I suspect that these are Bulgarians, whom elsewhere this chronicler calls Bulgares. Otherwise they must be Slavs, who are often designated as Getae. A thousand pounds of gold was sent to redeem the captives, but it was insufficient, and many were put to death.

36 Cp. the undated law of Anastasius in C. J. X.27.2, 10 ἐν Θρᾴκῃ γὰρ ἐπειδὴ οὐκ εἰς ὁλόκληρον εἰσφέρεται τὰ δημοσία διὰ τὸ προφάσει τῶν βαρβαρικῶν ἐφόδων ἐλαττωθῆναι τοὺς γεωργούς, καὶ μὴ ἀρκεῖν τὴν ἐν εἴδεσι συντέλειαν τοῖς κατ᾽ αὐτὴν ἱδρυμένοις στρατιώταις.

37 Marcellinus, sub a.

38 That is, a Nestorian.

39 Zacharias Myt. VII.1. A copy of the letter to Felix was procured by Anastasius through his apocrisiarius at Rome and was sent to the Emperor. Other than purely ecclesiastical reasons entered into the quarrel between Anastasius and Euphemius. Anastasius suspected the Patriarch of secret intrigues with the Isaurian leaders. See Theodore Lector, II.9‑12 (who records an attempt on the Patriarch's life in St. Sophia). The same writer says that the Emperor endeavoured to recover from Euphemius the signed declaration of orthodoxy which he had made at his coronation, ib. 8. Euphemius was banished to Euchaita.

40 Theodore, II.13. The Monophysite Zacharias (VII.7) says that Macedonius "omitted no intrigue of heart [sic] to conceal his opinions." He had been a monk of the Akoimetoi, "of whom there were about one thousand and who lived luxuriously in baths and in other bodily indulgences . . . and were adorned with the semblance of chastity, but were inwardly like whited sepulchres, full of all uncleanness. . . . And he used to celebrate the memory of Nestorius every year, and they used to celebrate with him." Perhaps there was some foundation for this attack; the Akoimetoi may have made a habit of personal cleanliness. Orthodox writers describe Macedonius as an ascetic.

41 John Mal. XVI p394 (and Excerpta de ins. p168) = Chron. Pasch. sub a. The deposed Prefect was perhaps Secundinus. The succession of Prefects of the City in this reign seems to have been: Julianus 491; Secundinus 491; Plato 498; Helias (John Ant. fr. 103, p142); Constantius Tzzurukkas (already in 501, Marcellinus, sub a.); Plato, 512 [Marcellinus, sub a.].

42 John Ant. ib. Suidas sub Μαϊουμᾶς, a passage which does not prove that the Maïumas (in May) was identical with the Brytae. Combining Marcellinus with Joshua Styl. p35, (p438) we may infer that the date of the second riot, when Constantius was Prefect, was in 501, and the previous riot under Helias (James Ant.) in 500 (or 499). The edict prohibiting the feast was in 502 (Joshua). See further, John Mal. ib. The date of Theophanes, A.D. 504‑505, must be rejected. More than 3000 were killed, acc. to Marcellinus, sub 501. Procopius Gaz. Pan. 16 probably refers to the licentiousness of the Brytae.— On the celebration of the festival of Brumalia (Nov. 24-Dec. 17) in the fifth and sixth centuries — notwithstanding its condemnation by the Church, John Lydus, De mens. IV § 158 — see J. R. Crawford, De Bruma et Brumalibus festis, in B. Z. XXIII.375 sqq.

43 Priscian, Pan. 223 sqq.; Procopius Gaz. Pan. 15.

44 In A.D. 508. Severus was brought up as a pagan, studied rhetoric at Alexandria and law at Berytus. He was baptized shortly before 490, and soon afterwards became a monk in the monastery of Peter the Iberian not far from Gaza. The cause of his visit to Constantinople was the persecution of Monophysite monks in Palestine by one Nephalius. He remained in the capital for three years. For his life we have two Syriac biographies by Zacharias and John; and some of his letters have been edited and translated by Brooks (see Bibliography).

45 See Zacharias Myt. VII.9.

46 The date depends on Marcellinus, sub a., whose account is the fullest. It is to be supplemented by Chron. Pasch., under the wrong year 507, and Evagrius, III.44.

47 Daughter of Placidia and Olybrius. There is a remarkable portrait of the princess (who died in 527) in the Vienna MS. of the work of Dioscorides on plants, which was written for her. She sits on a throne between the figures of Megalopsychia and Phronesis. The desire of the foundress (Πόθος τῆς φιλοκτίστου) offers her the book, and the gratitude of the Arts kneels below her. See Kraus, Gesch. d. christl. Kunst, I.460; Dalton, Byz. Art, 460.

48 Those Monophysites who would not accept the Henotikon were known as the Akephaloi.

49 A.D. 496‑498.

50 Inferno, XI.8.

51 See below, p464.

52 At a synod held at Antioch, Zach. Myt. VII.10.

53 The other most prominent Monophysite leader was Xenaias, bishop of Hierapolis, at whose instance a synod was held at Sidon in A.D. 512. Flavian's moderate policy at this synod enabled Xenaias to report to Anastasius that he was a heretic, and his ejection (not without violence) followed. Zach. Myt. VII.10. Severus was "a confidant and friend" of Probus, the nephew of Anastasius (ib.). The influence of his nephew may well have counted for something in the old Emperor's change of policy; and the influence of Marinus counted too. If (see below, p470) I am right in placing the elevation of Marinus to the Pr. Prefecture in A.D. 512, this too may have some significance.

54 Op. cit. VII.12.

55 See below, § 4.

56 John Lydus, De mag. III.45.

57 C. J. XI.1; Procopius Gaz. Paneg. 13; Priscian, Pan. 149 sqq. (argenti relevans atque auri pondere mundum); Theodore Lector, II.53. The hardship of the tax is described by Zosimus, II.38. For date cp. Brooks, C. Med. H. I.484; Stein, in Hermes, LII.578.

58 Joshua Styl. XXXI p22. The amount raised by the tax at Edessa (every four years) was 140 lbs. of gold. Anastasius is said to have burned all the documents relating to the collection of this tax, so as to place a difficulty in the way of its revival. See Procopius and Priscian, locc. citt., and Evagrius, III.39, where it is (p442) mentioned that the Emperor consulted the Senate. According to Cedrenus (that is, John Skylitzes, whom he transcribed), the hardships of the tax were brought to the attention of Anastasius by a deputation of monks from Jerusalem, and by a tragedy composed by Timotheus of Gaza (I p627). Timotheus was a grammarian, and he wrote zoological books on Indian animals, of which excerpts are preserved (see Krumbacher, Gesch. d. byz. litt. pp631, 633, 582). It is to be noted that the abolition of the Chrysargyron gave special satisfaction to the Church, because the tax, which fell on the earnings of prostitutes, implicitly gave a legal recognition to vice (see Evagr. ib.).

59 Ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων αὐτοῦ, John Mal. XVI p398.

60 C. J. I.34.1. The Greek title was κόμης τῆς ἰδκιῆς κτήσεως (in this constitution the Comes rer. priv. is called κόμης τῆς ἰδκιῆς περιουσίας).

61 See above, p59. The chief source is John Lydus, III.46, 49. Cp. John Mal. p400; Evagr. III.42.

62 Lydus, III.49.

63 So Lydus (ib.), who belonged to the anti-Marinus faction. Evagrius, ib., says ὄθεν κατὰ πολὺ οἵ τε φόροι διερρύησαν τά τε ἄνθη τῶν πόλεων διέπεσεν.

64 Priscian, Pan. 193‑195:

Agricolas miserans dispendia saeva relaxas;

curia perversis nam cessat moribus omnis,

nec licet iniustis solito contemnere leges.

65 John Lydus, ib.

66 John Lydus, III.36. He was a scriniarius (or logothete, John Mal. XVI.400; cp. Stein, Studien, p149). The scriniarii were clerks who kept the tax accounts. Originally, according to Lydus, they had no recognised place in the hierarchy of the civil service. They were incorporated in it by Theodosius the Great, and towards the end of the fifth century they became a very important body. The rationales of the financial ministries were recruited from them; and scriniarii sometimes rose to be Praetorian Prefects. John Lydus looked down upon them as mere accountants. They had not the liberal education of the Scholastici. Marinus is highly praised by his fellow heretic Zacharias of Mytilene (VII.9).

67 John Mal. XVI.400.

68 See Appendix to this chapter.

69 John Lydus, III.49 γίνεται μὲν πολύχρυσος εἴπερ τις ἄλλος ὁ βασιλεὺς καὶ μετ᾽ αὐτὸν ὁ Μαρῖνος καὶ ὅσοι Μαρινιῶντες ἁπλῶς.

70 The local survival of the vindex is shown by Justinian, Nov. 128 §§ 5 and 8; 38 τοὺς ὀλεθρίους μισθωτὰς οὓς δὴ βίνδικας καλοῦσι. There is clear evidence in the Novels of Justinian that the local authorities shared in the collection of the taxes. Probably the system differed in different provinces. The term πολιτευόμενοι refers to municipal authorities. Cp. Nov. 130 § 3, p263; 128 § 5 εἴτε ἄρχοντες εἴτε πολιτευόμενοι, εἴτε ἐξάκτορες εἴτε βίνδικες εἴτε κανονικάριοι (special emissaries sent by the Praetorian Prefect); ib. § 16 σιτῶναι and διοικηταί are appointed by the municipalities.

71 This seems to be the meaning of the χρυσοτέλεια τῶν ἰούγων introduced by Anastasius, John Mal. XVI.394; Evagrius, III.42. Cp. C. J. X.27.2.

72 These lands were hence called ὁμόκηνσα.

73 Adiectio sterilium.

74 Called ὁμόδουλα.

75 C. Th. XIII.11.9.

76 Justinian, Nov. 168, seems to be a fragment of a praetorian edict of Zoticus. It lays down that the ἐπιβολή only concerns property included in the census, and therefore does not apply to houses (in towns) as only farms and agricultural lands (χωρία) are included in the census. For the tendency to assimilate ὀμόκηνσα and ὀμόδουλα see an additional fragment in Kroll's note ad loc. A law of Anastasius lays down that the lands of the Imperial patrimony are not to be treated on the same principle as ὀμόκηνσα, which must mean that they are to be treated as ὀμόδουλα (C. J. I.34.2).

77 The edict of Demosthenes, addressed to the governor of Lydia, περὶ ἀπόρων ἐπιβολῆς, is extant in the collection of Justinian's Novels (166). The general tenor of the edict is: If a farm or a whole complex of property is sold by its proprietor (A), or on his death passes either to his children or to heirs who are outsiders (B); and if the purchasers or heirs should similarly alienate; and if the alienated land should become unproductive, then the ἐπιβολή is to fall on the property of the last purchaser or inheritor (C), not on all those who formerly possessed it. But if the last acquirer (C) is insolvent, then the burden must fall on those from whom he immediately acquired it (B). If they are insolvent, then the epibole shall be imposed on the original proprietor (A). Those on whom the epibole falls, whether few or many, shall bear it in proportion to the value of their fertile possessions. It seems evident that this edict was provoked by a particular case which the governor of Lydia referred to the Prefect. On the subject of the ἐπιβολή, see Zacharia, Gesch. d. gr.-röm. Retest, ed. 3, 228 sqq.; Monnier, Études de droit byzantin, 345 sqq., 514 sqq., 642 sqq.; Panchenko, O tainoi istorii Prokopiia, 138 sqq. I think we may fairly infer from the evidence (see last note) that the principle which governed the epibole in the case of ὀμόκηνσα was that of proximity. See further Justinian, Nov. 128 §§ 7, 8. A remission of the epibole is mentioned in Joshua Stylites, c39, where Wright's translation has erroneously "two folles."

78 Procopius, H. A. 19, where he is described as "the most provident and economical of all Emperors."

79 John Lydus, De mag. III.46, quotes malicious verses which were placed on an iron statue of the Emperor in the Hippodrome.

80 Ib. 47 μεγαλόδωρος.

81 C. J. II.7.25 parca posterioris subtilitas principis.

82 His remission of arrears is recorded by John Ant. fr. 100 (Exc. de ins. p141), where it is also implied that confiscations of property were infrequent during his reign. The land taxes were remitted constantly in Mesopotamia during the Persian war (Joshua Styl. pp55, 63, 71, 75).

83 Priscian, Pan. 47. John Lydus, who did not approve of his policy in some respects, describes him as ἐπιεικής, κρείττων ὀργἢς, ἀγαθός (II.47).

84 M, K, I, and E. See Wroh, Imperial Byz. Coins, I. XIII, XIV; LXXVIII‑IX. This type of bronze coinage remained current till the last quarter of the seventh century. The reform is noted in two texts, (1) the difficult and much discussed passage in Marcellinus, Chron., sub 498, and (2) John Mal. XVI p400, which has been generally overlooked. From Malalas we learn that John the Paphlagonia, comes s. larg., carried out the reform: ἅπαν τὸ προχωρὸν κέρμα τὸ λεπτὸν ἐποίησε φολλερὰ προχωρεῖν εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν Ῥωμαικὴν κατάστασιν ἔκτοτε. For προχωρὸν we should, I think, read προχωροῦν (an inspection of the unique Oxford MS. suggests that this was originally written. πρόχειρον is another possibility). Perhaps a participle has fallen out. But the passage means, "He converted all the small copper currency into follera which circulated henceforward in the Empire." Marcellinus says that the Romans called the new coins Terentiani, the Greeks follares — which corresponds to φολλερά. The following table will show the relations of the chief gold, silver, and copper coins:

1 nomisma, or solidus (gold) = 12 miliaresia (silver).
1 miliaresionº = 2 keratia (siliquae) silver.
1 keration = 6 M folles or follera (copper).
1 M follis = 2 K coins (oboloi).
1 K coin = 2 I coins (dekanumia).
1 I coin = 2 E coins (pentanumia).

There were two small gold coins, the semissis = ½ nomisma and the tremissis = ⅓ nomisma. Roughly speaking the miliaresion corresponds to our shilling, the keration to sixpence, the follis to a penny.

85 Cp. John Mal. XVI p409; John Lydus, III.47; Joshua Styl. p69. For the canal see Anna Comnena, X.5.

86 The best and fullest source is John of Antioch, fr. 103 (Exc. de ins. p143 sqq.); to be supplemented by John Malalas, XVI.402 sqq.; Marcellinus, Chron., sub 514, 515; Evagrius, III.43; Theophanes, A.M. 6005, 6007, 6007.

87 His father Patriciolus also held the office of Count of the Federates (acc. to Theoph.), and he took part in the Persian war. He was a native of Zaldaba in Lower Moesia. It is possible that the family was of Gothic descent (Zacharias Myt VII.13). For the Federates see below, vol. II chap. xvi § 1.

88 Acc. to Zach. Myt., he had a personal reason for hatred of Hypatius (ib.).

89 The outbreak of the rising is generally placed in A.D. 514 (cp. Marcellinus). But the evidence in Wright, Catalogue Syn. MSS. Brit. Mus. 333, adduced by Brooks (C. Med. H. I.485) shows that the true date is 513, and there is nothing inconsistent with this in John Ant.

90 The object of the manifesto was doubtless to show that Vitalian's championship of orthodoxy was only a pretext.

91 Julian, a clerk in the bureau of the Magister memoriae, was carried about in a cage until he was ransomed. We need not doubt that the numbers both of the army and of the losses are grossly exaggerated.

92 Alathar was captured also and other officers. Vitalian paid ransoms to the Bulgarians who had taken them.

93 He was known as son of Valeriane. This designation by the mother's name is very unusual. John Ant. ib. p146.

94 Victor Tonn. Chron., sub 514. Theoph. A.M. 6006.

95 We have the letters of Anastasius to Hormisdas: Coll. Avell., Ep. 109 (Dec. 28, 514) and Ep. 107 (Jan. 12, 515), of which the latter arrived at Rome first; the replies of Hormisdas, Ep. 110 (July 8) and Ep. 108 (April 4), his letter to Anastasius sent by the bishops who did not leave Rome till August, Ep. 115 (Aug. 11), and the Indiculus of instructions to the bishops as to their behaviour, 116. In this document the Pope's correspondence with Vitalian is mentioned (p514), but it has not been preserved. The bishops returned to Rome, before the end of the year, with a letter from the Emperor to the Pope, containing a profession of faith and alleging that if he yielded on the question of Acacius, bloodshed would be the consequence, Ep. 125. In July 516 he again wrote to Hormisdas, in the interests of unity, and at the same time to the Roman Senate, asking it to exert its influence with the pontiff, Epp. 111, 113; he was told that the restoration of unity entirely rested with him, Epp. 113, 114. In 517 there was a further interchange of letters, Epp. 126, 127 (cp. 128, 129, 130), and finally Anastasius angrily broke off the correspondence, saying that he might put up with insult, but he would not tolerate being ordered, Ep. 138 (July 11).

96 Ep. 125, p539.

97 Victor and Theophanes, locc. citt.

98 The fullest account of the events of this year is given by John Malalas (and is summarised by Evagrius). His story does not completely tally with that of John Ant., who does not say a word about Marinus.

99 The place is designated as opposite the Church of St. Thecla in Sycae, in the part of the Golden Horn ὄπου λέγεται τὸ Βυθάριν, John Mal. 405 (περὶ τὰ καλούμενα Βυθάρια, Evagrius, III.43). I know no other mention of the Βυθάρια. John Ant.'s account is different. He says that a fast vessel commanded by Justin (Count of the Excubitors, afterwards Emperor) engaged with one of the enemy's ships off Chrysopolis and captured the crew, and that this success caused the flight of the other rebel ships. This is incredible as an account of the naval action; the exploit of Justin can only have been one incident.

100 This compound, according to John Mal., was supplied to Marinus by an Athens man of science named Proclus (not to be confounded with the famous Neoplatonist who had died in A.D. 485), and Proclus is said to have refused a reward of 400 lbs. of gold.

101 The meaning of Anaplûs, which occurs in our sources (John Ant., John Mal., Evagr.), and has cause some difficulty, has been elucidated by Pargoire (Anaple et Sosthène, in Izv. russk. arkh. Inst. v Kplie, III.60 sqq.). In these passages the Ἀνάπλους designates the whole European shore of the Bosphorus, or at all events the whole southern strip from Stenia southwards. But it is also found, in other texts, with two more restricted local meanings, designating points on the European shore corresponding to (1) Kuru Chesme and Arnaut Keui (see Marcellinus, Chron., sub 481) and (2) Rumili Hissar. The first of these places was also called Hestiae, where there was a Church of St. Michael, built by Constantine, not to be confounded with that of Sosthenion (=Laosthenion), now Stenia, north of Rumili Hissar.

102 Marcellinus, Chron., sub a.

103 This date (which is given in Cyril, Vita S. Sabae, p354) follows from the fact that Justin was elected on July 9 (John Mal. XVII p411 = Chron. Pasch., sub a.) and that Anastasius died during the previous night (Peter Patr. apud Const. Porph. De cer. I.93). This agrees with the length of the reign of Anastasius given by Marcellinus, sub a. Therefore the date of Theophanes (Chron., sub a.), April 9, is false. See Tillemont, Hist. des Empereurs, VI.586.

104 Cp. Anon. Val. 13.

105 Cyril, op. cit. p340 συνεχόμενος ὑπὸ τῶν Βιταλιανοῦ βαρβαρικῶν ὀχλήσεων. This was soon after the death of the Patriarch Timotheus, that is after April 5, A.D. 518. See Andreev, Konstantinopol'skie Patriarkhi, p168.


Thayer's Note:

a Ep. X.41 (or in an English translation).

Page updated: 6 Mar 14