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Ch. 14
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!


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Ch. 15, §§5‑6

Vol. II
p16
Chapter XV

Justin I and Justinian I

(Part 1 of 3)

§ 1. Election and Reign of Justin I (A.D. 518‑527)

Anastasius had made no provision for a successor to the throne, and there was no Augusta to influence the election. Everything turned out in a way that no one could have foreseen. The most natural solution might have seemed to be the choice of one of the late Emperor's three nephews, Probus, Pompeius, or Hypatius. They were men of average ability, and one of them, at least, Pompeius, did not share his uncle's sympathy with the Monophysitic creed. But they were not ambitious, and perhaps their claims were not seriously urged.1

The High Chamberlain Amantius hoped to play the part which Urbicius had played on the death of Zeno, and he attempted to secure the throne for a certain Theocritus, otherwise unknown, who had probably no qualification but personal devotion to himself. As the attitude of the Palace guards would probably decide the election, he gave money to Justin, the Count of the Excubitors, to bribe the troops.2

In the morning (July 9) the people assembled in the Hippodrome and acclaimed the Senate. "Long live the Senate! Senate of the Romans, tu vincas! We demand our Emperor, given by God, for the army; we demand our Emperor, given by God, for the world!" The high officials, the senators, and p17 the Patriarch had gathered in the Palace, clad most of them in mouse-coloured garments, and sat in the great hall, the Triklinos of the Nineteen Akkubita. Celer, the Master of Offices, urged them to decide quickly on a name and to act promptly before others (the army or the people) could wrest the initiative from their hands. But they were unable to agree, and in the meantime the Excubitors and the Scholarians were acting in the Hippodrome. The Excubitors proclaimed John, a tribune and a friend of Justin, and raised him on a shield. But the Blues would not have him; they threw stones and some of them were killed by the Excubitors. Then the Scholarians put forward an unnamed patrician and Master of Soldiers, but the Excubitors would not accept him and he was in danger of his life. He was rescued by the efforts of Justin's nephew, the candidatus Justinian. The Excubitors then wished to proclaim Justinian himself, but he refused to accept the diadem. As each of these persons was proposed, their advocates knocked at the Ivory Gate, which communicated between the Palace and the Hippodrome, and called upon the chamberlains to deliver the Imperial robes. But on the announcement of the name, the chamberlains refused.

At length, the Senate ended their deliberations by the election of Justin, and constrained him to accept the purple. He appeared in the Kathisma of the Hippodrome and was favourably received by the people; the Scholarians alone, jealous of the Excubitors, resented the choice. The coronation rite was immediately performed in the Kathisma. Arrayed in the Imperial robes, which the chamberlains at last delivered, he was crowned by the Patriarch John; he took the lance and shield, and was acclaimed Basileus by the assembly. To the troops he promised a donation of five nomismata (£3: 7: 6) and one pound of silver for each man.

Such is the official description of the circumstances of the election of Justin.3 If it is true so far as it goes, it is easy to see that there was much behind that has been suppressed. The intrigue of Amantius is ignored. Not a word is said of the candidature of Theocritus which Justin had undertaken to support. If Justin had really used his influence with the p18 Excubitors and the money which had been entrusted to him in the interest of Theocritus, it is hardly credible that the name of Theocritus would not have been proposed in the Hippodrome. If, on the other hand, he had worked in his own interest, as was naturally alleged after the event,4 how was it that other names, but not his, were put forward by the Excubitors? The data seem to point to the conclusion that the whole mise en scène was elaborately planned by Justin and his friends. They knew that he could not count on the support of the Scholarians, and, if he were proclaimed by his own troops alone, the success of his cause would be doubtful. The problem therefore was to manage that the initiation should proceed from the Senate, whose authority, supported by the Excubitors, would rally general consent and overpower the resistance of the Scholarian guards. It was therefore arranged that the Excubitors should propose candidates who had no chance of being chosen, with the design of working on the fears of the Senate. Justin's friends in the Senate could argue with force: "Hasten to agree, or you will be forestalled, and some wholly unsuitable person will be thrust upon us. But you must choose one who will be acceptable to the Excubitors. Justin fulfils this condition. He may not be an ideal candidate for the throne, but he is old and moderate." But, however the affair may have been managed by the wirepullers, Justin ascended the throne with the prestige of having been regularly nominated by the Senate, and he could announce to the Pope that "We have been elected to the Empire by the favour of the indivisible Trinity, by the choice of the highest ministers of the sacred Palace, and of the Senate, and finally by the election of the army."5

The new Emperor, who was about sixty-six years of age, was an Illyrian peasant. He was born in the village of Bederiana in the province of Dardania, not far from Scupi, of which the name survives in the town of Üsküb, and his native language was Latin.6 Like hundreds of other country youths,7 he set forth p19 with a bag of bread on his back and walked to Constantinople to better his fortune by enlisting in the army. Two friends accompanied him, and all three, recommended by their physical qualities, were enrolled in the Palace guards.8 Justin served in the Isaurian and Persian wars of Anastasius, rose to be Count of the Excubitors, distinguished himself in the repulse of Vitalian, and received senatorial rank.9 He had no qualifications for the government of a province, not to say of an Empire; for he had no knowledge except of military matters, and he was uneducated.10 It is even said that he could not write and was obliged, like Theoderic the Ostrogoth, to use a mechanical device for signing documents.

He had married a captive whom he had purchased and who was at first his concubine. Her name was Lupicina, but she was crowned Augusta under the more decorous name of Euphemia.11 In his successful career the peasant of Bederiana had not forgotten his humble relatives or his native place. His sister, wife of Sabbatius, lived at the neighbouring village of Tauresium12 and had two children, Petrus Sabbatius and Vigilantia. He adopted his elder nephew, brought him to Constantinople, and took care that he enjoyed the advantages of an excellent education. The young man discarded the un-Roman names of Peter and Sabbatius13 and was known by the adoptive name of Justinianus. He was enrolled among the candidati. Justin had other nephews and seems to have cared also for their fortunes. They were liberally educated and were destined to p20 play parts of varying distinction and importance on the political scene.14

The first care of Justin was to remove the disaffected; Amantius and Theocritus were executed, and three others were punished by death or exile.15 His next was to call to Constantinople the influential leader who had shaken the throne of Anastasius. Before he came to the city, Vitalian must have been assured of the religious orthodoxy of the new Emperor, and he came prepared to take part in the reconciliation of Rome with the Eastern Churches. He was immediately created Master of Soldiers in praesenti,16 and in A.D. 520 he was consul for the year. The throne of Justin seemed to be firmly established. The relatives of Anastasius were loyal; Pompeius co-operated with Justinian and Vitalian in the restoration of ecclesiastical unity. Marinus, the trusted counseller of the late sovran, was Praetorian Prefect of the East in A.D. 519.17

The reunion with Rome, which involved the abandonment of the Henotikon of Zeno, the restoration of the prestige of the Council of Chalcedon, and the persecution of the Monophysites, was the great inaugural act of the new dynasty.18 The Emperor's nephew, Justinian, was deeply interested in theological questions, and was active in bringing about the ecclesiastical p21 revolution. His intellectual powers and political capacity must have secured to him from the beginning a preponderant influence over his old uncle, and he would naturally regard himself as the destined successor to the throne. Immediately after Justin's election, he was appointed Count of the Domestics; and then he was invested with the rank of patrician, and was created a Master of Soldiers in praesenti.19 His detractors said that he was unscrupulous in removing possible competitors for political influence. The execution of Amantius was attributed to his instigation.20 Vitalian was a more formidable rival, and in the seventh month of his consulship Vitalian was murdered in the Palace. For this crime, rightly or wrongly, Justinian was also held responsible.21 During the remaining seven years of the reign we may, without hesitation, regard him as the directing power of the Empire.22 He held the consulship in A.D. 521 and entertained the populace with magnificent spectacles.23 When he was afterwards elevated to the rank of nobilissimus,24 it was a recognition of his position as the apparent heir to the throne. We may wonder why he did not receive the higher title of Caesar; perhaps Justin could not overcome some secret jealousy of the brilliant nephew whose fortune he had made.

Justinian's power behind the throne was sustained by the enthusiastic support of the orthodox ecclesiastics, but he is said to have sought another means of securing his position, by attracting the devotion of one of the Factions of the Hippodrome. Anastasius had shown favour to the Greens; and it followed almost as a matter of course that Justinian should patronise the Blues. In each party there was a turbulent section which was a standing menace to public order, known as the p22 Partisans,25 and Justinian is alleged to have enlisted the Blue Partisans in his own interest. He procured official posts for them, gave money to those who needed it, and above all protected them against the consequences of their riots. It is certain that during the reign of Justin, both the capital and the cities of the East were frequently troubled by insurrections against the civil authorities and sanguinary fights; and it was the Blue Faction which bore the chief share of the guilt.26 The culminating scandal occurred in A.D. 524.27 On this occasion a man of some repute was murdered by the Partisans in St. Sophia. Justinian happened to be dangerously ill at the time, and the matter was laid before the Emperor. His advisers seized the opportunity to urge upon him the necessity of taking rigorous measures to suppress the intolerable licence of these enemies of society. Justin ordered the Prefect of the City, Theodotus Colocynthius, to deal out merciless justice to the malefactors.28 There were many executions, and good citizens rejoiced at the spectacle of assassins and plunderers being hanged, burned, or beheaded.29 Theodotus, however, was immediately afterwards deprived of his office and exiled to Jerusalem, and his disgrace has been attributed to the resentment of Justinian who had unexpectedly recovered from his disease.30 However this may have been, the p23 Blues had received an effective lesson, and during the last years of the reign not only the capital but the provincial cities also enjoyed tranquillity.31

There were few events of capital importance during the reign of Justin. Its chief significance lay in the new orientation of religious policy which was inaugurated at the very beginning, and in the long apprenticeship to statecraft which it imposed on Justinian before the full power and responsibility of government devolved on him. Next to him the most influential minister was Proclus the Quaestor, an incorruptible man who had the reputation of an Aristides.32 There was some danger of a breach with the Ostrogothic ruler of Italy in A.D. 525‑526, but this menace was averted by his death,33 and the Empire enjoyed peace till the last year of the reign, when war broke out with Persia.

In the spring of A.D. 527 Justin was stricken down by a dangerous illness, and he yielded to the solicitations of the Senate to co-opt Justinian as his colleague. The act of coronation was performed in the great Triklinos in the Palace (on April 4), and it seems that the Patriarch, in the absence of the Emperor, placed the diadem on the head of the new Augustus. The subsequent ceremonies were carried out in the Delphax, where the Imperial guards were assembled, and not, as was usual, in the Hippodrome.34 Justin recovered, but only to survive for a few months. He died on August 1, from an ulcer in the foot where, in one of his old campaigns, he had been wounded by an arrow.35

§ 2. Justinian

The Emperor Justinian was about forty-five years old when he ascended the throne.36 Of his personal appearance we can p24 form some idea from the description of contemporary writers37 and from portraits on his coins and in mosaic pictures.38 He was of middle height, neither thin nor fat; his smooth shaven face was round, he had a straight nose, a firm chin, curly hair which, as he aged, became thin in front. A slight smile seems to have been characteristic. The bust which appears on the coinage issued when he had reached the age of fifty-six, shows that there was some truth in the resemblance which a hostile writer detected between his countenance and that of the Emperor Domitian.

His intellectual talents were far above the ordinary standard of Roman Emperors, and if fortune had not called him to the throne, he would have attained eminence in some other career. For with his natural gifts he possessed an energy which nothing seemed to tire; he loved work, and it is not improbable that he was the most hardworking man in the Empire. Though his mind was of that order which enjoys occupying itself with details, it was capable of conceiving large ideas and embracing many interests. He permitted himself no self-indulgence; and his temperance was ascetic. In Lent he used to fast entirely for two days, and during the rest of the season he abstained p25 from wine and lived on wild herbs dressed with oil and vinegar. He slept little and worked far into the night.39 His manners were naturally affable. As Emperor he was easily accessible, and showed no offence if a bold or tactless subject spoke with a freedom which others would have resented as disrespectful. He was master of his temper, and seldom broke out into anger.40 He could exhibit, too, the quality of mercy. Probus, the nephew of Anastasius, accused of reviling him, was tried for treason. When the report of the trial was laid before the Emperor he tore it up and said to Probus, "I pardon you for your offence against me. Pray that God also may pardon you."41

The reign of a ruler endowed with these estimable qualities, animated by a strong and unflagging sense of duty, devoting himself day and night to the interests of the State42 for thirty-eight years, could not fail to be memorable. Memorable assuredly it was. Justinian wrought not only for his own time but for posterity. He enhanced the prestige of the Empire and enlarged its borders. He bequeathed, by his monumental work in Roman law, an enduring heritage to Europe; while the building of the Church of St. Sophia would in itself be an imperishable title to the gratitude of men. These achievements, however, are only one side of the picture. The successes and glories of his reign were to be purchased at a heavy cost, and the strain which he imposed on the resources of the State was followed by decline and disaster after his death. Perhaps no more scathing denunciation of the character, aims, and methods of a ruler has ever been written than the notorious indictment which the contemporary historian Procopius committed to the pages of a Secret History, wherein Justinian is represented as a malignant demon in human form.43 Though the exaggerations of the writer are so gross and manifest that his venomous pen defeats its own object, there is sufficient evidence from other p26 sources to show that the reign of Justinian was, in many ways, far from being a blessing to his subjects.

The capital error of Justinian's policy was due to a theory which, though not explicitly formulated till quite recent times, has misled many eminent and well-meaning sovrans and statesmen in all periods of history. It is the theory that the expansion of a state and the exaltation of its prestige and honour are ends in themselves, and valuable without any regard to the happiness of the men and women of whom the state consists. If this proposition had been presented nakedly either to Justinian or to Louis XIV, he would have indignantly repudiated it, but both these monarchs, like many another, acted on it, with most unhappy consequences for their subjects. Justinian possessed imagination. He had formed a high ideal of the might and majesty of the Empire of which he was the master. It humiliated him to contrast its moderate limits with the vast extent of territory over which the word of Constantine or Theodosius the Great had been law. He was dazzled by the idea of restoring the old boundaries of the Roman Empire. For though he only succeeded in recovering, as we shall see, Africa, Italy, and a small strip of Spain, his designs reached to Gaul, if not to Britain. After he had conquered the African provinces he announced his ambitious policy. "We have good hopes that God will grant us to restore our authority over the remaining countries which the ancient Romans possessed to the limits of both oceans and lost by subsequent neglect."44 In drawing up this magnificent programme, Justinian did not consider whether such an extension of his government would make his subjects, who had to bear the costs of his campaigns, happier or better. He assumed that whatever increased the power and glory of the state must also increase the well-being of its members. The resources of the state were not more than sufficient to protect the eastern frontier against the Persians and the Danubian against the barbarians of the north; and if the Emperor had been content to perform these duties more efficiently than his predecessors, he would unquestionably have deserved better of his subjects.

His conception of the greatness of the Empire was indissolubly associated with his conception of the greatness of its sovran, p27 and he asserted the absolutism of the autocrat in a degree which no Emperor had hitherto attempted.45 This was conspicuously shown in the dictatorship which he claimed over the Church. He was the first Emperor who studied dogmatic questions independently and systematically, and he had all the confidence of a professional theologian. A theologian on the throne is a public danger, and the principle of persecuting opinion, which had been fitfully and mildly pursued in the fifth century, was applied rigorously and systematically under Justinian. His determination to be supreme in all departments made him impatient of advice; he did not like his commands to be discussed, and he left to his ministers little latitude for decision. His passion for dealing personally with the minute details of government had the same unfortunate results as in the case of Philip II.46 Like other autocrats, he was jealous and suspicious, and ready to listen to calumnies against his most loyal servants. And there was a vein of weakness in his character. He faltered at one supremely critical moment of his reign, and his consort, Theodora, had an influence over him which no woman could have exercised over an Augustus or a Constantine.

§ 3. Theodora

It was probably before he had any prospect of the throne that Justinian formed a violent attachment to a girl of exceptional charms and talents, but of low birth and blemished reputation. Theodora had already borne at least one child to a lover47 when she captured the heart of the future Emperor. According to a tradition — and perhaps she countenanced this story herself, for she could not deny the humility of her birth — she had come from Paphlagonia to the capital, where she was p28 discovered by Justinian, making a scanty living by spinning wool.48 But contemporary rumours which were circulated by her enemies assigned to her a less respectable origin, and told a circumstantial story of a girlhood spent in singular infamy. She was said to be the daughter of Acacius, who was employed by the Green Faction at Constantinople as keeper of the wild beasts,49 which they exhibited at public spectacles. When Acacius died his widow married his successor, but this man was soon deprived of the office in favour of another who paid a bribe to obtain it.50 The woman sent her three little daughters, Comito,51 Theodora, and Anastasia, in the guise of suppliants with fillets on their heads, to beg the Greens assembled in the Hippodrome to reinstate their stepfather who had been so unjustly treated. The Greens obdurately refused; but the Blues had compassion and appointed the man to be their own bear-keeper, as the post happened to be vacant. This incident of her childhood was said to be the explanation of the Empress Theodora's implacable hostility towards the Greens. The three sisters, when they were older, went on the stage, and in those days an actress was almost synonymous with a prostitute. According to the scandalous gossip, which is recorded with malicious relish in the Secret History of Procopius, Theodora showed exceptional precocity and shamelessness in a career of vice. Her adventures were not confined to Constantinople. She went to the Libyan Pentapolis as the mistress of a new governor, but having quarrelled with him she betook herself to Alexandria, and worked her way back to the capital, where she entrapped Justinian.52

This chapter of her biography, which reposes solely on the p29 testimony of enemies, has more value as a picture of contemporary manners than as an indictment of the morals of Theodora. It is difficult to believe that if her girlhood had been so steeped in vice and infamy as this scandalous document asserts, she could have so completely changed as to develop into a matron whose conjugal chastity the same enemies could not seriously impugn, although they were ready to insinuate suspicions.53 But it would be foolish to argue that the framework of the story is entirely fictitious. Theodora may have been the daughter of a bear-keeper, and she may have appeared on the stage. And her youth may have been stormy; we know that she was the mother of an illegitimate child.

After the rise in his fortunes through the accession of his uncle, Justinian seems to have secured for his mistress the rank of a patrician.54 He wished to marry her, but the Empress Euphemia resolutely opposed this step, and it was not till after her death55 that Theodora became the wife of Justinian. When he was raised to the throne, she was, as a matter of course, crowned Augusta.

Her beauty and charm were generally acknowledged. We may imagine her as a small pale brunette, with a delicate oval face and a solemn intense expression in her large black eyes.56 Portraits of her are preserved in marble, in mosaics, and on ivory. There is a life-size bust of her at Milan, which was originally coloured; the tip of the nose is broken off, but the rest is well preserved, and we can see the attractiveness of her face.57 Then p30 we have two ivory tablets representing her in imperial robes.58 These three portraits show her probably as she was from the age of thirty to thirty-five. She is visibly an older woman in the mosaic picture in the church of S. Vitale at Ravenna (c. A.D. 547), but the resemblance to the bust can be discerned in the shape of the face, in the mouth, and in the eyes. But the dominion which she exercised over Justinian was due more to her mental qualities than to her physical charms. A contemporary writer praises her as "superior in intelligence to all the world,"59 and all that we know of her conduct as Empress shows that she was a woman of exceptional brain and courage. Her influence in the Emperor's counsels was publicly acknowledged in a way which had no precedent in the past. In a law which aimed at suppressing corruption in the appointment of provincial governors, the Emperor declared that in framing it "we have taken as partner in our counsels our most pious consort given to us by God."60 At the end of the law an oath of allegiance is prescribed. The official is to swear loyalty to "our divine and pious despots, Justinian, and Theodora, the consort of his throne." But although Justinian's devotion to his wife prompted him to increase her dignity and authority in the eyes of the Empire in unusual ways, it would be a mistake to suppose that legally she possessed powers which former Empresses had not enjoyed or that she was co-regent in the constitutional sense.61 Custom was strained to permit her unusual privileges. For instance, she is said to have received foreign envoys and presented them with gifts "as if the Roman Empire were under p31 her rule."62 Chosroes was amazed when his minister Zabergan showed him a letter which he had received from Theodora urging him to press his master to make peace.63 Such incidents might well give the impression that the Empire was ruled by two co-equal sovrans, and some thought that Theodora had greater power than Justinian himself.64 Such power as she possessed she owed to her personal influence over her husband and to his toleration of her intervention in public affairs.

She was not indeed content to pursue her aims merely by the legitimate means of persuading the monarch. When she knew that he had resolutely determined on a line of policy which was not in accordance with her own wishes, she did not scruple to act independently. The most important matter in which their views diverged was ecclesiastical policy. Theodora was a devoted Monophysite, and one of her constant preoccupations was to promote the Monophysitic doctrine and to protect its adherents from the penal consequences which they incurred under Justinian's laws. Her husband must have been well aware that she had an intelligence department of her own and that secret intrigues were carried on of which he would not have approved. But she was clever enough to calculate just how far she could go.

Her power of engaging in independent political action was due to her economic independence. She had large financial resources at her disposal, for which apparently she had to render no account. The personal expenses of an Emperor's consort and the maintenance of her household were provided by estates in Asia Minor which were managed by a high steward known as the Curator of the House of Augusta,65 who was responsible to her. Justinian appears to have increased these estates considerably for the benefit of Theodora.66 He gave her large donations on the occasion of her marriage.67 The house known p32 as the palace of Hormisdas, in which Justinian had resided before his elevation to the throne, was enlarged and enclosed within the precincts of the Great Palace, and placed at the disposal of the Empress.68

Theodora did much to deserve the reputation of a beneficent queen, always ready to use her influence for redressing wrongs,69 and particularly solicitous to assist the unhappy of her own sex.70 To her initiative are ascribed the stringent laws which were passed to suppress the traffic in young girls, which flourished as actively then as in modern Europe, and was conducted by similar methods, which the legislator graphically describes. Agents used to travel through the provinces to entice to the capital poor girls, sometimes under ten years of age, by the bait of fine clothes and an easy life. Indigent parents were easily persuaded by a few gold coins to consent to the ruin of their daughters. The victims, when they came to the city, were fed and clothed miserably, and kept shut up in the houses of ill-fame, and they were forced to sign written contracts with their infamous masters. Sometimes compassionate patrons of these establishments offered to deliver one of these slaves from her misery by marrying her, but the procurers generally refused to consent. The new edict forbade the trade and ordered that all procurers should be banished from Constantinople.71 The principle of compensation, however, seems to have been applied. The patrons were allowed to state on oath how much money they had given to the parents of each girl; the average price was five nomismata, and Theodora paid the total out of her private purse.72 To receive unfortunate women who abandoned a life of shame, a palace on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus, not far from the Black Sea, was converted into a convent which was known as Metanoia or Repentance.73

p33 Theodora was perhaps too eager to interfere, as a sort of beneficent providence, in the private affairs of individual persons, and her offices were not always appreciated. She is said to have forced two sisters, who belonged to an old senatorial family and had lost their husbands, to marry against their will vulgar men who were utterly unworthy of them.74 And her enemies alleged that in her readiness to espouse the cause of women she committed grave acts of injustice and did considerable harm. Wives who were divorced for adultery used to appeal to the Empress and bring accusations against their husbands, and she always took their part and compelled the unfortunate men to pay double the dowry, if she did not cause them to be whipped and thrown into prison. The result was that men put up with the infidelity of their wives rather than run such risks.75 It is impossible to decide how much truth there may be in these charges, but they illustrate Theodora's desire to be the protectress and champion of her own sex.

There can be little doubt that the Empress used her position to exercise a patronage in appointments to offices, which was not always in the public interest, and that she had few scruples in elevating her favourites and disgracing men who displeased her.76 It must, however, be confessed that in the two cases in which we have good evidence that she intervened to ruin officials, her intervention was beneficial. Thus she procured the disgrace of an Imperial secretary named Priscus, an unprincipled man who had grown rich at the public expense. He was alleged to have spoken against her, and as she could not prevail on Justinian to take action, she caused the man to be put on board a ship and transported to Cyzicus, where he was tonsured. Justinian acquiesced in the accomplished fact and confiscated his property.77 p34 Procopius, in his Secret History, has several stories to tell of cruel punishments which she inflicted privately on persons who had offended her. Lurid tales were whispered of the terrible secret dungeons of her palace in which men disappeared for ever,78 and the known fact that she had the means of maintaining heretics in concealment for years made gossip of this kind appear credible. Whatever may be the truth about her alleged vengefulness and cruelty, it is certain that she was feared.

There was no disguise in the attitude which she assumed as head of the ecclesiastical opposition to Justinian's policy, and he must have been fully aware that secret intrigues were carried on which he would not have sanctioned. It seemed indeed difficult to believe that a man of his autocratic ideas would have tolerated an independent power beside his own; and the theory was put forward that this apparent discord between their aims and views was a political artifice deliberately planned to blind their subjects, and to facilitate the transactions which the emperors could not openly permit.79 This theory may contain a small measure of truth so far as ecclesiastical policy is concerned. It may have been convenient to the Emperor to allow the severities which his policy forced him to adopt against the Monophysites to be mitigated by the clandestine and illegal protection which the Empress afforded to them. But otherwise the theory can hardly be entertained seriously. We can only regard the latitude which was allowed to Theodora as due to Justinian's weakness. And she was clever enough to know how far she could venture.

Her habits presented contrast to the temperance and simplicity of Justinian. She spent a long time in her bath. At her meals she indulged in every kind of food and drink. She slept long both at night and in her daily siesta.80 She spent many months of the year in the suburban palaces on the seashore, especially at Hêrion (on the coast of Bithynia, opposite the Islands of the Princes), which Justinian enlarged and p35 improved.81 Sometimes she visited the hot springs of Pythia (in Bithynia), where Justinian also built an Imperial residence. On these occasions she was attended by an immense retinue of patricians and chamberlains.82 For Theodora had all a parvenue's love of pomp and show, and she was probably encouraged by the Emperor, who, though simple in his own tastes, thought much of public splendour and elaborate ceremonial as a means of enhancing the Imperial majesty. We are told that new and abasing forms of etiquette were introduced at court. When the Senate appeared in the presence of the Emperor, it had been the custom for one of the patricians to kiss the sovran on the right breast, and the sovran replied to the salutation by kissing the head of the patrician. No corresponding ceremony was practised in the case of the Empress. Under Justinian and Theodora it became obligatory that all persons, of whatever rank, should prostrate themselves on entering the presence of the Emperor and of the Empress alike. The spirit of oriental servility in the Palace was shown by the fact that officials and members of the court who, in talking among themselves used to speak of the sovrans as the "Emperor" and the "Empress" (Basileus and Basilis), now began to designate them as the "Lord" and the "Lady" (Despotes and Despoina) and described themselves as their slaves; and any one who did not adopt these forms was considered to have committed an unpardonable solecism.83

It is not improbable that, if Justinian had wedded a daughter of one of the senatorial families, many people would have been happier, and the atmosphere of the Palace would have been less dangerously charged with suspicion and intrigue. But, if Theodora was greedy of power and often unscrupulous in her methods, her energy and determination on one occasion rescued the throne, and on another rendered a signal service to the community. And there is no reason to suppose that in her conduct generally she was not honestly convinced that, if she employed irregular means, she was acting in the true interests of the State.

p36 § 4. John the Cappadocian, Praetorian Prefect of the East

The brilliancy of Justinian's reign did not bring happiness or contentment to his subjects. His determination to increase the power of the throne and retain his government more completely in his own hands caused dissatisfaction in the senatorial circles and inevitably led to tyranny; and his ambitious plans of expansion involved expenses that could only be met by increasing the financial burdens which already weighed too heavily on the people.

The frugal policy of Anastasius had bequeathed to his successor a reserve of 320,000 lbs. of gold (about 14½ millions sterling). In the reign of Justin these savings were dissipated, as well as a further amount of 400,000 lbs. which had come into the treasury in addition to the regular revenue.84 A heavy tax on the exchequer was caused by the terrible earthquake of May A.D. 526, which laid the city of Antioch in ruins and destroyed, it is said, 250,000 people.85 In the following year war broke out with Persia, and when Justinian came to the throne, the financial position was not such as to justify any extraordinary enterprises. It is asserted by a civil servant who had a long career in the office of the Praetorian Prefect of the East, that the unfavourable financial situation was chiefly caused by the incompetence of those who had held the Prefecture in the reign of Justin.86 Justinian after some time found a man for the post who knew how to fill the treasury.

John, a native of Caesarea in Cappadocia, began as a clerk in the office of a Master of Soldiers. In this capacity he became, by some chance, known to Justinian, and he was promoted to the post of logothete, a name which had now come into general use for those responsible officials who, under the Praetorian Prefect, controlled the operations of the subordinate assessors and collectors of taxes in the provinces.87 In the case of Marinus, p37 this post had been a stepping-stone to the Prefecture itself, and John had the same luck. He was first raised to the rank of an illustris, and became Praetorian Prefect before A.D. 531.88 He had not the qualifications which might have been thought indispensable for the duties of this ministry, for he had not received a liberal education, and could barely read and write; but he had the qualification which was most essential in the eyes of the Emperor, talent and resourcefulness in raising money. His physical strength and energy were enormous, and in difficulties he was never at a loss.89 He is described as the boldest and cleverest man of his time.90 But he was absolutely unscrupulous in his methods, and while he supplied the Emperor with the funds which he required, he also became himself enormously rich and spent his money on gluttony and debauchery. "He did not fear God, nor regard man." The provinces of Lydia and Cilicia were a conspicuous scene of his operations. He procured the appointment of another Cappadocian, also named John, to the governorship of Lydia — a man after his own heart, enormously fat and popularly known as Maxilloplumacius (Flabby-jaw). With the help of this lieutenant, the Prefect ruined Lydia and its capital, Philadelphia. He visited the province himself, and we are told that when he had done with it, he had left not a vessel in a house, nor a wife, a virgin, or a youth unviolated. The exaggeration is pardonable, for our informant was born at Philadelphia. The same writer gives particular instances — some of which had come under his own observation — of the violent means to which John the Cappadocian resorted to extort money from rich persons. He had dark dungeons in the Prefect's residence, and he made use of torture and painful fetters.91

While contemporary writers agree in painting John as a p38 coarse monster, without a single redeeming quality, we must make some allowance for exaggeration. It is unlikely that he would have enjoyed so long the confidence of the Emperor if his sole recommendation had been skill in plundering the provinces. As a matter of fact, we shall see that during his second tenure of the Prefecture, which lasted about nine years, a series of provincial reforms was carried through which intimately concerned his own sphere of administration and in some respects diminished his power. This could not have been done without his co-operation, and we cannot fairly withhold from him part of whatever credit the legislation deserves. We may conjecture that he won and retained his influence over the Emperor, not only through his success in replenishing the treasury, but also partly through his independence, which was displayed when he openly opposed the project of conquering Africa, and partly through the fact that he was not hampered by conservative prejudices. It was chiefly his indifference to the traditions of the civil service that made him unpopular among the officials of the Prefecture.

Besides increasing the revenue by fair means and foul, John had recourse to economies which were stigmatised by contemporary opinion as injurious to the public interest. He cut off or reduced the service of the State post, with the exception of the main line to the Persian frontier. The post from Chalcedon to Dakibiza was abolished, and replaced by a service of boats to Helenopolis, while in southern Asia Minor and Syria asses were substituted for horses and the speed of travelling was diminished. The results were twofold. The news of disasters in the provinces, which demanded prompt action, was slow in reaching Constantinople. More serious was the consequence for the farmers in the inland provinces, who, deprived of the public means of transport, were obliged to provide for the transmission of their produce to the ports to be conveyed to the capital. Large quantities of cornº rotted in the granaries; the husbandmen were impoverished; and the Prefect's officials pressed for payment of the taxes in gold.92 Multitudes of destitute people left their homes and went to Constantinople.93

p39 Justinian was well satisfied with the fruits of John's administration, and only too ready to shut his eyes to the methods by which the funds he needed were procured. How far he was really innocent it is impossible to determine, but we are assured that the ministers and courtiers always praised the Prefect to the Emperor, even though they had personal grievances against him. At length Theodora, who disliked the Cappadocian and was well acquainted with his iniquities, endeavoured to open Justinian's eyes and to show him that, if the tyrannical administration were allowed to continue, his own position would be endangered. If her arguments produced any effect on his mind, he wavered and postponed action94 until action was suddenly forced on him by a revolutionary outbreak which well-nigh cost him his throne.


The Author's Notes:

1 It is said, indeed, that there were many who wished that one of them should succeed (Evagrius, H. E. 4.2). Anastasius had other relatives who were eligible ("numerous and very distinguished," Procopius, B. P. I.11).

2 John Mal. XVII.410 (cp. Chr. Pasch., sub a.; Cramer, Excerpta, II.318); Marcellinus, sub 519. Theocritus, described by Marcellinus as Amantii satelles, is designated as ὁ δομεστικός in John Mal. fr. 43, De ins. p170. It means the "domestic" of Amantius, see Zach. Myt. IX.1.

3 Preserved in Constantine Porph. Cer. I.93 (taken from the Katastasis of Peter the Patrician).

4 Evagrius, loc. cit.: Zach. Myt. loc. cit.

5 Coll. Avellana, Ep. 141.

6 Born in 452, if he was 75 at his death (John Mal. XVII.424; but 77 acc. to Chr. Pasch.). Bederiana is represented by the modern village of Bader. Justinian speaks of Scupi, which he renamed Justiniana Prima, as patria nostra (Nov. 11). On the identification, see Evans, Arch. Researches, II.141 sqq.

7 Cp. in the address of Germanus to his soldiers, in Procopius, B. V. II.16 ὑμᾶς ἐξ ἀγροῦ ξύν τε τῇ πήρᾳ καὶ χιτωνίσκῳ ἐνί.

8 Procopius, H. A. VI. John Mal. (XVII.410) describes Justin as good-looking, with a well-formed nose, and curly grey hair.

9 Ib.; John Ant. De ins., fr. 100 (p142) Theodorus Lector, II.37.

10 John Lydus, De mag. III.51, Procopius, ib., John Mal. ib. ἀγράμματος.

11 Victor Tonn. s. a. 518; Theodore Lector, II.37, cp. Cramer Anecd. Par. II.108; Procopius, H. A. VI, IX. On a coin supposed to represent Euphemia, see Wroth, Imp. Byzantine Coins, I p. xiv n4. There are miniature representations of Justin and Euphemia on the two extremities of the horizontal bar of a silver cross preserved in the Treasury of St. Peter's at Rome. The cross bears the inscription:

ligno quo Christus humanum subdidit hostem

dat Romae Justinus opem et socia decorem.

From the style of the headcap of the Empress, Delbrück (Porträts byz. Kais.) was able to infer that Justin I and Euphemia (not Justin II and Sophia) are in question.

12 Now Taor. Justinian built a rectangular wall round it, with a tower at each corner, and called it Tetrapyrgia. Procopius, Aed. IV.1.18.

13 His name, however, appeared in full on his consular diptychs of 521. CIL V.8210, 3: Fl. Petr. Sabbat. Iustinian., v.i., comes, mag. eqq. et p. praes., et consul ord.

Thayer's Note: The notion that Justinian was a Slav whose original name was Uprauda or Vpravda, whose mother's name was Bigleniza, and so on with the rest of his family, has been firmly exploded; the source of it is a fraud, very likely perpetrated by a 17c Slav. The details, and the detective work in unmasking the imposture, may be found in Bryce and Jireček, "Life of Justinian by Theophilus". Such, however, is the persistence of error that 120 years after it was corrected, the nonsense is still plastered all over the Web.

14 Vigilantia, who married Dulcissimus, had three children, Justin afterwards Emperor), Marcellus, and Praejecta. A brother of Justin, or another sister, had three sons, Germanus, Boraides, and Justus (cp. Procopius, B. P. I.24.53; B. G. III.31.12). Germanus, who was to play a considerable part, was thus the cousin of Justinian. He married (1) Passara, by whom he had two sons, Justin and Justinian, and one daughter Justina; (2) the Ostrogothic princess Matasuntha, by whom he had one son Germanus. See the Genealogical Table. Another cousin of Justinian, named Marcian, is mentioned by John Malalas, XVIII.496. I conjecture that he may be identical with Justin, son of Germanus. For this Justin was consul in 540, and on his consular diptych his name runs: Fl. Mar. Petr. Theodor. Valent. Rust. Boraid. Germ. Iust. (Meyer, Zwei ant. Elf. p10). I take Mar. to be for Marcianus. Germanus was the ἀνεψιός of Justinian (Proc. locc. citt.), and this has generally been taken to mean nephew, so that Justinian would have had a brother or a second sister. But I agree with Kallenberg (Berl. phil. Wochenschrift, XXXV.991) that in B. G. IV.40.5 Ἰουστῖνος ὁ Γερμανοῦ θεῖος should be retained (all the editions print the emendation Ἰουστινιανός).

15 Marcellinus, s. a. 519, Procopius, H. A. 6; John Mal. XVII.410, and fr. 43, De ins. Marcellinus describes Amantius as a Manichean; Procopius says that there was no charge against him, except of using insulting language about the Patriarch; Malalas speaks of a demonstration against Amantius and Marinus in St. Sophia.

16 John Mal. ib. 411.

17 C. J. V.27.7; II.7.25; John Mal. ib. records that Appion, who had been exiled by Anastasius, was recalled and made Pr. pr. Or. Perhaps he held the post in 518‑519 and was succeeded by Marinus.

18 See below, Chap. XXII § 4.

19 See Coll. Avell. 162, 154, 230 (p696). He is mag. eqq. et p. praes. on his consular diptychs.

20 Procopius, H. A. VI.

21 Ib. Here Procopius is supported by Victor Tonn. s. a. 523 (Iustiniani patrii factione). Loofs (Leontius, 259) does not believe in the guilt of Justinian. John Malalas (De ins., fr. 43) seems to connect the murder (which was committed in the Delphax in the Palace) with riotous demonstrations of the Blues and Greens in the Hippodrome and the streets.

22 In the Secret History Procopius treats the reign of Justin as virtually part of that of Justinian. That this view of Justinian's influence was generally accepted is shown by passages in the Public History and the De aedificiis. B. V. I.9.5; Aed. I.3.3.

23 He spent 288,000 (£18,000) on the shows, exhibited 20 lions and 30 leopards. Marcellinus, s. a.

24 Before 527; Marcellinus, s. a. Victor Tonn. states that Justinian was created Caesar in 525 (s. a.), but his authority is inferior. Cyril, Vit. Sabae, p386, does not mention either title.

25 ῶταιΟἱ στασιῶται. Procopius, H. A. VII. He says that they affected a peculiar dress, wearing very wide sleeves drawn tight at the wrist, and imitating the costume of the Huns in trousers and shoes. They allowed their beards and moustaches to grow, shaved the head in front and wore the hair long behind. They used to go about in organised bands at night and rob the passers-by. For the connexion of Justinian with the Blues, which rests on the evidence of the Secret History, cp. Panchenko, O tain. ist. Prok. 89 sqq.

26 John Mal. XVII.416 τὸ Βένετον μέρος ἐν πάσαις ταῖς πόλεσιν ἠτάκτει (cp. H. A. VIII. ad init.) καὶ ἐτάρασσον τὰς πόλεις λιθασμοῖς καὶ καταβασίαις καὶ φόνοις. This refers to the first years of the reign. Cp. Mansi, VIII.1106 (relating to Syria Secunda).

27 The date 524 may be inferred by combining John Mal. (ib.), who gives indiction 3 (=524‑525) for the fall of Theodotus, with Theophanes (A.M. 6012), who mentions the sixth year of Justin; and it is confirmed by C. J. II.7.26, which was addressed to Theodotus in 524. Theodore was Prefect of the City in 520 (John Mal. fr. 43, De ins.); Theodotus was appointed in 522‑523 (John Mal. XVII.416); and was succeeded by Theodore Têganistes (ib.). Hence in C. J. IX.19.6 (A.D. 526) Theodoto is probably an error for Theodoro.

28 H. A. IX. The other sources do not mention Justinian's illness.

29 Marcellinus, whose notice, though dated A.D. 523, must refer to this affair.

30 Procopius (ib.) says that some of the friends of Theodotus were tortured, and confessed that he had spoken disloyally against Justinian, but that the Quaestor Proclus took his part and proved that he had done nothing to deserve death. John Malalas (ib.) has a different story. He ascribes Justin's anger to the fact that Theodotus had executed a rich senator without consulting himself. Both accounts may be true. According to (p23) to John of Nikiu (p503) he arrested a nephew of Justin. Procopius and Malalas agree that at Jerusalem Theodotus remained in concealment, believing that his life was in danger.

31 John Mal. ib., where it is stated the public spectacles were generally prohibited, and that all professional dancers were banished from the East, but that an exception was made in the case of Alexandria.

32 Procopius, B. P. I.11.11; H. A. VI.13‑14; John Lydus, De mag. III.20 Πρόκλος ὁ δικαιότατος.

33 See below, Chap. XVIII § 1.

34 Constantine Porph. Cer. I.95 (from the κατάστασις of Peter the Patrician).

35 John Mal. XVII.424.

36 Zonaras, XIV.5.40 (we do not know the source).

37 Procopius, H. A. VIII.12‑13; John Mal. XVIII.425.

38 There are two pictures at Ravenna, one in the apse of S. Vitale dating from A.D. 547, the other in the nave of S. Apollinare Nuovo, about ten years later. The former is a bad portrait; the face is oval, whereas all the other evidence both literary and monumental concurs in showing that it was round. He also wears a moustache; perhaps this was true in 547, though not in 538 nor 557 (John Mal. speaks of a beard, but if this is not simply an error, it must refer to the very end of his life). The other picture, truer to life, shows a round, smooth, shaven face, and conveys the impression of a man who is losing his old energy. The evidence of the coinage, admirably elucidated by Wroth (Byz. Coins, I pp. xc‑xcii), is more important. The early coins of the reign display a purely conventional face, but in A.D. 538 changes were introduced. Bronze money was inscribed with the year of issue, and a new Imperial bust appeared both on gold and on bronze coins, and was not changed again. The private bust on the gold of A.D. 527 had a three-quarters face; the new bust showed a full face, shaven, round, plump, with a slight smile — unquestionably a genuine portrait of the man whom the picture in S. Apollinare shows when he was 20 years older. There is also a gold medallion (perhaps of 534; cp. Wroth, I p25, and Cedrenus, I p649), on which the Emperor's bust appears with round shaven face. The fifteenth-century drawing of Justinian's equestrian statue in the Augusteum (reproduced in Diehl, Justinien, p27) does not help, nor the silver disk of Kerch which shows an Emperor on horseback (Diehl, p30, but the identity of the Emperor is doubtful). The Barberini ivory (Diehl, frontispiece) would be useful, if its date were certain, but some ascribe it to the age of Constantine the Great. Compare (as well as Wroth) Diehl's interesting appreciation of the mosaics.

39 The statements of Procopius in H. A. XIII.28‑30º and in Aed. I.7.7‑11 are almost identical. In the latter passage it is said that these excessively abstemious practices caused a painful disease in the knee, which was miraculously healed by the relics of saints which had been discovered at Melitene.

40 H. A. 13.1‑3.

41 John Mal. XVIII.438. We shall meet another instance in the case of the conspirator Artabanes. Cp. Procopius, Aed. I.1.10 and 16.

42 Cp. John Lydus, De mag. III.55 τὸν πάντων βασιλέων ἀγρυπνότατον. Cp. βασιλῆος ἀκοιμήτοιο in the verses inscribed in the church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus, which he built (CIG IV.8639).

43 The credibility of the Secret History is discussed below, Chap. XXIV.

44 Nov. 30, § 11, published just after the conquest of Sicily, in 536.

45 Agathias, V.14 αὐτοκράτωρ ὀνόματι τε καὶ πράγματι ἀπεδέδεικτο.

46 Diehl has noted the resemblance. Diehl's judgment of the Emperor's character is that, with many high qualities, he had "une âme de valeur plutôt médiocre" (p21).

47 A daughter, whose son Anastasius or Athanasius married Joannina, daughter of Belisarius. Procopius, H. A. IV.37; John Eph. Part III V.1. (Perhaps the same Athanasius is meant in John Philoponus, De opif. mundi, I Prooem., as Reichardt thinks.) According to H. A. 17, 16 sqq. she had also a son John, who was taken as an infant by his unnamed father to Arabia because Theodora wished to destroy her offspring. When he had grown up, he was informed by his dying father of the secret of his birth. He went to Byzantium and revealed himself to the Emperor, who arranged that he should never be seen again.

48 Πάτρια, p248. To commemorate her old abode she founded the church of St. Panteleemon on the site.

49 Ἀρκτοτρόφος, bear-keeper, was the term.

50 The official known as ὀρχηστής had these appointments in his hands.

51 We know from another source than H. A. that Theodora had a sister Comito. She married Sittas, Master of Soldiers. John Mal. XVIII.430.

52 The account of her career in H. A. IX stands alone. Some have thought that it gains some support from a passage in John Eph. Comm. p68, where the Empress is described as τὴν ἐκ τοῦ πορνείου (so Panchenko, op. cit. 73), but these words are certainly an interpolation, for it is incredible that they were written by John, who was a devoted admirer of the Empress (cp. Diehl, op. cit. 42). Was the interpolator acquainted with the Secret History? Perhaps the expression is due to a tradition that Theodora had acted at a theatre at Constantinople which was in a street known by the suggestive name of Πόρναι. See Justinian, Nov. 105, § 1 πρόοδον τὴν ἐπὶ τὸ θέατρον ἄγουσαν ἣν δὴ Πόρνας καλοῦσιν.

53 Cp. H. A. 16.11 ὑποψίας δὲ συμπεσούσης αὐτῇ ἐρωτολήπτῳ εἶναι εἰς τῶν οἰκετῶν ἕνα Ἀρεόβινδον ὄνομα. The supplement is Haury's. Diehl observes that it is not recorded that any personal taunts were levelled at Theodora during the Nika revolt (p44); but this is not quite true (see Chron. Pasch., sub 532 τὰς ὑβριστικὰς φωνὰς ἃς ἔλεγον . . . εἰς τὴν αὔγουσταν Θεοδώραν).

54 H. A. 9.30. If this was so, the law of Justin relaxing the rule which forbade senators to marry actresses (C. J. V.4.23; 520‑523) was not required, as has been supposed, for the purpose of making Justinian's marriage possible. Cp. Panchenko, op. cit. 74. John of Ephesus refers to Theodora's activity in the matter of a Monophysite deacon, while she was still a patrician, but this was probably after her marriage (Comm. p68).

55 H. A. 9.47. The year is not known, but she died before Justin.

56 H. A. 10.11 εὐπρόσωπος καὶ εὔχαρις ἄλλως, cp. Aed. I.11.8. Procopius describes her as κολοβός, an uncomplimentary way of saying that she was petite.

57 The identification is due to Delbrück, Porträts byz. Kais., whose arguments have convinced me. He proved in the first place by a very complete examination of the headgear of Empresses in the fifth and sixth centuries that the bust belongs to the sixth; and that it is Theodora's is demonstrated by a comparison with the mosaics and the ivories. It is in the archaeological museum of Castel (p30) Sforzesco. It is probably eastern work, and must have been set up at Milan either in 538, during the few months in which the town was in Imperial hands, or before 535.

58 These tablets (of which one is at the Bargello in Florence, the other at Vienna) seem to be leaves of the same diptych. Gräven thought that the lady was Amalasuntha, but the diadem, which Gothic royalties never wore, disproves this. For comparison we have a small portrait of Theodora on the consular diptych of Justin (A.D. 540) which is preserved at Berlin. There can be little doubt that Delbrück is right in his identification. On the Bargello tablet the Empress is standing with a sceptre in her left hand and a cruciger globe in her right. On the segmentum of her chlamys is a male bust with a sceptre in his left and the handkerchief (mappa) in his right. This points to the consular games, so that the presumption is that the tablet was associated with a consulship of Justinian, and this would date it to 528 or 533 or 534. On the Vienna tablet the Empress is enthroned, and on the chlamys is a female bust, which Delbrück suggests might be that of her niece Sophia, afterwards Empress.

59 John Lydus, De mag. III.69.

60 Nov. 8, A.D. 535.

61 Compare the remarks of Panchenko, op. cit. 74‑76.

62 Procopius, H. A. 30.24.

63 Ib. II.32 sqq. Theodora had known Zabergan when he had come as envoy to Constantinople.

64 The view is expressed by Zonaras, XIV.6.5‑6. It is highly remarkable that no coins were issued with Theodora's name and face, an honour which had been accorded to all Augustae until Justin's reign (there are no coins of Euphemia, see Wroth, Imp. Byz. Coins, XIV note 4). In the reign following, Justin and Sophia appear together in many issues.

65 Curator divinae domus serenissimae Augustae, C. J. VII.37.3.

66 For her estates in Cappadocia, yielding a revenue of 50 lbs. of gold (over £2250), see Nov. 30.6; in Helenopontus, Nov. 28.5; in Paphlagonia, Nov. 29.4.

67 C. J. ib. Procopius says that he lavished on her large sums of money before his marriage, H. A. 9.31.

68 Procopius, Aed. I.4.1 and 10.4; John Eph. Comm. c42.

69 John Lydus, De mag. III.69.

70 Procopius, B. G. III.32 ἐπεφύκει γὰρ ἀεὶ δυστυχούσαις γυναιξὶ προχρεῖν.

71 Nov. 14 (A.D. 535), addressed to the people of Constantinople.

72 This is related by John Mal. XVIII.440‑441, as if it occurred in A.D. 529. There is no reason to question the date. The words κελεύσασα (Theodora) τοῦ λοιποῦ μὴ εἶναι πορνοβοσκοὺς need not be an anticipatory reference to Nov. 14, but may refer to measures taken by the Prefect of the City. A recrudescence of the forbidden practices was inevitable, and may have necessitated the legislation of 535. A law of Leo I against the traffic will be found in C. J. XI.41.7.

73 Procopius, Aed. I.9.5‑10, and H. A. 17.5. In the latter passage the author represents the action of Theodora as tyrannical. "She collected in the middle of the Forum more than 500 prostitutes who made (p33) a bare living, and sending them across to the convent called Metanoia she shut them up and forced them to change their way of life. Some of them threw themselves down from a height (the roof or a high window) and in this way escaped the compulsory change."

74 H. A. 7.7 sqq. Cp. the case of Saturninus, son of the mag. off. Hermogenes, ib. 32 sqq. Her interference in the domestic affairs of Belisarius, of which Procopius knows so much, is assuredly not entirely invented. In the case of Artabanes and Praejecta she had a locus standi, as Praejecta was Justinian's niece (B. G. III.31, see below, p146).

75 Ib. 17.24 sqq.

76 The case of Peter Barsymes is a notable example, H. A. 22.22 sqq. She is said to have intended to create Theodosius, the lover of Antonina, a mag. mil., ib. III.19. Peter the Patrician may have owed his promotion to the post of mag. off. to her favour (see below, p166).

77 The details are told in H. A. 16.7‑10, but the main fact is confirmed by John Mal. XVIII.449 and De ins. (p34) fr. 45. The other more important case is that of John of Cappadocia, see below, p57. Haury is certainly right in supposing that in describing Priscus as Παφλαγών, Procopius does not mean that he was a Paphlagonian, but is alluding to Cleon, "the Paphlagonian" of the Knights of Aristophanes (B. Z. IX.674).

78 Private prisons were forbidden by law, C. J. IX.5.2 (529).

79 H. A. 10.13 sqq. Theodora's active partisanship for the Blue Faction, of which Justinian professed to disapprove, is given as an instance.

80 H. A. 15.6 sqq.

81 Ib., where it is said that the court suffered much discomfort at Hêrion. For the reconstruction of the palace see Aed. I.11.16‑22.

82 Four thousand on the occasion of her visit in 529, acc. to John Mal. XVIII.441. For the palace see Aed. V.3, 16‑20.

83 H. A. 30.21‑26.

84 John Lyd. De mag. III.51; Procopius, H. A. 19.7‑8 (οὐδενὶ νόμῳ seems to mean "irregularly").

85 John Lyd. ib. 54. The details of this disaster are vividly described by the Antiochene writer John Mal. XVII.419 sqq. The Emperor showed his sorrow by appearing in St. Sophia without his diadem. Another serious earthquake befell Antioch at the end of 529, ib. 442.

86 John Lyd. III.51.

87 The office of logothete is discussed at length by Panchenko, op. cit. 106 sqq. Stein has shown that it is probably the Greek equivalent of scriniarius (cp. above, Vol. I Chap. XIII § 3, p442).

88 John Lyd. ib. 57. John is Pr. Pr. on April 30, 531 (C. J. VI.27.5), Julian on Feb. 20 (ib. III.1.16).

89 The sources for John's character are Procopius, B. P. I.24 and John Lyd. ib. 57 sqq. (where we get the details). The two pictures agree.

90 Procopius, B. V. I.10.7.

91 John Lydus can find no terms too strong to describe the Prefect's cruelty and luxury (Phalaris, Cyclops, Briareus, Sardanapalus, etc.). For his debauchery see cc62, 65. As John Lydus was an official in the Prefecture, his testimony is valuable, though on the other hand he may have had private reasons of animosity (cp. c96), and his respect for the traditions of the office made a rude uneducated Prefect, who introduced practical innovations in the conduct of business, repellent to him. It seems certain that Maxilloplumacius was governor of Lydia, for he must be meant by τὸν ὁμόγνιον καὶ ὁμόψυχον τῆς αὐτοῦ βδελύριας ὕπαρχον (that is, ἔπαρχον) c61.

92 Procopius, H. A. 30.8‑11. John Lyd. ib. 61.

93 John Lyd. ib. 70. John had attempted to make a breach between Justinian and Theodora, Procopius, B. P. I.25.4; H. A. 17.38.

94 John Lydus (ib. 69), who says that Justinian was deterred from making a change because John had deliberately, in order to ensure his permanent occupation of the post, introduced such confusion into the book-keeping that a successor would have found it almost impossible to carry on the administration.

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