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Ch. 15, §§1‑4
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
History of the Later Roman Empire

by J. B. Bury

published by Macmillan & Co., Ltd.,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has not been proofread.
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Ch. 15, §§7‑10


(Part 2 of 3)

§ 5. The Nika Revolt (A.D. 532)

The famous rising at Constantinople, which occurred in the first month of A.D. 532 and wrecked the city, was the result of widely prevailing discontent with the administration, but it began with a riot of the Hippodrome factions which in ordinary circumstances would have been easily suppressed.95 We saw p40 how Justinian in his uncle's reign patronised the Blues and made use of them as a political support. But when he was safely seated on the throne, he resolved no longer to tolerate the licence of the factions, from the consequences of which he had formerly protected the Blues. Immediately after his accession he laid injunctions on the authorities in every city that the disorders and crimes of the factions should be punished impartially.96

A number of persons belonging to both factions had been arrested for a riot in which there had been loss of life. Eudaemon, the Prefect of the City, held an inquiry, and finding seven of the prisoners guilty of murder, he condemned four to be beheaded, and three to be hanged. But in the case of two the hangman blundered and twice the bodies fell, still alive, to the ground. Then the monks of St. Conon, which was close to the place of execution, interfered, and taking up the two criminals, one of whom was a Blue, the other a Green, put them in a boat and rowed them across the Golden Horn to the asylum of the church of St. Laurentius.97 The Prefect, on hearing what had occurred, sent soldiers to guard the church.98

The ides of January fell three days later (Tuesday), and, according to custom, horse races were held in the Hippodrome, and the Emperor was present. Both the Blues and the Greens importuned the Emperor with loud prayers to show mercy to the two culprits who had been rescued by accident from the gallows. No answer was accorded, and at the twenty-second race the spectators were amazed to hear the unexpected exclamation, "Long live the humane Greens and Blues!" The cry announced that the two parties would act in concert to force the government to grant a pardon, and it is probable that their leaders had previously arranged to co-operate. When the races were over, the factions agreed on a watchword, nika, "conquer," and the rising which followed was known as the p41 Nika Revolt. The united factions were known for the time as the Green-Blues (Prasino-venetoi).

In the evening the mob of rioters assembled at the Praetorium and demanded from the Prefect of the City what he intended to do with the refugees in St. Laurentius. No answer was given, and the rioters broke into the prison, released the criminals who were confined in it, killed some of the officials, and set fire to the building, which was partly burned. Elated by success they rushed eastward to the Augusteum and committed graver acts of incendiarism. They fired the Chalke, the entrance of the Great Palace, and not only was this consumed, but the flames spread northward to the Senate-house and the church of St. Sophia. These buildings were burned down.99

On the following morning (Wednesday, January 14) the Emperor ordered the races to be renewed. But the Blues and Greens were not in the humour for witnessing races. They set on fire the buildings at the northern end of the Hippodrome, and the conflagration destroyed the neighbouring baths of Zeuxippus with the portico of the Augusteum. It is probable that on this occasion Justinian did not appear in the Kathisma, or face the multitudes who were now clamouring in the Hippodrome, no longer interceding for the lives of the two wretches who had escaped the hangman, but demanding that three unpopular ministers should be deprived of their offices. The demonstration was directed against Eudaemon, Prefect of the City, Tribonian the Quaestor, and John of Cappadocia, and the situation had become so serious that the Emperor decided to yield.100 Tryphon was appointed Prefect of the City, Basilides Quaestor, and Phocas, a man of the highest probity, was persuaded to undertake the office of Praetorian Prefect.

These concessions would probably have satisfied the factions and ended the trouble, like similar concessions in previous reigns, if the decision had depended solely on the leaders of the Blues and Greens. But the movement now wore an aspect totally different from that of the previous day. We saw how the city had been filled by throngs of miserable country folk p42 from the provinces who had been ruined by the fiscal administration of the Praetorian Prefect and were naturally animated by bitter resentment against the Emperor and the government. It was inevitable that they should take part in the disturbances;101 it was at least a good opportunity to compass the fall of the detested Cappadocian; and the riot thus assured the character and proportions of a popular rising. But there were other forces in the background, forces which aimed not merely at a reform of the administration, but at a change in the dynasty. The policy of Justinian in seeking to make his power completely independent of the Senate and the Imperial Council had caused deep animosity in the senatorial class, and the disaffected senators seized the opportunity to direct the rising against the throne.102 We must attribute to the secret agitation of these men and their agents the fact that the removal of the obnoxious ministers, especially of John, failed to pacify the people.

The plan was to set on the throne one of the nephews of Anastasius, unfortunate victims of their kinship to an Emperor. For we must acquit them of any ambitious designs of their own. They had been well treated by Justin and Justinian, and their only desire was to live in peace. Pompeius and Hypatius were out of the reach of the insurgents; they and many other senators were with Justinian in the Palace. It was therefore decided to proclaim Probus Emperor, and the mob rushed to his house. But they did not find him, for, fearing what might happen, he had left the city. In their angry disappointment they burned his house.

It was assuredly high time for the Emperor to employ military force to restore order. But the Palace guards, the Scholarians and Excubitors, were unwilling to do anything to defend the throne. They had no feeling of personal devotion to Justinian, and they decided to do nothing and await events. Fortunately for Justinian there happened to be troops of a more irregular kind in the city, and two loyal and experienced commanders. p43 Belisarius, who as Master of Soldiers in the East had been conducting the war against Persia, had recently been recalled, and he had in his service a considerable body of armed retainers, chiefly of Gothic103 race. Mundus, a general who had done good service in the defence of the Danube, was also in the capital with a force of Heruls. But all the soldiers on whom the Emperor could count can hardly have reached the number of 1500.

It was perhaps on Thursday (January 15)104 that Belisarius rode forth at the head of Goths and Heruls to suppress the revolution. There was a battle, possibly in the Augusteum; many were killed; but the soldiers were too few to win a decisive victory, and the attack only exasperated the people. The clergy, it may be noted, seem to have made some vain attempts to restore order.105

During the two following days there was desultory street fighting, and another series of conflagrations. On Friday the mob again set fire to the Praetorium, which had only been partly damaged, but there was a strong north wind which blew the flames away from the building. They also set fire to the baths of Alexander, and the same wind carried the conflagration to the neighbouring hospice of Eubulus and hence to the church of St. Irene and the hospice of Sampson. On Saturday there was a conflict between the soldiers and the insurgents in the street which led northward from Middle Street to the Basilica and the quarter of Chalkoprateia.106 It would appear that some of the mob had occupied the Octagon, a building close to the Basilica, and the soldiers set it on fire. The same fatal north wind was blowing, and the flames, wafted southwards, spread to the church of St. Theodore Sphoracius and to the palace of Lausus, which was consumed with all its treasures, and thence raged along Middle Street, in the direction of the Forum of Constantine, destroying the colonnades and the church of St. Aquilina.107 We can imagine how great must have been the alarm p44 in the Palace, which was almost in a state of siege.108 Justinian could not trust his guards, and he had strong and not unjustified suspicions that many of the senators who surrounded him were traitors. Fearing their treachery, he ordered them all to leave the Palace on Saturday at nightfall,109 except a few like the Cappadocian, whose loyalty was certain or whose interests were bound up with his own. He particularly suspected Hypatius and Pompeius, and when they protested against deserting him, his suspicions only grew stronger, and he committed the blunder of dismissing them.

On Sunday morning (January 18) the Emperor made an effort in person to pacify the people. He appeared in the Kathisma of the Hippodrome with a copy of the gospels in his hands, and a large crowd assembled. He swore on the holy book that he would grant an amnesty without any reservations and comply with the demands of his subjects. But the great part of the crowd was bitterly hostile. They cried, "You are perjuring yourself,"110 and "You would keep this oath to us as you kept your oath to vitalian." And there were shouts of "Long live Hypatius!" Meanwhile it had become known that the nephews of Anastasius had left the Palace. The people thronged to the house of Hypatius, and in spite of his own reluctance and the entreaties of his wife Maria, who cried that he was being taken to his death, carried him to the Forum of Constantine, where he was crowned with a golden chain wreathed like a diadem.

A council was then held by Hypatius and the senators who were supporting his cause.111 Here we can see clearly that the insurrection was guided and fomented by men of high position who were determined to overthrow Justinian. The question was debated whether the Palace should be attacked immediately. One of the senators, Origen, advised delay. He proposed that the new Emperor should occupy for the moment one of the p45 smaller Imperial palaces112 and prosecute the war against his rival with deliberation, leaving nothing to chance. But his advice did not prevail, and Hypatius, who was himself in favour of prompt action, proceeded to the Hippodrome and was installed in the Kathisma. The insurgents crowded the huge building in dense masses, and reviled Justinian and Theodora.113

In the meantime, another council was being held in the Palace. The situation seemed desperate. To many, including the Emperor himself, there seemed no resource but escape by sea. John the Cappadocian recommended flight to Heraclea, and Belisarius agreed. This course would have been adopted had it not been for the intervention of the Empress Theodora, whose indomitable courage mastered the wavering spirits of her husband and his councillors. A writer, who may well have heard the scene described by Belisarius himself, professes to reproduce her short speech, and even his sophisticated style hardly spoils the effect of her vigorous words:

The present occasion is, I think, too grave to take regard of the convention that it is not meet for a woman to speak among men. Those whose dearest interests are exposed to extreme danger are justified in thinking only of the wisest course of action. Now in my opinion, on the present occasion, if ever, flight is inexpedient even if it should bring us safety. It is impossible for a man, when he has come into the world, not to die; but for one who has reigned it is intolerable to be an exile. May I never exist without this purple robe and may I never live to see the day on which those who meet me shall not address me as "Queen."114 If you wish, O Emperor, to save yourself, there is no difficulty; we have ample funds. Yonder is the sea, and there are the ships. Yet reflect whether, when you have once escaped to a place of security, you will not prefer death to safety. I agree with an old saying that "Empire is a fair winding-sheet."115

Theodora's dauntless energy communicated itself to her hearers, and they resolved to remain and fight.

In the Hippodrome it was believed that they had already fled. Hypatius, we are told, still doubtful of his chances of success, had secretly sent a message to the Palace, advising Justinian to attack the people crowded in the Hippodrome. Ephraem, the messenger, gave the message to Thomas, an Imperial p46 secretary, who, ignorantly or designedly, informed him that Justinian had taken to flight.116 Ephraem proclaimed the news in the Hippodrome, and Hypatius now played the Imperial part with confidence, but the people were soon undeceived.

Justinian sent out a trusted eunuch, named Narses, with a well-filled purse to sow dissensions and attempt to detach the Blue faction from the rebellion.117 He could insinuate that Hypatius, like his uncle, would be sure to protect their rivals the Greens, and remind them of the favour which Justinian had shown them in time past and of the unwavering goodwill of Theodora. While Narses fulfilled this mission, Belisarius and Mundus prepared to attack. At first Belisarius thought it would be feasible to reach the Kathisma directly from the Palace and pluck the tyrant from his throne. But the way lay through a building occupied by a portion of the guards, and they refused to let him pass.118 The Emperor then ordered him to lead his troops, as best he could, through the ruins of the Chalke into the Augusteum. With great difficulty, climbing through the debris of half-burnt buildings, they made their way round to the western entrance of the Hippodrome and stationed themselves just inside, at the portico of the Blues, which was immediately to the right of the Kathisma.119 In order p47 to gain access to the Kathisma itself, it would have been necessary to pass though a small gate on the left, which was shut and guarded. If Belisarius attempted to force this gate, his men would have been exposed to an attack from the crowd in the rear. He therefore determined to charge the people. He drew his sword and gave the word. Though many of the populace had arms, there was no room in the dense throng to attempt an orderly resistance, and confronted by the band of disciplined soldiers the mob was intimidated and gave way. Moreover there were dissensions among them, for the bribes of Narses had not been fruitless. They were cut down without mercy, and then Mundus appeared with his Heruls to help Belisarius in the work of slaughter. Mundus had left the Palace by another way, and he now entered the Hippodrome by a gate known as Nekra. The insurgents were between two fires, and there was a great carnage. It was said that the number of the slain exceeded 30,000.120

Two nephews of Justinian, Boraides and Justus, then entered the Kathisma without meeting resistance.121 They seized Hypatius, who had witnessed the battle from his throne, and secured Pompeius, who was with him. The brothers were taken into the Palace, and, notwithstanding the tears of Pompeius and the pleadings of Hypatius that he had acted under compulsion,122 they were executed on the following day and their bodies were cast into the sea. The Emperor, suspicious though he was, probably believed that they were not morally guilty, but feared p48 that they would be used as tools in future conspiracies. They were too dangerous to be allowed to live, but their children were spared.

The throne of Justinian was saved through the moral energy of Theodora and the loyal efforts of Belisarius. It was not only saved, but it rested now on firmer foundations, for it gave the Emperor the opportunity of taking vigorous measures to break down the opposition of the senatorial nobles to his autocracy. There were no more executions, but eighteen senators who had taken a leading part in the conspiracy were punished by the confiscation of their property and banishment.123 At a later time, when he felt quite secure, Justinian pardoned them and restored to them any of their possessions which he had not already bestowed on others, and a similar restitution was even made to the children of Hypatius and Pompeius.

The news of the Emperor's victory over his enemies and the execution of the usurper was proclaimed in the cities throughout the Empire. For a long time after this event the factions of the Hippodrome seem to have been on their good behaviour, if we may judge by the silence of the chroniclers. During the last twenty years of the reign riots and faction fights occurred from time to time, but the rival parties did not combine again and the disorders were easily put down.124

§ 6. St. Sophia

After the suppression of this formidable rebellion, one of the first anxieties of the Emperor was to set about rebuilding the edifices which had been destroyed by fire, above all the church of St. Sophia. He was sitting amidst ruin and devastation, p49 and it would be natural if he had thought of nothing but restoring the wrecked buildings as rapidly as possible; but he saw in the calamity an opportunity for making his capital more magnificent, and constructing a church which would be the wonder of the world. The damage might well have been made good in two years if he had been content to rebuild on the same scale; the work he designed took five years, and considering what was accomplished the time seems incredibly short.

Forty days after the tumult had subsided, the ruins of the church were cleared away, neighbouring houses were bought up, and space was provided for a new temple of the Divine Wisdom. The plans were prepared by Anthemius of Tralles, an architect and engineer who possessed imagination as well as mastery of his craft, and to him was entrusted the direction of the work, with Isidore of Miletus as his assistant. It is to be noted that both these architects were natives of Asia Minor. We cannot doubt that Anthemius had already given proofs of his skill as a builder, and it is not bold to conjecture that he was the architect of the church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus, which Justinian and Theodora had caused to be erected at the beginning of their reign. Justinian had extended the precincts of the Great Palace to take in the house of Hormisdas — on the seashore, south of the Hippodrome — which had been his residence before he ascended the throne; and close to it he built two churches side by side with a common court, a basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, which has disappeared,125 and the octagonal domed church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus, which has survived, converted by the Turks into a mosque which they call the Little St. Sophia. The names of the Emperor and Empress are associated in the metrical inscription which is still to be seen on the frieze and their monograms can be read on the beautiful "melon" capitals. Modern architects have paid tribute to the remarkable skill with which the dome has been buttressed and weighted, and we may divine that it was the skill of Anthemius, of whom a contemporary said that he "designed wonderful works both in the city and in many other places which would suffice to win him everlasting glory in the memory of men so long as they stand and endure."126

His plan of St. Sophia was different. It is a Greek cross p50 (about 250 by 225 feet) with a dome rising above the quadrilateral space between the arms to the height of 180 feet. He undertook to solve the problem of placing a great aerial cupola, 100 feet in diameter, over this space which was 100 feet square. Hitherto cupolas had been set over round spaces. At each angle of the square Anthemius erected a massive pier, in which the settings of the stones were strengthened by special methods. These piers supported the four arches and pendentives on which the ribbed dome rested, and he calculated on securing stability by the semi-domes on the east and west and buttresses on the north and south. To diminish the weight of the dome very light materials were used, tiles of a white spongy earth manufactured at Rhodes.127

The material of St. Sophia, as of most Byzantine churches, was brick. Its exterior appearance, seen from below, does not give a true impression of its dimensions. The soaring cupola is lost and buried amid the surrounding buttresses that were added to secure it in later ages. From afar one can realise its proportions, lifted high above all the other buildings and dominating the whole city like a watch-tower, as Procopius described it. But in it, as in other Byzantine churches, the contrast between the plainness of the exterior and the richness of the interior decoration is striking. Although the mosaic pictures, including the great cross on a starry heaven at the summit of the dome, p51 are now concealed from the eyes of faithful Moslems by whitewash, the marbles of the floor, the walls, and the pillars show us that the rapturous enthusiasm of Justinian's contemporaries as to the total effect was not excessive. The roof was covered with pure gold, but the beauty of the effect lay, it was observed, rather in the answering reflexions from the marbles than from the gold itself. The marbles from which were hewn the pillars and the slabs that covered the walls and floor were brought from all quarters of the world. There was the white stone from the quarries in the Proconnesian islands near at hand, green cipollino from Carystus in Euboea, verde antico from Laconia and Thessaly, Numidian marble glinting with the gold of yellow crocuses, red and white from Caria, white-misted rose from Phrygia, porphyry from Upper Egypt. To Procopius the building gave the impression of a flowering meadow.

While the artists of the time showed skill and study in blending and harmonising colours, the sculptured decoration of the curves of the arches with acanthus and vine tendrils, and the beauty of the capitals of white Proconnesian marble, are not less wonderful. The manufacture of capitals for export had long been an industry at Constantinople, and we can trace the evolution of their forms. The old Corinthian capital, altered by the substitution of the thorny for the soft acanthus, had become what is known as the "Theodosian" capital.128 But it was found that this was not suitable for receiving and supporting the arch, and the device was introduced of placing above it an intermediate "impost," in the form of a truncated and reversed pyramid, which was usually ornamented with vine or acanthus, a cross or a monogram. Then, apparently early in the sixth century, the Theodosian capital and the impost were combined into a single block, the "capital impost," which assumed many varieties of form.129

The building was completed in A.D. 537, and on December 26 the Emperor and the Patriarch Menas drove together from St. Anastasia to celebrate the inaugural ceremonies.130 But Anthemius had been overbold in the execution of his architectural design, and had not allowed a sufficient margin of safety for the p52 support of the dome. Twenty years later the dome came crashing down, destroying in its fall the ambo and the altar (May, A.D. 558).131 Anthemius was dead, and the restoration was undertaken by Isidore the Younger. He left the semi-domes on the east and west as they were, but widened the arches on the north and south, making "the equilateral symmetry" more perfect, and raised the height of the dome by more than twenty feet. The work was finished in A.D. 562, and on Christmas Eve the Emperor solemnly entered it. The poet Paul, the silentiary, was commanded to celebrate the event in verse, and a few days later132 he recited in the Palace the proem of his long poem describing the beauties of the church. Justinian then proceeded in solemn procession to St. Sophia, and in the Patriarch's palace, which adjoined the church, he recited the rest. It was a second inauguration, and the effort of Paul was not unworthy of the occasion.

Terrible, thought a writer of the day, as well as marvellous, the dome of St. Sophia "seems to float in the air." It was pierced by forty windows, the half-domes by five, and men were impressed by the light which flooded the church. "You would say that sunlight grew in it." Lavish arrangements were made for artificial illumination for the evening services. A central chandelier was suspended by chains from the cornice round the dome over the ambo; the poet compared it to a circular dance of lights:

εὐσελάων δὲ

κύκλιος ἐκ φαέων χορὸς ἵσταται.

And in other parts of the building there were rows of lamps in the form of silver bowls and boats.

Justinian did not regard expense in decorating with gold and precious stones the ambo which stood in the centre under the dome. Similar sumptuousness distinguished the sanctuary of the apse — the iconostasis and the altar which was of solid gold. The Patriarch's throne was of gilded silver and weighed p53 40,000 lbs. A late record states that the total cost of the building and furnishing of St. Sophia amounted to 320,000 lbs. of gold, which sent to our mint to‑day would mean nearly fourteen and a half million sterling,133 a figure which is plainly incredible.

But this, though it was the greatest item in the Emperor's expenditure on restoring and beautifying the city, was only one. The neighbouring church of St. Irene also rose from its ashes, as a great domed basilica, the largest church in Constantinople except St. Sophia itself.134 The monograms of Justinian and Theodora are still to be read on the capitals of its pillars. More important as a public and Imperial monument was the Church of the Holy Apostles in the centre of the city, which had not been injured by fire, but had suffered from earthquakes and was considered structurally unstable. Justinian pulled it down and rebuilt it larger and more splendid, as a cruciform church with four equal arms and five domes. Though it was destroyed by the Turks to make room for the mosque of Mohammed the Conqueror, descriptions are preserved which enable us to restore its plan.135 San Marco at Venice was built on a very similar design and gives the best idea of what it was like. It may have been begun after the completion of St. Sophia, for it was dedicated in A.D. 546; but the mosaic decoration, of which full accounts have come down to us, was not executed till after Justinian's death, and it has been shown that these pictures, which may p54 belong to the time of his immediate successors, were designed and selected with a dogmatic motif. "The two natures of Christ in one person are the theme of the whole cycle."136 The use of pictures for propagating theological doctrine was understood in the sixth century; we shall see another example at Ravenna.137

The principal secular buildings which had been destroyed by the fires of the Nika riot and were immediately rebuilt were the Senate-house, the baths of Zeuxippus, the porticoes of the Augusteum, and the adjacent parts of the Palace. The Chalke had been burnt down, and the contiguous quarters behind it — the portico of the Scholarian guards and the porticoes of the Protectors and Candidates. All these had to be rebuilt.138 But at the same time Justinian seems to have made extensive changes and improvements throughout the Palace; we are told that he renovated it altogether.139 Of the details we hear nothing, except as to the Chalke itself. You go through the great gate of the Chalke from the Augusteum, and then through an inner bronze gate into a domed rectangular room, decorated by mosaic pictures showing the Vandal and Italian conquests, with Justinian and Theodora in the centre, triumphing and surrounded by the Senate.140

If the Emperor spent much on the restoration and improvement of the great Palace, he appears to have been no less lavish in enlarging and embellishing his palatial villa at Hêrion, on the peninsula which to‑day bears the name of Pharanaki, to the south-east of Chalcedon.141 It was the favourite resort of Theodora in summer; she used to transport her court there every year.142 Here Justinian created a small town, with a splendid church p55 dedicated to the Mother of God, baths, market-places, and porticoes; and constructed a sheltered landing-place by building two large moles into the sea.143

The Author's Notes:

95 The contemporary sources are Procopius, B. P. I.24; John Mal. XVIII.473 sqq. and fr. 46, De ins.; John Lyd. De mag. III.70; Marcellinus, Chron., sub a. (also notices, not very important, in Zacharias Myt. IX.4, Victor Tonn. sub a. Theodore Lector in Cramer, Anecd. Par. II.112). The narrative of Malalas was originally much fuller than in the abbreviated text which we possess, but the missing parts can be largely supplied from Chron. Pasch. and Theophanes, where we find many details for which it can be shown that Malalas was the source, as well as some derived from elsewhere (cp. the analysis in Bury, The Nika Riot, 98 sqq.). The short notice of Marcellinus is important. The Illyrian Marcellinus had been the cancellarius in the official staff of Justinian when he was Master of Soldiers. Before 527 he retired and became a priest. His chronicle, in its first form, reached the year 518, but afterwards he brought it down to 534. His personal relations to Justinian make it probable that his account of the revolt represents it in the light in which the court desired it to be viewed. The popular dissatisfaction which made the rising possible is entirely ignored, and the whole movement is explained as a conspiracy organised by the nephews of Anastasius, who appear as the prime movers. It must, of course, be remembered that when Marcellinus wrote, c. 534, it was impossible to refer to the oppressions of John the Cappadocian, who was then in office. John Lydus ignores the conspiracy and the elevation of Hypatius, and represents the unpopularity of the Prefect as the sole cause of (p40) the revolt. For modern studies of the Nika see Bibliography, under Schmidt, W. A., and Kalligas. Cp. Hodgkin, Italy, III.618 sqq.; Ranke, Weltgeschichte, II.2, pp23 sqq.; Diehl, Justinien, 462 sqq.

96 John Mal. XVII.416.

97 St. Conon was in the 13th Region, across the Golden Horn. St. Laurentius was close to Blachernae.

98 Jan. 11 (substitution). This was perhaps the day of the curious scene which occurred between the Emperor and the Greens, and is recorded by Theophanes (cp. Chron. Pasch.), if the chronicler is right in associating it with the Nika riot. But it is possible that the chronicler is mistaken, and in any case the subject of the conversation has no apparent connexion with the sedition. I have therefore transferred it to an Appendix (below, p71).

99 On the order of the different conflagrations during the sedition see Bury, op. cit. 114 sqq.

100 The demands were reported to the Emperor by Basilides, Mundus, and Constantiolus, who had issued from the Palace and addressed the multitude, asking them what they wanted. Chron. Pasch.; cp. John Mal. 475.

101 This is brought out in the account of John Lydus. The agitation against John marks the change from the faction riot to the popular sedition. The quarrel of the Blues was with the Prefect of the City. John had always posed demonstratively as a lover of the Blue party (John Lyd. III.62 ad init.; cp. Zach. Myt. IX.14).

102 Marcellinus, s. a.: iam plerisque nobilium coniuratis, and the fact comes out in the narrative of Procopius. The conspirators took care that the people should be supplied with arms (ib.).

103 John Mal. 475 μετὰ πλήθους Γοτθικοῦ (cp. Procopius, B. P. I.24.40). For the practice of keeping private bands of retainers see above, Chap. ii § 2, p43.

104 Or perhaps on Wednesday. See Bury, op. cit. 107.

105 This comes from Zonaras, XIV.6.14, who also mentions that women took part in the disorders (ib. 16). On his source cp. Sauerbrei, De font. Zon. quaest. 77.

106 On the topography see Bury, op. cit. 11 sqq. Beliaev, Khram Bog. Khalk.; Krasnosel'tsev, Zamietka po voprosu o miestopol. Khalk. Khrama (Lietopis ist.-phil. obshchestva of Odessa, Viz. otd. II. 1894), 309 sqq.

107 Theophanes connects the burning of the Praetorium with this conflagration, but see Bury, op. cit. 116‑117.

108 It may be conjectured that a shortage of food and water was feared in the Palace; for after the suppression of the revolt Justinian constructed cisterns and a granary close to the Palace, in order to have supplies in emergencies, John Mal. 477.

109 Procopius, ib. 40. Chron. Pasch. places the dismissal of the senators after Justinian's appearance in the Hippodrome on Sunday. See Bury, 108.

110 Chron. Pasch. ἐπιορκεῖς, σγαύδαρι. It has been proposed to read γαύδαρι and explain it as = γάδαρε, "ass."

111 Procopius, ib. § 25, speaks as if all the senators, who were not in the Palace, were present.

112 Two are mentioned (ib. § 30), Placillianae and Helena.

113 Chron. Pasch.; cp. Cramer, Anecd. Par. II.320.

114 Δέσποινα.

115 Καλὸν ἐντάφιον ἡ βασιλεία ἐστί, B. P. ib. 33‑38. The phrase comes from Isocrates, Archidamos, § 45 καλόν ἐστιν ἐντάφιον ἡ τυραννίς.

116 Thomas was a pagan and was possibly disloyal. The episode is related in Chron. Pasch. and came from Malalas.

117 John Mal. 476. Procopius does not mention this incident. Narses, a Persarmenian, was ταμίας τῶν βασιλικῶν χρημάτων since A.D. 530 (Procopius, B. P. I.15.31, cp. B. G. II.14.16). At this time he was not Praepositus s. cub., a post which he afterwards filled (between 540 and 552), see CIL VI.1199. The same financial post was held by Rusticus in 554 (see Agathias, III.2), but I cannot agree with Stein that this was an extraordinary post, existent only in time of war, and officially named comes s. largitionum (Studien, 163 sqq.).

118 We have no clear knowledge as to the communications between the Palace and the Hippodrome in the sixth century. We have more information about the arrangements existing in the ninth and tenth, but there must have been considerable changes in the meantime. The Emperors always reached the Kathisma from the Daphne portion of the Palace by a winding stair, Kochlias (which must, however be distinguished from the Kochlias leading to a gate by which Mundus left the Palace, Procop. ib. § 43). If Belisarius hoped to reach Hypatius by this way, we must suppose that there was a guard-room at the top of the staircase, in the Kathisma structure, for we know that the Daphne buildings, in which there was no room for guards, adjoined the walls of the Hippodrome. But there may have been at this time a direct communication between the part of the Hippodrome north of the Kathisma and the quarters of the guards north of Daphne; and this seems the most probable explanation.

119 Procopius, ib. § 49. See above, Vol. I, Chap. III, p81. This passage shows conclusively that there was a western entrance to the Hippodrome, close to the Kathisma. It is possible that the Nekra gate by which Mundus entered was on the same side, near the south end, rather than on the eastern side, as has been generally supposed. We might infer from Procopius that when Belisarius and his troops forced their way into the Hippodrome, Mundus and his Heruls stationed themselves just outside the same (main) entrance (πλησίον που ἐστηκὼς Μοῦνδος), and when the fighting began went to the Nekra. On the other hand, Mundus seems to have been awaiting the action of Belisarius on the eastern side, for he left the Palace by a gate where there was a winding descent (Procop. ib. § 43) — evidently an issue on the south of the Daphne, where there was a fall in the ground. It is therefore more natural to suppose that the Nekra, by which he entered the Hippodrome, was on the same side.

120 Procopius, "more than 30,000," and John Mal. "35,000 more or less," roughly agree. John Lyd. gives an exaggerated figure, 50,000; Zonaras, 40,000.

121 Procopius, § 53. Acc. to John Mal. 476, it was Belisarius who arrested the two brothers.

122 Procopius contrasts the weakness of Pompeius with the more dignified tone of Hypatius. Acc. to John Mal. above, they urged that they had deliberately collected the crowd in the Hippodrome, in order to facilitate the suppression of the rising. Justinian ironically observed, "If you had such influence with the insurgents, why did you not hinder them from burning down the city?"

123 The number 18 is in John Mal. fr. 46, De ins. and Chron. Pasch.; Procopius says generally ἁπάντων (ib. § 57). If 18 is correct, Procopius must have exaggerated either here or ib. § 25; but the latter passage is borne out by Marcellinus (plerisque nobilium).

124 In 547 the factions quarrelled, and the disturbance was suppressed by the Excubitors with some blood-shed (John Mal. XVIII.483). Riots are recorded in 548 and 551 (ib. 484). In May 556 there was a more serious popular demonstration against the Prefect of the City, due to a famine which lasted for three months; the leaders of the Blues were seized and punished (ib. 488). In May 559 there were conflicts between the Blues and Greens for two days, and the disorder was accompanied by incendiarism; the house of Peter Barsymes the Praet. Prefect was burnt, and the intervention of the Excubitors was necessary (ib. 490). Other disturbances are recorded in 562 (ib. 492) and 563 (Theophanes, A.M. 6055), and (without date) in John Mal. frs. 50 and 51, De ins.

125 Van Millingen, Byz. Churches, 62 sqq. The church was founded in 527.

126 Agathias, Hist. V.8.

127 It has been a subject of debate whether the architects of the sixth century, in their dome constructions, derived their inspiration from the East, or were simply working along the lines of Roman architectural tradition and adopting suggestions from Roman models. Rivoira has conjectured that Anthemius (whose brother Alexander was a physician at Rome, loc. cit.) had visited Rome and picked up ideas there. He calls attention (Lombardic Arch. I p79) to the family likeness between the plan of St. Sophia "and the two halls of the Baths of Agrippa and Nero as well as the Basilica Nova of Maxentius and Constantine." He also notes (with Choisy) the resemblance of SS. Sergius and Bacchus with the Licinian Nymphaeum; and he thinks the designer of that church derived from the Serapeum of Hadrian's Villa the idea of a dome of which the surface is a rhythmic sequence of flat and concave sections unsupported by pendentives, simply flush with the course of the drum from which they start (p81). Further, he holds that the visible radiating ribs with which Isidore provided the dome of St. Sophia, when he restored it, were suggested by the Mausoleum Augustorum, a building (of fifth century) consisting of two rotundas, of one of which (it survived till the sixteenth century) a sketch has been preserved (pp82‑83). Strzygowski, on the other hand, contends that the origin of domed churches was oriental, and in one of his latest works he particularly connects it with Armenia (Die Baukunst der Armenier und Europa, 2 vols., 1918).

128 An example is preserved in the fifth-century church of St. John of Studion.

129 See Lethaby and Swainson, S. Sophia, 247 sqq.; Diehl, L'Art byz. 128; and cp. Rivoira, op. cit. I.128.

130 Theophanes, A.M. 6030.

131 Agathias, V.9. John Mal. XVIII p489, "in the 6th indiction." Theophanes follows Malalas, but puts the notice under a wrong year, A.M. 6051, which would mean A.D. 559. The whole dome does not seem to have collapsed; as it consisted of independent sections this was possible. See Jackson, Byz. Architecture, I.87.

132 Friedländer (p110, Preface to ed. of Paul) conjectures on Epiphany, Jan. 6. Paul, son of Cyrus, was of good family and great wealth.

133 The figure is given in the Διήγησις περὶ τῆς ἁγ. Σοφίας, c25, p102; it excludes the cost of the sacred vessels and the numerous private gifts. It is a curious coincidence that the sum is identical with the reserve saved by Anastasius (see above, § 4, p36). Three hundred and sixty-five lbs. of gold (c. £1,642,500) were said to have been spent on the ambo, ib. This narrative is marked not only by miracles and obvious fictions but by curious errors, such as dating the beginning of the building of the church to A.D. 538. The fabulous sum which the building is said to have cost might have been reached if 10,000 workmen had been continuously employed and received the wages de luxe which Justinian is said to have lavished on them (Διήγησις, § 9 and § 20). It is remarkable, however, that the compiler believed that his figures were derived from an account of the expenses kept by Strategius, who was Count of the Sacred Largesses (as we otherwise know) in 536‑537 (on the credibility of the document cp. Preger, B. Z. X.455 sqq.). Uspenski, Ist. viz. imp. I.532, accepts the figures. For a more trustworthy figure in connexion with the building see below, p55, n3. I should be surprised if the total expenses amounted to a million sterling. If they were partly paid out of the Private Estate, the confiscated property of the rich senators concerned in the rebellion would have gone a long way.

134 See George, Church of St. Eirene.

135 The history, plan, and mosaics of the church are fully treated in Heisenberg's work, Die Apostelkirche.

136 Heisenberg, op. cit. p168.

137 Below, Chap. XVIII § 12.º

138 Procopius, Aed. 1.10. Cp. Chron. Pasch., sub 532.

139 Procopius, ib. 10 νέα μὲν τὰ βασίλεια σχεδόν τι πάντα. I conjecture that Justinian may have designed the Chrysotriclinos buildings, and that Justin II, to whom they are attributed in our sources, may have only completed them.

140 Procopius, ib. The central dome was sustained by four piers, and two arches on the south and two on the north, springing from the walls, formed the vaulted ceilings north and south of the dome.

141 The site has been fixed beyond dispute by Pargoire, Hiéria. The name of the peninsula took many forms. In the time of Justinian it was generally called Ἱερόν or Ἤεριον, in the time of Heraclius Ἱέρεια.

142 Her courtiers did not all like the change, if we can draw any inference from the complaint of Procopius that Theodora inhumanly exposed them to the perils of the sea and that they suffered from the lack of the comforts they enjoyed in the city. H. A. 15.36‑37.

143 Procopius, Aed. I.11. The historian was perhaps thinking particularly of the construction of this port when he was writing, H. A. 8.7‑8, as Pargoire suggests (op. cit. p58).

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