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Book IV
Chapter 9

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Italy and Her Invaders

Thomas Hodgkin

2nd edition
Oxford University Press

The text, and illustrations except as noted,
are in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Book IV
Chapter 11

Book 4 (continued)

Vol. III
Chapter X

Theodoric's Relations with the East


Sources: —

Those enumerated at the beginning of Chapter II, with the addition of Ennodius and Cassiodorus for the affairs of Theodoric, the letters of Popes Gelasius and Hormisdas, and the Acts of the Councils (in Mansi, vol. VIII) for the history of the Schism.

Guides: —

Finlay ('Greece under Foreign Dominion,' vol. I) has some interesting remarks on Anastasius, whom upon the whole he admires. Milman ('History of Latin Christianity,' vol. I) draws a striking picture of the Emperor Anastasius and the Monophysite controversy. Canon Rawlinson, in his 'Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy,' gives us an excellent history of the wars between Persia and the Empire. But our best guide, and one who unfortunately leaves us after this point, is Tillemont.

[Professor Bury's very careful 'History of the Later Roman Empire from Arcadius to Irene,' was, unfortunately for me, not published till after the appearance of these volumes.]

491‑518. Seven-and‑twenty years' reign of the Emperor Anastasius. For seven-and‑twenty years — that is to say, for three-quarters of its whole duration — the reign of Theodoric ran parallel to that of Anastasius, the handsome but elderly officer of the household1 whom, as  p380 we have already seen, the favour of Ariadne, widow of Zeno, raised to the imperial throne. The character of the man who was still, probably, in the view of the provincial populations, the only legitimate ruler in the lands west of the Euphrates, could not but seriously affect, for good or for evil, the fortunes of Theodoric and of the new realm which he was founding; and, upon the whole, it may be said that the influence exercised upon them by Anastasius was for good.

Contradictory characters of this Emperor, There are few sovereigns of whom more contradictory characters are given than those which the historians of the period — chiefly ecclesiastical historians — have given of Anastasius. Avaricious and generous; base and noble; one who sold the offices of the state to the highest bidder; one who found the custom of so selling them in existence and resolutely suppressed it; a destroyer of the resources of the provinces; a careful cherisher of those resources, — such are some of the contradictory qualities assigned to him in the pages of these writers. Even his personal appearance has not altogether escaped from the perplexing variety of portraiture. While Cedrenus tells us of the lofty stature, the vivid blue eyes, and the white hair of the noble-looking Silentiarius, to whom Ariadne gave her hand and the imperial crown, Zonaras declares that his two eyes were of different colours, the left black and the right blue, and that hence he derived his surname of Dicorus.

and of his religious position. As to his religious opinions, some authors say (or hint) that he was a Manichean, others an Arian, others an Eutychian, — a set of statements about as consistent with each other as if a modern statesman  p381 were represented as at once an Agnostic, an Ultramontane, and a Calvinist. The truth appears to be that Anastasius was not at first an eager partisan of any of the theological fashions (it were giving them too high honour to call them faiths) which distracted the dioceses of the East. He was himself inclined to Eutychianism, — that form of doctrine which exalted the Divinity of Jesus Christ at the expense of his true Humanity; but if I read his actions aright, he wished to reign in that spirit of toleration for all faiths which had been the glory of the reign of Valentinian I more than a century before him, and which was to be the glory of the reign of his great Gothic contemporary Theodoric. Events, however, were too strong for him. Scarcely anything is harder than to preserve perfect fairness and toleration towards men who are themselves intolerant and unfair. Thus, as time went on, Anastasius began to press more heavily on the adherents of Chalcedon than on their opponents. The bishops of that way of thinking began to find themselves driven from their sees, perhaps on insufficient pretences. The mob of Constantine, sensitive on behalf of the faith of Chalcedon, took the alarm. There were tumults, bloodshed, even armed rebellion. The majesty of the purple was degraded. Anastasius became a partisan, and a partisan of the unpopular cause. Before he died, he, whose chief ambition it had apparently been to serve the state well as a civil ruler, and to let theology take care of itself, had the sad conviction that he was known to most of his subjects only as the hard and bitter persecutor of that form of theology which attracted their ignorant but enthusiastic allegiance.

 p382  We know him chiefly through the ecclesiastical historians. Hence, no doubt, from the position occupied by this Emperor in Church affairs flow those strangely diverging currents of testimony as to his character which have been commented upon above. We have unfortunately hardly any information as to the civil transactions of his reign from a secular historian. No Priscus, and no Procopius,2 tells us how the transactions of this Emperor in peace and war were viewed by the statesmen of his day. We have only from the ecclesiastical writers the history of the wild war‑dance performed round his venerable figure by monks and priests, archimandrites and patriarchs, some shouting 'Anathema to the Council of Chalcedon!' and others 'Anathema to Eutyches, to Zeno, to Acacius! Away with the men who communicated with Peter the Stammerer! Away with the Manichean Emperor!' The shriek of the latter, the Chalcedonian party, reaches the ears of posterity in the more piercing tones, because it has in the end won the prize of a character for orthodoxy, but we can also distinguish some notes of the war‑cry of its enemies,3 and they help us in some measure to understand why and how the aged and tolerant Emperor was forced into acts which his calumniators represent as worthy of Herod or Diocletian.

His financial administration. To Anastasius as a financial administrator the historian can, with but little hesitation, assign a high place among the rulers of the Empire. Procopius, who styles him 'the most provident and most  p383 economical of all the Emperors,' tells us that at his death the imperial treasury contained 320,000 pounds of gold (£14,400,000), all collected4 'during the twenty-seven years of his reign.5 Yet, at least in one instance, the Emperor had not increased but lessened the weight of taxation on his subjects. His abolition of the Chrysargyron. This was the case of the tax called Chrysargyron, which had been first imposed, some say, by Constantine,6 and which seems to have been a licence‑tax levied once in four years7 on all who lived by any kind of trade. From the manner of its collection it pressed with extreme severity on small hucksters and others of the poorest class; and it also seemed to give the State's sanction to vice, since it was levied upon prostitutes and others who traded only upon immorality. These perhaps paid their Chrysargyron more readily than any other class, feeling that they thereby purchased indemnity for their evil courses.8 The tax had long been denounced  p384 by statesmen and divines, and now (in the year 501)9 Anastasius determined that it should cease. When he had gone through the form of obtaining the sanction of the Senate to its abolition, he burned in the Circus, in the presence of all the people, the rolls containing the names of the persons liable to the tax. Still, however, as Anastasius well knew, there was one class of men who viewed the abolition with regret. These were the clerks in the office of the Chrysargyron, whose employment, one of the most distinguished in the whole civil service,10 was taken from them by the reform. His artifice to prevent its reimposition. Fearing that under his successors the tax might, on the representation of these men, be revived, he took a precaution which, though ingenious, showed some of that not very imperial quality of slyness which we can discern also in his ecclesiastical proceedings, and which partly accounts for the bitterness with which his outwitted theological opponents have persecuted his memory. Inviting the officers who had been charged with the collection of the Chrysargyron to meet him at the palace, he delivered an oration, in which he professed to regret his hasty abolition of the tax, and his rash destruction of the documents connected with it. After all, said he, it was desirable to have some records of the manner of collecting an impost which, at any  p385 time, the necessities of the State might compel him to revive. If therefore the worthy numerarii before him had among their private papers any such documents, the Emperor would thank them to bring such papers to him, and would reward them handsomely for doing so. On a given day the revenue officers met the ever again. The papers were given up and paid for. 'Are there any more?' he asked. 'None, gracious lord,' replied all the officers, and swore it by the Emperor's life. 'Then now shall all be destroyed,' said the Emperor, who burned them at once in the precaution of all, and threw even the ashes of the rolls into running water. So intent was he on the thorough performance of the act by which he

'took the tax away,

And built himself an everlasting name.'11

Commutation of the imperial tithes. Some of the other financial measures carried by Anastasius are spoken of in more doubtful terms. One of them seems to have been12 the commutation of the tithes payable in kind from the cultivator to the treasury for a fixed-money payment, which, according to Evagrius, was calculated on an oppressive scale.13 Of course if the commutation was unfair the measure cannot be defended; but, in itself, the principle of allowing the possessor to sell his cornº to the nearest  p386 purchaser, and bring the tenth part of the gold representing it into the treasury, was a good one.

Modification of the Curial system. Another reform was the abolition, at least the partial abolition, of the curial system.14 We are told that he took away the collection of taxes from the local senates,15 and sent instead officers called Vindices16 to each city, charged with the execution of this duty: 'Whereby the revenues in great part came to grief, and the glory of the cities departed. For [under the old system] the nobles17 were inscribed each in the album18 of his city, and thus every city had its own council, with defined and well-ascertained powers. So says Evagrius, writing a century after the accession of Anastasius, when it was perhaps not easy to discriminate exactly between his work and that of his successors. From the history of the Curies, as far as we have been able to trace it, one would be inclined to say that the abolition of these local senates must in itself have been a wise and righteous measure. Their 'glory' was but a bright robe covering deep and cruel wounds. Overcharged with terrible responsibilities, and with scarcely any real power, they stood helpless in presence of the imperial despotism, with whose rapacity they were unable to cope; and thus the privilege of having one's name inscribed in their rolls, once an eagerly-sought distinction, had become a most intolerable burden. The Curies were in fact bankrupt, and the curiales were no longer shareholders in a flourishing enterprise, but contributories struggling to evade their liability.

 p387  A change, good in itself, but which tended towards centralisation. In these circumstances, to sweep away the Curies with their system of ruthlessly enforced 'joint and several liability' for the taxes of the district was probably an act of mercy. Still it was a step towards centralisation. The Vindices were not local officers, but received their commission direct from the imperial treasury. In the days of financial pressure which were approaching, when Justinian's wars, his wife, and his architects had well-nigh beggared the Empire, and when the chief concern of the ruler was how to wring the last solidus out of the exhausted tax‑payer, it may be that the vindex of the Emperor was found more efficacious than the old‑fashioned duumvir of the Curia. But the blame for this oppression must rest, not on Anastasius, who remodelled the taxing-machine of the State, but on Justinian, who wasted the revenues provided by it.

Generosity of Anastasius. Other traits of the character of this Emperor seem to disclose a generous and sympathetic nature. Even his enemies attest his habit of abundant almsgiving, both before and after his elevation to the throne. And to any city in his dominions which had suffered from hostile invasion he was wont to grant a remission of all taxes for the space of seven years.

Building of the long wall, 510. Among the great works which signalised the reign of Anastasius was the construction of a wall, more than fifty miles long, drawn from the Sea of Marmora to the Euxine, at a distance of about thirty-five miles from the capital. The wall was apparently strengthened by a fosse, which was really a navigable canal uniting the two seas.19 This Great Wall of Anastasius  p388 played an important part in the defence of Constantinople for many centuries, giving as it did to the capital, so long as it was kept in good repair, all the strength of an insular position.

Isaurian War, 492‑497. The Isaurian war (which has been described in a previous chapter),20 waged against the brother and the countrymen of Zeno, occupied five years at the beginning of the reign of Anastasius. Persian War, 502‑505. Then, after a peaceful interval of five years, came four years of war with Persia. The peace between the two great monarchies of the Eastern world, which had lasted for sixty years, was at length broken by the King of Kings. Kobad,21 who mounted the Persian throne in 487, was under great obligations, both moral and peculiarly, to his barbarous neighbours on the northern frontier, the Ephthalites, or so‑called White Huns, by whose aid he had been twice enabled to win or to recover his crown. To enable him to discharge the material obligation, he applied to Anastasius for a sum of money, which was, according to one account, to be a loan, according to another the repayment of an old debt, for expenses incurred on the joint account of the two civilised Empires in defending the passes of the Caucasus from the barbarians. 502‑3. Under whatever name the request was made it was refused by Anastasius, and Kobad prepared for war. Fall of Amida. In the first year of the war the Persians, after a stubborn resistance, took the great city of  p389 Amida, the capital of the Roman territory on the upper waters of the Tigris. An army, or rather four armies under virtually independent commanders, were despatched by Anastasius to the seat of war. From want of co‑operation and want of generalship these four armies effected little or nothing, blundering into a victory here and a defeat there, but on the whole losing ground before the able strategy of Kobad.22 It might perhaps have gone hard with the opulent cities of Syria but for the fortunate circumstance that Kobad himself was forced to return to defend his territory against the barbarians of the Oxus; and in his absence his generals fought as badly as those of Rome. 505. The siege of Amida was vigorously pressed by the generals of Anastasius, and the Persians must in a very few days have surrendered it from want of provisions, when messengers came from Kobad proposing a peaceful settlement. Amida bought back and peace concluded. If Anastasius would pay £40,000 Amida should be restored to him, and all should be again as it was before the war. The Roman generals accepted these terms, and did not discover till too  p390 late that Amida, which their master had bought for 1000 pounds of gold, was really theirs by right of conquest. However, the peace, which was concluded for seven years, lasted for one-and‑twenty, and was doubtless a great advantage to both Empires.

The recovered city of Amida was so generously assisted by the Emperor that it soon seemed to flourish even more than it had done before the war broke out. Upon the whole, the Persian war, if it had not brought any great glory, had not brought shame on the arms of Anastasius.

505. Transactions with Theodoric. In the year in which the Persian war ended, occurred the first passage of arms between the troops of Anastasius and those of Theodoric. This will therefore be the most suitable opportunity for reviewing the notices, scanty and scattered as they are, of the intercourse between the two monarchs.

Embassy of Faustus, 493. We know from ecclesiastical history that in the year 493 Faustus, who was then Master of the Offices, was sent along with Irenaeus (like himself an Illustris) to Constantinople on the King's business, and that, on their return to Rome, Faustus did his utmost to heal the schism between the Churches by representing to Pope Gelasius the injury to the cause of orthodoxy which resulted from his insisting on the damnation of Acacius, whose memory was dear both to sovereign and people at Byzantium.

Gelasius's haughty letter to the Emperor. The only result of their representations, however, was a long and somewhat haughty letter from Gelasius to the Emperor, excusing himself for not having written before, assuring him that Gelasius as a Roman loved and venerated the Roman sovereign, but reminding him that there were two powers by which the  p391 world was governed, the sacred authority of pontiffs and the power of kings. 'Of these two, so much weightier is the office of the priest inasmuch as he has to give account for kings also in the day of the Divine judgment. You know, most clement son, that though you excel all the rest of the human race in dignity, you must nevertheless meekly bow the neck to the chief stewards of the Divine mysteries when you receive the sacraments at their hands, and in the affairs of the Church it is for you to obey, not to command. . . . It is vain to say that the populace of Constantinople will not bear the condemnations of their late bishop. You have repressed their turbulence at the games: can you not in this matter, which concerns the good of souls, exercise the same authority? . . . Let them call the Apostolic See proud and arrogant: they are herein only like a sick man who blames the doctor that uses sharp measures for his restoration to health. If we are proud who do but obey the teaching of the Fathers, what are they to be called who resist us and fight against Divinity itself?' Certainly the pretensions advanced by Pope Felix were not abated by his successor. We do not hear what reply the Emperor made to this lordly letter.

We can hardly be wrong in supposing that the two ambassadors just mentioned, Faustus and Irenaeus, were sent by Theodoric to announce his final triumph over Odovacar, and to claim the ratification of the bargain made with Zeno, that Italy, if thus conquered, should be, perhaps, abandoned by the Empire, at any rate recognised as the possession of Theodoric. Apparently, however, the embassy was not successful. Anastasius was offended at Theodoric's haste  p392 in declaring himself king of the Romans as well as the Goths in the land of Italy, and perhaps refused to be bound by the undefined promises of his predecessor.

Embassy of Festus, 497, Again therefore, in the year 497, was an embassy sent to Constantinople. This time the royal envoy was the Patrician Festus, and he was accompanied by two bishops, Germanus and Cresconius, who bore a letter from the Pope. Gelasius was now dead, and the chair of St. Peter was filled by an Anastasius, namesake of the Caesar of Byzantium — a man of gentle and peaceable disposition, eager to end the quarrel which reflected so little credit on either of the two Churches. and pacific letter from Pope Anastasius. The letter of Anastasius the Pope to Anastasius the Emperor bore willing testimony to the virtues and the piety which the latter had displayed in a private station, and, though still not surrendering the indispensable damnation of the unfortunate Acacius, offered to recognise the validity of all orders conferred by the laying on of his hands. The ecclesiastical difference seemed in a fair way of being settled, and probably the conciliatory temper of the bishops smoothed the path for their colleague the Patrician. For (to quote again the words of the Anonymus Valesii transcribed in a former chapter)23 'Theodoric made his peace with the Emperor Anastasius, through the mediation of Festus, for his unauthorised assumption of the royal title.24 The Emperor also restored to him all the ornaments of the palace which Odoachar had transmitted to Constantinople.'

 p393  Peace ratified between King and Emperor. Thus, then, peace and friendship are established, on paper as well as in fact, between Ravenna and Constantinople, and Theodoric is formally recognised as, in some sense or other, legitimate ruler in Italy. What was the precise relation thus established between the two monarchs I must give up the attempt to explain. I see no statement of a formal abandonment by the Empire of the sacred soil of Italy; yet neither do I see any formal recognition by Theodoric that he was governing it in the Emperor's name, or that the latter was his superior. Their exact relation probably left undefined. To me the whole matter seems to have been purposely left vague, as is so often the case when Fact and Law are felt by all parties to be hopelessly at variance with one another. A spectator of modern politics, who feels his inability to explain the precise legal relation of the Hapsburg monarch to the Sultan in respect to Bosnia, of the Queen of England to the same potentate in respect to Cyprus and Egypt, or even the exact nature of the tie which unites the Emperor of Germany to his crowned partners, or vassals, of Bavaria and Saxony, need not be ashamed to confess that he cannot absolutely decide whether Theodoric was dependent or independent of the Emperor of the New Rome.

Extent of Theodoric's dominions. Whatever may have been the exact title assumed by Theodoric, or the moral limits of his power, there is no doubt that geographically it extended far beyond the country which we call Italy. Of his Gaulish dominions enough has been already said. Raetia, including the eastern half of Switzerland, Tyrol, and Bavaria south of the Danube, theoretically formed part of his kingdom, though in practice, as we have seen, the somewhat loosely subordinated Alamanni  p394 soon occupied most of the lands between the Alps and the Black Forest. In Noricum, Pannonia, and Illyricum, the whole that is of the modern Austrian Empire south and west of the Danube, Theodoric was regarded as the legitimate successor of the Emperors of the West. It is a question, which we have no means of solving, how far Rugians, Heruli, and Gepidae may practically have limited his dominions in this direction; but it is important to remember that, at any rate after the compact of 497, the Emperor of the East had no claim to rule directly in those countries any more than in Ravenna. Illyricum evidently was Theodoric's in fact, as well as in right. All that island-studded coast of Dalmatia, Diocletian's vast palace at Salona, and the highlands behind, which we now call Bosnia and Herzegovina, were really held by the strength of the Goths, and administered in accordance with the erudite rescripts of Cassiodorus. The frontier of the two monarchies was apparently that settled in the year 395 between the two sons of Theodosius;25 and thus Dyrrhachium, the birth-place of the Emperor Anastasius, was only some fifty miles south of that part of the Dalmatian coast-line which owned the sway of the great Ostrogoth.

The War of Sirmium, 504. This being the extent of Theodoric's rights in the Illyrian lands, he determined in 504 to vindicate them by a campaign against his old enemies the Gepidae. Doubtless he had not forgotten that hard fight by the river Ulca, when his people found their passage barred by the inhospitable King; but now, with his new rights, he found an additional grievance in the fact  p395 that Sirmium, one of the greatest cities in the whole Illyrian Prefecture, was held by the Gepid barbarians. The ruins of this great provincial capital lie near to Mitrovitz on the Save, in the extreme east of the modern province of Sclavonia. Nevertheless, from the point of view then taken, Bishop Ennodius was right in speaking of it to the King as 'the threshold of Italy, in which the senators aforetime used to watch lest the neighbouring nations gathered round should inflict their deadly wounds on the body of the Roman people.'26 It was no alleviation of this calamity, says the Bishop, that the loss of this city had not happened under Theodoric's rule. It ought again to belong to Italy, and, till it was recovered, his honour felt a stain.

504. There seems to have been division in the councils of the Gepid nation, one part following Trasaric the son of Trastila (the king whom Theodoric had defeated at the river Ulca), and the other following a certain Gunderith. Trasaric the Gepid deceives Theodoric. Trasaric asked Theodoric's help against his rival, perhaps promised him Sirmium as a recompense. In course of time the Gothic King found that the promises of the Gepid were only made to be broken, and sent an army consisting of some of his noblest young Gothic warriors against him. Gothic warriors.
Pitzias was leader of this expedition: the next in command was named Herduic. Tulum,27 a young Gothic noble employed in the household of the King, first made  p396 himself famous in this campaign. Witigis. So too did a Gothic stripling named Witigis, who earned a reputation for valour in this campaign which was hereafter to be more fatal to his countrymen than the most pitiful display of cowardice could possibly have proved.

It is impossible to extract any details as to this war of Sirmium from the vapid rhetoric of Ennodius or the jejune sentences of Jordanes. Gepidae and Bulgarians defeated by the Goths. All that can be said is that, though the Gepidae had procured the assistance of the Bulgarians — that new and terrible nationality which had lately shown itself on the banks of the Lower Danube28 — Theodoric's generals obtained a victory — an easy victory we are told — over the allied barbarians. Trasaric was expelled from Sirmium, and his mother, the widow of the inhospitable Trastila, was taken captive by Pitzias.29 Sirmium recovered. In his treatment of the recovered city the general was careful to show that he looked upon it as a lost prize regained, not as an alien possession conquered. All tendency to ravage on the part of the soldiers was sternly checked, and the Sirmian citizens, when the standard of Theodoric was planted in their citadel, could again rejoice in the long-lost luxury of 'the Roman peace.'

Mundo the Hun attacked by the Roman general Sabinian. This appearance of a Gothic army so near the frontier line of Theodoric and Anastasius not unnaturally brought their forces into collision. There was a certain Mundo, a son or grandson of Attila, who had fled from the face of the Gepidae, and was  p397 wandering through the valleys of what we now call Servia, at the head of a band of marauders, of whom, as Jordanes contemptuously says, he called himself king.30 505. Against this prince of freebooters the Emperor sent the general Sabinian, son and namesake of Theodoric's old antagonist. Ten thousand men marched under his standards, and a long train of waggons carried the arms and rations of the soldiers.31 Asks help from the Goths. Mundo, on the point of being overpowered, invoked the assistance of the Goths, and Pitzias descended from the mountains of Bosnia to his aid. The battle was joined in the valley of the Morava, at a place called Horrea Margi.32 If we may believe Jordanes, the Ostrogothic reinforcements consisted of only 2000 infantry and 500 cavalry. If we may believe Ennodius, the Bulgarians were again opposed to them, employed by the subtle Greeks as a bulwark to break the first fury of their onset.33 Perhaps, on putting the two accounts side by side, and observing that Marcellinus the chronicler (who acknowledges the defeat of the Imperial troops by Mundo without any reserve) makes no mention of the Ostrogoths on one side nor of the Bulgarians on the other, we may conclude that the arrangement between the confederates was that Mundo the Hun should deal with Sabinian and the troops of the  p398 Empire, while Pitzias with his disciplined Goths broke the fierce onset of the Bulgarians.

The Gothic general saw from afar the barbarian host rushing to the battle, and lashed the eager spirits of his own young warriors into fury by his impassioned words.34 Speech of the Gothic general to his men. 'Remember, my comrades, by whose order you have marched hither. We fight for the fame of our King, and let each man deem that his eyes are upon us. If a whole shower of lances darkened the sky the valiant warrior would still be visible. Plunge your breasts into that line of steel, that by your carelessness of life the victory may be assured. Have these men forgotten Theodoric? Is there not one living still who remembers how his mighty arm smote them long ago? Or do they think that Theodoric is unlike his people? They shall find that we can fight as well as our King.'

Defeat of the Bulgarians. The battle, by the account of the conquerors themselves, was a hardly-fought one. Neither Bulgarians nor Goths would believe that it could be possible for a foe to resist the fury of their onset.35 But at length the desperate shock and character-shock were over. It was seen that the Bulgarians were beaten, and with loud lamentations they, who boasted that they had never before turned their backs before an enemy,36 streamed from the lost battle-field.

 p399  Flight of the imperial troops. Sabinian fled in terror when he saw the discomfiture of his confederates. Pitzias, we are told, that he might not incur the imputation of avarice, forbade his soldiers to strip the bodies of the slain, and left them to the dogs and the vultures. The very chivalry of these days was barbarous. We hear no more of Mundo, but Theodoric's courtier takes pride in declaring that 'the Roman realm has returned to its ancient limit. Once again, as in the days of old, the Sirmians are taught to obey: the neighbours who have hitherto been keeping back our possessions from us' (apparently the Eastern Emperors) 'are now made to tremble for their own territories.'37

Raid of the Byzantine war-ships on the Apulian coast, 508. Three years after the war with Mundo, we find the ships of Byzantium making a piratical raid on the Apulian coast. Our information as to this affair comes entirely from a chronicler of the Eastern Empire (Marcellinus Comes), and he very honestly condemns an operation so unworthy of a Roman Emperor. His words are these: 'Romanus Count of the Domestics, and Rusticus Count of the Scholarii, with one hundred armed ships and as many cutters bearing eight thousand armed men, went forth to ravage the coasts of Italy. They proceeded as far as the very ancient city of Tarentum, and then, recrossing the sea, bore back to Anastasius Caesar [the news of] this inglorious victory which, with pirate-daring, Romans had snatched from Romans.'

As we hear no more of raids or revenges between the two states we may perhaps conclude that the  p400 complaints of Theodoric and the condemnation hinted by his subjects, caused Anastasius, himself at heart a lover of peace, to lay aside his unfriendly attitude and to resume the peaceful intercourse which had been for three years uninterrupted. Letter to Anastasius, 509 (?). If so, we may possibly place about this time a letter — the first in the collection of Cassiodorus — which was borne by two ambassadors from the Court of Ravenna to that of Constantinople.38 In that letter, Theodoric, or rather Cassiodorus writing in his name, complains, in well-chosen and weighty words, of the interruption of friendly relations with 'the most clement Emperor.' He praises the condition of Peace: Peace, the fair mother of all noble arts, the nurse of the succeeding generations, by whom the race of man is prolonged, who is the softener of savage manners. Theodoric himself learnt 'in your republic' how to govern Romans with a mild and equal sway. His kingdom is meant to be an imitation of the Emperor's: the Senate who are the Emperor's friends are his also; and his love for the venerable city of Rome is or ought to be another powerful link between them. The two republics, which under earlier sovereigns were always looked upon as forming one body, ought to be not only not discordant but bound to one another by bonds of love, ought not merely to love, but actively and vigorously to help one another. With words of courtly greeting to the 'most glorious charity of your Mildness,' but words which seem carefully framed to convey compliments only, without any recognition of real superiority, Theodoric concludes by referring the Emperor to his ambassadors for fuller information as to his feelings.

 p401  Skill required in an ambassador to the Eastern Court. Either on this occasion, or another of his numerous embassies to the Eastern Court, Theodoric sent Agapetus (Patrician and Illustris) to represent him. In the letter charging him with this appointment39 he is informed that, for such a commission as this, it is necessary that 'a man of eminent prudence be selected, one who can dispute with persons of the keenest subtlety, and so manage as not to lose his cause in an assembly of literati, where the best-trained intellects of the world will come against him. Great art is required in dealing with these artful men, who think that they can anticipate every argument that you can employ.'40

Priscian the Grammarian then at Constantinople. It is possible that among these word-fencers whom the ambassadors of Theodoric had to contend with, there may have been a man whose name is memorable in the history of the Latin tongue, Priscian the Grammarian. We possess a poem of his in praise of Anastasius, written in flowing hexameters, much above the ordinary level of the Latinity of his times. The descent of the Emperor from Pompey the Great, his Isaurian victories, his abolition of the Chrysargyron, his establishment of public granaries, his repression of the factions of the Circus, are all duly commemorated. One of the titles given to the Emperor (besides Isauricus and Parthicus) is Gotthicus, a circumstance which seems to point to a date after the outbreak of hostilities with Theodoric for the delivery of the oration. His praise of the Emperor. And in the poem occur the following remarkable lines, which indicate that then, at any rate,  p402 notwithstanding all the optimism of Cassiodorus, there were some Romans disposed to look upon the Emperor, not the King, as their natural sovereign and protector: —

'But of all acts our grateful praise that claim,

Two, mighty Prince! most illustrate your name.

The first, your choice of rulers for the land,

And then, your goodness to the exiled band.

All of her sons whom Elder Rome may send

You greet, you succour, as a fostering friend.

Step after step they mount in your employ,

Till grief for their lost country turns to joy.

Fortune and life to you, great lord, they owe,

And night and day for you their prayers shall flow.'41

Troubles of Anastasius at home. But whatever disposition Anastasius may have felt to trade upon the doubtful loyalty of the Romans towards a Gothic ruler, the increasing discontent of his own subjects towards the end of his reign found him employment enough, without his engaging in any further contests with Theodoric. We must now plunge therefore into those dreary theological faction-fights which were briefly referred to at the commencement of the chapter.

Religious condition of the Empire. The state of ecclesiastical parties in the Empire throughout this whole period was most peculiar, and was enough to strain the powers and the patience of the wisest and the most enduring of rulers.

 p403  Egypt. There was Egypt, venerating the memory of Cyril above all other ecclesiastics, cherishing, if not venerating, the name of Eutyches, set upon maintaining to the uttermost the doctrine of the unity of the nature of Jesus Christ, who, they maintained, as God was born, as God was crucified.

Syria. Syria, which had given birth to the opposite doctrine, that of Nestorius (whose denial that Mary was rightly called 'the Mother of God' had brought about all this controversy), fluctuated still between Nestorianism and Monophysitism in the strangest and most bewildering uncertainty.

Constantinople. At Constantinople the populace, led by a rabble of fanatical monks, were attached with incomprehensible favour of loyalty, not to Eutychianism, not to Nestorianism, but to the very name of the Council of Chalcedon, which excommunicated both, and proclaimed the narrow Via Media of orthodoxy between them. The mob Chalcedonian. Middle ways do not generally thus enlist the passions of a religious mob in their behalf. But so it was, that throughout the reign of Anastasius, if at any time words were used by a person in a prominent position which seemed to reflect on 'the Synod of the Six Hundred and Thirty' (the number of fathers who met at Chalcedon), blood might be expected soon to flow in the streets of Constantinople.

The nobles Monophysite. The upper classes seems at this time to have been generally Monophysite, or at least strongly attached to the Henoticon of Zeno. They probably felt the danger of dismembering the Empire which would be incurred by crushing the fanaticism of Alexandria by the fanaticism of Constantinople.

Rome. And Rome, the seat of Peter, and still in a certain  p404 sense, notwithstanding her barbarian rulers, the capital of the Empire? Rome seemed at this time to have no ears for the original controversy; so set was she on maintaining the damnation of Acacius, who had dared to excommunicate a pope. Of course she was out of communion with Monophysite Alexandria, but then she was equally out of communion with orthodox Constantinople, which held fast by the Council of Chalcedon and venerated the Tome of Leo, but which would not strike the name of Acacius out of her diptychs. Bishop after bishop of that see suffered persecution and exile for maintaining the faith of Chalcedon against the Monophysite Emperor; but as they would not admit that Acacius was inevitably damned, Rome, the champion of Chalcedon, would have none of them.

Faith of Anastasius himself. Anastasius, as has been already said, was probably at heart, like most of the Byzantine nobles, a Monophysite. But he was strongly suspected, and probably with truth, of the much more dangerous heresy of caring very little about the whole matter, and preferring justice and mercy and the practice of the Christian virtues to all this interminable wrangle about such questions as whether Christ ought to be said to subsist in two natures or to consist of them. While he was still in a private station, he had been accused of attending the conventicles of the heretics and yet retaining his seat in the great Catholic Basilica. Euphemius the bishop had sent for him, and sharply rebuked him for such dangerous dalliances with error, concluding the interview by a threat that, if the offence were repeated, he would cut off his hair and expose him to the derision of the mob. This  p405 story, it should be said, rests on the doubtful authority of Suidas. It seems improbable that even the Patriarch of Constantinople would dare to use such a menace to an officer of the household, past middle life and held in high honour by the people.

The Patriarch Euphemius views him with suspicion. However, the doubt, the suspicion as to the orthodoxy of the elderly Silentiarius, devout and charitable as all tongues proclaimed him to be, remained in the mind of the Patriarch Euphemius. 491. When Ariadne presented him to the Senate as the future Emperor, Euphemius long resisted his election, and at length, it is said, only withdrew the objection on receiving from Anastasius a written confession of his faith, in which he declared that he held as true all the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon. No doubt if such a humiliating condition were enforced upon him, the remembrance of it would rankle in the mind of the new Emperor, who is said to have made the recovery of the document, either from Euphemius or his successor, the main object of his ecclesiastical policy for some years. There is some variation, however, in the accounts of this matter given by the different historians, and, as we so often find to be the case, the further they are removed from the transaction the more detailed does their information about it become. Probably the importance of the affair has been overrated by ecclesiastics.

Banishment of Euphemius, 496. Anastasius, however, had reason enough to look coldly on Euphemius, not only as the personal enemy who had threatened to subject him to bitter humiliation, but also as the partisan, and hardly the secret partisan, of his rival the Isaurian Longinus. In the year 496, after the close of the Isaurian campaign,  p406 when, according to the triumphant Emperor, 'the prayers of the Patriarch had covered his friends with soot,'42 by one of those exertions of high-handed power which were becoming almost the rule at Constantinople, Anastasius deposed Euphemius from his see, and sent him into exile at Euchaita, a city of Pontus.43 The demand for his deposition came undoubtedly from the Emperor, but it was apparently carried into effect in a regular manner by a synod of bishops, before whom Anastasius laid the proofs of the Patriarch's treasonable complicity with the Isaurian insurgents. It was, at any rate ostensibly, for political not for theological offences that Euphemius was cast down from his high place.44

Macedonius the new Patriarch. The new Patriarch of Constantinople was Macedonius, a gentle and sweet-souled man, too good for the days of wrangle in which he lived. Euphemius, before his departure for the solitudes of Pontus, desired to have the sworn promise of his successor that he should not be molested on his journey. Macedonius, who had the permission of the Emperor to grant this safe-conduct, was told that his predecessor was in the baptistery of the basilica, waiting for the interview. His courtesy to Euphemius. With generous thoughtfulness he called to a deacon and desired him to take off from his shoulders the  p407 bishop's mantle, that he might not seem to flaunt before the eyes of the fallen Patriarch the ensigns of a dignity which was no longer his. He also himself borrowed money from the usurers to provide for the travelling expenses of Euphemius and his retire. The banished man lived on for nineteen years in exile; apparently had to change his place of abode on account of the invading Huns;45 and died in 515 at Ancyra in Galatia.

496‑511. Macedonius becomes estranged from the Emperor. During the fifteen years that Macedonius governed the Church of Constantinople there was a division, growing gradually wider and wider, between him and his Emperor. At the time of his elevation he signed the Henoticon, and perhaps anathematised the Council of Chalcedon.46 Gradually however, under the influence of the monastic and popular enthusiasm which prevailed in the capital, he 'hardened into a stern, almost a fanatic partisan of that very Council.'47 With the usual fairness of religious disputants, the man who battled on behalf of the Via Media with Eutychians was accused of himself inclining to Nestorianism. One charge made against him in this connection and much insisted upon was that, in order to support his heretical views, he had altered a letter in a celebrated passage of the New Testament48 which has often since been the battle-field of controversy.

 p408  The heretical Trisagion sung in the Emperor's chapel, 511. The increasing estrangement between the Emperor and the Patriarch, the increasing irritation of the Chalcedonian mob at the proceedings of their sovereign (who everywhere, but especially in Syria, was pressing more and more heavily on those bishops who did not accept the Henoticon), was brought to a crisis by the proceedings of a band of strangers and schismatics, who one Sunday burst into the Chapel of the Archangel in the Imperial Palace, and dared to chaunt the Te Deum with the addition of the forbidden words, the war‑cry of many an Eutychian move, 'Who wast crucified for us.' The Trisagion, as it was called, the thrice-repeated cry to the Holy One, which Isaiah in his vision heard uttered by the seraphim, became, by the addition of these words, as emphatic a statement as the Monophysite party could desire of their favourite tenet that God, not man, breathed out his soul unto death outside the gates of Jerusalem. What one party asserted with the loud voice of defiant psalmody the other party were of course bound to deny, maintaining their denial, if need were, by force. Tumult in the church, On the next Sunday the Monophysites sang the verse which was their war‑cry in the great Basilica itself. Shouts were heard from the angry mob; to shouts succeeded taunts; to taunts blows and strifes. The magistrates, acting perhaps at the instigation of the Emperor,  p409 loudly and fiercely upbraided Macedonius as the author of all this tumult. But there were men, well-known faction leaders, on the other side, whose presence goaded the Chalcedonian populace to fury. Chief among these was Severus, who had been throwing all Syria into confusion by his zeal for the condemnation of the synod, and who was to be rewarded for his turbulence by being seated on the episcopal throne of Antioch. It was soon seen on which side the voice of the multitude was given. and in the city. A vast crowd of citizens, accompanied by their wives and children, and headed by the abbots of the orthodox monasteries, surged through the streets of Constantinople, shouting, 'Christians, lo, the day of martyrdom! Let no one abandon our father!' They hurled their insults at the Emperor himself, denouncing him as a Manichean, as unworthy to reign.

Anastasius is forced to seek a reconciliation with Macedonius. Anastasius, terrified at the turn which things had taken, ordered the great gates of the palace on every side to be barred, and the ships made ready for his flight. So he sat solitary in the vast enclosure, trembling at the brutal clamours which reached him from without. At length he determined to bend to the storm. Though he had sworn that he would never again look upon the face of Macedonius, he sent some trusty retainers to the Patriarch to beg him to come and salute him. As Macedonius, in that his hour of triumph, glided through the streets, the mob shouted with joy, 'Our father is still with us!' and, ominous sound for the Emperor, the soldiers of the household regiments,49 through whose ranks he passed, echoed the cry. When the Patriarch entered the  p410 presence chamber, he frankly rebuked the Emperor for his alleged enmity to the Church. An apparent reconciliation was effected. The mild character of the Patriarch (who had not only forgiven but sent away with a handsome present an assassin who sought his life) made the restoration of peace an easy task.

Banishment and deposition of Macedonius, 511. The reconciliation, however, was but superficial. The dignity of the Emperor had been too deeply wounded for it to be real. Yet, from fear of the populace, he did not dare to bring the venerated Patriarch openly to trial. He caused him to be hurried out of his palace, rowed across the Bosphorus to Chalcedon, and thence escorted to the same little town of Euchaita whither his predecessor had been conveyed fifteen years before. A council was hastily summoned, and the absent Patriarch was deposed from his see. His death, 515. After four years of exile at Euchaita, he was driven by a Hunnish invasion to Gangra, a town in Paphlagonia, where he shortly after died. One of his faithful followers declared that on the night of his decease the injured Patriarch appeared to him, having in his hand a rule of law, and saying, 'Depart hence, and read what is here written to Anastasius.' In the rule of law was written, 'I indeed depart to my fathers, whose faith I too have kept. But I shall not cease to importune the Lord until thou comest, that the cause between us two may be brought to judgment.'

The last seven years of Anastasius (511‑518) the worst part of his reign. Anastasius in fact survived Macedonius three years, but he lived somewhat too long for his fame. The irregular and illegal deposition of the Patriarch is one of the worst acts that can be laid to his charge; and  p411 the remaining seven years of his life were poisoned by the results which flowed from it — an ever-increasing unpopularity with his Byzantine subjects, and an ever-dwindling hope of seeing the fires of religious faction dying out and peace restored to the Empire. Again the heretical Trisagion, 512. Again, in the year after the expulsion of Macedonius, the terrible war‑cry of the corrupted Trisagion sounded through the streets of Constantinople. It was on a memorable day that the flames of religious war were thus rekindled. The 6th of November in every year was kept as a solemn feast, in memory of that awful day in 472 when the heaven at Constantinople was blackened with the ashes of Vesuvius,50 while half the cities of Asia were rocking with the violence of an earthquake. On the Sunday which preceded the fortieth of these anniversaries, Marinus, the able but grasping Praetorian Prefect, and Plato the Prefect of the city, were standing in their place of honour in the Great Church of Constantinople, when the singers (as it was believed by their command) thundered forth the words, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,'51 with the terrible addition breathing defiance, menace, and insult, 'Who wast crucified for us.' The orthodox took up the strain and chaunted the verse in the way used by their forefathers. Again psalmody gave place to blows: men wounded and dying lay upon the floor of the church; the ringleaders of the tumult were led off to the dungeons of the city. Next day the scene  p412 of strife was transferred to the atrium or oblong porch in front of the Church of St. Theodore, and a yet greater slaughter of the champions of the Catholic faith took place there. Disturbance in the city, 6th November. On the third day, the 6th of November, the day of the solemn procession, the orthodox mob streamed from all parts into the great forum. There they swarmed and swayed to and fro all that day and all that night, shouting forth, not the greatness of the Ephesian Diana, but 'Holy, Holy, Holy,' without the words 'Who wast crucified.' They hewed down the monks — a minority of their class — who were on the side of the imperial creed, and burned their monasteries with fire. They carried the standards of the army and the keys of the various gates of the city to the Forum, where a sort of camp was established, with monks for its officers. A poor monk from the country was found hiding in the palace of Marinus. Having persuaded themselves that it was by his adviser that the deadly words had been added to the hymn, they cut off his head and carried it about on a pole, shouting, 'See the head of an enemy of the Trinity!' The statues of Anastasius were thrown down. The Emperor's nephew Patricius, and Celer Master of the Offices and general-in‑chief in the Persian war, were sent to the populace with soothing words; but, notwithstanding their senatorial rank, they were greeted with a shower of stones. Ominous cries claimed the Empire for Areobinda,52 related by marriage to the  p413 family of Valentinian III, and a general who had achieved some successes in the Persian War. The houses of Marinus the Prefect and of Pompeius, a nephew of the Emperor, were burned. At length, after two days of continued riot,53 the triumphant mob, fresh from their work of destruction, brandishing gospel and cross as the ensigns of their war, and shouting 'Holy, Holy, Holy,' without the heretical addition, streamed into the Circus Maximus and stood before the Podium of the Emperor. Humiliation of Anastasius. There on his imperial throne, but without the diadem or the purple, sat the aged monarch (he was now eighty‑one years of age), and seemed by his helpless attitude to enquire what was their will. The mob shouted that the two Prefects, Marinus and Plato, should be thrown to the wild beasts. No lighter punishment, in the judgment of those accurate theologians, would suffice for the crime of these men, who had added four words to the Trisagion.54 Anastasius, whose own voice was no doubt 'changed to a childish treble,' could not himself answer the hoarse hymn-shouters, but he bade the criers make proclamation to the people that he was ready, if they wished it, to lay down the burden of empire; but, inasmuch as all could not be masters, it  p414 would be necessary that his successor should be chosen. Perhaps this was an adroit device to divide the victorious Chalcedonians, united in opposition to Anastasius, but not united in their choice of Areobinda or any other successor. Perhaps the mob were touched with pity and relenting at the sight of those white hairs uncrowned and bowed low before them. Whatever the cause, the multitude were appeased. They melted away out of the streets and Forum and back into their homes, having received from the Emperor nothing but fair words, perhaps promises and oaths to respect the faith of Chalcedon.55

The Emperor does not keep his promises. The promises, if they were given, were not kept; for, though the Emperor seems to have abstained from again shocking his subjects in the capital by the sound of the heretical Trisagion, he continued, with the help of Timotheus, his Monophysite Patriarch of Constantinople, to rule the Church in the interests of the heretical party, no longer, it would seem, contented with exacting the signature of Zeno's Henoticon, but insisting on an express anathema to the Council of Chalcedon. Catholic bishops driven out from their sees. For refusing this anathema the gentle Flavianus, who had tried to please all parties, and had satisfied none, was thrust out from the see of Antioch, where the busy Monophysite Severus reigned in his stead. All over the East, especially in Syria, was heard the wail of the orthodox for sees widowed of  p415 their Catholic bishops and handed over to heretical intruders.

War of Vitalian, 514‑515. The discontent caused by these high-handed proceedings furnished a pretext which enabled a military adventurer named Vitalian to shake the throne of Anastasius. Though the son of an officer in the imperial army, Vitalian was of Gothic extraction.56 He was a man of diminutive stature, and had a stutter in his speech: he had all the fire and the courage necessary to lead a band of mutineers and barbarians to victory, and along therewith the address to feign an interest (which he can hardly have felt) in the theological controversy, and to link his cause with that of the prelates deposed for their adherence to the Council of Chalcedon. This was the pretext for rebellion which was flaunted before the eyes of the Byzantine populace, and which has to some extent imposed on later ecclesiastic historians, who have looked upon him as the champion, certainly the ruthless champion, of the Fourth Council of the Catholic faith. The recently-discovered fragments, however, of the history of Joannes Antiochenus57 (who evidently drew from nearly contemporary sources) show that the rebellion had a much more ignoble origin. Vitalian had a grievance in his removal from the office of distributor of the rations to the foederati; the mutinous soldiers alleged that they had a grievance in the withholding of some arrears of pay; the Huns, who formed perhaps the bulk of the army, needed no excuse at all  p416 for their willingness to swarm across the Danube under the guidance of their savage chiefs Saber and Tarrach and the like, and to devastate the cultivated plains of Moesia and Thrace.

Vitalian's first dash at Constantinople. The war was waged chiefly in the neighbourhood of Varna (then called Odessus); but twice, nay three times, Vitalian, by a bold dash through the passes of the Balkan, or by assembling a fleet and sailing along the Euxine coast, succeeded in penetrating to the very suburbs of Constantinople. The first time, Anastasius affixed to the city gates brazen crosses with a long statement of the true origin of the insurrection, to deprive Vitalian's assumption of the character of a champion of the faith. Proclamation of Anastasius. At the same time he promised — and this has an important bearing on our main subject — that 'he would bring men from Old Rome to settle matters concerning the faith.' To remove the discontent of the taxpayers he announced that he remitted a fourth part of the tax on cattle for the provinces of Bithynia and Asia, and deposited the paper containing this pledge on the Holy Table in the Great Church.

Expedition under Hypatius. For the time Vitalian retired, and the wave of war rolled back across the Balkans. The insurgent general was declared a public enemy by the Senate, and an army of 80,000 men was despatched against him, under the command of the Emperor's nephew Hypatius. The Roman army was encamped behind its waggons at a spot called Akrae, on the sea‑coast a little north of Varna. Crushing defeat of the Emperor's troops. The arrows of the Huns dealt death among the draught oxen, their savage onset broke the line of the waggons, and then (we are gravely told), in the mist raised by their enchantments, the panic-stricken  p417 and flying Romans fell into a deep ravine, where they perished, to the number of 60,000. Their dead bodies piled one upon another filled the rocky chasm. Hypatius fled to the shore and tried to hide himself in the sea, but his head, 'like a sea‑bird's,' was seen above the waves: the barbarians dashed into the breakers and captured their valuable prize, the nephew of an Emperor. Vitalian again before Constantinople. Vitalian pushed on with a fleet of 200 ships to the suburbs of Constantinople, and overpowered the imperial general John, who rushed into his master's presence and implored him to grant the enemy's terms, however hard they might be. Dispirited by so terrible a defeat of his troops and by the capture of his nephew, Anastasius consented to treat, conferred on Vitalian the dignity of Magister Militum of Thrace, paid him the enormous sum of £200,000 as ransom for Hypatius, and, it is to be feared, made some promises, even swore some oaths, which were not meant to be kept, that he would restore to their episcopal thrones the exiled adherents of Chalcedon.

His third expedition to Constantinople, 515. The slippery character of Anastasius made it well-nigh impossible for him ever to end a dispute. Vitalian felt sure that the Emperor was plotting against him, and next year resolved to anticipate the blow by another dash for Constantinople. A battle by land and sea followed, under the very walls of the capital. Now at length fortune turned against the fiery little Gothic rebel. Vitalian is defeated. A rough Thracian soldier named Justin, who had fought his way up from the lowest ranks to the position of Captain of the Guard (Excubitorum Praefectus), thrust his ship boldly forwards into the hostile fleet, which was commanded by Vitalian himself,  p418 grappled a ship, made prisoners of all the soldiers on board, and struck such terror into the sailors of Vitalian that they turned and fled. Seeing this, the army on land fled likewise, leaving heaps of their comrades slaughtered on the field. His flight. Soon the whole force of Vitalian, Huns, mutinous Romans, Goths, had melted away like snow in summer; and the arch-rebel himself, so lately an important personage in the state and the arbiter between contending creeds, slunk away into obscurity, in which he remained for the rest of the reign of Anastasius.

Overtures by Anastasius to the Pope, 514. At the end of the year 514, while the rebels' power was still unbroken, the Emperor, in fulfilment of his promise to Vitalian 'to settle the dispute concerning the faith in concert with the Bishop of Old Rome,' sent two letters to Hormisdas Pope, 514‑523. Hormisdas, who now sat in the chair of St. Peter, saying that the common fame of the Pope's gentleness and moderation induced him to break the long silence caused by the harshness of his predecessors, and to suggest that a council, at which the Pope should preside, and in which he should act as mediator, should be held at Heraclea on the shores of the Propontis (about 60 miles west of Constantinople), in order to settle the affairs of the Church and heal the troubles which had arisen in the province of Scythia.58 A council proposed. The day for the Council's assembling was to be the 1st of July, 515. Reply of Hormisdas, 515. Hormisdas sent a prompt and courteous reply, declaring that peace was his  p419 desire, as it had been that of his venerable predecessors. The time for the Council was too near, perhaps had been purposely fixed at too early a date, to make it possible for the Pope and his bishops to attend it; but the ice had now been broken, and negotiations between Rome and Constantinople could go forward, whether the Council were ever to assemble or not. On the 8th of November Hormisdas again sent a short note to the Emperor, commending his zeal for the restoration of unity to the Church, and referring him to the five legates whom he was at the same time despatching from Rome, for fuller information as to the terms upon which he would assist at a new Council.

The Pope's instructions to his legates. The legates (two bishops, a presbyter, a deacon, and a notary) were headed by Ennodius, Bishop of Ticinum, whom we already know so well as biographer of Epiphanius and turgid panegyrist of Theodoric. The letter of instructions (Indiculus) addressed to these legates is still preserved; a long and circumstantial document and curiously characteristic of its author and of the times. Throughout the letter runs that almost exaggerated fear of Greek subtlety, that sense of inferiority to Greek diplomacy, which we trace also in the works of Cassiodorus. We have seen how, in instructing Theodoric's ambassador59 to Constantinople, the accomplished secretary had warned him of the difficulty of dealing with men 'who think they can foresee everything.' It was with a determination to foresee everything that Hormisdas supplied Ennodius and his colleagues with this marvellous paper, which sought to anticipate every possible opening of the game by the Emperor, and to indicate the proper reply  p420 upon the ecclesiastical chess-board. A few extracts may indicate the character of these instructions.

'When you are come into the parts of Greece, if the bishops come out to meet you, receive them with all due respect. If they prepare a lodging for you, do not refuse it, lest the laity should think that the hindrance to concord comes from you. But if they ask you to a meal decline with a gentle apology,60 saying, "Pray that we may be permitted first to meet at the Mystic Table, and then this hospitality of yours will be all the sweeter." When by the favour of God you are come to Constantinople, lodge in the quarters assigned to you by the most clement Emperor, and allow nobody to visit you till you have had your first audience with him. Afterwards you may receive the visits of the orthodox, and of those who seem to have the cause of union at heart. Use caution in conversing with them, and you may obtain useful hints for your own guidance.'

'When you are presented to the Emperor, hold out our letter and say, "Your Father salutes you, daily entreating God and commending your kingdom to the intercession of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, that God who has put this desire into your heart, to work for the happiness of the Church, may carry it on unto perfection." '

'If he wishes to enter on the subject of the embassy before opening our letter, you shall use these words, "Command us to hand you the writings." If he shall say, "What do the papers contain?" reply, "Salutations to your Piety and thanks to God for making you desire the unity of the Church. Read, and you will  p421 see." Make no mention of the matter in hand till he has received the letters and read them.'

Reference to Vitalian. 'After he has done this, add, "Your servant Vitalian, having received, as he said, permission from your Piety, sent his messengers to your Father the holy Pope. To him also we have letters, but, as is fitting, have first directed our course to your Clemency, that we may receive your command to bear our message to him." Should the Emperor ask to see our letters to Vitalian, you must answer, "Your holy father the Pope gave us no such commandment: we cannot do anything of the kind unbidden. Yet that you may know that they contain nothing but that which furthers your own desire for the unity of the Church, associate with us some person in whose presence the letters which we deliver to Vitalian may be read aloud." If he says again that he ought to read them himself, answer again that the Holy Father did not so order you. If he says, "Is all your message contained in the letters? are there not perhaps some verbal communications beside?" you must answer, "Be that far from our conscience. That is not our custom. We come only in God's service. The Holy Pope's commission is a simple one, and his desire is known to all men, being only this, that the decrees of the fathers be not tampered with, and that heretics may be banished from the Church. Our legation relates to nothing else but this." '

We need not closely follow the imaginary interview through all its succeeding stages, which are chiefly theological, not political. At a certain point, it was expected that the Emperor would say, 'We have received and still hold the Synod of Chalcedon and  p422 the letters of Pope Leo.' At this confession of faith the legates were to kiss his breast, and to return thanks to God for giving him this conviction of the Catholic faith, preached by the Apostles, without which no man can be orthodox. If he was to try to throw the blame of the schism on the late Pope Symmachus, predecessor of Hormisdas, they were to reply that they had the letters of Symmachus in their hands, which contained nothing but exhortations to persevere in the faith of Chalcedon. They were then to have recourse to prayers and tears, saying, 'Lord Emperor! think upon God: place before your eyes his coming judgment. The holy fathers who taught thus have but followed the Apostles' faith, by which was builded up the Church of Christ.'

After a good deal more imaginary debate the legates were again to shed tears, and to allude in a humble and delicate way to the controversy which distracted the Church of Constantinople itself. The Emperor would perhaps say, 'You are talking about Macedonius; I understand your finesse. He is a heretic: quite impossible that he should be recalled.'61 Then the legates were to reply, 'We, Lord Emperor, mention no one by name. But let your Piety consider, from your own point of view, how much better it would be that there should be a discussion on this point, and that his heresy, if he be a heretic, should be judicially settled, rather than that the orthodox should think him to be unjustly deposed.'

 p423  This would bring them to the question of the legitimacy of the consecration of Timotheus, the successor of Macedonius, whom the legates were immovably to refuse to recognise in any way as legitimate Patriarch of Constantinople. They were not to allow themselves to be presented by him to the Emperor, and if he was standing by the throne they were to ask for a secret interview, in which they would deliver the papal commission.

The Pope's terms. Finally, they were to announce to Anastasius that the terms upon which Hormisdas would consent to waive a point of personal dignity, and come to preside at a council held out of Rome, were, (1) public recognition of the Council of Chalcedon and the letters of Leo; (2) public anathematisation of the heretics Nestorius, Eutyches, and the like, who had, on one side or the other, deviated from Chalcedonian orthodoxy, and express inclusion of the name of Acacius among these heretics; (3) the recall of all bishops sent into exile for their fidelity to the Roman see; and (4) the removal of the cases of all bishops banished for any ecclesiastical offence, to Rome, there to be tried by the Apostolic See. In fact these terms, however gently and persuasively and tearfully urged, involved a surrender at discretion of all the points at issue between Emperor and Pope.

How the actual interview between the aged Anastasius and the verbose Ennodius and his colleagues passed off we are unable to say, but, as they could not arrive in Constantinople till October, 515, it is easy to imagine that they found the Emperor in a mood little disposed for conciliation. The Pope's correspondent Vitalian had doubtless before that time  p424 met his crushing defeat at the hands of Justin. Now that he was a fugitive, and his wild Hunnish marauders were scattered to the winds, the bland excuses, the accurately measured tears, and the punctilious breast-kissings of the Roman envoys might even be found somewhat burdensome by the Byzantine Caesar.

Still, the negotiations were not wholly dropped, though the proposed Council faded more and more into oblivion. Reply of Anastasius. In a long letter sent back by the hands of Ennodius, Anastasius declared his adhesion to the teaching of Leo and Chalcedon, but suggested that it was hard that living men should be kept out of the Church on account of the dead, and that to anathematise Acacius would cause the effusion of much human blood.

His embassy to Rome, 516. In July of the following year he sent two high officers of his Court, Theopompus Count of the Domestics (an Illustris) and Severianus Count of the Consistory (a Clarissimus), with letters both to the Pope and the Senate. The first letter was chiefly filled with excuses, somewhat hollow excuses, for his tardy action in the matter of the reunion of the Churches. The length of the journey and the unusual severity of the preceding winter are made to bear the burden of this delay. The other letter throws an interesting light on the difficult question of the relations existing between the Caesar of Byzantium, the Gothic King, and the Senate of Rome. It begins: —

'The Emperor Caesar Flavius Anastasius, pious, fortunate, victorious, ever august, renowned conqueror of the Germans, of the Franks, of the Sarmatians,62  p425 father of his country, says Hail! to the pro‑consuls, the consul, the praetors, the tribunes of the commons, Letter of Anastasius to 'his Senate,' and to his Senate. If you and your children are in good health it is well. I and my army are in good health also.

In using this well-known classical formula, the Emperor says 'I and my army' where Cicero would have said 'I and Terentia,' to indicate the close bond of union which in theory always existed between the Imperator and his dutiful soldiers. The use of the possessive pronoun before Senate63 must, one would think, have jarred upon the ears of Theodoric, when he heard the document read in his Comitatus at Ravenna.

The rest of the letter was couched in terms which would not be displeasing to the Gothic King. The Emperor begged the Conscript Fathers to join their prayers with his, prayers which might reasonably be expected to avail recognises the 'most glorious king' Theodoric. 'both with the most glorious King and with the very blessed Pope of the fair city of Rome' for the restoration of peace. And again, near the close of the letter, they are asked to use their utmost efforts for this end, 'both with the exalted King to whom the power and the responsibility of ruling you is committed, and with the venerable Pope, to whom is entrusted the capacity to intercede for you with God.' It would be difficult to express more clearly that Constantinople recognised, as in some sense legitimate, the rule of Theodoric.

The Senate's answer. The Senate replied to the Emperor in a letter full of suitable quotations from Scripture on the beauty of peace and the blessings of charity. The sentiments which they express are excellent, and it is only when  p426 one sees the title at the beginning, and thinks of the grey old war‑wolves who used to be the terror of Italy and the world, that one feels a slight sense of incongruity in the thought that this meritorious, if somewhat vapid, pastoral was addressed to a Roman Imperator by a Roman Senatus. They accept the designation of your Senate, and say that 'the mind of our lord and most unconquered King, your son Theodoric, who orders obedience to your commands,' tends in the same direction as that of Anastasius.

The real pivot of the negotiation however was, of course, neither King nor Senate, but Pope. Hormisdas, who was offended,64 somewhat unreasonably one would think, at the Emperor's having sent only laymen, though laymen of high rank, as his ambassadors, had come to the conclusion that the Greeks talked of peace with their lips, but did not care for it in their hearts, Petulant letter from Hormisdas, 3 April, 517. and while sending Ennodius on a second embassy to the Emperor, charged him with a letter, written in somewhat sharper tone than those which had preceded it, insisting on the absolutely indispensable damnation of Acacius. Acacius had rolled himself in all the mire of Peter the Stammerer, Dioscorus, and Eutyches. Acacius had spread the poison of Monophysite heresy, which before had only infected Alexandria, far and wide through the Churches. The wound of the Church could not be healed without his damnation. As for the angry feeling which such a proceeding might raise among the mob, sovereigns could bend their subjects to their will. Who heard anything about the wishes of the populace when Marcian, of religious memory, established the faith  p427 of Chalcedon? And so the letter ended with an earnest, almost imperious call to the Emperor to acquiesce in the monitions of his spiritual father.

The Pope's second embassy to Constantinople, July, 517. Ennodius and his colleague Peregrinus reached Constantinople at the beginning of July. The Emperor, who for all his eighty‑six summers was by this time thoroughly aroused by the obstinacy of the Pope, and who perhaps had ceased to care greatly about the question of reunion, entirely refused to accept the terms of Hormisdas, The legates rebuffed. and forced the legates out of the city, charging the two Prefects65 with a band of Inland Revenue officers66 to accompany them on ship-board, and to see that they landed at no city of the Empire. Notwithstanding this pressure, however, they contrived to hand to their monkish partisans in the capital the copies of a protest which they had prepared for circulation through all the Eastern Churches.

Firm and final answer of Anastasius, 11 July, 517. To Hormisdas the Emperor addressed a short but dignified letter, which, after some rather commonplace reflections upon the mercy and longsuffering of the Most High, he thus concluded:

'We think, therefore, that those who have themselves received mercy, ought not to show themselves merciless. But from henceforth we shall keep silence as to the request which we made of you, thinking it absurd to show the courtesy of prayers to men who stubbornly refuse all that is asked of them. We can bear insults and contempt, but we cannot allow ourselves to be commanded.'

Death of Anastasius, 8 July, 518. So ended the correspondence between Anastasius and Hormisdas. In the following year the aged  p428 Emperor died.67
Ecclesiastical fables respecting it.
Strange portents, according to the ecclesiastical historians, marked his death. A terrible thunderstorm was raging, and Anastasius, to whom it had been foretold that he should die by such a storm, crept into an inner apartment68 and was there found by his servants dead; but whether struck by a flash of lightning, or slain only by his own fears, none could tell. On the same day Elias, the deposed Patriarch of Jerusalem, had a revelation that the Emperor was dead, and that he himself was to follow in ten days to bear witness against him before the throne of God. A short time before the death of the Emperor, according to the foolish story of some late writers,69 a man clothed in white raiment was seen by him in a vision, turning over the leaves of a book which he held in his hand. With a frown the supernatural visitor said, 'In punishment for thy impiety, behold I strike off fourteen —,' and therewith cancelled fourteen years of the Emperor's life, who, it seems, might otherwise have attained the age of a hundred and one.

Review of his life. All this stir in heaven and earth over the death of a sovereign who had entered his eighty-eighth year, may, at any rate, be taken as a proof that he had not sunk into dotage, but had still energy enough to inspire energetic hatred. We picture him to ourselves with his tall figure still unbowed by age, with his steel-blue eyes not dimmed, nor the vigour of his  p429 intellect abated. Two testimonies which we possess concerning him outweigh many of the fierce censures of his ecclesiastical opponents: the acclamation 'Reign as you have lived!' with which the populace hailed the news of his accession, and the phrase 'sweetest-tempered of sovereigns'70 which the notary Lydus, years after his death, when nothing was to be gained by praising him, dropped by his half-forgotten grave. Yet, with many noble qualities, Anastasius hardly attained to greatness. He allowed himself to be forced from a position of calm impartiality between warring sects, into one of bitter partisanship on behalf of a single sect, and that the one which has eventually been judged heretical. And in his dealings both with the external and internal enemies of the Empire, he certainly showed himself more a Greek than a Roman in his lack of the kingly quality of truthfulness.

Accession of Justin. On the very day of the death of Anastasius, Justin, Captain of the Guard, and lately the conqueror of Vitalian, was raised to the throne, nominally by the Senate, but really by the household troops. How brought about. The means by which this rough and illiterate Thracian soldier attained to the first place in the civilised world were simple, if not in the highest degree praiseworthy. Amantius, an eunuch and Grand Chamberlain,71 who had been all‑powerful in the later years of Anastasius, desired to maintain his hold of power by placing on the throne a certain Theocritus, whom he deemed to be entirely devoted to his interests. For this purpose he deposited a large sum in the hands of Justin, to be distributed as a donative to the soldiers of the guard,  p430 who were under his orders. Justin, however, who was an adherent of the faith as formulated at Chalcedon, perceived that he would better serve the interests of orthodoxy, and his own, by seating himself upon the vacant throne rather than Theocritus, and used the gold of Amantius for that purpose.

His want of education. It was an unusual sight to see in the palace of the emperors a peasant-born soldier who could neither read nor write, and who, like Theodoric the Goth (if indeed the story be true of Theodoric), must needs affix his sign-manual to state-papers by drawing the style dipped in purple ink through four holes for letters prepared in a metal plate. His wife formerly a slave. His wife Lupicina also, who took the name Euphemia, was not of illustrious origin, being a barbarian slave whom her future husband bought as his concubine. Their orthodoxy. All, however, in the eyes of the populace was condoned by the undoubted orthodoxy of the new Emperor, by the delight of having again a ruler who adhered to the Council of Chalcedon.

Scene in the Great Church, 15 July, 518. On the first Sunday after Justin's elevation the people crowded into the Great Church, and when the Patriarch John — the successor of Timotheus and believed to be in sympathy with Chalcedon — appeared at the Ambo, they shouted out, 'Long life to the Emperor! Long life to the Patriarch! Anathema to Severus [Monophysite Patriarch of Antioch]. Why do we remain excommunicated? Carry out the bones of the Manicheans. He who does not shout is a Manichean. Mary the mother of God is worthy of the throne. Bishop! speak or leave the church. Proclaim the faith of Chalcedon. The Emperor is a Catholic: what are you afraid of? Long life to the  p431 new Constantine! to the new Helena! Justine Auguste tu vincas. This official formula of salutation to a new Emperor was uttered in the Latin tongue, all the rest of the excited utterances of the crowd being in their vernacular Greek. With difficulty the Patriarch persuaded them to hold their peace till he should have kissed the altar and celebrated mass. This done, the shouters resumed their self-imposed toils. At length the Patriarch mounted the Ambo and said, 'You know, brethren, how many labours I have undergone in past years for the faith. There is no need for disturbance. We all receive the four great Councils, including that of Chalcedon.' 'No,' said the shouting crowd, 'that is not enough. Anathematise Severus: proclaim a feast in honour of the Council of Chalcedon. We will stay here all night if you do not. You shall not depart till you have anathematised Severus.'

The Monophysites anathematised. At length, with an appearance of yielding to the wishes of the mob, but probably with a consciousness of having prepared the whole scene himself in concert with his master, the Patriarch announced that it would be as they wished. In unison with a large number of bishops from neighbouring dioceses, present in the basilica, he formally anathematised Severus, and announced that on the following day (16th July) there should be a solemn ceremony in honour of the Holy Fathers of the Council of Chalcedon.

On the morrow, when this rite was ended, there was a renewal of the same disorderly cries. 'Anathema to the Nestorians. I do not know who is a Nestorian. Anathema to the Eutychians. Dig up their bones. Cast the bones of the Manicheans out of  p432 doors. Justine Auguste tu vincas.'72 Cries against Amantius. Mingled with these shouts were heard ominous growls at Amantius the Manichean, which indicate pretty plainly who had been tuning the voices of these tumultuary theologians. In fact, the Eunuch, whose gold had been so adroitly used against him, was very shortly after these days of clamour put out of the way by the new Emperor.

Ceremony in honour of the Council of Chalcedon, 16 July. There was a moment of real sublimity in the ceremony of the 16th of July. This was when the Patriarch ascended the Ambo, with the diptychs in his hands, and read from them, amid the deep silence which had fallen upon the shouting crowd, the names of the four Councils which the Church of Constantinople held in highest reverence, Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon. Then followed the names of the bishops who had departed this life in the faith and fear of God, and with whom the Church still maintained her mystic and invisible communion. Towards the close of this might rule of law of names came Leo, Pontiff of Rome, and Euphemius and Macedonius, Archbishops of the kingly city of Constantinople. At this sound, which announced to their ears the termination of the controversy of a lifetime, the populace burst into a loud and joyful shout, 'Glory be to Thee, O Lord.' So, after nearly forty years of imperfect acquiescence or actual opposition, did the Church of Constantinople return to unhesitating allegiance to the faith as formulated at Chalcedon.

Terms of reunion still to be arranged with Rome. Not yet, however, was Rome fully appease, nor could she yet welcome the Eastern Church as wholly purged from her error. The theological question was  p433 settled, but the more important personal question remained open. Nay, even the recent triumph of the orthodox populace was stained with some disrespect to the chair of St. Peter, since Rome could not admit that even Euphemius and Macedonius, however manfully they might have struggled against a Manichean Emperor, could rightly have their names recited in the Church's diptychs.

Letter from Justin to Hormisdas, 1 Aug. 518. Communications were soon opened between Constantinople and Rome. The new Emperor wrote a short letter to the Pope in which he announced that, by the favour of the indivisible Trinity, of the nobles of the palace and the most holy Senate, and by the choice of his brave army, he had been elected to the Empire; and he dared to add that he had been most unwilling to accept the honour. Hormisdas replied, and letters passed backwards and forwards for some months between the two capitals. Correspondence chiefly conducted by the Emperor's nephew Justinian. The chief part in the correspondence on the side of Byzantium was played, not by the illiterate Justin, but by his nephew, a man in early middle life, holding the high office of Count of the Domestics, and who showed already great talents for theological disputation. This literary assessor of Justin was Justinian.

Bargaining about the damnation of Acacius and his successors. In the letters sent from Constantinople a faint-hearted attempt was made to save Acacius from damnation. Hormisdas saw that the Emperor really desired reunion; and firmly, but with more gentleness than he had used towards the heretical Anastasius, insisted that those who were sincere in anathematising Eutyches must also anathematise Acacius. The real stress of the contest probably bore, not so much on the name of Acacius, whom both Emperor and people  p434 were willing to surrender to damnation, as on the names of the beloved and venerated Euphemius and Macedonius, whom the Pope insisted, not indeed on formally branding with his anathema, but on silently omitting from the diptychs.

Arrival of the Pope's legates, 25 March, 519. At length affairs were ripe for the reception of an embassy from the Pope, and eight months after Justin's elevation to the throne the papal legates arrived at Constantinople. They were charged with letters to the Emperor, the Empress, the Patriarch, the Archdeacon and clergy of Constantinople, to Count Justinian and other courtiers, and to two noble ladies — perhaps members of the family of Anastasius — who were named Anastasia and Palmatia, and who had apparently, in the evil days of the preceding reign, signalised themselves by their zeal for the faith of Chalcedon. Their Indiculus and Libellus. The legates had also an Indiculus for their own private use, telling them how far to go and where to stand firm in their debate with the Emperor, and a Libellus or formula of submission and profession of faith to be signed by all those who wished to re‑enter into communion with the Holy See.

Reception of the legates. The Pope's messengers had no reason to complain for want of cordiality in their reception at Constantinople. At the tenth milestone from the city they were met by a brilliant throng of courtiers and nobles. At the head of the procession were Vitalian, the little eager soldier who had borne arms for the faith of Chalcedon, Pompeius the nephew of the late Emperor, and Justinian the nephew of the reigning Emperor. Thus did the evening and morning stars of the monarchy meet to do them reverence.

 p435  In the Imperial presence, 26 March. On the next day they stood in the presence of Justin and the Senate. The Patriarch of Constantinople, though favourable to reunion, would not compromise his dignity by appearing in person, but was represented by four of his suffragan bishops. To an invitation from the Emperor that they should argue the matters recently in debate between the two sees, the legates replied that they had no instruction to argue, but only to produce the Pope's letter and the Libellus, which must be signed by all bishops who desired to be reconciled to the Apostolic see. The Libellus was read; the representatives of the Patriarch pronounced it to be consistent with the truth. The Patriarch signs the Libellus, 27 March. The Emperor and the Senators burst out into impatient exclamations, 'If it be true, sign it at once, and make an end of the matter.' A day, however, had to elapse, and then the Libellus was put before the Patriarch, who was now present in the palace. He, even in accepting it, dexterously contrived to save some shred of the dignity of his see. A Libellus was generally subscribed by those who had fallen from the faith, and was thus an admission of guilt. He wrote a clever prologue, turning it into a letter of friendship, addressed 'to his most blessed brother and fellow-servant Hormisdas.' He declared that he held the two Churches of the old Rome and the new to be one Church, and one seat of the Apostle Peter; and then, after these precautionary words and a statement of his acceptance of the four great Councils, he adopted uncompromisingly the whole of the Libellus, with its strong assertion of the office of Peter and the Apostolic see as guardians of the Catholic religion, and its condemnation of the usual string of heretics, beginning  p436 with Nestorius and ending the Timothy the Weasel and Peter the Stammerer. Then came the clause of special interest, the key of the whole battle-field. Anathema on Acacius. 'Similarly we anathematise Acacius, formerly Bishop of Constantinople, who made himself accomplice and follower of these heretics, together with all who persevered in their fellowship and communion.' In these last words lay a covert if not an express anathema for all the recent bishops of Constantinople.

Striking the names of heretical emperors and patriarchs out of the diptychs. Next came the solemn act of erasing from the diptychs, and thus striking out of the communion of the Church the names of Zeno and Anastasius the emperors, as well as of Acacius and his four successors in the see of Constantinople, including those two honoured names which had so recently been replaced there, the names of Euphemius and Macedonius. This was done, not only in the Patriarchal Basilica but in all the churches of Constantinople. The legates recorded with wonder and gratitude to God and St. Peter that none of the evil consequences which had been threatened, neither tumult nor shedding of blood, followed this act, which must, one would think, have torn the hearts of many thousands of the people of Constantinople who had loved and well-nigh worshipped the excommunicated prelates.

The East and West reunited. After such an immense surrender as this, the rest of the work of reunion all over the East, except at Monophysite Alexandria, was comparatively easy, nor need we trouble ourselves with any further details of what had now become a mere matter of formal recognition. Thus then ended the first great schism between the Eastern and Western Churches. Followed as it has been in later ages by other and more  p437 enduring divisions, which have produced results of world-historical importance, this schism will hardly be deemed unworthy of the space which has been here devoted to it. While it lasted, it secured fair play, at least, for the young kingdom of Theodoric. Its termination was an event of evil augury for the Ostrogothic power; and the peace of the Church, by no very remote chain of causes and effects, involved war for Italy.

Splendid strategy of the Popes. Looked at merely as a question of spiritual strategy, and without any reference to the spirit and maxims of Christianity, the action of the Popes during the forty years of the struggle must be pronounced most masterly. It was necessary to show to all the world that no act of importance could take place in any of the Churches of Christendom without their consent. Acacius had presumed to endeavour to carry through Zeno's scheme of comprehension without the sanction of the Pope, and therefore, though personally orthodox, Acacius must suffer eternal torment. That end was now attained as far as ecclesiastical censures could secure it; and it might be expected that it would be long before another Patriarch of Constantinople would incur the same tremendous penalty. It is a new warfare in which the Popes are engaged, those venerable men whose faces in almost endless series look down on the visitor to Rome from the walls of S. Paolo. Legates are their proconsuls, monks their legionaries, the Churches of foreign lands their provinces, the sentence of eternal damnation the pilum with which those provinces shall be won. They plan their campaigns with the skill of a Scipio, and they fight them through with the fortune as well as with  p438 the relentlessness of a Sulla. This at least is their general character; but in their career of conquest, as in that of the Republic which preceded them, there are occasional vicissitudes of defeat. We have just been tracing the history of the Acacian war, crowned by the victory of Constantinople. Thirty years later we shall have to witness the defeat and surrender of Vigilius at the same place; a calamity for the pontifical arms as great and as bitterly resented as that which befell the Roman legions on the disastrous day of Caudium.

The Author's Notes:

1 Anastasius was a Silentiarius before his accession to the throne. Procopius (De Bello Pers. II.21) describes these officers as men whose business it was to watch over the Emperor's rest in the palace (βασιλεῖ μὲν ἀεὶ ἐν παλατίῳ τὰ ἐς τὴν ἡσυχίαν ὑπηρετῶν . . . Σιλεντιαρίους Ῥωμαῖοι καλοῦσιν οἷς ἡ τιμὴ αὕτη ἐπίκειται).

2 Except a short and rapid summary of the Persian Wars of Anastasius given by Procopius, De Bello Pers. I.7‑10.

3 Preserved, though in a very modified form, in the History of Evagrius.

4 According to one reading οὐδενὶ νόμῳ, 'under no law;' according to another οὐδενὶ πόνῳ, 'with no trouble.' Neither reading gives a very satisfactory sense (Anecdota, 19, p113).º

5 This statement may be compared with that as to the 130,000 lbs. of gold collected for and wasted upon the Vandal expedition by Leo (see vol. II p446).

6 Zosimus asserts this and Evagrius passionately denies it.

7 Tillemont argues that it was the same as the lustralis collatio, and was collected once in five years.

Thayer's Note: The difference might be accounted for by different systems of counting years, inclusive (4 years) or exclusive (5 years).

8 Upon the nature of the Chrysargyron, which is not very clearly explained by contemporary authors, the following somewhat doubtful testimony is given by the late writer Cedrenus (eleventh century): —

'Now the Chrysargyron was this sort of tax. Every poor man and beggar, every prostitute and repudiated wife, every slave and freedman, made a contribution to the treasury for the excrement of their cattle and their dogs, whether in the city or the field. Men and women each paid a silver coin (? denarius): the same was paid on behalf of a horse, a mule, and an ox: for an ass or a dog the payment was six folles. Great was the wailing both in city and country on account of the pitiless way in which the collectors exacted this tax.'

9 So says Theophanes, p123C (ed. 1655).

10 As Evagrius says, their 'commission' (στρατεία) was one only held by gentlemen (οὐκ ἀφανῶν ἀνδρῶν). In consequence of the fiction that the Emperor was a general, every post, even in the civil service, held under him was a στρατεία.

11 This story concerning Anastasius is well illustrated by a bas‑relief recently discovered in the Forum at Rome. At the command of an Emperor, probably Trajan, the servants of the Exchequer are bearing a great number of rolls of parchment — probably the registers showing the arrears due from defaulting tax‑payers — and are burning them in the fire.

Thayer's Note: Good details, and photographs, in The "Trajan-Reliefs" in the Roman Forum (AJA 5:58‑82).

12 Evagrius, III.42. The passage is very obscure.

13 Lydus (De Mag. II.61) seems to attribute this change to John of Cappadocia, under Justinian.

14 Compare vol. II pp576‑596.

15 Βουλευτήρια.

16 Βίνδικες.

17 Εὐπατρίδαι.

18 Ἐν λευκώμασι.

19 So I understand the words of Evagrius, III.38, who says that the Macron Teichos stretched like a πορθμός from sea to sea, and made an island of the country round Constantinople. But the usual interpretation which understands Evagrius to be speaking merely of the military protection afforded by the wall is perhaps the sounder one. Finlay says that 'traces of the wall are still visible about twenty feet broad' (History of Greece, I.181).

20 See chap. II.

21 The Cabades of Procopius.

22 It must be, I think, by some inadvertence that Milman (Hist. of Latin Christianity, I.243) speaks of the Emperor as having shared these campaigns in person. There is no trace of such a statement in Procopius, and it is improbable that a sovereign, seventy-four years of age, should expose himself to the perils and hardships of such an enterprise. Milman refers to a certain Persian painter who decorated the walls of the palace with Manichean emblems, and whom, he thinks, Anastasius brought with him from the East. But Cedrenus (a very late writer), who is the authority for this story, says: 'Anastasius brought from Cyzicus [in Mysia] a certain Manichean painter in the habit of a priest, who dared to paint fantastic figures, unlike the holy ecclesiastical effigies, in the palace' (I pp629, 630, ed. Bonn).

23 p265.

24 'Facta pace de praesumptione regni.'

25 See vol. I p677 (Note H, On the Division of Illyricum). See also the map at vol. I p237.

26 'Sirmiensium civitas olim limes Italiae fuit, in qua seniores domini excubabant, ne coacervata illinc finitimarum vulnera gentium in Romanum corpus excurrerent' (Ennod. Paneg. p173, ed. Migne).

27 Otherwise called Tulun.

28 Cassiodori Chronicon (s. a. 504): 'Hoc Cos. virtute D. N. regis Theodorii victis Bulgaribus Syrmium recepit Italia.'

29 'Pitzamum quoque suum comitem et inter primos electum ad obtinendam Sirmiensem dirigit civitatem. Quam ille expulso rege ejus Trasarico, filio Trapstilae, retenta ejus matre obtinuit' (Jordanes, De Reb. Get. LVIII).

30 'Nam hic Mundo de Attilanis quondam origine descendens. . . . ultra Danubium in incultis locis sine ullis terrae cultoribus debacchatur, et plerisque abactoribus scamarisque [?] et latronibus undecunque collectis . . . regem se suis grassatoribus fecerat.'

31 Marcellinus Comes, s. a. 505.

32 Near Morava Hissar. Jordanes calls it 'Margo planum, inter Danubium Margumque flumina.'

33 These, however, may have been included in Sabinianus' army of 10,000.

34 The reader must excuse some turgid sentences. I am translating — as far as it is possible to translate — Ennodius.

35 'Concurrebant duae nationes, quibus nunquam inter gladios fuga subvenerat: miratae sunt mutuo sui similes inveniri, et in humano genere vel Gothos resistentem videre villa Bulgares' (Ennod. Paneg. XII).

36 But Cassiodorus says that Sirmium in the previous war had been taken from the Bulgarians. I do not pretend to reconcile the two accounts.

37 'Interea ad limitem suam Romana regna remearunt: dictas more veterum praecepta Sirmiensibus: de suis per vicinitatem tuam dubitant, qui hactenus nostra tenuerunt.'

38 Cass. Var. I.1.

39 Cass. Var. II.6.

40 'Magna ars est contra artifices loqui, et apud illos aliquid agere qui se putant omnia praevidere.'


'Omnia sed superest, Princeps, praeconia vestra

Propositum sapiens, quo fidos eligis aulae

Custodes, per quos Romana potentia crescat,

Et quo, Roma vetus misit quoscunque, benigne

Sustentas, omni penitus ratione fovendo,

Provehis et gradibus praeclaris laetus honorum

Ne damni patriae sensus fiantve dolores,

Fortunam quare tibi debent atque salutem

Votaque suscipiunt pro te noctesque diesque.'

42 See  p66.

43 So say modern geographers. I have not met with the authority for so locating it.

Thayer's Note: A modern geographer, Henri Grégoire, writing in 1910, thus after Hodgkin, placed it at Avkat ("Avghat") on the strength of a passage in the Acta Sanctorum buttressed by the find of the epitaph of a bishop of Euchaita in the location approximately indicated (Byz. Zeitschrift, XIX.59‑61). See The Euchaita/Avkat Project at the History Department of Princeton University; a further link there to a large database yielded by the project.

44 There had been in the preceding year an attempt on the life of Euphemius, described by Theophanes, which had only just failed of success. But the authority of so late a writer is quite insufficient to connect Anastasius with this crime. The nearly contemporary Theodorus Lector, a bitter enemy of the Emperor, simply ascribes it to 'the conspirators against Euphemius' (οἱ ἐπίβουλοι Εὐφημίου).

45 This is Tillemont's conjecture.

46 Victor Tunnunensis asserts this, 'Macedonius . . . Synodo facta condemnat eos qui Chalcedonensis decreta Synodi suscipiunt; ut eos qui Nestorii et Eutychis defendant;' but this is very likely only a partisan way of stating that he signed the Henoticon.

47 Milman's Latin Christianity, I.241.

48 1 Tim. iii.16. He was accused of altering ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί into ὡς ἐ. ἐν σ. The reading in the Textus Receptus, as is well known, is Θεός: but Macedonius is not charged, as is sometimes stated, with introducing this reading, but ὡς. It is difficult to see what bearing this change would have either way, but the introduction of Θεός would hardly be charged upon a Nestorian. The passage, which is in Liberatus (Breviarium, cap. XIX), is important, as showing that ὅς was the generally accepted reading in the sixth century.

49 Οἱ τῶν σχολῶν.

50 We get this fact from Marcellinus. Victor Tunnunensis, who perhaps misunderstood his authority, thinks that the clouds suddenly rained down ashes in 512 on the impious corrupters of the Trisagion.

51 Or rather the form which had then become popular, 'Holy God, Holy Strong, Holy Immortal.'

Thayer's Note: Still the form used in the Russian Orthodox Church; in Church Slavonic, Святый Боже, Святый крепкий, Святый безсмертный.

52 Areobinda or Areobindus, son of Dagalaifus and grandson on his mother's side of the Patrician Ardaburius, married Juliana, daughter of the Emperor Olybrius and granddaughter of Valentinian III. (See genealogy at vol. II p474.) For a notice of the house of Areobinda and of the church at Constantinople which he dedicated to the Virgin, see Anon. Ant. Constantino­p. p38 (ap. Banduri).

53 'Tertio die quam in forum advenerant' (Marcellinus, s. a. 512).

54 'In circum ad Anastasium venientes et ante suum solium consistentes, hymnum Trinitatis juxta morem Catholicorum concinentes, conruscansque Evangelium crucemque Christi ferentes, e foro plurimi convenerunt, Marinum Platonemque pravitatis ejus auctores feris subjici conclamantes' (Marcellini Chronicon, s. a. 512).

55 I do not find the authority of Gibbon's statement that the mob 'accepted the blood of two unpopular ministers, whom their master without hesitation condemned to the lions.' The deaths of Marinus and Plato were clamoured for; but where are we told that the mob had their will? As for Marinus, Evagrius distinctly mentions him as taking part in the latest scenes of the war with Vitalian, three years after this insurrection.

56 Vitalianus Scytha (Marcell. Com. s. a. 514). The suggestion that he was a grandson of Aspar seems to spring from a confusion between his father Patriciolus and Aspar's son Patricius.

57 In Müller's Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, vol. V.

58 Anastasius seems to have sent two letters, to nearly the same purport. One was despatched from Constantinople, Dec. 28, 514, and reached Rome on the 14th of May, 515. The other, despatched Jan. 12, 515, was received as early as March 28. The unsettled state of the country, or the fear of winter storms, may have led to the double despatch.

59 Agapetus (Var. II.6).

60 'Blanda excusatione eos declinate.'

61 Macedonius died in the year of this embassy (515), but the tidings of his death, if it had already happened, had not reached Rome in August, when Hormisdas prepared this paper of instructions.

62 For obvious reasons Anastasius does not call himself Gotthicus in this document.

63 'Senatuique suo salutem dicit.'

64 See his letter to Avitus (Ep. X p395, ap. Migne).

65 Probably of the East and of Constantinople.

66 Magistriani (I cannot find an exact equivalent for the term).

67 His wife Ariadne, who had passed nearly sixty years in the imperial palace, died in the year 515.

68 Which, according to Zonaras, he had caused to be built underground and covered with a dome (θόλος).

69 Paschal Chronicle and Theophanes.

70 Ὑπὸ τῷ πάντων βασιλέων ἡμερωτάτῳ Ἀναστασίῳ (De Mag. III.26).

71 Praepositus Sacri Cubiculi.

72 'Curatorem non habes.' What could be the meaning of this addition to the popular acclamation?

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