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Book VI
Chapter 9

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Italy and Her Invaders

by
Thomas Hodgkin


2nd edition
Oxford University Press
London
1896

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 VI
Chapter 11

Book VI (continued)

Vol. V
p421
Chapter X

The Last Years of Gregory

Authorities

Sources: —

Gregorii Epistolae. Lives of Pope Gregory by Paulus Diaconus and Joannes Diaconus.

Importance of the peace of 599. The peace of 599, though not final, marks the transition to a different, and more settled, state of affairs in Italy. Hitherto war had been the normal relation between the Empire and the Lombard invaders: henceforward peace, though doubtless a turbulent and often interrupted peace, prevailed. Both Empire and Papacy now recognised the fact that the presence of the intruders, however unwelcome and 'unspeakable' they might be, was no mere passing misery; that there was no hope of expelling them from the peninsula; little prospect even of inducing them to accept the normal subordination of foederati; that they were settled in Italy as the Franks and Burgundians were settled in Gaul, and the Visigoths in Spain; and that the only thing now to be done was to defend the fragments of coast line, and the chain of posts along the Flaminian Way, which still owned the sway of the Roman Republic.

It would seem therefore that no more fitting place can be found for ending the history of Lombard Invasion, and beginning that of Lombard Rule in Italy, than this same year 599, which has also the advantage of coming at the close of a century. But  p422 there are two men, an Emperor and a Pope, whose names have occurred so frequently in my later pages, that for their sakes I shall include in this period the few years by which their lives overlap the six hundredth year from the birth of Christ.1

The Empire and the Avars. One consideration, which probably weighed with the Emperor in favour of the peace so long urged by Gregory, and so long refused by him, was the fact that the Avars, those Huns of the sixth century, were keeping up desultory but worrying hostilities in the provinces south of the Danube; twice besieging the key‑city of Singidunum (Belgrade), invading Dalmatia, and on one occasion (597) penetrating as far south as Thessalonica.2 There was probably some connection between these invasions and an embassy which the great Chagan of the Avars sent to Milan in order to 'make peace,' by which we are probably to understand a treaty of alliance with King Agilulf.3 The movements of these Tartar swarms evidently exercised a powerful influence on the politics of Europe at this time, and, as in the days of Attila, a century and a half previously, inclined the earlier invaders of the Empire to seek for peace with one another and with 'the Republic.' Issuing westwards from their quarters in Pannonia, they invaded Thuringia, and waged grievous war with the Franks, who were now over-lords of that country.4

 p423  Peace between Lombards and Franks. As with the Empire so also with the Franks, harassed by these sons of the wilderness, King Agilulf concluded a treaty of peace which was perhaps in their case a treaty of alliance. As we have said, all the kings of the Franks were now in their infancy. Guntram, the uncle, king of Burgundy, had died in 593: Childebert, the nephew, in 596. His two children, Theudebert II and Theodoric II, ruled in Austrasia and Burgundy. Their grandmother Brunichildis, expelled from Austrasia by the nobles, swayed the sceptre of Burgundy as regent over her infant grandson, and it was of course by her influence, though in the name of Theodoric, that a 'perpetual' peace was concluded between the Lombards and the Franks of the southern kingdom.5

Rebellion of three dukes of the Lombards. The Lombard king had in truth need of peace with his foreign foes in order to deal with domestic treason.6 Or perhaps we should state cause and effect in a different relation, and say that the conclusion of peace and the relaxation of the grasp on the forces of the State which the 'war‑power' gave to the king, brought its opportunity to rebellion. Three dukes revolted: the irrepressible Gaidulf of Bergamo, already twice  p424 pardoned; Zangrulf of Verona, and Warnecaut, who was perhaps duke of Pavia. All were defeated and slain by the energetic Agilulf, who wisely forbore from leaving Gaidulf under temptation to a fourth act of treason.7

Gregory's epistolary activity. To Gregory the conclusion of the long wished for peace brought in one sense rest, in another an immense increase of labour. Now was the time, when the roads were clear, and the Papal messengers could travel in safety, to order the affairs of the Churches, many of which had been lapsing into anarchy under the pressure of the times. Never probably, during the whole pontificate of Gregory, was the Papal chancery so busy as during this year of restored peace, 598‑599. Of the 851 letters which make up the collection Gregorii Epistolae, 238, or more than one quarter of the whole, belong to this year.8

A great number of these letters are addressed to the defensores, and relate to disputes about boundaries, the recovery of fugitive slaves, the administration of the estates of deceased persons, and matters of this kind. Many also are addressed to the sub‑deacons who had charge of the Papal Patrimony. His letters to Sicily; The affairs of Sicily occupied a large amount of the Pope's attention, now no longer fixed with anxious gaze upon 'the swords of the Lombards.' to Naples; In Naples party-spirit  p425 was running high between two groups of citizens, and a grasping bishop was claiming privileges which properly belonged to the 'patron' of the city. to Gaul. In Gaul there were the ever-recurring difficulties, the licentious lives of the clergy, the wide prevalence of simony, the impossibility of getting the bishops to assemble in a synod; an impossibility which was probably due to the fact that the majority of them were conscious of deeds of their own, which would not bear the light of a judicial investigation. These are some of the subjects which were touched upon in the 240 letters of 'the Second Indiction.'9

His love for Italy. In one letter10 addressed by the Pope to the paymaster11 Donellus, entreating him to come without delay and pay the half-mutinous garrison of Rome their wages, we have a sentence which sounds like the sigh of an Italian patriot of our own times under Austrian  p426 domination. 'We grieve to hear that you have been troubled by sickness: but we trust in the Divine compassion that He, who has made you to love our miserable and depressed Italy,12 will both restore to you bodily health, and reward you with eternal life.' Ravages of pestilence. The same letter concludes — 'The city of Rome, doubtless owing to our sins, is so reduced by the languor of various diseases, that there are hardly men enough left to guard the walls.' And in another letter of about the same date,13 the Pope says: — 'Such grievous febrile languors have attacked the clergy and people of this city, that scarce any man remains, free or slave, able to undertake any charge or duty. From the neighbouring cities also we hear daily reports of destructive mortality. And how Africa is being wasted by disease and death you doubtless know more accurately than we, as being closer to the scene of events. They, too, who come from the East report yet more terrible desolations there. All these things point to the approaching end of the world.' We hear from Paulus14 that this pestilence was especially severe at Ravenna and all along the sea‑coast (probably therefore ravaging Roman Italy more grievously than the mountainous interior which was in the hands of the Lombards); and that in the following year15 terrible mortality laid waste the inhabitants of the district round Verona.

Gregory's sickness. Gregory himself, though he apparently escaped the fever, was more cruelly than ever racked by gout.  p427 We may perhaps infer that the busy energy of the summer of 599, during all of which time he was fighting against this persistent enemy, brought him at last to so low a point that work became almost impossible; for the 240 letters of 'the Second Indiction' are succeeded by only twenty letters in the following year; one of the poorest harvests in the whole collection. He himself says to his correspondents16 in Sicily, 'For my sins I have now for eleven months been able only very rarely to rise from my bed. Such are the pains inflicted upon me by gout and other infirmities, that life is to me the heaviest of punishments. Every day I faint with the pain and wait with sighing for the remedy of death.' July 600 And again, in a later letter,17 addressed to the Patriarch of Alexandria, he says: —

'I received last year the very sweet letters of your Holiness, which I have not hitherto been able to answer, on account of my exceeding sickness. For behold! it is now all but two years that I have been confined to my bed, and so tortured with the pains of gout, that scarcely on festival days have I been able to rise for the space of three hours to celebrate the rites of the Mass. Then I am forced to lie down, in such severe pain, that only an occasional groan enables me to bear my agony. This pain in my case is sometimes gentle, sometimes intense, but never so gentle as to depart, nor so intense as to kill me. Hence I am daily dying, and daily driven back from death.'

The two years of peace. So the two years of peace wore away in Italy. There were fears of an invasion of Alamanni,18 but  p428 they were not fulfilled. The dukes of Benevento and Spoleto seem to have come in to the peace and to have lived on friendly terms with their Roman neighbour. Did Arichis become a Catholic? It is even thought by some that Arichis, the duke of Benevento, renounced his Arianism, and became a member of the Catholic Church; but this is perhaps too large an inference to draw from the fact that in the only letter which the Pope addressed to him,19 and which was probably written in the year 599, he accosts him 'as in truth our son.'20

Abduction of Agilulf's daughter and son-in‑law by the Exarch, March, 601. At length the two years' peace came to an end. Notwithstanding the anxious fears of Pope Gregory, it would perhaps have been renewed by Agilulf, but for the perfidious act of the Exarch, who thought by the seizure of a hostage to force the Lombard king to renew the peace on less favourable terms. A daughter of Agilulf by his first wife was dwelling with her husband Gottschalk21 at Parma, of which place Gottschalk was probably duke. It may have been owing to the security born of the two years' peace (though we are not expressly told that this was the case), that the princely couple were taken unawares by the soldiers of Callinicus, who suddenly  p429 appeared before the city, and carried them off to Ravenna.22

Agilulf's revenge. It seems to have been a felon stroke, and it utterly missed its aim. Far from being intimidated by his daughter's danger, Agilulf was roused to a more vigorous prosecution of the war. He made overtures for a fresh league with the Chagan of the terrible Avars, and sent him shipwrights, from the Italian ports under his sway, to help him to construct ships for warlike operations against Thrace. Capture of Padua. Agilulf himself then moved against the great city of Patavium (Padua), which till this time had successfully resisted the arms of the Lombards. He succeeded in kindling a conflagration by means of fiery bolts hurled into the city. The garrison saw that they could no longer hold the place, and surrendered to Agilulf, who, honouring their bravery, allowed them to depart uninjured to Ravenna. The city itself, we are told, was levelled to the ground: the second time within two centuries that this fate had befallen the proud city of Livy.23

Alliance with the Avars. At this time the ambassadors who had been sent to the Chagan of the Avars returned, announcing that he had graciously concluded a perpetual peace with the Lombards. The great barbarian sent also an ambassador of his own, who proceeded to the courts of the Frankish kings, and announced to them his master's pleasure that they should dwell at peace with his Lombard friend.

602 Istria ravaged, Mons Silicis captured. The next year was a prosperous one for Agilulf.  p430 The Lombards, with their Avar and Sclavonic allies, entered Istria, which they laid waste with fire and sword.24 In the Po valley, the arms of the Lombards achieved a signal success by the reduction of the Mountain of Flint (Monselice), which had been one of the few islands rising above the flood of barbarian conquest.

There was great joy also in the new palace at Modicia (Monza), which Queen Theudelinda had built and adorned with paintings of the victories of the Lombards.25 Birth of an heir. He receives Catholic baptism, 603. Here in this barbaric Versailles, Queen Theudelinda, after eleven years of married life, gave birth to her firstborn son, who was named Adalwald, and who was baptized26 according to the Catholic rite by Secundus of Trient, the historian to whom Paulus was indebted for most of his knowledge of this period. This was a signal triumph for Catholicism. Agilulf's predecessor had sternly forbidden the Lombard nobles to have their children baptized by Catholic bishops, and now King Agilulf himself, though probably still making profession of Arianism, permitted his own sons to be held over the baptismal font by a Catholic ecclesiastic.

 p431  Dukes of Trient and Friuli reconciled to Agilulf, 602. The year of Adalwald's birth also witnessed the reconciliation of the two great dukes, Gaidwald of Trient, and Gisulf of Friuli, who had before been estranged from Agilulf, if not actually in rebellion against him, but who now came in and submitted themselves to his rule.27

Exarch Callinicus succeeded by Smaragdus (a second time Exarch), 602. Meanwhile there was a change in the occupants of the Imperial palace at Constantinople and of the Exarch's palace at Ravenna. The year 602 saw the downfall of the Emperor Maurice, with circumstances which will shortly be related, and also saw the removal of Callinicus, who was replaced as Exarch by Smaragdus, the same capable, but somewhat headstrong official, who had been recalled from Ravenna thirteen years before28 for his too harsh treatment of the Istrian schismatics. The recall of Callinicus at this juncture may have been connected with the revolution at Constantinople,29 but seems sufficiently accounted for by the conspicuous failure of his dastardly blow at the family of the Lombard king, and by an actual defeat which he is said to have suffered under the walls of Ravenna.30

Triumphant career of Agilulf, 603. The change of rulers did not, however, make any difference in the fortunes of the war. The year 603  p432 beheld the most triumphant of all the campaigns of Agilulf. Going forth from Milan in the month of July, he laid siege to the city of Cremona. There were among his troops a number of Sclavonic barbarians, whom his great ally, the Chagan of the Avars, had sent to serve under his banners. Capture of Cremona On the 21st of August Cremona was taken, and, according to Paulus, was levelled with the ground.31 It is hardly likely, however, that the Lombard king would thus utterly destroy a large and wealthy city just added to his dominions. It seems more probable that it was only the fortifications that were destroyed, as in the case of the African cities taken by Gaiseric.32 and Mantua. From Cremona he marched against its old neighbour Mantua, beat down its walls with battering-rams, and entered the city on the 13th of September, having admitted the garrison to an honourable surrender, and allowed them to return to Ravenna. He also captured the little town of Vulturina, the position of which is unknown, but which was probably situated upon the northern bank of the Po, not far from Parma, for Brixellum burned by the Imperialists. we are told that the garrison in their flight from Vulturina set the town of Brixellum on fire.33 Brixellum (now Brescello) was the town of the south bank of the Po, about ten miles from Parma, which, as the reader may remember, the Alaman Droctulf had long held for the Empire against the Lombards. It was, however, at last surrendered to  p433 King Authari, and, as a Lombard town, was now set on fire by the fleeing garrison of Vulturina.

Peace made on the base of uti possidetis. The fortune of war was so evidently going against the Imperial arms that, in September of this year, Smaragdus was glad to make peace with Agilulf. Hostilities were to cease for eighteen months, till the 1st of April, 605. King Agilulf evidently retained all his conquests, and — most striking confession of Imperial failure — Return of Agilulf's daughter. his daughter was restored with her husband and children. The princess returned to her home at Parma, but the story of her captivity had an unhappy ending. Her death. She died in child‑bed almost immediately after her return from Ravenna. Would that we knew more of this strange and pathetic little incident in the meagre annals of the time! The princess, whose very name is hidden from us, dwelt probably for two years and a half with her husband and children in captivity at Ravenna. How gladly would we hear something of the effect which the imperial and ecclesiastical splendours of the city by the Ronco produced on the daughter of the Thuringians; of her relations with the two Exarchs who successively ruled there; of the terms of her captivity, whether easy or severe; of the Exarch's announcement to her that she was free; of the scene of her restoration to her father's arms, and of his emotions when he heard that a mightier than the Exarch had carried her off into the captivity from which there is no returning!

Lombard frontier extended. The total effect of these operations of 601‑603 was greatly to enlarge the Lombard boundary. The whole valley of the Po was now in the possession of the invaders; the communication by land with the cities of the Venetian lagunes was cut off; there was now  p434 no Imperial city of importance in Italy north of the latitude of Ravenna. No change of frontier occurred for a generation of equal extent with that which followed on the abduction of the daughter of Agilulf.

We have followed the course of events in Italy down to the autumn of 603; but we must now return to the close of the preceding year in order to notice the revolution which, in November, 602, was accomplished at Constantinople.

Affairs at Constantinople. From his correspondence with Gregory, the reader will probably have formed a fair estimate of the character of Flavius Tiberius Mauricius Augustus. Character of Maurice. He was neither a bad nor a foolish man, but he often did the right things in the wrong way, and he had not that power of achieving personal popularity which has been possessed by many rulers of far inferior capacity. A skilful general and author of a book of some authority on Strategics, Maurice was nevertheless unpopular with the army. An orthodox Churchman, he, nevertheless, on account of his quarrel with Pope Gregory, earned a bad name in ecclesiastical history. Inheriting an exhausted treasury from his lavish predecessor Tiberius, he failed to make his subjects understand that 'his poverty, and not his will, consented' to retrenchments which they thought mean and unworthy of the Imperial dignity. In civic politics Maurice leaned to the faction of the Blues, which seems to have been weaker than that of the Greens, and at a critical period of the revolution he unwisely armed both factions in order to form a city-guard against the mutinous soldiers. The remote cause of his downfall appears to have been his refusal (in the year 600) to ransom 12,000 soldiers  p435 (possibly deserters), who were in the power of the Chagan of the Avars, and who, being unransomed, were put to death by the barbarian. This refusal, which was perhaps due in part to absolute poverty, in part to notions of military discipline, like those which prompted the well-known speech of Regulus to the Roman Senate, sank deep into the hearts of the soldiery; and when, in 602, Maurice issued orders that to save the expense of their rations the Danubian army should spend the winter in the cold and inhospitable regions inhabited by the Slavonians, the long-suppressed anger of the legions burst into a flame. Mutiny of the troops on the Danube, 602. They defied the Emperor's power, refused to cross the Danube, and raising one of their officers, the centurion Phocas, on a shield, after the fashion of the barbarians, they saluted him, not indeed as yet with the title of Imperator, but with the only less splendid name of Exarch.34

The full details of the revolution need not be given here, as they belong rather to the history of the East than of Italy, and they have been already to some extent anticipated in connexion with the history of Germanus Postumus, the great-grandson of Theodoric, and the great-nephew of Justinian, who was for a time an unwilling candidate for the Imperial dignity, but who was eventually put to death by the usurper, after he had used that venerated name as a cloak for his own ambition.35

It may not, however, be out of place to give the outlines of the story of the fall of Maurice as it is told  p436 by Joannes Diaconus, who probably preserves that version which early obtained credence in Italy.

Through the barbarous and obscure Latinity of the biographer we can discern something of the internal struggle in the Emperor's mind, distracted between his duty to the State and his fear for the safety of his soul if he continued in opposition to the Pope. Italian version of the fall of Maurice. 'Most covetous and most tenacious of Emperors,' (says the Deacon), — Maurice perceived that Gregory, who had been raised to the pontificate by his vote, no longer needed the Emperor's defence against the tumults of the time, but relied on spiritual help, on the force of the canon law, on his own holiness and prudence to overcome the dangers by which he was surrounded. While partly admiring his courage, Maurice was drawn away more and more to hatred and detraction of the great Pontiff, and at length wrote him that sharp letter of rebuke for wasting the stores of cornº [and listening to the peace propositions of Ariulf], to which Gregory replied in the famous letter beginning 'In serenissimis jus­sionibus,' which was quoted in an earlier chapter.36

The boldness of this reply moved Maurice both to admiration and to anger, and he would probably have proceeded to some act of tyrannical oppression against the Pope, but for a strange scene which was enacted in the streets of Constantinople. A certain man, clothed in monastic garb, and endued with superhuman energy, walked, bearing a drawn sword in his hand, from the Forum to the brazen statue of the gladiator,37 proclaiming to all the bystanders that the Emperor  p437 should die by the sword. (The biographer's manner of telling the story leaves us in doubt whether he is describing a supernatural appearance or the bold deed of some enthusiast.)38 When Maurice heard this prediction he at once forbore all further acts of violence against Gregory, and set himself with earnestness to avert the coming judgment. He sent not only to Gregory, but to all the Patriarchs, bishops, and abbots in his dominions messengers bearing costly gifts, money, tapers, and frankincense, accompanied by his written petition, to which he besought them to add their suffrages, that it would please God to punish him for his sins in this life, and to deliver him from endless torment. This for long was the burden of his tearful prayer. At length one night in his slumbers he saw himself standing with a great multitude by the brazen statue of the Saviour, at the brazen gate of the palace. Lo! a voice, a terrible voice, issued from the mouth of the Incarnate Word, 'Bring Maurice hither';39 and the ministers of judgment brought him, and laid him down before the Judge.40 With the same terrible voice the statue said, 'Where dost thou wish that I should requite to thee the ills that thou hast wrought in this world?' 'Oh! Lover of men,' the Emperor answered, 'Oh! Lord, and righteous Judge, requite me here, and not in the world to come.' At once the divine voice ordered that 'Maurice and his  p438 wife Constantina, with their sons and daughters, and all their kinship should be handed over to Phocas the soldier.' When the Emperor awoke, he sent a chamberlain to summon his son-in‑law Philippicus, whom he had long suspected of treasonable designs upon the throne. Philippicus came in, trembling, having taken, as he supposed, a last embrace of his wife Gordia, and having fortified himself with the Holy Communion. When he entered the Emperor's sleeping apartment, and, according to custom, prostrated himself at his feet, Maurice raised him up, and, performing the same prostration, said, 'Pardon me, I pray, for I now know, by a revelation from God, that thou hast harboured none of the evil designs against me, of which I suspected thee. But tell me if in all our armies thou knowest a man who passes by the name of Phocas.' Then Philippicus, after long musing, answered, 'One man called Phocas I do know, who was lately named procurator by the army, and who was murmuring against your rule.' 'What manner of man is he?' said the Emperor. 'Young and rash,' answered Philippicus, 'but timid withal.' Then said Maurice, 'If he is timid, he will also be a murderer.'

While he was still in doubt and fear over this business an Imperial messenger41 brought back the answer of some holy hermits to whom he had been sent — 'God has accepted thy repentance. Thou and all thy house shall be saved, and shall have your dwelling with the saints above, but thou shalt fall from the throne with disgrace and danger.'

When Maurice heard these words he thanked God  p439 and continued his acts of penitence. His covetousness, however, he could not eradicate, and thus it came to pass that he ordered his troops to winter in perilous places, crossing over the Danube to seek their food at the risk of their lives in the country of the Sclavonians, that they might not eat their rations at the expense of the State. These orders were conveyed to the general Peter (brother of the Emperor), who, summoning his officers,42 said 'These orders of the Emperor that we should winter in the enemy's country seem to me too hard. I am placed in a most difficult position. Disobedience to orders is disastrous, but obedience seems more disastrous still. Nothing good comes out of avarice, which is the mother of all the vices; and that is the disease under which the Emperor is now suffering, and which makes him the author of such grievous ills to the Romans.'

Phocas proclaimed Exarch. Then came, as has been already said, the open mutiny of the army, their elevation of Phocas on the shield, his proclamation as Exarch. The mutineers offered the diadem successively to Theodosius, son of the Emperor, and to Germanus, the father-in‑law of Theodosius, who both refused it, and acquainted Maurice with the offer that had been made them. Germanus, however, seeing that he had roused the Emperor's suspicions, took refuge in the church of the Theotokos.43 Maurice looked upon his son as a traitor, and ordered him to be flogged, and he then sent many persons to draw Germanus forth from the shelter of the church of St. Sophia, to which he had  p440 removed from that of the Theotokos. The multitude, however, would not permit Germanus to be removed, and broke out into shouts of invective against Maurice, calling him a Marcionite heretic.44 Unnerved by the tumult, Maurice went on board a swift cutter with his wife and children, and reached the sanctuary of the martyr Autonomus, on the Bithynian coast. Meanwhile Phocas arrived at the palace of the Hebdomon, outside the gate of Constantinople, and, after some little dallying and delay, during which the claims of Germanus to the vacant throne were advocated by the Blue faction, Phocas Emperor. Phocas himself was proclaimed Emperor.45

Maurice and his sons murdered. Possibly Maurice might have been left unmolested in his sanctuary, but for the injudicious cry of the offended Blues at the coronation of the new Empress Leontia: — 'Begone: understand the position: Maurice is not dead.' An officer was sent to Chalcedon to slay the Emperor and his four younger sons; Theodosius, the eldest, having started on the eastward road to seek the assistance of the Persian king. As each of the young princes yielded up his life, the fallen Emperor, determined to drink the cup of his punishment to the dregs, repeated the verse, 'Thou art just, Oh! Lord, and true are thy judgments.' The youngest of the tribe was but a baby, and the nurse, who was rearing  p441 him, with 'splendid mendacity' tried to substitute her own child for the Imperial nurseling, but Maurice, as nobly unselfish, insisted on proclaiming the truth, and gave his own little one to the sword. Last of all, the Emperor himself was slain. His martyr death revealed the essential nobleness of his nature, and seems to demand a merciful judgment on a life marked indeed by many mistakes, but, as far as we can see, stained by no crime.

The young and attractive prince Theodosius, returning from his eastern journey, at its first stage fell into the hands of the usurper's creatures and was slain. The widowed Empress Constantina, her daughters, and Germanus, were put to death about three years afterwards.46 By the end of 605 there was no scion left of the once flourishing house of Mauricius Augustus.

Villainies of Phocas. Too soon the soldiers and the people of Constantinople found out the terrible mistake which they had made in exchanging a just and noble-hearted, if somewhat unsympathetic, ruler for that monster of lust and cruelty, the imbecile and brutal Phocas, whose reign is perhaps the darkest page in all the annals of Byzantium. We are indeed bound to read with some caution the character of a monarch, written by the courtiers of the rival who dethroned him. The dynasty of Heraclius, who in 610 ended the horrible nightmare of the reign of Phocas, wore the imperial purple for the greater part of a century; and we, therefore, ought to treat the history of Phocas, as told by the meagre historians of that century, in something of the same spirit in which modern historians treat the Tudor historians' description of the deeds  p442 and character of Richard III; but after every deduction has been made, there can be no doubt that Phocas was a jealous, lecherous and cruel tyrant, besides being quite intellectually unfit to wield the scepter of a great empire, and that the eight years of his reign were one of the gloomiest and most disastrous periods in Byzantine history.

The death of Maurice took place on the 27th of November, 602.47 Tidings of the fall of Maurice reach Rome, 603. Probably some indistinct rumours of the revolution reached Rome before the formal Embassy, but it was on the 25th of April, 603, that the statues of the August Phocas and Leontia were brought to Rome, accompanied by letters in which the crowned trooper addressed the Senate and People of Rome in terms of the utmost condescension. The clergy and the Senate assembled in the great Julian basilica, near the Papal palace of the Lateran, and shouted the customary acclamations to the new Augustus and the new Augusta. The statues were then carried, by order of the Pope, into the oratory of S. Caesarius, in the Lateran Palace, and erected there; and then Pope Gregory sat down to compose his answer to the Imperial proclamation.

Gregory's letter of congratulation to Phocas. It might have seemed that he had a difficult task before him. He had himself, in the earlier stages of his career, been somewhat indebted to the deceased Emperor's friendship. Of later years it is true that the relations between them had been much strained, and the angry correspondence of the years 595 to 59748 had apparently been succeeded by an angrier  p443 silence. But if the Pope's relations had of late been hostile, with his family he had ever been on terms of friendship. He had written letters of fatherly love and tenderness to the Empress Constantina; he had raised her eldest son, Theodosius, from the baptismal font; he had interested himself in the education of the little occupants of the Imperial nursery. And now Constantina was in forced seclusion; Theodosius, if yet living, was a fugitive; the other princes, down to the youngest of them, had been slain in their innocent childhood by the order of an usurper. And to that usurper Gregory had now to address congratulatory letters on his accession. As has been already said, the task, to an ordinary man of the world, might have seemed a difficult one. To the infinite disappointment and disgust of all honest champions of the great Pope's reputation, it must be admitted that he found in the task no difficulty at all. He could not rise to the level of the Jewish chieftain who poured forth his glorious song of lamentation over the relentless enemy who had fallen on Mount Gilboa. The thought of the desolate widow and murdered infants seems never to have crossed his mind; he only remembered the slights offered to his pretty dignity, the monarch who had dared to call him fatuus; the Patriarch who had used the abhorred word 'oecumenical'; and, because Phocas has trampled on the man who dared to use the one word and to defend the other, he addressed that  p444 murderous uproar with Hosannas like those uttered by the crowd at Christ's entry into Jerusalem: —49

'Glory to God in the highest — to Him who according to the Scripture changeth times and transferreth kingdoms. For He hath made all men to perceive that which He deigned to speak by the mouth of His prophet: — "The Most High ruleth in the kingdoms of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will." In the incomprehensible providence of Almighty God the destinies of our mortal lives alternate one with another. Sometimes, when the sins of many have to be punished, one is exalted, by whose sternness the necks of his subjects are pressed under the yoke of tribulation; and this we have experienced in our own long afflictions. Then again, when the merciful God decides to cheer the sorrowing hearts of many by His own consolation, He raises one man to the height of power, by whose tender compassion He pours the oil of His own gladness into the hearts of all men. With this abounding gladness we are persuaded that we shall soon be refreshed, we who do already rejoice that the kindness of your Piety has arrived at the summit of Imperial greatness. "Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad." By your benign actions may all the citizens of our Republic, till now so grievously afflicted, regain their cheerfulness of soul. Under the yoke of your rule may the proud minds of our enemies be pressed down. By your compassion may the contrite and dejected hearts of your subjects be raised up again — may the power of the heavenly grace make you terrible to your enemies; may your piety make you merciful to your subjects. In your most happy days may the whole Republic have rest, an end being put to those ravages of peace which are made under the guise of law. May the ambuscade of testaments, may the pretence of voluntary gifts exacted by violence be done away.50 Let all men have once again secure possession of their own property, that they may enjoy without trembling that which they have honestly acquired. Under the yoke of a pious Emperor let liberty be fashioned anew for  p445 every man.51 For this it is which makes the difference between the kings of the nations and the Emperors of the Republic, that the former are lords of slaves, and the latter of free men.52

'But we can say all this better in prayer than in exhortation. May Almighty God in every thought and word hold the heart of your Piety in the hand of His grace, and whatever is to be done with justice, whatever is to be done with clemency, may the Holy Spirit, inhabiting your breast, direct you to these things, so that your Clemency may be made sublime by your temporal reign, and that after many years have run their course you may attain to the Heavenly Kingdom.'

Appointment of an apocrisiarius to the Court of Constantinople. Again two months later, in sending an 'apocrisiarius' to represent him at the Imperial Court, the Pope continued in the same strain of virulent abuse of the fallen, and fulsome flattery of the reigning, Emperor:53 —

'I delight to think, with a grateful heart, what praise is due to Almighty God for removing the yoke of our sadness, and bringing us to days of liberty under the pious rule of your Imperial kindness.

'That your Serenity did not find a deacon from the Apostolic See dwelling in your palace according to ancient custom, must be ascribed not to my negligence, but to our sore need. For as all the ministers of our Church shunned and declined such hard times [as had to be endured by our apocrisiarius at Constantinople], I could not lay upon them the burden of going to the royal city to abide in the palace. But as soon as they knew that, by the disposing grace of Almighty God, your Clemency had arrived at the summit of the Empire, they who had hitherto trembled, were now eager in the promptings of their joy, to hasten to your feet. But as some of them are  p446 prevented by infirmity of age, and others by the cares of the Church, from undertaking this duty, I have chosen the bearer of these presents [Bonifacius], who is the first of all our defensores, of long tried diligence, and fit by his life, faith, and manners, to wait upon the footsteps of your Piety. I have therefore ordained him deacon, and sent him with all speed, that he may at a fitting time convey to your Clemency tidings of all that is going on here. May your Serenity deign to incline your pious ears to him, and so be the more quickly moved to pity our affliction, by hearing from him the true relation of it. For in what fashion we have now for the long space of thirty-five years been oppressed by the daily swords of the Lombards, and how their inroads have afflicted us, no words of ours are adequate to express.54

'But we trust in the Almighty Lord, that He will perfect for us those good gifts of His consolation which He has already begun, and that He who has raised up pious rulers for the Republic will also extinguish her cruel foes. May the Holy Trinity long guard your life, that we may have the longer fruition of the blessing of your Piety, which we have so late received.'

Letter to Leontia. At the same time Gregory wrote thus55 to the new Empress Leontia, who was inhabiting doubtless the very rooms which had witnessed the orisons of the pious Constantina, and echoed to the prattle of the children whom the husband of Leontia had murdered: —

'What tongue can utter, what heart can conceive, the thanks which we owe to Almighty God for the serenity of your Empire, that the hard weight which so long pressed upon us is removed from our necks, and that light yoke of the Imperial majesty which the subjects love to bear, has taken its place? Let glory therefore be given to the Creator of all by the hymning choirs  p447 on high: — let thanks be brought by men upon the earth: — because the whole Republic, which has borne so many sorrowful wounds, has now found the fomentings of your consolation.'

Gregory then goes on to pray that God, who holds the hearts of kings in His right hand, may turn the hearts of Phocas and Leontia into His service, and make them as zealous defenders of the Catholic faith as they are benign rulers of the state; that Leontia may be another Pulcheria in clemency — another Helena in zeal for the true religion. As they love the Creator of all, so are they bound to love the Church of that Apostle, to whom it was said, 'Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.' May they give their relieved subjects joy on earth, and themselves receive, after a long reign, the eternal joys of heaven.

These letters, written in July, 603, are nearly the last that we shall have to notice as proceeding from the pen of the great Pontiff.

Gregory to Theudelinda. In December of the same year he wrote56 to Queen Theudelinda thanking her for a letter which she had written from Genoa announcing the Catholic baptism of her son Adalwald. The tortures of gout prevented him from replying at that time to the doubts which had been instilled into her mind by her spiritual adviser Secundus, with reference to the 'Three Chapters' controversy; but he sent the Acts of the Fifth General Council in order to show that nothing had really been done thereat in derogation of the council of Chalcedon. He sent, moreover, certain presents which may have fascinated the gaze of the baby convert.

'We send our most excellent son, Adalwald the king, certain  p448 charms,57 namely, a cross with the wood of our Lord's cross, and a manuscript of the Holy Gospel enclosed in an embroidered case.58 To his sister, my daughter, I send three rings, two with jacinths and one with an onyx,59 and I pray you to hand these presents to your children, so that your Excellency may foster their love towards us. Saluting you with fatherly love, we pray you to give thanks to our most excellent son the king your consort, for the peace which has been made. As your manner has ever been, incline his heart by all means to peace in the future, that so, besides your many other good actions, you may earn from God the reward of an innocent people saved, who might otherwise have perished unshriven.'60

Increase of Gregory's malady. During all this time the Pope's bodily infirmities were increasing. His once portly frame was shrunken and withered by the gout, and by the daily worries of his life.61 Sometimes he was simply tortured with pain, and at other times a strange fire seemed to spread along with the pain through his body: the fire and the pain seemed to fight together, and body and mind alike gave way under the conflict.62

 p449  In February, 603, he wrote:63 — 'I live in such wailing and worry that I regret to see the light of each fresh day; and my only comfort is the expectation of death. Wherefore, I beg you to pray for me, that I may be the sooner led forth from this prison-house of the flesh, and that I be not any longer tortured by such agonies.'

It is pleasant to have to record that almost the last letter which we have from Gregory's pen is one which shows his thoughtfulness for others in the midst of his own daily sufferings. In January, 604, he wrote64 to the bishop of Perugia that Warm clothing sent to Bishop Ecclesius. he heard that 'our brother and fellow-bishop' Ecclesius was suffering from the cold, because he had no winter garment. He had asked the Pope to send him something, and accordingly Gregory sent a two‑ply wrapper,65 a tunic and a waistcoat,66 which were to be forwarded from Perugia with all speed to the shivering bishop. 'Be sure that you lose no time in executing this commission, and write to us at once that you have done it, for the cold is intense.'

Death of Pope Gregory, March 11, 604. Soon after writing this letter, the great Pontiff's long struggle with life was ended. He died on  p450 March 11,67 604, and was buried on the following day at the east end of the basilica of St. Peter.68 After the death of the man, who for fourteen years had been indisputably the foremost figure in the Italian peninsula, there was some trace of that reaction which is so often perceived when a commanding personality, such as that of Augustus, of Elizabeth, of Cromwell, is removed from the world; and, strange to say, it was the open-handed liberality of the deceased Pope which was chosen as the point of attack by his calumniators. The stories of what happened in Rome after his death are obscure, and reach us only through authors who lived two or three centuries after the event; but there is probably in them some vague echo of the truth. Sabinianus, his successor, cavils at his liberality. Paulus Diaconus69 tells us that Sabinianus, Pope Gregory's successor,70 refused to continue his predecessor's lavish charities to the people, averring that if he did, the corn-magazines would be exhausted and they would all die of hunger. Thrice did Gregory appear to him in a vision to warn him to repent and change his course, but in vain. A fourth time he appeared, and vehemently rebuked him, and struck him on the head with his staff. Soon after (in February, 606) Sabinianus died.

 p451  Later legends about the Pope's inspiration. According to the story told by Joannes Diaconus, Gregory's later biographer, the Pope's death was followed almost immediately by a famine in Rome. (This at least seems to be an undoubted fact.) Certain calumnious persons (Sabinianus' name is not expressly mentioned) stirred up the people, alleging that Gregory had been a spendthrift, and had wasted the treasures of his patriarchate. Hereupon the mob assembled with tumultuous cries, and began to talk of burning the late Pope's books. His friend the deacon Peter71 ran in among the crowd and earnestly sought to dissuade them, declaring that he had often seen the Holy Spirit hovering over the late Pope's head in the form of a dove, while he was writing his books.72 The people shouted, 'Swear to this till death, and we will not burn the books.' Hereupon Peter ascended the 'ambo' with the Gospels in his hand, swore the required oath, and 'breathed out his spirit amid his true confession.'73

Character of Gregory. The character of Pope Gregory, truly called the Great, has been sufficiently indicated by what has been here recorded of his deeds, and quoted of his words. The one great blot upon his escutcheon, his jubilation over the downfall of Maurice, and his fulsome praise of the tyrant his successor, can be palliated by no lover of truth and justice; and it is grievous  p452 to think how much more stainless his record would have been had his cruel enemy, the gout, carried him off only one year before the actual date of his death.74

We must admit, however, that a man of deep spiritual discernment, thoroughly imbued with the spirit of his Master, would not have written either the congratulatory epistles to Phocas, or many another letter in the great collection, which denotes impatience and an angry temper. On the whole, it seems safer to judge him as a great Roman, than as a great saint; — and thus considered his generosity, his justice, his courage, entitle him to a high place among the noblest names of his imperial race. In estimating his character we must never forget that, during all his public life, he was almost incessantly tortured by disease. That little passage in his biography which describes how he used to train the choir in the convent which had been his father's house, seems to me emblematic of much in the life of Gregory. In the midst of a tumultuous and discordant generation, it is his to bear witness to the eternal harmony. But he is stretched upon the bed of sickness; his frame is racked by pain; he holds the rod of discipline in his hand, and ever and anon, as he starts up to chastise the offender, he feels a sharper twinge than usual of his ever-present agony, and this gives an energy to his stroke, and a bitterness  p453 to his words, of which he himself is hardly conscious.

At any rate, there can be no doubt of the world-historical importance of this man, the last of the great Romans of the Empire, the true founder of the Mediaeval Papacy.


The Author's Notes:

1 The Emperor Maurice died in 602; and Pope Gregory I in 604.

2 Bury, II.126‑142.

3 'Per idem tempus' (this may mean any time between 593 and 600) 'Cacanus rex Hunnorum legatos ad Agilulfum Mediolanum mittens pacem cum eo fecit' (Paulus, H. L. IV.12).

4 'Hunni quoque qui et Abares dicuntur a Pannonia in Turingam ingressi bella gravissima cum Francis gesserunt' (Paulus, H. L. IV.11). As Agilulf was a Thuringian by birth, he was perhaps at this time hostile to the Avars, and this may account for the expression 'pacem cum eo fecit' (already quoted) which is used of the Chagan in the following section.

5 'Hoc etiam tempore Agilulf cum Theodorico Francorum rege pacem perpetuam fecit' (Paulus, H. L. IV.13).

6 'Post haec Ago rex rebellantem sibi Zangrulfum Veronensium ducem extinxit. Gaidulfum quoque Pergamensem ducem cui jam bis pepercerat peremit. Pari etiam modo et Warnecautium aput Ticinum occidit' (Paulus, H. L. IV.13). It will be noticed that Paulus does not distinctly say that Warnecaut was duke of Ticinum, nor is it easy to see how there could be a duke of the city which was the royal residence.

7 Weise (p183), of purely a priori grounds, transfers this revolt of the three dukes to 593‑594, and makes it the cause of Agilulf's raising the siege of Rome. I see no sufficient reason for departing from the order of events given us by Paulus.

8 This is according to Ewald's 'reconstruction' (pp568 and 575‑578). The reasons for this conclusion, startling as it is, appear to me convincing. Even the Benedictine editors allow 127 letters to this year, about twice the average of the other books. The following is an approximate list of the letters in 598‑599, according to Ewald: —

R C
September 1 10 = 11
October 12 23 = 35
November 6 13 = 19
December 4 15 = 19
January 6 12 = 18
February 6  3  9
March 1  6 (?)  7
April 4 13 (?) = 17
May 13 11 = 24
June 3  3 (?)  6
July 32 27 = 59
August 7  7 = 14
95 143 238

9 Sept. 1, 598–August 31, 599.

10 Ep. IX.124.

11 Erogator.

12 'Qui vos miseram et dejectam diligere fecit Italiam.'

13 Ep. IX.123 to the Patrician Venantius and his wife Italica (in Sicily).

14 H. L. IV.14.

15 Probably 600.

16 Ep. IX.123 (August, 599).

17 Ep. X.35.

18 Greg. Ep. X.29 (May, 600) to Constantius, bishop of Milan: 'De Alamannis autem quod vobis indicatum est, nos et longius quam vos positi sumus, et quod verum non sit minime dubitamus. Vestra tamen Fraternitas bene fecit pro informatione nostra scribere quod audivit.'

19 Ep. XII.21. This is one of the C letters, whose date is least clearly established.

20 'Quia sic de gloria vestra sicut revera de filio nostro confidimus.' The object of the letter was to ask for help in carting timber from the forests of Bruttii to the sea, for use in the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul. It is to be observed that in the letter to Theudelinda, XIV.12, Gregory speaks of 'excellent­issime filio nostro regi conjugi vestro,' though it is almost certain that at that time Agilulf was still an Arian.

21 Gudiscalcus.

22 Paulus, H. L. IV.20.

23 The first destruction was in 452, by order of Attila (see vol. II p153, 2nd edition).

24 This Istrian raid may have been in 601. The notes of time in Paulus are very indistinct.

25 'Ibi [in Modiciâ] etiam praefata regina sibi palatium condidit in quo aliquid et de Langobardorum gestis depingi fecit' (Paulus H. L. IV.22). Then follows the passage quoted in a previous chapter as to the Lombard dress. See p154.

26 Probably the baptism took place on Easter Sunday, the 7th of April, 603, but this is not quite distinctly stated by Paulus; who, after describing the baptism, says (H. L. IV.27), 'Fuit autem festi pascalis dies eo tempore septimo Idus Aprilis.' This might be a mere chronological note as to the occurrence of Easter in that year.

27 'Hoc anno Gaidoaldus dux de Tridento et Gisulfus de Forojuli cum antea a regis Agilulfi societate discordarent, ab eo in pace recepti sunt' (Paulus, H. L. IV.27).

28 In 589. See p263.

29 This is Weise's conjecture (p240). He assigns the date 603 for the change of Exarch, on insufficient grounds as it seems to me.

30 'Per idem tempus, repulso apud Ravennam Gallicino, rediit Smaracdus, qui prius fuerat Ravennae patricius' (Paulus, H. L. IV.25).

31 'Et cepit eam [Cremonam] duodecimo Kalendas Septembris et ad solum usque destruxit' (H. L. IV.28).

32 This is the opinion of Canon Lupi: Codex Diplomaticus Bergomatis, I.197. The same remark applies to the destruction of Padua mentioned a little before.

33 Waitz says that VulturinaValdoria; but where is Valdoria?

Thayer's Note: The verdict still appears to be out.

Clüver says this (Italia Antiqua, ed. 1624, I.263): "At castrum illud Diaconi, sive Vulturnia, ut quaedam habent exemplaria, sive, ut alia, Vulturina, seu denique, quod forte rectius, Vulturia dicendum sit, nullus alius est locus, quam qui tenuis nunc vicus, inter Cremonam et Brixellum, sinistrae Padi ripae a regione Caneti adpositus est, vulgari vocabulo Valdoria."

Fr. Giovanni Romani, the early‑19c author of a multi-volume history of the little town of Casalmaggiore, backs him up to an extent, stating that four miles from Casalmaggiore, on the banks of the river between Cremona and Brescello in the territory of Gussola, there is indeed a "neighborhood" or "area" (quartiere) that from time immemorial has been called Valdoria; but that on the other hand there is no trace, neither physical nor documentary, of any castle or settlement there now or ever (Memorie Storico-politiche di Casalmaggiore, Vol. I, p6): and an aerial view of that stretch of the Po today appears to show uninhabited farmland, not even, despite Clüver, a "tenuis vicus".

34 Observe this use of the title which was borne by the governor of Italy.

35 See Vol. IV pp642‑644.º

36 See p382.

37 Where was this? Does the Forum mean the great Hippodrome?

38 In this the story resembles that of the midnight summons to James IV from the city cross of Edinburgh before the battle of Flodden.

39 'Date Mauricium.'

40 'Et capientes eum judiciorum ministri posuerunt juxta pueri umbilicum qui illic erat.' I am quite unable to understand these last words.

41 Magistrianus — a mounted messenger belonging to the staff of the magister officiorum; see vol. III p100.º

42 Taxiarchi.

43 These details are not in Joannes Diaconus, but in Theophanes.

44 The theological attainments of the Byzantine mob must have been considerable if they were really acquainted with the name of the second century heretic Marcion, the upholder of St. Paul's doctrine against that of the other apostles, the champion of the benevolent God of the New Testament against the just, but unpitying Demiurgus of the Old.

45 So far Joannes Diaconus — the rest of the story from Theophylact.

46 As related in vol. IV p643.º

47 According to the Paschal chronicle: 26th according to Theophylact: see Bury, II.91, note 2.

48 Some of the letters belonging to this period seem written in a spirit of amity and goodwill; but upon the whole, considering the conventional courtliness of tone, which all subjects, even the Bishop of Rome, assumed in writing the Emperor, I think the correspondence may fairly be described as above.

49 Ep. XIII.31.

50 'Cessent testamentorum insidiae, donationum gratiae violenter exacte.'

51 'Reformetur jam singulis sub jugo imperii pii libertas sua.' Compare Claudian's 'Nunquam libertas gratior exstat Quam sub rege pio.'

Thayer's Note: de Cons. Stil. III.114 f.

52 The same sentence is found in Gregory's letter to the Ex‑consul Leontius (X.51).

53 Ep. XIII.38.

54 'Qualiter enim quotidianis gladiis et quantis Langobardorum incur­sionibus ecce jam per triginta quinque annorum longitudinem premimur, nullis explere suggestionis vocibus valemus' — an important passage, as helping us to fix the date of the entry of the Lombards into Italy at 568.

55 Ep. XIII.39.

56 Ep. XIV.12.

57 Phylacteria.

58 'Excellent­issimo autem filio nostro Adulouvaldo regi transmittere phylacteria curavimus, id est crucem cum ligno sanctae crucis Domini et lectionem sancti Evangelii thecâ Persicâ inclusam.' This use of the word 'regi' of the infant heir suggests the probability that Paulus is mistaken in dating Adalwald's association with his father in the royal dignity so late as July, 604 (H. L. IV.30).

59 Albula.

60 'Qui in scandalo perire poterat.'

61 Ep. XI.44. He writes to the Patricia Rusticiana: — 'Quam qualis fuerim nostis, ita amaritudo animi et assidua exacerbatio atque praeter hoc podagrae molestia afficit, ut corpus meum tanquam in sepulturâ ita siccatum sit.'

Rusticiana was a fellow-sufferer from the same malady, and was evidently a person of slender frame, for as he says, 'Si mei molem corporis in tantam podagrae dolor ariditatem redegit, quid de vestro corpore sentiam, quod nimis siccum ante Dolores fuit.'

62 Ep. XI.32.

63 Ep. XIII.22. Again to his fellow-sufferer, Rusticiana.

64 This letter is XII.47 in the Benedictine edition, and is therefore assigned therein to the year 601‑2. But Ewald is quite clear that its place in R is near the close of the letters of the 7th Indiction (Sept. 1, 603–Mar. 11, 604), and that, in fact, it was only followed by X.22 and 23 (see Neues Archiv, III.570). In its present order it is obviously misplaced, for it comes as the 47th out of 50 letters; therefore near the very end of the 5th Indiction (Sept. 1, 601–Aug. 31, 602), that is, at least as late as June or July, and yet it speaks of 'vehemens frigus.'

65 ἀμφίμαλλον: having the nap on both sides.

66 Pectoralem.

67 The 12th of March is sometimes given as the day of Gregory's death, but it seems clear that it was the day of his burial.

68 The epitaph, in sixteen fairly good elegiac lines, which is given in Joannes Diaconus's life of Pope Gregory, is said to have been composed by Peter Oldradus, archbishop of Milan, secretary of Pope Hadrian I (772‑795). See Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt rom, II.97, quoting Cancellieri de secretariis veteris basilicae Vaticanae, p669.

69 Vita Gregorii, xxix.

70 He had been formerly Gregory's apocrisiarius at Constantinople. (See p394.) His election was not confirmed till October, 604.

71 The same who is Gregory's interlocutor in the 'Dialogues.'

72 Paulus' version of the story is that a scribe, peeping through a curtain, saw the dove whispering in Gregory's ear, while he was engaged in composition. The well-known attitude of St. Gregory in sacred art, the dove whispering in his ear, is derived from this legend.

73 'And was buried, as you may see this day, near the base of the Pyrgus' (?).

74 It will be observed that I do not, with many authors, couple the name of Brunichildis with that of Phocas, in considering the indictment against Gregory. His letters to the Austrasian queen are too courtly, too eulogistic; but after all she was a great queen, and her really atrocious crimes were, I think we may safely say, all committed after the death of Gregory.


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