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Ch. 6
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
History of the Later Roman Empire

by J. B. Bury

published by Macmillan & Co., Ltd.,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Ch. 8

Vol. I
Chapter VII

Theodosius II and Marcian

§ 1. The Regency of Anthemius (A.D. 408‑414)

When Arcadius died his son Theodosius was only seven years old.​1 Anthemius, the Praetorian Prefect of the East, acted as regent,​2 while Antiochus, a palace eunuch, was entrusted with the care of the young prince. The guidance of the State through the first critical years of the new reign showed the competence of the regent. The measures which were passed during the six years in which he held the power exhibit an intelligent and sincere solicitude for the general welfare. The name of Anthemius is chiefly remembered for its association with the great western land wall of Constantinople, which was built under his direction and has been described in an earlier chapter.​3 But this was only one of many services that he performed for the Empire. Harmony was established between the courts of Constantinople and Ravenna and, while this was rendered possible by the death of Stilicho, it must be ascribed largely to the efforts and policy of Anthemius. A new treaty was made which secured peace on the Persian frontier.​4 An invasion of Lower Moesia by Uldin, the king of the Huns, who had executed Gaïnas, seemed at first serious and menacing, but was successfully repelled.​5 An  p213  immense horde of Sciri were in the Hun's host, and so many were taken prisoners that the government had some trouble in disposing of them. They were given to large landowners in Asia Minor to be employed as serfs. In order to secure the frontier against future invasions of Hun or German barbarians, Anthemius provided for the improvement of the fleet stationed on the Danube; many new ships were built to protect the borders of Moesia and Scythia, and the old crafts were repaired.6

Constantinople depended on Egypt for its bread, and it sometimes happened that there was a lack of transport ships at Alexandria and the cornº supplies did not arrive at the due time.​7 This occurred in A.D. 408, and there was famine in the city. The populace was infuriated, and burned the house of Monaxius, the Prefect of the City, whose duty it was to distribute the corn.​8 Anthemius and the Senate did their utmost to relieve the distress by procuring corn elsewhere,​9 and then Anthemius made permanent provision for a more efficient organisation of the supplies from Egypt.​10 He also took measures to revive the prostrate condition of the towns of the Illyrian provinces, which had suffered sorely through the protracted presence of Alaric and his Visigoths.​11 Towards the close of his tenure of office, all the fiscal arrears for forty years (A.D. 368‑407) were remitted in the provinces of the eastern Prefecture.​12 It is interesting to observe that the most intimate friend and adviser of Anthemius is said to have been Troilus, a pagan sophist of Side, who seems to have been the leader of a literary circle at Constantinople.13

 p214  § 2. Regency of the Empress Pulcheria (A.D. 414‑416)

In her sixteenth year Pulcheria was created Augusta (July 4, A.D. 414),​14 and assumed the regency in the name of her brother, who was two years younger than herself. Anthemius soon disappeared from the scene; we may conjecture that death removed him; and he was succeeded in the Prefecture of the East by Aurelian, who in the preceding reign had been the leader of the Roman party in resisting the designs of Gaïnas.​15 It seems probable that he was the chief adviser of Pulcheria.

One of her first acts was to remove from the court the eunuch Antiochus,​16 who had been her brother's tutor. She superintended and assisted in the education of Theodosius. It is said that she gave him special instruction in deportment; and she sought to protect him from falling under the influence of intriguing courtiers to which his weak character might easily have rendered him a prey. The new mode of palatial life, established in the reign of Arcadius, enabled women to make their influence increasingly felt in public affairs. The example had been set by Eudoxia, and throughout the whole space of the fifth and sixth centuries we meet remarkable ladies of the imperial houses playing prominent parts. The daughters of Eudoxia were unlike their mother, and the court of Theodosius II was very different from that of Arcadius. The princesses Pulcheria, Arcadia, and Marina, and the young emperor inherited the religious temperament of their father, with which Pulcheria combined her grandfather's strength of character. The court, as a contemporary says, assumed the character of a cloister, and pious practices and charitable works were the order of the day. Pulcheria resolved to remain a virgin, and prevailed upon her sisters to take the same resolution, in which they were confirmed by their spiritual adviser, the Patriarch Atticus, who wrote for them a book in praise of virginity.

 p215  Theodosius had studious tastes, and he formed a remarkable collection of theological books,​17 but he was also interested in natural science including astronomy. He was of a gentle and kindly nature, and it is recorded that he was reluctant to inflict capital punishment.​18 He seems to have possessed none of the qualities of a capable ruler either in peace or war.19

To an unprejudiced observer in the reign of Arcadius it might have seemed that the Empire in its eastern parts was doomed to a speedy decline. One possessed of the insight of Synesius might have thought it impossible that it could last for eight hundred years more when he considered the threatening masses of barbarians who encompassed it, the oppression of the subjects, and all the evils which Synesius actually pointed out. The beginning of the fifth century was a critical time for the whole Empire. At the end of the same period we find that while the western half had been found wanting in the day of its trial, the eastern half had weathered the storm; we find strong and prudent Emperors ruling at New Rome. The improvement began in the reign of Theodosius. The truth is that this Emperor, though weak like his father, was far more intelligent, and had profited more by his education. Throughout the greater part of his reign the guidance of affairs seems to have been in the hands of prudent ministers who maintained the traditions of Anthemius and Aurelian. In the chronicles we do not hear much about the Senate; everything is attributed to Pulcheria or Theodosius. But it seems probable that the Senate exercised considerable influence on the policy of the rulers. The State was not threatened in this reign by the danger of a military dictator­ship, and it was only towards its close that an unworthy eunuch enjoyed undue political power.

Soon after her accession to the responsibilities of government the young Empress was called upon to deal with serious troubles which had arisen in Egypt. The old capitals, Alexandria and Antioch, although they had been overshadowed by the greatness of Byzantium, were far from degenerating into mere provincial towns. They retained much of their old importance and all their old characteristics. In Alexandria, in the fifth century,  p216  with its population of perhaps 600,000 citizens,​20 life was as busy, as various, and as interesting as ever. The Romans had found no city in the Empire so difficult to govern as that of the quick-witted and quick-tempered Alexandrians; the streets were continually the scene of tumults between citizens and soldiers, and revolts against the Augustal Prefects. "While in Antioch, as a rule, the matter did not go beyond sarcasm, the Alexandrian rabble took on the slightest pretext to stones and cudgels. In street uproar, says an authority, himself Alexandrian, the Egyptians are before all others; the smallest spark suffices here to kindle a tumult. On account of neglected visits, on account of the confiscation of spoiled provisions, on account of exclusion from a bathing establishment, on account of a dispute between the slave of an Alexandrian of rank and the Roman foot-soldier as to the value or non-value of their respective slippers, the legions were under the necessity of charging among the citizens of Alexandria."21

Instead of healing the discords and calming the intractable temper of this turbulent metropolis by diffusing a spirit of amity and long-suffering, Christianity only gave the citizens new things to quarrel about, new causes for tumult, new formulae and catchwords which they could use as pretexts for violence and rioting.

The troubles which agitated Alexandria, when Pulcheria became regent, were principally due to the bigotry and ambition of the Patriarch. In this office, Theophilus, whom we met as the enemy of Chrysostom, had been succeeded (A.D. 412) by his nephew Cyril, who was no less ambitious to elevate the prestige of his see and was even more unscrupulous in the arts of intrigue. In the first years of his pontificate his chief objects were to exalt his own authority above that of the civil governor of Egypt, the Augustal Prefect, and to make Alexandria an irreproachably Christian city by extirpating paganism which still flourished in its schools, and by persecuting the Jews who for centuries had formed a large minority of the population. He was an ecclesiastical tyrant of the most repulsive type,  p217  and the unfortunate Hypatia was the most illustrious of his victims.

Hypatia was the daughter of Theon, a distinguished mathematician,​22 who was a professor at the Museum or university of Alexandria. Trained in mathematics by her father, she left that pure air for the deeper and more agitating study of metaphysics, and probably became acquainted with the older Neoplatonism of Plotinus​23 which, in the Alexandrian Museum, had been transmitted untainted by the later developments of Porphyrius and Iamblichus. When she had completed her education she was appointed to the chair of philosophy, and her extraordinary talents, combined with her beauty, made her a centre of interest in the cultivated circles at Alexandria, and drew to her lecture-room crowds of admirers. Her free and unembarrassed intercourse with educated men and the publicity of her life must have given rise to many scandals and backbitings, and her own sex doubtless looked upon her with suspicion, and called her masculine and immodest. She used to walk in the streets in her academical gown (τρίβων, the philosopher's cloak) and explain to all who wished to learn, difficulties in Plato or Aristotle.​24 Of the influence of her personality on her pupils we have still a record in some letters of Synesius  p218  of Cyrene, who, although his studies under her auspices did not hinder him from adopting Christianity, always remained at heart a semi-pagan, and was devotedly attached to his instructress. That some of her pupils fell in love with her is not surprising,​25 but Hypatia never married.

The cause of the tragic fate, which befell her in March A.D. 415, is veiled in obscurity. We know that she was an intimate friend of the pagan Orestes, the Prefect of Egypt; and she was an object of hatred to Cyril, both because she was an enthusiastic preacher of pagan doctrines and because she was the Prefect's friend.

The hatred of the Jews for the Patriarch brought the strained relations between Cyril and Orestes to a crisis. On one occasion, seeing a notorious creature of Cyril present in an assembly, they cried out that the spy should be arrested, and Orestes gratified them by inflicting public chastisement on him. The menaces which Cyril, enraged by this act, fulminated against the Jews led to a bloody vengeance on the Christian population. A report was spread at night that the great church was on fire, and when the Christians flocked to the spot the Jews surrounded and massacred them. Cyril replied to this horror by banishing all Hebrews from the city and allowing the Christians to plunder their property, a proceeding which was quite beyond the Patriarch's rights, and was a direct and insulting interference with the authority of Orestes, who immediately wrote a complaint to Constantinople. At this juncture 500 monks of Nitria, sniffing the savour of blood and bigotry from afar, hastened to the scene. These fanatics insulted Orestes publicly, one of them hitting him with a stone; in fact the governor ran a serious risk of his life.​26 The culprit who hurled the missile was executed, and Cyril treated his body as the remains of a martyr.

 p219  It was then that Hypatia fell victim in the midst of these infuriated passions. One day as she was returning home she was seized by a band of parabalani27 or lay brethren, whose duty it was to tend the sick and who were under the supervision of the Patriarch. These fanatics, led by a certain Peter, dragged her to a church and, tearing off her garments, hewed her in pieces and burned the fragments of her body.​28 The reason alleged in public for this atrocity was that she hindered a reconciliation between Orestes and Cyril; but the true motive, as Socrates tells us, was envy. This ecclesiastical historian does not conceal his opinion that Cyril was morally responsible.

There can be no doubt that public opinion was deeply shocked not only in Alexandria but also in Constantinople. Whatever Pulcheria and Atticus may have thought, the Praetorian Prefect Aurelian, who was the friend of her friend Synesius, must have been horrified by the fate of Hypatia. It would seem that the Empress found it impossible to act on the partial and opposite reports which were received from Orestes and Cyril, and a special commissioner, Aedesius, was sent to Alexandria to investigate the circumstances and assign the guilt. We have no direct information concerning his inquiry, but it would appear that it was long drawn out and it was publicly recognised that the parabalani were dangerous. The government consequently reduced the numbers of their corporation, forbade them to appear at games or public assemblies, and gave the Prefect authority over them.​29 But within little more than a year the influence of Cyril at the pious court of Pulcheria elicited a new decree, which raised the number of the parabalani from 500 to 600 and restored them to the Patriarch's authority.​30 If condign punishment had been inflicted on the guilty we should probably have heard of it. The obscure murderers may have escaped, but "the murder of Hypatia has imprinted an indelible stain on the character and religion of Cyril of Alexandria."​31 He was an  p220  able theologian and we shall next meet him in the stormy scene of an ecumenical Council.

We are not told at what time the regency of Pulcheria formally came to an end. Perhaps we may suppose that on reaching the age of fifteen Theodosius was declared to have attained his majority. But for several years after his assumption of the supreme authority his sister continued to be the presiding spirit in affairs of state. The most influential minister during these years was probably Monaxius, who succeeded Aurelian as Praetorian Prefect of the East.32

Pulcheria chose a wife for her brother when he was twenty years of age. She seems to have been confident that her own influence would not be endangered. The story of the Athenian girl who was selected to share the throne of Theodosius was romantic.​33 Athenais was the daughter of Leontius, a pagan philosopher, and had been highly educated by her father in the pagan atmosphere of Athens. When he died, she had a dispute with her brothers about the inheritance of her father's property and she came to Constantinople to obtain legal redress. Her beauty and accomplishments won the notice and patronage of the Empress, who chose her as a suitable bride for the Emperor. She took the name of Eudocia and embraced Christianity. The marriage was celebrated on June 7, A.D. 421, and was followed by the birth of daughter, who was named Eudoxia after her grandmother.​34 In A.D. 423 (January 2) she was created Augusta.  p221  Though she was sincerely loyal to her new faith, wrote religious poems, and learned to interest herself in theology, she always retained some pagan leanings, and we may be sure that, when her influence began to assert itself, the strict monastic character of the court was considerably alleviated.

§ 3. The Usurpation of John at Ravenna,
and Elevation of Valentinian III (A.D. 423‑425)

It was about this time that the Empress Placidia with her two children, driven from Ravenna by Honorius, came to Constantinople and sought the protection of their kinsfolk.​35 Then the news arrived that Honorius was dead, and the first care of the government was to occupy the port of Salona in Dalmatia.​36 The event was then made public, and for seven days the Hippodrome was closed and Constantinople formally mourned for the deceased Emperor. The intervention of Theodosius at this crisis in the destinies of the west was indispensable, and two courses were open to him. He might overlook the claims of his cousin, the child Valentinian, son of the Augustus whom he had refused to recognise as a colleague, and might attempt to rule the whole Empire himself as his grandfather had ruled it without dividing the power. Or he might recognise those claims, and act as his cousin's protector. In either case there was fighting to be done, for a usurper, whose name was John, had been proclaimed Emperor at Ravenna. Theodosius and Pulcheria decided to take the second course and support the cause of Placidia and her son. It was an important decision. The eastern government was not blind to its own interests, and a bargain seems to have been made with Placidia that the boundary between the two halves of the Empire should be rectified by the inclusion of Dalmatia and part of Pannonia in the realm of Theodosius.​37 The measure of occupying Salona had been taken with a view  p222  to this change. It is probable that at the same time it was arranged that the future Emperor of the west should marry the infant daughter of the Emperor of the east. In any case Theodosius could contemplate a closer union between his own court and that of Ravenna, a union in which he would have the preponderating influence for about a dozen years to come during the minority of his cousin and the regency of his aunt; while he would have no direct responsibility for any further misfortunes which the western provinces might sustain from the rapacity of the German guests whom they harboured.

John, who had assumed the purple at Rome, was an obscure civil servant who had risen to the rank of primicerius notariorum.​38 It is evident that he owed his elevation to the party which was adverse to Placidia, and certain that he had behind him the Master of Soldiers Castinus, who had failed to win laurels in Spain,​39 and was probably partly responsible for her exile. His envoys soon arrived at Constantinople to demand his recognition from the legitimate Emperor, and the answer of Theodosius was to banish them to places on the Propontis.​40 Placidia was now recognised as Augusta, her son as nobilissimus​41 — titles which Constantinople had refused to acknowledge when they had been conferred by Honorius; and the dead Constantius was posthumously accepted as a legitimate Augustus.​42 A large army was prepared against the usurper and placed under the command of Ardaburius, an officer of Alan descent, and his son Aspar. Placidia and her children accompanied the army, and at Thessalonica Valentinian was raised to the rank of Caesar (A.D. 424).​43 When they reached Salona, the infantry under Ardaburius embarked and sailed across to the coast of Italy, and Aspar with the cavalry proceeded by land to Sirmium and thence over the Julian Alps to the great city of the Venetian march, Aquileia, of which they made themselves masters.​44 Here Placidia remained to await the issue of the struggle.

 p223  Of the situation in Italy and the attitude of the Italians to the Emperor who had established himself at Ravenna we know nothing, except the fact that he was not acknowledged at Rome,​45 although it was at Rome that he had assumed the purple. Castinus, whom one might have expected to play the leader's part, remained in the background; we are only told that he was thought to have connived at John's elevation.​46 But two younger men, whose names were to become more famous than that of the Master of Soldiers, were concerned in the conflict of parties. Boniface, an able soldier, who was perhaps already Count of Africa in A.D. 422, had been ordered to co-operate with Castinus in the ill-fated expedition against the Vandals in Spain, but he had quarrelled with the commander and returned to Africa.​47 We next find him espousing the cause of Placidia when she was banished by Honorius and helping her with money. He is not recorded to have taken any direct part in the conflict with John, but he could maintain the loyalty of Africa to the Theodosian house and could exercise influence by his control of the corn supplies. The other rising soldier who played a part in these events was Aetius, of whom we shall hear much more. He accepted the new Emperor and was appointed to the post as Steward of the Palace (cura palatii). When the news arrived that an eastern army was on its way to Italy, he was sent to Pannonia to obtain help for his master from the Huns. For this mission he was well qualified, as he had formerly lived among them as a hostage and was on friendly terms with their king.

Ardaburius had embarked at Salona, but his fleet was unfortunate, it was caught in a storm and scattered. The general himself, driven ashore near Ravenna, was captured by the soldiers of John. If the usurper had proceeded immediately against Aspar, he might have thwarted his enemies. But he  p224  did not take prompt advantage of his luck. He decided to wait for the arrival of the Hun auxiliaries whom Aetius had gone to summon to his aid.

Meanwhile Ardaburius employed the time of his captivity at Ravenna in forming connexions with the officers and ministers of the usurper and undermining their fidelity. He then succeeded in sending a message to his son, who waited uneasily and expectantly at Aquileia, bidding him advance against Ravenna without delay. Guided by a shepherd through the morasses which encompassed that city, the soldiers of Aspar entered it without opposition; some thought that the shepherd was an angel of God in disguise. John was captured and conducted to Aquileia, where Placidia doomed him to death. His right hand was cut off, and mounted on an ass he was exposed in the circus before his execution. Castinus, the Master of Soldiers, was banished.48

When all was over, Aetius arrived in Italy with 60,000 Huns; if he had come a few days sooner, the conflict would probably have had a different issue and the course of history would have been changed. At the head of this large army, Aetius was able to make terms for himself with the triumphant Empress. She was forced to pardon him and accept his services. The Huns were induced by a large donation of money to return to their homes.

Placidia then proceeded with her children to Rome, where Valentinian III was created Augustus on October 23, A.D. 425.​49 Theodosius had himself started for Italy to crown his cousin with his own hand, but fell ill at Thessalonica, and empowered the Patrician Helion, the Master of Offices, to take his place. It seems certain that Valentinian's sister Honoria was crowned Augusta, if not on the same occasion, soon afterwards.50

 p225  Ardaburius was rewarded for his success­ful conduct of the war by the honour of the consul­ship in A.D. 427. He and his son Aspar were the ablest generals Theodosius had, and their devotion to the Arian creed did not stand in the way of their promotion. Aspar received the consul­ship in A.D. 434, when he was again commanding an army in the interests of Placidia, this time against a foreign foe, not against a rebel;​51 and we have an interesting memorial of the event in a silver disc, on which he is represented, a bearded man, with a sceptre in his left hand and a handkerchief in his raised right, presiding at the consular games.​52 It was a more than ordinary honour that was paid to Aspar, for he was consul for the West, not for the East,​53 and the designation may have been suggested by Placidia herself, who owed him much for his services in securing the diadem for her son.

§ 4. The Empress Eudocia

Twelve years passed, and the marriage arranged between the cousins, Valentinian and Licinia Eudoxia, was, as we saw, celebrated at Constantinople, whither the bridegroom went for the occasion (October 29, A.D. 437).​54 Now, if not before, a considerable part of the Diocese of Illyricum — Dalmatia and Eastern Pannonia certainly — were transferred from the sway of Valentinian to the sway of Theodosius.​55 This political transaction  p226  was part of the matrimonial arrangement, and was looked upon as the price which Placidia paid for her daughter-in‑law. The new provinces were now controlled by the Praetorian Prefect of Illyricum, and his seat was transferred for some years from Thessalonica to Sirmium.56

After the departure of her daughter the Empress probably felt lonely, and she undertook, in accordance with her husband's wishes, a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to return thanks to the Deity for the marriage of their daughter.​57 In this decision they seem to have been confirmed by a saintly lady of high reputation, Melania by name, a Roman of noble family, who had been forced into a repugnant marriage, and had afterwards, along with her husband, whom she converted to Christianity, taken up her abode at first in the land of Egypt, where she founded monastic houses, and then at Jerusalem. She had visited Constantinople to see her uncle Volusian, whom she converted before his death, and she exercised considerable influence with the Emperor and his household. The journey of Eudocia to Jerusalem (in spring, A.D. 438) was marked by her visit to Antioch, where she created a sensation by the elegant oration which she delivered, posing rather as one trained in Greek rhetoric and devoted to Hellenic traditions and proud of her Athenian descent, than as a pilgrim on her way to the great Christian shrine. Although there was a large element of theological bigotry both in Antioch and in Alexandria, yet in both these cities there was probably more appreciation of Hellenic style and polish than in Constantinople. The last words of Eudocia's oration brought down the house — a quotation from Homer,

ὑμετέρης γενέης τε καὶ αἵματος εὔχομαι εἶναι

 p227  "I boast that I am of your race and blood."​58 The city that hated and mocked the Emperor Julian and his pagan Hellenism loved and fêted the Empress Eudocia with her Christian Hellenism; a golden statue was erected to her in the curia and one of bronze in the museum. Her interest in Antioch took a practical form, for she induced Theodosius to build a new basilica, restore the thermae, extend the walls, and bestow other marks of favour on the city.

Eudocia's visit to Aelia Capitolina, as Jerusalem was called, brings to the recollection the visit of Constantine's mother Helena, one hundred years before, and, although Christianity had lost some of its freshness in the intervening period, it must have been a strange and impressive experience for one whose youth was spent amid pagan memories in the gardens of the philosophers at Athens, who in New Rome, with its museums of ancient art and its men of many creeds, had not been entirely weaned from the ways and affections of her youth, to visit, with all the solemnity of an exalted Christian pilgrim, a city whose memories were typically opposed to Hellenism, and whose monuments were the bones and relics of saints.​59 It was probably only this religious side that came under Eudocia's notice; for Jerusalem at this period was a strange mixture of piety with gross licence. We are told by an ecclesiastical writer of the age that it was more depraved than Gomorrah; and the fact that it was a garrison town had something to do with this depravity. But it drew pilgrims from all quarters of the world.

On her return from Palestine (A.D. 439) Eudocia's influence at Court was still power­ful.​60 She seems to have been on terms of intimate friendship with Cyrus of Panopolis, who held a very exceptional position. He filled at the same time the two high  p228  offices of Praetorian Prefect of the East and Prefect of the city.​61 He was a poet like his fellow-townsman Nonnus though of minor rank;​62 he was a student of art and architecture; and he was a "Hellene" in faith. It has been remarked that Imperial officialdom was beginning to assume in the East a more distinctly Greek complexion in the reign of Theodosius II, and Cyrus was a representative figure in this transition. He used to issue decrees in Greek, an innovation for which a writer of the following century expressly blames him.​63 His prefecture was popular and long remembered at Constantinople, for he built and restored many buildings and improved the illumination of the town, so that the people enthusiastically cried on some occasions in the Hippodrome, "Constantine built the city but Cyrus renewed it."​64 He still held his offices in the autumn of A.D. 441,​65 but it could not be long after this that he fell into disgrace. Perhaps his popularity made him an object of suspicion; his paganism furnished a convenient ground for accusation. He was compelled to take ecclesiastical orders and was made bishop of Cotyaeum in Phrygia. His first sermon, which his malicious congregation forced him to preach against his will, astonished and was applauded by those who heard it:

"Brethren, let the birth of God, our Saviour, Jesus Christ be honoured by silence, because the Word of God was conceived in the holy Virgin through hearing only. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen."66

The friendship between Cyrus and the Empress Eudocia,  p229  who was naturally sympathetic with a highly educated pagan, suggests the conjecture that his disgrace was not unconnected with the circumstances which led soon afterwards to her own fall. We may conjecture that harmony had not always existed between herself and her sister-in‑law, and differences seem to have arisen soon after her return from Palestine.​67 Discord was fomented by the arts of a eunuch, Chrysaphius Zstommas, who was at this time beginning to establish his ascendancy over the Emperor.​68 Pulcheria had enjoyed the privilege of having in her household the Chamberlain (praepositus Augustae) who was officially attached to the service of the reigning Empress. It would not have been unnatural if this arrangement had caused jealousy in the heart of Eudocia, and we are told that Chrysaphius urged her to demand from the Emperor that a High Chamberlain should also be assigned to her. When Theodosius decidedly refused, she urged, again at the suggestion of Chrysaphius, that Pulcheria should be ordained a deaconess, inasmuch as she had taken a vow of virginity. Pulcheria refused to be drawn into a contest for power. She sent her Chamberlain to Eudocia and retired to the Palace of Hebdomon.​69 When Chrysaphius had succeeded in removing one Empress from the scene, his next object was to remove the other, so that his own influence over the weak spirit of Theodosius might be exclusive and undivided. In accomplishing this end he was probably assisted by the orthodox party at court, who were devoted to Pulcheria and looked with suspicion on the Hellenic proclivities of her sister-in‑law. The Emperor's mind was poisoned against his wife by the suggestion that she had been unduly intimate with Paulinus,​70 a  p230  handsome man who had been a comrade of the Emperor in his boyhood.

This is probably the kernel of truth in the legend of Eudocia's apple which is thus told by a chronicler.71

It so happened that as the Emperor Theodosius was proceeding to the church on the feast of Epiphany, the Master of Offices, Paulinus, being indisposed on account of an ailment in his foot, remained at home and made an excuse. But a certain poor man brought to Theodosius a Phrygian apple,​72 of enormously large size, and the Emperor was surprised at it, and all his Court (senate). And straightway the Emperor gave 150 nomismata to the man who brought the apple, and sent it to Eudocia Augusta; and the Augusta sent it to Paulinus, the Master of Offices, as being a friend of the Emperor.​73 But Paulinus, not being aware that the Emperor had sent it to the Empress, took it and sent it to the Emperor Theodosius, even as he entered the Palace. And when the Emperor received it he recognised it and concealed it. And having called the Augusta, he questioned her, saying, 'Where is the apple that I sent you?' And she said, 'I ate it.' Then he caused her to swear the truth by his salvation, whether she ate it or sent it to some one; and she sware, 'I sent it unto no man but ate it.' And the Emperor commanded the apple to be brought and showed it to her. And he was indignant against her, suspecting that she was enamoured of Paulinus and sent him the apple and denied it. And on this account Theodosius put Paulinus to death. And the Empress Eudocia was grieved, and thought herself insulted, for it was known everywhere that Paulinus was slain on account of her, for he was a very handsome young man. And she asked the Emperor that she might go to the holy places to pray; and he allowed her. And she went down from Constantinople to Jerusalem to pray.

Whatever may have been the circumstances it seems that Paulinus, Master of Offices, was sent to Cappadocia and put to death by the Emperor's command in A.D. 444.​74 It is credible that her former intimacy with Paulinus was used to alienate Theodosius from his wife, and she found her position so intolerable that at last she sought and obtained the Emperor's permission to withdraw from the Court and betake herself to Jerusalem (A.D. 443).​75 She was not deprived of Imperial honours and an  p231  ample revenue was placed at her disposal. In Jerusalem she kept such state and was so energetic in public works that the jealousy of Theodosius was aroused and he sent Saturninus, the commander of his guards, to inquire into her activities. Saturninus slew the priest Severus and the deacon John who were confidants of the Empress.​76 She avenged this act by permitting the death of Saturninus; the words of one of our authorities might lead us to suppose that she caused him to be assassinated,​77 but it has been suggested that officious servants or an indignant mob may have too hastily anticipated her supposed wishes. Then by the Emperor's command she was compelled to reduce her retinue.

The last sixteen years​78 of the life of this amiable lady were spent at Jerusalem where she devoted herself to charitable work, built churches, monasteries and hospices, and restored the walls of the city.​79 She was drawn into the theological storm which swept over the East in the last years of Theodosius, an episode which will claim our notice in another place. It is said that before her death she repeated her denial of the slander that she had been unfaithful to her husband.80

§ 5. The University of Constantinople and the Theodosian Code

The three most important acts of the reign of Theodosius II were the fortification of the city by land and sea, which has already been described, the foundation of a university, and the compilation of the legal code called after his name. It would be interesting to know whether the establishment of a school for higher education in the capital was due to the influence of the young Empress, who had been brought up in the schools of  p232  Athens. The new university (founded February 27, A.D. 425) was intended to compete with the schools of Alexandria and the university of Athens, the headquarters of paganism — with which, however, the government preferred not to interfere directly — and thereby to promote the cause of Christianity. Lecture-rooms were provided in the Capitol. The Latin language was represented by ten grammarians or philologists and three rhetors, the Greek likewise by ten grammarians, but by five rhetors; one chair of philosophy was endowed and two chairs of jurisprudence. Thus the Greek language had two more chairs than the Latin, and this fact may be cited as marking a stage in the official Graecisation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire.81

In the year 429 Theodosius determined to form a collection of all the constitutions issued by the "renowned Constantine, the divine Emperors who succeeded him, and ourselves." The new code was to be drawn up on the mode of the Gregorian and Hermogenian codes,​82 and the execution of the work was entrusted to a commission of nine persons, among whom was Apelles, professor of law at the new university. Nine years later the work was completed and published, but during the intervening years the members of the commission had changed; of the eight who are mentioned in the edict which accompanied the final publication only two, Antiochus and Theodorus, were among the original workers, and a constitution of A.D. 435, which conferred full powers on the committee for the completion of the work, mentions sixteen compilers.83

The code was issued conjointly by Theodosius and Valentinian, and thus expressed the unity of the Empire (February 15, A.D. 438). The visit of the younger Emperor to Constantine on the occasion of his marriage with his cousin Eudoxia facilitated this co-operation. On December 23 of the same year, at a meeting of the Senate of Old Rome, the code which had been drawn up by the lawyers of New Rome was publicly recognised, and an official account of the proceedings on that occasion — gesta in senatu Urbis Romae de recipiendo Codice Theodosiano —  p233  may still be read. The Praetorian Prefect and consul of the year, Anicius Acilius Glabrio Faustus, spoke as follows:

The felicity of the eternal Emperors proceeds so far as to adorn with the ornaments of peace those whom it defends by warfare. Last year when we loyally attended the celebration of the most fortunate of all ceremonies, and when the marriage had been happily concluded, the most sacred Prince, our Lord Theodosius, was fain to add this dignity also to his world, and ordered the precepts of the laws to be collected and drawn up in a compendious form of sixteen books, which he wished to be consecrated by his most sacred name. Which thing the eternal Prince, our Lord Valentinian, approved with the loyalty of a colleague and the affection of a son.

And all the senators cried out in the usual form, "Well spoken!" (nove diserte, vere diserte). But instead of following the course of the gesta in the Roman senate-house, it will be more instructive to read the Imperial constitution which introduced the great code to the Roman world.

The Emperors Theodosius and Valentinian, Augusti, to Florentius, Praetorian Prefect of the East.

Our clemency has often been at a loss to understand the cause of the fact that, when so many rewards are held out for the maintenance of arts and (liberal) studies, so few are found who are endowed with a full knowledge of the Civil Law, and even they so seldom; we are astonished that amid so many whose faces have grown pale from late lucubrations hardly one or two have attained to sound and complete learning.

When we consider the enormous multitude of books, the diverse modes of process and the difficulty of legal cases, and further the huge mass of imperial constitutions, which hidden as it were under a rampart of gross mist and darkness precludes men's intellects from gaining a knowledge of them, we feel that we have met a real need of our age, and dispelling the darkness have given light to the laws by a short compilation. We selected noble men of approved faith, lawyers of well-known learning; and clearing away interpretations, we have published the constitutions of our predecessors, so that men may no longer have to await formidable responses from expert lawyers as from an inner shrine, when it is really quite plain what action is to be adopted in suing for an inheritance, or what is to be the weight of a donation. These details, unveiled by the assiduity of the learned, have been brought into open day under the radiant splendour of our name.

Nor let those to whom we have consigned the divine secrets of our heart imagine that they have obtained a poor reward. For if our mind's eye rightly foresees the future, their names will descend to posterity linked with ours.

Thus having swept away the cloud of volumes, on which many wasted their lives and explained nothing in the end, we establish a compendious knowledge of the Imperial constitutions since the time of the divine  p234  Constantine, and allow no one after the first day of next January to use any authority in the practice of law except these books which bear our name and are kept in the sacred bureaux. None of the older Emperors, however, has been deprived of his immortality, the name of no author of a constitution has fallen to the ground; nay rather they enjoy a borrowed light in that their august decrees are associated with us. The glory of the originators, duly refined (filed), remains and will remain for ever; nor has any brilliance passed thereby to our name except the light of brevity (nisi lux sola brevitatis).

And though the undertaking of the whole work was due to our auspicious initiation, we nevertheless deemed it more worthy of the imperial majesty (magis imperatorium) and more illustrious, to put envy to flight and allow the memory of the authors to survive perennially. It is enough and more than enough to satisfy our consciences, that we have unveiled the laws and redeemed the works our ancestors from the injustice of obscurity.

We further enact that henceforward no constitution can be passed in the West (in partibus occidentis) or in any other place, by the unconquerable Emperor, the son of our clemency, the everlasting Augustus, Valentinian, or possess any validity, except the same by a divine pragmatica be communicated of us.

The same precaution is to be observed in the acts which are promulgated by us in the East (per Orientem); and those are to be condemned as spurious which are not recorded in the Theodosian Code, excepting special documents in the official bureaux.

It would be a long tale to relate all that has been contributed to the completion of this work by labours of Antiochus, the all-sublime prefect and consul; by the illustrious Maximin, ex-quaestor of our palace, eminent in all departments of literature; by the illustrious Martyrius, count and quaestor, the faithful interpreter of our clemency; by Sperantius, Apollodorus, and Theodore, all respectable men and counts of our sacred consistory; by the respectable Epigenes, count and magister memoriae; by the respectable Procopius, count, and magister libellorum. These men may be compared to any of the ancients.

It remains, O Florentius, most dear and affectionate relative, for your illustrious and magnificent authority, whose delight and constant practice is to please Emperors, to cause the decrees of our August Majesty to come to the knowledge of all peoples and all provinces.

Dated 15 February at Constantinople (438).​84

The code of Theodosius was superseded at the end of a hundred years by the Code of Justinian, and to the jurist it is less indispensable than to the historian. The historian must always remember with gratitude the name of Theodosius and that of Antiochus, if we may credit this minister with having originated the idea of the work. For the full record of legislation which it preserves furnishes clear and authentic information on the social  p235  conditions of the Empire, without which our other historical sources would present many insoluble problems.85

The last ten years of the reign were unfortunate. The Illyrian provinces suffered terribly from the depredations of the Huns, and the payments which a weak government made to buy off the invaders depleted the treasury.​86 The eunuch Chrysaphius, having succeeded in removing from the Palace the rival influences of the Emperor's wife and sister, completely swayed the mind of his sovran and seems to have controlled the policy of the government. It is said, and we can easily believe it, that Theodosius at this time was in the habit of signing state papers without reading them.87

The power of Chrysaphius remained unshaken​88 until a few months before the Emperor's death, when he fell out of favour and the influence of Pulcheria again re-asserted itself.​89 Theodosius died on July 28, A.D. 450, of a spinal injury caused by a fall from his horse.90

§ 6. The Reign of Marcian (A.D. 450‑457)

As Theodosius had no male issue and had not co-opted a colleague, the government of the eastern half of the Empire ought automatically to have devolved upon his cousin and western colleague Valentinian III. But this devolution would not have pleased Theodosius himself, and would not have been tolerated by his subjects. And we are told that on his death-bed  p236  Theodosius indicated a successor. Among the senators who were present on that occasion were Aspar, Master of Soldiers, and Marcian, a distinguished officer who had served as Aspar's aide-de‑camp in more than one campaign. The Emperor said to Marcian, "It has been revealed to me that you will reign after me."​91 We may conjecture that this choice had been arranged beforehand by Pulcheria and her brother. For Pulcheria agreed to become the nominal wife of Marcian, and thus the Theodosian dynasty was formally preserved.92

Marcian was crowned in the Hebdomon by the Empress (August 25),​93 and it is possible that on this occasion the Patriarch Anatolius took part in the coronation ceremony.​94 The first act of the new reign was the execution of Chrysaphius,​95 and it is worthy of notice that Chrysaphius had favoured the Green faction of the Circus, and that Marcian patronised the Blues. His reign was a period of calm, all the more striking when it is contrasted with the storms which accompanied the dismemberment of the Empire in the west. In later times it was looked back to as a golden age.​96 The domestic policy of Marcian was marked by financial economy, which was the more necessary, as during the last years of his predecessor the treasury was emptied by the large sums which were paid to the Huns.

Marcian refused to pay this tribute any longer, and at his death he left a well-filled treasury.​97 He accomplished this, not by imposing new burdens on the people, but by wisely regulating  p237  his expenditure. He alleviated the pressure of taxes so far as Roman fiscal principles would permit. He assisted his subjects from the exchequer when any unwonted calamity befell them. One of his first acts was a remission of arrears of taxation.​98 He confined the burdensome office of the praetor­ship to senators resident in the capital.​99 He decreed that the consuls instead of distributing money to the populace should contribute to keeping the city aqueduct in repair.​100 He attempted to put an end to the system of selling administrative offices.​101 Perhaps the act which gave most satisfaction to the higher classes was the abolition of the follis, the tax of seven pounds on the property of senators.102

One of his enactments may perhaps be regarded as characteristic. Constantine the Great, in order to preserve the purity of the senatorial class, had declared illegal the marriage of a senator with a slave, a freed woman, an actress, or a woman of no social status (humilis). Marcian ruled that this law should not bar marriage with a respectable free woman, however poor, or however lowly her birth might be, and professed to believe that Constantine himself would have approved of this interpretation.​103 The Emperor's most confidential minister was Euphemius, the Master of Offices, whose advice he constantly followed.​104 While Marcian was not engaged in hostilities with any great power, there were slight troubles in Syria with the Saracens of the desert, and there was warfare on the southern frontier of Egypt. Since the reign of Diocletian Upper Egypt had been exposed to incursions of the Blemyes and the Nobadae. For the purposes of strengthening the defences of the frontier Theodosius II divided the province of Thebais into two (upper and lower), and united the civil and the military administration of the upper province in the same hands.​105 At the beginning of Marcian's reign Florus held this post and distinguished  p238  himself by driving the barbarians who were again annoying the province back into the desert.​106 The Blemyes expressed a desire to conclude a definite treaty with the Empire and for this purpose they sent ambassadors to Maximin, who seems to have been Master of Soldiers in the East. Terms were arranged, and it was conceded to the Blemyes that they might at stated times visit Philae in order to worship in the temple of Isis, in which the policy of the Emperors still suffered the celebration of old pagan rites. But we are told that when Maximin soon afterwards died the predatory tribes renewed their raids.

The act for which the reign of Marcian is best remembered by posterity is the assembling of the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon. The decisions of this council gave deep satisfaction to the Emperor and Empress; they could not foresee the political troubles to which it was to lead. Pulcheria died in A.D. 453.​107 By a life spent in pious and charitable works she had earned the eulogies of the Church, and she left all her possessions to the poor. Among the churches which claimed her as foundress may be mentioned three dedicated to the Mother of God. One was known as the church of Theotokos in Chalkoprateia,​108 so called from its situation in the quarter of the bronze merchants, not far from St. Sophia. The church of Theotokos Hodegetria,​109 Our Lady who leads to victory, which she built on the eastern shore of the city under the first hill, was sanctified by an icon of the Virgin which her sister-in‑law sent her from Jerusalem. More famous than either of these was the church which she founded shortly before her death at Blachernae. This sanctuary was deemed worthy to possess a robe of the Virgin, brought from Jerusalem in the reign of Marcian's successor, who built a special chapel to receive it.110  p239  In later days the people of Constantinople put their trust in this precious relic as a sort of palladium to protect their city.

Marcian died in the first month of A.D. 457,​111 and with him the Theodosian dynasty, to which through his marriage he belonged, ceased to reign at New Rome.

The Author's Notes:

1 Born April 10, 401; crowned Augustus Jan. 10, 402. For the children of Arcadius see the genealogical table of the house of Theodosius.º On the will of Arcadius, under which the Persian king Yezdegerd is said to have been appointed guardian of Theodosius, see below, Chap. XIV § 1.º

2 We do not know by what legal form this was arranged or whether others were associated in the regency. For Anthemius see above, p159. In 408 he was made a Patrician. Chrysostom wrote to congratulate him on the Praetorian Prefecture, saying that the office was more honoured by his tenure than he by the office (Ep. 147).

3 See Chap. III.

4 C. J. V.63.4.

5 Sozomen, IX.5.

6 C. Th. VII.17.1 (Jan. 28, 412). The Danube boats were called lusoriae. The flotillas are enumerated in Not. dig., Or. For the Sciri see C. Th. V.4.3.

7 Sometimes a dishonest skipper sold his cargo at some remote place. See C. Th. XIII.5.33.

8 Marcellinus, Chron., sub 409. Chron. Pasch., sub 407.

9 C. Th. XIV.16.1.

10 A.D. 409. The responsibility was transferred from the navicularii or naval collegia, to the summates of the fleets, whose recompense for their trouble was increased by the addition of a small remuneration. The island of Carpathus was the half-way station between Alexandria and Byzantium, and thus the care of the corn supplies now devolved conjointly on the Prefect of the City, the Prefect of Egypt, and the praeses insularum (the governor of the Islands along the coast of Asia Minor; he was subordinate to the Proconsul of Asia). C. Th. XIII.5.32 (Jan. 19).

11 C. Th. XII.1.177 (A.D. 412).

12 A.D. 414, April 9. C. Th. XI.28.9.

13 Socrates, VII.1. Anthemius was celebrated by Theotimus, a pagan poet (Synesius, Epp. 49). Synesius calls Anthemius τοῦ μεγάλου (Epp. 73, addressed to Troilus) and cp. CIL III.737 magno Anthemio.

14 Coins of Ael. Pulcheria, with salus reipublicae on the reverse, belong to the years 414‑421, before her brother's marriage. They may have been struck in 415 when Theodosius celebrated his third quinquennalia and issued coins with Gloria reipublicae vot. XV. mult. XX. (Cp. de Salis, Coins of the Eudoxias.)

15 According to the date of C. Th. VIII.4.26, Anthemius was still Prefect on Feb. 17, 415. But according to Chron. Pasch., sub a., he was succeeded by Aurelian before Dec. 30, 414.

16 Cp. Theophanes, A.M. 5905. Antiochus is said to have been sent to Constantinople by King Yezdegerd, in order to fulfil the duties of guardian which he had accepted under the will of Arcadius. See below, Chap. XV § 1.º

17 See Socrates, VII.22, who devotes a chapter to his virtues.

18 John Ant. fr. 71, in Exc. de Virt. p204.

19 Tillemont has some just remarks on the defects in his character, Hist. des Empereurs, VI.23 sqq.

20 300,000 is the number of the citizens given for the time of Augustus (Diodorus, XVII.52). It excludes slaves and foreigners. Güldenpenning (p225) thinks it must have been nearly twice as much in the fifth century. Cp. above, Chap. III § 5, p88.

21 Mommsen, Hist. of Rome, V. (II.264 Eng. tr.).

22 His most important studies were on Euclid, Aratus, and Ptolemy. Nearly all our MSS. of the geometry of Euclid are based on his critical recension, and the scholia on Aratus, whom he exalted as an astronomer above Eudoxus, are derived from him. The character of his work has been elucidated by Heiberg and Maass. Hypatia wrote three mathematical books, (1) a memoir on Diophantus (who wrote a standard work on arithmetic of which about half is extant); (2) a commentary on the Conic Sections of Apollonius; (3) a commentary on the astronomical Canon (κανὼν βασιλειῶν) of Ptolemy. See the article on Ὑπατία in Suidas, which is largely based on the Life of Isidore by Damascius (for the reconstruction of which see the study of J. Asmus in B.Z. XVIII.424 sqq., XIX.265 sqq.). The statement of Suidas that Hypatia was the wife of Isidore was due to a misunderstanding of his source. Palladas, the contemporary Alexandrian poet, wrote the following very poor verses on Hypatia (Anth. Pal. IX.400):

ὅταν βλέπω σε, προσκυνῶ, καὶ τοὺς λόγους,
τῆς παρθένου τὸν οἶκον ἀστρῷον βλέπων·
εἰς οὐρανὸν γὰρ ἐστι σοῦ τὰ πράγματα,
Ὑπατία σέμνη, τῶν λόγων εὐμορφία,
ἄχραντον ἀστρὸν τῆς σοφῆς παιδεύσεως.

23 Plotinus and his master Ammonius Sacas belonged to the university, while the later Neoplatonists were not connected with it. This point — Hypatia's affiliation to Plotinus — is due to W. A. Meyer, whose careful little tract, Hypatia von Alexandria (1886), has thrown much light on the subject. Hoche (in his article in Philologus, XV.439 sqq., 1860) showed that the supposed journey of Hypatia to Athens is based on a mistranslation of Suidas. The date of her birth was probably about 370.

24 I follow Meyer's translation of a passage in Suidas. The most pleasing passage in Socrates is that in which he speaks with admiration of Hypatia (H.E. VII.15).

25 One of her pupils is said to have declared his passion for her, and the tale went that she exorcised his desire by disarranging her dress and displaying τὸ σύμβολον τῆς ἀκαθάρτου γεννήσεως: "This, young man," she said, "is what you are in love with, and nothing beautiful." This story, recorded by Suidas, was without doubt a contemporary scandal, and indicates what exaggerated stories were circulated about the independence and perhaps the free-spokenness of Hypatia. Seven letters of Synesius to "the philosopher Hypatia" are preserved. He addresses her (Ep. 16) as "mother, sister, and teacher."

26 It is to be remembered that the Aug. Prefect did not possess military powers. Subsequently some Prefects united civil and military functions (Florus under Marcian, Alexander under Leo I), but these cases were exceptional. Cp. M. Gelzer, Byz. Verw. Ägyptens, p19.

27 We find the form παραβαλανεῖς in Mansi, VI. p828.

28 ὀστράκοις ἀνεῖλον (Socrates, VII.14), killed her with either sharp shards or mussel shells. Gibbon (V.117) misunderstood ἀνεῖλον when he interpreted, "her flesh was scraped from her bones." Philostorgius (VIII.9) says that she was torn in pieces (διασπασθῆναι) by the Homousians.

29 C. Th. XVI.2.42, A.D. 416, Sept. 29. It was suspected that Aedesius was bribed by Cyril and his party, Suidas, s.v. Ὑπατία.

30 C. Th. ib. 43, A.D. 418, Feb. 3.

31 Gibbon, ib.

Thayer's Note: For an understandably very different view of Cyril, and reasons that have been put forth for absolving him of the murder, see the Catholic Encyclopedia article St. Cyril of Alexandria.

32 Before August 416; he held the post till 420.

33 Gregorovius made Athenais the subject of an interesting monograph (1882).

34 A.D. 422. Her full name was Licinia Eudoxia. It appears on those of her coins which were minted in Italy, after her marriage. She was created Augusta in her infancy, for she is so designated in Placidia's dedicatory inscription (see below, p262), which belongs probably to c. 426‑428. From the same inscription we learn that Eudocia had a son named Arcadius (born 423‑425?), who must have died very young; and Dessau is doubtless right (Insc. Lat. 818) in holding that this child is the minor Arcadius mentioned in the Preface (l. 13) to the Cento of Proba, a copy of which the writer of the Preface seems to have presented to Theodosius II. A second daughter was born later, Flaccilla, who died in 431 (Marcellinus, Chron., sub a.; Nestorius, Πραγμ. Ἡρακλ., tr. Nau, p331).— Coins of Ael. Eudocia Aug. are preserved which must have been issued soon after her coronation in Jan. 423, as the reverse legend is vot. XX mult. XXX. They correspond closely to coins of Theodosius, Pulcheria, and Honorius. As Theodosius kept his third quinquennalia in 415 (Chron. Pasch., sub a.), the presumption is that he celebrated his vicennalia in 420, and that in that year were issued these coins of himself, Pulcheria, and Honorius at Constantinople. The design of the reverse (a standing winged Victory holding a cross) on the coins of Eudocia differs from the others from having a star. We have (p221) also similar coins of Ael. Placidia Aug., with the star, evidently minted in 423 or 424, soon after her arrival at Constantinople (see below). Cp. de Salis, Coins of the Eudoxias.

35 See above, p210.º

36 Socrates, VII.23. Epigraphic evidence indeed suggests that Salona was under Constantinople in 414‑415, see Jung, Römer und Romanen, 186, n2.

37 The words patrui mei in C. Th. XI.20.5 need not point to the definite transference of the administration of Dalmatia in A.D. 424, for in that year Theodosius was sole Emperor. But the change was not regarded as definitely settled till the marriage of Valentinian and Eudoxia in 437. See below, p226.

38 Renatus Frigeridus, in Gregory of Tours, H.F. II.8. Was he the same John who was sent to negotiate with Alaric in 408? (above, p176).

39 See above, p209.

40 Philostorgius, XII.13.º

41 Olympiodorus, fr. 46; Marcellinus, sub 424.

42 This is shown by the fact that some laws issued in his name with Honorius and Theodosius were published in C. Th. (e.g. III.16.2); cp. Mommsen, C. Th. p. ccxcvii.

43 Probably towards the end of the year. Valentinian was designated consul (Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Caesar) as colleague of Theodosius for 425. John assumed the consul­ship in the west. See Fast. Cons., sub a.

44 Philostorgius, ib., Olympiodorus, ib., and Socrates, VII.23 are the chief sources.

45 This may be inferred from the issue of gold coins of Theodosius II at Rome, which may probably be assigned (so de Salis) to 424‑425. The Roman mint did not issue coins of John (for whose Ravenna coins see Cohen, VIII.207). The loyalty of Rome is also shown by an inscription of Faustus, Prefect of the City in 425, acknowledging the Caesarship of Valentinian (CIL VI.1677).

46 Prosper, sub 423. He was consul in 424, and was not acknowledged in the east.

47 Cp. Prosper, sub 422, and Hydatius. It is not quite clear whether Boniface seized the government of Africa without Imperial warrant, or, as seems more likely, he had received the appointment before his disobedience in refusing to go to Spain. The presence of an able military commander in Africa was urgently demanded by the hostilities of the Moors. See the discussion in Freeman, Western Europe, 305 sqq.

48 The victory of Placidia must be placed in May or June. For on July 9 she issued a law at Aquileia restoring some ecclesiastical privileges which had been abolished by John. Sirmondianae, 6; also C. Th. XVI.2.46 and 47; XVI.5.62 and 63. Cp. Seeck, Regesten, p5, on these laws. Placidia and her son did not leave Aquileia before Aug. 6 (C. Th. XVI.2.47 and V.64). Philostorgius (XII.13) says that John reigned for a year and a half, a rough figure but, if he was elevated in Sept. 423, pointing to May as the date of his fall.

49 Socrates, VII.24, Chron. Pasch., sub a. On the date compare Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. VI.621, Clinton, F.R., sub a. Gold coins of Valentinian were issued in Constantinople, conjecturally in 426: on the reverse two Emperors, both nimbate, one large, the other small, with the legend Salus Reipublicae.

50 See below, p288. Helion had acted for the Emperor in conferring (p225) the Caesarship at Thessalonica and had doubtless accompanied Placidia to Italy. A mutilated metrical inscription at Sitifis in Mauretania would refer to the elevation of Valentinian if de Rossi's restoration were near the truth (CIL VIII.8481). It runs:

zzzTerra [about 16 letters]ni sidera regni

iam de . . . ans armorum fulmina condit

gra . . . tutela Valentinianus

. . . . . . . et Theodosius artem.

De Rossi proposed fulgida conscendens terraeni s. r. in 1, Placidiae grandis tutela in 3, and pace fruens doctam exercet in 4 (very improbable). Cp. Bücheler's note in Anth. Lat. II.288.

51 In Africa. See below, p248.

52 It was found near Florence and is preserved there. The inscription round the disc is: Fl. Ardabur Aspar vir inlustris com. et mag. militum et consul ordinarius. For a full description see W. Meyer, Zwei ant. Elf. pp6‑7.

Thayer's Note: The plate was found in the Fosso Castione, a creek near Marsiliana in the comune of Manciano (GR) in Tuscany. A good photograph of it is found online at the Law School of the University of Palermo.

53 The eastern consul of the year was Areobindus.

54 Chr. Pasch., and Prosper, sub a. Coins were issued in honour of the occasion: on the face a full-faced bust of Theodosius, on the reverse three figures, Theodosius in the centre joining the hands of his daughter and Valentinian, with legend Feliciter Nubtiis.º

55 Cassiodorus, Var. XI.1.9 (Placidia) remisse administrat imperium . . . nurum denique sibi amissione Illyrici comparavit factaque est coniunctio regnantis divisio dolenda provinciis; Jordanes, Rom. 329 datamque pro munere soceri sui totam Illyricum (sic). The totam of Jordanes does not authorise us to suppose with Tillemont (Hist. des Emp. VI.75) that the (p226) cession included the provinces of Noricum or even all Pannonia. Dalmatia, Pannonia Secunda, and Valeria were probably ceded, and no more. Cp. Zeiller, Les Origines chrét. dans les prov. Dan. pp6, 7.

56 We learn this from a law of Justinian (Nov. xi): cum enim in antiquis temporibus Sirmii praefectura fuerat constituta ibique omne fuerat Illyrici fastigium tam in civilibus quam in episcopalibus causis, postea autem Attilanis temporibus eiusdem locis devastatis Apraeemiusº praefectus praetorio de Sirmitana civitate in Thessalonicam profugus venerat [c. A.D. 447, see below, p275]. This prefect is otherwise unknown.

57 See Socrates, VII.47. The following inscription, recorded as existing in the church of St. Peter ad vincula at Rome, seems also to refer to the fulfilment of a vow for Eudoxia's marriage:

Theodosius pater Eudocia cum coniuge votum,

Cumque suo supplex Eudoxia nomine solvit

(where cum suo nominesuo nomine). De Rossi, II.1, p110.

58 Evagrius, H. E. I.20. The verse is an adaptation of IliadVI.211. It has been suggested that Eudocia's oration consisted of a poem in hexameters (Ludwich, Eudociae fragmenta, p12).

59 Of the relics which she received (the bishop of Jerusalem plied a trade in relics), especially remarkable were the chains with which Herod bound Peter. One of these she gave to her daughter Eudoxia, who founded a church in Rome (called originally after herself, and in later times St. Peter ad vincula), where it is still preserved. Cp. above, p226, n2. An account of Eudocia's visit to Jerusalem will be found in the Vita Melaniae iunioris. Melania met the Empress at Sidon and acted as her companion and cicerone.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details on the church, see S. Petri ad Vincula in Hülsen's Chiese di Roma nel Medio Evo, and the further references there, which include links to the full texts of Armellini and Titi.

60 In this year, the 32ndº of his reign, Theodosius was consul for the 17th time, and the mint of Constantinople issued gold coins (1) of the Emperor with a helmeted Rome on the reverse and legend IMP xxxii. cos xvii. PP, (2) of the Empress, with Constantinople seated on the prow of a vessel and the same legend.

61 That Cyrus held these offices simultaneously is expressly stated by John Lydus, De mag. II.12, and by John Malalas, XIV.361. Malalas says that he held them for four years. It is probable that the source of this record was Priscus, see Chron. Pasch., sub 439. We know from Theodosius, Nov. 18, that he was Pr. Pr. Or. in Nov. 439; and from C. J. VIII.11.21, that he was Pr. Urb. in Jan. 440.

62 John Lydus, ib., says contemptuously that he knew nothing except poetry. Some epigrams and short poems are extant. The most interesting of these is Anth. Pal. IX.136, written before leaving the city in exile:

Would that my father had taught me to tend his flock in the pastures,

Where sitting under the shade of elm-trees or rocks overhanging

Sweetly piping and reeds I would charm dull care with my music.

O Pierian maids, let us flee from the fair-built city

Forth to another land. And there will I tell of the mischief

Wrought by the baleful drones to the bees who toil for the honey.

The first verse is imitated by Nonnus, Dionys. XX.372.

63 John Lydus, ib.

64 For the building of the sea walls see above, Chap. III.

65 C. J. I.55.10.

66 The anecdote is told by John Malalas, ib. The right reading ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ λόγος (for λόγῳ) is preserved in the corresponding passage of Theophanes, A.M. 5937. For the opening words cp. below, Chap. XI p349, n3.

67 They differed on the Eutychian controversy, but there were doubtless other causes of jealousy.

68 These intrigues are related by Theophanes, A.M. 5940 = A.D. 447‑448. But the chronology of Theophanes during these years is full of errors. We know from Marcellinus and other sources that Eudocia had retired to Jerusalem in 444. John Malalas tells the story of Eudocia's life consecutively without chronological indications.

69 This story appears in a curious form in John of Nikiu (Chron. LXXXVII.29‑33), who thoroughly disliked Pulcheria.

70 We have no means of knowing whether there was any truth in this charge, but it should be observed that in Marcellinus, Chron., sub 421, the true reading is Eudociam Achivam, not moecham (found in one MS.), so that this writer does not, as Güldenpenning thinks (op. cit. p325), stigmatize her as unfaithful. Contemporary evidence for the charge of adultery has recently come to light in the Book of Heraclides of Nestorius (tr. Nau, p331). The ex-Patriarch writes, "the demon-prince of adultery, who had thrown the Empress into shame and disgrace, has just died." Cp. E. W. Brooks, B.Z., 21, 94‑95.

71 John Malalas, XIV. p356.

72 It may be observed that in Greek romances the apple was a conventional love-gift, and meant on the part of a woman who bestowed it on a man a declaration of love.

73 He was brought up along with Theodosius and at his marriage acted as παράνυμφος, or "groomsman."

74 This is the year to which the context in the passage of Nestorius points, and is confirmed by Chron. Pasch. Marcellinus places the death of Paulinus in 440.

75 Cedrenus and Zonaras place Eudocia's visit to Jerusalem in the 42nd year of Theodosius, "also 450 was ganz irrig ist," says Gregorovius (Athenais, p187). But the 42nd year is reckoned from 402 (not from 408) and = Jan. 10, 443 to Jan. 10, 444. This was the official reckoning of (p231) his regnal years as appears from the coins which were issued in this very year: reverse: a seated Victory holding a cruciger globe, star underneath, and buckler on the ground behind, with legend Imp. xxxxii cos xvii PP. This shows that the 42nd year fell between the 17th consul­ship 439 and the 18th, 444, and therefore fell in 443. At the same time were minted coins of Eudocia, Pulcheria, Valentinian and Eudoxia with the same reverse. See De Salis, Coins of the Eudoxias, and Sabatier, Monn. byz. Pl. V.1, VI.1 and 11.

76 Marcellinus, Chron., sub 444.

77 Besides Marcellinus, Priscus, speaking of the heiress of Saturninus, says: τὸν δὲ Σατορνίλονº ἀνῃρήκει Ἀθηναὶς (fr. 3, De leg. Rom. p146). See the discussion of Gregorovius, op. cit. cap. XXIII.

78 She died Oct. 20, 460. Cyrillus, Vita Euthymii, p74.

79 Evagrius, I.22; John of Nikiu, LXXXVII.22, 23.

80 Chron. Pasch., sub 444.

81 C. Th. XIV.9.3, and VI.21.1. For the lecture-rooms in a portico in the Capitol see C. Th. XV.1.53.

82 The Gregorian Code (c. A.D. 300) contained constitutions from Hadrian to A.D. 294; the Hermogenian those from 296 to 324.

Thayer's Note: For more details and references, see the article in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

83 See C. Th. I.1.5, March 26, 429, I.1.6, Dec. 20, 435.

84 Theodosius II. Nov. 1.

85 The object of the compilers of the Code was to include all the laws, whether edicts or rescripts, which they could find, not to make a selection of those which were still valid. One might have thought that a record of all imperial laws would have been carefully preserved in the eastern and western chanceries, but it was not so. Seeck's valuable investigation of the sources of the Code (Regesten der Kaiser und Päpste) shows that in many cases there were no copies at Constantinople, and the texts had to be sought at provincial centres, e.g. at Berytus. Of much legislation there was probably no trace to be found anywhere. But laws issued in the west were more abundantly preserved than those in the east. It is remarkable that though the Code includes laws of Theodosius up to 437, it does not include laws of Valentinian after 432.

86 The gold paid to the Huns during the eight years A.D. 443‑450 exceeded in value £1,000,000.

87 Theophanes, A.M. 5942.

88 He had an enemy in the Isaurian Zeno, Master of Soldiers, who seems to have threatened a revolt in A.D. 449. See John Ant. fr. 84 (De ins.), and Priscus, fr. 5 (De leg. Rom.).

89 Theophanes, ib.

90 The accident happened near the River Lycus not far from the city. See John Mal. XIV.366.

91 Marcellinus and Chron. Pasch., sub a.

92 At the beginning of his reign Marcian issued gold coins both of himself and of Pulcheria with a side-faced Victory holding a cross on the reverse and the legend Victoria Auggg. See Sabatier, Monn. byz. Pl. VI.6 and 13. An inscription found in Eastern Thrace (CIL, III.14207) describes Marcian as serius in regnum missus (he was nearly 60 years old) and applying prompt remedies (celeri medicina) to restore a falling world.

93 Chron. Pasch., sub a.

94 Theophanes, A.M. 5942, ad fin. μεταστέλλεται (sc. Pulcheria) τὸν πατριάρχη καὶ τὴν σύγκλητον καὶ ἀναγορεύει αὐτὸν βασιλέα Ῥωμαίων. We are ignorant what was the authority of Theophanes for introducing the Patriarch. See below, p317. According to John Malalas, XIV.367, Marcian was crowned "by the Senate"; according to John of Nikiu, ed. Zotenberg, p472, and Zonaras, XIII.24, by Pulcheria; according to Simeon, the Logothete, vers. Slav. ed. Sreznevski, p50 (= Theodosius Mel. p78 = Leo Gramm. p111) by Anatolius. This last tradition is accepted by W. Sickel, BZ. VII.517, 539.

95 John Mal. XIV.368. Marcellinus, ib. Pulcheriae nutu interemptus est.

96 Theoph. A.M. 5946. καὶ ἦν ἐκεῖνα τὰ ἐτη κυρίως χρυσᾶ τῇ τοῦ βασιλέως χρηστότητι. Cp. John Lydus, De mag. III.42 (p132) Μαρκιανὸν τὸν μέτριον.

97 More than £4,500,000. John Lydus, ib.

98 Marcian, Nov. 2 (A.D. 450).

99 C. J. XII.2.1, A.D. 450.

100 Marcellinus, sub 452.

101 Theodore Lector, I.2.

102 C. J. XII.2.2. Cp. above, p50.

103 Marcian, Nov. 4 (A.D. 454).

104 Priscus, fr. 12, De leg. gent. Palladius was Praet. Pref. of the East during the greater part of the reign (see Novels, and other laws in C. J.).

105 This arrangement was probably made in the latter half of the reign. The title of the governor was, as elsewhere, dux; cp. a Leyden papyrus in Archiv f. Papyrusforschung, I.399, κόμιτα καὶ δοῦκα τοῦ Θεβαικοῦ λιμίτου. In this passage the barbarians are mentioned τῶν ἀλιτηρίων βαρβάρων . . . τῶν τε Βλεμύων καὶ τῶν Νουβάδων. Cp. M. Gelzer. Studien zur byz. Ver. Ägyptens, p10.

106 Jordanes, Rom. p43; Priscus, fr. 11, De leg. gent.; Evagrius, II.5. It was in these raids probably that the exiled Patriarch Nestorius was captured by the barbarians at Oasis, see Evagrius (I.7) who quotes his letters. Fragments of a heroic poem on a war with the Blemyes, preserved on papyrus, are supposed by some to refer to the campaign of Florus. They have been edited most recently by A. Ludwich under the title of Blemyomachia, but it is very doubtful to what historical events they refer. All the names of persons are fictitious (Persinoos, etc.) with the possible exception of Germanus. Ludwich thinks that the hostilities described are imaginary and, on metrical grounds, he regards the poem as considerably prior to A.D. 450.

107 Marcellinus, sub a.

108 Theodore Lector, I.5. See Bieliaev, Khram Bog. Khalkopr., p87, n2.

109 Nicephorus Callistus, XIV. cap. 11. The picture was said to be the work of St. Luke.

110 ἡ ἁγία σορός. Cedrenus, I.614.

111 Sometime between 26th January and 7th February (Clinton, F.R. sub a.); possibly on 26th January; there is a lacuna in Theodore Lector, I.12, where the date is mentioned.

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