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The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 5 by Edward Gibbon

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produces the sonorous title of Sebastocrator. He was exalted
above the Caesar on the first step of the throne: the public
acclamations repeated his name; and he was only distinguished
from the sovereign by some peculiar ornaments of the head and
feet. The emperor alone could assume the purple or red buskins,
and the close diadem or tiara, which imitated the fashion of the
Persian kings. ^40 It was a high pyramidal cap of cloth or silk,
almost concealed by a profusion of pearls and jewels: the crown
was formed by a horizontal circle and two arches of gold: at the
summit, the point of their intersection, was placed a globe or
cross, and two strings or lappets of pearl depended on either
cheek. Instead of red, the buskins of the Sebastocrator and
Caesar were green; and on their open coronets or crowns, the
precious gems were more sparingly distributed. Beside and below
the Caesar the fancy of Alexius created the Panhypersebastos and
the Protosebastos, whose sound and signification will satisfy a
Grecian ear. They imply a superiority and a priority above the
simple name of Augustus; and this sacred and primitive title of
the Roman prince was degraded to the kinsmen and servants of the
Byzantine court. The daughter of Alexius applauds, with fond
complacency, this artful gradation of hopes and honors; but the
science of words is accessible to the meanest capacity; and this
vain dictionary was easily enriched by the pride of his
successors. To their favorite sons or brothers, they imparted
the more lofty appellation of Lord or Despot, which was
illustrated with new ornaments, and prerogatives, and placed
immediately after the person of the emperor himself. The five
titles of, 1. Despot; 2. Sebastocrator; 3. Caesar; 4.
Panhypersebastos; and, 5. Protosebastos; were usually confined to
the princes of his blood: they were the emanations of his
majesty; but as they exercised no regular functions, their
existence was useless, and their authority precarious.

[Footnote 39: See the Alexiad (l. iii. p. 78, 79) of Anna
Comnena, who, except in filial piety, may be compared to
Mademoiselle de Montpensier. In her awful reverence for titles
and forms, she styles her father, the inventor of this royal

[Footnote 40: See Reiske, and Ceremoniale, p. 14, 15. Ducange
has given a learned dissertation on the crowns of Constantinople,
Rome, France, &c., (sur Joinville, xxv. p. 289 - 303;) but of his
thirty-four models, none exactly tally with Anne's description.]

But in every monarchy the substantial powers of government
must be divided and exercised by the ministers of the palace and
treasury, the fleet and army. The titles alone can differ; and
in the revolution of ages, the counts and praefects, the praetor
and quaestor, insensibly descended, while their servants rose
above their heads to the first honors of the state. 1. In a
monarchy, which refers every object to the person of the prince,
the care and ceremonies of the palace form the most respectable
department. The Curopalata, ^41 so illustrious in the age of
Justinian, was supplanted by the Protovestiare, whose primitive
functions were limited to the custody of the wardrobe. From
thence his jurisdiction was extended over the numerous menials of
pomp and luxury; and he presided with his silver wand at the
public and private audience. 2. In the ancient system of
Constantine, the name of Logothete, or accountant, was applied to
the receivers of the finances: the principal officers were
distinguished as the Logothetes of the domain, of the posts, the
army, the private and public treasure; and the great Logothete,
the supreme guardian of the laws and revenues, is compared with
the chancellor of the Latin monarchies. ^42 His discerning eye
pervaded the civil administration; and he was assisted, in due
subordination, by the eparch or praefect of the city, the first
secretary, and the keepers of the privy seal, the archives, and
the red or purple ink which was reserved for the sacred signature
of the emperor alone. ^43 The introductor and interpreter of
foreign ambassadors were the great Chiauss ^44 and the Dragoman,
^45 two names of Turkish origin, and which are still familiar to
the Sublime Porte. 3. From the humble style and service of
guards, the Domestics insensibly rose to the station of generals;
the military themes of the East and West, the legions of Europe
and Asia, were often divided, till the great Domestic was finally
invested with the universal and absolute command of the land
forces. The Protostrator, in his original functions, was the
assistant of the emperor when he mounted on horseback: he
gradually became the lieutenant of the great Domestic in the
field; and his jurisdiction extended over the stables, the
cavalry, and the royal train of hunting and hawking. The
Stratopedarch was the great judge of the camp: the Protospathaire
commanded the guards; the Constable, ^46 the great Aeteriarch,
and the Acolyth, were the separate chiefs of the Franks, the
Barbarians, and the Varangi, or English, the mercenary strangers,
who, a the decay of the national spirit, formed the nerve of the
Byzantine armies. 4. The naval powers were under the command of
the great Duke; in his absence they obeyed the great Drungaire of
the fleet; and, in his place, the Emir, or Admiral, a name of
Saracen extraction, ^47 but which has been naturalized in all the
modern languages of Europe. Of these officers, and of many more
whom it would be useless to enumerate, the civil and military
hierarchy was framed. Their honors and emoluments, their dress
and titles, their mutual salutations and respective preeminence,
were balanced with more exquisite labor than would have fixed the
constitution of a free people; and the code was almost perfect
when this baseless fabric, the monument of pride and servitude,
was forever buried in the ruins of the empire. ^48

[Footnote 41: Par exstans curis, solo diademate dispar,
Ordine pro rerum vocitatus Cura-Palati,

says the African Corippus, (de Laudibus Justini, l. i. 136,) and
in the same century (the vith) Cassiodorus represents him, who,
virga aurea decoratus, inter numerosa obsequia primus ante pedes
regis incederet (Variar. vii. 5.) But this great officer,
(unknown,) exercising no function, was cast down by the modern
Greeks to the xvth rank, (Codin. c. 5, p. 65.)]

[Footnote 42: Nicetas (in Manuel, l. vii. c. 1) defines him. Yet
the epithet was added by the elder Andronicus, (Ducange, tom. i.
p. 822, 823.)]

[Footnote 43: From Leo I. (A.D. 470) the Imperial ink, which is
still visible on some original acts, was a mixture of vermilion
and cinnabar, or purple. The emperor's guardians, who shared in
this prerogative, always marked in green ink the indiction and
the month. See the Dictionnaire Diplomatique, (tom. i. p. 511 -
513) a valuable abridgment.]

[Footnote 44: The sultan sent to Alexius, (Anna Comnena, l. vi.
p. 170. Ducange ad loc.;) and Pachymer often speaks, (l. vii. c.
1, l. xii. c. 30, l. xiii. c. 22.) The Chiaoush basha is now at
the head of 700 officers, (Rycaut's Ottoman Empire, p. 349,
octavo edition.)]

[Footnote 45: Tagerman is the Arabic name of an interpreter,
(D'Herbelot, p. 854, 855;), says Codinus, (c. v. No. 70, p. 67.)
See Villehardouin, (No. 96,) Bus, (Epist. iv. p. 338,) and
Ducange, (Observations sur Villehardouin, and Gloss. Graec. et

[Footnote 46: A corruption from the Latin Comes stabuli, or the
French Connetable. In a military sense, it was used by the
Greeks in the eleventh century, at least as early as in France.]

[Footnote 47: It was directly borrowed from the Normans. In the
xiith century, Giannone reckons the admiral of Sicily among the
great officers.]

[Footnote 48: This sketch of honors and offices is drawn from
George Cordinus Curopalata, who survived the taking of
Constantinople by the Turks: his elaborate, though trifling, work
(de Officiis Ecclesiae et Aulae C. P.) has been illustrated by
the notes of Goar, and the three books of Gretser, a learned

Chapter LIII: Fate Of The Eastern Empire.

Part III.

The most lofty titles, and the most humble postures, which
devotion has applied to the Supreme Being, have been prostituted
by flattery and fear to creatures of the same nature with
ourselves. The mode of adoration, ^49 of falling prostrate on
the ground, and kissing the feet of the emperor, was borrowed by
Diocletian from Persian servitude; but it was continued and
aggravated till the last age of the Greek monarchy. Excepting
only on Sundays, when it was waived, from a motive of religious
pride, this humiliating reverence was exacted from all who
entered the royal presence, from the princes invested with the
diadem and purple, and from the ambassadors who represented their
independent sovereigns, the caliphs of Asia, Egypt, or Spain, the
kings of France and Italy, and the Latin emperors of ancient
Rome. In his transactions of business, Liutprand, bishop of
Cremona, ^50 asserted the free spirit of a Frank and the dignity
of his master Otho. Yet his sincerity cannot disguise the
abasement of his first audience. When he approached the throne,
the birds of the golden tree began to warble their notes, which
were accompanied by the roarings of the two lions of gold. With
his two companions Liutprand was compelled to bow and to fall
prostrate; and thrice to touch the ground with his forehead. He
arose, but in the short interval, the throne had been hoisted
from the floor to the ceiling, the Imperial figure appeared in
new and more gorgeous apparel, and the interview was concluded in
haughty and majestic silence. In this honest and curious
narrative, the Bishop of Cremona represents the ceremonies of the
Byzantine court, which are still practised in the Sublime Porte,
and which were preserved in the last age by the dukes of Muscovy
or Russia. After a long journey by sea and land, from Venice to
Constantinople, the ambassador halted at the golden gate, till he
was conducted by the formal officers to the hospitable palace
prepared for his reception; but this palace was a prison, and his
jealous keepers prohibited all social intercourse either with
strangers or natives. At his first audience, he offered the
gifts of his master, slaves, and golden vases, and costly armor.
The ostentatious payment of the officers and troops displayed
before his eyes the riches of the empire: he was entertained at a
royal banquet, ^51 in which the ambassadors of the nations were
marshalled by the esteem or contempt of the Greeks: from his own
table, the emperor, as the most signal favor, sent the plates
which he had tasted; and his favorites were dismissed with a robe
of honor. ^52 In the morning and evening of each day, his civil
and military servants attended their duty in the palace; their
labors were repaid by the sight, perhaps by the smile, of their
lord; his commands were signified by a nod or a sign: but all
earthly greatness stood silent and submissive in his presence.
In his regular or extraordinary processions through the capital,
he unveiled his person to the public view: the rites of policy
were connected with those of religion, and his visits to the
principal churches were regulated by the festivals of the Greek
calendar. On the eve of these processions, the gracious or
devout intention of the monarch was proclaimed by the heralds.
The streets were cleared and purified; the pavement was strewed
with flowers; the most precious furniture, the gold and silver
plate, and silken hangings, were displayed from the windows and
balconies, and a severe discipline restrained and silenced the
tumult of the populace. The march was opened by the military
officers at the head of their troops: they were followed in long
order by the magistrates and ministers of the civil government:
the person of the emperor was guarded by his eunuchs and
domestics, and at the church door he was solemnly received by the
patriarch and his clergy. The task of applause was not abandoned
to the rude and spontaneous voices of the crowd. The most
convenient stations were occupied by the bands of the blue and
green factions of the circus; and their furious conflicts, which
had shaken the capital, were insensibly sunk to an emulation of
servitude. From either side they echoed in responsive melody the
praises of the emperor; their poets and musicians directed the
choir, and long life ^53 and victory were the burden of every
song. The same acclamations were performed at the audience, the
banquet, and the church; and as an evidence of boundless sway,
they were repeated in the Latin, ^54 Gothic, Persian, French, and
even English language, ^55 by the mercenaries who sustained the
real or fictitious character of those nations. By the pen of
Constantine Porphyrogenitus, this science of form and flattery
has been reduced into a pompous and trifling volume, ^56 which
the vanity of succeeding times might enrich with an ample
supplement. Yet the calmer reflection of a prince would surely
suggest that the same acclamations were applied to every
character and every reign: and if he had risen from a private
rank, he might remember, that his own voice had been the loudest
and most eager in applause, at the very moment when he envied the
fortune, or conspired against the life, of his predecessor. ^57

[Footnote 49: The respectful salutation of carrying the hand to
the mouth, ad os, is the root of the Latin word adoro, adorare.
See our learned Selden, (vol. iii. p. 143 - 145, 942,) in his
Titles of Honor. It seems, from the 1st book of Herodotus, to be
of Persian origin.]

[Footnote 50: The two embassies of Liutprand to Constantinople,
all that he saw or suffered in the Greek capital, are pleasantly
described by himself (Hist. l. vi. c. 1 - 4, p. 469 - 471.
Legatio ad Nicephorum Phocam, p. 479 - 489.)]

[Footnote 51: Among the amusements of the feast, a boy balanced,
on his forehead, a pike, or pole, twenty-four feet long, with a
cross bar of two cubits a little below the top. Two boys, naked,
though cinctured, (campestrati,) together, and singly, climbed,
stood, played, descended, &c., ita me stupidum reddidit: utrum
mirabilius nescio, (p. 470.) At another repast a homily of
Chrysostom on the Acts of the Apostles was read elata voce non
Latine, (p. 483.)]

[Footnote 52: Gala is not improbably derived from Cala, or
Caloat, in Arabic a robe of honor, (Reiske, Not. in Ceremon. p.

[Footnote 53: It is explained, (Codin, c. 7. Ducange, Gloss.
Graec. tom. i. p. 1199.)]

[Footnote 54: (Ceremon. c. 75, p. 215.) The want of the Latin 'V'
obliged the Greeks to employ their 'beta'; nor do they regard
quantity. Till he recollected the true language, these strange
sentences might puzzle a professor.]

[Footnote 55: (Codin.p. 90.) I wish he had preserved the words,
however corrupt, of their English acclamation.]

[Footnote 56: For all these ceremonies, see the professed work of
Constantine Porphyrogenitus with the notes, or rather
dissertations, of his German editors, Leich and Reiske. For the
rank of standing courtiers, p. 80, not. 23, 62; for the
adoration, except on Sundays, p. 95, 240, not. 131; the
processions, p. 2, &c., not. p. 3, &c.; the acclamations passim
not. 25 &c.; the factions and Hippodrome, p. 177 - 214, not. 9,
93, &c.; the Gothic games, p. 221, not. 111; vintage, p. 217, not
109: much more information is scattered over the work.]

[Footnote 57: Et privato Othoni et nuper eadem dicenti nota
adulatio, (Tacit. Hist. 1,85.)]

The princes of the North, of the nations, says Constantine,
without faith or fame, were ambitious of mingling their blood
with the blood of the Caesars, by their marriage with a royal
virgin, or by the nuptials of their daughters with a Roman
prince. ^58 The aged monarch, in his instructions to his son,
reveals the secret maxims of policy and pride; and suggests the
most decent reasons for refusing these insolent and unreasonable
demands. Every animal, says the discreet emperor, is prompted by
the distinction of language, religion, and manners. A just
regard to the purity of descent preserves the harmony of public
and private life; but the mixture of foreign blood is the
fruitful source of disorder and discord. Such had ever been the
opinion and practice of the sage Romans: their jurisprudence
proscribed the marriage of a citizen and a stranger: in the days
of freedom and virtue, a senator would have scorned to match his
daughter with a king: the glory of Mark Antony was sullied by an
Egyptian wife: ^59 and the emperor Titus was compelled, by
popular censure, to dismiss with reluctance the reluctant
Berenice. ^60 This perpetual interdict was ratified by the
fabulous sanction of the great Constantine. The ambassadors of
the nations, more especially of the unbelieving nations, were
solemnly admonished, that such strange alliances had been
condemned by the founder of the church and city. The irrevocable
law was inscribed on the altar of St. Sophia; and the impious
prince who should stain the majesty of the purple was excluded
from the civil and ecclesiastical communion of the Romans. If
the ambassadors were instructed by any false brethren in the
Byzantine history, they might produce three memorable examples of
the violation of this imaginary law: the marriage of Leo, or
rather of his father Constantine the Fourth, with the daughter of
the king of the Chozars, the nuptials of the granddaughter of
Romanus with a Bulgarian prince, and the union of Bertha of
France or Italy with young Romanus, the son of Constantine
Porphyrogenitus himself. To these objections three answers were
prepared, which solved the difficulty and established the law. I.

The deed and the guilt of Constantine Copronymus were
acknowledged. The Isaurian heretic, who sullied the baptismal
font, and declared war against the holy images, had indeed
embraced a Barbarian wife. By this impious alliance he
accomplished the measure of his crimes, and was devoted to the
just censure of the church and of posterity. II. Romanus could
not be alleged as a legitimate emperor; he was a plebeian
usurper, ignorant of the laws, and regardless of the honor, of
the monarchy. His son Christopher, the father of the bride, was
the third in rank in the college of princes, at once the subject
and the accomplice of a rebellious parent. The Bulgarians were
sincere and devout Christians; and the safety of the empire, with
the redemption of many thousand captives, depended on this
preposterous alliance. Yet no consideration could dispense from
the law of Constantine: the clergy, the senate, and the people,
disapproved the conduct of Romanus; and he was reproached, both
in his life and death, as the author of the public disgrace.
III. For the marriage of his own son with the daughter of Hugo,
king of Italy, a more honorable defence is contrived by the wise
Porphyrogenitus. Constantine, the great and holy, esteemed the
fidelity and valor of the Franks; ^61 and his prophetic spirit
beheld the vision of their future greatness. They alone were
excepted from the general prohibition: Hugo, king of France, was
the lineal descendant of Charlemagne; ^62 and his daughter Bertha
inherited the prerogatives of her family and nation. The voice
of truth and malice insensibly betrayed the fraud or error of the
Imperial court. The patrimonial estate of Hugo was reduced from
the monarchy of France to the simple county of Arles; though it
was not denied, that, in the confusion of the times, he had
usurped the sovereignty of Provence, and invaded the kingdom of
Italy. His father was a private noble; and if Bertha derived her
female descent from the Carlovingian line, every step was
polluted with illegitimacy or vice. The grandmother of Hugo was
the famous Valdrada, the concubine, rather than the wife, of the
second Lothair; whose adultery, divorce, and second nuptials, had
provoked against him the thunders of the Vatican. His mother, as
she was styled, the great Bertha, was successively the wife of
the count of Arles and of the marquis of Tuscany: France and
Italy were scandalized by her gallantries; and, till the age of
threescore, her lovers, of every degree, were the zealous
servants of her ambition. The example of maternal incontinence
was copied by the king of Italy; and the three favorite
concubines of Hugo were decorated with the classic names of
Venus, Juno, and Semele. ^63 The daughter of Venus was granted to
the solicitations of the Byzantine court: her name of Bertha was
changed to that of Eudoxia; and she was wedded, or rather
betrothed, to young Romanus, the future heir of the empire of the
East. The consummation of this foreign alliance was suspended by
the tender age of the two parties; and, at the end of five years,
the union was dissolved by the death of the virgin spouse. The
second wife of the emperor Romanus was a maiden of plebeian, but
of Roman, birth; and their two daughters, Theophano and Anne,
were given in marriage to the princes of the earth. The eldest
was bestowed, as the pledge of peace, on the eldest son of the
great Otho, who had solicited this alliance with arms and
embassies. It might legally be questioned how far a Saxon was
entitled to the privilege of the French nation; but every scruple
was silenced by the fame and piety of a hero who had restored the
empire of the West. After the death of her father-in-law and
husband, Theophano governed Rome, Italy, and Germany, during the
minority of her son, the third Otho; and the Latins have praised
the virtues of an empress, who sacrificed to a superior duty the
remembrance of her country. ^64 In the nuptials of her sister
Anne, every prejudice was lost, and every consideration of
dignity was superseded, by the stronger argument of necessity and
fear. A Pagan of the North, Wolodomir, great prince of Russia,
aspired to a daughter of the Roman purple; and his claim was
enforced by the threats of war, the promise of conversion, and
the offer of a powerful succor against a domestic rebel. A victim
of her religion and country, the Grecian princess was torn from
the palace of her fathers, and condemned to a savage reign, and a
hopeless exile on the banks of the Borysthenes, or in the
neighborhood of the Polar circle. ^65 Yet the marriage of Anne
was fortunate and fruitful: the daughter of her grandson
Joroslaus was recommended by her Imperial descent; and the king
of France, Henry I., sought a wife on the last borders of Europe
and Christendom. ^66

[Footnote 58: The xiiith chapter, de Administratione Imperii, may
be explained and rectified by the Familiae Byzantinae of

[Footnote 59: Sequiturque nefas Aegyptia conjux, (Virgil, Aeneid,
viii. 688.) Yet this Egyptian wife was the daughter of a long
line of kings. Quid te mutavit (says Antony in a private letter
to Augustus) an quod reginam ineo? Uxor mea est, (Sueton. in
August. c. 69.) Yet I much question (for I cannot stay to
inquire) whether the triumvir ever dared to celebrate his
marriage either with Roman or Egyptian rites.]

[Footnote 60: Berenicem invitus invitam dimisit, (Suetonius in
Tito, c. 7.) Have I observed elsewhere, that this Jewish beauty
was at this time above fifty years of age? The judicious Racine
has most discreetly suppressed both her age and her country.]

[Footnote 61: Constantine was made to praise the the Franks, with
whom he claimed a private and public alliance. The French
writers (Isaac Casaubon in Dedicat. Polybii) are highly delighted
with these compliments.]

[Footnote 62: Constantine Porphyrogenitus (de Administrat. Imp.
c. 36) exhibits a pedigree and life of the illustrious King Hugo.
A more correct idea may be formed from the Criticism of Pagi, the
Annals of Muratori, and the Abridgment of St. Marc, A.D. 925 -

[Footnote 63: After the mention of the three goddesses, Luitprand
very naturally adds, et quoniam non rex solus iis abutebatur,
earum nati ex incertis patribus originera ducunt, (Hist. l. iv.
c. 6: ) for the marriage of the younger Bertha, see Hist. l. v.
c. 5; for the incontinence of the elder, dulcis exercipio
Hymenaei, l. ii. c. 15; for the virtues and vices of Hugo, l.
iii. c. 5. Yet it must not be forgot, that the bishop of Cremona
was a lover of scandal.]

[Footnote 64: Licet illa Imperatrix Graeca sibi et aliis fuisset
satis utilis, et optima, &c., is the preamble of an inimical
writer, apud Pagi, tom. iv. A.D. 989, No. 3. Her marriage and
principal actions may be found in Muratori, Pagi, and St. Marc,
under the proper years.]

[Footnote 65: Cedrenus, tom. ii. p. 699. Zonaras, tom. i. p.
221. Elmacin, Hist. Saracenica, l. iii. c. 6. Nestor apud
Levesque, tom. ii. p. 112 Pagi, Critica, A.D. 987, No. 6: a
singular concourse! Wolodomir and Anne are ranked among the
saints of the Russian church. Yet we know his vices, and are
ignorant of her virtues.]

[Footnote 66: Henricus primus duxit uxorem Scythicam, Russam,
filiam regis Jeroslai. An embassy of bishops was sent into
Russia, and the father gratanter filiam cum multis donis misit.
This event happened in the year 1051. See the passages of the
original chronicles in Bouquet's Historians of France, (tom. xi.
p. 29, 159, 161, 319, 384, 481.) Voltaire might wonder at this
alliance; but he should not have owned his ignorance of the
country, religion, &c., of Jeroslaus - a name so conspicuous in
the Russian annals.]

In the Byzantine palace, the emperor was the first slave of
the ceremonies which he imposed, of the rigid forms which
regulated each word and gesture, besieged him in the palace, and
violated the leisure of his rural solitude. But the lives and
fortunes of millions hung on his arbitrary will; and the firmest
minds, superior to the allurements of pomp and luxury, may be
seduced by the more active pleasure of commanding their equals.
The legislative and executive powers were centred in the person
of the monarch, and the last remains of the authority of the
senate were finally eradicated by Leo the philosopher. ^67 A
lethargy of servitude had benumbed the minds of the Greeks: in
the wildest tumults of rebellion they never aspired to the idea
of a free constitution; and the private character of the prince
was the only source and measure of their public happiness.
Superstition rivetted their chains; in the church of St. Sophia
he was solemnly crowned by the patriarch; at the foot of the
altar, they pledged their passive and unconditional obedience to
his government and family. On his side he engaged to abstain as
much as possible from the capital punishments of death and
mutilation; his orthodox creed was subscribed with his own hand,
and he promised to obey the decrees of the seven synods, and the
canons of the holy church. ^68 But the assurance of mercy was
loose and indefinite: he swore, not to his people, but to an
invisible judge; and except in the inexpiable guilt of heresy,
the ministers of heaven were always prepared to preach the
indefeasible right, and to absolve the venial transgressions, of
their sovereign. The Greek ecclesiastics were themselves the
subjects of the civil magistrate: at the nod of a tyrant, the
bishops were created, or transferred, or deposed, or punished
with an ignominious death: whatever might be their wealth or
influence, they could never succeed like the Latin clergy in the
establishment of an independent republic; and the patriarch of
Constantinople condemned, what he secretly envied, the temporal
greatness of his Roman brother. Yet the exercise of boundless
despotism is happily checked by the laws of nature and necessity.
In proportion to his wisdom and virtue, the master of an empire
is confined to the path of his sacred and laborious duty. In
proportion to his vice and folly, he drops the sceptre too
weighty for his hands; and the motions of the royal image are
ruled by the imperceptible thread of some minister or favorite,
who undertakes for his private interest to exercise the task of
the public oppression. In some fatal moment, the most absolute
monarch may dread the reason or the caprice of a nation of
slaves; and experience has proved, that whatever is gained in the
extent, is lost in the safety and solidity, of regal power.

[Footnote 67: A constitution of Leo the Philosopher (lxxviii.) ne
senatus consulta amplius fiant, speaks the language of naked

[Footnote 68: Codinus (de Officiis, c. xvii. p. 120, 121) gives
an idea of this oath so strong to the church, so weak to the

Whatever titles a despot may assume, whatever claims he may
assert, it is on the sword that he must ultimately depend to
guard him against his foreign and domestic enemies. From the age
of Charlemagne to that of the Crusades, the world (for I overlook
the remote monarchy of China) was occupied and disputed by the
three great empires or nations of the Greeks, the Saracens, and
the Franks. Their military strength may be ascertained by a
comparison of their courage, their arts and riches, and their
obedience to a supreme head, who might call into action all the
energies of the state. The Greeks, far inferior to their rivals
in the first, were superior to the Franks, and at least equal to
the Saracens, in the second and third of these warlike

The wealth of the Greeks enabled them to purchase the
service of the poorer nations, and to maintain a naval power for
the protection of their coasts and the annoyance of their
enemies. ^69 A commerce of mutual benefit exchanged the gold of
Constantinople for the blood of Sclavonians and Turks, the
Bulgarians and Russians: their valor contributed to the victories
of Nicephorus and Zimisces; and if a hostile people pressed too
closely on the frontier, they were recalled to the defence of
their country, and the desire of peace, by the well-managed
attack of a more distant tribe. ^70 The command of the
Mediterranean, from the mouth of the Tanais to the columns of
Hercules, was always claimed, and often possessed, by the
successors of Constantine. Their capital was filled with naval
stores and dexterous artificers: the situation of Greece and
Asia, the long coasts, deep gulfs, and numerous islands,
accustomed their subjects to the exercise of navigation; and the
trade of Venice and Amalfi supplied a nursery of seamen to the
Imperial fleet. ^71 Since the time of the Peloponnesian and Punic
wars, the sphere of action had not been enlarged; and the science
of naval architecture appears to have declined. The art of
constructing those stupendous machines which displayed three, or
six, or ten, ranges of oars, rising above, or falling behind,
each other, was unknown to the ship-builders of Constantinople,
as well as to the mechanicians of modern days. ^72 The Dromones,
^73 or light galleys of the Byzantine empire, were content with
two tier of oars; each tier was composed of five-and-twenty
benches; and two rowers were seated on each bench, who plied
their oars on either side of the vessel. To these we must add
the captain or centurion, who, in time of action, stood erect
with his armor-bearer on the poop, two steersmen at the helm, and
two officers at the prow, the one to manage the anchor, the other
to point and play against the enemy the tube of liquid fire. The
whole crew, as in the infancy of the art, performed the double
service of mariners and soldiers; they were provided with
defensive and offensive arms, with bows and arrows, which they
used from the upper deck, with long pikes, which they pushed
through the portholes of the lower tier. Sometimes, indeed, the
ships of war were of a larger and more solid construction; and
the labors of combat and navigation were more regularly divided
between seventy soldiers and two hundred and thirty mariners.
But for the most part they were of the light and manageable size;
and as the Cape of Malea in Peloponnesus was still clothed with
its ancient terrors, an Imperial fleet was transported five miles
over land across the Isthmus of Corinth. ^74 The principles of
maritime tactics had not undergone any change since the time of
Thucydides: a squadron of galleys still advanced in a crescent,
charged to the front, and strove to impel their sharp beaks
against the feeble sides of their antagonists. A machine for
casting stones and darts was built of strong timbers, in the
midst of the deck; and the operation of boarding was effected by
a crane that hoisted baskets of armed men. The language of
signals, so clear and copious in the naval grammar of the
moderns, was imperfectly expressed by the various positions and
colors of a commanding flag. In the darkness of the night, the
same orders to chase, to attack, to halt, to retreat, to break,
to form, were conveyed by the lights of the leading galley. By
land, the fire-signals were repeated from one mountain to
another; a chain of eight stations commanded a space of five
hundred miles; and Constantinople in a few hours was apprised of
the hostile motions of the Saracens of Tarsus. ^75 Some estimate
may be formed of the power of the Greek emperors, by the curious
and minute detail of the armament which was prepared for the
reduction of Crete. A fleet of one hundred and twelve galleys,
and seventy-five vessels of the Pamphylian style, was equipped in
the capital, the islands of the Aegean Sea, and the seaports of
Asia, Macedonia, and Greece. It carried thirty-four thousand
mariners, seven thousand three hundred and forty soldiers, seven
hundred Russians, and five thousand and eighty-seven Mardaites,
whose fathers had been transplanted from the mountains of
Libanus. Their pay, most probably of a month, was computed at
thirty-four centenaries of gold, about one hundred and thirty-six
thousand pounds sterling. Our fancy is bewildered by the endless
recapitulation of arms and engines, of clothes and linen, of
bread for the men and forage for the horses, and of stores and
utensils of every description, inadequate to the conquest of a
petty island, but amply sufficient for the establishment of a
flourishing colony. ^76

[Footnote 69: If we listen to the threats of Nicephorus to the
ambassador of Otho, Nec est in mari domino tuo classium numerus.
Navigantium fortitudo mihi soli inest, qui eum classibus
aggrediar, bello maritimas ejus civitates demoliar; et quae
fluminibus sunt vicina redigam in favillam. (Liutprand in Legat.
ad Nicephorum Phocam, in Muratori Scriptores Rerum Italicarum,
tom. ii. pars i. p. 481.) He observes in another place, qui
caeteris praestant Venetici sunt et Amalphitani.]

[Footnote 70: Nec ipsa capiet eum (the emperor Otho) in qua ortus
est pauper et pellicea Saxonia: pecunia qua pollemus omnes
nationes super eum invitabimus: et quasi Keramicum confringemus,
(Liutprand in Legat. p. 487.) The two books, de Administrando
Imperio, perpetually inculcate the same policy.]

[Footnote 71: The xixth chapter of the Tactics of Leo, (Meurs.
Opera, tom. vi. p. 825 - 848,) which is given more correct from a
manuscript of Gudius, by the laborious Fabricius, (Bibliot.
Graec. tom. vi. p. 372 - 379,) relates to the Naumachia, or naval

[Footnote 72: Even of fifteen and sixteen rows of oars, in the
navy of Demetrius Poliorcetes. These were for real use: the
forty rows of Ptolemy Philadelphus were applied to a floating
palace, whose tonnage, according to Dr. Arbuthnot, (Tables of
Ancient Coins, &c., p. 231 - 236,) is compared as 4 1/2 to 1 with
an English 100 gun ship.]

[Footnote 73: The Dromones of Leo, &c., are so clearly described
with two tier of oars, that I must censure the version of
Meursius and Fabricius, who pervert the sense by a blind
attachment to the classic appellation of Triremes. The Byzantine
historians are sometimes guilty of the same inaccuracy.]

[Footnote 74: Constantin. Porphyrogen. in Vit. Basil. c. lxi. p.
185. He calmly praises the stratagem; but the sailing round
Peloponnesus is described by his terrified fancy as a
circumnavigation of a thousand miles.]

[Footnote 75: The continuator of Theophanes (l. iv. p. 122, 123)
names the successive stations, the castle of Lulum near Tarsus,
Mount Argaeus Isamus, Aegilus, the hill of Mamas, Cyrisus,
Mocilus, the hill of Auxentius, the sun-dial of the Pharus of the
great palace. He affirms that the news were transmitted in an
indivisible moment of time. Miserable amplification, which, by
saying too much, says nothing. How much more forcible and
instructive would have been the definition of three, or six, or
twelve hours!]

[Footnote 76: See the Ceremoniale of Constantine Porphyrogenitus,
l. ii. c. 44, p. 176 - 192. A critical reader will discern some
inconsistencies in different parts of this account; but they are
not more obscure or more stubborn than the establishment and
effectives, the present and fit for duty, the rank and file and
the private, of a modern return, which retain in proper hands the
knowledge of these profitable mysteries.]

The invention of the Greek fire did not, like that of gun
powder, produce a total revolution in the art of war. To these
liquid combustibles the city and empire of Constantine owed their
deliverance; and they were employed in sieges and sea-fights with
terrible effect. But they were either less improved, or less
susceptible of improvement: the engines of antiquity, the
catapultae, balistae, and battering-rams, were still of most
frequent and powerful use in the attack and defence of
fortifications; nor was the decision of battles reduced to the
quick and heavy fire of a line of infantry, whom it were
fruitless to protect with armor against a similar fire of their
enemies. Steel and iron were still the common instruments of
destruction and safety; and the helmets, cuirasses, and shields,
of the tenth century did not, either in form or substance,
essentially differ from those which had covered the companions of
Alexander or Achilles. ^77 But instead of accustoming the modern
Greeks, like the legionaries of old, to the constant and easy use
of this salutary weight, their armor was laid aside in light
chariots, which followed the march, till, on the approach of an
enemy, they resumed with haste and reluctance the unusual
encumbrance. Their offensive weapons consisted of swords,
battle-axes, and spears; but the Macedonian pike was shortened a
fourth of its length, and reduced to the more convenient measure
of twelve cubits or feet. The sharpness of the Scythian and
Arabian arrows had been severely felt; and the emperors lament
the decay of archery as a cause of the public misfortunes, and
recommend, as an advice and a command, that the military youth,
till the age of forty, should assiduously practise the exercise
of the bow. ^78 The bands, or regiments, were usually three
hundred strong; and, as a medium between the extremes of four and
sixteen, the foot soldiers of Leo and Constantine were formed
eight deep; but the cavalry charged in four ranks, from the
reasonable consideration, that the weight of the front could not
be increased by any pressure of the hindmost horses. If the
ranks of the infantry or cavalry were sometimes doubled, this
cautious array betrayed a secret distrust of the courage of the
troops, whose numbers might swell the appearance of the line, but
of whom only a chosen band would dare to encounter the spears and
swords of the Barbarians. The order of battle must have varied
according to the ground, the object, and the adversary; but their
ordinary disposition, in two lines and a reserve, presented a
succession of hopes and resources most agreeable to the temper as
well as the judgment of the Greeks. ^79 In case of a repulse, the
first line fell back into the intervals of the second; and the
reserve, breaking into two divisions, wheeled round the flanks to
improve the victory or cover the retreat. Whatever authority
could enact was accomplished, at least in theory, by the camps
and marches, the exercises and evolutions, the edicts and books,
of the Byzantine monarch. ^80 Whatever art could produce from the
forge, the loom, or the laboratory, was abundantly supplied by
the riches of the prince, and the industry of his numerous
workmen. But neither authority nor art could frame the most
important machine, the soldier himself; and if the ceremonies of
Constantine always suppose the safe and triumphal return of the
emperor, ^81 his tactics seldom soar above the means of escaping
a defeat, and procrastinating the war. ^82 Notwithstanding some
transient success, the Greeks were sunk in their own esteem and
that of their neighbors. A cold hand and a loquacious tongue was
the vulgar description of the nation: the author of the tactics
was besieged in his capital; and the last of the Barbarians, who
trembled at the name of the Saracens, or Franks, could proudly
exhibit the medals of gold and silver which they had extorted
from the feeble sovereign of Constantinople. What spirit their
government and character denied, might have been inspired in some
degree by the influence of religion; but the religion of the
Greeks could only teach them to suffer and to yield. The emperor
Nicephorus, who restored for a moment the discipline and glory of
the Roman name, was desirous of bestowing the honors of martyrdom
on the Christians who lost their lives in a holy war against the
infidels. But this political law was defeated by the opposition
of the patriarch, the bishops, and the principal senators; and
they strenuously urged the canons of St. Basil, that all who were
polluted by the bloody trade of a soldier should be separated,
during three years, from the communion of the faithful. ^83

[Footnote 77: See the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters, and, in
the Tactics of Leo, with the corresponding passages in those of

[Footnote 78: (Leo, Tactic. p. 581 Constantin. p 1216.) Yet such
were not the maxims of the Greeks and Romans, who despised the
loose and distant practice of archery.]

[Footnote 79: Compare the passages of the Tactics, p. 669 and
721, and the xiith with the xviiith chapter.]

[Footnote 80: In the preface to his Tactics, Leo very freely
deplores the loss of discipline and the calamities of the times,
and repeats, without scruple, (Proem. p. 537,) the reproaches,
nor does it appear that the same censures were less deserved in
the next generation by the disciples of Constantine.]

[Footnote 81: See in the Ceremonial (l. ii. c. 19, p. 353) the
form of the emperor's trampling on the necks of the captive
Saracens, while the singers chanted, "Thou hast made my enemies
my footstool!" and the people shouted forty times the kyrie

[Footnote 82: Leo observes (Tactic. p. 668) that a fair open
battle against any nation whatsoever: the words are strong, and
the remark is true: yet if such had been the opinion of the old
Romans, Leo had never reigned on the shores of the Thracian

[Footnote 83: Zonaras (tom. ii. l. xvi. p. 202, 203) and
Cedrenus, (Compend p. 668,) who relate the design of Nicephorus,
most unfortunately apply the epithet to the opposition of the

These scruples of the Greeks have been compared with the
tears of the primitive Moslems when they were held back from
battle; and this contrast of base superstition and high-spirited
enthusiasm, unfolds to a philosophic eye the history of the rival
nations. The subjects of the last caliphs ^84 had undoubtedly
degenerated from the zeal and faith of the companions of the
prophet. Yet their martial creed still represented the Deity as
the author of war: ^85 the vital though latent spark of
fanaticism still glowed in the heart of their religion, and among
the Saracens, who dwelt on the Christian borders, it was
frequently rekindled to a lively and active flame. Their regular
force was formed of the valiant slaves who had been educated to
guard the person and accompany the standard of their lord: but
the Mussulman people of Syria and Cilicia, of Africa and Spain,
was awakened by the trumpet which proclaimed a holy war against
the infidels. The rich were ambitious of death or victory in the
cause of God; the poor were allured by the hopes of plunder; and
the old, the infirm, and the women, assumed their share of
meritorious service by sending their substitutes, with arms and
horses, into the field. These offensive and defensive arms were
similar in strength and temper to those of the Romans, whom they
far excelled in the management of the horse and the bow: the
massy silver of their belts, their bridles, and their swords,
displayed the magnificence of a prosperous nation; and except
some black archers of the South, the Arabs disdained the naked
bravery of their ancestors. Instead of wagons, they were
attended by a long train of camels, mules, and asses: the
multitude of these animals, whom they bedecked with flags and
streamers, appeared to swell the pomp and magnitude of their
host; and the horses of the enemy were often disordered by the
uncouth figure and odious smell of the camels of the East.
Invincible by their patience of thirst and heat, their spirits
were frozen by a winter's cold, and the consciousness of their
propensity to sleep exacted the most rigorous precautions against
the surprises of the night. Their order of battle was a long
square of two deep and solid lines; the first of archers, the
second of cavalry. In their engagements by sea and land, they
sustained with patient firmness the fury of the attack, and
seldom advanced to the charge till they could discern and oppress
the lassitude of their foes. But if they were repulsed and
broken, they knew not how to rally or renew the combat; and their
dismay was heightened by the superstitious prejudice, that God
had declared himself on the side of their enemies. The decline
and fall of the caliphs countenanced this fearful opinion; nor
were there wanting, among the Mahometans and Christians, some
obscure prophecies ^86 which prognosticated their alternate
defeats. The unity of the Arabian empire was dissolved, but the
independent fragments were equal to populous and powerful
kingdoms; and in their naval and military armaments, an emir of
Aleppo or Tunis might command no despicable fund of skill, and
industry, and treasure. In their transactions of peace and war
with the Saracens, the princes of Constantinople too often felt
that these Barbarians had nothing barbarous in their discipline;
and that if they were destitute of original genius, they had been
endowed with a quick spirit of curiosity and imitation. The
model was indeed more perfect than the copy; their ships, and
engines, and fortifications, were of a less skilful construction;
and they confess, without shame, that the same God who has given
a tongue to the Arabians, had more nicely fashioned the hands of
the Chinese, and the heads of the Greeks. ^87

[Footnote 84: The xviith chapter of the tactics of the different
nations is the most historical and useful of the whole collection
of Leo. The manners and arms of the Saracens (Tactic. p. 809 -
817, and a fragment from the Medicean Ms. in the preface of the
vith volume of Meursius) the Roman emperor was too frequently
called upon to study.]

[Footnote 85: Leon. Tactic. p. 809.]

[Footnote 86: Liutprand (p. 484, 485) relates and interprets the
oracles of the Greeks and Saracens, in which, after the fashion
of prophecy, the past is clear and historical, the future is
dark, enigmatical, and erroneous. From this boundary of light and
shade an impartial critic may commonly determine the date of the

[Footnote 87: The sense of this distinction is expressed by
Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 2, 62, 101;) but I cannot recollect the
passage in which it is conveyed by this lively apothegm.]

Chapter LIII: Fate Of The Eastern Empire.

Part IV.

A name of some German tribes between the Rhine and the Weser
had spread its victorious influence over the greatest part of
Gaul, Germany, and Italy; and the common appellation of Franks
^88 was applied by the Greeks and Arabians to the Christians of
the Latin church, the nations of the West, who stretched beyond
their knowledge to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. The vast
body had been inspired and united by the soul of Charlemagne; but
the division and degeneracy of his race soon annihilated the
Imperial power, which would have rivalled the Caesars of
Byzantium, and revenged the indignities of the Christian name.
The enemies no longer feared, nor could the subjects any longer
trust, the application of a public revenue, the labors of trade
and manufactures in the military service, the mutual aid of
provinces and armies, and the naval squadrons which were
regularly stationed from the mouth of the Elbe to that of the
Tyber. In the beginning of the tenth century, the family of
Charlemagne had almost disappeared; his monarchy was broken into
many hostile and independent states; the regal title was assumed
by the most ambitious chiefs; their revolt was imitated in a long
subordination of anarchy and discord, and the nobles of every
province disobeyed their sovereign, oppressed their vassals, and
exercised perpetual hostilities against their equals and
neighbors. Their private wars, which overturned the fabric of
government, fomented the martial spirit of the nation. In the
system of modern Europe, the power of the sword is possessed, at
least in fact, by five or six mighty potentates; their operations
are conducted on a distant frontier, by an order of men who
devote their lives to the study and practice of the military art:
the rest of the country and community enjoys in the midst of war
the tranquillity of peace, and is only made sensible of the
change by the aggravation or decrease of the public taxes. In
the disorders of the tenth and eleventh centuries, every peasant
was a soldier, and every village a fortification; each wood or
valley was a scene of murder and rapine; and the lords of each
castle were compelled to assume the character of princes and
warriors. To their own courage and policy they boldly trusted
for the safety of their family, the protection of their lands,
and the revenge of their injuries; and, like the conquerors of a
larger size, they were too apt to transgress the privilege of
defensive war. The powers of the mind and body were hardened by
the presence of danger and necessity of resolution: the same
spirit refused to desert a friend and to forgive an enemy; and,
instead of sleeping under the guardian care of a magistrate, they
proudly disdained the authority of the laws. In the days of
feudal anarchy, the instruments of agriculture and art were
converted into the weapons of bloodshed: the peaceful occupations
of civil and ecclesiastical society were abolished or corrupted;
and the bishop who exchanged his mitre for a helmet, was more
forcibly urged by the manners of the times than by the obligation
of his tenure. ^89

[Footnote 88: Ex Francis, quo nomine tam Latinos quam Teutones
comprehendit, ludum habuit, (Liutprand in Legat ad Imp.
Nicephorum, p. 483, 484.) This extension of the name may be
confirmed from Constantine (de Administrando Imperio, l. 2, c.
27, 28) and Eutychius, (Annal. tom. i. p. 55, 56,) who both lived
before the Crusades. The testimonies of Abulpharagius (Dynast.
p. 69) and Abulfeda (Praefat. ad Geograph.) are more recent]

[Footnote 89: On this subject of ecclesiastical and beneficiary
discipline, Father Thomassin, (tom. iii. l. i. c. 40, 45, 46, 47)
may be usefully consulted. A general law of Charlemagne exempted
the bishops from personal service; but the opposite practice,
which prevailed from the ixth to the xvth century, is
countenanced by the example or silence of saints and doctors ....
You justify your cowardice by the holy canons, says Ratherius of
Verona; the canons likewise forbid you to whore, and yet - ]

The love of freedom and of arms was felt, with conscious
pride, by the Franks themselves, and is observed by the Greeks
with some degree of amazement and terror. "The Franks," says the
emperor Constantine, "are bold and valiant to the verge of
temerity; and their dauntless spirit is supported by the contempt
of danger and death. In the field and in close onset, they press
to the front, and rush headlong against the enemy, without
deigning to compute either his numbers or their own. Their ranks
are formed by the firm connections of consanguinity and
friendship; and their martial deeds are prompted by the desire of
saving or revenging their dearest companions. In their eyes, a
retreat is a shameful flight; and flight is indelible infamy."
^90 A nation endowed with such high and intrepid spirit, must
have been secure of victory if these advantages had not been
counter-balanced by many weighty defects. The decay of their
naval power left the Greeks and Saracens in possession of the
sea, for every purpose of annoyance and supply. In the age which
preceded the institution of knighthood, the Franks were rude and
unskilful in the service of cavalry; ^91 and in all perilous
emergencies, their warriors were so conscious of their ignorance,
that they chose to dismount from their horses and fight on foot.
Unpractised in the use of pikes, or of missile weapons, they were
encumbered by the length of their swords, the weight of their
armor, the magnitude of their shields, and, if I may repeat the
satire of the meagre Greeks, by their unwieldy intemperance.
Their independent spirit disdained the yoke of subordination, and
abandoned the standard of their chief, if he attempted to keep
the field beyond the term of their stipulation or service. On
all sides they were open to the snares of an enemy less brave but
more artful than themselves. They might be bribed, for the
Barbarians were venal; or surprised in the night, for they
neglected the precautions of a close encampment or vigilant
sentinels. The fatigues of a summer's campaign exhausted their
strength and patience, and they sunk in despair if their
voracious appetite was disappointed of a plentiful supply of wine
and of food. This general character of the Franks was marked
with some national and local shades, which I should ascribe to
accident rather than to climate, but which were visible both to
natives and to foreigners. An ambassador of the great Otho
declared, in the palace of Constantinople, that the Saxons could
dispute with swords better than with pens, and that they
preferred inevitable death to the dishonor of turning their backs
to an enemy. ^92 It was the glory of the nobles of France, that,
in their humble dwellings, war and rapine were the only pleasure,
the sole occupation, of their lives. They affected to deride the
palaces, the banquets, the polished manner of the Italians, who
in the estimate of the Greeks themselves had degenerated from the
liberty and valor of the ancient Lombards. ^93

[Footnote 90: In the xviiith chapter of his Tactics, the emperor
Leo has fairly stated the military vices and virtues of the
Franks (whom Meursius ridiculously translates by Galli) and the
Lombards or Langobards. See likewise the xxvith Dissertation of
Muratori de Antiquitatibus Italiae Medii Aevi.]

[Footnote 91: Domini tui milites (says the proud Nicephorus)
equitandi ignari pedestris pugnae sunt inscii: scutorum
magnitudo, loricarum gravitudo, ensium longitudo galearumque
pondus neutra parte pugnare cossinit; ac subridens, impedit,
inquit, et eos gastrimargia, hoc est ventris ingluvies, &c.
Liutprand in Legat. p. 480 481]

[Footnote 92: In Saxonia certe scio .... decentius ensibus
pugnare quam calanis, et prius mortem obire quam hostibus terga
dare, (Liutprand, p 482.)]

[Footnote 93: Leonis Tactica, c. 18, p. 805. The emperor Leo
died A.D. 911: an historical poem, which ends in 916, and appears
to have been composed in 910, by a native of Venetia,
discriminates in these verses the manners of Italy and France:

- Quid inertia bello

Pectora (Ubertus ait) duris praetenditis armis,

O Itali? Potius vobis sacra pocula cordi;

Saepius et stomachum nitidis laxare saginis

Elatasque domos rutilo fulcire metallo.

Non eadem Gallos similis vel cura remordet:

Vicinas quibus est studium devincere terras,

Depressumque larem spoliis hinc inde coactis

Sustentare -

(Anonym. Carmen Panegyricum de Laudibus Berengarii Augusti, l. n.
in Muratori Script. Rerum Italic. tom. ii. pars i. p. 393.)]

By the well-known edict of Caracalla, his subjects, from
Britain to Egypt, were entitled to the name and privileges of
Romans, and their national sovereign might fix his occasional or
permanent residence in any province of their common country. In
the division of the East and West, an ideal unity was
scrupulously observed, and in their titles, laws, and statutes,
the successors of Arcadius and Honorius announced themselves as
the inseparable colleagues of the same office, as the joint
sovereigns of the Roman world and city, which were bounded by the
same limits. After the fall of the Western monarchy, the majesty
of the purple resided solely in the princes of Constantinople;
and of these, Justinian was the first who, after a divorce of
sixty years, regained the dominion of ancient Rome, and asserted,
by the right of conquest, the august title of Emperor of the
Romans. ^94 A motive of vanity or discontent solicited one of his
successors, Constans the Second, to abandon the Thracian
Bosphorus, and to restore the pristine honors of the Tyber: an
extravagant project, (exclaims the malicious Byzantine,) as if he
had despoiled a beautiful and blooming virgin, to enrich, or
rather to expose, the deformity of a wrinkled and decrepit
matron. ^95 But the sword of the Lombards opposed his settlement
in Italy: he entered Rome not as a conqueror, but as a fugitive,
and, after a visit of twelve days, he pillaged, and forever
deserted, the ancient capital of the world. ^96 The final revolt
and separation of Italy was accomplished about two centuries
after the conquests of Justinian, and from his reign we may date
the gradual oblivion of the Latin tongue. That legislator had
composed his Institutes, his Code, and his Pandects, in a
language which he celebrates as the proper and public style of
the Roman government, the consecrated idiom of the palace and
senate of Constantinople, of the campus and tribunals of the
East. ^97 But this foreign dialect was unknown to the people and
soldiers of the Asiatic provinces, it was imperfectly understood
by the greater part of the interpreters of the laws and the
ministers of the state. After a short conflict, nature and habit
prevailed over the obsolete institutions of human power: for the
general benefit of his subjects, Justinian promulgated his novels
in the two languages: the several parts of his voluminous
jurisprudence were successively translated; ^98 the original was
forgotten, the version was studied, and the Greek, whose
intrinsic merit deserved indeed the preference, obtained a legal,
as well as popular establishment in the Byzantine monarchy. The
birth and residence of succeeding princes estranged them from the
Roman idiom: Tiberius by the Arabs, ^99 and Maurice by the
Italians, ^100 are distinguished as the first of the Greek
Caesars, as the founders of a new dynasty and empire: the silent
revolution was accomplished before the death of Heraclius; and
the ruins of the Latin speech were darkly preserved in the terms
of jurisprudence and the acclamations of the palace. After the
restoration of the Western empire by Charlemagne and the Othos,
the names of Franks and Latins acquired an equal signification
and extent; and these haughty Barbarians asserted, with some
justice, their superior claim to the language and dominion of
Rome. They insulted the alien of the East who had renounced the
dress and idiom of Romans; and their reasonable practice will
justify the frequent appellation of Greeks. ^101 But this
contemptuous appellation was indignantly rejected by the prince
and people to whom it was applied. Whatsoever changes had been
introduced by the lapse of ages, they alleged a lineal and
unbroken succession from Augustus and Constantine; and, in the
lowest period of degeneracy and decay, the name of Romans adhered
to the last fragments of the empire of Constantinople. ^102

[Footnote 94: Justinian, says the historian Agathias, (l. v. p.
157,). Yet the specific title of Emperor of the Romans was not
used at Constantinople, till it had been claimed by the French
and German emperors of old Rome.]

[Footnote 95: Constantine Manasses reprobates this design in his
barbarous verse, and it is confirmed by Theophanes, Zonaras,
Cedrenus, and the Historia Miscella: voluit in urbem Romam
Imperium transferre, (l. xix. p. 157 in tom. i. pars i. of the
Scriptores Rer. Ital. of Muratori.)]

[Footnote 96: Paul. Diacon. l. v. c. 11, p. 480. Anastasius in
Vitis Pontificum, in Muratori's Collection, tom. iii. pars i. p.

[Footnote 97: Consult the preface of Ducange, (ad Gloss, Graec.
Medii Aevi) and the Novels of Justinian, (vii. lxvi.)]

[Footnote 98: (Matth. Blastares, Hist. Juris, apud Fabric.
Bibliot. Graec. tom. xii. p. 369.) The Code and Pandects (the
latter by Thalelaeus) were translated in the time of Justinian,
(p. 358, 366.) Theophilus one of the original triumvirs, has left
an elegant, though diffuse, paraphrase of the Institutes. On the
other hand, Julian, antecessor of Constantinople, (A.D. 570,)
cxx. Novellas Graecas eleganti Latinitate donavit (Heineccius,
Hist. J. R. p. 396) for the use of Italy and Africa.]

[Footnote 99: Abulpharagius assigns the viith Dynasty to the
Franks or Romans, the viiith to the Greeks, the ixth to the
Arabs. A tempore Augusti Caesaris donec imperaret Tiberius
Caesar spatio circiter annorum 600 fuerunt Imperatores C. P.
Patricii, et praecipua pars exercitus Romani: extra quod,
conciliarii, scribae et populus, omnes Graeci fuerunt: deinde
regnum etiam Graecanicum factum est, (p. 96, vers. Pocock.) The
Christian and ecclesiastical studies of Abulpharagius gave him
some advantage over the more ignorant Moslems.]

[Footnote 100: Primus ex Graecorum genere in Imperio confirmatus
est; or according to another Ms. of Paulus Diaconus, (l. iii. c.
15, p. 443,) in Orasorum Imperio.]

[Footnote 101: Quia linguam, mores, vestesque mutastis, putavit
Sanctissimus Papa. (an audacious irony,) ita vos (vobis)
displicere Romanorum nomen. His nuncios, rogabant Nicephorum
Imperatorem Graecorum, ut cum Othone Imperatore Romanorum
amicitiam faceret, (Liutprand in Legatione, p. 486.)

Note: Sicut et vestem. These words follow in the text of
Liutprand, (apud Murat. Script. Ital. tom. ii. p. 486, to which
Gibbon refers.) But with some inaccuracy or confusion, which
rarely occurs in Gibbon's references, the rest of the quotation,
which as it stands is unintelligible, does not appear - M.]

[Footnote 102: By Laonicus Chalcocondyles, who survived the last
siege of Constantinople, the account is thus stated, (l. i. p.
3.) Constantine transplanted his Latins of Italy to a Greek city
of Thrace: they adopted the language and manners of the natives,
who were confounded with them under the name of Romans. The
kings of Constantinople, says the historian.]

While the government of the East was transacted in Latin,
the Greek was the language of literature and philosophy; nor
could the masters of this rich and perfect idiom be tempted to
envy the borrowed learning and imitative taste of their Roman
disciples. After the fall of Paganism, the loss of Syria and
Egypt, and the extinction of the schools of Alexandria and
Athens, the studies of the Greeks insensibly retired to some
regular monasteries, and above all, to the royal college of
Constantinople, which was burnt in the reign of Leo the Isaurian.
^103 In the pompous style of the age, the president of that
foundation was named the Sun of Science: his twelve associates,
the professors in the different arts and faculties, were the
twelve signs of the zodiac; a library of thirty-six thousand five
hundred volumes was open to their inquiries; and they could show
an ancient manuscript of Homer, on a roll of parchment one
hundred and twenty feet in length, the intestines, as it was
fabled, of a prodigious serpent. ^104 But the seventh and eight
centuries were a period of discord and darkness: the library was
burnt, the college was abolished, the Iconoclasts are represented
as the foes of antiquity; and a savage ignorance and contempt of
letters has disgraced the princes of the Heraclean and Isaurian
dynasties. ^105

[Footnote 103: See Ducange, (C. P. Christiana, l. ii. p. 150,
151,) who collects the testimonies, not of Theophanes, but at
least of Zonaras, (tom. ii. l. xv. p. 104,) Cedrenus, (p. 454,)
Michael Glycas, (p. 281,) Constantine Manasses, (p. 87.) After
refuting the absurd charge against the emperor, Spanheim, (Hist.
Imaginum, p. 99 - 111,) like a true advocate, proceeds to doubt
or deny the reality of the fire, and almost of the library.]

[Footnote 104: According to Malchus, (apud Zonar. l. xiv. p. 53,)
this Homer was burnt in the time of Basiliscus. The Ms. might be
renewed - But on a serpent's skin? Most strange and incredible!]

[Footnote 105: The words of Zonaras, and of Cedrenus, are strong
words, perhaps not ill suited to those reigns.]

In the ninth century we trace the first dawnings of the
restoration of science. ^106 After the fanaticism of the Arabs
had subsided, the caliphs aspired to conquer the arts, rather
than the provinces, of the empire: their liberal curiosity
rekindled the emulation of the Greeks, brushed away the dust from
their ancient libraries, and taught them to know and reward the
philosophers, whose labors had been hitherto repaid by the
pleasure of study and the pursuit of truth. The Caesar Bardas,
the uncle of Michael the Third, was the generous protector of
letters, a title which alone has preserved his memory and excused
his ambition. A particle of the treasures of his nephew was
sometimes diverted from the indulgence of vice and folly; a
school was opened in the palace of Magnaura; and the presence of
Bardas excited the emulation of the masters and students. At
their head was the philosopher Leo, archbishop of Thessalonica:
his profound skill in astronomy and the mathematics was admired
by the strangers of the East; and this occult science was
magnified by vulgar credulity, which modestly supposes that all
knowledge superior to its own must be the effect of inspiration
or magic. At the pressing entreaty of the Caesar, his friend,
the celebrated Photius, ^107 renounced the freedom of a secular
and studious life, ascended the patriarchal throne, and was
alternately excommunicated and absolved by the synods of the East
and West. By the confession even of priestly hatred, no art or
science, except poetry, was foreign to this universal scholar,
who was deep in thought, indefatigable in reading, and eloquent
in diction. Whilst he exercised the office of protospathaire or
captain of the guards, Photius was sent ambassador to the caliph
of Bagdad. ^108 The tedious hours of exile, perhaps of
confinement, were beguiled by the hasty composition of his
Library, a living monument of erudition and criticism. Two
hundred and fourscore writers, historians, orators, philosophers,
theologians, are reviewed without any regular method: he abridges
their narrative or doctrine, appreciates their style and
character, and judges even the fathers of the church with a
discreet freedom, which often breaks through the superstition of
the times. The emperor Basil, who lamented the defects of his
own education, intrusted to the care of Photius his son and
successor, Leo the philosopher; and the reign of that prince and
of his son Constantine Porphyrogenitus forms one of the most
prosperous aeras of the Byzantine literature. By their
munificence the treasures of antiquity were deposited in the
Imperial library; by their pens, or those of their associates,
they were imparted in such extracts and abridgments as might
amuse the curiosity, without oppressing the indolence, of the
public. Besides the Basilics, or code of laws, the arts of
husbandry and war, of feeding or destroying the human species,
were propagated with equal diligence; and the history of Greece
and Rome was digested into fifty-three heads or titles, of which
two only (of embassies, and of virtues and vices) have escaped
the injuries of time. In every station, the reader might
contemplate the image of the past world, apply the lesson or
warning of each page, and learn to admire, perhaps to imitate,
the examples of a brighter period. I shall not expatiate on the
works of the Byzantine Greeks, who, by the assiduous study of the
ancients, have deserved, in some measure, the remembrance and
gratitude of the moderns. The scholars of the present age may
still enjoy the benefit of the philosophical commonplace book of
Stobaeus, the grammatical and historical lexicon of Suidas, the
Chiliads of Tzetzes, which comprise six hundred narratives in
twelve thousand verses, and the commentaries on Homer of
Eustathius, archbishop of Thessalonica, who, from his horn of
plenty, has poured the names and authorities of four hundred
writers. From these originals, and from the numerous tribe of
scholiasts and critics, ^109 some estimate may be formed of the
literary wealth of the twelfth century: Constantinople was
enlightened by the genius of Homer and Demosthenes, of Aristotle
and Plato: and in the enjoyment or neglect of our present riches,
we must envy the generation that could still peruse the history
of Theopompus, the orations of Hyperides, the comedies of
Menander, ^110 and the odes of Alcaeus and Sappho. The frequent
labor of illustration attests not only the existence, but the
popularity, of the Grecian classics: the general knowledge of the
age may be deduced from the example of two learned females, the
empress Eudocia, and the princess Anna Comnena, who cultivated,
in the purple, the arts of rhetoric and philosophy. ^111 The
vulgar dialect of the city was gross and barbarous: a more
correct and elaborate style distinguished the discourse, or at
least the compositions, of the church and palace, which sometimes
affected to copy the purity of the Attic models.

[Footnote 106: See Zonaras (l. xvi. p. 160, 161) and Cedrenus,
(p. 549, 550.) Like Friar Bacon, the philosopher Leo has been
transformed by ignorance into a conjurer; yet not so
undeservedly, if he be the author of the oracles more commonly
ascribed to the emperor of the same name. The physics of Leo in
Ms. are in the library of Vienna, (Fabricius, Bibliot. Graec.
tom. vi. p 366, tom. xii. p. 781.) Qui serant!]

[Footnote 107: The ecclesiastical and literary character of
Photius is copiously discussed by Hanckius (de Scriptoribus
Byzant. p. 269, 396) and Fabricius.]

[Footnote 108: It can only mean Bagdad, the seat of the caliphs
and the relation of his embassy might have been curious and
instructive. But how did he procure his books? A library so
numerous could neither be found at Bagdad, nor transported with
his baggage, nor preserved in his memory. Yet the last, however
incredible, seems to be affirmed by Photius himself. Camusat
(Hist. Critique des Journaux, p. 87 - 94) gives a good account of
the Myriobiblon.]

[Footnote 109: Of these modern Greeks, see the respective
articles in the Bibliotheca Graeca of Fabricius - a laborious
work, yet susceptible of a better method and many improvements;
of Eustathius, (tom. i. p. 289 - 292, 306 - 329,) of the Pselli,
(a diatribe of Leo Allatius, ad calcem tom. v., of Constantine
Porphyrogenitus, tom. vi. p. 486 - 509) of John Stobaeus, (tom.
viii., 665 - 728,) of Suidas, (tom. ix. p. 620 - 827,) John
Tzetzes, (tom. xii. p. 245 - 273.) Mr. Harris, in his
Philological Arrangements, opus senile, has given a sketch of
this Byzantine learning, (p. 287 - 300.)]

[Footnote 110: From the obscure and hearsay evidence, Gerard
Vossius (de Poetis Graecis, c. 6) and Le Clerc (Bibliotheque
Choisie, tom. xix. p. 285) mention a commentary of Michael
Psellus on twenty-four plays of Menander, still extant in Ms. at
Constantinople. Yet such classic studies seem incompatible with
the gravity or dulness of a schoolman, who pored over the
categories, (de Psellis, p. 42;) and Michael has probably been
confounded with Homerus Sellius, who wrote arguments to the
comedies of Menander. In the xth century, Suidas quotes fifty
plays, but he often transcribes the old scholiast of

[Footnote 111: Anna Comnena may boast of her Greek style, and
Zonaras her contemporary, but not her flatterer, may add with
truth. The princess was conversant with the artful dialogues of
Plato; and had studied quadrivium of astrology, geometry,
arithmetic, and music, (see he preface to the Alexiad, with
Ducange's notes)]

In our modern education, the painful though necessary
attainment of two languages, which are no longer living, may
consume the time and damp the ardor of the youthful student. The
poets and orators were long imprisoned in the barbarous dialects
of our Western ancestors, devoid of harmony or grace; and their
genius, without precept or example, was abandoned to the rule and
native powers of their judgment and fancy. But the Greeks of
Constantinople, after purging away the impurities of their vulgar
speech, acquired the free use of their ancient language, the most
happy composition of human art, and a familiar knowledge of the
sublime masters who had pleased or instructed the first of
nations. But these advantages only tend to aggravate the
reproach and shame of a degenerate people. They held in their
lifeless hands the riches of their fathers, without inheriting
the spirit which had created and improved that sacred patrimony:
they read, they praised, they compiled, but their languid souls
seemed alike incapable of thought and action. In the revolution
of ten centuries, not a single discovery was made to exalt the
dignity or promote the happiness of mankind. Not a single idea
has been added to the speculative systems of antiquity, and a
succession of patient disciples became in their turn the dogmatic
teachers of the next servile generation. Not a single composition
of history, philosophy, or literature, has been saved from
oblivion by the intrinsic beauties of style or sentiment, of
original fancy, or even of successful imitation. In prose, the
least offensive of the Byzantine writers are absolved from
censure by their naked and unpresuming simplicity: but the
orators, most eloquent ^112 in their own conceit, are the
farthest removed from the models whom they affect to emulate. In
every page our taste and reason are wounded by the choice of
gigantic and obsolete words, a stiff and intricate phraseology,
the discord of images, the childish play of false or unseasonable
ornament, and the painful attempt to elevate themselves, to
astonish the reader, and to involve a trivial meaning in the
smoke of obscurity and exaggeration. Their prose is soaring to
the vicious affectation of poetry: their poetry is sinking below
the flatness and insipidity of prose. The tragic, epic, and lyric
muses, were silent and inglorious: the bards of Constantinople
seldom rose above a riddle or epigram, a panegyric or tale; they
forgot even the rules of prosody; and with the melody of Homer
yet sounding in their ears, they confound all measure of feet and
syllables in the impotent strains which have received the name of
political or city verses. ^113 The minds of the Greek were bound
in the fetters of a base and imperious superstition which extends
her dominion round the circle of profane science. Their
understandings were bewildered in metaphysical controversy: in
the belief of visions and miracles, they had lost all principles
of moral evidence, and their taste was vitiates by the homilies
of the monks, an absurd medley of declamation and Scripture.
Even these contemptible studies were no longer dignified by the
abuse of superior talents: the leaders of the Greek church were
humbly content to admire and copy the oracles of antiquity, nor
did the schools of pulpit produce any rivals of the fame of
Athanasius and Chrysostom. ^114

[Footnote 112: To censure the Byzantine taste. Ducange (Praefat.
Gloss. Graec. p. 17) strings the authorities of Aulus Gellius,
Jerom, Petronius George Hamartolus, Longinus; who give at once
the precept and the example.]

[Footnote 113: The versus politici, those common prostitutes, as,
from their easiness, they are styled by Leo Allatius, usually
consist of fifteen syllables. They are used by Constantine
Manasses, John Tzetzes, &c. (Ducange, Gloss. Latin. tom. iii. p.
i. p. 345, 346, edit. Basil, 1762.)]

[Footnote 114: As St. Bernard of the Latin, so St. John
Damascenus in the viiith century is revered as the last father of
the Greek, church.]

In all the pursuits of active and speculative life, the
emulation of states and individuals is the most powerful spring
of the efforts and improvements of mankind. The cities of
ancient Greece were cast in the happy mixture of union and
independence, which is repeated on a larger scale, but in a
looser form, by the nations of modern Europe; the union of
language, religion, and manners, which renders them the
spectators and judges of each other's merit; ^115 the
independence of government and interest, which asserts their
separate freedom, and excites them to strive for preeminence in
the career of glory. The situation of the Romans was less
favorable; yet in the early ages of the republic, which fixed the
national character, a similar emulation was kindled among the
states of Latium and Italy; and in the arts and sciences, they
aspired to equal or surpass their Grecian masters. The empire of
the Caesars undoubtedly checked the activity and progress of the
human mind; its magnitude might indeed allow some scope for
domestic competition; but when it was gradually reduced, at first
to the East and at last to Greece and Constantinople, the
Byzantine subjects were degraded to an abject and languid temper,
the natural effect of their solitary and insulated state. From
the North they were oppressed by nameless tribes of Barbarians,
to whom they scarcely imparted the appellation of men. The
language and religion of the more polished Arabs were an
insurmountable bar to all social intercourse. The conquerors of
Europe were their brethren in the Christian faith; but the speech
of the Franks or Latins was unknown, their manners were rude, and
they were rarely connected, in peace or war, with the successors
of Heraclius. Alone in the universe, the self-satisfied pride of
the Greeks was not disturbed by the comparison of foreign merit;
and it is no wonder if they fainted in the race, since they had
neither competitors to urge their speed, nor judges to crown
their victory. The nations of Europe and Asia were mingled by
the expeditions to the Holy Land; and it is under the Comnenian
dynasty that a faint emulation of knowledge and military virtue
was rekindled in the Byzantine empire. [Footnote 115: Hume's
Essays, vol. i. p. 125]

Chapter LIV: Origin And Doctrine Of The Paulicians.

Part I.

Origin And Doctrine Of The Paulicians. - Their Persecution
By The Greek Emperors. - Revolt In Armenia &c. - Transplantation
Into Thrace. - Propagation In The West. - The Seeds, Character,
And Consequences Of The Reformation.

In the profession of Christianity, the variety of national
characters may be clearly distinguished. The natives of Syria
and Egypt abandoned their lives to lazy and contemplative
devotion: Rome again aspired to the dominion of the world; and
the wit of the lively and loquacious Greeks was consumed in the
disputes of metaphysical theology. The incomprehensible
mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation, instead of commanding
their silent submission, were agitated in vehement and subtile
controversies, which enlarged their faith at the expense,
perhaps, of their charity and reason. From the council of Nice
to the end of the seventh century, the peace and unity of the
church was invaded by these spiritual wars; and so deeply did
they affect the decline and fall of the empire, that the
historian has too often been compelled to attend the synods, to
explore the creeds, and to enumerate the sects, of this busy
period of ecclesiastical annals. From the beginning of the
eighth century to the last ages of the Byzantine empire, the
sound of controversy was seldom heard: curiosity was exhausted,
zeal was fatigued, and, in the decrees of six councils, the
articles of the Catholic faith had been irrevocably defined. The
spirit of dispute, however vain and pernicious, requires some
energy and exercise of the mental faculties; and the prostrate
Greeks were content to fast, to pray, and to believe in blind
obedience to the patriarch and his clergy. During a long dream of
superstition, the Virgin and the Saints, their visions and
miracles, their relics and images, were preached by the monks,
and worshipped by the people; and the appellation of people might
be extended, without injustice, to the first ranks of civil
society. At an unseasonable moment, the Isaurian emperors
attempted somewhat rudely to awaken their subjects: under their
influence reason might obtain some proselytes, a far greater
number was swayed by interest or fear; but the Eastern world
embraced or deplored their visible deities, and the restoration
of images was celebrated as the feast of orthodoxy. In this
passive and unanimous state the ecclesiastical rulers were
relieved from the toil, or deprived of the pleasure, of
persecution. The Pagans had disappeared; the Jews were silent
and obscure; the disputes with the Latins were rare and remote
hostilities against a national enemy; and the sects of Egypt and
Syria enjoyed a free toleration under the shadow of the Arabian
caliphs. About the middle of the seventh century, a branch of
Manichaeans was selected as the victims of spiritual tyranny;
their patience was at length exasperated to despair and
rebellion; and their exile has scattered over the West the seeds
of reformation. These important events will justify some inquiry
into the doctrine and story of the Paulicians; ^1 and, as they
cannot plead for themselves, our candid criticism will magnify
the good, and abate or suspect the evil, that is reported by
their adversaries.

[Footnote 1: The errors and virtues of the Paulicians are
weighed, with his usual judgment and candor, by the learned
Mosheim, (Hist. Ecclesiast. seculum ix. p. 311, &c.) He draws his
original intelligence from Photius (contra Manichaeos, l. i.) and
Peter Siculus, (Hist. Manichaeorum.) The first of these accounts
has not fallen into my hands; the second, which Mosheim prefers,
I have read in a Latin version inserted in the Maxima Bibliotheca
Patrum, (tom. xvi. p. 754 - 764,) from the edition of the Jesuit
Raderus, (Ingolstadii, 1604, in 4to.)

Note: Compare Hallam's Middle Ages, p. 461 - 471. Mr.
Hallam justly observes that this chapter "appears to be accurate
as well as luminous, and is at least far superior to any modern
work on the subject." - M.]

The Gnostics, who had distracted the infancy, were oppressed
by the greatness and authority, of the church. Instead of
emulating or surpassing the wealth, learning, and numbers of the
Catholics, their obscure remnant was driven from the capitals of
the East and West, and confined to the villages and mountains
along the borders of the Euphrates. Some vestige of the
Marcionites may be detected in the fifth century; ^2 but the
numerous sects were finally lost in the odious name of the
Manichaeans; and these heretics, who presumed to reconcile the
doctrines of Zoroaster and Christ, were pursued by the two
religions with equal and unrelenting hatred. Under the grandson
of Heraclius, in the neighborhood of Samosata, more famous for
the birth of Lucian than for the title of a Syrian kingdom, a
reformer arose, esteemed by the Paulicians as the chosen
messenger of truth. In his humble dwelling of Mananalis,
Constantine entertained a deacon, who returned from Syrian
captivity, and received the inestimable gift of the New
Testament, which was already concealed from the vulgar by the
prudence of the Greek, and perhaps of the Gnostic, clergy. ^3
These books became the measure of his studies and the rule of his
faith; and the Catholics, who dispute his interpretation,
acknowledge that his text was genuine and sincere. But he
attached himself with peculiar devotion to the writings and
character of St. Paul: the name of the Paulicians is derived by
their enemies from some unknown and domestic teacher; but I am
confident that they gloried in their affinity to the apostle of
the Gentiles. His disciples, Titus, Timothy, Sylvanus, Tychicus,
were represented by Constantine and his fellow-laborers: the
names of the apostolic churches were applied to the congregations
which they assembled in Armenia and Cappadocia; and this innocent
allegory revived the example and memory of the first ages. In
the Gospel, and the Epistles of St. Paul, his faithful follower
investigated the Creed of primitive Christianity; and, whatever
might be the success, a Protestant reader will applaud the
spirit, of the inquiry. But if the Scriptures of the Paulicians
were pure, they were not perfect. Their founders rejected the two
Epistles of St. Peter, ^4 the apostle of the circumcision, whose
dispute with their favorite for the observance of the law could
not easily be forgiven. ^5 They agreed with their Gnostic
brethren in the universal contempt for the Old Testament, the
books of Moses and the prophets, which have been consecrated by
the decrees of the Catholic church. With equal boldness, and
doubtless with more reason, Constantine, the new Sylvanus,
disclaimed the visions, which, in so many bulky and splendid
volumes, had been published by the Oriental sects; ^6 the
fabulous productions of the Hebrew patriarchs and the sages of
the East; the spurious gospels, epistles, and acts, which in the
first age had overwhelmed the orthodox code; the theology of
Manes, and the authors of the kindred heresies; and the thirty
generations, or aeons, which had been created by the fruitful
fancy of Valentine. The Paulicians sincerely condemned the
memory and opinions of the Manichaean sect, and complained of the
injustice which impressed that invidious name on the simple
votaries of St. Paul and of Christ.

[Footnote 2: In the time of Theodoret, the diocese of Cyrrhus, in
Syria, contained eight hundred villages. Of these, two were
inhabited by Arians and Eunomians, and eight by Marcionites, whom
the laborious bishop reconciled to the Catholic church, (Dupin,
Bibliot. Ecclesiastique, tom. iv. p. 81, 82.)]

[Footnote 3: Nobis profanis ista (sacra Evangelia) legere non
licet sed sacerdotibus duntaxat, was the first scruple of a
Catholic when he was advised to read the Bible, (Petr. Sicul. p.

[Footnote 4: In rejecting the second Epistle of St. Peter, the
Paulicians are justified by some of the most respectable of the
ancients and moderns, (see Wetstein ad loc., Simon, Hist.
Critique du Nouveau Testament, c. 17.) They likewise overlooked
the Apocalypse, (Petr. Sicul. p. 756;) but as such neglect is not
imputed as a crime, the Greeks of the ixth century must have been
careless of the credit and honor of the Revelations.]

[Footnote 5: This contention, which has not escaped the malice of
Porphyry, supposes some error and passion in one or both of the
apostles. By Chrysostom, Jerome, and Erasmus, it is represented
as a sham quarrel a pious fraud, for the benefit of the Gentiles
and the correction of the Jews, (Middleton's Works, vol. ii. p. 1
- 20.)]

[Footnote 6: Those who are curious of this heterodox library, may
consult the researches of Beausobre, (Hist. Critique du
Manicheisme, tom. i. p. 305 - 437.) Even in Africa, St. Austin
could describe the Manichaean books, tam multi, tam grandes, tam
pretiosi codices, (contra Faust. xiii. 14;) but he adds, without
pity, Incendite omnes illas membranas: and his advice had been
rigorously followed.]

Of the ecclesiastical chain, many links had been broken by
the Paulician reformers; and their liberty was enlarged, as they
reduced the number of masters, at whose voice profane reason must
bow to mystery and miracle. The early separation of the Gnostics
had preceded the establishment of the Catholic worship; and
against the gradual innovations of discipline and doctrine they
were as strongly guarded by habit and aversion, as by the silence
of St. Paul and the evangelists. The objects which had been
transformed by the magic of superstition, appeared to the eyes of
the Paulicians in their genuine and naked colors. An image made
without hands was the common workmanship of a mortal artist, to
whose skill alone the wood and canvas must be indebted for their
merit or value. The miraculous relics were a heap of bones and
ashes, destitute of life or virtue, or of any relation, perhaps,
with the person to whom they were ascribed. The true and
vivifying cross was a piece of sound or rotten timber, the body
and blood of Christ, a loaf of bread and a cup of wine, the gifts
of nature and the symbols of grace. The mother of God was
degraded from her celestial honors and immaculate virginity; and
the saints and angels were no longer solicited to exercise the
laborious office of meditation in heaven, and ministry upon
earth. In the practice, or at least in the theory, of the
sacraments, the Paulicians were inclined to abolish all visible
objects of worship, and the words of the gospel were, in their
judgment, the baptism and communion of the faithful. They
indulged a convenient latitude for the interpretation of
Scripture: and as often as they were pressed by the literal
sense, they could escape to the intricate mazes of figure and
allegory. Their utmost diligence must have been employed to
dissolve the connection between the Old and the New Testament;
since they adored the latter as the oracles of God, and abhorred
the former as the fabulous and absurd invention of men or
daemons. We cannot be surprised, that they should have found in
the Gospel the orthodox mystery of the Trinity: but, instead of
confessing the human nature and substantial sufferings of Christ,
they amused their fancy with a celestial body that passed through
the virgin like water through a pipe; with a fantastic
crucifixion, that eluded the vain and important malice of the
Jews. A creed thus simple and spiritual was not adapted to the
genius of the times; ^7 and the rational Christian, who might
have been contented with the light yoke and easy burden of Jesus
and his apostles, was justly offended, that the Paulicians should
dare to violate the unity of God, the first article of natural
and revealed religion. Their belief and their trust was in the
Father, of Christ, of the human soul, and of the invisible world.

But they likewise held the eternity of matter; a stubborn and
rebellious substance, the origin of a second principle of an
active being, who has created this visible world, and exercises
his temporal reign till the final consummation of death and sin.
^8 The appearances of moral and physical evil had established the
two principles in the ancient philosophy and religion of the
East; from whence this doctrine was transfused to the various
swarms of the Gnostics. A thousand shades may be devised in the
nature and character of Ahriman, from a rival god to a
subordinate daemon, from passion and frailty to pure and perfect
malevolence: but, in spite of our efforts, the goodness, and the
power, of Ormusd are placed at the opposite extremities of the
line; and every step that approaches the one must recede in equal
proportion from the other. ^9

[Footnote 7: The six capital errors of the Paulicians are defined
by Peter (p. 756,) with much prejudice and passion.]

[Footnote 8: Primum illorum axioma est, duo rerum esse principia;
Deum malum et Deum bonum, aliumque hujus mundi conditorem et
princi pem, et alium futuri aevi, (Petr. Sicul. 765.)]

[Footnote 9: Two learned critics, Beausobre (Hist. Critique du
Manicheisme, l. i. iv. v. vi.) and Mosheim, (Institut. Hist.
Eccles. and de Rebus Christianis ante Constantinum, sec. i. ii.
iii.,) have labored to explore and discriminate the various
systems of the Gnostics on the subject of the two principles.]

The apostolic labors of Constantine Sylvanus soon multiplied
the number of his disciples, the secret recompense of spiritual
ambition. The remnant of the Gnostic sects, and especially the
Manichaeans of Armenia, were united under his standard; many
Catholics were converted or seduced by his arguments; and he
preached with success in the regions of Pontus ^10 and
Cappadocia, which had long since imbibed the religion of
Zoroaster. The Paulician teachers were distinguished only by
their Scriptural names, by the modest title of Fellow-pilgrims,
by the austerity of their lives, their zeal or knowledge, and the
credit of some extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit. But they
were incapable of desiring, or at least of obtaining, the wealth
and honors of the Catholic prelacy; such anti- Christian pride
they bitterly censured; and even the rank of elders or presbyters
was condemned as an institution of the Jewish synagogue. The new
sect was loosely spread over the provinces of Asia Minor to the
westward of the Euphrates; six of their principal congregations
represented the churches to which St. Paul had addressed his
epistles; and their founder chose his residence in the
neighborhood of Colonia, ^11 in the same district of Pontus which
had been celebrated by the altars of Bellona ^12 and the miracles
of Gregory. ^13 After a mission of twenty-seven years, Sylvanus,
who had retired from the tolerating government of the Arabs, fell
a sacrifice to Roman persecution. The laws of the pious
emperors, which seldom touched the lives of less odious heretics,
proscribed without mercy or disguise the tenets, the books, and
the persons of the Montanists and Manichaeans: the books were
delivered to the flames; and all who should presume to secrete
such writings, or to profess such opinions, were devoted to an
ignominious death. ^14 A Greek minister, armed with legal and
military powers, appeared at Colonia to strike the shepherd, and
to reclaim, if possible, the lost sheep. By a refinement of
cruelty, Simeon placed the unfortunate Sylvanus before a line of
his disciples, who were commanded, as the price of their pardon
and the proof of their repentance, to massacre their spiritual
father. They turned aside from the impious office; the stones
dropped from their filial hands, and of the whole number, only
one executioner could be found, a new David, as he is styled by
the Catholics, who boldly overthrew the giant of heresy. This
apostate (Justin was his name) again deceived and betrayed his
unsuspecting brethren, and a new conformity to the acts of St.
Paul may be found in the conversion of Simeon: like the apostle,
he embraced the doctrine which he had been sent to persecute,
renounced his honors and fortunes, and required among the
Paulicians the fame of a missionary and a martyr. They were not
ambitious of martyrdom, ^15 but in a calamitous period of one
hundred and fifty years, their patience sustained whatever zeal
could inflict; and power was insufficient to eradicate the
obstinate vegetation of fanaticism and reason. From the blood
and ashes of the first victims, a succession of teachers and
congregations repeatedly arose: amidst their foreign hostilities,
they found leisure for domestic quarrels: they preached, they
disputed, they suffered; and the virtues, the apparent virtues,
of Sergius, in a pilgrimage of thirty-three years, are
reluctantly confessed by the orthodox historians. ^16 The native
cruelty of Justinian the Second was stimulated by a pious cause;
and he vainly hoped to extinguish, in a single conflagration, the
name and memory of the Paulicians. By their primitive simplicity,
their abhorrence of popular superstition, the Iconoclast princes
might have been reconciled to some erroneous doctrines; but they
themselves were exposed to the calumnies of the monks, and they
chose to be the tyrants, lest they should be accused as the
accomplices, of the Manichaeans. Such a reproach has sullied the
clemency of Nicephorus, who relaxed in their favor the severity
of the penal statutes, nor will his character sustain the honor
of a more liberal motive. The feeble Michael the First, the
rigid Leo the Armenian, were foremost in the race of persecution;
but the prize must doubtless be adjudged to the sanguinary
devotion of Theodora, who restored the images to the Oriental
church. Her inquisitors explored the cities and mountains of the
Lesser Asia, and the flatterers of the empress have affirmed
that, in a short reign, one hundred thousand Paulicians were
extirpated by the sword, the gibbet, or the flames. Her guilt or
merit has perhaps been stretched beyond the measure of truth: but
if the account be allowed, it must be presumed that many simple
Iconoclasts were punished under a more odious name; and that some
who were driven from the church, unwillingly took refuge in the
bosom of heresy.

[Footnote 10: The countries between the Euphrates and the Halys
were possessed above 350 years by the Medes (Herodot. l. i. c.
103) and Persians; and the kings of Pontus were of the royal race
of the Achaemenides, (Sallust. Fragment. l. iii. with the French
supplement and notes of the president de Brosses.)]

[Footnote 11: Most probably founded by Pompey after the conquest
of Pontus. This Colonia, on the Lycus, above Neo-Caesarea, is
named by the Turks Coulei-hisar, or Chonac, a populous town in a
strong country, (D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. ii. p. 34.
Tournefort, Voyage du Levant, tom. iii. lettre xxi. p. 293.)]

[Footnote 12: The temple of Bellona, at Comana in Pontus was a
powerful and wealthy foundation, and the high priest was
respected as the second person in the kingdom. As the sacerdotal
office had been occupied by his mother's family, Strabo (l. xii.
p. 809, 835, 836, 837) dwells with peculiar complacency on the
temple, the worship, and festival, which was twice celebrated
every year. But the Bellona of Pontus had the features and
character of the goddess, not of war, but of love.]

[Footnote 13: Gregory, bishop of Neo-Caesarea, (A.D. 240 - 265,)
surnamed Thaumaturgus, or the Wonder-worker. An hundred years
afterwards, the history or romance of his life was composed by
Gregory of Nyssa, his namesake and countryman, the brother of the
great St. Basil.]

[Footnote 14: Hoc caeterum ad sua egregia facinora, divini atque
orthodoxi Imperatores addiderunt, ut Manichaeos Montanosque
capitali puniri sententia juberent, eorumque libros, quocunque in
loco inventi essent, flammis tradi; quod siquis uspiam eosdem
occultasse deprehenderetur, hunc eundem mortis poenae addici,
ejusque bona in fiscum inferri, (Petr. Sicul. p. 759.) What more
could bigotry and persecution desire?]

[Footnote 15: It should seem, that the Paulicians allowed
themselves some latitude of equivocation and mental reservation;
till the Catholics discovered the pressing questions, which
reduced them to the alternative of apostasy or martyrdom, (Petr.
Sicul. p. 760.)]

[Footnote 16: The persecution is told by Petrus Siculus (p. 579 -
763) with satisfaction and pleasantry. Justus justa persolvit.
See likewise Cedrenus, (p. 432 - 435.)]

The most furious and desperate of rebels are the sectaries
of a religion long persecuted, and at length provoked. In a holy
cause they are no longer susceptible of fear or remorse: the
justice of their arms hardens them against the feelings of
humanity; and they revenge their fathers' wrongs on the children
of their tyrants. Such have been the Hussites of Bohemia and the
Calvinists of France, and such, in the ninth century, were the
Paulicians of Armenia and the adjacent provinces. ^17 They were
first awakened to the massacre of a governor and bishop, who
exercised the Imperial mandate of converting or destroying the
heretics; and the deepest recesses of Mount Argaeus protected
their independence and revenge. A more dangerous and consuming
flame was kindled by the persecution of Theodora, and the revolt
of Carbeas, a valiant Paulician, who commanded the guards of the
general of the East. His father had been impaled by the Catholic
inquisitors; and religion, or at least nature, might justify his
desertion and revenge. Five thousand of his brethren were united
by the same motives; they renounced the allegiance of
anti-Christian Rome; a Saracen emir introduced Carbeas to the
caliph; and the commander of the faithful extended his sceptre to
the implacable enemy of the Greeks. In the mountains between
Siwas and Trebizond he founded or fortified the city of Tephrice,
^18 which is still occupied by a fierce or licentious people, and
the neighboring hills were covered with the Paulician fugitives,
who now reconciled the use of the Bible and the sword. During
more than thirty years, Asia was afflicted by the calamities of
foreign and domestic war; in their hostile inroads, the disciples
of St. Paul were joined with those of Mahomet; and the peaceful
Christians, the aged parent and tender virgin, who were delivered
into barbarous servitude, might justly accuse the intolerant
spirit of their sovereign. So urgent was the mischief, so
intolerable the shame, that even the dissolute Michael, the son
of Theodora, was compelled to march in person against the
Paulicians: he was defeated under the walls of Samosata; and the
Roman emperor fled before the heretics whom his mother had
condemned to the flames. The Saracens fought under the same
banners, but the victory was ascribed to Carbeas; and the captive
generals, with more than a hundred tribunes, were either released
by his avarice, or tortured by his fanaticism. The valor and
ambition of Chrysocheir, ^19 his successor, embraced a wider
circle of rapine and revenge. In alliance with his faithful
Moslems, he boldly penetrated into the heart of Asia; the troops
of the frontier and the palace were repeatedly overthrown; the
edicts of persecution were answered by the pillage of Nice and
Nicomedia, of Ancyra and Ephesus; nor could the apostle St. John
protect from violation his city and sepulchre. The cathedral of
Ephesus was turned into a stable for mules and horses; and the
Paulicians vied with the Saracens in their contempt and
abhorrence of images and relics. It is not unpleasing to observe
the triumph of rebellion over the same despotism which had
disdained the prayers of an injured people. The emperor Basil,
the Macedonian, was reduced to sue for peace, to offer a ransom
for the captives, and to request, in the language of moderation
and charity, that Chrysocheir would spare his fellow-Christians,
and content himself with a royal donative of gold and silver and
silk garments. "If the emperor," replied the insolent fanatic,
"be desirous of peace, let him abdicate the East, and reign
without molestation in the West. If he refuse, the servants of
the Lord will precipitate him from the throne." The reluctant
Basil suspended the treaty, accepted the defiance, and led his
army into the land of heresy, which he wasted with fire and
sword. The open country of the Paulicians was exposed to the
same calamities which they had inflicted; but when he had
explored the strength of Tephrice, the multitude of the
Barbarians, and the ample magazines of arms and provisions, he
desisted with a sigh from the hopeless siege. On his return to
Constantinople, he labored, by the foundation of convents and
churches, to secure the aid of his celestial patrons, of Michael
the archangel and the prophet Elijah; and it was his daily prayer
that he might live to transpierce, with three arrows, the head of
his impious adversary. Beyond his expectations, the wish was
accomplished: after a successful inroad, Chrysocheir was
surprised and slain in his retreat; and the rebel's head was
triumphantly presented at the foot of the throne. On the
reception of this welcome trophy, Basil instantly called for his
bow, discharged three arrows with unerring aim, and accepted the
applause of the court, who hailed the victory of the royal
archer. With Chrysocheir, the glory of the Paulicians faded and
withered: ^20 on the second expedition of the emperor, the
impregnable Tephrice, was deserted by the heretics, who sued for
mercy or escaped to the borders. The city was ruined, but the
spirit of independence survived in the mountains: the Paulicians
defended, above a century, their religion and liberty, infested
the Roman limits, and maintained their perpetual alliance with
the enemies of the empire and the gospel.

[Footnote 17: Petrus Siculus, (p. 763, 764,) the continuator of
Theophanes, (l. iv. c. 4, p. 103, 104,) Cedrenus, (p. 541, 542,
545,) and Zonaras, (tom. ii. l. xvi. p. 156,) describe the revolt
and exploits of Carbeas and his Paulicians.]

[Footnote 18: Otter (Voyage en Turquie et en Perse, tom. ii.) is
probably the only Frank who has visited the independent
Barbarians of Tephrice now Divrigni, from whom he fortunately
escaped in the train of a Turkish officer.]

[Footnote 19: In the history of Chrysocheir, Genesius (Chron. p.
67 - 70, edit. Venet.) has exposed the nakedness of the empire.
Constantine Porphyrogenitus (in Vit. Basil. c. 37 - 43, p. 166 -
171) has displayed the glory of his grandfather. Cedrenus (p.
570 - 573) is without their passions or their knowledge.]

[Footnote 20: How elegant is the Greek tongue, even in the mouth
of Cedrenus!]

Chapter LIV: Origin And Doctrine Of The Paulicians.

Part II.

About the middle of the eight century, Constantine, surnamed
Copronymus by the worshippers of images, had made an expedition
into Armenia, and found, in the cities of Melitene and
Theodosiopolis, a great number of Paulicians, his kindred
heretics. As a favor, or punishment, he transplanted them from
the banks of the Euphrates to Constantinople and Thrace; and by
this emigration their doctrine was introduced and diffused in
Europe. ^21 If the sectaries of the metropolis were soon mingled
with the promiscuous mass, those of the country struck a deep
root in a foreign soil. The Paulicians of Thrace resisted the
storms of persecution, maintained a secret correspondence with
their Armenian brethren, and gave aid and comfort to their
preachers, who solicited, not without success, the infant faith
of the Bulgarians. ^22 In the tenth century, they were restored
and multiplied by a more powerful colony, which John Zimisces ^23
transported from the Chalybian hills to the valleys of Mount
Haemus. The Oriental clergy who would have preferred the
destruction, impatiently sighed for the absence, of the
Manichaeans: the warlike emperor had felt and esteemed their
valor: their attachment to the Saracens was pregnant with
mischief; but, on the side of the Danube, against the Barbarians
of Scythia, their service might be useful, and their loss would
be desirable. Their exile in a distant land was softened by a
free toleration: the Paulicians held the city of Philippopolis
and the keys of Thrace; the Catholics were their subjects; the
Jacobite emigrants their associates: they occupied a line of
villages and castles in Macedonia and Epirus; and many native
Bulgarians were associated to the communion of arms and heresy.
As long as they were awed by power and treated with moderation,
their voluntary bands were distinguished in the armies of the
empire; and the courage of these dogs, ever greedy of war, ever
thirsty of human blood, is noticed with astonishment, and almost
with reproach, by the pusillanimous Greeks. The same spirit
rendered them arrogant and contumacious: they were easily
provoked by caprice or injury; and their privileges were often
violated by the faithless bigotry of the government and clergy.
In the midst of the Norman war, two thousand five hundred
Manichaeans deserted the standard of Alexius Comnenus, ^24 and
retired to their native homes. He dissembled till the moment of
revenge; invited the chiefs to a friendly conference; and
punished the innocent and guilty by imprisonment, confiscation,
and baptism. In an interval of peace, the emperor undertook the
pious office of reconciling them to the church and state: his
winter quarters were fixed at Philippopolis; and the thirteenth
apostle, as he is styled by his pious daughter, consumed whole
days and nights in theological controversy. His arguments were
fortified, their obstinacy was melted, by the honors and rewards
which he bestowed on the most eminent proselytes; and a new city,
surrounded with gardens, enriched with immunities, and dignified
with his own name, was founded by Alexius for the residence of
his vulgar converts. The important station of Philippopolis was
wrested from their hands; the contumacious leaders were secured
in a dungeon, or banished from their country; and their lives
were spared by the prudence, rather than the mercy, of an
emperor, at whose command a poor and solitary heretic was burnt
alive before the church of St. Sophia. ^25 But the proud hope of
eradicating the prejudices of a nation was speedily overturned by
the invincible zeal of the Paulicians, who ceased to dissemble or
refused to obey. After the departure and death of Alexius, they
soon resumed their civil and religious laws. In the beginning of
the thirteenth century, their pope or primate (a manifest
corruption) resided on the confines of Bulgaria, Croatia, and
Dalmatia, and governed, by his vicars, the filial congregations
of Italy and France. ^26 From that aera, a minute scrutiny might
prolong and perpetuate the chain of tradition. At the end of the
last age, the sect or colony still inhabited the valleys of Mount
Haemus, where their ignorance and poverty were more frequently
tormented by the Greek clergy than by the Turkish government. The
modern Paulicians have lost all memory of their origin; and their
religion is disgraced by the worship of the cross, and the
practice of bloody sacrifice, which some captives have imported
from the wilds of Tartary. ^27

[Footnote 21: Copronymus transported his heretics; and thus says
Cedrenus, (p. 463,) who has copied the annals of Theophanes.]

[Footnote 22: Petrus Siculus, who resided nine months at Tephrice
(A.D. 870) for the ransom of captives, (p. 764,) was informed of
their intended mission, and addressed his preservative, the
Historia Manichaeorum to the new archbishop of the Bulgarians,
(p. 754.)]

[Footnote 23: The colony of Paulicians and Jacobites transplanted
by John Zimisces (A.D. 970) from Armenia to Thrace, is mentioned
by Zonaras (tom. ii. l. xvii. p. 209) and Anna Comnena, (Alexiad,
l. xiv. p. 450, &c.)]

[Footnote 24: The Alexiad of Anna Comnena (l. v. p. 131, l. vi.
p. 154, 155, l. xiv. p. 450 - 457, with the Annotations of
Ducange) records the transactions of her apostolic father with
the Manichaeans, whose abominable heresy she was desirous of

[Footnote 25: Basil, a monk, and the author of the Bogomiles, a
sect of Gnostics, who soon vanished, (Anna Comnena, Alexiad, l.
xv. p. 486 - 494 Mosheim, Hist. Ecclesiastica, p. 420.)]

[Footnote 26: Matt. Paris, Hist. Major, p. 267. This passage of
our English historian is alleged by Ducange in an excellent note
on Villehardouin (No. 208,) who found the Paulicians at
Philippopolis the friends of the Bulgarians.]

[Footnote 27: See Marsigli, Stato Militare dell' Imperio
Ottomano, p. 24.]

In the West, the first teachers of the Manichaean theology
had been repulsed by the people, or suppressed by the prince.

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