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CHAP, day invade the right of primogeniture, and seat XLVIII. his brother Theodosius on an equal throne.
By the imposition of holy orders, the grandson of Heraclius was disqualified for the purple; but this ceremony, which seemed to profane the sacraments of the church, was insufficient to appease the suspicions of the tyrant, and the death of the deacon Theodosius could alone expiate the crime of his royal birth. His murder was avenged by the imprecations of the people, and the assassin in the fulness of power, was driven from his capital into voluntary and perpetual exile. Constans embarked for Greece; and, as if he meant to retort the abhorrence which he deserved, he is said, from the imperial galley, to have spit against the walls of his native city. After passing the winter at Athens, he sailed to Tarentum in Italy, visited Rome, and concluded a long pilgrimage of disgrace and sacrilegious rapine, by fixing his residence at Syracuse. But if Constans could fly from his people, he could not fly from himself. The remorse of his conscience created a phantom who pursued him by land and sea, by day and by night; and the visionary Theodosius, presenting to his lips a cup of blood, said or seemed to say, “ Drink, brother, drink;" a sure emblem of the aggravation of his guilt, since he had received from the hands of the deacon the mystic cup of the blood of Christ. Odious to himself and to mankind, Constans perished by domestic, perhaps by episcopal, treason in the capital of Sicily. A servant who waited in the bath, after pouring warm water on his head,
struck him violently with the vase.
He fell, CHAP. stunned by the blow, and suffocated by the water; and his attendants, who wondered at the tedious delay, beheld 'with indifference the corpse of their lifeless emperor. of Sicily invested with the purple an obscure youth, whose inimitable beauty eluded, and it might easily elude, the declining art of the painters and sculptors of the age.
Constans had left in the Byzantine palace Constan three sons, the eldest of whom had been clothed tie IV,
Pogonain his infancy with the purple. When the fa- tus,
A. D. 668, ther summoned them to attend his person in September Sicily, these precious hostages were detained by the Greeks, and a firm refusal-informed him that they were the children of the state. The news of his murder was conveyed with almost supernatural speed from Syracuse to Constantinople; and Constantine, the eldest of his sons, inherited his throne without being the heir of the public hatred. His subjects contributed, with zeal and alacrity, to chastise the guilt and presumption of a province which had usurped the rights of the senate and people: the young emperor sailed from the Hellespont with a powerful fleet ; and the legions of Rome and Carthage were assembled under his standard in the harbour of Syracuse. The defeat of the Sicilian tyrant was easy, his punishment just, and his beauteous head was exposed in the hippodrome: but I cannot applaud the clemency of a prince, who, among a crowd of victims, condemned the son of a patrician, for deploring with some bitterness the execution of a
CHAP. virtuous father. The youth was castrated; he
survived the operation, and the memory of this
A. D. 686.
the repetition or suspicion of a similar offence, CHAP. the obnoxious princes were deprived of their titles and noses, in the presence of the catholic bishops who were assembled at Constantinople in the sixth general synod. In the close of his life, Pogonatus was anxious only to establish the right of primogeniture: the hair of his two sons, Justinian and Heraclius, was offered on the shrine of St. Peter, as a synod of their spiri. tual adoption by the pope; but the elder was alone exalted to the rank of Augustus and the assurance of the empire.
After the decease of his father, the inheritance of the Roman world devolved to Justinian II, nian II; and the name of a triumphant law- Septeni giver was dishonoured by the vices of a boy, who imitated his namesake only in the expensive luxury of building. His passions were strong ; bis understanding was feeble; and he was intoxicated with a foolish pride, that his birth had given him the command of millions, of whom the smallest community would not have chosen him for their local magistrate. His favourite ministers were two beings the least susceptible of human sympathy; an eunuch and a monk; to one he abandoned the palace, to the other the finances; the former corrected the emperor's mother with a scourge, the latter suspended the insolent tributaries, with their heads downwards, over a slow and smoaky fire. Since the days of Commodus and Ca racalla, the cruelty of the Roman princes had most commonly heen the effect of their fear:
CHAP. but Justinian, who possessed some vigour of
character, enjoyed the sufferings, and braved the revenge, of his subjects about ten years, till the measure was full, of his crimes and of their patience. In a dark dungeon, Leontius, a ge neral of reputation, bad groaned above three years with some of the noblest and most deserving of the patricians: he was suddenly drawn forth to assume the government of Greece; and this promotion of an injured man was a mark of the contempt rather than of the confidence of his prince. As he was followed to the port by the kind offices of his friends, Leontius observed with a sigh that he was a victim adorned for sacrifice, and that inevitable death would pursue his footsteps. They ventured to reply, that glory and empire might be the recompense generous resolution; that
order of men abhorred the reign of a monster ; and that the hands of two hundred thousand patriots expected only the voice of a leader. The night was chosen for their deliverance; and in the first effort of the conspirators, the prefect was şlain, and the prisons were forced open: the emissaries of Leontius proclaimed in every street, -" Christians, to St. Sophia ;" and the seasonable text of the patriarch, “ this is the
day of the Lord !” was the prelude of an inflammatory sermon.
From the church the people adjourned to the hippodrome: Justinian in whose cause not a sword had been drawn, was dragged before these tumultary judges, and their clamours demanded the instant death of the tyrant. But Leontius who was already clothed