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spectres are sometimes created by the powers of a disordered fancy, and the weakness of a distempered body. After a life of virtue and glory, Theodoric was now descending with fame and guilt into the grave: his mind was humbled by the contrast of the past, and justly alarmed by the invisible terrors of futurity. One evening, as it is related, when the head of a large fish was served on the royal table, he suddenly exclaimed that he beheld the angry countenance of Symmachus, his eyes glaring fury and revenge, and his mouth armed with long sharp teeth, which threatened to devour him. The monarch instantly retired to his chamber, and, as he lay, trembling with agueith cold, under a weight of bed-clothes, he expressed in broken murmurs to his physician Elpidius, his deep repentance for the murders of Boethius and Symmachus *. His malady encreased, and after a dysentery which continued three days, he expired in the palace of Ravenna, in the thirty-third, or, if we compute from the invafion of Italy, in the thirty-seventh year of his reign.'

The fiye following chapters are devoted to the important reign of Juftinian, who restored, by his arms and his laws, the ancient glory of the empire. To some fastidious readers, the historian will appear to dwell too long, and with too litile reluctance, on the character and vices of the Empress Theodora, a theatrical courtezan, invested with the purple, and entrufted by the fondness of her husband with an equal and independent share in the governo ent of the Roman world. Her diffolute pleasures, which are recorded in the notes, and veiled in the obscurity of a learned language t, Mr. Gibbon, indeed, does not arraign with the tharpness of a fatirit, or the asperity of a bigot. With a degree of gallantry fuiting the liberality of his character, he describes the wife of Juftinian as a monfter; but, in the soft terms which he employs, he still remembers that she is a woman of fingular accomplishments, and incomparable beauty. Yet the picture which he draws, however mild and temperare in its coJouring, is sufficiently expreffive in its defign; and might serve to teach, if any thing could teach, the favourites of fortune, chac their vices, however protected by power, or disguised by Aattery, cannot, in the end, escape the reproach of history, and the detestation or the contempt of succeeding ages.

In the following chapter, Mr. G. enjoys the opportunity, which rarely occurs to him in the course of his great work, of displaying a character of the most illustrious meris. Under the aulpices of Juftinian, the valour of Belifarius effected the conquelt of Africa. He was invidiously recalled from Italy; but

* • Procopius, Goth. 1. i. C.). But he might have informed us, whether he had received this curious anecdote from cominon report, or from the mouth of the royal phyGcian.'

+ In the famous, or racher infamous, passage cited from Procopius (p. 53.) we defire Mr. Gibbon will insert x for x in the word XEVAC Meibio 9


royal ingratitude served only to encrease his fame; and the admiration of his contemporaries has been confirmed by the impartial fuffrage of pofterity.

• After the second victory of Belisarius, envy again whispered, Justinian listened, and the hero was recalled. "The remnant of the Gothic war was no longer worthy of his presence : a gracious sovereign was impatient to reward his services, and to consult his wisdom; and he alone was capable of defending the East against the innumerable armies of Persia." Belisarius understood the suspicion, accepted the excuse, embarked at Ravenna his spoils and trophies ; and proved, by his ready obedience, chat such an abrupt removal from the government of Italy was not less unjust than it might have been indiscreet. The Emperor received with honourable courtesy, both Vitiges and his more noble confort : and as the King of the Goths conformed to the Athanafian faith, he obtained, with a rich inheritance of lands in Asia, the rank of senator and patrician. Every spectator admired, without peril, the strength and stature of the young barbarians: they adored the majesty of the throne, and promised to shed their blood in the service of their benefactor. Justinian deposited in the Byzantine palace the treasures of the Gothic monarchy. A flattering senate was sometimes admitted to gaze on the magnificent spectacle; but it was enviously secluded from the public view; and the conqueror of Italy renounced, without a murmur, perhaps without a sigh, the well-earned honours of a second triumph. His glory was indeed exalted above all external pomp ; and the faint and hollow praises of the court were supplied, even in a servile age, by the respect and admiration of his country. Whenever be appeared in the itreets and public places of Constantinople, Belisarius attracted and satisfied the eyes of the people. His lofty stature and majestic countenance fulfilled their expectations of an hero ; the meanest of his fellow-citizens were emboldened by his gentle and gracious demeanour; and the martial train which attended his footsteps, left his perfon more accessible than in a day of battle. Seven thousand horsemen, matchless for beauty and valour, were maintained in the service, and at the private expence of the General. Their prowess was always conspicuous in single combats, or in the foremost ranks; and both parties confessed, that in the fiege of Rome, the guards of Belisarius had alone vanquished the Barbarian hoft. Their numbers were continually augmented by the bravest and most faithful of the enemy; and his fortunate captives, the Vandals, the Moors, and the Goths, emulated the attachment of his domestic followers. By the union of liberality and justice, he acquired the love of the soldiers, without alienating the affections of the people. The fick and wounded were relieved with medicines and money; and fill more efficaciously, by the healing visits and smiles of their commander. The loss of a weapon or an horse was instantly repaired, and each deed of valour was rewarded by the rich and honourable gifts of a bracelet or a collar, which were rendered more precious by the judgment of Belisarius. He was endeared to the husbandmen, by the peace and plenty which they enjoyed under the shadow of his standard. Instead of being injured, the country was enriched by the march of the Roman armics; and such was the rigid discipline of their camp, that not an apple was gathered from the tree, not a path could be traced in the fields of corn. Belisarius was chaste and sober. In the licence of a military life, none could boast that they had seen him intoxicated with wine: the most beauciful captives of Gothic or Vandal ra e were offered to his embraces ; but he turned aside from their charms, and the husband of Antonina was never fufpected of violating the laws of conjugal fidelity. The spectator and historian of his exploits has observed, that amidst the perils of war, he was daring without rafhress, prudent without fear, Dow or rapid according to the exigences of the moment; that in the deepest distress, he was animated by real or apparent hope, but that he was modest and humble in the most prosperous fortune. By thele virtues, he equalled or excelled the ancient masters of the military art. Vi&tory, by sea and land, attended his arms. He subdued Africa, Italy, and the adjacent islands, led away captives the fucceffors of Geníeric and Theodoric ; filled Constantinople with the spoils of their palaces, and in the space of fix years recovered half the provinces of the Wettern empire. In his fame and merit, in wealth and power, he remained, without a rival, che first of the Roman subjects: the voice of envy could only magnify his dangerous importance; and the Emperor might applaud his own discerning spirit, which had discovered and raised the genius of Belisarius.'

Great as Belisarius appeared, his glory was rivalled by Narses. This eunuch, says Mr. G. is ranked among the few, who have rescued that unhappy name from the contempt and hatred of mankind :

• A feeble diminutive body concealed the foul of a statesman and a warrior. His youth had been employed in the management of the loom and diftaff, in the cares of the household, and the service of female luxury; but while his hands were busy, he secretly exercised the faculties of a vigorous and discerning mind. A stranger to the schools and the camp, he studied in the palace to diffemble, to flatter, and to perfuade; and as foon as he approached the person of the Emperor, Justinian liftened with surprise and pleasure to the manly counsels of his Chamberlain and Private Treasurer. The talents of Narses were tried and improved in frequent embassies ; he led an army into Italy, acquired a practical knowlege of the war and the country, and presumed to strive with the genius of Belisarius. Twelve years after his return, the eunuch was chosen to achieve the conquest which had been left imperfect by the first of the Roman Generals. Instead of being dazzled by vanity or emulation, he seriously declared, that unless he were armed with an adequate force, he would never consent to rik his own glory, and that of his sovereign. Justinian granted to the favourite, what he might have denied to the hero : the Gothic war was rekindled from its alhes, and the preparations were not unworthy of the ancient majelly of the empire.'

Narses defeated the Goths, the Franks, and the Alemanni ; the Italian cities opened their gates to the conqueror; he entered the capital in triumph ; and having established the feat of his government at Ravenna, continued fifteen years to govern Italy under the title of Exarch,


The glory of Belisarius and of Narses obscures the name of Juftinian, who is not the principal figure in the history of his own reign. Yet Juftinian had a merit, dittinet from that of his generals; and after the vain celebrations of their victories are forgotten, the name of the Legislator remains inscribed on a fair and everlasting monument. Under his reign, and by the labours of the illustrious Tribonian, affifted by the ableft lawyers of the times, the civil jurisprudence of the Romans, which had swelled to an immoderate fize, was digefied into the Code, the Pandects, and the Infticutes.

In bis 44th chapter, Mr. G. traces the history of the Roman law from Romulus to Justinian, appreciates the labours of that Emperor and his ministers, and pauses to contemplate the principles of a science so important to the peace and happiness of fociety. In this masterly review, which is not less diftinguilhed by precision than elegance, he trears of the laws of the Kings, of those of the Twelve Tables, the laws of the People and the Senate, the ediets of the Magistrates and Emperors, the authority of the Civilians; and then remounting to the principles of the science itself, explains the rights of persons and of things, private injuries and actions, crimes and punishments. The chapter in which these subjects are treated, appears to us the most important in the whole work, and peculiarly adapted to serve as an alluring and luminous introduction to the study of the civil law, which has been filently or ftudiously transfused into the domestic inftitutions of Europe, and which is still received as common law, or reason, in most countries on the continent, and even in the northern division of our own illand. When we confider that, in one short chapter, Mr. G. has clearly and fully illustrated a subject, which has exhausted so many learned lives, and filled the walls of so many spacious libraries,' we cannot help admiring the abilities as well as the industry of the historian, who, in the course of a few months, could arrain a comprehensive knowlege of a science with which he was formerly unacquainted, and explain its principles with such perspicuity and beaury, as will encourage and facilitate its study in ail succeeding ages.

The example set by Juftinian is worthy not only of praise but of imitation. In some modern countries, and especially in our own, the bulk and multiplicity of laws and statutes form an old, and juft, subject of complaint. In the present reign, the evil has entreated with unexampled rapidity; and, unless its progress be checked in due time, the righis of individuals, and the order of fociety, must be deftroyed by the very means which had been invented to support and secure them. It would be congenial to the spirit of improvement, which has appeared in to many inflances in the present age, to employ men, capable of generalization, and acquainted with the power of words, to abridge and mecbodize our laws. This measure must at some future time be adopted; for the spirit of the nation will not always permit, that, in order to entich the retainers of one profession, naturally too lucrative, all other profeffions should be beggared and oppressed Ic deserves well to be considered, whether the present be not the most proper season for introducieg the improvement which we propose ; and, fince much glory will be reflected on the age in wbich an alteration so beneficial takes place, it is worthy of confideration, whether that glory ought to be reaped by ourselves, or relinquished to distant pofterity.

The forty-fifth and forty-fixth chapters contain the reigns of the younger Justin, of Tiberius, of Maurice, and of Heraclius; and the forty-seventh, or last, chapter of this volume, relates the ecclefiaftical history of the reign of Justinian, and his immediate fucceffors. The disputes on the Trinity were succeeded by those on the Incarnation, which occafioned a religious war of two hundred and fifty years. The history of this sanguinary contest, Mr. G. introduces by an interesting and learned enquiry into the doctrines of the primitive church.

• A laudable regard for the honour of the first proselytes, has countenanced the belief, the hope, the with, that the Ebionites, or at least the Nazarenes, were distinguished only by their obftinate perseverance in the practice of the Mosaic rites. Their churches have disappeared, their books are obliterated; their obscure freedom might allow a latitude of faith, and the softness of their infant creed would be variously moulded by the zeal or prudence of three hundred years. Yet the most charitable criticism must refuse these sectaries any knowlege of the pure and proper divinity of Christ. Educated in the school of Jewish prophecy and prejudice, they had never been taught to elevate their hopes above an human and temporal Mesiiah. If they had courage to hail their King when he appeared in a plebeian garb, their groffer apprehensions were incapable of discerning their God, who had studiously disguised his cæleitial character under the name and person of a mortal. The familiar companions of Jesus of Nazareth conversed with their friend and countryman, who, in all the actions of rational and animal life, appeared of the fame species with themselves. His progress from infancy to youth and manhood, was marked by a regular increase in ftature and wisdom; and after a painful agony of mind and body, he expired on the cross. He lived and died for the service of mankind: but the life and death of Socrates had likewise been devoted to the cause of religion and justice; and although the stoic or the hero may disdain the humble virtues of Jesus, the tears which he shed over his friend and country, may be esteemed the purest evidence of his humanity. The miracles of the Gospel could not astonith a people who held, with intrepid faith, the more splendid prodigies of the Mosaic law. The prophets of ancient days had cured diseases, raised the dead, divided the sea, stopped the sun, and ascended to heaven in a fiery chariot. And the metaphoriRev. July, 1788.



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