Procopius 500 - 554 54
Secret History
1 About Me 8
2 Education
3 Philosophy
4 Politics
5 News
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1 5 35.3 29:25
2 10 33.2 27:40
3 15 30.6 25:30
4 20 29.2 24:20
Page Data
Menu Pages 1.94 Time 1:47
Body Pages 206 Time 3:26
Menu to Body 1/107
Chapters 105
Pages per chapter 2
5 25 30.9 25:45
6 30 30.1 25:05
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Intro by translator H. B. Dewing

The Secret History of Procopius is a strange companion for the Histories and the Buildings by the same author. The story of the three wars — against the Persians, the Vandals and the Goths — had almost been completed when the author, in seeming disgust, decided to regale a safely removed future age with the back-stage gossip that had been current while Justinian and Theodora had been playing their imperial roles, and while Belisarius had been leading the Roman arms from triumph to triumph. Obviously this could not be done openly, for Procopius, with all his bitterness, had not by any means reached a state of reckless despair, and he was willing, or perhaps even eager, to continue to write in the flattering tone which the circumstances demanded, while he kept hidden away for posterity the record of mischievous and hateful and sordid gossip which must have been current during his lifetime. His avowed purpose in writing this book, which he appropriately called Unpublished (Notes), was to tell the whole unvarnished truth which he had not deemed wise to set down in the seven books of the Histories; these had already been published and broadcast throughout the Empire. He had indeed given hints that the administration of Justinian had not been that of the Perfect Prince. And it would seem from the opening words of the Secret History that he commenced the writing as a continuation of the Histories. In any case the opening sentences do not form a proper introduction to what follows; and strangely, these sentences reappear, with slight alterations, as the introduction of the Eighth Book of the Histories. This fact, in itself, is evidence of the necessarily furtive process of the composition of the Secret History, a clumsy defect which the usually careful author did not take occasion to correct.

The work does promise to provide a supplement to the Books already published, but this avowed purpose is soon forgotten. It is rather a deliberate attempt to discredit the imperial pair and their leading General and to shew them as essentially both greedy and base — so base, indeed, that they seemed to Procopius nothing less devils incarnate. The interest of Procopius has shifted suddenly from events to persons, and his one purpose comes to be to impugn the motives of Justinian and of the able Belisarius, and to cover with vilest slander the Empress and Antonina, the wife of Belisarius. This, obviously, is the central theme of the Secret History, and the author concentrates all his effort on the attempt to demonstrate the utter depravity of Justinian and of Theodora, the futility of Belisarius, and the shamelessness of Antonina.

The method of attack is the simple one of recounting anecdotes, and it is this plan which has caused the title of Chroniques Scandaleuses to be applied to this book so often. Antonina is the first target for attack and her humble origin is recounted and her disgraceful relations with her adopted son Theodosius are set forth with unblushing frankness. In this affair Belisarius cuts a sorry figure, as he does in the following tirade against his conduct in the field. He is accused of being weak and mercenary in his conduct of operations against hostile armies, being under the dominance of the demoniac spell cast over him by his energetic spouse.

The procedure is similar with the imperial pair. Theodora is first defamed by the vilest slanders touching her private life before her marriage to Justinian and their elevation to the throne. The unedifying picture omits no detail of depravity which can be imagined as possible for the most shameless of women, and the author succeeds only in discrediting his own testimony, which he seems to offer in full confidence, but which falls to the ground through the weight of its own extravagance.

The next step is the attack on Justinian, and here, as in the case of Belisarius, no scandal touching his private life is brought forward (a plain indication that none existed), but much is said about alleged maladministration, squandering of state funds, and wasting of time on "senseless" disputes of the Christians. All the evidence, for Procopius, leads to the conclusion that Justinian was not merely influenced by evil demons, but actually was the Lord of Demons incarnate, allowed for a season to harass the human race. The charges against Justinian are, for the most part, futile, and arose from misguided zeal and a complete failure to understand the rapidly developing factors which already were transforming the narrow sectionalism of the ancient world into the confused pattern of mediaevalism, as a preparation for the realignment and widened horizons of the modern world. This change could not easily be understood or approved by the cautious historian who found his ideal in the compact polities of ancient Greece or the early stages of the Roman Empire, rather than in the sprawling and heterogeneous "Roman Empire" of his day, with its welter of nationalities and with its crumbling frontiers.

We thus have in the Secret History the record of a reactionary who could not appreciate at their true value the developments of his own age nor even guess whither the world was tending — one who sensed clearly only the crumbling of the older order. The record is valuable as sincere testimony, even though it is sadly miscoloured; if one should be able to strike an average between this and the obviously insincere and fulsome flattery in which the Histories occasionally, and the later Buildings constantly, indulge, he might arrive at a fair estimate of one of the most noteworthy reigns of the long period stretching from Constantine the Great (323 A.D.) to the heroic death of Constantine XI Palaeologus in 1453 at the gate of Constantinople.

The points of contact with the Histories are much fewer than the Introduction would lead us to expect, though there are some twenty direct references to the earlier Books and to the later Buildings. Two examples may be cited to illustrate the hostile tendency of the Secret History. The marriage of Germanus' daughter to John is mentioned in the Histories without comment, though it is implied that this may have prevented John from accomplishing the purpose of the mission on which he had been sent by Belisarius. In the Secret History, on the other hand, this marriage is described as the last desperate resort of Germanus to save his daughter Justina — she was already eighteen years of age — from the social disgrace involved in failure to marry. Similarly the account of the death of Amalasuntha is given in the Histories as the act of Theodatus, who simply wished to get her out of the way in order to smooth the path for his own succession to the kingship of the Goths. In the version of the Secret History she was put to death by Theodatus, to be sure, but at the instigation of Peter, an ambassador from Byzantium, and by direction of none less than Theodora herself.

Mention may also be made of an incident which is recorded both in the Secret History and in the Buildings — the establishment of a home on the Bosporus for fallen women. In the first case the establishment of this home is described as a tyrannical, and futile, act of Theodora, while in the Buildings it is praised as the wise act of a sovereign mindful only of the welfare of her subjects.

Other specific examples might be adduced to illustrate the fact, which is at once obvious to the reader of the Secret History, that the tone of this book is completely at variance with that of the Histories and the Buildings — a fact which has led many to the conclusion that we have before us the work of another hand. The debate has been carried on with energy and enthusiasm and a list of notable defenders of either thesis might be adduced.

The chief arguments supporting the thesis that the Secret History was written by Procopius of Caesarea and which must be regarded as reasonably conclusive may be summarized thus.

The date of writing is plainly given four times in the text as the thirty-second year of Justinian. One would expect these years to be counted from Justinian's accession, 527; yet his administration really included Justinus' reign, 518‑527, whence Haury, probably rightly, concluded that the Secret History was written in 550. Comparetti reckons from 527.

2. There are frequent references to the Histories, whose authorship is amply established.

3. There are no direct contradictions in statements of fact as between the Secret History and the signed works of Procopius. The discrepancies which undoubtedly exist must be explained by the circumstances in which the work was written and by the author's changed purpose in writing it.

4. The language and style are demonstrably those of Procopius and the general outlook is truly Procopian, as has been ably demonstrated by Felix Dahn, and we need add only the observation that the use of the accentual rhythm, or cursus, which was the literary mode of the day, plainly supports the view that Procopius himself did write the Secret History. The rhythm is not only present, but it also corresponds in detail, though not as closely as a sly imitator could have made it, to that of the works whose authorship cannot be doubted.

Apart from the question of the authorship of the Secret History, the question of the veracity of its statements is one which may be tested, to a certain extent, by the statements of other writers. At the outset it must be granted that the book is often characterized by malicious exaggeration, as well as by deliberate misrepresentation and falsehood, as, notably, in the account of the youth of Theodora. The misrepresentation consists usually in attributing to Justinian the institution of abuses which had been practised by his predecessors.

Yet granting that Procopius was often unfair in his presentation, it has been shewn, as by Hairy in the Prolegomena, pages xxiii‑xxxi, of his edition of the Secret History (Teubner, 1906), that Procopius often has the support of the testimony of other writers of his time. Two writers may be quoted here in support both of Procopius' general thesis and of specific statements made by him.

Evagrius, a younger contemporary of Procopius and of Justinian (c. 536‑59, in his Ecclesiastical History, IV., writes as follows:

"There was also another quality latent in the character of Justinian, a depravity which exceeded any bestiality which can be imagined; and whether this was a defect of his natural character, or whether it was the outgrowth of cowardice and fear, I am unable to say, but in any case it manifested itself as a result of the popular Nika Insurrection. For he seemed to be absolutely devoted to one of the two Factions, the Blues namely, and to such a degree that these actually used to murder their opponents in cold blood in broad daylight and in the middle of the city, and not only did they suffer no penalty, but they actually were counted worthy of prizes of honour. And they were permitted even to enter houses and to gather as plunder the valuables therein and to force the inhabitants to pay for their own lives. And if any of the magistrates tried to stop them, he thereby endangered his own life. Thus, for instance, a certain man administering the government of the East, because he disciplined with stripes some of the unruly element, was himself flogged in the very middle of the city and roughly handled. And Callinicus, the Governor of Cilicia, because he inflicted the punishment of the law upon two Cilician murderers, Pautus and Faustinus, who had assaulted him and made an attempt upon his life, was impaled, thus paying the penalty for his correct judgment and his support of the laws. Consequently the members of the opposite Faction went off into exile, and being received by no one at all, but being driven away from every place like polluted creatures, they proceeded to waylay travellers, both robbing and murdering them, so that every place was full of violent deaths and highway robbery and the other sorts of crime. Occasionally too he went over to the opposite side and began to destroy them, allowing the laws which he had abandoned to run riot through the cities like barbarians. And to tell of all these matters in detail, neither words nor time would suffice; yet these examples are sufficient to furnish evidence for all the rest."

These general accusations are amply corroborated by the historian Agathias (530‑58, Bonn edition, 252.2‑255.284.13‑285.20; 305.13‑306.9.

In the case of John the Cappadocian, who is represented by Procopius as an utter scoundrel, John Lydus (490‑565), Bonn edition, 250.ff., says the following:

"The wicked Cappadocian, upon acquiring power, became the instrument of public calamities; for first of all, he used to keep fetters and shackles and stocks and irons on exhibition inside the praetorian chambers, providing a private prison in the dark for the punishment of those who served under his orders, like an inhuman Phalaris, and exercising his great power through the instrumentality of his slaves alone; and there he confined his victims who were being put under pressure, exempting no man from any sort of torture whatsoever, and putting on the rack without investigation those who were denounced simply as being in possession of money, and releasing them either naked or dead. And the whole population can bear witness to these things, but I know the facts through having seen them with my own eyes and through having been present while they were being enacted. And I shall give an example. A certain Antiochus, a man of advanced years, was reported to him as being in possession of a certain amount of gold. So he arrested him and strung him up by the hands with stout ropes until the old man, with dislocated shoulders, was freed from the bonds a corpse. This outrage I actually witnessed myself; for I was an acquaintance of Antiochus.

"Now this act of the Cappadocian was the mildest of all the things he did. And would that he had been alone in his tireless quest for unholy deeds. But in fact, just as Briareus of the legend is said by the poets to have had countless hands, just so that avenging demon had an indefinite number of coadjutors in his evil deeds and so carried on his operations not only at the Imperial Palace, but he dispatched men like himself to every place and to every district, drawing up like a suction-pump the last obol which thus far had lain hidden away in each corner."

There follows a specific example of the rapacity of John's agents, and then he continues (p. 255.19):

"And would that this man were the only one of the kind and that he had chanced to devour only that one province; and would that it were not true that in every single city and district others like this man and even worse than he went about sucking up the last hidden obol wherever it lay, trailing after them an army of devouring demons and whole swarms of Cappadocians."

Evagrius, V.3, thus characterizes a certain Aetherius, one of Justinian's ministers. "Aetherius, who resorted to every degree of sycophancy, plundering the properties of the living and of the dead in the name of the Imperial Household, of which he was in charge under Justinian. . . .

In regard to the monkhood of Photius, the matter is stated thus in the Syriac text of John of Ephesus, p31:

"This Photius, who had come to the capital from Palestine, was the son of Belisarius' wife Antonina. And when he was in the army and had gone off to war with Belisarius, for some reason or other he went off, had his hair cut off and assumed the garb of a monk. Yet he could not be reconciled to the monks' way of living and he wore the garb only for the name. After a short time, however, since he could not tame his wild nature by means of religion, he hurried away to the Emperor. So this man, though to all appearances clothed in the cloak of a monk, was sent to the province of Syria because of a revolt of the Samaritans. And since he wished to make himself pleasing to men, but to cause pain to God his Creator and sought for dishonourable gain by (various) pretexts, he devoted himself to plunder, robbery and extortion for the destruction and ruin of the people, as if by barbarian robbers, in all the provinces of the East, the larger as well as the smaller, so that even the Bishops and the clerics of all the cities fled before him. But he seized upon every man, whoever he might be, whether in the city or in the country, if he discovered that he possessed bread for a single day, and such persons he plundered, he imprisoned, hung them up and tortured them. He demanded from them the sum of one gold pound for his portion, whether the individual in question possessed it or not; indeed he followed this procedure even if the poor victim would have been obliged to sell himself, his children, his house and his property — even in such cases it would have been impossible to alter one word he had uttered. For he always took his portion, and said, 'Give many pounds; the Emperor needs money for his wars.' In such fashion he gathered in the talents and sent them forward, to the end that he might retain the authorization to do whatever he wished.

" 'Give many pounds of gold,' Photius kept shouting, he who lived in the time of Justinian and of Justinus; 'the Emperor needs money for carrying on war'; and all magistrates of Justinian kept making the same demand from the Roman citizens, a matter which Procopius in the Secret History makes a particular ground of complaint. Obviously, since Justinian carried on many more wars than other Emperors, it is entirely natural that he needed more money. In order to be able to prosecute a war against the Vandals, he purchased peace from the Persians for eleven thousand pounds."

On the subject of Theodora's offspring, both Greek and Latin authors are silent except Procopius, who makes mention of her grandson Anastasius.º This notice is corroborated by the Syriac Historia Eccles. of John of Ephesus (German transl., p55): "The blessed John, who was sprung from the family of the Emperor Anastasius and also was a son of the Empress Theodora's daughter." And on p196 of the same work there is mention of "Athanasius, son of the Empress Theodora's daughter." Also, in a German rendering of John of Ephesus, p269, Schoenfelder notes: "Athanasius appears in Bar-Hebraeus as an intermediary between Ascosnagh and Philoponus: he says: 'At that time the Empress Theodora had a grandson, by name Athanasius. . . .' " Cf. also Mich. Syr., p197: "Athanasius, grandson of the Empress Theodora."

On the matter of the close co-operation of Justinian and Theodora in the administration of the government the words of Justinian himself should be noted; Novella VIII Cap. I: "After considering all these matters alone and then after taking as partner in the deliberation my most pious consort who has been given me by God. . . ."

Theodora's method of handling recalcitrant subjects is well illustrated by a passage from the Vita Silverii.

"Now the Empress, grieving for the patriarch Anthemus, because he had been deposed by the most holy Pope Agapitus, on the ground that he had found him a heretic and in his place had appointed Menas, servant of God, then the Emperor, after conferring with the deacon Vigilius, sent his letter to Pope Silverius at Rome begging and entreating him: 'Make no delay in coming to us or without fail recall Anthemus to his own place.' And when the Blessed Silverius had read this, he groaned and said: 'I know very well that this affair has brought an end to my life.' But the most blessed Silverius, feeling confidence in God and in the blessed apostle Peter, replied by letter to the Empress: 'Mistress Augusta, I shall never consent to do such a thing as to reinstate a man who is a heretic and who has been condemned in his own wickedness.'

Then the Empress in a fury sent orders to the patrician Belisarius by the deacon Vigilius with these instructions: 'Seek out some grounds of complaint against the Pope Silverius and remove him from the office of bishop or at least send him quickly to us. You have there the archdeacon Vigilius, our most beloved deputy, who has promised us to recall the patriarch Anthemus.' And then the patrician Belisarius undertook the commission, saying: 'I shall indeed carry out the instruction; but that man who has an interest in the murder of Silverius must himself render an account of his deeds to our Lord Jesus Christ.' And under urgent orders, certain false witnesses issued forth and actually made the statement that they had discovered the Pope Silverius sending messages to the King of the Goths. Upon hearing this the patrician Belisarius refused belief; for he knew that these reports were being circulated through envy. But since many persisted in this same accusation, he became afraid.

"Then he caused the blessed Pope Silverius to come to him in the Pincian Palace and he stationed all the clergy at the first and the second entrance. And when Silverius and Vigilius had come alone into the salon, the patrician Antonina was reclining on a couch and the patrician Belisarius was sitting at her feet. And as soon as the patrician Antonina saw him, she said to him: 'Tell me, Master Silverius, Pope, what have we done to you and the Romans that you wish to betray us into the hands of the Goths?' And even while she was still speaking these words, there entered John, the regional sub-deacon of the first ward, lifted his collar from his neck and led him into a chamber; there he unfrocked him, put on him monk's garb and spirited him away. Then Xystus . . . came out and announced to the clergy that 'Our Lord, the Pope, has been deposed and has been made a monk.' And Vigilius took him in charge, under his personal protection, as it were, and he sent him into exile in Pontus and sustained him with the bread of tribulation and the water of necessity. And he weakened and died and he became a confessor."

 
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All that has befallen the Roman Nation in its wars up to the present day has been narrated by me, as far as it proved possible, on the plan of arranging all the accounts of its activities in accordance with their proper time and place. Henceforth, however, this plan of composition will be followed by me no longer, for here shall be set down everything that came to pass in every part of the Roman Empire. The reason for this is that it was not possible, as long as the actors were still alive, for these things to be recorded in the way they should have been. For neither was it possible to elude the vigilance of multitudes of spies, nor, if detected, to escape a most cruel death. Indeed, I was unable to feel confidence even in the most intimate of my kinsmen. Nay, more, in the case of many of the events described in the previous narrative I was compelled to conceal the causes which led up to them. It will therefore be necessary for me in this book to disclose, not only those things which have hitherto remained undivulged, but also the causes of those occurrences which have already been described.

As I turn, however, to a new endeavour which is fraught with difficulty and is in fact extraordinarily hard to cope with, being concerned, as it is, with the lives lived by Justinian and Theodora, I find myself stammering and shrinking as far from it as possible, as I weigh the chances that such things are now to be written by me as will seem neither credible nor probable to men of a later generation; and especially when the mighty stream of time renders the story somewhat ancient, I fear lest I shall earn the reputation of being even a narrator of myths and shall be ranked among the tragic poets. but I shall not flinch from the immensity of my task, basing my confidence on the fact that my account will not be without the support of witnesses. For the men of the present day, being witnesses possessing full knowledge of the events in question, will be competent guarantors to pass on to future ages their brief in my good faith in dealing with the facts.

And yet there was still another consideration which very often, when I was eager to undertake my narrative, held me back for a very long time. For I conceived the opinion that for men of future generations such a record as this would be inexpedient, since it will be most advantageous that the blackest deeds shall if possible be unknown to later times, rather than that, coming to the ears of sovereigns, they should be imitated by them. For in the case of the majority of men in power their very inexperience always causes the imitation of the base actions of their predecessors to be easy, and they ever turn with greater ease and facility to the faults committed by the rulers of an earlier time. But after I was brought to write my history of these events by the thought that it will assuredly be clear to those who hereafter shall hold sovereign power that, in the first place, punishment will in all probability overtake them likewise for their misdeeds, just as befell these persons; and, in the second place, that their own actions and characters will likewise be on record for all future time, so that consequently they will perhaps be more reluctant to transgress. For what man of later times would have learned of the licentious life of Semiramis or of the madness of Sardanapalus and Nero, if the records of these things had not been left behind by the writers of their times? And apart from these considerations, in case any should chance to suffer like treatment at the hands of their rulers, this record will not be wholly useless to them. For those who have suffered misfortunes are wont to receive consolation from the thought that not upon themselves alone have cruel disasters fallen. For these reasons, then, I shall proceed to relate, first, all the base deeds committed by Belisarius; and afterwards I shall disclose all the base deeds committed by Justinian and Theodora.

Belisarius had a wife, whom I have had occasion to mention in the previous books; her father and grandfather were charioteers who had given exhibition of their skill in both Byzantium and Thessalonica, and her mother was one of the prostitutes attached to the theatre. This woman, having in her early years lived a lewd sort of a life and having become dissolute in character, not only having consorted much with the cheap sorcerers who surrounded her parents, but also having thus acquired the knowledge of what she needed to know, later became the wedded wife of Belisarius, after having already been the mother of many children. Straightway, therefore, she decided upon being an adulteress from the very start, but she was very careful to conceal this business, not because she was ashamed of her own practices, nor because she entertained any fear so far as her husband was concerned (for she never experienced the slightest feeling of shame for any action whatsoever and she had gained complete control of her husband by means of many tricks of magic), but because she dreaded the punishment the Empress might inflict. For Theodora was all too prone both to storm at her and to shew her teeth in anger. But after she had made her tame and manageable, by rendering services to her in matters of the greatest urgency — having, in the first place, disposed of Silverius in the manner which will be described in the following narrative, and later having brought about the ruin of John the Cappadocian, as related by me in my earlier books — then at last she felt no hesitation in carrying out all manner of wickedness more fearlessly and with no further concealment.

There was a certain youth from Thrace in the household of Belisarius, Theodosius by name, who had been born of ancestors who professed the faith of those called Eunomians. Now when Belisarius was about to embark on the voyage to Libya, he bathed this youth in the sacred bath, from which he lifted him with his own hands, thus making him the adopted child of himself and his wife, as is customary for Christians to make adoptions, and consequently Antonina loved Theodosius, as she naturally would, as being her son through the sacred word, and with very particular solicitude she kept him near herself. And straightway she fell extraordinarily in love with him in the course of this voyage, and having become insatiate in her passion, she shook off both fear and respect for everything both divine and human and had intercourse with him, at first in secret, but finally even in the presence of servants of both sexes. For being by now possessed by this passion and manifestly smitten with love, she could see no longer any obstacle to the deed. And one occasion Belisarius caught them in the very act in Carthage, yet he willingly allowed himself to be deceived by his wife. For though he found them both in an underground chamber and was transported with rage, without either playing the coward or attempting to conceal the deed, remarked "I came down here in order to hide with the aid of the boy the most valuable of our booty, so that it may not get to the knowledge of the Emperor." Now she said this as a mere pretext, but he, appearing to be satisfied, dropped the matter, though he could see that the belt which supported the drawers of Theodosius, covering his private parts, had been loosened. For under compulsion of love for the woman, he would have it that the testimony of his own eyes was absolutely untrustworthy.

Now this wantonness kept growing worse and worse until it had become an unspeakable scandal, and though people in general, observing what was going on, kept silence about it, yet a certain slave-girl named Macedonia, approaching Belisarius in Syracuse, when he had conquered Sicily, and binding her master by the most dread oaths that he would never betray her to her mistress, told him the whole story, adducing as witnesses two lads who were charged with the service of the bedchamber. Upon learning these things, Belisarius ordered certain of his attendants to destroy Theodosius. He, however, learned this in advance and fled to Ephesus. For most of the persons in attendance upon Belisarius, moved by the instability of the man's temper, were more eager to please the wife than to seem to the husband well-disposed towards him, and for this reason they betrayed the command laid upon them at that time touching Theodosius. And Constantinus, observing that Belisarius had become very sorrowful at what had happened, sympathized with him in general and added the remark, "If it were I, I should have destroyed the woman rather than the youth." And when Antonina heard of this, she nourished her anger against him secretly, in order that she might, when occasion offered, display the hatred she bore him. For she had the ways of a scorpion and concealed her wrath in darkness. So not long afterwards, using either magic or beguilement, she persuaded her husband that the accusation of this girl was unsound, and he without delay recalled Theodosius and agreed to hand over Macedonia and the boys to the woman. And they say that she first cut out all their tongues, and then cut them up bit by bit, threw the pieces into sacks, and then without ado cast them into the sea, being assisted throughout in this impious business by one of the servants named Eugenius, the same one who performed the unholy deed upon Silverius. And not long afterwards Belisarius, persuaded by his wife, killed Constantinus also. For at that time fell the affair of Presidius and the daggers, as has been set forth by me in the preceding narrative. For though the man was about to be acquitted, Antonina would not relent until she had punished him for the remark which I have just mentioned. As a result of this act Belisarius became the object of great hostility on the part of both the Emperor and all the Roman notables.

Such was the course of these events. But Theodosius declared that he was not able to come to Italy, where Belisarius and Antonina were then tarrying, unless Photius should be got out of the way. For Photius was by nature prone to be vexed if anyone had more influence than he with any person, and in the case of Theodosius and his associates he chanced to have a just cause to be sorely aggrieved, in that he himself, though a son, was made of no account, while Theodosius enjoyed great power and was acquiring great wealth. For they say that at Carthage and Ravenna together he had plundered as much as one hundred centenaria from the two Palaces, since he chanced to manage these without any associate and with full power. Now when Antonina learned of the decision of Theodosius, she did not cease laying snares for the youth Photius and pursuing him with certain murderous plots, until she succeeded in bringing it about that he departed from there and set out for Byzantium, being no longer able to withstand her snares, and Theodosius came to Italy to join her. There she enjoyed to the full both the attentions of her lover and the simplicity of her husband and later on came to Byzantium in company with both of them. There Theodosius became terrified by the consciousness of his guilt and his mind was in torment. For he thought that he would by no means escape detection altogether, since he saw that the woman was no longer able to conceal her passion nor to let it break out in secret only, but on the contrary did not object either to being or being called outright an adulteress. So once more he repaired to Ephesus and first assuming the tonsure, as was the custom in such cases, enrolled himself among the monks, as they are called. Theodora thereupon became utterly frantic, and changing her dress together with the routine of her life to the mourning mode, she went about through the house moaning constantly, weeping and wailing even when her husband was close at hand and lamenting what a good thing had been lost from her life, how faithful he was, how charming, how gracious, how energetic. Finally, she dragged even her husband into these scenes of lamentation and made him sit there. At any rate the poor man used to weep and call upon the beloved Theodosius. And later he actually went to the Emperor, entreating both him and the Empress, and persuaded him to recall Theodosius as being both for the present and for the future an indispensableº part of his household. But Theodosius declined absolutely to leave the place where he was, asserting that he intended to observe the practice of the monks as steadfastly as possible. Yet this answer proved to be fictitious, his purpose being that as soon as Belisarius should depart from Byzantium, he himself should come secretly to the side of Antonina. And this is exactly what happened.

 
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For soon Belisarius was despatched with Photius to carry on the war against Chosroes, while Antonina remained in Byzantium, contrary to her previous custom. For in order that the man might not be alone and thus come to himself, and scorning her enchantments might come to think as he ought concerning her, she had taken care to travel all over the world with him. Furthermore, in order that Theodosius might once more have access to her, she took measures to have Photius put out of her way. So she persuaded some of the retinue of Belisarius to torment him constantly and insult him, sparing him not a moment; she herself, meanwhile, by writing practically every day was maintaining a steady attack of slander and was moving everything against the youth. So he in turn, under the compulsion of these measures, decided to resort to slander against his mother, and when a certain person arriving from Byzantium announced that Theodosius was secretly staying with Antonina, he straightway brought him before Belisarius, bidding him to reveal the whole story. And when Belisarius heard the story, he was transported with rage and fell on his face before the feet of Photius and begged him to avenge his father who was suffering unholy treatment from those who, least of all, should do such things. And he said: "O son most beloved, you have no knowledge of what your father was, since while you were still being nourished at the breast, he fulfilled the term of life and left you and you have profited by no portion of his estate; for he was not very fortunate in the matter of possessions. but you were reared under my care, who am only your stepfather, and you are now of such an age that it is your duty to defend me to the utmost when I suffer injustice; and you have risen to the rank of Consul and have acquired such a mass of wealth, my noble boy, that I might justly be called, and indeed might be, both father to you and mother and all your kindred. For it is not by ties of blood, but in very truth by deeds, that men are wont to gauge their affection for one another. The time has come, then, for you not to stand by and see me, in addition to the ruin of my home, also deprived of property in so vast an amount and your own mother fastening upon herself a disgrace so great in the eyes of all mankind. And bear in mind that the sins of women do not fall upon the husbands alone, but affect their children even more; for it will generally be their lot to carry with them a certain reputation to the effect that they resemble their mothers in character. Thus would I have you take counsel concerning me, that I love my wife exceedingly, and if it be granted me to take vengeance upon the corrupter of my home, I shall do her no harm; but while Theodosius lives, I cannot forgive her the accusation against her." Upon hearing all this Photius said that he would indeed assist in everything, but that he feared he might suffer some harm there from, for he decidedly could feel no confidence in the unsteady judgment of Belisarius in matters touching his wife; for many circumstances, and in particular the fate of Macedonia, troubled him. Accordingly the two men swore to each other all the oaths which are the most terrible among the Christians and are in fact so designated by them, that they would never betray each other, even in the presence of dangers threatening their destruction. And so for the present it seemed to them not advisable to undertake the deed, but when Antonina should arrive from Byzantium and Theodosius should go to Ephesus, at that moment Photius was to arrive in Ephesus, where without difficulty he would lay hands upon Theodosius and the money. Now at that time, while they were making the invasion into the land of Persia with the whole army, the affair of John the Cappadocian chanced to be taking place in Byzantium, as has been set forth by me in the preceding narrative. But in the other account one fact was passed over in silence by me through fear — that Antonina had practised deception upon John and his daughter, not without intent, but after giving them the assurance of countless oaths, than which none is accounted more terrible among Christians, at any rate, that she was not acting with any treacherous purpose towards them. So after she had completed this transaction and felt a much greater confidence in the friendship of the Empress, she sent Theodosius to Ephesus and herself, foreseeing no obstacle, set out for the East. And just after Belisarius had captured the fortress of Sisauranon, it was reported to him by someone that she was on the way. Whereupon he, counting all other things as of no importance, led his army back. For it so happened that certain other things too, as related by me previously, had occurred in the army which influenced him to this retreat. This information, however, led him much more quickly to the decision. But, as I said at the beginning of this book, it seemed to me at that time to be dangerous to state all the causes of what had taken place. As a result of this action Belisarius was accused by all Romans as having subordinated the most vital interests of the State to those of his own family. For from the first he was so constrained by the misconduct of his wife that he had been quite unwilling to get to a region as distant as possible from Roman territory, in order that he might be able, as soon as he learned that the woman had come from Byzantium, to turn back and to catch and to punish her immediately. So for this reason he ordered Arethas and his men to cross the Tigris River and they, after having accomplished nothing worthy of mention, departed for home, while as for himself he saw to it that he did not get even one day's march from the Roman boundary. For while the fortress of Sisauranon, if one goes by way of the city of Nisibis, is indeed for an unencumbered traveller more than one day's journey from the Roman boundary, yet by another road it is only half that distance. And yet if he had been willing in the first place to cross the Tigris River with his whole army, I believe that he would have plundered the whole land of Assyria and would have reached the city of Ctesiphon without encountering any opposition whatever, and would have rescued the prisoners from Antioch and all the other Romans who chanced to be there before he finally returned to his native land. Furthermore, he was chiefly responsible for the fact that Chosroes returned home from Colchis in comparative security. And the manner in which this happened I shall straightway make clear. When Chosroes, son of Cabades, made his invasion into the land of Colchis and achieved all those things which have been set forth by me above, including the capture of Petra, it chanced that many of the army of the Medes were destroyed both by the fighting and by the difficult nature of the country. For Lazica, as I have stated, is a country of bad roads and everywhere abounds in precipices. In addition to these difficulties it chanced that a pestilence fell upon the army and many of the soldiers also met their death as a result of their lack of provisions. At this point also certain persons from the land of Persia, who were passing that way, announced that Belisarius had defeated Nabedes in a battle near the city of Nisibis and was moving forward, had taken the fortress of Sisauranon by siege and captured Bleschames and eight hundred horsemen of the Persians, and had sent out another Roman army under Arethas, leader of the Saracens, and that this army had crossed the Tigris River and laid waste that whole country, which had never been plundered before. It happened also that Chosroes had sent an army of Huns against the Armenians who are subjects of the Romans, in order that by reason of their preoccupation with this force the Romans there might take no notice of what was going on in Lazica. Still other messengers brought word that these barbarians had encountered Valerian and the Romans and, upon engaging with them, and having been heavily defeated in battle, had for the most part been destroyed. When the Persians heard these things and, partly because of the miseries which they had suffered in Lazica, and partly because they feared lest they might during the withdrawal chance upon some hostile force among the cliffs and the regions overgrown with thickets and all, in the utter confusion of their forces, be destroyed, had become exceedingly anxious for the safety of their wives and children and native land, then all the loyal element in the Medic army began to heap abuses upon Chosroes, charging him with having, in violation of his oaths and the obligations commonly held to by all mankind, made during a truce an invasion of Roman territory to which he had no claim, and was wronging a State which was ancient and worthy, above all states, of the highest honour, one which he could not possibly overcome in war; and they were on the point of a revolution. Now Chosroes was thoroughly disturbed by this situation, but he found the following remedy for the trouble. For he read to them a letter which the Empress had recently chanced to send to Zaberganes. Now this letter set forth the following: "How devoted I am to you, O Zaberganes, believing you to be loyal to our interests, you know already, since you quite recently came to us on an embassy. You would then be acting in accord with the high opinion I hold of you, if you should persuade King Chosroes to adopt a peaceful attitude toward our State. For in case you do this, I promise that great benefits will accrue to you from my husband, who can be counted upon to carry out no measure whatever without consulting my judgment." When Chosroes had read this to the Persian notables, he reproached any of them who thought that any real State existed when a woman was the administrator, and thus succeeded in checking the vehemence of the men. Yet even so he departed from there in the fear, thinking that the forces of Belisarius would block their way. No hostile force, however, encountered him, and he gladly repaired to his own land.
 
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When Belisarius had reached Roman territory, he found that his wife had arrived from Byzantium. And he kept her under guard in disgrace, and though he many times set about destroying her, his heart was softened, being vanquished, as it seems to me, by a sort of flaming-hot love. But they say that it was also through her magic arts that he was brought under the control of the woman and immediately undone. Now Photius set off in haste for Ephesus, taking with him as a prisoner one of the eunuchs, Calligonus by name, who acted as a go-between for his mistress, and he on this journey revealed to him under torture all the woman's secrets. But Theodosius, having advance information, fled for safety to the sanctuary of the Apostle John, which is the most holy one there and held in very high honour. Andreas, however, the Chief Priest of Ephesus, accepted a bribe and delivered the man over to Photius. At this point Theodora, being solicitous for Antonina (for she had heard all that had happened to her), summoned Belisarius and her to Byzantium. And Photius, upon hearing this, sent Theodosius into Cilicia where the spearmenº and guards chanced to be passing the winter, instructing the escort to convey this man with the utmost secrecy, and when they reached Cilicia, to keep him in very strictly hidden confinement, giving information to no man where in the world he was. He himself, meanwhile, with Calligonus and the money of Theodosius, which amounted to a rather imposing sum, came to Byzantium. There the Empress made an exhibition before all mankind, shewing that she knew how to requite bloody favours with greater and more unholy gifts. For whereas Antonina had recently laid snares for one enemy for her, the Cappadocian, and had betrayed him, she herself delivered over to Antonina a host of men and brought about their destruction without even a charge having been brought against them. For she first tortured certain intimates of Belisarius and Photius, alleging against them only the fact that they were on friendly terms with these two men, and then so disposed of them that up to this day we do not yet know what their final fate was; others too she punished by banishment, laying this same charge against them. But one of those who had followed Photius to Ephesus, Theodosius by name, though he had attained the dignity of Senator, she stripped of his property and forced him to stand in an underground chamber which was utterly dark, tying his neck to a sort of manger with a rope so short that it was always stretched taut for the man and never hung slack. So the poor wretch stood there continuously at this manger, both eating and sleeping and fulfilling all the other needs of nature, and nothing except braying was needed to complete his resemblance to the ass. And a time amounting to not less than four months was passed by the man in this existence until he was attacked by the disease of melancholy, became violently insane and so finally was released from this confinement and then died. And she forced Belisarius, quite against his will, to become reconciled with his wife Antonina. She then inflicted sundry servile tortures upon Photius, among others combing his back and his shoulders with many lashes and commanded him to tell where in the world Theodosius and the go-between were. But he, though being racked with torture, determined to hold fast to his oath; for though he was a sickly person and had in earlier life been dissolute, yet he had been devoted to the care of his body, having experienced neither wanton treatment nor hardship. At any rate, he disclosed not one of the secrets of Belisarius. At a later time, however, everything which hitherto had remained secret came to light. She also found Calligonus there and handed him over to Antonina. And she summoned Theodosius to Byzantium, and upon his arrival, straightway concealed him in the Palace; and next day, calling Antonina to her, she said "O dearest Patrician, yesterday a pearl fell into my hands, such as no man ever saw. If you wish, I should not begrudge you the sight of this, nay, I shall shew it to you." And she, not comprehending what was going on, begged her earnestly to shew her the pearl. And she brought Theodosius out of the room of one of the eunuchs and shewed him to her. And Antonina was so overjoyed that she at first remained speechless with pleasure, and then she acknowledged that Theodora had done her a great favour, calling her Saviour and Benefactor and Mistress in very truth. And so the Empress detained this Theodosius in the Palace and bestowed upon him luxury and all manner of indulgence, and threatened that she would make him a Roman General after no long time. But a sort of justice forestalled her, for he was seized by an attack of dysentery and removed from the world. Now Theodora had concealed rooms which were completely hidden, being dark and isolated, where no indication of night or day could be observed. There she confined Photius and kept him under guard for a long time. From this place he had the fortune, not once but even twice, to escape and get away. The first time he fled to the Church of the Mother of God, which among the Byzantines is considered most holy, as it indeed was designated in its name, and he sat as a suppliant beside the holy table. Thence she forced him with great violence to rise and once more put him into confinement. And the second time he reached the sanctuary of Sophia, and he suddenly seated himself close to the divine receptacle itself, which the Christians have been wont to reverence above all things. But the woman succeeded in dragging him away even from there. For no inviolable spot ever remained inaccessible to her, but it seemed nothing to her to do violence to any and all sacred things. And not only the populace but also the priests of the Christians, smitten with terror, stood aside and conceded everything to her. So a period of three years was passed by him in this manner of life, but afterwards the prophet Zachariah stood over him in a dream and with oaths, they say, commanded him to flee, promising that he would lend him a hand in this undertaking. Persuaded by this vision he got away from there and escaping detection came to Jerusalem, and though countless persons were searching for him, no man saw the youth, even when he stood before him. There he shaved his head, and by clothing himself in the garb of the monks, as they are called, he succeeded in escaping the punishment of Theodora. But Belisarius had neglected his oath and had chosen in no way to support this man, though he was suffering unholy treatment, as I have said; and so, in all his undertakings thereafter, he naturally found the power of God hostile. For straightway, being sent against the Medes and Chosroes, who were making their third invasion into Roman territory, he was guilty of cowardice. And yet he did seem to have accomplished something of note in having shaken off the war from that quarter. Yet when Chosroes crossed the Euphrates River, captured the populous city of Callinicus which had not a man to defend it, and enslaved many thousand Romans, and when Belisarius was not concerned even to follow up the enemy, he won the reputation of having remained where he was for one of two reasons — either because he was wilfully negligent or else because he was a coward.
 
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At about this time another thing also befell him, as follows. The plague which I mentioned in the previous narrative was ravaging the population of Byzantium. And the Emperor Justinian was taken very seriously ill, so that it was even reported that he had died. And this report was circulated by rumour and was carried as far as the Roman army. There some of the commanders began to say that, if the Romans should set up a second Justinian as Emperor over them in Byzantium, they would never tolerate it. But a little later it so fell out that the Emperor recovered, and the commanders of the Roman army began to slander one another. For Peter the General and John whom they called the Glutton declared that they had heard Belisarius and Bouzes say those things which I have just mentioned. The Empress Theodora, declaring that these slighting things which the men had said were directed against her, became quite out of patience. So she straightway summoned them all to Byzantium and made an investigation of the report; and she called Bouzes suddenly into the woman's apartment as if to communicate to him something very important. Now there was a suite of rooms in the Palace, below the ground level, secure and a veritable labyrinth, so that it seemed to resemble Tartarus, where she usually kept in confinement those who had given offence. So Bouzes was hurled into this pit, and in that place he, a man sprung from a line of consuls, remained, forever unaware of time. For as he sat there in the darkness, he could distinguish whether it was day or night, nor could he communicate with any other person. For the man who threw him his food for each day met him in silence, one as dumb as the other, as one beast meets another. And straightway it was supposed by all that he had died, but no one dared mention or recall him. But two years and four months later she was moved to pity and released the man, and he was seen by all as one who had returned from the dead. But thereafter he always suffered from weak sight and his whole body was sickly.

Such was the experience of Bouzes. As for Belisarius, though he was convicted of none of the charges, the Emperor, at the insistence of the Empress, relieved him of the command which he held and appointed Martinus to be General of the East in his stead, and instructed him to distribute the spearmen and guards of Belisarius and all his servants who were notable men in war to certain of the officers and Palace eunuchs. So these cast lots for them and divided them all up among themselves, arms and all, as each happened to win them. And many of those who had been his friends or had previously served him in some way he forbade to visit Belisarius any longer. And he went about, a sorry and incredible sight, Belisarius a private citizen in Byzantium, practically alone, always pensive and gloomy, and dreading a death by violence. And the Empress, learning that he had much money in the East, sent one of the Palace eunuchs and had it all brought back. But Antonina, as I have said, had indeed quarrelled with her husband, yet was on terms of closest friendship and intimacy with the Empress, seeing she had recently accomplished the ruin of John the Cappadocian. So the Empress, in her determination to shew favours to Antonina, left nothing undone to have it appear that the woman had interceded successfully for her husband and had rescued him from such overwhelming misfortunes, and to bring it about that she should not only be completely reconciled with the wretched man, but also that she should unequivocally rescue him as though he were a prisoner of war whose life had been saved by her. And it came about as follows. Belisarius had on one occasion come early in the morning to the Palace, accompanied, as was his wont, by a small and pitiful escort. And finding the Emperor and the Empress not well disposed towards him, and also having been insulted there by men of the base and common sort, he departed for his home late in the evening, often turning about as he walked away and looking around in every direction from which he might see his would-be assassins approaching. In such a state of terror he went up to his chamber and sat down alone upon his couch, thinking not one worthy thought nor even remembering that he had ever been a man, but perspiring constantly, with his head swimming, trembling violently in helpless despair, tortured by servile fears and apprehensions which were both cowardly and wholly unmanly. Meanwhile Antonina, as though not understanding at all what was going on or expecting any of the things which were about to happen, was walking up and down there repeatedly, pleading an attack of indigestion; for they still maintained a suspicious attitude towards one another. In the meantime a man from the Palace, Quadratus by name, arrived after the sun had already set, and passing through the door of the court, suddenly stood by the door of the men's apartments, stating that he had been sent there by the Empress. When Belisarius heard this, he drew up his hands and feet upon the couch and lay there upon his back, completely prepared for destruction; so thoroughly had all his manhood left him. And before Quadratus had come into his presence, he displayed to him a letter from the Empress. And the writing set forth the following. "You know, noble Sir, how you have treated us. But I, for my part, since I am greatly indebted to your wife, have decided to dismiss all these charges against you, giving to her the gift of your life. For the future, then, you may be confident concerning both your life and your property; and we shall know concerning your attitude towards her from your future behaviour." When Belisarius had read this, being transported with joy and at the same time wishing to give immediate evidence of his feelings, he straightway arose and fell on his face before the feet of his wife. And clasping both her knees with either hand and constantly shifting his tongue from one of the woman's ankles to the other, he kept calling her the cause of his life and his salvation, and promising thenceforth to be, not her husband, but her faithful slave. As for his property, the Empress gave thirty centenaria of it to the Emperor and restored the remainder to Belisarius.

Such, then, was the turn of events in the case of Belisarius the General, the man at once whom not long before Fortune had delivered Gelimer and Vittigis as captives of war. But for a long time back the wealth of this man had been exceedingly irritating to both Justinian and Theodora, as being excessive and worthy of a royal court. And they kept saying that he had hidden away in secret the greater part of the State funds of both Gelimer and Vittigis, and had given only a small and utterly insignificant portion of them to the Emperor. But as they reckoned up the great labours of the man and the slanderous talk in which outsiders would indulge, and since at the same time they could not lay hands on any satisfactory pretext against him, they remained quiet. But just then the Empress, catching him terrified and utterly reduced to cowardice, by a single act brought it about that she became mistress of his entire property. For the two entered forthwith into a relationship by marriage and Joannina, the only daughter of Belisarius, was betrothed to Anastasius, grandson of the Empress. Now Belisarius made the request that he should receive back his proper office and, upon being designated General of the East, should again lead the Roman army against Chosroes and the Medes, but Antonina would have none of it; for she maintained that she had been insulted by him in those regions, and never would he again set eyes upon them.

For this reason, then, Belisarius was appointed Commander of the Royal Grooms and was sent to Italy a second time, having promised the Emperor, as they say, that he would never ask him for money during this war, but that he himself would provide the entire equipment for the war with his personal funds. Now all suspected that Belisarius, in arranging matters concerning his wife in the manner I have described, and in making this promise to the Emperor, as here related, concerning the war, was prompted simply by the desire to be quit of the life in Byzantium, and that, as soon as he got outside the circuit-wall of the city, he would seize arms immediately and set himself to some noble and heroic task to punish his wife and the others who had done him despite. He, however, disregarding all that had happened, and forgetting completely and neglecting the oaths which had been sworn to Photius and his other kinsmen, meekly followed the woman, being extraordinarily smitten with her, though she was already sixty years of age. However, when he got to Italy, matters kept going wrong for him every single day, because the hand of God was definitely against him. At first, to be sure, the plans of this General against Theodatus and Vittigis, in the existing circumstances, though they seemed ill adapted to what was going on, resulted for the most part in a favourable outcome; but in the latter period, though he did gain the reputation of having made his plans for the best because of the experience he had acquired in managing the affairs of this war, yet failing as he did in the sequel, most of his misfortunes were credited to what was accounted folly. Thus it is clear that it is not by the wisdom of men but by the power of God that human fortunes are regulated, though men are wont to call this "Fortune," since they do not know the reason why events turn out in the manner in which they become manifest to them. For that which appears unaccountable is wont to have the name of Fortune applied to it. But let each man form such an opinion about these matters as he likes.

 
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Belisarius, coming to Italy for the second time, departed from there most ignominiously. For during a space of five years he did not succeed once in setting foot on any part of the land, as stated by me in the previous narrative, except where some fortress was, but during this whole period he kept sailing about visiting one port after another. And Totila was frantic to catch him outside a walled town, but he did not succeed because both Belisarius himself and the entire Roman army were possessed by great fear. Consequently he not only recovered nothing of what had been lost, but he even lost Rome in addition and practically everything else. And he became greedy for money during this period above all other men and a most assiduous schemer for shameful gain, seeing that he had brought nothing with him from the Emperor, and he recklessly plundered almost all the Italians who lived in Ravenna and in Sicily and anyone else whom he had the power to reach, alleging that he was making them pay a reckoning for the acts of their past lives. Thus he, for instance, even pursued Herodian with demands for money, holding every sort of threat over the man. This treatment made Herodian so indignant that he detached himself from the Roman army and straightway put himself and all his followers and Spoletiuma into the hands of Totila and the Goths. And how it came about that he and John, the nephew of Vitalian, quarrelled, an event which did the greatest harm to the Roman cause, I shall disclose forthwith.

The Empress had come to such a point of hostility towards Germanus (and was making her hostility perfectly obvious to all) that no one dared to make a marriage alliance with him, even though he was nephew to the Emperor, and his sons remained unmarried until they had reached middle age. And his daughter Justina, though she had reached the maturity of eighteen years, was still unwed. For this reason, when John came to Byzantium on a mission from Belisarius, Germanus was forced to open negotiations with him concerning marriage, though John was much below his rank. And since the project pleased both of them, they decided to bind one another by the most terrible oaths that they would put forth every effort to bring about the alliance, inasmuch as neither one of them had any confidence at all in the other, the one because he realized that he was reaching above his rank, the other because he was in sore need of a son-in‑law. The Empress, however, was beside herself, and resorting to every course she did not hesitate to bring every possible pressure to bear upon each of them to the end that she might put a stop to the negotiations. But since she was unable to convince either one of them, though she tried hard to intimidate them, she threatened explicitly that she was going to destroy John. Consequently, when John was sent back to Italy, he did not dare to meet Belisarius, fearing the hostility of Antonina, until after she had gone back to Byzantium. For that the Empress had commissioned her to murder him was a thing which anyone might quite reasonably have suspected and as he weighed the character of Antonina, knowing well, as he did, that Belisarius gave in to the woman in every matter, he came to feel a great fear which disturbed him much. This situation did, in any event, shatter the fortunes of the Romans, which even before that time had been standing on a single leg, and dashed them to the ground.

Thus, then, the Gothic War proceeded for Belisarius. Finally, in despair, he begged the Emperor that he be permitted to depart from Italy with all speed. And when he found that the Emperor accepted his plea, he returned home immediately, well pleased to bid farewell to the Roman army and to the Italians; and he left most of the strongholds in the hands of the enemy and Persia in the grip of a very close siege; indeed this city, while he was still on this journey, was captured by storm and experienced every form of misery, as has been narrated by me previously. And it happened that misfortune fell upon his own house also, as will now be related.

The Empress Theodora, pressing to bring about the betrothal of the daughter of Belisarius to her grandson, kept writing constantly and harassing the parents of the girl. But they, seeking to avoid the proposed alliance, tried to put off the marriage until they should be present, and when the Empress summoned them to Byzantium, they pretended that at the moment they were unable to leave Italy. But she was itching to make her grandson master of the wealth of Belisarius, for she realized that the girl would be the heiress, since Belisarius had no other offspring; yet she had not the slightest confidence in the purpose of Antonina, and fearing that after she was gone Antonina would not shew herself faithful to her house, though she had found the Empress so generous at times of the greatest necessity, and would tear up the agreement, she performed an unholy deed. For she caused the young girl to live with the youth without any sanction of law. And they say that secretly she actually forced her to offer herself, much against her will, and thus, after the girl had been compromised, she arranged the wedding for her, to the end that the Emperor might not put a stop to her machinations. Still, when the deed had been accomplished, Anastasius and the girl found themselves held by an ardent love for one another, and a space of no less than eight months was passed in this way. But when Antonina, after the Empress' death, came to Byzantium, she purposely forgot the benefits which the Empress recently had conferred upon her, and paying no attention whatever to the fact that if the girl should marry anyone else, her previous record would be that of a prostitute, she spurned the alliance with the offspring of Theodora and forced the child, entirely against her will, to abandon her beloved. And from this act she won a great reputation for ingratitude among all mankind, yet when her husband arrived, she had no difficulty in persuading him to share with her in this unholy business. Consequently the man's character was openly revealed at that time. And yet, though he previously had given his oath to Photius and certain of his kinsmen, and though he utterly repudiated this oath, he received pardon from all the world. For they suspected that the cause of his faithlessness was not the domination of his wife, but his fear of the Empress. But when, after the death of Theodora which I have mentioned, he shewed no consideration either for Photius or for any of his other kinsmen, but his wife was seen to be mistress over him and Calligonus, the go-between, his master, then finally all men repudiated him, mocked him with busy tongues, and reviled him as one who had shewn himself guilty of sheer folly. Such, then, in a general way, to state the facts without concealment, were the sins committed by Belisarius.

Now the wrongs committed in Libya by Sergius, son of Bacchus, have been sufficiently described by me at the proper point in the narrative. This man, indeed, made himself chiefly responsible for the collapse of the Roman rule in that district, not only by disregarding the oaths which he had sworn on the Gospels to the Leuathae, but also by putting to death the eighty ambassadors without any justification; but at this point it will be necessary to add to my account only that neither did these men come to Sergius with evil intent nor did Sergius have any pretext for suspicion concerning them, but he had bound himself by oath when he invited the men to a banquet and there did them to death in a shameful manner. As a result of this act it came about that Solomon and the Roman army and all the Libyans were destroyed. For on account of him, especially after Solomon had died in the manner related by me, no one, either commander or soldier, cared to face the perils of war. And, most serious of all, John, the son of Sisinniolus, because of the hostility which he felt towards Sergius, refused to fight until Areobindus came to Libya. For Sergius was soft and unwarlike and he was very immature both in character and in years, yet he was dominated to an excessive degree by jealousy and a spirit of braggadocio towards all men, effeminate in his way of living and puffing out his cheeks with pride. But since he happened to have become a suitor of the daughter of Antonina, wife of Belisarius, the Empress was quite unwilling to inflict any punishment upon him or to discharge him from his office, though she saw that Libya was being most systematically ruined; indeed both she and the Emperor left Solomon, the brother of Sergius, unpunished for the murder of Pegasius. Now what this incident was I shall straightway explain.

When Pegasius had ransomed Solomon from the Leuathae and the barbarians had gone off home, Solomon, in company with Pegasius, who had ransomed him, and some few soldiers set out for Carthage; and on this trip Pegasius, catching Solomon committing some wrong or any other, made the remark that he ought to bear in mind that God had recently rescued him from the enemy. But he flew into a rage since he felt that Pegasius was reproaching him because he had been taken prisoner in battle and killed him out of hand and thus repaid the man for his rescue. And when Solomon came to Byzantium, the Emperor cleared him of the murder on the ground that he had slain a traitor to the Roman rule. And he provided him with a letter which guaranteed him immunity on that score. So Solomon, having escaped punishment in this way, gladly went to the East in order to see his native land and his relatives at home. But the punishment of God overtook him on this journey and removed him from the world. Such was the course of events touching Solomon and Pegasius.

 
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Now what manner of persons Justinian and Theodora were and the method by which they ruined the Roman Empire I shall proceed to tell forthwith. When Leon was holding the imperial power in Byzantium, three young farmers, Illyrians by race, Zimarchus, Dityvistus and Justinus from Vederiana, men who at home had to struggle incessantly against conditions of poverty and all its attendant ills, in an effort to better their condition set out to join the army. And they came to Byzantium, walking on foot and themselves carrying cloaks slung over their shoulders, and when they arrived they had in these cloaks nothing more than toasted bread which they had put in at home; and the Emperor enrolled them in the ranks of the soldiers and designated them for the Palace Guard. For they were all men of very fine figure. But at a later time Anastasius, who had succeeded to the royal power, became involved in a war against the Isaurian nation, who had taken up arms against him. And he sent a considerable army against them, commanded by John who is known as the Hunchback. This John had confined Justinus in a prison because of some offence and was on the point of removing him from the world on the following day, and would have done so had not a vivid dream come to him in the meantime and prevented him. For the General declared that in a dream a certain person came to him, a creature of enormous size and in other respects too mighty to resemble a man. And this vision enjoined upon him to release the man whom he had chanced to imprison on that day; and John said that upon arising from sleep he paid no heed to the vision of his dream. But when the next night came on, he seemed once more in sleep to hear the words which he had heard before; yet even so he was unwilling to carry out the order. And a third time the vision stood over him and threatened him with a terrible fate if he should fail to carry out the instructions, and added that when he in later times should become exceedingly angry, he would have need of this man and of his family.

So at the same time it came about that Justinus was saved in this way, and as time went on this Justinus advanced to great power. For the Emperor Anastasius appointed him Commander of the Palace Guards. And when the Emperor departed this life, he himself, because of the power of his office, succeeded to the throne, being already an old man tottering to his grave, who had never learned to tell one letter from another, and was, as the familiar phrase has it, "without the alphabet," a thing which had never happened before among the Romans. And while it was customary for the Emperor to affix letters in his own hand to all documents containing the orders that issued from him, he was unable either to issue orders himself or intelligently to share in the knowledge of what was being done. But the man who drew the lot to sit as his Counsellor, Proclus by name, who held the office of Quaestor, as it is called, himself used to attend to all matters with independent judgment. But in order that they might have evidence of the Emperor's hand, those who had this matter in charge devised the following plan. Taking a small strip of prepared wood, they cut into it a sort of pattern of the four letters which mean in the Latin tongue "I have read," and dipping the pen into ink of the colour which Emperors are wont to use in writing, they would put it into the hand of this Emperor. And placing on the document the strip of wood which I have mentioned and grasping the Emperor's hand, they moved it and the pen along the pattern of the four letters, causing it to follow all the winding lines cut in the wood, and then went their way, carrying that kind of writing of the Emperor.

Such an Emperor had the Romans in Justinus. And he had a wife named Lupicina who, as being a slave and a barbarian, had been concubine of the man who had previously bought her. And she as well as Justinus attained the throne in the closing years of life.

Now Justinus did not succeed in doing his subjects any harm nor any good either. For he had a very easy-going disposition, being an altogether tongue-tied man and a very boorish fellow. And his nephew Justinian, who was still young, used to administer the entire government and he proved the author of calamities for the Romans — calamities so serious and so manifold that in all the history of the world probably no one previously had ever heard their equal. For he used to proceed with the lightest of hearts to the unjust murder of men and the seizure of other men's money, and for him it was nothing that countless thousands of men should have been destroyed, though they had given him no grievance. And he took no thought to preserve what was established, but he was always wishing to make innovations in everything, and, to put all in a word, this man was an arch-destroyer of well-established institutions. Now the plague which was described by me in the previous narrative, though it fell upon the entire world, was escaped by no fewer persons than those who chanced to be carried away, either because they were not taken at all by the disease or because they recovered when they had the fortune to be caught. This man, however, not one living person of the entire Roman world had the fortune to escape, but, like any other affliction from Heaven falling upon the whole race, he left not a single soul wholly untouched. For some he killed without any just cause, while others he left in the grip of poverty, making them more wretched than those who had died, so that they implored him to resolve the present misery by a most pitiable death. In some cases, however, he destroyed both property and life. But since it was nothing for him to win the Roman Empire alone, he succeeded in subjugating Libya and Italy for no other reason than to be able to destroy the inhabitants of these countries along with those previously under his sway. Indeed, when he had been not yet ten days in power, he slew Amantius, Director of the Palace eunuchs, together with certain others for no cause whatever, charging the man with nothing except that he had spoken some hasty word against John, the Chief Priest of the city. And as a result of this conduct he became the most dreaded man in the world. And he immediately summoned also Vitalian, the usurper, having previously given him a pledge for his safety by sharing with him the Christian sacraments. But a little later, when he was suspected of having given him offence, he executed him in the Palace together with his followers for no just cause, by no means consenting to honour his pledges, terrible as they were.

 
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Now the populace from of old has been divided into two Factions, as was stated by me in the preceding narrative, and he now adopted one of them, namely the Veneti or "Blues," of whom, as it happened, he had previously been an enthusiastic supporter, and thus succeeded in throwing everything into confusion and disorder; and thereby he brought the Roman State to its knees. But not all the Blues saw fit to follow the will of this man, but only those who chanced to be militant. And yet even these, as the evil developed, seemed to be the most temperate men in the world; for their sins fell short of their licence to commit them. And of course the militant group of the Greens did not on their part remain quiet, but they too were constantly busy with crimes, as far as came within their power, although they were being punished continually, one at a time. Yet this very fact always led them on to deeds of much greater daring; for men, when they unjustly treated, are wont to become desperate. So at this time, while he kept fanning the flames and manifestly stirring up the Blues, the whole Roman Empire was agitated from top to bottom, as if an earthquake or a deluge had fallen upon it, or as if each and every city had been captured by the enemy. For everything was thrown into confusion in every part and nothing thereafter remained fixed, but both the laws and the orderly form of the government were completely overturned by the confusion that ensued. In the first place, the mode of dressing the hair was changed to a rather novel style by the Factions; for they did not cut it at all as the other Romans did. For they did not touch the moustache or the beard at all, but they wished always to have the hair of these grow out very long, as the Persians do. But the hair of their heads they cut off in front back to the temples, leaving the part behind to hang down to a very great length in a senseless fashion, just as the Massagetae do. Indeed for this reason they used to call this the "Hunnic" fashion. In the second place, as to fashions in dress, they all insisted on being well clad in fine garments, clothing themselves in raiment too pretentious for their individual rank. For they were enabled to acquire such clothing from stolen funds. And the part of the tunic which covered the arms was gathered by them very closely about the wrist, while from there to each shoulder it billowed out to an incredible breadth. And as often as their arms were waved about, either as they shouted in the theatres and hippodromes, or urged men on to victory in the customary manner, this part of their garments would actually soar aloft, causing the foolish to suppose that their bodies must be so fine and sturdy that they must needs be covered by such garments, not taking into consideration the fact that by the loosely woven and empty garment the meagreness much rather than the sturdiness of their bodies was demonstrated. Also their cloaks and their drawers and especially their shoes, as regards both name and fashion, were classed as "Hunnic." Now at first practically all of them carried weapons openly at night, but in the day-time they concealed small two-edged swords along the thigh under their mantle, and they gathered in groups as soon as it became dark and would waylay men of the better classes both in the market-place at large and in the alleys, robbing their victims of their clothing and their girdles and gold brooches and whatever besides they might have in their hands. And some they saw fit to kill as well as to rob, to keep them from carrying word to anyone of what had befallen them. Now these performances outraged everyone and particularly the partisans of the Blue Faction who were not militant, for not even they remained immune. The result of this was that thereafter most men used girdles and brooches of bronze and mantles much inferior to their station, in order that they might not destroyed by their love of beautiful things, and even before the sun had set they would withdraw into their houses and remain out of sight. And as the evil continued and no attention was paid to the offenders by the city Government, the boldness of these men kept steadily rising to a great height. For when wrongdoing is accorded full licence, it naturally goes beyond all bounds, since even such crimes as are punished are usually not completely eradicated; for by nature most men turn readily to sin. Such were the fortunes of the Blues. And of the partisans of the opposing side, some swung over to their faction through an eagerness to have a hand in committing offences without incurring punishment, while others took to flight and were lost to sight in other lands; many also who were caught there in the city were destroyed by their opponents or were put to death as a punishment by the Government. Many young men also flocked to this association, men who previously had never taken an interest in these affairs, but were now drawn to it by the lure of power and the opportunity for wanton insolence. For there is no unholy act which bears a name among men which was not committed during this period and remained without punishment. Now at first they were destroying their rival partisans, but as time went on they began to slay also those who had given them no offence at all. Many too won them over by bribes and then pointed out their own personal enemies, and these they would destroy immediately, attributing to them the name of Greens, though they were in fact altogether unknown to them. And these things took place no longer in darkness or concealment, but at all hours of the day and in every part of the city, the crimes being committed, it might well be, before the eyes of the most notable men. For the wrongdoers had no need to conceal their crimes, for no dread of punishment lay upon them, nay, there even grew up a sort of zest for competitions among them, since they got up exhibitions of strength and manliness, in which they shewed that with a single blow they could kill any unarmed man who fell in their way, and no man longer dared to hope that he would survive among the perilous circumstances of daily life. For all suspected, because of their great fear, that death was pressing close upon them, and neither did any place seem to be safe nor any time to offer a guarantee of safety to any man, because men were being killed even in the most honoured of the sanctuaries and at the public festivals for no reason, and no confidence remained in either friends or relatives. For many were being killed through the treachery of those most closely akin to them. No investigation, however, of the crimes which had been committed took place. But the calamity in all cases fell unexpectedly and no one would try to avenge the fallen. And in no law or contract was there left any effective power resting upon the security of the existing order, but everything was turned to a reign of increasing violence and confusion, and the Government resembled a tyranny, yet not a tyranny that had become established, but one rather that was changing every day and constantly beginning again. And the decisions of the magistrates seemed like those of terrified men whose minds were enslaved through fear of a single man; and those who sat in judgment, in rendering their decisions on the points in dispute, gave their verdicts, not as seemed to them just and lawful, but according as each of the disputants had hostile or friendly relations with the Factions. For should any judge have disregarded the instructions of these men, the penalty of death hung imminently over him. And many money-lenders were forced through sheer compulsion to restore to their debtors their contracts without having received back any part of their loan, and many persons not at all willingly set their slaves free. And they say that certain women were forced by their own slaves to many acts that were sore against their will. And already the sons of men of high station, having mingled with these lawless youths, were compelling their fathers to do much against their will and in particular to deliver over their money to them. And many unwilling boys were compelled to enter into unholy intercourse with the Factionists, with the full knowledge of their fathers. And women, too, while living with husbands, had to submit to this same treatment. And it is said that one woman, dressed in elegant fashion, was crossing with her husband to some suburb on the opposite mainland; and in the course of this crossing they were met by some of the Factionists, who tore her from her husband with a threat and placed her in their own boat; and as she entered the boat with the young men, she stealthily urged her husband to be of good courage and to fear no harm for her; for, she said, she would not suffer any outrage to her person. And even while her husband looked upon her in great sorrow, she threw herself into the sea and straightway vanished from among men. Such, then, was the outrageous conduct of the Factionists at this time in Byzantium. Yet these things distressed the victims less than the wrongs committed by Justinian against the State, for in the case of those who have suffered the cruellest treatment at the hands of malefactors, the greatest part of the distress arising from a state of political disorder is removed by the constant expectation of punishment to be exacted by the laws and the Government. For in their confident hope of the future men bear their present ills more lightly and easily, but when treated with violence by the power in control of the State, they naturally grieve over their misfortunes the more and are constantly driven to despair by the fact that punishment is not to be expected. And Justinian offended not alone in that he refused absolutely to champion the cause of the wronged, but also because he did not object at all to making himself the avowed protector of the Factionists; for he kept issuing great sums of money to these youths, and retained many of them about his own person, and some of them he even saw fit to summon to the magistracies and to other stations of honour.
 
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These things, then, were being enacted both in Byzantium and in every other city. For the evil, like any other malady, beginning there fell like a scourge upon every part of the Roman Empire. But the Emperor Justinus paid not the slightest heed to what was passing, for he, in fact, had no power of perception at all, though he was an eye-witness at all times of what was being done in the hippodromes. For he was extraordinarily simple-minded and exceedingly like a stupid donkey, inclined to follow the man who pulls the rein, his ears waving steadily the while. And Justinian was not only doing the things described but was also throwing everything else into confusion. Indeed, as soon as this man laid hold of the Government of his uncle, he straightway was eager to squander the public funds with complete recklessness, seeing he had become master of them. For he kept squandering very great sums for service to the State on those of the Huns who chanced from time to time to meet him; and as a result of this the land of the Romans came to be exposed to frequent inroads. For when once these barbarians had tasted the wealth of the Romans, they could no longer keep away from the road leading to Byzantium.

He also saw fit to throw much money into certain buildings along the sea, seeking to put constraint upon the incessant surge of the waves. For he kept moving outward from the beach by piling up stones, being determined to compete with the wash of the sea, and, as it were, seeking to rival the strength of the sea by the sheer power of wealth. And he gathered into his hands the private property of every Roman in the whole world, charging some of them with some crime or other which they had not committed, and in the case of others deluding their minds with the idea that they had made him a present. And many who had been convicted of murder and other such crimes handed over to him their entire fortunes and thus escaped paying the penalty for their misdeeds; and others who might, for instance, be urging against their neighbours a claim to certain lands to which they had no right, finding themselves unable, because the law was against them, to secure a judgment against their adversaries by arbitration, simply bestowed this disputed property upon the Emperor and so were free of the business, thus winning for themselves, by a gift which cost them nothing, an acquaintance with this man, and having succeeded by most illegal means in getting the better of their opponents at law.

And I think it not inappropriate to describe the appearance of this man. He was neither tall in stature not particularly short, but of a medium height, yet not thin but slightly fleshy, and his face was round and not uncomely; for his complexion remained ruddy even after two days of fasting. But that I may describe his appearance as a whole in few words, I would say that he resembled Domitian, son of Vespasian, very closely, an Emperor who so impressed the Romans who suffered under him that even after they had chopped his whole body into pieces they felt that they had not satisfied their rage against him, but through a decree of the Senate determined that not even the name of this Emperor would appear on documents nor any likeness of him whatsoever be preserved. His name, at any rate, everywhere in the inscriptions in Rome and wherever else it chanced to have been carved has been chiselled out, this name alone among all the others, as the observer may see, and not a single statue of him is to be seen anywhere throughout the Roman Empire, with the exception of one bronze statue, accounted for as follows. Domitian had a wife of noble character and discreet, and neither had she herself ever harmed any man in the world nor was she pleased at all with any of the actions of her husband. Consequently she was dearly beloved, and the Senate at that time summoned her and bade her ask whatever she wished. And she begged only this, that she might take the body of Domitian and bury it and that she might set up one bronze statue to him wherever she wished. And the Senate conceded this. And the woman, wishing to leave to future ages a memorial of the inhumanity of those who had butchered her husband, contrived the following. Collecting the flesh of Domitian, and putting the pieces accurately together and fitting them one to the other, she sewed up the whole body; then, displaying to the sculptors, she bade them represent in a bronze statue the fate which had befallen her husband. So the artists straightway made the statue. The woman then took it and set it up on the street leading up to the Capitol, on the right as one ascends thither from the Forum, and it shews both the features and the fate of Domitian, even to the present day. And one might hazard a guess that the body of Justinian in general and particularly the face and all the characteristic features of his countenance are clearly embodied in this statue.

Such was Justinian in appearance; but his character I could not accurately describe. For this man was both an evil-doer and easily led into evil, the sort of a person whom they call a moral pervert, never of his own accord speaking the truth to those with whom he conversed, but having a deceitful and crafty intent behind every word and action, and at the same time exposing himself, an easy prey, to those who wished to deceive him. And a certain unusual mixture had developed in him, compounded of both folly and wickedness. And possibly this illustrated a saying uttered by one of the Peripatetic philosophers in earlier times, to the effect that the most opposite elements are found in man's nature, just as in mixed colours. 24(I am now writing, however, of matters in which I have not been able to attain competency.) But to resume, this Emperor was insincere, crafty, hypocritical, dissembling his anger, double-dealing, clever, a perfect artist in acting out an opinion which he pretended to hold, and even able to produce tears, not from joy or sorrow, but contriving them for the occasion according to the need of the moment, always playing false, yet not carelessly but adding both his signature and the most terrible oaths to bind his agreements, and that too in dealing with his own subjects. But he departed straightway from his agreements and his oaths, just like the vilest slaves, who, through fear of the tortures hanging over them, are induced to make confession of acts which they had denied on oath. He was a fickle friend, a truce less enemy, an ardent devotee of assassination and of robbery, quarrelsome and an inveterate innovator, easily led astray into wrong, but influenced by no counsel to adopt the right, keen to conceive and to execute base designs, but looking upon even the hearing about good things as distasteful. How could any man be competent to describe adequately the character of Justinian? These faults and many others still greater he manifestly possessed to a degree not in accord with human nature. On the contrary, Nature seemed to have removed all baseness from the rest of mankind and to have concentrated it in the soul of this man. And in addition to his other shortcomings, while he was very easy-going as to lending an ear to slanders, yet he was severe as to inflicting punishment. For he never paused for a thorough investigation before reaching a decision, but straightway upon hearing what the slanderer said, he would make his decision and order it published. And he did not hesitate to write orders that called for the capture of towns and the burning of cities and the enslavement of whole peoples, for no reason whatever. Consequently, if one should care to estimate all the misfortunes which have befallen the Romans from the earliest times and then to balance against them those of the present day, it seems to me that he would find a greater slaughter of human beings to have been perpetrated by this man than has come to pass in all the preceding time. And while he had no scruples whatever against the quiet acquisition of other men's money — for he never even made any excuse, putting forward justice as a screen in trespassing upon things which did not belong to him — yet when once these had become his own, he was perfectly ready to shew his contempt for the money, with a prodigality in which there was no trace of calculation, and for no reason at all to fling it away to the barbarians. And, to sum up the whole matter, he neither had any money himself, nor would he allow anyone else in the world to have it, as though he were not a victim of avarice, but simply consumed by envy of those who possessed money. Consequently he lightly banished wealth from the Roman world and became the creator of poverty for all.

 
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The traits, then, of Justinian's character, as far as we are able to state them, were roughly these. And he married a wife concerning whom I shall now relate how she was born and reared and how, after being joined to this man in marriage, she overturned the Roman State to its very foundations. There was in Byzantium a certain Acacius, keeper of the animals used in the circus, an adherent of the Green Faction, a man whom they called Master of the Bears. This man had died a natural death during the reign of Anastasius, leaving three girls, Comito, Theodora and Anastasia, the eldest of whom was not yet seven years of age. And the woman, now reduced to utter distress, entered into marriage with another husband, who, she thought, would later on assist her in both the care of the household and in her first husband's occupation. But the Dancing Master of the Greens, a man named Asterius, was bribed by another man to remove these persons from that office and to make no difficulty about putting in the position the man who had given him the money. For the Dancing Masters had authority to administer such matters as they wished. But when the woman saw the whole populace gathered in the Circus, she put garlands on the heads and in both hands of the three girls and cause them to sit as suppliants. And though the Greens were by no means favourable to receiving the supplication, the Blues conferred this position of honour upon them, since their Master of the Bears also had recently died. And when these children came of age, the mother immediately put them on the stage there — since they were fair to look upon — not all three at the same time, but as each one seemed to her to be ripe for this calling. Now Comito, the first one, had already scored a brilliant success among the harlots of her age; and Theodora, the next in order, clothed in a little sleeved frock suitable to a slave girl, would follow her about, performing various services and in particular always carrying on her shoulders the stool on which her sister was accustomed to sit in the assemblies. Now for a time Theodora, being immature, was quite unable to sleep with a man or to have a woman's kind of intercourse with one, yet she did engage in intercourse of a masculine type of lewdness with the wretches, slaves though they were, who, following their masters to the theatre, incidentally took advantage of the opportunity afforded them to carry on this monstrous business, and she spent much time in the brothel in this unnatural traffic of the body. But as soon as she came of age and was at last mature, she joined the women of the stage and straightway became a courtesan, of the sort whom men of ancient times used to call "infantry." For she was neither a flute-player nor a harpist, nay, she had not even acquired skill in the dance, but she sold her youthful beauty to those who chanced to come along, plying her trade with practically her whole body. Later on she was associated with the actors in all the work of the theatre, and she shared their performances with them, playing up to their buffoonish acts intended to raise a laugh. For she was unusually clever and full of gibes, and she immediately became admired for this sort of thing. For the girl had not a particle of modesty, nor did any man ever see her embarrassed, but she undertook shameless services without the least hesitation, and she was the sort of a person who, for instance, when being flogged or beaten over the head, would crack a joke over it and burst into a loud laugh; and she would undress and exhibit to any who chanced along both her front and her rear naked, parts which rightly should be unseen by men and hidden from them.

And as she wantoned with her lovers, she always kept bantering them, and by toying with new devices in intercourse, she always succeeded in winning the hearts of the licentious to her; for she did not even expect that the approach should be made by the man she was with, but on the contrary she herself, with wanton jests and with clownish posturing with her hips, would tempt all who came along, especially if they were beardless youths. Indeed there was never anyone such a slave to pleasure in all forms; for many a time she would go to a community dinner with ten youths or even more, all of exceptional bodily vigour who had made a business of fornication, and she would lie with all her banquet companions the whole night long, and when they all were too exhausted to go on, she would go on to their attendants, thirty perhaps in number, and pair off with each one of them; yet even so she could not get enough of this wantonness.

On one occasion she entered the house of one of the notables during the drinking, and they said that in the sight of all the banqueters she mounted to the projecting part of the banqueting couch where their feet lay, and there drew up her clothing in a shameless way, not hesitating to display her licentiousness. And though she made use of three openings, she used to take Nature to task, complaining that it had not pierced her breasts with larger holes so that it might be possible for her to contrive another method of copulation there. And though she was pregnant many times, yet practically always she was able to contrive to bring about an abortion immediately.

And often even in the theatre, before the eyes of the whole people, she stripped off her clothing and moved about naked through their midst, having only a girdle about her private parts and her groins, not, however, that she was ashamed to display these too to the populace, but because no person is permitted to enter there entirely naked, but must have at least a girdle about the groins. Clothed in this manner, she sprawled out and lay on her back on the ground. And some slaves, whose duty this was, sprinkled grains of barley over her private parts, and geese, which happened to have been provided for this very purpose, picked them off with their beaks, one by one, and ate them. And when she got up, she not only did not blush, but even acted as if she took pride in this strange performance. For she was not merely shameless herself, but also a contriver of shameless deeds above all others. And it was a common thing for her to undress and stand in the midst of the actors on the stage, now straining her body backwards and now trying to penetrate the hinder parts both of those who had consorted with her and those who had not yet done so, running through with pride the exercises of the only wrestling school to which she was accustomed. And she treated her own body with such utter wantonness that she seemed to have her privates not where Nature had placed them in other women, but in her face! Now those who had intimacy with her immediately made it clear by that very fact that they were not having intercourse according to the laws of Nature; and all the more respectable people who chanced upon her in the market-place would turn aside and retreat in haste, lest they should touch any of the woman's garments and so seem to have partaken of this pollution. For she was, to those who saw her, particularly early in the day, a bird of foul omen. On the other hand, she was accustomed to storm most savagely at all times against the women who were her fellow-performers; for she was a very envious and spiteful creature.

Later she was following in the train of Hecebolus, a Tyrian, who had taken over the administration of Pentapolis, serving him in the most shameful capacity; but she gave some offence to the man and was driven thence with all speed; consequently it came about that she was at a loss for the necessities of life, which she proceeded to provide in her usual way, putting her body to work at its unlawful traffic. She first went to Alexandria; later, after making the round of the whole East, she made her way back to Byzantium, plying her trade in each city (a trade which a man could not call by name, I think, without forfeiting forever the compassion of God), as if Heaven could not bear that any spot should be unacquainted with the wantonness of Theodora.

Thus was this woman born and reared and thus had she become infamous in the eyes both of many common women and of all mankind. But when she came back to Byzantium once more, Justinian conceived for her an overpowering love; and at first he knew her as a mistress, though he did advance her to the rank of the Patricians. Theodora accordingly succeeded at once in acquiring extraordinary influence and a fairly large fortune. For she seemed to the man the sweetest thing in the world, as is wont to happen with lovers who love extravagantly, and he was fain to bestow upon his beloved all favours and all money. And the State became fuel for this love. So with her help he ruined the people even more than before, and not in Byzantium alone, but throughout the whole Roman Empire. For both being members of the Blue Faction from of old, they gave the members of this Faction great freedom regarding the affairs of State. But long afterwards this evil abated for the most part, and in the following manner.

Justinian happened to be ill for many days, and during this illness he came into such danger that it was even reputed that he had died. Meanwhile the Factionists were still carrying on those excesses which have been described, and in broad daylight, in the sanctuary of Sophia, they slew a certain Hypatius, a man of no mean station. Now after the crime had been committed, the tumult occasioned by the act reached the Emperor, and his courtiers, taking advantage of the absence of Justinian from the scene, all took pains to magnify to him the outrageous character of what had taken place, recounting from the beginning everything which had happened. Then at length the Emperor commanded the Prefect of the City to inflict the penalties for all that had been done. Now this Perfect was named Theodotus, the one to whom they gave the nickname "Pumpkin." And he, making a full investigation of the affair, did succeed in apprehending and executing by due process of law many of the malefactors, though many hid themselves and thus saved their lives. For it was destined that before long they themselves should rise to the control of the affairs of the Romans. As for the Emperor, he suddenly and unexpectedly recovered and thereupon immediately set about putting Theodotus to death as a poisoner and a magician. But since he could find no pretext whatever which he might use to destroy the man, he tortured some of his associates most cruelly and compelled them to utter against the man statements which were utterly untrue. And as all stood aloof from him and in silence grieved over the plot against Theodotus, Proclus alone, who held the office of Quaestor, as its incumbent was called, declared that the man was innocent of the charge and in no way worthy of death. So, by decision of the Emperor, Theodotus was conveyed to Jerusalem. But learning that certain men had come there in order to destroy him, he concealed himself the whole time in the sanctuary and continued so to live up to the time of his death.

Such was the story of Theodotus. But the Factionists, from then on, became the most discreet persons in the world. For they could no longer bring themselves to commit the same outrages as before, although the way was open for them to practice their lawlessness in their way of living more fearlessly than ever. And the evidence is this, that when some few of them at a later time displayed a similar boldness, no punishment was meted out to them. For those who from time to time had the authority to punish provided to those who were guilty of outrageous actions easy opportunity for concealment, thus spurring them on by this concession to trample down the laws.

Now as long as the Empress was still living, Justinian was quite unable to make Theodora his wedded wife. For in this point alone the Empress went against him, though opposing him in no other matter. For the woman chanced to be far removed from wickedness, but she was very rustic and a barbarian by birth, as I have pointed out. And she was quite unable to take part in government, but continued to be wholly unacquainted with affairs of State, indeed, she did not enter the Palace under her own name, thinking it to be ridiculous, but bearing the assumed name of Euphemia. But at a later time it came about that the Empress died. And the Emperor, having become foolish as well as extremely old, incurred the ridicule of his subjects, and since all were filled with utter contempt for him as not comprehending what was going on, they disregarded him; but Justinian they cultivated with great fear. For by a policy of stirring things up and throwing them into confusion, he kept everything in a turmoil. Then at length he set about arranging a betrothal with Theodora. But since it was impossible for a man who had attained to senatorial rank to contract marriage with a courtesan, a thing forbidden from the beginning by the most ancient laws, he compelled the Emperor to amend the laws by a new law, and from then on he lived with Theodora as his married wife, and he thereby opened the way to betrothal with courtesans for all other men; and as a tyrant he straightway assumed the imperial office, concealing by a fictitious pretext the violence of the act. For he was proclaimed Emperor of the Roman conjointly with his uncle by all men of high station, who were led to vote thus by an overwhelming fear. So Justinian and Theodora took over the Roman Empire three days before the feast of Easter, a time when it is not permitted either to greet any of one's friends or to speak him peace. And not many days later Justinus died a natural death, having lived nine years in office, and Justinian alone took over the throne with Theodora.

 
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So Theodora, born and nurtured and educated in the manner I have described, came to the dignity of Empress without having been impeded by any obstacle. For not even a thought that he was doing an outrageous thing entered the mind of the man who married her, though he might have taken his choice of the whole Roman Empire and have married that woman who, of all the women in the world, was in the highest degree both well-born and blessed with a nurture sheltered from the public eye, a woman who had not been unpractised in modesty, and had dwelt with chastity, who was not only surpassingly beautiful but also still a maiden and, as the expression runs, erect of breast; but he did not disdain to make the common abomination of all the world his own, not dismayed by any of the misdeeds which we have previously recounted, and to lie with a woman who had not only encompassed herself round about with every other rank defilement but had also practised infanticide time and again by voluntary abortions. And I think that I need make mention of nothing else whatever in regard to the character of this man. For this marriage would be amply sufficient to shew full well all the maladies of his soul, since it serves as both an interpreter and a witness and recorder of his character. Since that man who pays no heed to the disgrace from deeds previously committed and does not shrink from revealing himself to his associates as a loathsome character — for such a man no path of lawlessness is untrodden, but fortified by the effrontery that is never absent from his brow, he advances readily and with no effort to the vilest of actions. Nor, in truth, did a single member of the Senate, when he saw the State putting on the crown of this disgrace, see fit to shew his disapprobation by forbidding the deed, though the Senators were all to do obeisance to the woman as though she were a god. Nay, not even a single priest shewed himself outraged, and that too, though they were going to address her thereafter as "Mistress." And the populace which previously had been spectators of her performances straightway demanded with upturned palms, in defiance of all decorum, that they might be in fact and in name her slaves. Nor did a single soldier rise in wrath at the thought that he was destined to undergo the perils of campaigning all in behalf of the interests of Theodora, nor did any other human being oppose her at all,— because, I suppose, they had been made submissive by the thought that these matters were so ordained for them, — but allº allowed this outrage to be brought to fulfilment, as if Fortune had made an exhibition of her power, to whom in truth, as she presides over all the affairs of mankind, it is a matter of no concern whatever either that the things which are done shall be reasonable or that they shall seem to men to have happened in accordance with reason. At any rate she suddenly exalts one man to a great eminence by a sort of unreasoning exercise of her authority, though many obstacles seem to have grappled with him, and she opposes him in nothing whatever that he undertakes, nay, the man is carried along by any and every means to whatever post she has ordained for him, while all men without demur stand aside or retire before Fortune as she advances. But as to these matters, let them not only be as is pleasing to God but also be so set forth.

Now Theodora was fair of face and in general attractive in appearance, but short of stature and lacking in colour, being, however, not altogether pale but rather sallow, and her glance was always intense and made with contracted brows. Now all time would not suffice for one to tell the most of her experiences in her life in the theatre, but by selecting in the preceding account a few incidents only I may have done enough to give a fair picture of the woman's character for the benefit of future generations.

But at the present time we must briefly make known her acts and those of her husband, for they did nothing whatever separately in the course of their life together. For a long time, it is true, they were supposed by all to be diametrically opposed to each other at all times in both their opinions and their ways of living, but later it was realized that this impression was purposely worked up by them in order that their subjects might not, by getting together in their views, rise in revolt against them, but that the opinions of all their subjects might be at variance regarding themselves.

Now first of all they set the Christians at variance with one another, and by pretending to go opposite ways from each other in rending them all asunder, as will shortly be related by me. In the second place they kept the Factions divided. And Theodora, on the one hand, would pretend with all her might to be espousing the cause of the Blues, and by extending to them full freedom of action against their opponents, she gave them licence, in a quite irregular way, to commit their crimes and perform their pernicious deeds of violence. But Justinian, on the other hand, had the appearance of one who was vexed and secretly resentful, yet unable to oppose his wife directly, and many times the two even shifted the appearance of authority and pursued the opposite course with reference to one another. For while he would insist on punishing the Blues as offenders, she, with feigned anger, would make a scene because, as she would say, she had been overruled by her husband against her will.

But the partisans of the Blues seemed, as I have said, to be most temperate. For they did not think it right to coërce one's neighbours to the utmost possible, and in the keen rivalries in connection with the lawsuits, while each side seemed to support one of the disputants, yet it was inevitable that the victory should fall to that one of the two who espoused the unjust cause, and that thus they should win for themselves as plunder most of the property of the disputants. In fact many men who were counted by this Emperor among his intimates were elevated by him to positions where they had authority to act arbitrarily and to wrong the Government as they wished, but when they were seen to be in possession of a large sum of money, straightway they were found to have given some offence to the woman and to be at variance with her. At first, then, he did not hesitate to champion these men whole-heartedly, but later on, forgetting his good-will towards the poor fellows, he all of a sudden began to waver in his enthusiasm. And she would then straightway ruin them utterly, while he, pretending not to observe what was passing, would seize their whole property, acquired though it was by a shameless procedure. Now in all this trickery they always were in full accord with each other, but openly they pretended to be at variance and thus succeeded in dividing their subjects and in fortifying their tyranny most firmly.

 
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Accordingly, when Justinian took over the Empire he immediately succeeded in bringing confusion upon everything. For things which previously had been forbidden by law he kept introducing into the constitution, and tearing down all existing institutions and those made familiar by custom, as if he had put on the imperial garb on the condition that he should change all things also into another garb. For instance, he would depose the existing officials and appoint new ones in control of the State's business; and he treated the laws and the divisions of the army in the same way, not yielding to demands of justice nor influenced to this course by any public advantage, but simply that everything might be new and might bear the impress of his name. And if there was anything which he was quite unable to transform at the instant, still he would at least put his own name upon it.

As for seizing property and murdering men, he never got his fill of them, but after plundering numerous homes of affluent men he kept seeking new ones, straightway pouring out the proceeds of his earlier robbery in making presents to sundry barbarians or in erecting senseless buildings. And after he had slain perhaps myriads for no good reason, he straightway embarked on plans for the ruin of many more. So then, the Romans being at peace with the whole world, and he by reason of his lust for blood not knowing what to do with himself, Justinian kept bringing all the barbarians into collision with one another, and summoning the leaders of the Huns for no good reason, he handed over to them with amazing prodigality huge donatives, pretending that he was doing this as a pledge of friendship; indeed it was said that he had done this even during the period of Justinus' reign. And they, even after having received money, would send some of their fellow-leaders together with their followers, bidding them overrun and ravage the Emperor's land, so that they too might be able to sell peace to the man who for no good reason wished to purchase it. And these then began straightway to enslave the Roman Empire, and they nevertheless were receiving pay in the meantime from the Emperor; and after these, others promptly took over the business of plundering the hapless Romans, and after the pillage they would receive, as rewards for the attack, the Emperor's generous gifts. Thus all the barbarians, one may almost say, omitting no season of the year, made raids in rotation, plundering and harrying absolutely everything without a moment's pause. For these barbarians have many groups of leaders and war went the rounds — war that originated in an unreasoning generosity, and could never reach an end, but kept for ever revolving about its own centre. Consequently, during this period no settlement, no mountain, no cave — nothing, in fact, in the Roman domain — remained unplundered, and many places had the misfortune to be captured more than five times. Yet all these things and all that was done by Medes, Saracens, Sclavenians, and Antae and the other barbarians have been set forth by me in previous Books; but, as I said at the beginning of this present Book, it was necessary for me to state in this place the causes of what happened.

And though he paid out to Chosroes huge sums of gold in return for peace, still, acting on his own judgment in a senseless way, he became the chief cause of the breaking of the truce by his intense eagerness to gain the alliance of Alamundarus and the Huns who are allied to the Persians, a matter which I believe to have been mentioned without concealment in the narrative referring to them. And while he was stirring up the evils of faction and of war for the Romans and fanning the flames, with the one thought in mind that the earth should by many a device be filled with human blood and that he should plunder more money, he contrived another massacre of his subjects on a large scale, in the following manner.

There are in the whole Roman Empire many rejected doctrines of the Christians, which they are accustomed to call "heresies" — those of the Montani, the Sabbatiani, and all the others which are wont to cause the judgment of man to go astray. All these heretics he commanded to change their earlier beliefs, threatening many things in case of their disobedience, and in particular that it would be impossible for them in the future to hand down their property to their children or other relatives. Now the shrines of these heretics, as they are called, and particularly those who practised the Arian belief, contained wealth unheard-of. For neither the entire Senate nor any other major group of the Roman State could be compared with these sanctuaries in point of wealth. For they had treasures of gold and of silver and ornaments set with precious stones, beyond telling or counting, houses and villages in great numbers, and a large amount of land in all parts of the world, and every other form of wealth which exists and has a name among all mankind, since no man who had ever reigned previously had ever disturbed them. And many persons, and that too of the orthodox faith, excusing themselves by the occupations in which they were engaged, always depended upon the property of these sects for the means of their livelihood. So the Emperor Justinian began by confiscating the properties of these sanctuaries, thus stripping them suddenly of all their wealth. From this it came about that thereafter most of them were cut off from their livelihood.

And many straightway went everywhere from place to place and tried to compel such persons as they met to change from their ancestral faith. And since such action seemed unholy to the farmer class, they all resolved to make a stand against those who brought this message. So, then, while many were being destroyed by the soldiers and many even made away with themselves, thinking in their folly that they were doing a most righteous thing, and while the majority of them, leaving their homelands, went into exile, the Montani, whose home was in Phrygia, shutting themselves up in their own sanctuaries, immediately set their churches on fire, so that they were destroyed together with the buildings in senseless fashion, and consequently the whole Roman Empire was filled with murder and with exiled men.

And when a similar law was immediately passed touching the Samaritans also, an indiscriminate confusion swept through Palestine. Now all the residents of my own Caesarea and of all the other cities, regarding it as a foolish thing to undergo any suffering in defence of a senseless dogma, adopted the name of Christians in place of that which they then bore and by this pretence succeeded in shaking off the danger arising from the law. And all those of their number who were persons of any prudence and reasonableness shewed no reluctance about adhering loyally to this faith, but the majority, feeling resentment that, not by their own free choice, but under compulsion of the law, they had changed from the beliefs of their fathers, instantly inclined to the Manichaeans and to the Polytheists, as they are called. And all the farmers, having gathered in great numbers, decided to rise in arms against the Emperor, putting forward as their Emperor a certain brigand, Julian by name, son of Savarus. And when they engaged with the soldiers, they held out for a time, but finally they were defeated in the battle and perished along with their leader. And it is said that one hundred thousand men perished in this struggle, and the land, which is the finest in the world, became in consequence destitute of farmers. And for the owners of the land who were Christians this led to very serious consequences. For it was incumbent upon them, as a matter of compulsion, to pay to the Emperor everlastingly, even though they were deriving no income from the land, the huge annual tax, since no mercy was shewn in the administration of this business.

He then carried the persecution to the "Greeks," as they are called, maltreating their bodies and plundering their properties. But even those among them who had decided to espouse in word the name of Christians, seeking thus to avert their present misfortunes, these not much later were generally seized at their libations and sacrifices and other unholy acts. . . . For the measures that were taken with regard to the Christians will be told by me in the following narrative.

Afterwards he also prohibited sodomy by law, not examining closely into offences committed subsequently to the law but concerning himself only with those persons who long before had been caught by this malady. And the prosecution of these cases was carried out in reckless fashion, since the penalty was exacted even without an accuser, for the word of a single man or boy, and even, if it so happened, of a slave compelled against his will to give evidence against his owner, was considered definite proof. Those who were thus convicted had their privates removed and were paraded through the streets. Not in all cases, however, but only upon those reputed to be Greens or to be possessed of great wealth or those who in some other way chanced to have offended the rulers.

Furthermore, they were bitter against astrologers. Consequently, the official who was placed in charge of burglaries would maltreat them for no other reason than their being astrologers and, inflicting many stripes upon them, would parade them upon the backs of camels throughout the whole city, old men and persons who were in general respectable, though he had no other complaint against them, except that they wished to be wise in the science of the stars in a place like this. So a great throng of persons were fleeing constantly, not only to the barbarians, but also to those Romans who lived at a great distance, and it was possible to see both in the country and in every city great numbers of strangers. For in order to escape detection they readily exchanged their respective native lands for foreign soil, just as if their home-country had been captured by an enemy. So, then, the wealth of those reputed to be prosperous, both in Byzantium and in every other city, that is, after the members of the Senate, was plundered and seized by Justinian and Theodora in the manner which has been described. But how they succeeded in depriving the Senators also of all their property, I shall now proceed to make known.

 
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There was a certain man in Byzantium named Zeno, grandson of that Anthemius who previously had attained to the royal power in the West. This man they had purposely made a Prefect of Egypt and sent him thither. But he loaded the ship with the most valuable property and made ready to put to sea; for he had an incalculable weight of silver plate and objects of gold adorned with pearls and emeralds and other such precious stones. They thereupon, bribing certain of those who seemed most loyal to them, removed the valuables from the ship with all speed, and casting fire into the hold of the vessel, ordered a message sent to Zeno that the fire had occurred spontaneously in his ship and that his property had been destroyed. And at a later time it came to pass that Zeno died suddenly, and they themselves, in the guise of heirs, immediately became owners of the property. For they produced a sort of will, which common gossip said had not been written by him.

And by a similar method they made themselves heirs of Tatianus and of Demosthenes and of Hilara, who both in other respects and in rank were foremost members of the Roman Senate. And in some cases they fabricated, not wills, but letters, and so acquired the property. For it was in this way that they became heirs of Dionysius, who lived in Lebanon, and of John, son of Basilius, who, though he was the most distinguished of all the people of Edessa, was forcibly delivered into the hands of the Persians by Belisarius as a hostage, as has been related by me in the previous narrative. For thereafter Chosroes refused to release this John, reproaching the Romans with having disregarded all the conditions on which he had been given over to him by Belisarius, but he did consent to sell him as having become a prisoner of war. And the man's grandmother, who happened to be still alive, provided the ransom to an amount not less than two thousand pounds of silver and with this was expecting to buy back her grandson. But after this ransom had come to Daras, the Emperor, learning of it, refused to permit the agreement to be put into effect, in order, as he said, that the wealth of the Romans might not be conveyed to the barbarians. And not much later it came to pass that John fell sick and departed this world, and the magistrate in charge of the city, forging some sort of a letter, stated that not long before John had written to him as a friend that it was his will that his estate should go to the Emperor. 1could not, however, enumerate the names of all the others whose heirs they have automatically become.

Now up to the time when what is known as the Nika insurrection took place, they saw fit to gather in the properties of the wealthy one by one; but when this revolt took place, as described in the previous narrative, they began to confiscate in a body the estates of practically all the members of the Senate, and they dealt as they wished with all the furnishings and the lands that were fairest, but they segregated those properties which were subject to a severe and very heavy tax and, with a pretence of generosity, handed them back to their former owners. So, being strangled by the tax-collectors and ground down by what we may term the ever-flowing interest on their debts, they unwillingly lived on in a life which was a lingering death. For such reasons, to me and to the most of us these two persons never seemed to be human beings, but rather a kind of avenging demons and, as the poets say, "a twin bane of mortals," seeing that they purposed together how they might be able most easily and most quickly to destroy all races of men and their works, and, assuming human form and becoming man-demons, they harassed in this fashion the whole world. And one might draw such an inference from many indications and particularly from the power their actions revealed. For demons are distinguished from human beings by a marked difference. Indeed, he though many men in the long course of time either by accident or by nature have shewn themselves supremely terrible, some ruining by their own sole effort cities or countries or other such things, yet no man, with the exception of these two, has been able to accomplish the destruction of all mankind and to bring about calamities affecting the whole world; it is true, however, in their case that chance also assisted their purpose, co-operating in the destruction of men, for by earthquakes, by pestilence, and by the overflowing of the waters of rivers very great destruction was wrought at about this time, as will be told by me directly. Thus they performed their fearful acts, not by human strength, but another kind.

And they say that Justinian's mother stated to some of her intimates that he was not the son of her husband Sabbatius nor of any man. For when she was about to conceive him, a demon visited her; he was invisible but affected her with a certain impression that he was there with her as a man having intercourse with a woman and then disappeared as in a dream.

And some of those who were present with the Emperor, at very late hours of the night presumably, and held conference with him, obviously in the Palace, men whose souls were pure, seemed to see a sort of phantom spirit unfamiliar to them in place of him. For one of these asserted that he would rise suddenly from the imperial throne and walk up and down there (indeed he was never accustomed to remain seated for long), and the head of Justinian would disappear suddenly, but the rest of his body seemed to keep making these same long circuits, while he himself, as if thinking he must have something the matter with his eyesight, stood there for a very long time distressed and perplexed. Later, however, when the head had returned to the body, he thought, to his surprise, that he could fill out that which a moment before had been lacking. And another person said that he stood beside him when he sat and suddenly saw that his face had become like featureless flesh; for neither eyebrows nor eyes were in their proper place, nor did it shew any other means of identification whatsoever; after a time, however, he saw the features of his face return. These things I write although I did not see them myself, but I do so because I have heard the story from those who declare that they saw the occurrences at the time.

And they said that a certain monk, very dear to God, being persuaded by those who lived with him in the wilderness, set out to Byzantium in order to plead the cause of the people who lived very near the monastery and were being mistreated and wronged in an unbearable manner; and straightway upon his arrival he received admittance to the Emperor. But when he was about to go into his presence, he stepped over the threshold with one foot, but suddenly recoiled and stepped back. Now the eunuch who was his conductor and the others present besought the man earnestly to go forward, but he, making no answer, but acting like a man who had suffered a stroke, departed thence and went to the room where he was lodged. And when his attendants enquired for what reason he acted thus, they said that he declared outright that he had seen the Lord of the Demons in the Palace sitting on the throne, and he would not care to associate with him or ask anything from him. And how could this man fail to be some wicked demon, he who never had a sufficiency of food or drink or sleep, but taking a taste at haphazard of that which was set before him, walked about the Palace at unseasonable hours of the night, though he was passionately devoted to the joys of Aphrodite?

And some of the lovers of Theodora say that when she was on the stage some sort of a demon descended upon them at night and drove them from the room in which they were spending the night with her. And there was a dancing-girl, Macedonia by name, belonging to the Blue Faction in Antioch, a woman who had acquired great influence. For by writing letters to Justinian while he was still administering the empire for Justinus, she without difficulty kept destroying whomsoever she wished among the notable men of the East and causing their property to be confiscated to the Treasury. They said that once this Macedonia, when greeting Theodora as she came from Egypt and Libya, noticed that she was very distressed and vexed over the high-handed treatment to which she had been subjected by Hecebolius, and also because she had lost some money on that journey, and so she comforted her greatly and encouraged her by suggesting that Fortune was quite able to become once again for her a purveyor of great wealth. On that occasion, they said, Theodora remarked that in fact a dream had come to her during the night just past and had bidden her to lay aside all anxiety as far as wealth was concerned. For as soon as she should come to Byzantium, she would lie with the Lord of the Demons, and would quite certainly live with him as his married wife, and he would cause her to be mistress of money without limit.

 
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Now the case stood as I have said as regards the opinion of most of the people. And while Justinian was such as I have described in respect to his character in general, he still shewed himself approachable and kindly to those who came into contact with him; and no man whatever had the experience of being excluded from access to him, but on the contrary he was never angry even with those who failed to observe decorum as to standing or speaking in his presence. However, he did not, on that account, blush before any of those destined to be ruined by him. Indeed he never allowed himself to shew anger, either, or exasperation, and thus to reveal his feelings to those who had given offence, but with gentle mien and with lowered brows and in a restrained voice he would give orders for the death of thousands of innocent men, for the dismantling of cities, and for the confiscation of all monies to the Treasury. And one would infer from this characteristic that he had the spirit of a lamb. Yet if anyone sought to intercede through prayers and supplications for those who had given offence and thus to gain for them forgiveness, then, "enraged and showing his teeth," he would seem to be ready to burst, so that no one of those who were supposed to be intimate with him had any hope after that of getting the desired pardon.

And while he seemed to have a firm belief as regards Christ, yet even this was for the ruin of his subjects. For he permitted the priests with comparative freedom to outrage their neighbours, and if they plundered the property of the people whose lands adjoined theirs, he would congratulate them, thinking that thus he was shewing reverence for the Deity. And in adjudicating such cases, he considered that he was acting in a pious manner if any man in the name of religion succeeded by his argument in seizing something that did not belong to him, and, having won the case, went his way. For he thought that justice consisted in the priests' prevailing over their antagonists. And he himself, upon acquiring by means which were entirely improper the estates of persons either living or deceased and immediately dedicating them to one of the Churches, would feel pride in this pretence of piety, his object, however, being that title in these estates should not revert to the injured owners. Nay, more, he carried out an indefinite number of murders to accomplish these ends. For in his eagerness to gather all men into one belief as to Christ, he kept destroying the rest of mankind in senseless fashion, and that too while acting with a pretence of piety. For it did notº seem to him murder if the victims chanced to be not of his own creed. Thus his single interest was the ceaseless destruction of men, and in company with his spouse he never ceased contriving accusations leading to this end. For these two persons had their desires for the most part akin, and where they did actually chance to differ in their characters, though each of them was base, yet by displaying the most opposite tendencies they kept destroying their subjects. For he was lighter than dust in his judgment, always submitting himself to those who from time to time wished to lead him into evil according to their whims,— unless indeed the project involved an act of kindness or loss of gain — and endlessly listening to "fawning speeches." For his flatterers could persuade him with no difficulty that he was raised to the skies and "walking the air."

And one occasion Tribonianus, who was acting as •Assessor to him, said that he was exceedingly fearful lest some day on account of his piety he might unawares be swept up into the heavens. Such praises, or rather gibes, he would interpret in accordance with the fixed conviction of his mind. But even when, should it so happen, he expressed his admiration for the virtues of some man, a little later he would be reviling him as a scoundrel. And after abusing one of his subjects, he would turn about and seem to praise him, shifting his ground for no cause at all. For his thinking ran in a direction exactly contrary to what he himself said and to what he wished to appear. 15I have already described his character with regard to personal friendship and enmity, citing as evidence for the most part the things the man actually did. For as an enemy, he was sure and unswerving, but to his friends very untrustworthy. Consequently he really caused the ruin of great numbers who had been cultivated by him, but he never became a friend to anyone whom he had once hated. But those whom he seemed to know best and to regard as most intimate he after no long time betrayed to their destruction by delivering them as a favour to his consort or to someone else, even though he was well aware that they would die solely because of their loyalty to him. For he was conspicuously untrustworthy in all things except, to be sure, his cruelty and his avarice. For to make him give up this last proved an impossible task for any man. But also in those matters in which his spouse was not able to persuade him, by injecting into the argument the hope of large sums of money to accrue from the transaction she could win over her husband quite against his will to the action she desired. Indeed for the sake of unseemly gain he never refused either to set up laws or again to tear them down.

And he rendered judgment, not according to the laws which he himself had written, but according as he was influenced by the vision of a greater or more magnificent promise of money. For he even believed that to take away the property of his subjects by small thefts brought no disgrace whatever upon him — in those cases, namely, where he was not able to take everything at once on some pretence, either by advancing an unexpected accusation or by the pretext of a will never made. And while he ruled over the Romans, neither good faith nor belief in God remained secure, no law remained fixed, no transaction safe, no contract valid. And when any of his intimates were sent by him on some mission, if they had the fortune to destroy many of those whom they encountered and to plunder a quantity of money, they immediately seemed to the Emperor worthy both to be and to be called men of distinction, as having carried out with exactness all their instructions; but if when they returned to him they had shewn mercy to men in any way, he was offended with them thereafter and hostile. And despairing of the ability of these men, as being somehow out of date, he no longer called them to service. Consequently many were eager to shew him how base they could be, even though their usual conduct was not of such sort. And in certain cases, after making a promise many times and making his promise more binding by an oath or by a writing, he straightway became wilfully forgetful, thinking that this conduct brought him some credit. And Justinian continued to act thus, not only to his subjects, but also to many of his enemies, as I have stated previously.

And he was not given to sleep, as a general thing, and he never filled himself to repletion with either food or drink, but he usually just touched the food with the tips of his fingers and went his way. For such matters seemed to him a kind of side-issue imposed upon him by Nature, for he often actually remained without food two days and nights, especially when the time before the festival called Easter led that way. For on that occasion he many times abstained from food for two days, as has been said, and insisted upon living on a little water and certain wild plants, and after sleeping perhaps one hour he would spend the rest of the time walking about constantly. And yet, if he had been willing to spend just this Easter-tide on good deeds, affairs would have advanced to a high pitch of prosperity. But as it was, by employing his natural strength for the ruin of the Romans, he succeeded in pulling down to the ground their whole political structure. For he made it his task to be constantly awake and to undergo hardships and to labour for no other purpose than to contrive constantly and every day more grievous calamities for his subjects. For he was, as has been said, particularly keen in devising and swift in executing unholy deeds, so that in the end even his natural good qualities resulted in the undoing of his subjects.

 
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For in the administration of affairs it was a time of the greatest confusion, and none of the customary procedures was maintained, as I shall shew by citing a few examples, while all the rest must be consigned to silence, so that my discourse might not be endless. First of all, he neither himself possessed any quality appropriate to the imperial dignity nor cared to foster any such quality in others, but in speech and in dress and in thinking he played the barbarian. And as to all the rescripts which he wished to have written from himself, he would not send them, as was the custom, to the man holding the office of Quaestor to promulgate, but instead would generally insist upon reading them out himself, although his speech was uncouth, as I have just stated, and that too while a great throng of bystanders . . ., so that those who were wronged thereby had no one against whom they could lay a charge. And the confidential secretaries, as they are called, were not assigned the function of writing the Emperor's confidential matters — the purpose for which these secretaries were appointed originally — he not only wrote practically everything himself, but also, whenever it became necessary to give instructions to the public arbitrators in the city, he would tell them in writing what course they must take as regards the judgment they were to render. For he would not allow anyone within the Roman Empire to give decisions on independent judgment, but with an obstinate determination and with a sort of unreasoning frankness he himself arranged in advance the decisions to be given, accepting hearsay from one of the contestants, and thus straightway, without investigation, he upset cases which had been adjudged, not because he had been influenced by any law or consideration of justice, but manifestly because he was overcome by base greed. For the Emperor felt no shame in accepting bribes, since his insatiable greed took away all shame from him.

But often that which had been decided by the Senate and by the Emperor came up for another and final judgment. For the Senate sat as in a picture, having no control over its vote and no influence for good, but only assembled as a matter of form and in obedience to an ancient law, since it was quite impossible for anyone whomsoever of those gathered there even to raise a voice, but the Emperor and his Consort generally pretended to divide between them the matters in dispute, but that side prevailed which had been agreed upon by them in private. And if it seemed to any man who had broken the law that victory was not certain, such a person flung more gold to this Emperor and straightway secured a law going contrary to all laws which had been previously established. And if someone else should miss this cancelled law, the Emperor felt no reluctance about calling it back once more and re-establishing it, and nothing stood firmly in force, but the scales of justice wavered and wandered in every direction according as the larger amount of gold weighing them down availed to pull them in one direction or the other; Justice was established in the market-place, and that too though she had once dwelt in the Palace, and there one could find salesrooms where could be bought for a price not only court decisions but also legislation.

And the Referendarii, as they were called, were no longer satisfied with merely referring to the Emperor the petitions of suppliants, and then informing the magistrates, in the usual way, what his decisions were concerning the petitioners, but collecting from the whole world the "unjust reason," they kept deceiving Justinian with sundry sophistries and chicaneries, he being by nature an easy victim for those practising these tricks. And as soon as they were outside the Palace and had taken measures to keep the litigants away from those with whom they themselves had talked, they proceeded to extract money — there being nobody to protect the rights of the litigants — in such a way that the business could not be proved against them and in such quantities as seemed to them sufficient. And the soldiers who kept guard in the Palace would come before the public arbitrators as they sat in the Royal Stoa and force them to admit their cases. And practically all the soldiers at that time were abandoning their proper posts and, according to their own sweet will, walking in ways that were forbidden and had hitherto never been open to them to tread, and everything was being swept along pell-mell, not even retaining any proper designation of its own, and the commonwealth resembled a kingdom of children at play. But while the rest must be passed over by me, as I intimated when I began this account, yet it shall be told who the first man was to persuade this Emperor to accept a bribe while presiding at a trial.

There was a certain Leon, a Cilician by birth, a man extraordinarily devoted to the love of money. This Leon came to be the mightiest of all flatterers and shewed a capacity for suggesting to the minds of stupid persons that which already had been determined upon. For he had a kind of persuasiveness which helped him, when dealing with the fatuity of the tyrant, to accomplish the destruction of his fellow-men. This man was the first to persuade Justinian to sell legal decisions for money. And when that sovereign had once decided to follow, in his stealing, the plan which has been described, he never stopped, but this evil kept advancing until it grew to a great size; and whoever was eager to lodge an unjust accusation against a citizen of the respectable sort proceeded straightway to Leon, and by promising that some portion of the disputed property should fall to both the tyrant and to him, he had forthwith won his case, however unjustly, before he left the Palace. And Leon succeeded in acquiring from this source a truly huge amount of money, and he came into possession of much land, and in so doing became the chief agent in bringing the Roman State to its knees. Indeed there was no security for those who had entered into contracts, no law, no oath, no documents, no fixed penalty, no other resource at all except to fling out money to Leon and the Emperor. Yet not even this process enjoyed the fixed approval of Leon's judgment, but he insisted upon getting money from the other side as well. For since he stole constantly in both directions, he never suspected that to neglect those who had put their confidence in him and to go against him involved any shame. For provided only that gain accrue, he believed that no disgrace would attach to him in playing off both sides.

 
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Such, then, was Justinian. As for Theodora, she had a mind fixed firmly and persistently upon cruelty. For she never did anything at any time as the result of persuasion or compulsion by another person, but she herself, applying a stubborn will, carried out her decisions with all her might, no one daring to intercede for the victim who had given offence. For neither length of time, nor surfeit of punishment, no trick of supplication, no threat of death — fully expected to fall from Heaven upon the whole race — could persuade her to abate one jot of her wrath. And to state the matter briefly, no one ever saw Theodora reconciled with the one who had given her offence, even after the person had died, but the son of the deceased received the Empress' enmity as an inheritance from him, just as he received anything else that had been his father's, and passed it on to the third generation. For her passion, while more than ready to be stirred to the destruction of men, was beyond any power to assuage.

Her body she treated with more care than was necessary, yet less than she herself could have wished. For instance, she used to enter the bath very early and quit it very late, and after finishing her bathing, she would go thence to her breakfast. After partaking of breakfast she would rest. At luncheon, however, and dinner she partook of all manner of foods and drinks; and sleep for long stretches of time would constantly lay hold of her, both in the daytime up to nightfall and at night up to sunrise; and though she had to such an extent strayed into every path of incontinence for so long a portion of the day, she claimed the right to administer the whole Roman Empire. And if the Emperor should impose any task upon a man without her consent, that man's affairs would suffer such a turn of fortune that not long thereafter he would be dismissed from his office with the greatest indignities and would die a most shameful death.

Now for Justinian it was rather easy to manage everything, not only because of his easy-going disposition, but also because he rarely slept, as has been stated, and was the most accessible person in the world. For even men of low estate and altogether obscure had complete freedom, not merely to come before this tyrant, but also to converse with him and to enjoy confidential relations with him. The Empress, on the other hand, could not be approached even by one of the magistrates, except at the expense of much time and labour, but, actually, they all had to wait constantly upon her convenience with a servile kind of assiduity, waiting in a small and stuffy anteroom for an endless time. For it was a risk beyond bearing for any one of the officials to be absent. And they stood there constantly upon the tips of their toes, each one straining to hold his head higher than the persons next to him, in order that the eunuchs when they came out might see him. And some of them were summoned at last, after many days, and going in to her presence in great fear they very quickly departed, having simply done obeisance and having touched the instep of each of her feet with the tips of their lips. For there was no opportunity to speak or to make any request unless she bade them to do so. For the Government had sunk into a servile condition, having her as slave-instructor. Thus the Roman State was being ruined partly by the tyrant, who seemed too good-natured, and partly by Theodora, who was harsh and exceedingly difficult. For whereas in the good-nature of the one there was instability, in the difficult nature of the other there was a bar to action.

So in their thinking and in their habits of life the contrast between them was clear, yet they had in common their avarice, their lust for murder and their untruthfulness to all. For both of them were exceedingly gifted in lying, and if any of those who had offended Theodora was reported to be committing any wrong, even though it were trivial and utterly unworthy of notice, she straightway fabricated accusations which had no application to the man and thus she exaggerated the matter into a terrible crime. And she listened to a great mass of accusations, and there was a court which sat on questions of repealing the established laws, and judges assembled who were brought together by her, whose function it was to contend with each other as to which of them by the inhumanity shewn in the judgment should be able better than the others to satisfy the Empress' purpose. And thus she immediately caused the property of any man who had given offence to be confiscated to the public treasury, and after treating him with most bitter cruelty, though he might perhaps belong to an ancient line of patricians, she felt no hesitation whatever in penalizing him with either banishment or death. But if any of her favourites chanced to be found guilty of wrongful manslaughter or of any other of the major offences, she by ridicule and mockery of the zeal of the prosecutors compelled them, much against their will, to hush up what had happened.

Indeed she also made it her business, whenever it seemed best to her, to change even the most serious matters to an occasion for buffoonery, as though she were on the stage in the theatre. And on a certain occasion one of the patricians, an old man who had spent a long time in office — whose name I shall by no means mention, though I know it well, that I may not indefinitely prolong the disgrace which fell upon him — being unable to collect a debt from one of the Empress' servants who owed him a large sum, appealed to her in order to lay a charge against the man who had made a contract with him and to entreat her to assist him to obtain justice. But Theodora, learning of his purpose in advance, instructed the eunuchs that when the patrician came before her, they should all stand about him in a circle and should listen attentively to her as she spoke, suggesting to them what words they should say in the manner of a "response." And when the patrician entered the women's quarters, he did his obeisance before her in the customary manner, and with a face that seemed stained with tears, said, "Mistress, it is a grievous thing for a man of patrician rank to be in need of money. For that which in the case of other men calls forth forgiveness and compassion is accounted outrageous in men of my rank. For in the case of any other man in extreme destitution, it is possible, simply by stating this fact to his creditors, to escape straightway from the embarrassment, but if a man of patrician rank should not have the means to meet his obligations to his creditors, most likely he would be ashamed to mention it, but if he did mention it, he would never be believed, since all men would feel that it is not a possible thing for poverty to be a housemate of a man of this class. But if he does win belief, it will fall to his lot to suffer the most shameful and distressing affliction of all. Now, my Mistress, I do have financial relations with men, some of whom have loaned their substance to me, and some have borrowed from me. As for my creditors, who most persistently dog my steps, I am unable through the shame proper to my position to put them off, while as for those who are in debt to me, since they happen not to be patricians, they take refuge in certain inhuman excuses. Therefore I entreat and supplicate and beg you to assist me in obtaining my rights and in escaping from my present ills." So he spoke. And the woman replied, in sing-song, "O Patrician So-and‑So" (naming him), and the chorus of eunuchs, catching up the strain, said responsively, "It's a large hernia you have!" And when the man again made supplication and uttered words resembling what he had said before, the woman replied again in the same strain and the chorus chanted the response, until the poor wretch in despair made his obeisance in the customary manner and departing thence went home.

And she lived the greatest part of the year in the suburbs on the seashore, and particularly in the place called Herion, and consequently the large retinue of attendants were grievously afflicted. For they had a scant supply of provisions and they were exposed to the dangers of the sea, particularly when a storm came down, as often happened, or when the whale made a descent somewhere in the neighbourhood. However, they considered the ills of all mankind to be nothing at all, provided only that they should be able themselves to live in luxury. And I shall straightway make clear of what sort was the character of Theodora as revealed in her treatment of those who had given offence, mentioning only a few details so that I may not seem to labour at an endless task.

 
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At the time when Amalasuntha, desiring to leave the company of the Goths, decided to transform her life and to take the road to Byzantium, as has been stated in the previous narrative, Theodora, considering that the woman was of noble birth and a queen, and very comely to look upon and exceedingly quick at contriving ways and means for whatever she wanted, but feeling suspicious of her magnificent bearing and exceptionally virile manner, and at the same time fearing the fickleness of her husband Justinian, expressed her jealousy in no trivial way, but she schemed to lie in wait for the woman even unto her death. Straightway, then, she persuaded her husband to send Peter, unaccompanied by others, to be his ambassador to Italy. And as he was setting out, the Emperor gave him such instructions as have been set forth in the appropriate passage, where, however, it was impossible for me, through fear of the Empress, to reveal the truth of what took place. She herself, however, gave him one command only, namely, to put the woman out of the world as quickly as possible, causing the man to be carried away by the hope of great rewards if he should execute her commands. So as soon as he arrived in Italy — and indeed man's nature knows not how to proceed in a hesitant, shrinking way to a foul murder when some office, perhaps, or a large sum of money is to be hoped for — he persuaded Theodatus, by what kind of exhortation I do not know, to destroy Amalasuntha. And as a reward for this he attained the rank of Magister, and acquired great power and a hatred surpassed by none.

Such, then, was the end of Amalasuntha. But Justinian had a certain secretary, Priscus by name, a thorough villain and a blusterer, and very well qualified by character to satisfy his master, but very well disposed towards Justinian and believing that he enjoyed a similar goodwill on his part. Consequently, by unjust means, he very quickly became possessed of a large fortune. But Theodora slandered the man to her husband, alleging that he bore himself with supercilious pride and was always trying to oppose her. And though at first she met with no success, she not much later, in the middle of the winter, put the man aboard ship and sent him away to a destination which the Empress had selected, and she caused his head to be shaved and compelled him quite against his will to be a priest. Justinian himself meanwhile gave the impression that he knew nothing of what was going on, and he made no investigation as to where in the world Priscus was nor did the man enter his thoughts thereafter, but he sat in silence as if overcome by lethargy, not forgetting, however, to plunder all the small remainder of the man's fortune. And at one time a suspicion arose that Theodora was smitten with love of one of the domestics, Areobindus by name, a man of barbarian lineage but withal handsome and young, whom she herself had, as it chanced, appointed to be steward; so she, wishing to combat the charge, though they say that she did love the man desperately, decided for the moment to maltreat him most cruelly for no real cause, and after we knew nothing at all about the man, nor has anyone seen him to this day. For if it was her wish to conceal anything that was being done, that thing remained unspoken of and unmentioned by all, and it was thenceforth not permitted either for any man who had knowledge of the matter to report the fact to any of his kinsmen or for anyone who wished to learn the truth about him to make enquiry, even though he were very curious. For since there have been human beings there has never been such fear of any tyrant, for there was not even a possibility of concealment for one who had given offence. For a throng of spies kept reporting to her what was said and done both in the market-place and in the homes of the people. When, therefore, she did not wish the offender's punishment to be published abroad, she used to take the following course. She would summon the man, if he chanced to be one of the notables, and secretly would put him in the charge of one of her ministers and command him secretly to convey the man to the uttermost parts of the Roman Empire. So he at an unseasonable hour of the night would put the man on board a ship, seeing that he was thoroughly bundled up and shackled, and also go on board with him, and he very stealthily delivered him over, at the point which had been indicated by the woman, to the man qualified for this service; then he departed after directing the man to guard the prisoner as securely as possible and forbidding him to speak of the matter to anyone until either the Empress should take pity on the poor wretch, or, after suffering for years a lingering death by reason of the miseries of his existence in that place and utterly wasting away, he should at last end his days.

And she also conceived an anger against a certain Vasianus, a youthful member of the Green Faction and not without distinction, for having covered her with abuse. For this each Vasianus (for he had not failed to hear of this anger) fled to the Church of the Archangel. And she immediately set upon him the official in charge of the people, commanding him to make no point of his abuse of her, but laying against him the charge of sodomy. And the official removed the man from the sanctuary and inflicted a certain intolerable punishment upon him. And the populace, upon seeing a free-born man involved in such dire misfortunes, were all straightway filled with anguish at the calamity and in lamentation raised their cries to the heavens, seeking to intercede for the youth. She, however, only punished him even more, and cutting off his private parts destroyed him without a trial and confiscated his property to the Treasury. Thus whenever this hussy became excited, no sanctuary proved secure nor did any legal prohibition hold, nor could the supplication of a whole city, as it were, as it was clearly shown, avail to rescue the offender, nor could anything else whatever stand in her way.

And being angry with a certain Diogenes, as being a Green, a man who was witty and liked by all, even by the Emperor himself, she nevertheless was determined to bring against him the slanderous charge of male intercourse. Consequently she persuaded two of his own domestics to act as both accusers and witnesses and set them upon their owner. And when he was first examined, not secretly and with the great privacy which is usually observed, but in a public trial, with many judges appointed who were men of note, all on account of the reputation of Diogenes, since it did not seem to the judges, as they sought to get at the exact truth, that the statements of the domestics were of sufficient weight to justify a decision, particularly as they were young boys, she confined Theodore, one of the connections of Diogenes, in the usual cells. There she attacked the man with much cajolery and also with abuse. But since she met with no success, she caused the attendants to wind a leathern strap on the man's head, about his ears, and then ordered them to twist and so to tighten the strap. And Theodore believed that his eyes had jumped out of his head, leaving their proper seats, yet he was unwilling to fabricate any untruth. So finally the judges acquitted Diogenes on the ground that the charge was unsupported by evidence, and the whole city in consequence celebrated a public holiday.

 
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Such was the outcome of this affair. But at the beginning of this Book I told all that the Empress did to Belisarius and Photius and Bouzes. And two members of the Blue Faction, Cilicians by birth, with a great tumult set upon Callinicus, Governor of the Second Cilicia, and proceeded to lay violent hands upon him, and they slew the man's groom who stood hard by and was trying to defend his master, while the Governor and the whole populace looked on. And he by process of law brought about the death of the factionists who were found guilty of this and of many other murders, but she, upon learning of this and making a display of the fact that she favoured the Blues, caused him to be impaled for no good reason and while he still held office, on the grave of the murderers. And the Emperor, pretending to weep and lament over the murdered man, sat there groaning, and though he held many threats over those who had performed the deed, he did nothing; yet he by no means declined to plunder the money of the deceased.

But Theodora also concerned herself to devise punishments for sins against the body. Harlots, for instance, to the number of more than five hundred who plied their trade in the midst of the market-place at the rate of three obols — just enough to live on — she gathered together, and sending them over to the opposite mainland she confined them in the Convent of Repentance, as it is called, trying there to compel them to adopt a new manner of life. And some of them threw themselves down from a height at night and thus escaped the unwelcome transformation.

There were two girls in Byzantium who were sisters; they were not only the offspring of a consular father and of three generations of Consuls, but drew their lineage from men who from remote times were of the foremost blood of the whole Senate. These had previously entered into marriage, but it had come about by the death of their husbands that they became widows. And immediately Theodora selected two men — men who were not only of the common herd, but also disgusting fellows — and made it her business to mate them with the women, whom she charged with living unchaste lives. And they, fearing lest this be brought to pass, fled into the Church of Sophia, and coming into the holy baptismal chamber, they seized with their hands the font which is there. But the Empress Theodora inflicted upon them such dire constraint and suffering that in their desire to escape these woes they became eager enough to accept the marriage in place of them. Thus for her no place remained undefiled or inviolate. So these women, against their wills, were united in marriage to men who were beggars and outcasts, much beneath them in standing, although noble suitors were at hand for them. And their mother, who also had become a widow, not daring to groan or to cry out at the calamity, attended the betrothal. But later Theodora, by way of expiating the scandal, decided to console them at the expense of public misfortunes. For she appointed both of the men magistrates. But no comfort came to the girls even so, and woes incurable and unbearable fell from the hands of these men upon practically all their subordinates, as will be told by me in the later Books. For in Theodora there was respect of neither magistrate nor government, nor was anything else the object of her concern, provided only that her will was being accomplished.

Now she had chanced to conceive a child by one of her lovers while she was still on the stage, and being late about discovering her misfortune she did everything to accomplish, in her usual way, an abortion, but she was unsuccessful, by all the means employed, in killing the untimely infant, for by now it lacked but little of its human shape. Consequently, since she met with no success, she gave up trying and was compelled to bear the child. And when the father of the new-born child saw that she was distressed and displeased because after becoming a mother she would no longer be able to go on using her body as she had done, since he rightly suspected that she would destroy the child, he acknowledged the infant by lifting it up in his arms, and, naming it John, since it was a male, he went his way to Arabia, whither he was bound. And when he himself was about to die, and John was now a young lad, his father told him the whole story of the mother. And he, after performing all the customary rites over his father after his death, a little later came to Byzantium and announced the fact to those who had constant access to his mother. And they, supposing that she would not reason otherwise than as a human being, reported to the mother that her son John had come. But the woman, fearing that the matter would become known to her husband, gave orders that the boy should come into her presence. And when he came and she had seen him, she entrusted him to one of her domestics to whom she was always wont to delegate such matters. And by what method the poor wretch was spirited out of the world I cannot say, but no man to this day has been able to see him, even since the death of the Empress.

At that time it came to pass that practically all the women had become corrupt in character. For they sinned against their husbands with complete licence, since such acts brought them no danger or harm, because even those who were found guilty of adultery remained unscathed; for they straightway went to the Empress and turning the tables brought counter-suit against their husbands and haled them before the court though no charges had been made against them. And all the good the husbands got of it was to pay a fine double the wife's dowry, although no charge had been proved against them, and then to be scourged and, usually, led off to prison, and afterwards to look on while the adulteresses preened themselves and more boldly than ever accepted their seducers' embraces. And many of the adulterers actually attained honour from this conduct. Consequently most men thereafter, though outrageously treated by their wives, were very glad to remain silent and escape the scourge, granting their wives complete freedom by allowing them to think that they had not been detected.

This woman claimed the right to administer everything in the State by her own arbitrary judgment. For she controlled the election of the occupants of both the magistracies and the priesthoods, investigating and guarding very persistently against just one thing, namely, that the candidate for the dignity should not be an honourable or good man or one who would be likely to be incompetent to carry out her instructions. And she regulated all marriages with an authority that may be described as grandmotherly. It was then for the first time that men and women gave up entering into a voluntary betrothal looking to marriage; for each man would all of a sudden find that he had a wife — not because she pleased him, as is customary even among the barbarians, but because this was the will of Theodora. Thus women who were being married had precisely the same experience in their turn; for they were compelled to be united with husbands quite against their will. And many a time Theodora even took the bride away from the bridal chamber for no reason at all and left the bridegroom unmarried, merely remarking in a burst of passion that the woman displeased her. And she did this to many men, including Leon, who held the office of Referendarius, and to Saturninus the son of Hermogenes, who had been Magister, in the case of woman to whom they were betrothed. For this Saturninus had an unwedded second cousin to whom he was betrothed, a free-born woman of seemly deportment whom her father Cyrillus had pledged to him, Hermogenes having already departed this life. And after their bridal chamber had already been closed fast upon them, she took the bridegroom into custody and he was led to a second chamber, where, with great wailing and lament, he married the daughter of Chrysomallo. Now this Chrysomallo had long before been a dancer and again a courtesan, but at that time she was living in the Palace with another Chrysomallo and Indaro. For instead of the phallus and the life in the theatre, they were managing their affairs here. And when Saturninus had slept with the girl and found that she had lost her maidenhood, he reported to one of his intimates that he had married a girl who had been "tampered with." And when this remark was brought to Theodora, she commanded the servants to hoist the man aloft, as one does children who go to school, because he was putting on airs and assuming a lofty dignity to which he had no right, and she gave him a drubbing on the back with many blows and told him not to be a foolish babbler.

Now the things which she did to John the Cappadocian have been told in the earlier narrative. These things were done by her to the man in anger, not on account of his offences against the State (and the proof is that later, when men did still worse things to her subjects, she treated no one of them in such a way), but because he was making bold to oppose the woman outright in other matters and especially because he kept slandering her to the Emperor, so that she came very near getting into a state of hostility with her husband. But here, as I have said, I must by all means tell the reasons for her conduct which are absolutely true. And even when she had got him imprisoned in Egypt after he had endured all the sufferings which I have previously described, even thus she did not reach any satiety of punishing the man, but she never ceased searching out false witnesses against him. And four years later she succeeded in finding two members of the Green Faction in Cyzicus who were said to be of those who had risen against the Bishop. And she won over these men with flattering speeches and with threats, with the result that one of them, in terror and at the same time uplifted by hopes, laid the sacrilege of the Bishop's murder at John's door. As for the other man, he refused absolutely to contradict the truth, though he was so racked by the torture that he was even expected to die immediately. Therefore, although she was unable, no matter what means she employed, to destroy John through this subterfuge, she cut off the right hands of these two young men, of the one because he had refused to bear false witness, and of the other in order to prevent her plot from becoming altogether manifest. And though these intrigues were being carried on in the publicity of the market-place, Justinian pretended to know absolutely nothing of what was going on.

 
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And that he was no human being, but, as has been suggested, some manner of demon in human form, one might infer by making an estimate of the magnitude of the ills which he inflicted upon mankind. For it is in the degree by which a man's deeds are surpassingly great that the power of the doer becomes evident. Now to state exactly the number of those who were destroyed by him would never be possible, I think, for anyone so ever, or for God. For one might more quickly, I think, count all grains of sand than the vast number whom this Emperor destroyed. But making an approximate estimate of the extent of territory which has become to be destitute of inhabitants, I should say that a myriad myriad of myriads perished. For in the first place, Libya, which attains to so large dimensions, has been so thoroughly ruined that for the traveller who makes a long journey it is no easy matter, as well as being a noteworthy fact, to meet a human being. And yet the Vandals who recently took up arms there numbered eight myriads, and as for their women and children and slaves, who could guess their number? And as for the Libyans, those who formerly lived in the cities, those who tilled the soil, and those who toiled at the labours of sea — all of which I had the fortune to witness with my own eyes — how could any man estimate the multitude of them? And still more numerous than these were the Moors there, all of whom were in the end destroyed together with their wives and offspring. Many too of the Roman soldiers and of those who had followed them there from Byzantium the earth has covered. So that if one maintains that five hundred myriads of human beings perished in Libya, he would not by any means, I know, be doing justice to the facts. And the reason for this was that immediately after the defeat of the Vandals, Justinian not only did not concern himself with strengthening his dominion over the country, and not only did he not make provision that the safeguarding of its wealth should rest securely in the good-will of its inhabitants, but straightway he summoned Belisarius to return home without the least delay, laying against him an utterly unjustified accusation of tyranny, to the end that thereafter, administering Libya with full licence, he might swallow it up and thus make plunder of the whole of it.

At any rate he immediately sent out assessors of the land and imposed certain most cruel taxes which had not existed before. And he laid hold of the estates, whichever were best. And he excluded the Arians from the sacraments which they observed. Also he was tardy in the payment of his military forces, and in other ways became a grievance to the soldiers. From these causes arose the insurrections which resulted in great destruction. For he never was able to adhere to settled conditions, but he was naturally inclined to make confusion and turmoil everywhere.

And as to Italy, which has not less than three times the area of Libya, it has become everywhere even more destitute of men than Libya. Consequently the estimate of persons likewise destroyed here will be fairly easy. For the cause of what happened in Italy has already been explained by me in an earlier passage. Indeed all the errors which he made in Libya were repeated by him here also. And by adding to the administrative staff the Logothetes, as they are called, he upset and ruined everything immediately. Now the sway of the Goths extended, before this war, from the land of Gaul as far as the boundaries of Dacia, where the city of Sirmium is situated. As for Gaul and Venetia, the Germans held the greater part of them at the time when the Roman army came into Italy. But the Gepaides control Sirmium and the country thereabout, which is all, roughly speaking, completely destitute of human habitation. For some were destroyed by the war, some by disease and famine, the natural concomitants of war. And Illyricum and Thrace in its entirety, comprising the whole expanse of country from the Ionian Gulf to the outskirts of Byzantium, including Greece and the Thracian Chersonese, was overrun practically every year by Huns, Sclaveni and Antae, from the time when Justinian took over the Roman Empire, and they wrought frightful havoc among the inhabitants of that region. For in each invasion more than twenty myriads of Romans, I think, were destroyed or enslaved there, so that a veritable "Scythian wilderness" came to exist everywhere in this land.

Such are the disasters wrought by the wars in Libya and in Europe. The Saracens meantime were overrunning the Romans of the East, from Egypt to the frontiers of Persia, throughout this whole period without interruption, and they accomplished such thorough-going destruction that this entire region came to be very sparsely populated, and it will never be possible, I think, for any human being to discover by enquiry the numbers of those who perished in this way. The Persians under Chosroes four times made inroads into the rest of the Roman domain and dismantled the cities, and as for the people whom they found in the captured cities and in each country district, they slew a part and led some away with them, leaving the land bare of inhabitants wherever they chanced to descend. And ever since the Persian invasion of the land of Colchis, the Colchians and the Lazi and the Romans have continued to be steadily destroyed up to the present day.

Moreover, neither the Persians on their part nor the Saracens nor the Huns nor the race of the Sclaveni nor any other of the barbarians have had the fortune to retire unscathed from Roman soil. For in the course of their inroads, and particularly during the sieges and battles, they fell foul of many obstacles and were destroyed equally with their enemies. For not alone Romans but practically the whole barbarian world as well felt the influence of Justinian's lust for bloodshed. For not only was Chosroes himself likewise vicious in character, but he was also provided by Justinian, as has been stated by me in the appropriate place, with all the motives for waging war. For he did not think it worth while to adapt his activities to the opportune occasions, but he kept doing everything out of season, in times of peace and in periods of truce ever devising, with crafty purpose, occasions of war against his neighbours, and in times of war, on the other hand, growing lax for no good reason and carrying on the preparations for military operations too deliberately, all because of his parsimony, and instead of devoting himself to such things, scanning the heavens and developing a curious interest concerning the nature of God, and neither giving over the war, because of his bloodthirsty and abominable character, nor being, on the other hand, able to get the better of his enemy, because he was prevented by his niggardliness from busying himself with the necessary things. Thus during his reign the whole earth was constantly drenched with human blood shed by both the Romans and practically all the barbarians.

This, then, to state the case in a word, is what came to pass during this period of wars throughout the whole Roman Empire. And when I reckon over the events which took place during the insurrections both in Byzantium and in each several city, I believe that no less slaughter of men came about in this way than in actual warfare. For since justice and impartial chastisement for wrong-doing scarcely existed at all, but of the two Factions one was actually supported by the Emperor, assuredly the other party did not remain quiet either; on the contrary, because one group was being worsted and the other was full of confidence, they constantly had in view desperation and mad recklessness; and sometimes attacking each other in crowds and sometimes fighting in small groups, or even, if it so happened, setting ambuscades one against one, for two-and‑thirty years without a pause they kept wreaking fearful vengeance upon one another, and at the same time they were being put to death by the magistrate, as a rule, who was charged with the control of the populace. But the punishment for their crimes was, for the most part, levelled against the Greens. Furthermore, the punishment of the Samaritans and of those called heretics filled the Roman Empire with slaughter. These things, however, are here mentioned by me merely in summary, inasmuch as they have been sufficiently recorded by me somewhat earlier.

Such, then, were the calamities which fell upon all mankind during the reign of the demon who had become incarnate in Justinian, while he himself, as having become Emperor, provided the causes of them. And I shall shew, further, how many evils he did to men by means of a hidden power and of a demoniacal nature. For while this man was administering the nation's affairs, many other calamities chanced to befall, which some insisted came about through the aforementioned presence of this evil demon and through his contriving, while others said that the Deity, detesting his works, turned away from the Roman Empire and gave place to the abominable demons for the bringing of these things to pass in this fashion. Thus the Scirtus River, by overflowing Edessa, became the author of countless calamities to the people of that region, as will be written by me in a following Book. The Nile also rose as usual but did not recede at the proper time, and thus caused serious loss on the part of some of the inhabitants, as has been told by me previously. And the Cydnus River rose so as to surround practically the whole of Tarsus, and after flooding it for many days only subsided after it had done irreparable damage to it. And earthquakes destroyed Antioch, the first city of the East, and Seleucia which is close to it, as well as the most notable city in Cilicia, Anazarbus. And the number of persons who perished along with these cities who would be able to compute? And one might add to the list Ibora and also Amasia, which chanced to be the first city in Pontus, also Polybotus in Phrygia, and the city which the Pisidians call Philomede, and Lychnidus in Epirus, and Corinth, all of which cities have from ancient times been most populous. For it befell all these cities during this period to be overthrown by earthquakes and the inhabitants to be practically all destroyed with them. And afterwards came the plague as well, mentioned by me before, which carried off about one-half of the surviving population.

Such was the destruction of life which took place, first when Justinian was administering the Roman State as Regent, and later when he held the imperial office.

 
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I shall now proceed to tell how he robbed the State of quite all its monies, first, however, telling about the vision of a dream which one of the notables chanced to see at the beginning of the reign of Justinus. He said, namely, that in the dream it seemed to him that he was standing somewhere in Byzantium on the shore of the sea which is opposite Chalcedon, and that he saw this man standing in the middle of the strait there. And first he drank up all the water of the sea, so that he had the impression thereafter that the man was standing on dry land, since the water no longer filled the strait at this point, but afterwards other water appeared there that was saturated with much filth and rubbish and welled up from sewer-outlets which are on either side of the strait, and the man immediately drank even this too, and again laid the tract of the strait bare.

Such were the things revealed by the vision of the dream. Now this Justinian, when his uncle Justinus took over the Empire, did find the Government well supplied with public money. For Anastasius had been both the most provident and the most prudent administrator of all Emperors, and fearing, as actually happened, lest his future successor to the throne, finding himself short of funds, might perhaps take to plundering his subjects — he had filled all the treasuries to overflowing with gold before he completed the term of his life. All this money Justinian dissipated with all speed, partly in senseless buildings on the sea, and partly by his kindness to the barbarians; and yet one would have supposed that even for an Emperor who was going to be extremely prodigal these funds would last for a hundred years. For those who were in charge of all the treasures and treasuries and all the other imperial monies declared that Anastasius, after his reign over the Romans of more than twenty-seven years, left behind him in the Treasury three thousand two hundred centenaria of gold. But during the nine years of the reign of Justinus, while this Justinian was inflicting the evils of confusion and disorder upon the Government, they say that four thousand centenaria were brought into the Treasury by illegal means, and that of all this not a morsel was left, but that even while Justinus was still living it had been squandered by this man in the manner described by me in an earlier passage. For as to the amounts which, during all the time he was in power, he succeeded in wrongfully appropriating to himself and then spending, there is no means by which any man could give a reckoning or a calculation or an enumeration of them. For like an ever flowing river, while each day he plundered and pillaged his subjects, yet the inflow all streamed straight on to the barbarians, to whom he would make a present of it.

No sooner had he thus disposed of the public wealth than he turned his eyes towards his subjects, and he straightway robbed great numbers of them of their estates, which he seized with high-handed and unjustified violence, haling to court, for crimes that never happened, men both in Byzantium and in every other city who were reputed to be in prosperous circumstances, charging some with belief in polytheism, others with adherence to some perverse sect among the Christians, or with sodomy, or with having amours with holy women, or with other kinds of forbidden intercourse, or with fomenting revolt, or with predilection for the Green Faction, or with insult to himself, or charging crimes of any other name whatsoever, or by his own arbitrary act making himself the heir of deceased persons or, if it should so happen, of the living even, alleging that he had been adopted by them. Such were the most august of his actions. As to the manner in which he so managed the insurrection which arose against him, the one which they called "Nika," that he immediately became heir of all members of the Senate, and also how, before the insurrection, he had stolen the property of no small number of them, taking them individually and one at a time, has already been set forth by me in a recent chapter.

p233 And he never ceased pouring out great gifts of money to all the barbarians, both those of the East and those of the West and those to the North and to the South, as far as the inhabitants of Britain — in fact all the nations of the inhabited world, even those of whom we had never so much as heard before, but the name of whose race we learned only when we first saw them. For they, of their own accord, on learning the nature of the man, kept streaming from all the earth into Byzantium in order to get to him. And he, with no hesitation, but overjoyed at this situation, and thinking it a stroke of good luck to be bailing out the wealth of the Romans and flinging it to barbarians or, for that matter, to the surging waves of the sea, day by day kept sending them away, one after the other, with bulging purses. In this way the barbarians as a whole came to be altogether the owners of the wealth of the Romans, either by having received the money as a present from the Emperor or by plundering the Roman domain, or by selling back their prisoners of war, or by auctioning off an armistice, and thus the vision of the dream which I have just mentioned worked out to this result for the man who beheld it. However, Justinian succeeded in devising still other ways of exacting booty from his subjects ways which will be described directly, in so far as I may be able to do so, by which he succeeded completely, not all at once, but little by little, in plundering the property of all men.

 
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First of all, as a general thing he appointed over the people in Byzantium a Prefect, who, while splitting the annual revenue with those who controlled the markets, planned to give them authority to sell their merchandise at whatever price they wanted. And the result for the people of the city was that, although they had to pay a threefold price for the provisions they bought, yet they had no one at all to whom they could protest on account of this. And great harm arose from this business. For since the Treasury received a share of this tax, the official in charge of these matters was eager to use this means of enriching himself. And next, the servants of the official who had undertaken this shameful service, and those who controlled the markets, seizing upon the licence to disregard the law, treated outrageously those who were obliged to buy at that time, not only collecting the prices many times over, as it has been reported, but also contriving certain unheard-of deceptions in the goods offered for sale.

In the second place, he set up a great number of what are called "monopolies," and sold the welfare of his subjects to those who wanted to operate these abominations, and thus he, on the one hand, carried off a price for the transaction, and to those, on the other hand, who had contracted with him he gave the privilege of managing their business as they wished. And he applied this same vicious method, without any concealment, to all the other magistracies. For since the Emperor always derived some small share from the peculations of the magistrates, for this reason these, and also those in charge of each function, kept plundering more fearlessly those who fell into their clutches. And just as if the offices which had long been established did not suffice him for this purpose, he invented two additional magistracies to have charge of the State, although before that time the Prefect of the City was wont to deal with all the complaints. But to the end that the sycophants might be ever more numerous and that he might maltreat much more expeditiously the persons of citizens who had done no wrong, he decided to institute these new offices. And to one of the two he gave jurisdiction over thieves, as he pretended, giving it the name of "Praetor of the Plebs"; and to the other office he assigned the province of punishing those who were habitually practising sodomy and those who had such intercourse with women as was prohibited by law, and any who did not worship the Deity in the orthodox way, giving the name of "Quaesitor" to this magistrate. Now the Praetor, if he found among the peculations any of great worth, would deliver these monies to the Emperor, saying that the owners of it were nowhere to be found. Thus the Emperor was always able to get a share of the most valuable plunder. And the one who was called Quaesitor, when he got under his power those who had fallen foul of him, would deliver to the Emperor whatever he wished to give up, while he himself would become rich none the less, in defiance of all law, on the property of other men. For the subordinates of these officials would neither bring forward accusers nor submit witnesses of what had been done, but throughout this whole period the unfortunates who fell in their way continued, without having been accused or convicted, and with the greatest secrecy, to be murdered as well as robbed of their money.

And later this monster commanded these magistrates and the Prefect of the City to take cognizance of all accusations alike, bidding them vie with one another to see which of them would be able to destroy the largest number of men and with the greatest speed. And they say that one of them straightway asked him, if anyone should at any time slander the three of them, which one of them should have the jurisdiction in the case; whereupon the Emperor retorting, said: "Whichever one of you gets ahead of the others." Furthermore, he handled the office called the Quaestorship in unseemly fashion — an office which practically all previous Emperors had maintained with exceptional care, to the end that those who administered this office should be men of wide experience and, especially, skilled in matters involving the laws and also conspicuously incorruptible in money matters, on the ground that they could not fail to be most harmful to the State if those who held this office should either be handicapped by any inexperience or give rein to avarice. But this Emperor first of all appointed to this office Tribonianus, whose practices have been sufficiently described in the previous Books. And when Tribonianus departed from among men, Justinian confiscated a portion of his property, although he was survived by a son and a large number of grandchildren when the final day of his life arrived; and he appointed Junilus, a Libyan, to this office, a man who had not even a hearsay acquaintance with the law, since he was not even one of the orators; and while he did understand Latin, yet, as far as Greek was concerned, he had neither attended an elementary school, nor was he able to pronounce the language itself in the Greek manner (indeed, on many occasions when he tried hard to speak a Greek word, he won the ridicule of his assistants); he was, furthermore, extraordinarily fond of shameful gain, as evidenced by the fact that he experienced no shame at all when he put up public sale documents belonging to the Emperor. And for one stater he never hesitated to extend his hand to those he met. And for a space of no less than seven years the State was made ridiculous in this way. And after Junilus came to the end of his life, he appointed to this office Constantinus, a man who, while not unacquainted with the law, was very young and as yet had no experience of the keen struggles of the court-room, and withal was the most thieving and the most boastful of all men. This man had come to be very close to Justinian and one of his dearest friends; for this Emperor never hesitated to use him as his agent in both stealing and deciding cases at law. Consequently Constantinus amassed great sums of money in a short time, and he assumed a sort of superhuman pomposity, treading the air and contemplating all men with contempt; and if any were willing to hand out large sums of money to him, they would deposit this in the hands of some of his most faithful retainers, and thus succeed in carrying through the schemes on which they had set their hearts. But to meet the man personally or to confer with him was quite impossible for any man at all, except while he was racing to the Emperor or leaving his presence, not at a walk, to be sure, but with great haste and speed, calculated to prevent those he met from inflicting upon him any ungainful business.

 
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Thus were these matters handled by this Emperor. And by the Praetorian Prefect upward of thirty centenaria were collected each year in addition to the public taxes. To these he gave the name "air-tax," to suggest, I presume, that this did not happen to be any regular or customary tax, but that he always got it by a stroke of luck, as though it came of itself out of the air, though in reality this sort of thing should be called villainy on his part. Under the shield of this name those who successively held this office kept up their brigandage towards their subjects with ever-increasing fearlessness. And though they claimed to be delivering this money to the Emperor, they, on their part, found no difficulty in appropriating imperial wealth to themselves. But Justinian saw fit to take note of none of these things, watching for his opportunity with the idea that, as soon as ever they should appropriate some huge piece of wealth, bringing against them some accusation or other which would give no room for excuses, he would thus be able to seize their property all at once. Indeed, this is exactly what he did to John the Cappadocian. Now every single man who held this office during this period suddenly became wealthy beyond measure, with only two exceptions, namely Phocas — whom I have mentioned in an earlier Book as being a man who shewed himself a most scrupulous respecter of justice; for this man remained clear of any gain whatsoever while in that office — and Bassus, who assumed the office at a later time. Yet neither one of these two succeeded in holding the position a year, but, on the ground that they were useless and altogether alien to the spirit of the times, they were relieved of their office within some few months. But in order that my account may not be interminable, through my relating each separate thing, I might say that the same intrigues were being carried out in all the other magistracies in Byzantium.

In all parts of the Roman Empire, however, Justinian's method was as follows. Picking out the basest men, he would sell to them at a great price the offices that were to be corrupted by them; for no man of decency or any degree of intelligence would think for a moment of paying out his own money in order to buy the privilege of plundering those who had done no wrong. Then, after collecting this money from those who were making the bargain with him, he would confer upon them authority to treat their subjects in any way they pleased. As a result of this, they were destined, after ruining all the districts under their jurisdiction, along with their entire population, to be very rich themselves from that time on. These men, then, borrowed from the bank at a staggering rate of interest the amount of the prices they had paid for the cities, paid it to the man who had made the sale, and then, as soon as they reached their cities, proceeded to inflict upon their subjects every form of misery, having no concern for anything else than how they might meet their obligations to their creditors and themselves be rated thenceforth among the most wealthy, seeing that this business involved neither danger nor disgrace for them, but actually conferred upon them a certain amount of glory, in proportion to the number of those falling into their clutches whom they were able without any justification to kill and to plunder. For the titles of "murderer" and "brigand" came to be regarded by them as equivalent to "energetic"! All these office-holders, however, whom Justinian observed to be abounding in wealth, he bagged on trumped-up charges and straightway wrested from them absolutely all their fortunes.

But later he promulgated a law that all who sought the offices should take an oath that in very truth they would themselves be innocent of all theft, and that they would neither give nor take anything for the sake of the office. And he laid upon them all the curses which have been mentioned by men of most ancient times, in case anyone should depart from the written terms. Yet when the law had been in force not yet a year, he himself, disregarding the written terms and the curses and the disgrace which would ensue, proceeded more fearlessly than before to negotiate the prices of the offices, not in secret, but in the public square of the market-place. And those who purchased the offices proceeded, though under oath, to pillage everything still more than before.

And later on he hit upon still another device, one transcending all report. He decided that he would no longer sell, as formerly, those offices which he considered most valuable both in Byzantium and the other cities, but he sought out hired agents and put them in office, instructing them, for a wage of whatever it was, to deliver to him all their plunder. And they, having taken their pay, proceeded to collect and carry off everything from the whole country quite fearlessly, and a hireling authority was thus going the rounds and, in the guise of the office, plundering the subjects. Thus the Emperor, making his calculations with nice exactness, kept putting in power constantly those who were in very truth the vilest rascals in the world, and he always succeeded in tracking down the abominable creatures he wanted. Indeed, when he appointed the first set of rogues to office and the licence of power brought to light their inherent villainy, we were in truth astonished that man's nature had room for depravity so great. But when those who at some later time succeeded them in office were able to surpass these men by a very wide margin, men wondered among themselves how it was that those who formerly seemed most base were now outdone by their successors to such a degree that they now seemed to have been men of high character in their dealings, and the third group, in turn, overshot the second in every manner of wickedness, and after them still others, by their innovations in crime, caused an honourable name to be attached to their predecessors. And with the long continuance of the evil all men have finally been taught by facts that whereas man's natural depravity is wont to grow beyond all limits, yet when it is nourished by the instruction of predecessors, and when, through the influence of the licence which complete immunity inspires, it is lured on to wreak foul injuries upon all who fall in its path, then it seems invariably to attain to so great a bulk that not even the imagining of its victims is able to measure it.

Such was the state of affairs for the Romans, as touching their magistrates. And many a time, when a hostile army of Huns had enslaved and plundered the Roman domain, the generals of Thrace and Illyricum, after purposing to attack the retreating enemy, recoiled when they saw a letter from the Emperor Justinian forbidding them to make the attack upon the barbarians, they being necessary to the Romans as allies against the Goths, it might be, or against some other enemy. As a result of this, these barbarians used to plunder and enslave the Romans in those parts as enemies, and then, taking with them their prisoners and the rest of their plunder, they would retire to their own homes as friends and allies of the Romans. And often some of the farmers of that region, moved by the loss of their children and women, who had been reduced to slavery, gathered in a body, attacked the retreating foe, and succeeded in slaying many of them and in capturing their horses together with all the booty; then, however, they found themselves involved in serious difficulties. For certain men, sent out from Byzantium, saw fit to maul and mutilate their bodies and to impose fines upon them without the least compunction, until they gave up all the horses which they had wrested from the barbarians.

 
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When the Emperor and Theodora had destroyed John the Cappadocian, they wished to appoint someone to his office in his stead, and they made it their common task to find some man of the baser sort, looking about to find such a tool of their tyranny and investigating thoroughly attitude of the candidates, to the end that they might be able still more speedily to ruin their subjects. Now as a temporary measure they put in John's place in the office Theodotus, a man who, though not of good character, had never proved able to please them completely. After this they went about investigating every possibility. And unexpectedly they found a certain money-changer named Peter, a Syrian by birth, called by the surname of Barsymes. He had years before sat at the table where bronze coins are exchanged and was gaining most shameful returns from this business, contriving his theft of the ha'pennies with great skill and always baffling his customers by the swiftness of his fingers. For he was clever enough to steal freely the possessions of those who fell in with him, and when caught, to give his oath and to cover the sin of his hands by the impudence of his tongue. And when he had been enrolled as a member of the Praetorian Guard, he became so outrageous that he was exceedingly pleasing to Theodora and he gave her readiest assistance in the perplexing details of her wicked enterprises. So they immediately released Theodotus from the office to which he had been appointed after the Cappadocian, and they appointed thereto Peter, who accomplished everything to the liking of them both. For though he deprived the soldiers on active service of all their pay, he was never seen to be moved by either shame or fear, nay, he even offered the offices for sale to a still greater extent than had been done before, and by making them less honourable he used to sell them to men who did not hesitate to carry on this unholy business, giving explicit permission to those who purchased the offices to treat the lives and property of their subjects as they wished. For a bargain was straightway concluded between him and the man who had paid down the price of the office that gave the latter full licence to plunder and pillage. Thus from the capital of the State there issued the traffic in human lives, and there Peter negotiated the contract for the destruction of the cities, while in the highest courts and in the public square of the market-place there paraded a legalized brigand, who described his business as the recouping of the monies put up as the price of office, there being no hope that his misdeeds ever would be punished. And among all those who served this magistracy as subordinates, a numerous and notable company, he always drew to himself the basest men. But herein not he alone was guilty, but rather all who have assumed this office before and since.

And a similar abuse was practised also in the office of the Magister, as he is called, and among the Palace officials who are wont to attend to the service that has to do with the treasures and with the funds known as privata and the administration of the patrimonium, and, broadly speaking, in all the regular offices established not only in Byzantium but also in the other cities. For since the time when this tyrant took charge of affairs, in each office the revenues which belonged to the minor officials were regularly claimed, without just reason, sometimes by Justinian himself, and sometimes by the man who held the office; and the men who served under their orders, being extremely poor, throughout this whole period were compelled to work under most servile conditions.

Now at one time a very great quantity of grain had been transported to Byzantium, but after the largest part of this had rotted already, he himself consigned it in proportionate quantities to each several city of the East, though it was not suitable to be eaten by man; and he consigned it, not at the price at which the finest grain is wont to be sold, but at a much higher price, and it was necessary for the purchasers, after spending very great sums of money to meet the very oppressive prices, to throw the grain into the sea or a sewer. And since a huge supply of sound grain which had not yet rotted also lay in storage there, he decided to sell off this too to the very large number of the cities which were in some need of grain. For in this way he made double the money which the Treasury had previously paid to the tributary states for this same grain. But the next year, when the crop of the grains was no longer bountiful to the same degree, the grain-fleet arrived in Byzantium with less than was needed, and Peter, being at a loss because of this situation, decided to buy from the farm-lands of Bithynia and Phrygia and Thrace a great supply of grain. And the inhabitants of these regions were compelled to transport with great labour the cargoes to the sea and to convey them to Byzantium at great peril, and to receive from him the small amounts which passed for prices; and the loss for them mounted up to such a figure that they were glad to be permitted to present the grain to a government warehouse and to deposit a further payment for the privilege. This is the burden which they are accustomed to call "requisition." But when even thus the supply of grain in Byzantium had not become sufficient to meet the need, many made bitter complaints of the situation to the Emperor. And at the same time pretty nearly all the men in military service, seeing that they had not received their usual pay, gave themselves over to tumults and disturbances throughout the city. So the Emperor seemed at last to be vexed with the man and wished to relieve him of his office both on account of these facts which have been mentioned and also because he had heard that a prodigious amount of money had been hidden away by him, which, as it chanced, he had filched from the Government. And this was true. But Theodora would not permit her husband to act; for she had an extraordinary affection for Barsymes on account of his depravity, as it seems to me, and because he was exceedingly efficient in bringing ruin upon the citizens. For she herself was a very ruthless person and completely filled with inhuman cruelty, and she required that her minions should conform as closely as possible to herself in character. But they say that she was put under a spell by Peter and shewed him favour against her will. For this Barsymes had shewn an exceptional interest in sorcerers and in the evil spirits, and he had a great admiration for the Manichaeans, as they are called, and never hesitated to stand forth openly as their champion. And yet, even when the Empress heard of these reports, she did not abate her good-will towards the man, but she saw fit to both protect and cherish him even more on this account. For she too from childhood on had consorted with magicians and sorcerers, her habits of life seeming to lead her in this direction, and throughout her life she retained her faith in such things and always based her confidence upon them. And it is also said that the way she made Justinian tractable was not so much by cajoling him as by applying to him the compulsion of the evil spirits. For this man was not so right-minded or just a person or so steadfast in virtue as to be at any time superior to attempts upon him of the kind just mentioned, but, on the contrary, while conspicuously susceptible to the appeal of bloodshed and money, yet he found it easy enough to yield to those who tried to cozen and flatter him. But even in those matters in which he took particular interest he used to reverse his position for no real reason and he had become absolutely like a cloud of dust in instability For this reason none of his relatives, and none of his acquaintances in general, ever based any confident hope on him, but, on the contrary, he had become subject to constant shiftings of his opinion as regards what he was to do. Thus, being easily accessible to the sorcerers, as has been said, he very readily became tractable in the hands of Theodora also; and chiefly for this reason the Empress loved Peter exceedingly as being an expert in such matters. So the Emperor removed him only with difficulty from the office which he previously held, but at the insistence of Theodora he not long afterwards appointed him Master of the Treasuries, dismissing from this office John, who chanced to have assumed it only a few months earlier. Now this man was a native of Palestine, and a very gentle and good person, who neither was skilled in opening ways to wrongful gain nor ever had maltreated any man in the world. In fact, the whole populace loved him with extraordinary devotion. And just for this reason he did not satisfy Justinian and his spouse at all, for as soon as they unexpectedly discovered among their subordinates any man of high character, losing their heads and being vexed to the utmost, they eagerly sought by any and every means to push him out of the way at the earliest possible moment.

It was in this way, at any rate, that Peter succeeded this John and took charge of the imperial treasuries, and he once more became the chief cause of great calamities for all. For he cut off the greater part of the payment which it had been ordained from of old should be given by the Emperor each year to many in the guise of a "consolation," and he himself, meanwhile, by improper means, grew rich on the public money and kept handing over a portion of it to the Emperor. And those who had been stripped of their money sat about in great sorrow, since he saw fit also to issue the gold coinage, not at its usual value, but reducing its value materially, a thing which had never been done before.

Such were the dealings of the Emperor in the matter of the magistrates. And I shall next proceed to tell how, in each division of the Empire, he ruined those who owned the lands. Now it was sufficient for our purpose, in mentioning a short time ago the magistrates sent out to all the cities, to note also the sufferings of the common people. For the owners of land were the first whom these magistrates oppressed and plundered; but even so all the remainder of the story shall be told.

 
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First of all, though it had been customary from ancient times that each successive Emperor should make, not once, but many times, a donation to all their subjects of the arrears of their debts to the Treasury, in order, on the one hand, to prevent the destitute and those who had no means of paying these arrears from being strangled regularly, and, on the other hand, to avoid providing the tax-gatherers with pretexts in case they should try to denounce those who, though subject to the tax, owed nothing in arrears, this man, for a period of thirty-two years, has done nothing of the kind for his subjects. And for this reason it was necessary for the destitute to go away and in no case to return again. And the denouncers kept harassing the more respectable farmers by holding over them the threat of an accusation, alleging that they had for a long time been paying their tax at a lower rate than that imposed upon their district. For the poor wretches had to fear not only the new payment of the tax, but also the possibility that they might be weighed down by the burden of taxes for so great a number of years for which they owed nothing. In any case, many men actually handed over their property either to the blackmailers or to the Treasury and went their ways. Furthermore, though the Medes and Saracens had plundered the greater part of the land of Asia, and the Huns and Sclaveni and Antae the whole of Europe, and some of the cities had been levelled to the ground, and others had been stripped of their wealth in very thorough fashion through levied contributions, and though they had enslaved the population with all their property, making each region destitute of inhabitants by their daily inroads, yet he remitted the tax to no man, with the single exception that captured cities had one year's exemption only. And yet if he had seen fit, as did the Emperor Anastasius, to remit to captured cities all their taxes for seven years, I think that even thus he would not have been doing all he should have in view of the fact that, although Cabades had gone his way without doing the least damage to the buildings, yet Chosroes had not only fired every structure and razed it to the ground, but had also inflicted greater sufferings upon his victims. And now to these men to whom he remitted this ridiculously small portion of the tribute, as to all the others likewise — men who had often supported the attacks of the Median army, and though Huns and Saracens had continuously ravaged the lands of the East, and though not less terribly the barbarians in Europe were also wreaking such destruction every day and unceasingly — to these men, I say, this Emperor shewed himself from the first more savage than all the barbarians together. For through "buying on requisition" and what are called "imposts" and "pro-rated assessments," the owners of the land were immediately, once the enemy had withdrawn, reduced to ruin. Now what these terms are and what they mean I shall proceed to explain.

The owners of property are compelled to provision the Roman army in proportion to the tax levied upon each owner, the deliveries being made, not where the season of the year at which the requisition is to be filled permits, but where the officials find it possible and have determined, and in making these requisitions no enquiry is made to see whether the farmers happen to have the required provisions on their land. Thus it comes about that these wretched men are compelled to import provisions for both soldiers and horses, buying them all at very much higher prices than they are to receive, and that, too, in a market which, if it so happens, may be at a great distance from their farms, and then to haul back these provisions to the place where the army chances to be, and they must measure out these supplies to the Quartermasters of the army, not in the way accepted by all the world, but just as the Quartermasters wish. And this is the thing which is called "buying on requisition," and the result of it has been that all the owners of farms have been bled to death. For by this process they are compelled to pay their annual tax not less than tenfold, seeing that it has often fallen to their lot, not only to furnish supplies directly to the army, as stated, but also, on top of what they have suffered that way, to transport grain to Byzantium; for not alone Barsymes, as he was called, has dared to perpetrate this outrage, but even before him the Cappadocian, and later on those who succeeded Barsymes in the dignity of this office.

Such in a general way was "buying on requisition." But the term "impost" is used to describe a kind of unforeseen ruination that falls suddenly upon the owners of land and destroys root and branch their hope of a livelihood. For this is a tax on lands that have become abandoned or unproductive, the owners and farmers of which have already had the misfortune either to perish altogether or, abandoning their ancestral estates, to be now living in wretchedness because of the woes imposed upon them by reason of these imposts; and they do not hesitate to impose it upon any who have not yet been ruined altogether.

Such is the meaning of the term "impost," a term which with good reason gained its widest currency during the period in question. But as for the "pro-rated assessments" — to dispose of the subject in the fewest possible words — the matter is about as follows. That the cities should be subjected to many damaging exactions at all times and particularly during this period was inevitable; as to the motives that led to their imposition and the manner of their application, I forbear to discuss them on this occasion, lest my treatise become interminable. These assessments were paid by the owners of the lands, each paying an assessed sum in proportion to the tax regularly levied upon him. But trouble did not stop here; on the contrary, when the plague came, seizing in its grip the whole civilized world and especially the Roman Empire, and wiping out most of the farmers, and when for this reason the lands, as one might expect, had become deserted, the Emperor shewed no mercy to the owners of these lands. For he never relaxed his exaction of the annual tax, not merely as he imposed it upon each separate person, but also exacting the share which fell to his deceased neighbours. And in addition they also had to stand all the other exactions which I mentioned a moment ago as always falling upon those who were cursed with the ownership of farms, and over and above all these things, they had to house the soldiers, in the best and most expensive of their rooms and to wait upon them, while they themselves throughout this whole time lived in the meanest and the most dilapidated of their outhouses.

All these evils kept constantly afflicting the people during the reign of Justinian and Theodora, for it so happened that neither war nor any other of the greatest calamities subsided during this time. And since we have made mention of rooms for billeting, we must not pass over the fact that the owners of the houses in Byzantium, having to turn over their dwellings there as lodgings for barbarians to the number of about seventy thousand, not only could derive no benefit from their own property, but were also afflicted by these other disagreeable conditions.

 
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Nor assuredly is his treatment of the soldiers to be consigned to silence; for over them he put in authority the most villainous of all men, bidding them collect from this source as much as they could, and these officers were well aware that the twelfth part of what they should thus procure should fall to them. And he gave them the title of "Logothetes." And these each year devised the following scheme. According to a law the military pay is not given to all alike year after year, but when the men are still young and have only recently joined the army, the rate is lower, while for those who have been in service and are now at about the middle of the muster-roll, it grows larger. But when they have grown old and are on the point of being discharged from the army, the pay is very much more imposing, to the end not only that they may, when in future they are living as private citizens, have sufficient for their own maintenance, but may also, when it is their lot to have completely measured out the term of life, be able to leave from their own property some consolation to the members of their households. Thus time, by continuously promoting the soldiers who are lower down in the scale to the rank of those who have died or been discharged from the army, regulates on the basis of seniority the payments to be made from the Treasury to each man. But the Logothetes, as they are called, would not allow the names of the deceased to be removed from the rolls, even when great numbers died at one time from other causes, and especially, as was the case with the most, in the course of the numerous wars. Furthermore, they would no longer fill out the muster-rolls, and that too for a long period. And the result of this practice has proved unfortunate for all concerned — first, for the State in that the number of soldiers in active service is always deficient; secondly, for the surviving soldiers, in that they are elbowed out by those who have died long before and so find themselves left in a position inferior to what they deserve, and that they receive a pay which is lower than if they had the rank to which they are entitled; and, finally, for the Logothetes, who all this time have had to apportion to Justinian a share of the soldiers' money.

Furthermore, they kept grinding down the soldiers with many other forms of penalties, as though to requite them thus for the dangers incurred in the wars, charging some with being "Greeks," as though it were wholly impossible for any man from Greece to be a decent man, others with being in the service without an order from the Emperor, even though they could shew, on this point, an imperial order, which, however, the Logothetes with no hesitation had the effrontery to denounce; and others still they accused on the ground that for some days they had chanced to be absent from their comrades. Later on also some of the Palace Guards were sent out through the whole Roman Empire, and ostensibly they were in search of any among the armies who were quite unsuitable for active service; and they dared to strip the belts from some of these as being unfit or too old, and these thereafter had to beg their bread from the pious in the public square of the market-place, so that they became a constant cause for tears and lamentation on the part of all who met them; and from the rest they exacted great sums of money, to the end that they might not suffer the same fate, so that the soldiers, broken in manifold ways, had become the poorest of all men and had not the slightest zest for warfare. It was for just this reason that the Roman power came to be destroyed in Italy. Indeed, when Alexander the Logothete was sent thither, he had the effrontery to lay these charges without compunction upon the soldiers, and he tried to exact money from the Italians, alleging that he was punishing them for their behaviour during the reign of Theoderic and the Goths. And it was not alone the soldiers who were oppressed by destitution and poverty through the conduct of the Logothetes, but also the subordinates who served all the generals, formerly a numerous and highly esteemed group, laboured under the burden of starvation and dire poverty. For they had not the means wherewith to provide themselves with their customary necessities.

And I shall add one further item to those I have mentioned, since the subject of the soldiers leads me thereto. The Roman Emperors in earlier times stationed a very great multitude of soldiers at all points of the Empire's frontier in order to guard the boundaries of the Roman domain, particularly in the eastern portion, thus checking the inroads of the Persians and the Saracens; these troops they used to call limitanei. These the Emperor Justinian at first treated so casually and so meanly that their paymasters were four or five years behind in their payments to them, and whenever peace was made between the Romans and the Persians, these wretches were compelled, on the supposition that they too would profit by the blessings of peace, to make a present to the Treasury of the pay which was owing to them for a specified period. And later on, for no good reason, he took away from them the very name of regular troops. Thereafter the frontiers of the Roman Empire remained destitute of guards and the soldiers suddenly found themselves obliged to look to the hands of those accustomed to works of piety.

Another group of soldiers, no fewer than three thousand five hundred in number, had been assigned originally to the guarding of the Palace; these are called Scholarii. And the Treasury has been accustomed from earliest times always to pay these higher wages than all others. These men were picked for their excellence by earlier Emperors, being recruited for this honour from among the Armenians. But since the time when Zeno succeeded to the throne, the way has been open for all, both cowards and wholly unwarlike men, to achieve the honour of this title. And as time went on, even slaves, by putting up a bribe, could purchase admission to this service. So when Justinus took over the Empire, this Justinian appointed many to this honourable service, thus securing for himself great amounts of money. But when at length he observed that there was no longer any vacancy in these ranks, he added to their number two thousand recruits, and these they used to call "supernumeraries." But when he himself took over the Empire, he shook off these supernumeraries with great speed, giving them no payment whatever.

But for those included in the regular body of the Scholarii he devised the following. When it was to be expected that an army would be sent against Libya or Italy or Persia, he would issue orders to them to pack up as though to take part in the expedition, though he knew well that they were not at all fit for active service, and they, in terror, remitted their pay to him for a specified period in order that this might not be done. And it so happened that this befell the Scholarii many times. And Peter also, during the whole time while he held the office of Magister, as it is called, was constantly harassing them every day with unheard-of thefts. For while he was indeed a mild man and not at all versed in offering insult, at the same time he was the biggest thief in the world and absolutely filled with shameful avarice. This Peter has been mentioned also in the previous books as having carried out the murder of Amalasuntha, daughter of Theoderic.

And there are also others in the Palace held in much higher esteem, for the Treasury is accustomed to allow them a higher wage on the ground that they on their part have paid larger amounts for the name of belonging to the service; these are called Domestici and Protectores, and from ancient times they have been unpractised in deeds of war. For it is only for the sake of rank and for the appearance of the position that they are wont to have themselves enrolled among the Palace corps. And from ancient times some of these have had their residence in Byzantium, some in Galatia and some in other places. But these too Justinian was constantly intimidating in the manner described, thus compelling them to relinquish the pay which belonged to them. And this shall be explained in summary. There was a law that every four years the Emperor should present to each one of the soldiers a specified sum of gold. So every fourth year they used to send messengers throughout every part of the Roman Empire and present five gold staters to each soldier. And there could not be any failure in this matter at any time or by any means. But since the time when this man took over the administration of the State, he has neither done such a thing nor purposed to do it, though a period of thirty-two years has passed already, so that men have even come to forget this practice to some extent.

And I shall pass on to explain still another of his methods of plundering his subjects. Those who mount guard or handle dispatches for the Emperor and the officials in Byzantium, or who perform any other service whatsoever, are assigned at first to the lowest ranks, and as time goes on they advance steadily to fill the places of those who have died or retired, and each of them keeps moving up from the rank he has held until such time as he mounts the topmost step and attains to the highest attainable point of this career. For those who have achieved this high rank a salary has been assigned from of old, so huge that each year they gather in more than one hundred centenaria of gold, and it has come about that not only they themselves are cared for in old age but that many others also share with them, as a general thing, the assistance derived from this source, and the affairs of the State have in this way advanced to a high point of prosperity. But this Emperor, by depriving them of practically all these revenues, has brought woes upon them and the rest of mankind. For poverty laid hold upon them first and then passed on through the rest who previously had had some share of their benefit. And if anyone should calculate the loss which fell upon them from this source over a period of thirty-two years, he would arrive at the measure of the amount of which it was their misfortune to be deprived.

 
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Thus were the men in service mishandled by this tyrant. And I shall now proceed to tell of his treatment of merchants and sailors and craftsmen and traders in the market-place and, through these, of all the others. There are two straits on the two sides of Byzantium, the one at the Hellespont between Sestus and Abydus and the other at the mouth of the sea called Euxine, where is the place named Hieron. Now on the Strait of the Hellespont there was no public Customs House at all, but a certain magistrate commissioned by the Emperor was stationed at Abydus, watching to see whether any ship bearing arms went towards Byzantium without the Emperor's permission, and also whether anyone was putting out from Byzantium without carrying a permit and seals from the men who have this function (for it is illegal for anyone to put out from Byzantium without being released by the men who serve the office of the official known as the "Magister"), and collecting from the masters of the ships a toll which was felt by no one, but which was, as it were, a sort of payment claimed by the man who held this office as compensation for his labour. But the man dispatched to the other strait had always received his salary from the Emperor, and he watched with great care for the things which I have mentioned and, in addition, to see whether anything was being conveyed to the barbarians who are settled along the Euxine Sea, of a sort which it is not permitted to export from the land of the Romans to their enemies. This man, however, was not permitted to accept anything from those who sailed that way. But since the time when the Emperor Justinian took over the Empire, he has established a public Customs House on each strait, and sending out regularly two salaried officials, although he did provide the salary agreed upon, yet he directed them to use every means in their power to make a return to him from that source of as much money as possible. And they, being concerned only with demonstrating to him their loyalty towards him, finished by plundering from the shippers the entire value of their cargoes.

Such were the measures he took at each of the two straits. And at Byzantium he hit upon the following plan. He gave a commission to one of his intimates, a Syrian by birth named Addaeus, instructing him to secure for him some profit from the ships which put in at that port. And he from that time on would not allow any boat which put in to the harbour of Byzantium to depart from there unmolested, but he either penalized the ship-masters the value of their ships or else compelled them to put back to Libya and Italy. And some of them were unwilling either to take on a return cargo or to continue any longer in the maritime business, but were glad enough to get off by burning their own boats straightway. All those, however, who were obliged to make their living from just this occupation would first collect treble charges from the importing merchants and thereafter continue to take on cargoes; and as for the merchants, their way out of the difficulty was to make good their own loss at the expense of those who purchased the goods; and thus it came about that the Romans were being starved to death by every device.

Such is the way things were going as regards the administration of affairs. But I think that I should not omit to mention also what was done by the imperial pair with reference to the small coinage. For while the money-changers formerly were accustomed to give to those who bargained with them in exchange for one gold stater two hundred and ten obols, which they call pholleis, these persons, contriving private gain for themselves, had it arranged that only one hundred and eighty obols should be given for the stater. In this way they cut off a seventh part of the value of every gold coin . . . of all men.

But when these sovereigns had brought most of the merchandise under the control of the monopolies, as they are called, and every single day were strangling those who wished to buy anything, and only the shops where clothing is sold were left untouched by them, they devised this scheme for that business also. Garments made of silk had been wont from ancient times to be produced in the cities of Beirut and Tyre in Phoenicia. And the merchants and craftsmen and artisans of these stuffs had lived there from ancient times, and this merchandise was carried thence to the whole world. And when, in the reign of Justinian, those engaged in this trade both in Byzantium and in the other cities were selling this fabric at an excessive price, excusing themselves with the statement that at the time in question they were paying the Persians a higher price than formerly, and that the customs-houses were now more numerous in the land of the Romans, the Emperor gave everyone the impression that he was vexed with this, and he made a general provision by law that one pound of this stuff should not cost more than eight gold pieces. And the penalty appointed for those who should transgress this law was to be deprived of all the money they had. This seemed to the people altogether impossible and out of the question. For it was not possible for the importing merchants, having bought these cargoes at a higher price, to sell them to the dealers for less. Therefore they no longer cared to engage in the importation of this stuff, and they gradually disposed of the remainder of their cargoes by rather furtive methods, selling no doubt to certain of the notables who found a satisfaction in making a shew of such finery through the lavish expenditure of their money — or, in a certain sense, they were obliged to do so. And when the Empress became aware of these transactions through the whisperings of certain persons, though she did not investigate the gossip that was going round, she immediately took the entire cargoes away from the men and, in addition, imposed upon them a fine of a centenarium of gold. . . . But this particular business is under the control, among the Romans at least, of the official in charge of the imperial treasures. Consequently, having appointed Peter surnamed Barsymes to this position not long afterwards, they indulged him in doing execrable things. For while he required all other men strictly to observe the law, the craftsmen of this trade he required to work for himself alone, and he would sell dyes, no longer furtively but in the public square of the market-place, at the rate of no less than six gold pieces the ounce for the ordinary quality, but more than twenty-four pieces for the imperial dye which they are wont to call holoverum. And while he produced large sums from that source for the Emperor, he himself gained still more without being observed, and this practice, which began with him, has always continued. For he alone, up to the present time, is established, with no attempt at concealment, as both importer and retailer of this merchandise. Consequently the importers who in former times had engaged in this trade both at Byzantium and in the other cities, on sea and on land, now had to endure, as was to be expected, the hardships arising from this procedure. And in the other cities practically the whole population found itself suddenly reduced to beggary. For the mechanics and the hand-workers were naturally compelled to struggle with hunger, and many in consequence changed their citizenship and went off as fugitives to the land of Persia. But always the Master of the Treasures stood alone as sole manager of this business, and while he did consent to deliver to the Emperor a portion of its profits, as has been said, he carried off the greater portion for himself and was enriching himself through public calamities. So much then for this.

 
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We shall now tell how he succeeded in destroying the marks of distinction and all the things which confer honour and beauty both in Byzantium and in every other city. First he decided to abolish the rank of rhetor; for he straightway deprived the rhetors of all their competitive prizes in which they had formerly been wont to revel and take great pride when they had discharged their function as advocates, and he ordered those at variance with one another to litigate directly under oath; and being thus scorned, the rhetors fell into great despondency. And after, as has been said, he had taken away all the properties of the Senators and of the others who were considered prosperous, both in Byzantium and throughout the whole Roman Empire, there was nothing left for this profession thereafter other than to remain idle. For men possessed nothing of any value whatsoever, concerning which they might dispute with one another. Immediately, thereafter, having become few in number instead of many and being everywhere held in no esteem at all though they had formerly been most highly esteemed, they were oppressed by extreme poverty, as was to be expected, and in the end gained nothing from their profession except insults alone.

Nay more, he also caused physicians and teachers of free-born children to be in want of the necessities of life. For the allowances of free maintenance which the former Emperors had decreed should be given to men of these professions from the public funds he cancelled entirely. Furthermore, all the revenues which the inhabitants of all the cities had been raising locally for their own civic needs and for their public spectacles he transferred and dared to mingle them with the national income. And thereafter neither physicians nor teachers were held in any esteem, nor was anyone able any longer to make provision for public buildings, nor were the public lamps kept burning in the cities, nor was there any other consolation for their inhabitants. For the theatres and hippodromes and circuses were all closed for the most part — the places in which, as it happened, his wife had been born and reared and educated. And later he ordered these spectacles to close down altogether, even in Byzantium, so that the Treasury might not have to supply the usual sums to the numerous and almost countless persons who derived their living from them. And there was both in private and in public sorrow and dejection, as though still another affliction from Heaven had smitten them, and there was no laughter in life for anyone. And no other topics whatever arose in the conversation of the people, whether they were at home or in the market-place or were tarrying in the sacred places, than disasters and calamities and misfortunes of novel kind in surpassing degree.

Such was the situation in the cities. And that which remains to be told is worth recounting. Two Consuls of the Romans were chosen each year, the one in Rome and the other in Byzantium. And whoever was called to this honour was sure to be required to spend more than twenty centenaria of gold on the State, a small portion of this being his own money but the most of it supplied by the Emperor. This money was distributed to those whom I have mentioned and to those, as a general thing, who were altogether destitute of means of subsistence, and particularly to performers on the stage, and thus provided constant support for all civic undertakings. But since the time when Justinian took over the Empire, these things were no longer done at the appropriate seasons; but although at first a Consul was appointed for Romans after a long interval, yet finally the people never saw that official even in a dream, and consequently mankind was being most cruelly pinched by a kind of poverty, since the Emperor no longer provided his subjects with what they had been wont to receive, but kept on depriving them in every way and everywhere of what they still possessed.

Now how this despoiler has been swallowing up all the public monies and how he has been fleecing the members of the Senate of their property, both individually and all of them in common, has, I think, been sufficiently described. And how he has circumvented by blackmailing methods the others likewise who are reputed to be prosperous, and has succeeded in robbing them of their money, this I consider to have been told by me quite adequately; aye, and the soldiers and those who serve all the magistrates and those who serve in the Palace as guards, and the farmers and the owners and masters of lands, and those whose profession is oratory,— nay more, the shipping-merchants and the owners of ships and the sailors, and the mechanics and day-labourers and the tradesmen of the market-place and those who derive their living from performances on the stage, and, furthermore, all the other classes, I may say, which are reached by the damage which issues from this man.

And we shall proceed forthwith to tell how he treated the beggars and the common folk and the poor and those afflicted with every form of physical handicap; for his treatment of the priests will be described in my subsequent books. First of all, having taken control, as has been said, of all the shops and having established what are called the monopolies of all the most indispensable goods, he proceeded to exact from the whole population more than threefold the usual prices. Now as to his other doings, inasmuch as they have seemed to me past counting, I, for my part, could not aspire to catalogue them even in an endless narrative; but I will say that from the purchasers of bread he stole most cruelly at all times, men who, being manual labourers and impoverished and afflicted with every physical handicap, could not possibly avoid buying bread. For in order to realize from this source as much as three centenaria each year, he required that the loaves should be both more expensive and full of ash; for this Emperor did not hesitate to resort to even so impious an act of shameful covetousness as this. And those who were charged with this office, using this pretext as an excuse for contriving some private gains, did indeed find it easy to attain great wealth of a sort, but in so doing they were constantly, strange as it seemed, creating for the poor a man-made famine in times of abundance; for it was absolutely forbidden that any man should import even cornº from elsewhere, but it was required of all that they should buy and eat these loaves.

And though they saw that the city's aqueduct had been broken and was delivering only a small fraction of the water into the city, they took no notice of the matter and would not consent to spend any money on it whatever, in spite of the fact that a great throng of the people, bursting with indignation, was always gathered at the fountains, and that all the baths had been closed. And yet he squandered a great mass of money for no good reason on buildings over the sea and other senseless structures, building new ones in all parts of the suburbs, as if the palaces in which all the earlier Emperors had been content to live throughout their lives could not contain his household. Thus it was not from motives of economy, but in order to effect the destruction of human beings, that they saw fit to neglect the building of the aqueduct, for no man in the whole world since the beginning of time has been more ready than this Justinian both to acquire money basely and then immediately more foolishly to squander it. Of the two resources, then, namely food and drink, which had been left to those in extreme destitution, both were used by this Emperor to their injury, as I have stated, since he made the one, namely water, impossible to get, and the other, bread, far more expensive to buy.

And he treated thus not only the beggar class of Byzantium, but also, in some instances, those who lived elsewhere, as will immediately be told by me. For when Theoderic captured Italy, he left where they were those who were serving as soldiers in the Palace at Rome, in order that at least a trace of the ancient polity might be preserved there, leaving each man a small daily wage; and these soldiers were very numerous. For the Silentiarii, as they are called, and the Domestici and the Scholarii were among them, though in their case nothing military remained except the name of the army, and this pay which barely sufficed to maintain them; and Theoderic commanded that this custom be transmitted to their offspring and descendants. And to the beggars who had their station beside the Church of Pete the Apostle, he ordered that the Treasury should for ever supply each year three thousand measures of corn. These pensions all these beggars continued to receive until Alexander, called "Snips," arrived in Italy. For this man decided immediately, without any hesitation, to abolish them all. Upon learning this, Justinian, Emperor of the Romans, put the stamp of his approval upon this course of action and held Alexander in still higher honour than formerly. During this journey Alexander did the following disservice to the Greeks also.

The outpost at Thermopylae had from early times been under the care of the farmers of that region, and they used to take turns in guarding the wall there, whenever it was expected that some barbarians or other would make a descent upon the Peloponnesus. But when Alexander visited the place on the occasion in question, he, pretending that he was acting in the interests of the Peloponnesians, refused to entrust the outpost there to the farmers. So he stationed troops there to the number of two thousand and ordained that their pay should not be provided from the imperial Treasury, but instead he transferred to the Treasury the entire civic funds and the funds for the spectacles of all the cities of Greece, on the pretext that these soldiers were to be maintained there from, and consequently in all Greece, and not least in Athens itself, no public building was restored nor could any other needful thing be done. Justinian, however, without any hesitation confirmed these measures of "Snips."

So then these matters were moving on in the manner described. But we must now proceed to the subject of the poor in Alexandria. There had been a certain Hephaestus among the rhetors there, who took over the government of Alexandria, and while he did put an end to the factional strife of the populace, shewing himself an object of terror to the factious, he had brought upon all the inhabitants of the city the utter extreme of extreme misfortune. For straightway bringing all the shops of the city into what is called the monopoly, he would permit none of the merchants to engage in this business, but having, alone of them all, become himself a retailer, he would sell every kind of merchandise, obviously gauging their price by the arbitrary power of his office, and the city of Alexandria was like to burst with anger because of the scarcity of the necessities of life — a city where, in former times, all things had been exceedingly cheap even for those in extreme poverty; and he pinched them particularly in the matter of the bread. For he did all the buying of grain from the Egyptians himself, permitting no one else to purchase so much as a single peck, and thus he determined the size of the loaves and the price of bread just as he wished. Thus in a short time he acquired for himself fabulous wealth and fulfilled the Emperor's desire in this matter. And while the populace of Alexandria, through fear of Hephaestus, endured their plight in silence, the Emperor, out of respect for the money that kept coming in to him constantly, loved the man exceedingly.

And this Hephaestus, in order that he might be able still more to captivate the Emperor's mind, contrived this further scheme. Diocletian, a former Emperor of the Romans, had decreed that a huge amount of grain be given by the Treasury every year to the needy among the Alexandrians. And the populace, having distributed this grain among themselves in the first instance, have transmitted this custom to their descendants even down to the present day. But Hephaestus, from the time in question, wrested from those destitute of the necessities of life as much as two million measures annually and placed it in the warehouses of the State, writing to the Emperor that these people had until now been receiving the grain wrongfully, and not to the advantage of the public interest. And consequently the Emperor confirmed the action and held him in still greater favour, and those of the Alexandrians who had this one hope of a livelihood suffered most cruelly as a result of this inhumanity.

 
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Now the deeds done by Justinian were so many in number that all eternity would not be able to suffice for the account of them. But it will suffice for me to collect and mention some few examples from the whole number by which his whole character will be clearly revealed to men of future generations also: that he was a dissembler and cared not either for God or for priests or for laws, nor for the populace, though in seeming it was favoured by him, nor, further, for any decency whatsoever nor for the advantage of the State or for any benefit that might accrue to it, or that his actions might be able to find some excuse, nor did any consideration weigh with him other than simply and solely the snatching of all the money there was in the world. And I shall begin with this last.

The Emperor designated a chief priest over the Alexandrians, Paulus by name. And it chanced that a certain Rhodon, a Phoenician by birth, at that time held sway in Alexandria. This man he instructed to support Paulus with all zeal in everything, so that not one of his orders might remain unfulfilled. For in this way he thought he should be able to win the adherence of the heretics among the Alexandrians to the Council of Chalcedon. There was a certain Arsenius, a native of Palestine, who had been serviceable to the Empress Theodora in a very important matter, and from this circumstance he had acquired great power and a vast amount of money and had achieved the dignity of the Senate, although he was an utter scoundrel. This man was, in fact, a Samaritan, but in order not to lose the power he held, he had seen fit to adopt the name of a Christian. His father and brother, however, relying upon this man's power, had continued on in Scythopolis, preserving their ancestral faith, and, under instructions from him, they were working outrageous wrongs upon all the Christians. Consequently the citizens rose against them and killed them both with a most cruel death, and many evils came to pass for the people of Palestine from that cause. And at that time neither Justinian nor the Empress did Arsenius any harm, though he had been the chief cause of all the difficulties, but they did forbid him to come to the Palace any longer; for they were being harassed most persistently by the Christians on account of this matter. This Arsenius, thinking to gratify the Emperor, not long afterwards set out in company with Paulus for Alexandria, in order to assist him in other matters and in particular to help him with all his might to bring about obedience on the part of the Alexandrians. For he declared that at the time when he had the ill-fortune to be excluded from the Palace, he had not neglected the study of all the doctrines of the Christians. But this annoyed Theodora; for she pretended to go against the Emperor in this, as I have stated previously. So when Paulus and Arsenius had arrived at Alexandria, Paulus delivered to Rhodon a certain deacon named Psoes to be put to death, claiming that he alone was the obstacle which prevented him from executing the Emperor's decisions. And Rhodon, acting under the guidance of the Emperor's messages, which were both frequent and exceedingly urgent, decided to torture the man. And he died at once when racked by the torture. Now when word of this came to the Emperor, he immediately, at the very vehement insistence of the Empress, set everything in motion against Paulus and Rhodon and Arsenius, as if he had forgotten utterly the instructions which he had given to these very men. So he appointed Liberius, one of the Patricians of Rome, as Governor of Alexandria and he sent some of the notable priests to that city to make a review of the situation, among them being the Archdeacon of Rome, Pelagius, assuming the role of the Chief Priest Vigilius, as he had been ordered to do by Vigilius. And when the murder had been proved, they immediately removed Paulus from his priesthood; and when Rhodon fled to Byzantium, the Emperor cut off his head and confiscated all his property to the Treasury, although the man displayed thirteen letters which the Emperor had written to him urging and earnestly insisting and commanding that he support Paulus in all things and not oppose him in anything whatsoever, to the end that he might be able to execute the Emperor's decisions touching the faith. And Liberius, by the will of Theodora, impaled Arsenius, and the Emperor saw fit to confiscate his property, although he had no charge to bring against him other than that he consorted with Paulus.

Now as to whether these things were rightly done by him or otherwise I cannot say, but the reason why I have recounted these things I shall declare immediately. Paulus some time later came to Byzantium and offered the Emperor seven centenaria of gold, demanding that he receive back the priesthood, on the ground that it had been illegally wrested from him. And Justinian accepted the money courteously and kept the man in honour, and he agreed to make him Chief Priest of Alexandria immediately, though another held that honour, just as if he did not know that he himself had both slain and robbed of their property men who had lived with him and had dared to serve him. So the Augustus was taking up the matter with great vehemence and enthusiasm, and Paulus was definitely expected to resume the priesthood in any case. But Vigilius, who was now present, absolutely refused to yield to the Emperor if he should issue such a command. For he said that he could not possibly cancel his own vote — meaning the opinion rendered by Pelagius. Thus this Emperor had no concern for anything except to be for ever depriving others of money. And another incident shall be told, as follows.

There was a certain Faustinus, born in Palestine, a Samaritan by descent, but under the constraint of the law he had espoused the name of Christian. This Faustinus had risen to the senatorial rank and was ruler of the land; but a little later he was removed from this office and came to Byzantium, where some of the priests began to slander him, alleging that he was observing the rites of the Samaritans and basely mistreating the Christians living in Palestine. And Justinian appeared to be furious and deeply resentful on this account, that while he was ruling over the Romans the name of Christ should be insulted by anyone. So when the Senate made an investigation of the matter, they penalized Faustinus with banishment because of the Emperor's importunity. But the Emperor received from him all the money he wanted and immediately recalled the decision which had been made. So Faustinus, once more in possession of his former dignity, consorted with the Emperor, and when he was appointed Overseer of the Imperial Domains in Palestine and Phoenicia, he felt more free to put through all the measures that were in accord with his own wishes. As to the methods, then, by which Justinian saw fit to defend the claims of the Christians, although it is not much that we have related, yet it is possible to form a conclusion from it, brief though it be. And how without any hesitation he shattered the laws when money was in sight shall be disclosed very briefly.

 
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There was a certain Priscus in the city of Emesa who had a great natural ability in imitating the handwriting of others, and he was a very clever artist at this evil business. Now it happened that the Church of Emesa had a good many years before become the heir of one of the notables. The man in question was of patrician rank, one Mammianus by name, a man of distinguished family and great wealth, and during the reign of Justinian Priscus investigated all the families of the above-named city, and if he found any persons who both abounded in wealth and were capable of sustaining great losses of money, he would carefully trace out their ancestors, and when he chanced upon old letters of theirs, he made many documents purporting to have been written by them, in which they promised to pay to Mammianus large sums of money on the ground that they had received this as a deposit from him. And the total amount acknowledged in these forged documents amounted to no less than a hundred centenaria. And selecting the writing of a certain man who had been wont to have a seat in the market-place at the period when Mammianus was alive, a man who had a great reputation for truth and for virtue in general, and who used to execute all the documents of the citizens, sealing each personally with his own writing (such a person the Romans call tabellio), Priscus, after making a marvellous imitation of this man's writing, delivered the documents to those who administered the affairs of the Church of Emesa, they having promised that a share of the money to be derived from that source should fall to him. But since the law stood in the way, which provided that all ordinary cases should be subject to a thirty-year limitation, yet some few cases, including cases involving mortgages, should be extended to include a period of forty years, they hit upon the following expedient. Coming to Byzantium and paying out great sums of money to this Emperor, they besought him to co-operate with them in accomplishing the destruction of the citizens who had been found guilty of nothing. And he, after he had got the money, without the least hesitation published a law that Churches should be debarred from prosecuting their claims, not after the regular period of time, but after the lapse of full one hundred years, and providing that this should be valid, not in Emesa alone, but throughout the whole Roman Empire. And to arbitrate this question for the people of Emesa he designated a certain Longinus, an energetic man and very powerful in body, who later also held the office of Mayor of Byzantium. And those who managed the affairs of the Church lodged, to begin with, a case for two centenaria, based on the documents mentioned, against one of the citizens, and they immediately secured the man's conviction, since he was utterly unable, both because of such a lapse of time and because of his ignorance of what had been done at the time in question, to make any defence whatever. And all men were filled with great sorrow, and above all the most notable among the men of Emesa, as being all equally exposed to the denouncers. And since the evil was by now spreading out over the majority of the citizens, it so happened that a providence of God, one may say, occurred as follows. Longinus commanded Priscus, the author of this mischief, to bring together before him all the documents, and when he declined to do so, he struck him with great violence. And he, unable to support the blow of a very strong man, fell on his back, and by this time trembling and in a state of panic he suspected that Longinus knew entirely what he had done and so confessed the truth; thus the entire deviltry was brought to light and the denouncing ceased.

Yet these constant and daily tamperings with the laws of the Romans were not the only harm he did, but the Emperor also took pains to abolish the laws which the Hebrews honour. If it ever happened, for instance, that the year in its recurring rounds brought on the Feast of the Passover before the festival of the Christians, he would not allow the Jews to celebrate this at the proper time nor to make any offering to God at that feast nor to perform any of the rites customary among them. And many of them used to be brought to trial as having tasted the flesh of lambs at this time by those who were in positions of authority, and these punished them by heavy fines, arraigning them for violation of the laws of the State. And though I know well of countless other such actions on the part of Justinian, I shall not add anything, for an end must be set to my discourse. For the man's character will be disclosed with sufficient clearness by what has been said.

 
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That he was insincere and a dissembler I shall straightway make clear. The Liberius whom I have just mentioned he dismissed from the office he held and appointed in his place John surnamed Laxarion, an Egyptian by birth. And when Pelagius, who was a very close friend of Liberius, learned of this, he enquired of the Emperor whether the report about Laxarion was true. And he straightway denied the report, insisting that he had not done any such thing, and he put in his hands a letter to Liberius, instructing him to hold on to this office most firmly and by no means to relinquish it. For it was not his will, he said, to remove him from the office at the present time. And John had an uncle in Byzantium named Eudaemon, who, having risen to senatorial rank and having acquired great wealth, was for a time administrator of the Emperor's personal estate. This Eudaemon, upon hearing the statements we have mentioned, also enquired of the Emperor whether his nephew's office was secure. Whereupon the Emperor denied what he had written to Liberius and wrote a letter to John instructing him to lay claim to the office with all his might; for, he said, he on his part had not planned any change regarding it. And John, having been convinced by these statements, commanded Liberius to retire from his official quarters as having been dismissed from his office. But Liberius refused absolutely to obey him, he also obviously having been led to do so by the Emperor's letters. So John armed his followers and proceeded to attack Liberius, while the latter, together with his supporters, prepared for resistance. And a fight took place in which many were killed, including John himself, the holder of the office. Liberius was therefore immediately summoned to Byzantium, Eudaemon urging this step vigorously, and the Senate, making a determination of the facts in the case, acquitted the man on the ground that the outrage had occurred while he was not an aggressor, but was acting in self-defence. But the Emperor did not drop the matter until he had punished him by a fine of money, imposed secretly.

It was in this wise, in sooth, that Justinian knew how to tell the truth and practised straightforwardness of speech! But it is not, I think, inopportune to add a matter that is incidental to this narrative. For this Eudaemon died not long afterwards, having neither disposed of his estate by will nor made any statement whatever, although he had many relatives surviving. And at about the same time a certain man, Euphratas by name, who had been overseer of the Palace eunuchs, departed this life, leaving a nephew but without having made any disposition of his estate, which was very great. And the Emperor seized both these estates, of his own arbitrary act making himself the heir and giving not a farthing to any of the lawful heirs. Such respect for the law and for the kinsmen of his intimates was shewn by this Emperor! In the same way he had seized the property of Eirenaeus who had died a long time before, although he had not a shadow of a claim to it.

And the incident directly connected with those just mentioned, which occurred at about the same time, I could not pass by in silence. There was a certain Anatolius who held chief place in the senatorial roster of Ascalon. This man's daughter had been duly married by one of the Caesareans, Mamilianus by name, a man of a very notable house. And the girl was an heiress, since she was the only child of Anatolius. Now it had been prescribed by ancient law that whenever a Senator of any one of the cities should depart this life without leaving male children, the fourth part of the property left by this man should be given to the Council of the city, while the natural heirs of the deceased should enjoy the rest; but the Emperor here too gave evidence of his own true character, for he happened to have promulgated a law recently, which arranged matters in just the opposite way, providing, namely, that when a Senator died without male issue, his natural heirs should receive the fourth part of his estate but that all the rest should be taken over by the Treasury and entered in the roster of the city's Senate. And yet never since the creation of man has either Treasurer or Emperor been empowered to share in senatorial property. So while this law was in force, the final day of life came upon Anatolius, and his daughter divided the estate with the Treasury and the Council of the city in accordance with the law, and both the Emperor himself and the magistrates in charge of the roster of Ascalon wrote letters to her releasing her from the counter-claim in this matter, since they had received their due correctly and justly. Later on Mamilianus also departed this life, the man who had been son-in‑law to Anatolius, and he left a single daughter, who alone acquired her father's estate, as was to be expected. But later on she too, while her mother still survived, reached the term of her life, having been married to one of the notables but having become mother of neither female nor male child. But Justinian seized upon all the property forthwith, letting fall the amazing statement that for the daughter of Anatolius, now an old woman, to be enriched by her husband's and her father's money was an impious thing! But in order that the woman might not henceforth be assigned to the ranks of the beggars, he ordered that this woman should receive a gold stater each day, as long as she lived, inserting in the document by means of which he had plundered all this money the statement that he relinquished the stater for the sake of piety: "For it is my custom," he said, "to do whatever is pious and righteous."

But concerning these matters it suffices to give these facts, that my account may not lead to surfeit, since it is not possible for any human being to mention them all. But that he has taken no account even of any adherent of the Blues, who were supposed to be his favourites, when money was at stake, I shall now make clear. There was a certain Malthanes in Cilicia, son-in‑law of that Leon who held, as mentioned above, the office of Referendarius as it is called. This man he directed to put a stop to the acts of violence in Cilicia. And laying hold of this pretext, Malthanes committed outrageous wrongs upon the majority of the Cilicians, and as he plundered their money, he sent some to the tyrant, while he saw fit to enrich himself with the remainder. Now all the rest endured their misfortunes in silence, but such of the men of Tarsus as were Blues, being bold in the licence which the Emperor's favour gave them, heaped many insults upon Malthanes in the public market-place when he was not present among them. And when Malthanes learned this, he straightway came to Tarsus by night, bringing a large force of soldiers, and sending them around to the houses at early dawn, he ordered them to take lodgings therein. And the Blues, thinking this to be a raid, defended themselves as well as they could. And many other mishaps took place in the darkness, but the worst was that Damianus, a member of the Senate, fell by a shot from a bow. Now this Damianus was the patron of the Blues there. And when news of this came to Byzantium, the Blues were angry and raised a great tumult throughout the city, and they plagued the Emperor about the matter exceedingly, and they vilified Leon and Malthanes roundly together with most terrible threats. And the Emperor pretended to be no less angry than they at what had happened. So he straightway wrote a letter ordering an investigation and punishment of the public acts of Malthanes. But Leon, by handing over to him a vast quantity of gold, caused him to give up at once both his anger and his fondness for the Blues, and though the matter had remained uninvestigated, when Malthanes came into the Emperor's presence in Byzantium, the latter received him with great friendliness and held him in honour. But when he went out from the Emperor's presence, the Blues, who had been watching for him, rained blows upon him in the Palace, and they would have destroyed him had not some of them prevented it, these being the men who chanced to have already received money in secret from Leon. And yet who would not call that State most pitiable in which an Emperor, having accepted a bribe, left the briber's crimes uninvestigated, and factionists, on the other hand, while the Emperor was there in the Palace, dared without any compunction to set upon one of the magistrates and to commit an unjust attack upon him? As for punishment, however, none was inflicted on account of these misdeeds, either upon Malthanes or upon his assailants. From these things, if anyone should wish, let him estimate the character of the Emperor Justinian.

 
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And as to the question whether Justinian had any consideration for the welfare of the State, the things he did to the public post and to the spies will be illuminating. For the Roman Emperors of earlier times, by way of making provision that everything should be reported to them speedily and be subject to no delay,— such as the damage inflicted by the enemy upon each several country, whatever befell the cities in the course of civil conflict or of some unforeseen calamity, the acts of the magistrates and of all others in every part of the Roman Empire — and also, to the end that those who conveyed the annual taxes might reach the capital safely and without either delay or risk, had created a swift public post extending everywhere, in the following manner. Within the distance included in each day's journey for an unencumbered traveller they established stations, sometimes eight, sometimes less, but as a general thing not less than five. And horses to the number of forty stood ready at each station. And grooms in proportion to the number of horses were detailed to all stations. And always travelling with frequent changes of the horses, which were of the most approved breeds, those to whom this duty was assigned covered, on occasion, a ten-days' journey in a single day, and accomplished all those things which have just been mentioned; and furthermore, the owners of the land everywhere, and particularly if their lands happened to lie in the interior, were exceedingly prosperous because of this system. For every year they sold the surplus of their crops to the Government for the maintenance of horses and grooms, and thus earned much money. And the result of all this was that while the treasury regularly received the taxes assessed upon each man, yet those who paid the taxes received their money but also again immediately, and there was the further advantage that the State business has been accomplished.

Now in earlier times this was the situation. But this Emperor first of all abolished the post from Chalcedon as far as Daciviza and compelled all the couriers, much against their will, to proceed from Byzantium directly to Helenopolis by sea. When they make the passage, then, in small boats of the kind the folk are accustomed to use in crossing the strait, in case a storm happens to descend upon them, they come into great danger. For since the haste which is obligatory keeps urging them on, it is impossible for them to watch for the right weather and wait for the next calm. And, in the second place, while on the route leading into Persia he did allow the previous arrangement to stand, yet for all the rest of the East as far as Egypt he allowed one station only for each day's journey, using not horses, however, but mules and only a few of them. It is no wonder, consequently, that the things which take place in each country, being reported both with difficulty and too late to give opportunity for action and behind the course of events, cannot be dealt with at all, and the owners of the lands, with crops rotting on their hands and going to waste, continually lose all their profits.

And the matter of the spies is as follows. Many men from ancient times were maintained by the State, men who would go into the enemy's country and get into the Palace of the Persians, either on the pretext of selling something of by some other device, and after making a thorough investigation of everything, they would return to the land of the Romans, where they were able to report all the secrets of the enemy to the magistrates. And they, furnished with this advance information, would be on their guard and nothing unforeseen would befall them. And this practice had existed among the Medes also from ancient times. Indeed Chosroes, as they say, increased the salaries of his spies and profited by this forethought. For nothing that was happening among the Romans escaped him. Justinian, on the other hand, by refusing to spend anything at all on them blotted out from the land of the Romans even the very name of spies, and in consequence of this action many mistakes were made and Lazica was captured by the enemy, the Romans having utterly failed to discover where in the world the Persian king and his army were. Nay more, the State had also been wont from ancient times to maintain a great number of camels, which followed the Roman army as it moved against an enemy and carried all the provisions. And in those days neither were the farmers obliged to provide transportation nor did the soldiers find themselves in want of any of the necessities; but Justinian abolished these too, practically all of them. So now-a-days, when a Roman army proceeds against the enemy, none of the needful measures can possibly be taken.

Now the most important affairs of the State were going on badly in this fashion. And there is no harm in mentioning also one of Justinian's absurdities. There was among the orators of Caesarea a certain Evangelus, a man of no little distinction, who, since the breeze of fortune had blown favourably for him, had become owner of other property and especially of much land. And later on he even purchased a village on the seashore, Porphyreon by name, paying three centenaria of gold. Learning of this, the Emperor Justinian immediately took the place away from him, giving him some small portion of its value, with the remark that it would never comport with the dignity of Evangelus, an orator, to be the owner of such a town. But I shall say nothing more about these matters, now that I have, after a fashion, made mention of them.

And among the innovations of Justinian and Theodora in the administration of the Government there is also the following. In ancient times the Senate, as it came into the Emperor's presence, was accustomed to do obeisance in the following manner. Any man of patrician rank saluted him on the right breast. And the Emperor would kiss him on the head and then dismiss him; but all the rest first bent the right knee to the Emperor and then withdrew. The Empress, however, it was not at all customary to salute. But in the case of Justinian and Theodora, all the other members of the Senate and those as well who held the rank of Patricians, whenever they entered into their presence, would prostrate themselves to the floor, flat on their faces, and holding their hands and feet stretched far out they would touch with their lips one foot of each before rising. For even Theodora was not disposed to forego this testimony to her dignity, she who acted as though the Roman Empire lay at her feet, but was by no means averse to receiving even the ambassadors of the Persians and of the other barbarians and to bestowing upon them presents of money, a thing which had never happened since the beginning of time. And while in earlier times those who attended upon the Emperor used simply to call him "Emperor" and his consort "Empress," and used to address each one of the other magistrates in accordance with his standing at the moment, yet if anyone should enter into conversation with either one of these two and should use the words "Emperor" are "Empress" and fail to call them "Master" or "Mistress," or should undertake to use any other word but "slaves" in referring to any of the magistrates, such a person would be accounted both stupid and too free of tongue, and, as though he had erred most grievously and had treated with gross indignity those whom he should by no means have so treated, would leave the imperial presence.

And whereas in former times very few persons entered the Palace, and that too with difficulty, yet since the time when these succeeded to the throne, both magistrates and all others together remained constantly in the Palace. And the reason was that in the old days the magistrates were permitted to do what was just and lawful according to their own judgment. Hence the magistrates, being occupied with their own administrative business, used to remain in their own lodgings, and the subjects of the Emperor, since they neither saw nor heard of any act of violence, bothered him, as was to be expected, very little. But these rulers, always drawing all matters into their own hands to the ruin of their subjects, compelled everybody to dance attendance upon them in most servile fashion; and it was possible to see, practically every day, all the law-courts, on the one hand, for the most part empty, but at the Emperor's Court, on the contrary, one would find crowds and insolence and mighty pushing and all the time nothing but servility. And those who were supposed to be intimate with the royal pair, standing there continuously the entire day and regularly during the greater portion of the night, being without sleep and without food at the usual hours, were done to death, and this was all that their seeming good fortune amounted to. And when at length they were set free from all this, the poor fellows would quarrel with each other over the question of what had become of the money of the Romans. For whereas some maintained that it was all in the possession of the barbarians, others said that the Emperor kept it shut up in a large number of special rooms. So when Justinian either, if he is a man, departs this life, or, as being the Lord of the evil spirits, lays his life aside, all who have the fortune to have survived to that time will know the truth.