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was soon collected, and Vitiges led his followers to the siege of Rome. Belisarius concentrated his forces in the Eternal city, which was de. fended with equal skill and bravery ; but famine soon appeared within the walls, and the citizens became anxious for a capitulation. A conspiracy was formed under the sanction of the pope, Sylverius, for betraying the city to the Goths ; but it was discovered by an intercepted letter. Belisarius sent Sylverius into banishment, and ordered the bishops to elect a new pontiff: before however a synod could be assembled for the purpose, the general's wife, the infamous Antonina, sold the Holy See to Vigilus for a bribe of two hundred pounds weight of gold. Reinforcements soon after arrived from the east, and the Goths were forced to raise the siege of Rome, having lost one third of their nunber before its walls. Belisarius pursued the retreating enemy to the marshes of Ravenna, and would probably have captured that city, but for the jealousy of the eunuch Narses, whom Justinian had intrusted with the independent command of a large division of the Byzantine army.
Though the differences between the two leaders were finally adjusted, the Goths had taken advantage of the interval to collect new strength; and ten thousand Burgundians, sent to invade Italy by the command of Theodobert, king of the Franks, had stormed and plundered Milan. Soon after, Theodobert passed the Alps in person at the head of one hundred thousand men. The Franks stormed Genoa, and devastated Liguria ; but their excesses brought pestilence into their camp, they perished by thousands and Theodobert was induced, by his increasing distresses, to enter into terms of accommodation with the emperor. Delivered from this pressing danger, Belisarius laid siege to Ravenna, which was forced to capitulate (A. D. 539); and thus the Gothic kingdom of Italy was destroyed.
Belisarius. returned to Constantinople in triumph, leading with him the captive Vitiges; he was sent to conduct the Persian war, but was soon recalled and disgraced by the ungrateful Justinian. While the conquests of Belisarius were restoring the western provinces to the empire, barbarous hordes ravaged, almost with impunity, the northeastern frontiers. Unable or unwilling to meet the Gepidæ in the field, Justinian entered into alliance with the Longobardi or Lombards (so called from their long barts or lances), who had just thrown off the yoke of the Heruli, and gave them settlements in Pannonia. A war of forty years' duration, between the Lombards and Gepidæ, protected the empire from the invasions of both hordes; but it was still exposed to the incursions of the Sclavonians and Bulgarians, who annually purchased a passage through the territories of the Gepidæ, and extended their inroads even into southern Greece. . Commotions in the remote east brought Europeans, about this time, acquainted with new and more formidable races of barbarians, the Avars and the Turks, whose importance may justify a short digression on their origin.
The rs, from an unknown age, possessed the mountains and deserts that border on the lake Baïkal in northeastern Asia. Thence they advanced southward under a monarch named Túlún, and extended their empire to the eastern sea, which separates Corea from Japan. The conqueror took the title of Chakan or Chagan, a name still used on the coins of the Turkish sultan. But the prosperity of the Avars was
not of long duration ; they were assailed by rival tribes from the north, and at the same time harassed by civil wars; while thus distressed, they were attacked by a new horde, called Thiúkhiú by the Chinese writers, but known 0 the Europeans as the Turks. The Avars were overthrown by these new competitors for empire, and their power totally destroyed; but their name was taken by a new nation, the Ogors or Varchonites, who after being defeated by the Turks, migrated toward Europe by the route of the Volga. They chose the false designation, because the name of the Avars was still formidable, and they preserved it on account of the terror which they saw it produced.
The Turks first appear in history as the slaves of the original Avars they inhabited the great Altaian mountains, and were engaged in working tiie mines and attending the forges of those rich mineral districts. Their skill in fabricating armor and weapons was very great, and they prided themselves upon the excellence of their manufactures so much, that, when they became lords of eastern Asia, their Khakans annually forged a piece of iron in the presence of the heads of the nation. Under the guidance of Thú-men, they asserted their independence, and made slaves of their former masters. So rapid was their progress, that during the reigns of Thú-men and his successor Dizabúl, their empire was extended from the Volga to the sea of Japan. 'They were thus brought to the frontiers of the Byzantine and Persian dominions, and engaged in commercial relations with both, by their occupation of the countries through which the silk-trade was carried.
The great rival of Justinian was Chosroes or Nushírván, the most celebrated Persian monarch of the Sassanid dynasty ; in the early part of his reign he won the affection of his subjects, by extirpating the pernicious system of policy and religion which his predecessor Kobad, seduced by an impostor named Mazdak, had patronised. His next care was to give confidence to the laboring classes by judicious laws securing the rights of industry, and by a sedulous attention to the administration of justice. Having thus secured the tranquillity and prosperity of Persia, he directed his attention to the favorite project of the Sassanides, the re-establishment of the empire of Cyrus, and perceiving that the forces of Justinian were engaged in the west, invaded Syria, at the head of a powerful army (A. D. 540). His victorious career was checked for a brief space by Belisarius, but after the recall and disgrace of that general, he urged forward his conquests with alarming rapidity. Justinian, in his distress, repented of his ingratitude ; Belisarius was restored to command, and by his judicious exertions, Nushírvan was forced to return across the Euphrates, loaded, however, with the spoils of western Asia. His next enterprise was the conquest of the Caucasian districts inhabited by the Lazi, the Colchians, and other semi-barbarous tribes which the Byzantines struggled to prevent, and this led to the tedious Lazic war, in which the strength of both empires was uselessly wasted. In consequence of the Persian war, Justinian entered into a treaty with the Abyssinians, whose monarch had subdued the greater part of Arabia, in the expectation of opening, by his means, a naval communication with China and India ; but the design was fnstrated by the reluctance of the Ethiopian monarch to engage in a doubtful contest with the power of Persia.
The provinces of Africa and Italy, acquired by the valor of Pelisarius, were nearly lost by the incapacity and tyranny of his successors. Their weakness provoked the Moors to take arms; and, though these barbarians were finally reduced, the African province was changed from a fertile and populous country into a savage and silent desert. Still more dangerous was the revolt of the Goths under the gallant Totila (A. D. 541), who in a very brief space recovered the greater part of Italy. Finding his generals successively defeated, Justinian sent Belisarius to the theatre of his former glory; but he neglected to supply the hero with sufficient forces; and Rome was captured by Tatila, almost in sight of the imperial army. The city was recovered soon after, and the old general gained some advantages over Totila ; but finding himself unsuppor.ed, he solicited permission to return, and departed from Italy disgraced, not so much by his failure, as by the plunder he had permitted Antonina to extort from those he was sent to defend (A. D. 548). Totila, after the departure of Belisarius, again made himself master of Rome, but the maritime cities of Italy resisted his :ssaults, and supported the imperial interests until the eunuch Narses was sent into the peninsula (A. D. 552).
J.ustinian granted to this favorite what he had denied to Belisarius, a competerit supply of the munitions of war; allies were entreated to send contingents, and mercenaries were hired from the principal barbarous tribes. Thus supplied, the eunuch eagerly sought to bring the Goths to an engagement; but Totila showed equal ardor for the combat, and the hostile forces soon met in the vicinity of Rome. In the very commencement of the battle the Gothic cavalry, hurried forward by their impetuosity, advanced so far beyond their infantry, that they were surrounded and cut to pieces before they could receive assistance. Totila, hasting with a chosen troop to remedy the disorder, was struck to the earth mortally wounded, and his followers instantly fled in confusion. Rome opened its gates to the conquerors; but the imperial forces, especially the barbarian mercenaries, treated the city more cruelly than the Gothic conquerors had done, and inflicted on the citizens thu niingled horror of lust, rapine, and murder. The bravest of the Cioths retired, after their defeat, beyond the Po, and chose Teias for their king. War was of course renewed; but in a fierce battle, which lasted two entire days, Teias was slain, and the power of the Ostrogotiis irretrievally ruired. Narses liad scarcely time to recover froni che fatigues of this campaign, when lie was summoned to repel an in rasion of the Franks and Allemans; he routed them with great sluug'iter; and then returning to Rome, gratified its citizens by the semblance of a triumph. Italy was thus reduced to a Byzantine province, governed by the exarchs of Ravenna ; and Narses himself, the first and most powerful of the exarchs, governel the whole peninsula
fur fifteen years.
In the meantime Belisarius had been sumn:oned to defend the empire from the langer3 with which it was menaced, by an invasion of the Bulgarians. He gained a decisive victory over the barbarians, but was prevented froin improving his advantages by the intrigues of the courtiers. The Bulgarians were induced to return beyond the Danube, by the payment of a large ransom for their captives; and Justinian claimed the gratitude of his subjects for accelerating their departure by the threat of placing armed vessels in the Danube. This was the last campaign of Belisarius; he was soon after disgraced and imprisoned, under a false charge of treason: his innocence was subsequently proved, and his freedom restored, but grief and resentment hurried him to the grave; and his treasures were seized by the rapacious emperor. Eight months afterward Justinian sunk into the tomb, scarcely regretted by his subjects. He was a pious and diligent sovereign, but he wanted energy to contend against the vices of his court and the age. His talents as a legislator and statesman were great; had he acted on his own principles, he would have surpassed Augustus, but he yielded his power to the infamous Theodora, and to unworthy ministers who abused his confidence, and oppressed the empire.
SECTION III.-The Establishment of the Civil Law.
Early in his reign, Justinian directed his attention to the state of the law in his empire, and formed the useful project of digesting into a uniform code the vast mass of laws, rules, and judicial maxims, which the various interests of the Romans and Byzantines, their progress in civilization, and the inconstancy of their rulers, had produced, during the course of thirteen hundred years. He saw that the multitude of ordinances occasioned confusion and disorder, and that the heap of inconsistent decisions and regulations, formed a labyrinth in which justice went astray, and iniquity found avenues for escape. The execution of this great plan was not worthy of the design. At the head of the commission appointed to prepare the code was Tribonian, a lawyer of great eminence, but unfortunately an interested flatterer and corrupt judge; accustomed to sell justice, he altered, perverted, or suppressed many excellent laws.
He frequently persuaded the emperor to destroy, by supplementary edicts called Novels, the principles of right which had been previously established in the Code and the Digest.
Justinian commenced with the Code. In an edict, dated the 3d of February, A. D. 528, addressed to the senate of Constantinople, he declared his resolution of collecting into a single volunie, not merely the laws in the three previous codes of Gregory, Hermogenianus, and Theodosius, but also the laws that had been published by imperial authority since the formation of the Theodosian code. . A commission of ten eniinent lawyers, with Tribonian at its head, was charged with the execution of this task. They were permitted to suppress repetitions, to remove contradictory or obsolete laws, to add what was necessary for exactness or explanation, and to unite, under one head, what was spread over a great variety of laws. The work went on so rapidly, that in little more than a year the new code, containing, in twelve books, ali the imperial laws from the accession of the Emperor Adrian was ready to appear. Justinian affixed the imperial seal to the new constitution (A. D. 529), and transmitted it, with a suitable edict, to Mennas, the prætorian præsect. In this edict he congratulates hiinself and the empire on having found commissioners possessing so much zeal, knowiedge, and probity; he gives the collection the force of law, ordaining
that the new code alone should be cited in courts of justice; and he commands the præfect to have this made known through the empire.
A more extensive and difficult work remained, to collect the scattered monuments of ancient jurisprudence. Justinian confided this task also to Tribonian, and gave him the power of nominating his fellow commissioners. Tribonian chose one of the magistrates who had already aided in the formation of the Code, four professors of jurisprudence, and eleven advocates of high legal reputation. These seventeen commissioners were instructed to search out, collect, and put in order, all that was really useful in the books of the juriconsults who had been authorized to make or interpret laws by preceding sovereigns; they were permitted, as in the case of the Code, to change, add, or retrench, and to fix doubtful cases by precise definitions. The emperor recommended them in settling any point, to regard neither the number nor the reputation of the juriconsults who had given opinions on the subject, but to be guided solely by reason and'equity. Their collectidn was to be arranged in fifty books, having all the matter arranged under their respective titles, and was to be named the Digest, on account of its orderly classification, or the Pandects, because it was to contain all the ancient jurisprudence.* But the commissioners seem to have executed their task with more zeal and speed than exactness. himself did not expect that the work could be completed in less than ten years. It was necessary to examine carefully more than two thousand volumes; to discuss, compare, and reduce into order, an innumerable number of decisions; to reform some of them, to reverse others, and to classify the whole. But Tribonian, who knew that in enterprises which engage the vanity of princes, the delay between the design and execution is borne with great impatience, hurried on the work so rapidly that it was completed in three years.
On the 16th of December, 533, Justinian invested this collection with the authority of law, by a constitution of state, addressed to the senate of Constantinople, and all his subjects. In this edict he states,
, that the enormous chaos of ancient decisions have been reduced to a twentieth part, without the omission of anything essential, so that the order and brevity of this body of jurisprudence, and the facility with which it could be learned, took away every excuse from negligence or ignorance. He declares, that though some errors may have crept into a work of such vast magnitude, their number is very limited ; and he asserts, rather too hastily, that it contains none of those inconsistent decisions which lawyers call antinomies.f Should any point be found deficient and obscure, he wills that recourse should be had to the imperial authority, which alone has the power to supply or interpret the laws. To prevent the recurrence of the ancient confusion, by diversity of sentiments, he forbids all commentary, permitting only the transla. tion of the laws into Greek, with the addition of titles and paratitlesthat is to say, summaries of their contents. He forbids the use of abbreviations in transcribing them, declaring that the copy in which a
* From mav, all, and dɛyeofai, to contain. The fifty books of the Pandects are divided into four hundred and twenty-three titles, which contain nine thousand one hundred and twenty-three laws, each marked with the name of its author.
† From avri, contrary to, and