« ՆախորդըContinue »
came to an evil end. Zeno could count on the active support of his countrymen the Isaurians, who now formed the most trustworthy part of the army, and on the passive obedience, or at worst the neutrality, of the mercantile classes and the bureaucracy, who disliked all change and disorder. Hence it came to pass that court conspiracies, or local revolts of divisions of the army, were not enough to shake his throne.
The first half of Zeno's reign may be divided into three parts by these three conspiracies. The emperor had hardly ascended the throne when the first of them broke out: it was a palace intrigue hatched by the Empress-Dowager Verina, who detested her son-in-law. The conspirators took Zeno quite by surprise, they failed to catch him, for he fled from Constantinople at the first alarm, but they got possession of the capital, and proclaimed Basiliscus, the brother of Verina, as Augustus. The mob of the city, with whom Zeno was very unpopular, joined the rising, and massacred the Isaurian troops who were within the walls; their leader's absence seems to Revolt of Basi- have paralysed the resistance of the soldiery, liscus, 475-477. Zeno meanwhile escaped to his native country, and raised an Isaurian army: Syria and the greater part of Asia Minor remained faithful to him, and he prepared to make a fight for his throne. Luckily for him, Basiliscus was a despicable creature,—it was he who had wrecked the great expedition against the Vandals which Leo I. had sent out seven years before. He soon became far more hated by the Constantinopolitans than Zeno had ever been; it is doubtful whether his arrogance, his financial extortions, or his addiction to the Monophysite heresy made him most detested. The army which he sent out against Zeno was intrusted—very unwisely—to a general of Isaurian birth, the magister militum Illus, who allowed himself to be moved by the prayers and bribes of the legitimate emperor, and finally went over to him. Having recovered all Asia Minor, Zeno then stirred up in Europe Theodoric the Ainal against his rival, and induced the Goth to beset Constantinople from the West, while he himself blockaded it on the Eastern side. The town threw open its gates, and Basiliscus, after a reign of twenty months, was dragged from sanctuary and brought before his nephew's tribunal. Zeno promised him that his blood should not be shed, but sent him and his sons to a desolate castle in Cappadocia among the mountain-snows, where they were given such scanty food and raiment in their solitary confinement, that ere long they died of privation (477).
It was just after his triumph over Basiliscus that Zeno received the ambassadors of Odoacer, and was saluted as Emperor of West and East alike, in spite of his advice to the Romans to take back as their Caesar their old ruler, Julius Nepos, who was still in possession of part of Dalmatia, though he had lost Italy three years before. Perhaps Zeno might have been tempted to interfere with something more than advice in the affairs of the West, if his second batch of troubles had not fallen upon him. These misfortunes were his Gothic
THE EASTERN EMPERORS, 457-518,
WITH THEIR FAMILIES.
[Names of Emperors in Capitals.]
Zeno, LEO, d. 480. d. 474.
anus, rebel in 479.
war with the two Theodorics—the sons of Theodemir and Triarius—which began in the year following his restoration.
The Ostrogoths had never gone westward, like their kinsmen the Visigoths. They had lingered on the Danube, first as members of the vast empire of Attila the Hun, then as occupying Pannonia in their own right. But, in the reign of Leo I., they had moved across the Save into the territory of the Eastern Emperors, and had permanently established themselves in Moesia. There they had settled down and made terms with the Constantinopolitan Government. But they were most unruly vassals, and, even in full time of peace, could never be trusted to refrain from raids into Thrace and Macedonia. The main body of their tribe now acknowledged as its chief Theodoric the son of Theodemir, the representative Early life of of the heaven-born race of the Amals, the kings Theodoric. Qf i^ Goths from time immemorial. Theodoric was now a young man of twenty-three, stirring and ambitious, who had already won a great military reputation by victories over the Bulgarians, the Sarmatians, and other tribes who dwelt across the Danube. He had spent ten years of his boyhood as a hostage at Constantinople, where he had learnt only too well the weak as well as the strong points of the East-Roman Empire. His after-life showed that he had there imbibed a deep respect for Roman law, order, and administrative unity; but he had also come to entertain a contempt for the timid Zeno, and a conviction that his bold tribesmen were more than a match for the motley mercenary army of the emperor, of which so large a proportion was still composed of Goths and other Teutons, who could not be trusted to fight with a good heart against their Ostrogothic kinsmen.
But Theodoric the Amal was not the only chief of his race in the Balkan peninsula. He had a namesake, Theodoric the son of Triarius, better known as Theodoric the One-eyed, who had long served as a mercenary captain in the imperial army, and had headed the Teutonic auxiliaries in the camp of the usurper Basiliscus. When Basiliscus fell, Theodoric the Oneeyed collected the wrecks of the rebel forces, strengthened them with broken bands of various races, many of whom were Ostrogoths, and kept the field against Zeno. He retired into > the Balkans, and occasionally descended to ravage the Thracian plains; but meanwhile he sent an embassy to Zeno, offering to submit if he were given the title of magister militum, whiCh he had held under Basiliscus, and taken with all his army into the imperial pay.
"Zeno indignantly refused to entertain such terms, and resolved to take in hand the destruction of the rebel. He sent an Asiatic army into Thrace to beset the son of Triarius from the south, and bade his warlike vassal the The two son of Theodemir to attack his namesake from the The0d0"«north, on the Moesian side. The younger Theodoric eagerly consented, for he grudged to see any other Gothic chief than himself powerful in the peninsula, and looked down on the son of Triarius as a low-born upstart, because he did not come like himself from the royal blood of the Amals.1 The campaign against Theodoric the One-eyed turned out disastrously for the imperial forces. The Roman army in the south missed the track of the rebel, whether by accident or design, while Theodoric the Amal with his forces got entangled in the defiles of the Balkans, and surrounded by the army of his rival. He had been promised the co-operation of the army of Thrace, but no Romans appeared, and his projects began to look dark. His one-eyed rival, riding to within earshot of his camp, taunted him with his folly in listening to the orders and promises of the emperor. 'Madman,' he cried, 'betrayer of your own race, do you not see that the Roman plan is always to destroy Goths by Goths? Whichever of us falls, they, not we, will be the stronger. They never will give you real help, but send you out against me to perish here
1 By his name (Triarius) the father of Theodoric the One-eyed must have been a Roman or a Romanised Goth, but the One-eyed had himself married a wife who was close akin to Theodoric the Amal, for his son Recitach is called the Amal's cousin.
in the desert.' Then all the warriors of the Amal shouted that the One-eyed was right, and that they would not fight against their brethren in the other camp. The son of Theodemir bowed to their will and joined himself to the son of Triarius. Uniting their armies, they moved down into the valley of the Hebrus, and advanced toward Constantinople. They sent Zeno an ultimatum, in which the Amal demanded more territory for his tribe, and a supply of corn and money, while the One-eyed stipulated for the post of magister militum, and an annual payment of 2000 pounds of gold. Zeno, who was very anxious to keep the younger Theodoric on his side, proffered him a great sum of money, and the hand of the daughter of the patrician Olybrius, if he would abandon his namesake the rebel. But the Amal refused to break the oath that he had sworn to his ally, and marched westward to ravage Macedonia up to the very gates of Thessalonica. Zeno sent his troops into winter-quarters, as the season was late, and made one final attempt to stave off the impending danger by offering terms to Theodoric the One-eyed. Less true to his word than the Amal, the elder Theodoric listened to the emperor's offer, and, on being promised the title of magister militum and all the revenues that he had enjoyed under Basiliscus, led his troops over into the imperial camp (479).
For the next two years the son of Theodemir ranged over the whole Balkan peninsula from Dyrrhachium to the gates of Constantinople, plundering and burning those parts of Macedonia and Thrace which had hitherto escaped the ravages of the Huns of Attila and the Ostrogoths of the previous generation. The generals of Zeno met with little good fortune in their attempts to check him, the only success they obtained being a victory Wars of won by a certain Sabinianus in 480, who cut off Zeno and the rear-guard of Theodoric as it was crossing the theAniai6 Albanian mountains, and captured 2000 waggons and 5000 Gothic warriors. But Sabinianus made himself too much feared by Zeno, who, on a suspicion of treachery, had him executed in the following year. It was not