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the Franks, was utterly defeated, and fell with the greater part of his men. So crushed were the Visigoths by the disaster that Chlodovech was able to overrun all the provinces between the Loire and the Garonne without striking another blow. He entered Bordeaux in triumph, and there spent the winter. Next spring he marched against Toulouse, the Gothic capital, and took it, and with it the great hoard of the Visigothic kings, including many of the Roman trophies that Alaric and Ataulf had carried off from Italy a hundred years before. Meanwhile, Chlodovech's Burgundian allies overran Provence, and captured all its cities save Arles. To add to the troubles of the Visigoths they were distracted by civil strife; one party recognised as king Amalric, the infant son of Alaric, by Theodoric's daughter, his lawful queen; the other elected Gesalic, a bastard son of Alaric, who had fortified himself in Narbonne and Barcelona. But the Franks and Burgundians drove Gesalic over the Pyrenees, and it appeared as if there was about to be an end of all Visigothic power north of those mountains.
Meanwhile, Chlodovech returned from Toulouse to Tours, where he found awaiting him ambassadors from the Emperor Anastasius, who saluted him by their master's command with the titles of proconsul and patrician, and presented him with a diadem and purple robe. Anastasius sought by these honours to win an ally against Theodoric the Ostrogoth, with whom he had lately quarrelled. Chlodovech accepted them with alacrity, because of the prestige they gave him in the eyes of his Roman subjects, who saw his power over them formally legalised by the grant of the Emperor.
This was the culminating scene of Chlodovech's life; for, in the next year, fortune turned somewhat against him. The great Theodoric interfered in the Gothic War as the guardian and protector of his grandson, Amalric. His armies routed the united Franks and Burgundians near Arles, where they are said to have slain 30,000 men. They then reconquered Narbonne and all the Mediterranean coast as far as Spain. Chlodovech's conquests were thus restricted to the land west of the Cevennes, but still comprised the greater bulk of Visigothic Gaul, with the three great cities of Poictiers, Bordeaux, and Toulouse (510). Only the Narbonensis and Provence were saved from him by Theodoric, who now chased away the usurper Gesalic, and ruled all Spain and south Gaul till his grandson Amalric came of age.
Checked on the south by the great Ostrogoth, Chlodovech turned north to round off his dominions by the acquisition of the last independent Frankish state. Sigebert of Koln was now very old, and his ambitious son Chloderich was persuaded by Chlodovech not only to dethrone, but to slay his father. When he had seized the kingdom Chlodovech affected great wrath and indignation against him, procured his death at the hands of assassins, and then annexed his kingdom. All the Frankish states were now united under one hand, but Chlodovech Chlodovech did not long survive this last success, ^"Vranks though, according to the strange words of his 510. admirer, Bishop Gregory of Tours, 'The Lord
cast his enemies under his power day after day, and increased his kingdom, because he walked with a right heart before Him, and did that which was pleasing in His sight!'
In 511 this sanguinary ruffian, murderer, and traitor died, just after he had presided at Orleans over a synod of thirty-two Gaulish bishops who were anxious to repress Arianism, and gladly called in the secular arm of their orthodox lord to their aid. Chlodovech was morally far the worst of all the Teutonic founders of kingdoms: even Gaiseric the Vandal compares favourably with him. Yet his work alone was destined to stand, not so much from his own abilities, though these were considerable enough, as from the happy chance which put his successors in religious sympathy with their subjects, and preserved the young kingdom, during the following generation, from any conflict with such powerful foes as those who were destined to overthrow the monarchies of the Ostrogoths, the Visigoths, and the Vandals.
JUSTINIAN AND HIS WARS
Character of Justinian—His marriage with Theodora—His first War with Persia, 528-31—Rise of Belisarius—Justinian suppresses the 'Nika' sedition, 532—His foreign policy—Belisarius conquers the Vandals, 533-4— Decay of the Ostrogoths in Italy—Justinian attacks Theodahat—Belisarius conquers Sicily, Naples, and Rome—Siege of Rome by the Ostrogoths [537-8]—Belisarius defeats the Ostrogoths and captures Ravenna .
For three quarters of a century, during the reigns of the four cautious and elderly Caesars, whose annals fill the space between 457 and 527, the East-Roman Empire had been recovering its strength, and storing up new energy for a sudden outburst of vigour, under the able, restless, and ambitious sovereign who followed the aged Justinus I. Justinian—the son of Sabatius the brother of Justinus—was nearly forty years old when, he became, by his uncle's death, sole ruler of the empire. He was no mere uncultured soldier like his predecessor; when he obtained promotion in the army, Justinus sent for his nephew from the Dardanian village where his family dwelt, and had him reared in the capital in all the accomplishments which befitted the heir of a great fortune. By the acknowledgment of his bitterest ^
T \- . i- j , j- r Character of
enemies Justinian had an extraordinary power of justinian. assimilating knowledge of all kinds: he took a keen interest alike in statecraft and architecture, in theology and law, in finance and music. When his uncle came to the Period I. E
throne, the student soon developed into the practical administrator, for Justinus trusted him with all those details of civil government which he himself was unable to understand or to manage. It soon became known that the heir of Justinus was a man of extraordinary ability and untiring thirst for work. At an age when most young men would have been tempted by their sudden elevation to plunge into the enjoyments that lay open to an imperial prince, Justinian applied himself to mastering all the tiresome details of the administration of the empire. Men noted with surprise that he never seemed happy save when he was in his cabinet, surrounded by his secretaries, his registers, his files of reports, and despatches. He was like the Aristotelian character who was 'too indifferent to things pleasurable,' for nothing save work appeared to have any attraction for him. He rose early, spent his day in administrative duties, and his night in reading and writing. As he grew older he seemed to dispense with sleep altogether, as. if he had become free from the common necessities of man's nature. There was something strange and horrible in his cold-blooded, untiring energy; superstitious men whispered that he was inspired by a restless demon who gave him no peace, or that he was actually a demon himself. Had not a belated courtier met him after midnight pacing the dark corridors of the palace with a fearful and changed countenance that was no longer human, or even—as the story grew— with no face all, a shapeless monstrous shadow?
But that Justinian was a man, with all a man's waywardness and recklessness, was proved ere long. To the surprise of the whole population of the empire, and the utter horror and confusion of all respectable persons, it was suddenly noised abroad that the heir of the empire had announced his intention of marrying Theodora the dancer, the chief star of the Byzantine comic stage. The staid passionless bureaucrat was contemplating a step from which Nero or Heliogabalus would have shrunk with dismay.
We have elaborate but untrustworthy details of the scandalous early life of Theodora in a book—the 'Secret History'— which bears the name of the historian Procopius, but was in all probability no work of his.1 She was the daughter of Acacius the Cypriot, an employe of the 'Green Faction' at the Hippodrome, and had for some years appeared on the stage as an actress and dancer. So much we may take for truth; knowing the general character of Roman actresses we may assume that there was some foundation for the stories over which the 'Secret History' gloats. As to the particular facts alleged, we may conclude that they are untrust- Theodora worthy—among those which the 'Secret History' gives as most certain are the statements that she was a vampire, and often held intercourse with evil spirits; the rest is written in the same spirit of silly and superstitious malignity. But we may fairly conclude that the marriage of Justinian was a scandal and a wonder. His mother and his aunt the Empress Euphemia, as we know, set their faces against it; but he went on in his usual steady persistence, gradually warred down the will of his old uncle Justinus, and formally took Theodora to wife. The emperor was even induced to bestow upon her the high title of Patrician.
In brains and power of will Theodora was a fit enough occupant for the imperial throne, whatever her past history may have been. She was as ambitious, restless, and capable as her husband, and acted as much as his colleague as his consort. We shall see how on one occasion of crisis she stood boldly forward and interposed between him and destruction. Her worst enemies do not suggest that she was an unfaithful or profitless spouse to him; the 'Secret History' itself calls her after her marriage luxurious, cruel, capricious, arrogant, but does not accuse her of evil-living or folly. Against this we may set the well-ascertained facts that she was devoted to the exercises of religion, and founded many charitable institutions.
1 For a discussion of this print see Mr. Bury's Later Roman Empire, vol. i. p. 359, where he concludes—with Ranke—that the work is the forged compilation of a personal enemy.