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thankless master followed him to the grave before the end of the same year. On the 11th of December 565, Justinian, after living more than seventy years, and reigning for thirty-eight, descended to the tomb. We have spoken of Justinian's wars, of his buildings, of his financial policy, of his ecclesiastical controversies. But for none of these is he so well remembered as for his activity in yet another sphere. It is by his great work of codifying the Roman law, and leaving it in a complete and Legal reforms orderly form as a heritage to the jurists of the of Justinian. modern world that he earned his greatest title to immortality. This was an achievement of the first half of his reign, carried out with the aid of the best lawyers of Constantinople, headed by Tribonian, the able but greedy quaestor against whom the rioters in the ‘Nika' sedition had raged so furiously. Roman law had hitherto consisted of two elements—the constitutions and edicts of the emperors, and the decisions of the great lawyers of the past. Both these elements were somewhat chaotic. Five centuries of imperial edicts overruled and contradicted each other in the most hopeless confusion; Pagan and Christian ideas were intermixed in them, many had gone completely out of date, and new conditions of society had made others impossible to work. Nor were the responsa prudentum or decisions of the ancient jurisconsults any less chaotic; in modern England the difficulties of ‘case made law,’ as it has been happily called, are perplexing enough to enable us to understand the troubles of a Constantinopolitan judge, confronted with a dozen precedents of contradictory import. Justinian removed all this confusion by producing three great works. His Code collected the imperial constitutions into a manageable shape, striking out all the obsolete edicts, and bringing the rest up to the requirements of a Christian state of the sixth century. His Digest or Pandects did the same for the decisions of the ancient lawyers, laying down the balance of authority, and specifying the precedents which were to be accepted. Lastly, the Institutes gave a general sketch of Roman law in the form of a commentary on its principles for the use of students. These volumes were destined to be the foundation of all systematic jurisprudence in modern Europe; their compilation was the last, and not the least, of the works of the ancient Roman spirit of law and order, incarnate in the last great emperor of Roman speech, for none of Justinian's successors could say, as could he himself, that Latin was his native tongue. After-ages remembered him, above all things, as the compiler of the Code, and it was as its framer that he is set by Dante in one of the starry thrones of the Christian paradise.
In spite of all his great achievements it cannot be disputed that Justinian left the empire weaker than he found it. Its territorial expansion in Italy, Africa, and Spain did not compensate for the exhaustion of the Eastern provinces. By his ruthless taxation Justinian had drained off their vital energies, and left them poorer and weaker than they had ever been before. Even his armies felt the reaction; at the end of his reign we read that they were sinking both in numbers and efficiency; the new and extended frontiers were more than they could guard, and the old race of generals who had fol. lowed Belisarius was dead. Justinian himself is said to have neglected their pay and maintenance, while he set his aged brains to wrestle with the problem of the ‘Three Chapters’ or the heresy of Aphthartodocetism. Like Louis xiv. of France, whom he resembles in many other respects, Justinian closed a reign of unparalleled magnificence as a gloomy pietist, whose despotism drained and crushed a people who had grown to abhor his very name.
The Sons of Chlodovech—Theuderich conquers Thuringia, 531—Childebert and Chlothar conquer Burgundy, 532—Their war with the Visigoths— Theudebert invades Italy—Chlothar reunites the Frankish kingdoms, 558 —Organisation of the Frankish realm—The great officials—Mayors of the Palace—Counts and Dukes—Local government, the Mallus—Legal and financial arrangement.
CHLoDovech left four sons: one, Theuderich, borne to him by a Frankish wife in early youth; three, Chlodomer, Childebert, and Chlothar, the offspring of his Burgundian spouse, Chrotechildis. In accordance with the old Teutonic custom of heritage-partition, the four young men divided among themselves their father's newly-won realms, though the division threatened to wreck the Frankish power in its earliest youth. Theuderich, the eldest son, took the most compact and most Teutonic of the parts of Chlodovech's realm, the old kingdom of the Ripuarian Franks along the Rhine bank from Köln as far south as Basle, with the new Frankish settle- The sons of
ments east of the Rhine in the valley of the Main. Chlodovech.
He fixed his residence, however, not at Köln, the old Ripuarian capital, but in the more southerly town of Metz on the Moselle, an ancient Roman city, though one less hitherto famous than its greater neighbour Trier. In addition to Ripuaria Theuderich took a half share of the newly onquered Aquitaine, its eastern half from Clermont and Limoges to Albi.
While Ripuaria was given to Theuderich, his brother Chlothar obtained the other old Frankish realm, the ancient territory of the Salian Franks from the Scheldt-mouth to the Somme, together with his father's first conquests from the GalloRomans in the valley of the Aisne. His capital was Soissons, the old stronghold of Syagrius, in the extreme southern angle of his realm. The remaining two brothers, Chlodomer and Childebert, reigned respectively at Orleans and Paris, and ruled the lands on the Seine, Loire, and Garonne which Chlodovech had won from Syagrius and Alaric. Their kingdoms must have been far less strong, because far less thickly settled by the Franks, than those of Theuderich and Chlothar. Chlodomer's dominion comprised the whole valley of the middle and lower Loire, and Western Aquitaine, including Bordeaux and Toulouse. Childebert had a smaller share— the Seine valley and the coasts of the Channel from the mouth of the Somme westward. The four brother kings were all worthy sons of their wicked father—daring unscrupulous men of war, destitute of natural affection, cruel, lustful, and treacherous. But they were eminently suited to extend, by the same means that Chlodovech had used, the realms that he had left them. The times, too, were propitious, for during their lives was removed the single bar that hindered the progress of the Franks, the power of the strong Gothic realm that obeyed Theodoric the Great. Although the sons of Chlodovech not unfrequently plotted each other's deposition or murder, yet they generally turned their arms against external enemies, and even on occasion joined to aid each other. The object which each set before himself was the subjection of the nearest independent state. Theuderich therefore looked towards inner Germany and the kingdom of the Thuringians, on the Saal and upper Weser; Childebert and Chlodomer turned their attention towards their southern neighbours the Burgundians. Both these states were destined to fall before the sons of Chlodovech, but neither of them without a hardly fought struggle. Theuderich was distracted from his first attempts against Thuringia by a great piratical invasion of the Lower Rhineland by predatory bands from Scandinavia, led by the Danish king Hygelac (Chrocholaicus), who is mainly remembered as the brother of that Beowulf whom the earliest Anglo-Saxon epic celebrates (515). The son of Theuderish the king of the Ripuarians slew the pirate, and conquers next year the Thuringian war began. It did not Thuringia. terminate till 531, when Theuderich, calling in the aid of his brother Chlothar, utterly destroyed the Thuringian realm, and made it tributary to himself. The Frank celebrated his victory first by an unsuccessful attempt to murder his brother PERIOD i. h