Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

tations *.

The populousness of this favoured city was the next and most serious obječt of the attention of its founder. In the dark ages which succeeded the translation of the empire, the remote and the immediate consequences of that memorable event were strangely confounded by the vanity of the Greeks, and the credulity of the Latins “. . It was asserted and believed, that all the noble families of Rome, the senate, and the equestrian order, with their innumerable attendants, had followed their emperor to the banks of the Propontis; that a spurious race of strangers and pleboians was left to possess the solitude of the ancient capital; and that the lands of Italy, long fince converted into gardens, were at once deprived of cultivation and inhabitants *. In the course of this history, such exaggerations will be reduced to their just

[ocr errors]

value: yet, fince the growth of Constantinople c H A P.

cannot be ascribed to the general increase of mankind and of industry, it must be admitted, that this artificial colony was raised at the expence of the ancient cities of the empire. Many opulent senators of Rome, and of the Eastern provinces, were probably invited by Constantine to adopt for their country the fortunate spot which he had chosen for his own residence. The invitations of a master are scarcely to be distinguished from commands; and the liberality of the emperor obtained a ready and cheerful obedience. He bestowed on his favourites the palaces which he had built in the several quarters of the city, assigned them lands and pensions for the support of their dignity “, and alienated the demesnes of Pontus and Asia, to grant hereditary estates by the easy tenure of maintaining a house in the capital *. But these encouragements and obligations soon became superfluous, and were gradually abolished. Wherever the seat of government is fixed, a

55 Themist. Orat. iii. p. 48. edit. Hardouin. Sozomen, l. ii. c. 3. Zosim. l. ii. p. 107. Anonym. Valesian. p. 715. If we could credit Codinus (p. 10.) Constantine built houses for the senators on the exašt model of their Roman palaces, and gratified them, as well as himself, with the pleasure of an agreeable surprise; but the whole story is full of fictions and inconsistencies. 56 The law by which the younger Theodosius, in the year 438, abolished this tenure, may be found among the Novellae of that enperor at the head of the Theodosian Code, tom. vi. nov. 12. M. de Tillemont (Hist, des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 371.) has evidently mistaken the nature of these estates. With a grant from the Imperial demesnes, the same condition was accepted as a favour which would justly have been deemed a hardship, if it had been imposed upon private property.

XVII. -vC H. A. P.


considerable part of the public revenue will be expended by the prince himself, by his ministers, by the officers of justice, and by the domestics of the palace. The most wealthy of the provincials will be attracted by the powerful motives of interest and duty, of amusement and curiosity. A third and more numerous class of inhabitants will insensibly be formed, of servants, of artificers, and of merchants, who derive their subsistence from their own labour, and from the wants or luxury of the superior ranks. In less than a century, Constantinople disputed with Rome itself the pre-eminence of riches and numbers. New piles of buildings, crowded together with too little regard to health or convenience, scarcely allowed the intervals of narrow streets for the perpetual throng of men, of horses, and of carriages. The allotted space of ground was insufficient to contain the increasing people; and the additional foundations, which, on either side, were advanced into the sea, might alone have composed a very confiderable city ‘’. The frequent and regular distributions of wine and oil, of corn or bread, of money or provisions, had almost exempted the poorest citizens of Rome from the necessity of labour. The magnificence of the first Caesars was in some measure imitated by the founder of Constantinople *: but his libe- c H A P.



57 The passages of Zosimus, of Eunapius, of Sozomen, and of .

Agathius, which relate to the increase of buildings and inhabitants at Constantinople, are colle&ted and conne&ted by Gyllius de Byzant. l. i. c. 3. Sidonius Apollinaris (in Panegyr. Anthem. 56. p. 290. edit. Sirmond) describes the moles that were pushed forwards into the sea; they consisted of the famous Puzzolan sand, which hardens in the wator. - -

3 - by

rality, however it might excite the applause of the people, has incurred the censure of posterity. A nation of legislators and conquerors might assert their claim to the harvests of Africa, which had been purchased with their blood; and it was artfully contrived by Augustus, that, in the enjoyment of plenty, the Romans should lose the memory of freedom. But the prodigality of Constantine could not be excused by any consideration either of public or private interest; and the annual tribute of corn imposed upon Egypt for the benefit of his new capital, was applied to feed a lazy and indolent populace, at the expence of the husbandmen of an industrious province *. Some other regulations of this emperor are less liable to blame, but they are less deserving of notice. He divided Constantinople into fourteen regions or quarters *, dignified the public council with

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

wall of Comitantine, it may be doubted whether this division of the city should be referred to the founder.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the appellation of Senate “, communicated to the
citizens the privileges of Italy ‘’, and bestowed
on the rising city the title of Colony, the first and
most favoured daughter of ancient Rome. The
venerable parent still maintained the legal and ac-
knowledged supremacy, which was due to her
age, to her dignity, and to the remembrance of

her former greatness *.
As Constantine urged the progress of the work
with the impatience of a lover, the walls, the por-
ticoes, and the principal edifices were completed
in a few years, or, according to another account,
in a few months “: but this extraordinary dili-

Dedication, A.D.

33o or 334.

of Senatum constituit secundi ordinis; Claros vocavit. Anonym. Valesian. p. 715. The senators of old Rome were styled Clariffimi. See a curious note of Valefius and Ammian. Marcellin. xxii. 9. From the eleventh epistle of Julian, it should seem that the place of senator was considered as a burthen, rather than as an honour ; but the Abbé de la Bleterie (Vie de Jovien, tom. ii. p. 371 ) has shewn that this epistle could not relate to Constantinople. Might we not read, instead of the celebrated name of Bu%riots, the obscure but more probable word Bizzyānvois Bisanthe or Rhodestus, now Rhodosto, was a small maritime city cf Thrace. See Stephan. Byz. de Urbibus, p. 22.5. and Cellar. Geograph. tom. i. p. 849. ** Cod. Theodos. 1. xiv. 13. The commentary of Godefroy (tom. v. p. 220.) is long, but perplexed ; nor indeed is it easy to ascertain in what the Jus Italicum could consist, after the freedom of the city had been communicated to the whole empire. 63 Julian (Orat. i. p. 8.) celebrates Constantinople as not less superior to all other cities, than she was inferior to Rome itself. His learned commentator (Spanheim, p. 75, 76.) justifies this language by several parallel and contemporary instances. Zosimus, as well as Socrates and Sozomen, flourished after the division of the empire between the two sons of Theodosius, which established a perfect equality between the old and the new capital. °4 Codinus (Antiquitat. p. 8.) affirms, that the foundations of Constantinople were laid in the year of the world 5837 (A. D. 329, on the 26th of September, and that the city was dedicated the 11th of

« ZurückWeiter »