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which required the most confummate skill and courage. Nor were the emperor's expectations disappointed; he defeated the Perfian troops in feveral battles, and obliged them to fue for peace.
Soon after this, the greatest tumult happened at Conftantinople, to be found on the records of any kingdom. It appears to have been excited by the adherents of the three nephews of the deceased emperor Anaftafius. The confufion began whilft the people were engaged in the fports of the circus, and at length arrived to fuch a height as to end in open rebellion.
The citizens having for fome time been greatly diffatisfied with the conduct of two of the emperor's minifters, on account of their avaricious oppreffions, they conferred the imperial dignity on Hypatius, one of the three before-mentioned princes, and proclaimed him emperor, with great folemnity, in the forum. Juftinian immediately difcharged the obnoxious officers, hoping by that means to appeafe the tumult; but the populace growing more outrageous, and moft of the fenators joining the rebellious multitude, he was fo alarmed and disheartened, that he would
have abandoned the city, and made his escape by fea, had not the empress Theodora, with a manly fortitude, perfuaded him to part with his life, rather than with his empire. In order to animate him upon this occafion, she is faid to have made use of the following fentence from one of the ancient poets:
"How glorious a fepulchre is a kingdom!”
Encouraged by the firmnefs which he beheld in his royal confort, Juftinian determined to continue in his palace, and, with the few that had not yet abandoned him, defend it to the last extremity. The rebels attempted to force the gates; but finding all their efforts ineffectual, they carried Hypatius in triumph. to the circus, and placed him on the imperial throne.
His exaltation, however, was but of fhort continuance; for, whilft he was beholding the sports, amidft the fhouts and acclamations of the people, Belifarius, who at this critical juncture had juft returned from the Persian expedition, entered the city with a considerable body of troops; and being apprised of the ufurpation of Hypatius, marched directly to the circus, and fell fword in hand upon the rebels. The multitude being unarmed, they
they were foon routed, and the ufurper taken prifoner; who, together with Pompeius, another of the nephews of Anaftafius, was carried to the emperor, and by his orders beheaded. Upon this occafion an incredible number of citizens loft their lives, and many ftately edifices were reduced to afhes.
The infurrection being thus happily quelled, and the Perfian war put an end to, Juftinian now applied his thoughts to the conqueft of the Vandals in Africa. Upon this expedition Belifarius was again employed, and his military exertions were attended with their ufual fuccefs. He was after this fent by the emperor against the Goths, who had got poffeffion of a great part of Italy, over whom he likewife gained many victories. These two wars, in which he retook Carthage from the Vandals, and Rome from the Goths, lafted from the year 533 to 541; raised the renown of Belifarius to a level with that of the most famous among the Greek or Roman heroes; and at the conclufion of them, he was honoured with a triumphal entry into Conftantinople:
In fuch repute was the name of Belifarius among the provinces dependent on the Ro
mans, and fo much awe did it inspire them with, that no fooner was a groundless rumour spread abroad, of the emperor's having difmiffed him, through jealousy, from the command of his armies, than the Arminians fhook off the Roman yoke, and made head against the troops that were employed to fubdue them.
Stimulated by their example, Coshroes, the Perfian king, in defiance of the treaty folemnly concluded a few years before, invaded once more the Roman dominions. The general who commanded in the east, instead of affembling his forces, and providing for the defence of the provinces, fuddenly disappeared, and retired, no one knew whither, leaving the enemy at full liberty to ravage the country at their pleasure.
Through this means, the Perfian monarch, meeting with no oppofition, bent his march towards Syria; and having reduced and plundered feveral cities, laid fiege to Antioch itfelf. Unable to withstand the affault of fuch a powerful army, this city was alfo taken ; and being given up to the foldiers to be plundered, the inhabitants were put to the fword, without diftinction of age or fex. All the
valuable ftatues, pictures, and other pieces of art found there, together with the gold and filver veffels belonging to the celebrated church of Antioch, were conveyed to Perfia; and Cofhroes having ftripped the city of all its wealth and ornaments, ordered his men to fet fire to it, and lay it in afhes. Thus perished the most wealthy, beautiful, and populous city of the eaft. Such of the inhabitants as escaped the common flaughter, were carried prifoners into Perfia.
In order to put a stop to the depredations of the Perfian king, Juftinian entered into a new treaty with him; and upon his confenting to withdraw his troops, agreed to pay him, within three months, five thoufand pounds weight of gold; and, from thenceforward, an annual penfion of five hundred pounds weight.
But this treaty was held in no greater refpect by the Perfians than the former. They foon broke through it, and made fresh incurfions into the Roman territories. Their fuccefs, however, was of a fhort continuance; for, Belifarius being fent against them, his name carried its ufual terror with it,' and he drove them back into their own dominions.