Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Greece/II/Section II.—Post-Classical Greek History.

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Section II.—Post-Classical Greek History.

The later history of the Greeks, from the end of Alexander the Great's reign to the taking of Constantinople by the Turks, may be divided most naturally into five periods, viz.I. The period of Greek subjection : from the death of Alexander to the accession of Constantine the Great as sole emperor, 323 B.C. to 323 A.D. II. The period of Greek revival : from Constantine the Great to Leo III. (the Isaurian), 323-716 A.D. III. The period of Byzantine prosperity : from Leo III. to Isaac I. (Comnenus), 716-1057 A.D. IV. The period of Byzantine decline : from Isaac I. to the taking of Constantinople by the Latins, 1057-1204 A.D. V. The period of Greek survival : from the taking of Constantinople by the Latins to its conquest by the Turks, 1204-1453 A.D.

In the limited space of an article like the following, it is impossible to enter into detail with reference to the events of any of these periods. It may be well therefore if we turn our attention especially to the causes which were from time to time at work, to the characteristics and tendencies of various ages, and to the changes that came over society. The history which we thus enter upon is of importance and interest in a different way from that of the classical age of Greece. That age was a unique development in respect of national life and character, of social and political institu tions, and of every form of cultivation, and was marked by concentrated energy and intense vigour. The later period is important because of its wide-reaching influence on the world at large, and because it is one, and that the more continuous, of the two great chains of events, in eastern and western Europe respectively, which connect the earlier and later history of civilized man. To the younger student, who is already acquainted with the previous history of Greece and Rome, and has learnt something of the condi tion of the modern world through the history of England, no other period is probably so instructive and suggestive. He is led into byways of history and remote countries, which have in themselves an element of romance. He comes into contact with races from every branch of the human family in the freshness of their early vigour ; and amongst many other lessons he learns one, which cannot be learnt too early, and which historians and students of history are disposed to overlook, that the unfortunate are not therefore to be despised. To more advanced students its value consists in its explaining the existing state of things in a considerable part of Europe and Asia, which cannot be explained otherwise ; and still more in the illus trations it affords, both by way of similarity and contrast, to circumstances in the history of western Europe ; such, for instance, as the abolition of serfdom, the relations of immigrant races to the original inhabitants, and systems of law and finance. Besides this, so much civilization filtrated from the East to the West in the course of the Middle Ages that a knowledge of Byzantine history is necessary to a proper understanding of that of western Europe. It will suggest also, if properly studied, that while battles, sieges, and other salient events may be the turning-points of history, the inhabitants of any particular country are more affected by influences which lie below the surface by alterations of trade-routes and changes in the tenure of land, by the effects of judicious or injudicious taxation, by the adminis tration of justice, and by the relations of different classes to one another.

It is desirable at starting to notice two misconceptions which have prevailed, and in a less degree still prevail, with regard to different portions of this period. The first of these concerns the character of the Greeks during the time of their subjection to the llomans, and in particular under the early emperors, in which age they are often sup posed to have I een a demoralized and unprincipled race. Such expressions as the " Grseculus esuriens " and " Graecia mendax " of Juvenal, and .similar ones which are found in Tacitus and other writers of that time, have become pro verbial, and have been taken to describe, as those authors undoubtedly intended them to describe, the people at large. There was some justification for the retort of Lucian, that the Romans spoke truth only once in their lives, and that was when they made their wills. The fact is that these descriptions represented faithfully enough the lower class of Greek adventurers who came to Rome from Alexandria and the Asiatic cities to seek their fortunes ; and the Roman writers, with their usual contemptuous ignorance of everything provincial, confused these with the Greek nation. The later Greeks no doubt had degenerated from their great forefathers ; but it is only fair to remember that this was to a great extent the result of their circumstances. The rapid growth of Greek culture and Greek political ideas was naturally followed by rapid decay. In sculpture the early archaic style developed in a few decades of years into the manly and perfect style of Phidias, and the change was equally rapid to the luxurious style of Praxiteles, in which the elements of decadence were already traceable. The same thing is apparent in the history of the drama. And in like manner in politics, the constitutions of the various states, which were so well suited to the development of Greek individuality, contained in themselves no element of permanence, owing to the opposing elements which were -brought face to face within so narrow an area ; and in their relations to one another, all combination on a large scale was prevented by what has been aptly called the "centri fugal" character of Greek politics, so that they were destined inevitably to fall under the dominion of any great empire that should arise in their neighbourhood. Again, it must never be forgotten that the splendid products of Greek genius and Greek character sprang from the black soil of slavery, and could not have existed without it ; so that here too we find an element of rottenness, which was sure in the end to produce decay. Consequently, from the time the Greeks lost their liberty, they ought in all fairness to be judged by a different standard from their predecessors, and we ought to be satisfied if we find in them such good qualities as characterize a more ordinary people industry, respectability, intelligence, good citizenship, capacity for local self-government, and readiness to make the most of their opportunities. In all these respects the Greeks were among the best of the provincials of the Roman empire.

The other misconception relates to the Byzantine empire, which has been commonly regarded as a period of steady decline and feebleness and decrepitude. The author who is mainly responsible for the prevalence of this view is Gibbon ; and it is strange that a writer who was gifted with such profound historical insight should not have perceived that the state which accomplished such great things could not have been powerless. The passage in which he expresses himself on this subject is well known. " I should have abandoned without regret," he says, " the Greek slaves and their servile historians, had I not reflected that the fate of the Byzantine monarchy is passively connected with the most splendid and important revolutions which have changed the state of the world." Yet it was this same empire which beat back for centuries, and ultimately survived, first the Saracens and afterwards the Seljuks, both of which peoples would otherwise have overrun Europe, and which, even in its decline, kept at bay, for more than a hundred years, .the Ottomans when at the height of their power, thereby providing the Western nations with a breathing space, without which the career of Turkish conquest would certainly not have been arrested at Vienna, but might have extended to the Elbe or the Seine. During the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries its military power was the strongest in Europe, and the individual prowess of its aristocracy was unrivalled, while at the same time its long succession of able emperors and administrators is such as no other monarchical government can show. Its influence is further shown by its missionary efforts, resulting in the conversion to Christianity of the south Slavonic nations and the Russians, and the consequent spread of civilization through out the countries they inhabited ; by its widely extended commerce both by land and sea ; and by its art, especially its architecture, which contributed to the formation of other styles from Egypt to the north of Russia, and from India to Spain. Finally, its social and political excellence appears in the state of education, in the regularity of its administration, especially in the matter of justice, and, above all, in the legal standard of the coinage being main tained invariable from first to last, which is a rare proof of a highly organized system. When its situation in the midst of barbarous nations is considered, and the inter mediate position it occupied between Asia and western Eurooe, it may safely be pronounced one of the most powerful civilizing agencies that the world has seen.

I. Period of Greek Subjection : from the Death of Alexander to the Accession of Constantine the Great as sole Emperor, 323 B.C. to 323 A.D.

The conquests of Alexander the Great differed from those of almost every other great conqueror in this that they were followed up by a scheme of civil government, the object of which was to secure the well-being and promote the civilization of all his subjects. That he was not the ambitious madman which he is often represented as being is amply proved by the forethought with which his cam paigns were planned, and by his attention to the commis sariat and to other details connected with the transport and maintenance of his vast armies. But his true greatness is most clearly shown by his endeavouring to introduce unity into his vast empire, not by subjecting one race to another, or crushing out the hope of further resistance by an iron rule, but by establishing in it centres of permanent institu tions and common culture. These were the Greek colonies with municipal government which he founded at intervals throughout Asia. By these the subject countries, without being forced into a common mould, or organized in defiance of their feelings and prejudices and without reference to their national institutions, were gradually leavened by the system that existed among them, and obtained a certain infusion of the Hellenic character and Hellenic modes of thought. Though Alexander himself did not survive to complete his project, yet enough had been accomplished at the time of his death to leave its influence firmly imprinted, even when his empire fell to pieces and was partitioned among his generals. The consequences of this to Asia were of incalculable importance, and continued unimpaired until the tide of Mahometan conquest swept over the country; and even then it was from Greek literature and art that the Arabs obtained the culture for which they have been celebrated. But its effect was hardly less marked on the Greeks themselves. The Hellenic world was henceforth divided into two sections the Greeks of Greece proper, and the Macedonian Greeks of Asia and Egypt. Between these there existed a common bond in similarity of educa tion, religion, and social feelings, in the possession of a com mon language and literature, and in their exclusiveness. whether as a free population ruling a large slave element, or as a privileged class in the midst of less favoured races ; but the differences were equally striking. The former re tained more of the independent spirit of the ancient Greeks, of their moral character and patriotism ; the latter were more cosmopolitan, more subservient, more ready to take the impress of those among whom they were thrown ; in them the Ulysses type of Greek character, if we may so speak its astuteness and versatility became predominant. This distinction is all-important for the subsequent history, since, in the earlier period, it is rather the Greeks of Hellas who attract our attention, whereas after the foundation of Constantinople the Macedonian Greeks occupy the most prominent position. At the same time a change passed over the Greek language ; while the ancient dialects were retained, more or less, in the provinces of Greece proper, the Attic dialect became the court language of the Macedonian monarchs, and was used almost exclusively by prose writers. Gradually Macedonian and other provincial isms crept into it, and it was modified by simpler expres sions, and words in more general use, being substituted for those preferred by the classic writers of Athens ; and thus was formed what was called the common or generally used dialect. The non-Greek inhabitants of the countries in which the Greeks were settled were described as " Hel- lenizing," and consequently their language, such as we find it in the Septuagint and the New Testament, w T as called Hellenistic Greek. The literary spirit also migrated to Alexandria, which became for a time the home of the principal Greek culture, and nurtured the genius of Theo critus, the first of pastoral poets, the taste and erudition of Aratus and Apollonius Rhodius, and the research of Aristarchus and other eminent Homeric critics.

The period of somewhat less than two centuries (323-146 B.C.) which intervened between the death of Alexander and the conquest of Greece by the Romans was a sort of twilight between liberty and subjection. The Lamian War, as the contest between a number of the Grecian states, with Athens at their head, and Antipater, one of Alexander s immediate successors in Macedonia, was called from the siege of Lamia, which was its most prominent event, soon convinced the Greeks that it was idle for them to struggle single-handed with their great neighbour. After that the country formed a bone of contention between the neighbouring potentates in Macedonia, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt ; and most of the states, with the exception of Sparta, were in the power sometimes of one sometimes of another of them, though the contests of their masters secured them from time to time a partial independence. At length the constant danger to which their liberties were exposed suggested the necessity of some kind of combination on the part of the separate states, and the famous Achaean league arose (280 B.C.), which revived the dying energies of the Greeks, and has thrown a lustre over their period of decline. For the origin of this federation w r e must go back to the early history of the district of Achaia in northern Peloponnesus, the inhabitants of which, from being isolated from other races by their position between the Arcadian mountains and the Corinthian Gulf, and occupying a succession of valleys and small plains, found a federal union to be the most natural political system by which they could be held together. Throughout the greater part of their history this people exercised little influence on the fortunes of Greece, but in her time of greatest need they came forward as her champions. The league was now revived, with a more definite organization and a wider political object, and under the leadership oi Aratus, the greatest of its early " strategi," it wrested Sicyon from the pow r er of its tyrant, and Corinth from the hands of the Macedonians, until at last it embraced Athens, and almost the whole of the Peloponnesus. Unfortunately Sparta held aloof. That city, which had succeeded in maintaining its independence, had fallen into the hands of a narrow oligarchy of wealthy proprietors, who rose in violent opposition to their reforming kings men whose names would be a glory to any period Agis and Cleomenes, and succeeded in putting the first to death, while the latter was enabled to overpower them through the influence won by his military successes. But circumstances involved Aratus in a war with Sparta, and here the old Greek spirit of discord betrays itself. When hard pressed by Cleomenes, the Achrean leader applied to the Macedonians, and the result was that Antigonus Doson invaded the country, and at Sellasia inflicted a final and crushing blow on the Spartan power (221 B.C.). The same spirit appears in the Social War, which occurred shortly after this between the Achseans and the ^Etolian league, a similar confederation in northern Greece, and was fomented by Philip V. of Macedon. Subsequently, when the Romans made war on Philip for assisting the Carthaginians in the Second Punic War, the consul Flamininus persuaded both these powers to join in attacking him. At Cynoscephalae in Thessaly, not far from the scene of a greater battle, Pharsalia, the power of the Macedonian monarchy was broken (197 B.C.), and Philip renounced his supremacy over the Greeks, to whom Flamininus proclaimed their freedom at the ensuing Isthmian games. The final overthrow came in the time of Perseus, the son of Philip, who was defeated at Pydna (168 B.C.), and his dominions, with the adjacent parts of Greece, were reduced to the form of a Roman province. The later years of the Achaean league had been illumined by the leadership of Philopo2men, "the last of the Greeks," as Plutarch has called him, in whose time the whole of the Peloponnesus, including even Sparta, was for a time included in the alliance. But the days of Greece were numbered, and the only question was how soon the remainder should b3 absorbed by the advancing tide of Roman conquest. At last a pretext for interference presented itself, and the reduction of the country to bond age was signalized by the pillage and destruction of Corinth under Mummius (146 B.C.). The entire area southward of Macedonia and Epirus was constituted the province of Achaia, the title of which thus perpetuated the name of the Achaean league. The struggles in which that and the ^Etolian confederation had taken part are an evidence of the revival of a spirit of patriotism in the breasts of the Greeks, and we may well lament over the ruin of their in dependence ; but the truth must be told that this was not the feeling of the majority of the population at the time. The selfishness and cupidity of the Greek aristocracy, such as those whom we have already noticed at Sparta, had imposed so heavy burdens on the people that the great body of them cheerfully acquiesced in the Roman rule. Polybius has preserved to us the saying which expressed the sentiment of the time : "If we had not been quickly ruined, we should not have been saved."

From the time of the Roman conquest the existence of Greece was merged in that of a greater political unity, so that for the next four centuries, until the commencement of barbarian inroads, it can hardly be said to have a his- tory of its own. But we must not on this account suppose that the Greeks occupied exactly the same position as the rest of the Roman provincials. In this respect there is a marked difference between the results of the Roman con quests in the West and the East. The inhabitants of the western portion of the empire were at the time of their sub jection in a low state of civilization, and destitute of any element of strength in their social and national life. It was natural, therefore, that nations so undeveloped should easily receive the impress of Roman institutions, and should adopt the manners and ideas of their conquerors. The Romans in fact treated them for the most part as inferior beings and did not at first even regard them as absolute proprietors of the lands they cultivated. But in the East the case was different. There the Romans met with a civilization more advanced than their own, which they had already learned to respect, and an elaborate system of civil government and social usages which could not be set aside without under mining the whole fabric of society. Hence the Greeks, while subjected to the Roman administration, were allowed to retain a great part of their institutions, together with their property and private rights, and, from their superiority to the other conquered peoples, remained the dominant power in the East. Even in Asia the despotism of Rome was much modified by the municipal system of the Greek colonies and by the influence of Greek culture. Thus it came to pass that, while the Western nations were assimi lated to Rome, in the East the Roman empire became Greek, though the Greek nation in name became Roman. The effects of this are visible at every turn in the subsequent history, and to this cause must be referred many anomalies which are traceaDic at the present day in the condition of eastern Europe.

It was a part of the Roman policy, in dealing with conquered countries, to treat them at first with mildness, until they became inured to the yoke, and when this was the case, and precautionary measures had been adopted to prevent the possibility of successful revolt, to deal with them more harshly and increase their burdens. This was what happened in the case of Greece. For some time the people at large had no reason to regret the change. The fact of their subjection was not impressed too forcibly upon them, and several cities, such as Athens and Sparta, were allowed to rank as allied states. Their taxes were not increased, and they did not at once perceive the difference caused by the money that was levied being taken out of the country instead of being spent in it. This was, however, the most systematically ruinous part of the Roman system. The Government never paid attention to the provinces for their own sake, but regarded them as an instrument for maintain ing the greatness and power of Rome. The immense sums that Avere drained from them never returned, but were expended in the maintenance of the Roman army, and in the public games and architectural embellishment of the metropolis. Objects of local usefulness, such as roads, ports, and aqueducts, received no attention from the central authorities, and DO money was supplied towards their maintenance. Within a century also, when these evils Avere beginning to make themselves felt, the Roman rule became very oppressive. Though the custom duties were not un reasonable in their nominal amount, they became exorbitant through the system of farming and subletting, and as a special tribunal existed for the enforcement of the collectors claims, the farmers exercised a most tyrannical power over the mercantile population of the shores of the Mediterranean. In the wake of these harpies folloAved the usurers, to meet whose claims proprietors had constantly to sell their posses sions. The direct Aveight of the public burdens Avas further increased by the exemptions enjoyed by Roman citizens in the provinces, and by privileges and monopolies which were granted to merchants and manufacturers ; and large sums had to be paid to the Roman governors, both for the main tenance of their establishments, and to obtain exemption from the quartering of troops. But these more or less authorized exactions bore no proportion to the illegal extor tions of the proconsuls, who simply pillaged the provincials. No more perfect scheme could have been devised for pro moting oppression than that under which these officers were appointed. While on the one hand they superintended the financial administration, on the other they exercised the judicial power ; and the only tribunal to which they were responsible was that very senate by which they were appointed, and of which they themselves were members. A governor like Verres had it in his poAver to ruin a pro vince for several generations, and such instances were not rare. The treatment of Greece in this respect was no ex ception to the general rule.

The period, however, during which the greatest injury was inflicted on Greece was that of the Mithradatic War (86 B.C.). At the commencement of that struggle many of the leading men and states declared in favour of Mithradates, thinking that under his auspices they might regain their freedom. But the appearance of Sulla with an army soon undeceived them, and they laid down their arms, with the exception of Athens, which was only reduced after an obstinate defence. When the city Avas at last taken by storm, the majority of the citizens were put to the sword, their possessions seized by the soldiers, the Piraeus utterly destroyed, and Attica ravaged. In the same campaign Delphi and the other principal shrines were plundered, and an immense amount of property was ruined throughout the country. Great injury was also inflicted by the Cilician pirates. The existence of these was a result of the jealousy with which the Roman Government regarded the mainten ance of armed forces by the provincials, either by land or sea, lest they should be made an instrument of revolt ; and since they had no interest in maintaining order, except where their own authority was threatened, the subject nations were so far from profiting by their protection that they were exposed to attack without possessing the power of defending themselves. The confined seas and numerous bays and islands of Greece have always been favourable to piracy, and at t^is time the evil reached such a height that the welfare of the state was threatened, and Pompey was entrusted with the office of eradicating it ; but before this was accomplished many of the wealthiest cities in Greece and Asia Minor had been attacked and pillaged. With the accession of Augustus a brighter era seemed to have dawned ; and under the early emperors, who desired to strengthen themselves against the senate, the interests of the provincials were more considered. Greater regularity also was intro duced into the taxation, by the land and capitation taxes being regulated by a periodical census. But the old evils to a great extent remained, and these were further aggra vated at a later time by the depreciation of the coinage, which proceeded with fearful rapidity, and caused wide spread distress among the commercial and labouring classes.

The result of these changes is traceable in the condition and character of the Greek people. The conquests of Alexander the Great suddenly threw into circulation the accumulated treasures of the Persian empire, and a great part of these passed into the hands of the Greeks, both in Asia and Europe. The facilities thus created for obtaining wealth increased the material prosperity of the Greek race at large, so that in all probability it never was more numer ous than during the period immediately preceding its sub jugation by the Romans. Though all calculations respect ing the numbers of the population in ancient states are necessarily hazardous, yet it ssems probable that the Greeks at that time may have amounted to more than seven millions. But with Greece proper the case was different. There the increase of wealth raised the standard of living considerably above what it had been in earlier and more frugal times, so that the less moneyed class were tempted to emigrate in large numbers to seek their fortunes in the great Asiatic cities, and in the service of the Eastern monarchs, where so great openings presented themselves. The decrease of this class produced a larger accumulation of property in the hands of large owners, and greatly aug mented the number of slaves. Under the Romans the wealth of the country, great as it was, was soon dissipated by fiscal exactions, by plunder in war and the private pillage of officials, and by the confiscation of the possessions of in dividuals, with a view to which a system of accusations Avas regularly promoted. The natural result of this, com bined with the self-indulgent habits which had grown up among the upper classes, was a steady diminution of the population. The first of the Romans who perceived the evils arising from this state of things, and endeavoured to remedy them, was the emperor Hadrian, who had the merit of personally visiting the provinces, and whose tastes natur ally led him to sympathize with the Greeks. Though much of the money which he expended in the country in the construction of temples and other splendid edifices tended to the gratification of his private fancies, yet a real improvement in the condition of the people was effected by his restoration of the roads which had fallen out of repair, and the erection of baths and aqueducts. He also lightened the taxation, and raised the Greeks to the rights of Roman citizenship, thereby anticipating the edict of Caracalla, by which that privilege was extended to all the free inhabitants 109 of the empire (212 A.D.). The depopulation of Greece, however, continued ; but while in this way the power of the nation was being weakened, and its material resources diminished by the loss of much of the capital that had been invested in the improvement of the country, the actual con dition of the inhabitants was for the time improved, be cause the decrease in their numbers had been more rapid than the destruction of property. Possessing the necessaries of life in abundance, and having but little money to spend on anything beyond, they sank into that condition of in difference and ease in which at last the barbarian nations found them. It has already been remarked that the character of the Greeks at this period ought not to be judged from the pre judiced statements of Roman writers, nor by reference to the standard of their great forefathers. The introduction of the wealth of Persia had undoubtedly a demoralizing effect on the nation, both in Asia and Europe : but when we consider that throughout a great part of the area that they occupied they were long the dominant class, and had hardly any check to restrain them in the indulgence of their passions, it is rather a matter for wonder that they resisted temptation GO far as they did. At least they never sank to such a depth of degradation as the Romans of the imperial times, and in Europe the struggles of the Achaean league show that a value was still set on manly virtues. After this the Greeks became the educators of the Romans, whose upper classes resorted for instruction to the univer sity of Athens ; and if the rhetoric and philosophy which was taught there partook sometimes of the nature of liter ary trifling, and the instructors themselves were character ized by vanity and pedantry, they maintained at all events the standard of cultivation in the world at that time. The love of art still prevailed amongst them, and the quiet, studious life of the Greek cities formed in the eyes of many a favourable contrast to the violent struggles and inordinate passions of Rome. But the disbelief in the national religion which had grown up among the educated classes, notwith standing the maintenance of the temples and their worship, tended to cause a separation between the upper and lowei; grades of society ; and this, together with the isolation pro duced by the great size of the estates, which withdrew individuals from the scrutiny of their fellow citizens, weakened the force of public opinion, and thus lowered the moral standard. It can hardly be doubted that the con sciousness of this, and the feeling of the need of a higher morality, was one main cause of the eagerness with which philosophy continued to be pursued by the Greeks, since in it they hoped to find the groundwork of truth and justice. Thus during a period of six centuries the European Greeks had gradually degenerated, though for the most part from causes external to themselves ; they seemed to have become an insignificant and almost commonplace people. Yet the outline of the character was the same, though the colours had faded ; and considering the length of the time, and the agencies at work, we may be surprised at finding that the change had not been greater. It remained to be shown that the finer qualities and more vigorous elements were only dormant ; and this was brought to light in the latter half of the third century by two influences, which we must now proceed to explain.

The first of these was the invasions of the Goths. These were the earliest of the barbarians to break through the Roman frontier, and the defeat and death of the emperor Decius in Moesia (251 A.D.), and the subsequent incursions of the Goths into Thrace and Macedonia, warned the Greeks of the peril that impended over them. Immediately the walls of Athens were repaired, the fortifications across the isthmus of Corinth restored, and vigorous preparations made for defence. The invaders soon made their appearance both by laud and sea, and one division, landing at the Pirteus, succeeded in carrying Athens by storm ; but an Athenian of rank called Dexippus, afterwards the his torian of these events, succeeded in assembling a sufficient force to compel them to retire. This reverse was the prelude to their total overthrow, for succours were meanwhile arriv ing from Italy, by which their separate bands were attacked in detail and destroyed. Some years later, after other inroads, during which many cities of Greece successfully defended themselves, the power of the Goths was broken by the emperor Claudius II. at the great battle of Naissus (2G9 A.D.). But it was clearly proved at this time that the spirit of the Greeks, which had had no opportunity of dis playing itself since the siege of Athens by Sulla, was not extinct, and that, if they had been unwarlike in the interval, it was mainly because their masters had denied them the use of arms. It is not to be overlooked that, when the same barbarians subsequently attacked the Western empire, it went down before them, the reason being that the nations of the West had no such distinctive nationality as the Greeks, and no such municipal institutions to rally round. Anyhow the Greek character was benefited by the public spirit thus evoked, and by the activity infused into society by the feeling th;kt every nun might be called on to defend his person and property.

The other and far more important influence which regenerated the Greeks at this time was Christianity. This religion, which had long been working in secret, though in ways which it is almost impossible to trace, now began to produce a marked impression on Greek society. Its power was the greater because it had worked from below upward, and had permeated to a great extent the lower and middle classes. It improved the moral condition of the Greeks by elevating their views of life, by quickening the conscience, and by inf asing earnestness into the character ; and it reno vated their social condition by pointing out to them their duties to one another, by encouraging corporate feeling, and in particular by purifying the domestic relations through its influence on the female sex. At the same time the habit of meeting for the administration of their communities accustomed .the Christians to discussion and action in com mon, and the fact that they formed a powerful corporation independent of the state, which was the reason why they were persecuted by the Roman authorities, was in itself a means of political education. Such an influence, which not merely pervaded every relation of life, but penetrated also to the motives and springs of action, is sufficient of itself to account for the regeneration of the Greeks, which the his torian traces in its effects at the end of the 3d century. The scene now changes, and from the land of Hellas our attention is transferred to the city of Constantinople.

II. Period of Greek Revival : from Constantine the Great to Leo III. (the Isaurian), 323-716 A.D.

The principal events of the first half of this period, the two centuries which intervened between Constantine and Justinian, are the foundation of Constantinople (330 A.D). ; the emperor Julian s attempted restoration of Paganism (361) ; the defeat of Valens by the Goths near Adrianople, and his death (378) ; the establishment of Christianity by Theodosius the Great as the religion of the empire (383) ; the partition of the Roman empire between Arcadius and Honorius (395) ; the publication of the Theodosian code (438) ; and the extinction of the empire of the West (476). The reign of Justinian (527-565) comprises the great cam paigns of Belisarius and Narses, whereby the kingdom of the Vandals in Africa was overthrown, and Sicily, Italy, and southern Spain were recovered to the Roman empire, the Greek possessions in Italy being henceforth governed by an exarch, who resided at Ravenna ; the building of the church of St Sophia at Constantinople; and tho reformation of the Roman law. Finally, in the century and a half between Justinian s death and the accession of Leo III., occurred the birth of Mahomet (571) ; the victori ous expeditious of Heraclius against the Persians (G22-8); and the seven years siege of Constantinople by the Saracens in the reign of Constantine Pogonatus (668-G75).

The reforms effected by Constantine formed one of the greatest revolutions the world has ever seen, and his sagacity is shown by the completeness with which they were carried out, and by the permanence of their effects, for from them proceeded both the strength and the injuriousness of the .Byzantine system, which lasted even to the latest days of the empire. To describe them in brief, he centralized the executive power in the emperor, and constituted a bureaucracy for the administration of public business ; he consolidated the dispensation of justice throughout his dominions ; he rendered the military power, which had hitherto been the terror and bane of the state, subservient to the civil power; he adopted a new religion, and established a new capital. Henceforth the world was ruled by the emperor and his household, and this administration was wholly irresponsible ; and as the interests of the Government were un connected with those of any nationality and any class of its subjects, there was sure to be a continual struggle between the rulers and those whom they governed. In order that the emperor might be regarded as a being of a different order from the people, he and his court were surrounded by lavish splendour ; and in order to check the ever imminent danger of rebellion through pretenders to the throne, the offices of the court were made magnificent prizes, so that ambitious persons might feel that advancement could be obtained by a safer method than civil war. But to meet these expenses, and at the same time to maintain a power- f al army, an elaborate system of taxation was necessary ; taxation, in fact, came to be regarded as the first aim of government, and the inhabitants of the empire were impoverished for objects in which they had no direct concern. The principal instrument which Constantine used for en forcing this was the Roman municipal system, and this he introduced into Greece, notwithstanding the existence of a national and traditional organization. According to this, each town, with the agricultural district in its neighbourhood, was administered by an oligarchical senate called the curia, elected from among the landed proprietors ; by them the municipal officers were appointed, and the land-tax collected, for the amount of which they were made respon sible ; while those who did not possess land, such as merchants and artisans, paid the capitation tax, and formed an inferior class. As wealth declined, the oppressiveness of this system was more and more felt, especially as the private property of members of the curia was confiscated when the tem> required amount was not forthcoming; and hence, in order to prevent a further diminution of the revenue, an elaborate caste-system was subsequently introduced, which fixed the condition of every class, and required a son to follow the calling of his father, lest the number of persons liable to a certain kind of taxation should decrease. With the same view, the free rural population came to be tied to the soil, to prevent the ground from falling out of cultivation. Since, however, it was foreseen that such a system would produce discontent, the people everywhere were carefully disarmed, and the possession of arms was made a thing apart, the military class being separated from all others. For the same reason barbarians were much used as troops, because they could have no sympathy with the citizens. The harshness of this system caused general poverty, and deep-seated hatred of the central government, often resulting in a disposition to call in the barbarians ; while its jealousy was the origin of the weakness of the empire, because the pro- vincials, who were really stronger than their invaders, were never allowed to defend themselves. In the West it contri buted greatly to the overthrow of the empire, and in the East it repressed the spirit of Hellenic life by interfering with the ancient city communities ; and though the force of the Greek character, and the social condition of the countries they inhabited, saved them from destruction, yet, as we look down the long vista of succeeding ages, we may see its baneful effects producing ever-increasing misery.

Yet we must not overlook the strong points of Constan- ti tie s system. The first of these was the regular adminis tration of justice which he introduced. This the inhabi tants of the empire felt they could not obtain elsewhere, and the possession of it reconciled them to many other wise intolerable grievances. So conscious were succeeding emperors of this that we find strictness observed in this matter until quite a late age of the Byzantine empire. Another was the amount of ability and experience which it secured for tho public service. We have called the adminis trators of public affairs a bureaucracy, and the household of the emperor, but they were not the less a body of most highly trained officials, thoroughly organized in their various services. Each department of the state formed a profession of itself, as completely subdivided, and requiring as special an education, as the legal profession at the present day. The perfection of this machinery accounts for the empire not having fallen to pieces in times of internal dissension, sometimes accompanied by foreign invasion ; and the facilities it afforded for developing talent are seen in the long succession of able administrators which the system pro duced, and which came to an end at the commencement of the 11 th century, when it began to be disused. And besides this, though the rigorously oppressive taxation was injudicious as well as injurious, yet it may be doubted whether any other system than the high-handed centraliza tion which has been described could have prevented dissolu tion. Its force is certainly proved by its vitality, and the first great dismemberment in particular was brought about, not by internal causes, but by the power of the Saracens.

The choice of the site of New Rome which is perhaps the finest position in the world, as it commands the meeting- point of two great seas and two great continents, and rises in seven hills on its triangular promontory between the Pro- pontis and its land-locked harbour the Golden Horn is an additional proof of the penetration of Constantine ; and the event justified his selection, for on numerous occasions no thing else than the impregnability of the seat of government could have saved the empire from destruction. Though the establishment of a new capital was in itself a consummate stroke of genius, yet to some extent it was forced upon the emperor by his conversion to Christianity, for this placed him in direct antagonism to Old Rome, which was still the head quarters of paganism. And whatever might be the feelings of the people, on the part of the administrators themselves the prepossessions to be overcome in deciding on such a change were less than might be supposed, for the govern ment, absorbed as it was in the unceasing care of maintain ing and defending the empire, had long ceased to be Roman in its sympathies, and had become cosmopolitan. The new city at the time of its foundation was Roman : its senators were transported thither from Rome ; the language of the court was Latin ; and the condition of the lower classes was assimilated to that of the old capital by their being exempted from taxation and supported by distribu tions of grain. But from the first it was destined to become Greek ; for the Greeks, who now began to call themselves Romans, an appellation which they have ever since retained, held fast to their language, manners, and prejudices, while they availed themselves to the full of their rights as Roman citizens. Hence, in Justinian s time, we find all the highest offices in the hands of Greeks not Hellenic Greeks, but a Graeco-Roman caste, the descendants of the Macedonian conquerors of Asia ; and Greek was the prevailing language. The turning-point in this respect was the separation of the East and West in the time of Arcadius and Honorius. Still the Roman system remained permanent, especially in the community of interest created between the emperors and the populace by the largesses and the expenditure on public amusements, tlie money for which was drained from the provinces; and this fact explains the antagonism that remained between the provincials and the inhabitants of the capital, and the toleration which the latter showed of the tyranny of their rulers. How deeply these abuses were rooted in the city of Constantinople is shown by the circum stance that Heraclius, in despair of otherwise carrying out his schemes of retrenchment and reform, conceived the design of removing the seat of government to Carthage a plan which he would have carried out had he not been pre vented by the unanimous opposition of the Greeks.

Whether the conversion of Constautine to Christianity The was due to sincere belief or to policy, or, as is perhaps most Greek likely, to a combination of the two motives, there can be no C1 doubt that religion had before that time obtained a great influence over the Greeks, and that the cause of the Christian Church and that of the Greek nation were already closely interwoven. Nothing could show more clearly the mastery obtained by the new faith than the subsequent failure of the emperor Julian to revive paganism. We have already seen how life and energy were restored to Greek society by this influence before the end of the 3d century; it was also the unanimity with which it was adopted by that people which inspired them to combine in self-defence, and saved them from the fate of the disunited Western empire. From that early period dates the feeling of brotherhood which pervaded the Greek Church, and the strong attachment which has always existed between the Greek clergy and their flocks, further cemented as it was at a later period by the influence which the clergy exercised in maintaining the people s rights and defending them against aggression. Paganism, however, continued to be recognized until the time of Theodosius the Great, when Christianity was substituted for it by legislative enactments. But the orthodoxy of the Eastern Church, which came to be, and still is, its most distinctive feature, and the identification of the Orthodox Church with the Greek nation, dates from a different time, viz., from the reigns of the Arian successors of Constantine, to whose personal opinions the people were strongly opposed. The political effect of this union ultimately became very great, and resulted in the loss of important provinces to the empire. When the Orthodox had the upper hand, they soon began to clamour for the persecution of heretics, and the emperors being on the same side acceded to their demand. The natural effect of this was disaffection in those regions, such as Syria and Egypt, where the majority of the population were either Nestorians or Eutychians ; and the evil was aggravated by the suspicion to which the provincial clergy were exposed, because they were not Greeks, of being heterodox. The alienation from the central government thus produced greatly facilitated the conquest of those countries by the Saracens. It should also be noted that from the time of Constantine the emperors claimed, and were acknowledged, to be supreme over the church in all civil and external matters a power which, as we shall see, proved to be of great importance at the time of the iconoclastic controversy ; and the extensive judicial and administrative authority which Theodosius conferred on the bishops was the origin of that political subserviency, and at the same time of those simoniacal practices, which have been the opprobrium of their order in the Eastern Church. The reign of Justinian, which, from the important events which it contained, has naturally much attracted the notice of historians, was a period of false brilliancy. The char acter of that emperor in many respects resembles that of Louis XIV. Both were men of moderate ability, gifted with great industry and application to business, and with a remarkable power of employing the talents of others ; both were fond of splendour and foreign conquest ; and both impoverished and ruined their subjects. At the time of his accession Justinian found in the exchequer a large sum of money amassed by Anastasius I., and had he employed this in lightening taxation and improving the position of his subjects, instead of wasting it in wars of his own seek ing and lavish expenditure on public buildings, he would have greatly strengthened his kingdom. No doubt the conquests of his generals were splendid, and testify to the greatness of the armies of the empire at this time. No doubt also the compilation of the Pandects, Code, and Institutes was a magnificent work, which has left indelible traces on the legal systems of Europe. And it is an honour | to any age to have developed the Byzantine style of archi- | tecture, a style thoroughly Greek in its unity and propor tion ; for, whereas the Romans had borrowed the ancient Greek style, and, adding to it the arch, had used it for wholly incongruous purposes, the Greeks in turn appropri ated the arch and dome, and created a new and harmonious style. But the effects of his reign on his dominions were ruinous. He riveted tighter the fetters which Constantino had invented, but he lacked the penetration of Constantino in perceiving the needs of his time. He dissolved the pro vincial militia, which to some extent still existed in Greece. The population were ground down by taxation, the revenues of the free cities in Greece were seized, and at last the fortifications fell into disrepair, and a great part of the army was disbanded, so that when Zabergan, king of the Kutigur Huns, invaded the country from the north in the year 559, he was able to approach within 17 miles of Con stantinople. How great the demoralization was is shown by the state of the empire under Justinian s immediate successors. Within less than twenty years after his death the conviction of a great change impending was so widely spread that a story was rife that it was revealed to the emperor Tiberius II. in a dream that on account of his virtues the days of anarchy should not commence during his reign. The condition of things has been described as " universal political palsy."

The 400 years which elapsed between Constantine and Leo III. were the great period of the barbarian invasions. The Goths, who, as we have seen, had overrun Greece in the latter half of the 3d century after their great defeat at Naissus (Nisch), were more or less kept in check, and became in some degree a civilized and Christian people in the country of Dacia, to the north of the Danube, which they had permanently occupied after the Roman colonies in that country were withdrawn by Aurelian. But in the reign of Valens, when the Huns were overrunning Europe, they were pressed onwards by those invaders, and occupied Mcesia between the Danube and the Balkan, which province was peacefully ceded to them. It was only in consequence of treacherous treatment by the Romans that they afterwards entered the empire as enemies, and fought the campaign which ended in the defeat and death of that emperor (378). They were again checked by Theodosius, and persuaded to enlist in great numbers in the imperial service ; but during the reign of his successor Arcadius, the famous Alaric roused the spirit of his countrymen, and ravaged the whole of Greece even to the Peloponnesus (395), before he turned his thoughts to the invasion of Italy For a time both Goths and Romans were the victims of Attila, who with his hordes of Huns swept over the lands south of the Danube (442-7), and was only induced to retire by an agreement on the part of Theodosius II. to pay him an annual tribute. But again, in the reign of Zeno (475), the empire was in imminent danger from the Goths under Theodoric, who, like Alaric, had lived at Constantinople, and like him also withdrew into Italy. Towards the beginning of the 6th century the Goths make way for more barbarous invaders, Bulgarians of Turanian origin, and various Slavonic tribes, for whose pastoral habits the now depopulated country was better suited than for a more civilized population. But they in turn were soon swallowed up by the Avars, whose vast monarchy occupied a great part of eastern Europe, and whose armies, in the time of Heraclius, threatened Constantinople itself. It was in order to impose a permanent check on that people that this emperor induced the Servians and Croatians to occupy the districts eastward of the Adriatic, Dalmatia and Illyricum, which were deserted, owing to their constant inroads. These Slavonic settlers paid allegiance to the empire, and as they formed agricultural communities, introduced an element of permanence into the country. The Avar power disappeared as suddenly as it had risen, and at the end of the 7th century its place is taken by the Bulgarian kingdom, which lasted for nearly 350 years, and was the great antagonist of the Byzantine empire in its most flourishing period. At the close of this long enumeration of invasions, we cannot help being astonished at the successful resistance that was offered to them. No doubt the conformation of the European provinces of the Eastern empire, with their successive mountain barriers, was a source of strength from the ease with which they could be defended ; but this could hardly have saved the Greeks, had it not been for the number of their walled cities, their superiority in the art of war, the courage of the people when called out by circum stances, and the strong position of the capital.

On the side of Asia, during the same period, a long Persia struggle was maintained with Persia. The dynasty of the wars - Sassanides, which arose on the ruins of the old Parthian kingdom, had raised that country to great power and prosperity. The second in order of its princes, Sapor I,, had taken the emperor Valerian prisoner (257), and a century later Julian lost his life when fighting in Persia. The ill success of Justinian in his Persian wars ought fairly to be ascribed as much to the ability of his great opponent, Chosroes Nushirvan, as to his own shortcomings ; but the fact remains that even Belisarius won small glory from those contests, and after a struggle of twenty years duration a treaty was concluded, which required the European monarch to pay an annual subsidy of thirty thousand pieces of gold. War, however, continued during the reigns of his successors Justin II. and Tiberius II., until an honourable peace was concluded by Maurice, the son-in-law of the last named emperor, at whose court Chosroes II., the rightful sovereign, had been received when he was an exile. This prince, when he was reinstated on his paternal throne, showed his gratitude to the Romans. But when Maurice was dethroned by the rebel Phocas, the Persian monarch declared war, professedly with the design of avenging his benefactor. The greater part of the Asiatic provinces were laid waste, and a Persian army was for a time encamped on the shores of the Bosphorus, so that it seemed as if the Roman empire was about to be conquered by Persia. From this it was saved by Heraclius, who was not only one of the ablest of the emperors, but one of the greatest of military leaders. He warded off the impending danger, and in seven campaigns, by a series of brilliant victories, dealt a death blow to the Persian power. The struggle was unavoidable, and Heraclius, in entering upon it, was actuated by no vain desire of military renown ; but the effects of it were disas- trous to the Romans also. The period when it occurred was that of the rise of the Saracens, and the exhaustion caused by it contributed in no slight degree to the exten sion of their power.

We turn now to the condition of the Greeks during this period. In the interval between the first Gothic invasions and the accession of Constantino the material prosperity of Greece had increased, owing partly to the devastation of the provinces to the north of that country, the wealthy inhabi tants of which were forced to take refuge in Greece, and partly to the insecurity of the Red Sea, Egypt, and Syria, which caused the commerce of Central Asia to take the route of the Black Sea, whence the trade of the Mediter ranean passed once more into tbe hands of the Greeks. It can hardly be said that the reforms of Constantino benefited the population, because of the severe exactions they intro duced ; for, as. has been already mentioned, the rich were forced to supply from their own incomes any deficiency that might occur in their district, and by this means, before Justinian s time, the class of great landed proprietors had been extinguished. But the fixed position which the clergy and the lawyers obtained under Constantine s system was a general advantage, because this constitutional check modified the oppressiveness of the Government in its dealings with the people. In the case of the latter of these two orders the effect would have been greater, had not Latin been the language of legal business until after the time of Justinian. The period of 120 years between the death of Arcadius and that emperor s accession was a time of improvement. During the long reign of Theodosius II. the power was in the hands of his sister, the philanthropic Pulcheria, and of his ministers, and these seem to have ruled judiciously ; and the five succeeding emperors, Marcian, Leo I., Zeno the Isaurian, Anastasius, and Justin, were all men born in the middle or lower class of society, and of provincial origin, and had come to the throne at a mature age. The sympathy which they thus had with the body of their subjects accounts for their economy, and for their endeavours to restore the re sources of the empire and alleviate its burdens, and generally to introduce regular forms of procedure into public business. Far different was the case with Justinian, whose severe demands for money distressed all classes of his subjects. Uhens. But it was on Athens that h .s hand was most heavily laid. That city was still a literary capital where Hellenic learning was cultivated ; and if the Hero and Leander of Musaeus and that graceful pastoral romance, the Daphnis and Chloe of Longus, are to be assigned to so late a date as the fifth century, the spirit of the ancient literature had not long been extinct among the Greeks. The ancient buildings still existed in all their splendour ; the citizens lived a life of quiet, self-complacent ease ; and the paganism, of which it was now the centre, had been purified from its vices by the maxims of philosophy and the influence of Christianity. It remained for Justinian, in his merciless centralization, to close its schools and confiscate their revenues. At the same time the Olympian games were brought to an end. From this time onward the inhabitants of Hellas are but little heard of, and at the beginning of the 8th century we find them spoken of by Byzantine writers under the contemp tuous title of Helladici, while the Greek nation is represented by the population of Constantinople and Asia Minor. Yet this period was not wholly disadvantageous to Greece. As the danger from the invading barbarians increased, its citizens regained the power of using arms, and revived a municipal administration to direct their efforts. It was also in Justinian s reign that silkworms were introduced from China, and the manufacture of silk became a profitable source of revenue to Thebes and other towns.

One result of the financial legislation of this time was a change which, though the lawgivers certainly did not foresee it, was most beneficial in its effects. This was the gradual Extim extinction of slavery in the Eastern empire. The power tion o that effected this was not Christianity, for that religion had s ^ aver l recognized slavery as an institution, nor yet civilization, for that among the Greeks was intimately connected with the employment of slaves. It was rather produced by an alteration that was taking place in the condition of certain classes, which annihilated the distinction between the free man and the slave. When the oppressiveness of taxation had destroyed the wealthy proprietors, and, in order to pre vent the land from falling out of cultivation and thus diminishing the revenue, the cultivators of the land were tied to the soil, the poorer class of freemen began to sink down into the condition of serfs. On the other hand the slaves who were employed in agriculture became for the same reason an object of solicitude to the legislature, and their proprietors were forbidden to alienate them. They thus acquired a recognized position, not far removed from serfdom ; and when all the lower class were reduced to the same state of poverty, the difference in the political status of the two orders came to be obliterated. Many centuries elapsed before this change fully worked itself out. The slave trade was still an important branch of commerce in the Roman empire, and freemen were sold as slaves if they failed to pay their taxes ; but henceforth the system was doomed to ultimate extinction. When we consider the ex tent to which slavery prevailed in the ancient world, and the misery which it caused, we cannot regret the circum stances which caused it to disappear, even though they were accompanied by much suffering.

It is important also to remark, now that we are The s approaching the period of change from ancient to modern *< >> society, that the decline of civilization in the later Roman . empire was not owing to degeneration in the people them- at f. u selves, or to an inevitable downward tendency in highly civilized communities. It is a mistake to attribute to decay in human character changes that are clearly trace able to the need of such external resources as are indis pensable for its development. The prohibition to carry arms necessarily renders a people unwarlike. Where municipal institutions are discouraged, public opinion soon becomes powerless. When the resources which might be employed in constructing roads are withdrawn, communica tion ceases, and with it the interchange of ideas and other influences by which the intellect is quickened. The degra dation was produced by the injustice of the Government, which pillaged its subjects, and systematically destroyed all independence among them. Whenever the iron hand was removed, they showed signs of renewed life and vigour, but the strength of the central power was too great to encourage any hope of resisting it successfull} 7 . They had no choice but to sit down under it, and suffer it to drain their life-blood by slow degrees.

At the commencement of the 8th century the extinction of the empire of the East appeared to be imminent. The same causes which had overthrown the Western empire were threatening it with destruction. The Saracens had overrun all its Asiatic possessions, and had attacked the capital itself, while in Europe it was threatened by the Bulgarians. The provinces were falling off: Syria, Egypt, Africa, and the conquered provinces of Spain were wholly lost, and in Italy the dominions of the exarchate were greatly circumscribed by the Lombards. At home rebellion prevailed in the army, and anarchy in the government, six emperors having been dethroned within the space of twenty-one years. It seemed as if the Greek race itself would be destroyed ; in the countries conquered by the Saracens the Greeks were almost exterminated, and Greek civilization proscribed, while Hellas was threatened with occupation by the barbarians. But at this moment the helm of the state was seized by a man who, by his force of character and his great abilities, inaugurated a new state of things, and gave the empire a new lease of life. This man was Leo the Isaurian.

III. Period of Byzantine Prosperity : from Leo III. to Isaac I. (Comnenus), 716-1057 A.D.

Considerable difference of opinion has existed as to the precise time at which the Roman empire of the east may have ended, and the Byzantine empire to have commenced. Gibbon remarks that "Tiberius by the Arabs, and Maurice by the Italians, are distinguished as the first of the Greek Caesars, as the founders of a new dynasty and empire." The question turns on modifications of the old Itoman system of administration, and the introduction of a new order of things, which lasted until the overthrow of the state. These commenced, no doubt, shortly after the death of Heraclius, and were closely connected with the victorious advance of the Saracens, which necessitated a reform, and at tha same time concentrated the empire, and confined it more and more within the districts inhabited by Greeks. But the altered state of things did not become apparent, nor were the changes systematized, until the time of Leo III., and therefore he may most rightly be regarded as having inaugurated the Byzantine empire. The first cen tury and a half of the present period embraces the icono clastic controversy, while the two remaining centuries coincide with the rule of the Basilian dynasty, It was a time of great men and great achievements, both in govern ment and war, and the events it contains amply suffice to defend the Byzantine empire from the imputation of feeble ness and decrepitude ; and those who delight to find in history strongly marked characters and stirring incidents will be amply rewarded here. Few personages stand out in stronger relief than the ruthless, yet ascetic, warrior Basil, the slayer of the Bulgarians ; and few occurrences are more romantic than the death of Leo the Armenian, who defends himself with the crucifix in his chapel, where he was chanting the prayers in the early morning, while his successor lies in fetters in the neighbouring dungeon.

We must first notice the reforms, which caused the reign of Leo III. to be an era in the history of the empire. These extended to almost every branch of the administra tion. In respect of the army, he reorganized the military establishment by placing the various bodies of soldiers in the different "themes," or departments, each with a general of its own, thereby providing for local defence, and avoiding the danger of rendering the military commanders too influ ential a system which defended the empire for five cen turies. The geographical arrangement in themes was intro duced by Heraclius, but reorganized by Leo, and bore somewhat the same relation to the previous division into provinces that the departments in France bear to the earlier distribution of that country. In respect of finance, he brought the taxation immediately under the emperor s cognizance, so that thenceforth the emperors were their own finance ministers. All local agencies for collecting the taxes were abolished, and their functions transferred to the im perial officers, who took census regularly. By this means he raised more money than his predecessors, but the increased prosperity of the people showed that the burden did not fall so heavily. In respect of justice, in order to obviate the difficulties which had arisen in the administration of Justinian s elaborate laws, especially since the facilities for communication throughout the empire had decreased, he published in Greek an abridged manual called the Ecloga, and codified the military, agricultural, and maritime laws. In respect of religion, he aimed at counteracting the ele ment of superstition which had crept into the church, and through it was corrupting the public mind. But this last point calls for separate consideration, since the worship or prohibition of images became the burning question of the age.

The history of iconoclasm is the history of Constantinople during the 8th century and the first half of the 9th, and involved a great part of the empire in its distractions. There can be little doubt that, in his opposition to image worship, Leo represented the opinion of a large part of the enlightened laymen of his time, while the great body of the clergy, but especially the monks, together with the mass of the population, were passionately attached to the statues and pictures, as objects of reverence, not to say of adoration. But the fact that the stronghold of iconoclasm was Asia Minor, and especially that part of it which bordered on the countries occupied by the Saracens, suggests that it was in part owing to the spread of Mahometanism, the rigidly guarded spirituality of which creed was a stand ing protest against more material conceptions of religion. Nor should we overlook the deeply rooted feeling in tbe mind of Orientals of the opposition between spirit and matter, which would naturally cause them to be alive to such questions of controversy. The emperors of this time were those of the Isaurian, Armenian, and Amorian dynas ties, all which names remind us that they came from the Asiatic provinces ; whereas the great restorer of images, the empress Irene, during whose regency the second council of Nicaea in their favour was held (787 A.D.), was an Athenian. But the matter was complicated by a further issue ; the question of images was closely connected in the minds of the emperors, and especially of Leo III. and his hard-handed son Constantine Copronymus, with that of their supremacy in matters of religion. They viewed with jealousy the independent power of the church, and were glad of the opportunity this controversy afforded of strength ening their control over this department, and claiming to the full those ecclesiastical rights which, from the time of Constantine the Great onward, had attached to the im perial authority. As this move was only part of a system of centralization, the monks and others who supported image worship were from one point of view the assertors of liberty against aggression, and they were recognized as such by a certain number of thinking men, who watched with anxiety the growth of despotism. As toleration was un known to the age, persecution was carried on by both sides with equal fierceness, and the contest swayed to and fro, until it was brought to an end by the final restoration of images under Michael III., the last of the Amorian line (842). Its effects on society had been remarkable, At first its influence was bracing, as was shown by the re newed vigour which pervaded the empire ; for both sides were thoroughly in earnest, and among the iconoclasts in particular an element of Puritan energy was evolved. But in its later stages, when the people at large were weary of the strife, and the struggle was felt to be in reality one between church and state, the prevalent hypocrisy generated disrespect for religion, and this was followed by genera? immorality. It further caused the loss to the empire of its dominions in central Italy. So great was the alienation produced by this movement in the minds of the popes Gregory II. and III. that thenceforward the holy see was for the most part either active in its opposition to the Byzantine power or lukewarm in support of it. At last, in 751, Ravenna was captured by the Lombards, and the Greek exarch retired to Naples.

The subsequent ecclesiastical affairs of this period must be briefly dismissed, though they exercised an important influence on the fortunes of the Greeks. The final separation of the Eastern and Western Churches took place in 1053, though events had long before been leading up to it. Already in the middle of the 9th century, when the pope interfered between the rival patriarchs Ignatius and Photius, a rupture was very nearly occurring ; and at last, though the formal causes of division were theological, yet the assumptions of the see of Kome and political antagonisms wore in reality more influential motives. The bitterness thus created culminated in the capture of Constantinople by the Latins at the time of the fourth crusade ; and the subsequent refusal of aid by the Western nations to the Greeks greatly facilitated the success of the Ottomans. From this, the greatest breach in the Christian world, we turn with thankfulness to the missionary efforts of this age. In the middle of the 9th century two brothers, Cyril and Methodius, preached the gospel to the southern Slavonians, and converted them to Christianity. By Cyril the alphabet called Cyrillic was invented, which was generally adopted by the Slavonic peoples. About the same time the Bul garians renounced their paganism, through the influence of a sister of their king, Bogoris, who had been educated as a prisoner at Constantinople, and afterwards restored to her native country. The rest of the nation had been prepared for this change by the numerous Christian slaves who had previously been carried off by them in war. A century later Christianity was introduced by Greek influence among the Russians, whose capital was now at Kieff, and who were among the most dreaded foes of the Eastern empire. If the missionary spirit is the best evidence of the vitality of a church, it is clear that that of Constantinople, however much corrupted by formalism, was still animated by the spirit of true religion.

The Persian monarchy, which for 400 years had been the rival of the Roman power in Asia, had now succumbed to the victorious arms of the Saracens; and that people again, during the next four centuries, were engaged in almost con tinual war with the Byzantine empire. In the reign of Constantino Pogonatus, the caliph Moawyah besieged Con stantinople for seven years by land and sea, the invaders retiring to Cyzicus for the winter (672-9); but, owing in great measure to the newly invented Greek fire, he was obliged at last to desist from the attempt, and almost the whole of his force was destroyed. Notwithstanding this reverse, the attempt was renewed within a year after Leo III. s accession by Moslemah, brother of the caliph Suleiman, with an enormous host ; but the skill of the Byzantines in military defence, which was equal to that of the Romans in their best days, baffled his attempts, and a winter of extraordinary severity ensuing ruined the attack ing army. The importance of this result was incalculable to Europe far greater than that of the victory of Charles Martel at Tours, The Saracen empire was now at its height, and reached from the Indus to the Atlantic; and. it was the full brunt of this power, now in full tide of conquest, which was resisted at Constantinople. Had that city fallen, there was no power that could have prevented it from overrunning Europe. After this, Asia Minor con tinued for ages to be the battle-ground of the two opposing empires, until it was so devastated and depopulated by suc cessive campaigns as to be fit only for the occupation of the nomad tribes who were to succeed. In the midst of these struggles the invasions of Haroun al Rashid, the splendour of whose court obtained for him a reputation in the West which he did not enjoy among his contemporaries in the East, appear hardly more than plundering incursions. The Byzantine nobles, who were trained in this school of war, were distinguished for their military spirit and personal prowess ; and the troops of which the armies were composed were so powerful and well-disciplined that the Saracens would never meet them in the field except with far superior numbers. By sea, however, the empire was less successful than by land. During the first half of the 9th century both Crete and Sicily were conquered by these enemies, and in the year 904 occurred the memorable sack of Thessalonica. A Saracen fleet appeared before that city, and, after storm ing the sea-wall, pillaged the whole place and butchered the citizens without respect of sex or age. The most famous successes were those of Nicephorus Phocas and his successor John Zimisces. The former of these great commanders, who before he became emperor had reconquered the island of Crete, at the end of a brilliant campaign in Syria obtained possession of Antioch (968) after it had been in the hands of the Mahometans for 328 years. Five years later Zimisces carried his victorious arms even to the banks of the Tigris. But while the disorganized state of the caliphate of Baghdad, in the early part of the llth century, removed all fears from that quarter, a new enemy began to appear on the eastern frontier of the empire the Seljuk Turks. Unfortunately, at this critical conjuncture, a fatal mistake was made. The safety of that frontier had long been guaranteed by the Armenian kingdom of the Bagra- tians, whose country was admirably adapted for defence, and whose population were a hardy race of Christian mountaineers. In the year 1045 the emperor Constantino IX. destroyed this kingdom, and thereby laid his dominions open to the invaders.

In Europe, at the same time, the empire was exposed to the attacks of a foe hardly less formidable, and in closer proximity the Bulgarians. After the extinction of the Avars, this people, who had long been in subjection to them, had founded an important monarchy in the ancient Moesia at the end of the 7th century; and henceforward the Byzantines had to defend their European possessions, not as before against a succession of migratory tribes, but against the concentrated force of a single nation. In the time of Constantine Copronymus we find that it required all the energy and military talents of that emperor to keep them at bay, and on one occasion they carried their ravages up to the neighbourhood of the capital. In the beginning of the 9th century their king, Crumn, defeated and slew the emperor Nicephorus I., who had invaded his territory, in a night attack on his camp, and converted his skull into a drinking- cup for his table. We have already noticed how, later in that century, the nation embraced Christianity, and at the same time a tract of country on the southern side of the Balkan range was ceded to them, and received from them the name of Zagora. By this time also they had imperceptibly changed their nationality and their language, for by intermingling with the more numerous Slavonian tribes of the countries in which they settled, they lost the traces of their Hunnish origin, and became to all intents and pur poses a Slavonic race. By the neighbourhood of Constantinople, and the trade between that city and the German and Scandinavian peoples which passed through their country, they became a commercial nation, and advanced in the arts of life. But the rapacity of the Greeks in im posing heavy customs on their traders involved them again in war with the empire, and when peace was re-established, the treaty between Romanus I. and their king, Simeon, was made under the very walls of Constantinople (923). In the reign of Nicephorus Phocas the Russians, who had not long before appeared on the scene of action, were invited by the Greeks to invade Bulgaria, and they so effectually crushed the Bulgarians (968) that his successor, John Zimisces, was obliged to come to their aid, in order to save his own territory from falling a prey to the new comers. It was shortly after this that the great and final struggle commenced. Under their chief, Samuel, a man of great vigour and ability, they extended their conquests over Macedonia and Thessaly, and made plundering incursions into Greece and the Peloponnesus. But finding that the plains of Bulgaria were unfavourable to him as a seat of war, on account of the superior discipline of the imperial forces, Samuel transferred his seat of government to Aclirida, on the confines of Macedonia and Albania, and thence he extended his kingdom from the Adriatic to the yEgean, so that the country he ruled was as extensive as the European portion of the Byzantine empire. But these events coincided with the culminating period of Byzantine greatness, and Samuel found a worthy rival in Basil II., who from his subsequent victories obtained the title of " Slayer of the Bulgarians." By him the Bulgarian power was brought to an end ; and the whole people submitted to the dominion of the Greeks (1018).

The third people with whom the empire had to contend at this time was the Russians. In the reign of Michael III., the last of the Amorian dynasty (865), the inhabi tants of Constantinople were astonished by the appearance in the neighbourhood of the city of a fleet of 200 small vessels, which passed down the Bosphorus from the Black Sea. The enemy contained in these was the Russians, who not long before had established themselves at Kieff on the Dnieper, and whose restless spirit and love of plunder prompted them to attack the strongest city in the world. Their ignorance of the art of war rendered them no for midable foe to the Byzantine forces, but their daring and cruelty produced a profound impression on the civilized and peaceful citizens. Similar attacks were made in 907 by Oleg and in 941 by Igor, but the influence of trade and the introduction of Christianity into Russia gradually promoted more peaceful relations, and the Byzantines em ployed the powerful tribe of the Patzinaks, who occupied the northern shores of the Black Sea, to counterbalance their opponents. But the campaign of John Zimisces on the Danube in 971, which followed on the negotiations of his predecessor for the subjugation of the Bulgarians, showed how important a military power the Russians had become, for he found in their chief, Swatoslav, an enter prising and powerful adversary, whom it required all his skill to overcome. Once more, in the time of Constantino IX. (1043), the Scandinavian Varangians, by whom the Russians were mostly represented in their marauding ex peditions, appeared before Constantinople, but with no better success than before ; and from this period the alliance of that people with the Byzantines was long uninterrupted, and the two nations were bound together more and more by religious sympathy. In the days of the Comneni the Varangians regularly formed the bodyguard of the emperor.

Constitutional changes were usually of slow growth in the Byzantine empire, yet at the end of this period we find con- siderable alterations to have been effected. Under the early iconoclastic emperors there was a tendency towards the greater concentration of power in the hands of the sovereign, but Basil I. converted the government into a pure despotism. This he effected by abolishing the legislative functions of the senate, which body, though now a shadow of its former self, had existed in one form or another all along, and exercised a certain influence in controlling the absolute power of the emperor. When this restraint was removed, and the senate reduced to an administrative council, no further check remained except the fear of revolu tion. Basil also tacitly introduced what, strange to say, had never existed in the Roman empire, and even now was only partially recognized the principle of legitimacy in succession. With a view to this he established the custom that his descendants should be born in the " porphyry chamber," so that the name Porphyrogenitus might become a title of legitimacy. In this way a partial antidote was created to that inveterate disease of the Byzantine empire which a French writer has called la maladie du trone the ambition to be emperor at all hazards, notwithstanding the risks involved both in the attempt and the possession of the office. The growth of the idea is proved by the loyalty shown a century and a half later to the empress Zoe, an aged, profligate, and incapable woman, on account of the legitimacy of her descent. But the greatest change of all, and one that contributed greatly to the subsequent decline of the empire, was effected at the end of this period. This was the abolition of the system of training officials to con duct the various departments of the state, and the entrust ing those offices to eunuchs of the imperial household. The object of this was to lessen the power of the territorial aristocracy, and to diminish the chance of rebellion, by placing the government in the hands of men who could not found a dynasty ; but from this time onward the efficiency of the administration began to wane. It was the disregard of the aristocracy involved in this change that caused the conspiracy of the nobles in Asia Minor which set Isaac Comnenus on the throne. It should also be noticed that few of the emperors throughout this period were Greeks, most of them being either Armenian or Slavonian by extrac tion. This circumstance accounts for a certain freedom from prejudice and independence of view which may be traced in their actions, but at the same time it caused them to be wanting in sympathy with their subjects.

During a considerable part of this period, notwithstand- Condi- ing the desolating wars which we have described, the pros- tion of perity of the inhabitants of the empire was very great. , ie pe< Finlay, who is excellently qualified to judge in a matter of * this kind, gives it as his opinion that under the iconoclast emperors their moral condition was superior, not only to that of all contemporary kingdoms, but to that of any equal number of the human race in any preceding period. The society of this time has been too much judged of by the murders and mutilations which were rife in consequence of the struggles for the throne ; but it should be remembered that these were confined almost entirely to the court and its surroundings, and did not affect the mass of the people. And their material prosperity was equally great. The emperor Theophilus, notwithstanding his lavish expendi ture, is recorded to have left at his death a sum equal to five million sovereigns an amount of money which could hardly have been extorted from a people otherwise than wealthy. This was the result of the commerce of their immense mercantile marine, which had in its hands the whole of the carrying trade between Asia and western Europe. To this it should be added that, under Basil the Macedonian and his successors, care was taken to moderate the burden of taxation, a policy that accounts in great measure for the duration of his dynasty, which occupied the throne of Constantinople longer than any other. Unfortu nately the riches thus obtained tended alter a time to accu mulate in the hands of the few, and from the reign of Basil II. the middle class, that element which society can least of all afford to dispense with, began rapidly to diminish. As a consequence of this, in the llth century manufactures declined in the cities, while in the country the immense estates of the aristocracy were cultivated by Mahometan slaves or Slavonian serfs ; and this higher class itself began to feel the lethargy of wealth, and though still unconscious of coming change, was on the eve of impending decline.

In the year 747, during the reign of Constantine Copronymus, the empire was visited by a fearful pestilence, which, both in the mortality and the demoralization of society it produced, must have rivalled, to judge by the accounts left us by the Byzantine historians, those of Florence and London, of which Boccaccio and Defoe have drawn such vivid pictures. As this calamity was the primary cause of the immigration of foreign settlers into Greece, it is intimately connected with the question of modern Greek nationality ; and consequently the present appears a fitting place briefly to discuss this subject, on which great differences of opinion, turning mainly on tho medieval history of the country, have prevailed. The controversy originated in the famous thesis of Professor Falhnerayer of Munich, that, owing to the great influx first of Slavonian and afterwards of Albanian colonists, not a single drop of Hellenic blood flows in the veins of the Greeks at the present day. The discussion of this point has enlisted much ability and learning on both sides, but the question appears now to have been pretty well set at rest by the abandonment of Fallmerayer s hypothesis. How early barbarian settlements began to take place in Greece it is difficult to determine ; but though the occupation of the Peloponnese by Avars and Slavonians at the end of the 6th century, on which much stress has been laid, is doubt fully historical, yet colonies of those races probably estab lished themselves in the northern part of Greece. But that the great change in this respect was produced by the pesti lence is shown by the oblivion of Hellenic names of places which dates from that time. For, though a fair number of ancient names of seaport towns, such as Patrae, Corinth, and Epidaurus, and some names even in a district so ex tensively occupied by Slavonians as Arcadia, have been pre served to the present day, yet the great majority of the modern names are now, and have been since the 8th century, either Slavonic or of later Greek origin. Not only was the country greatly depopulated by the plague, but a consider able portion of the native middle class was induced by the emperor to migrate to the capital, in order to fill up the void in the inhabitants which had been caused by its ravages. The districts which were thus left vacant were soon after occupied by Slavonian tribes, so that until the middle of the 9th century they formed a large part of the population. But in the latter part of that century the Greeks began to recover a numerical superiority, and from this period dates the process of the absorption and Helleniz- ing of the Slavonians, so as to form the mixed race of which the greater part of the population of Greece is now composed. In effecting this change the Greek Church played an important part. The affinity between the ancient and modern Greeks has been traced by several lines of reasoning. It has been pointed out how great is the resem blance of character between them, and that too in points presenting the sharpest contrast to the character of the Slavonic races. The survival of old beliefs and classical superstitions at the present day has been carefully observed. The language is a lineal descendant of the ancient speech, and contains next to no Slavonic element ; and lest it should be thought that this language had been imported into the provinces from one or more great centres, and had not sur vived in the districts themselves, it is proved that numerous classical words and forms, which have been lost to the language at large, still survive in the local dialects. Thus, though the physical connexion between the modern Greeks and the ancient Hellenes, in certain districts at all events, may be slight, as seems to ba implied by the differencs of physiognomy, yet in all that really constitutes a people, their character, feelings, and ideas, the former are the lineal descendants of the latter.

IV. Period of Byzantine Decline : from Isaac I. to the taking of Constantinople by the Latins, 1057-1204 A.D.

At the commencement of the preceding period there was a prevailing fear among the inhabitants of the empire that its extinction was imminent, and we have seen how this was followed by an age of unexampled prosperity. The feeling of the time on which we now enter was completely the opposite of this, and yet it was a period of decline. The long duration of the empire, notwithstanding numerous vicissitudes, its superiority to contemporary nations in power and wealth, and its apparent security from foreign enemies, inspired the people with a belief in its permanency, and blinded them to the seeds of disease that were already working. Yet before the end of the llth century the Seljuk Turks had occupied all the inland part of Asia Minor, and had established their capital at Nicaea, in the immediate neighbourhood of Constantinople. It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that, in its external relations at all events, the whole of the Comnenian period was a time of decay. On the contrary, during a consider able period it witnessed a remarkable revival ; and the three great emperors of that dynasty, Alexius, John, and Manuel Comnenus, whose long reigns extend over an entire century (1081-1180), were men who would be conspicu ous figures in any age. All of them were distinguished by personal courage and skill in war, by literary culture, and by sagacity in politics ; but in other respects they re presented very different types. The first, Alexius, was in defatigable in business, patient in maturing his schemes, and active in carrying them out, but vainglorious, unprin cipled, and fond of artifice. From this Ulyssean phase of Greek character we turn to a true Achilles, his son John, the most amiable character that ever occupied the Byzantine throne a man irreproachable in morals, open-hearted, generous in action, prudent in council, and pious without superstition. The last of the three, Manuel, presents us with a nature spoiled by the early possession of absolute power, but gifted with most of the features admired by his contemporaries handsome in person, tall of stature, and so powerful that, at a tournament at Antioch in which the chivalry of the West took part, he unhorsed every antago nist but passionate in temper and ill-regulated in mind. In an age which produced men like these it may well be inquired, What were the sources of decline 1

In the first place, the emperors were almost the only capable men. This was the natural effect of the centralization of the system. The neglect of the education of persons intended to be employed in the administration, and the employment of creatures of the court for offices of trust, were now bearing their fruit. Everything depended on the existing sovereign ; and it only required the vices of a thoroughly profligate man like Andronicus Comnenus, the last of his dynasty, to ruin the state. As might be ex pected also under these circumstances, disorder soon crept into every branch of the public service. The census, which for eleven centuries had been carefully compiled, was now neglected ; justice, which more than anything else had united the provinces to the empire, was more imperfectly administered ; and the army became inferior to those of Western nations. This last change was produced partly by the degeneracy of the nobles in military spirit, owing to the growth of luxury, partly by the officers being appointed by favouritism, and the habit of disbanding troops at the end of a campaign, in order to save money to defray the expenses of the court. At the same time the great diminution of the middle class, owing to the extension of the large properties, lessened the number of those who were willing to defend their liberties against invaders. The privileges also, in respect of trade, which were conceded by Alexius I. to the Venetians and by Manuel to the Genoese and Pisans, to the detriment of the native merchants, commenced the decline of Greek commerce; and this was accelerated by the piracy that arose, when the money that had been contributed by the commercial communities for the main tenance of local squadrons of galleys was ordered to be remitted to Constantinople. To all this must be added the influence of the higher Greek clergy, whose subserviency to the state had increased since the separation from the Western Church, and the conservatism of whose ideas discouraged all attempts at progress on the part of the people. The age of the Coixmeni is the time of the crusades. Those famous expeditions will produce a very different im pression on the mind according as they are regarded from the point of view of the East or the West. From the latter point of view they may be regarded as bringing to a focus the religious and martial enthusiasm of the time, as forming a safety-valve for restlessness, as enlarging the ideas and elevating the spirit of the people. But to the great mass of the Easterns they appeared as hardly better than maraud ing expeditions, and as producing unmitigated evil. Though the first crusade (1095) was partly undertaken in conse quence of the solicitations of Alexius for aid against the Seljuks, yet as soon as the first undisciplined bands entered the country they pillaged the natives ; and when the more organized companies followed, though many of their leaders, like Godfrey and Tancred, were men of the highest char acter, yet it required all the address of the Byzantine monarch to transmit these armies into Asia without some irreparable injury being done to his capital. No doubt the faults were not all on one side, for the suspicion and falsity of Alexius gave just ground of complaint to the crusaders. But he had a very difficult part to play. Had he placed himself, as was proposed, at the head of the crusade, he had no reason to expect obedience on the part of the feudal nobles, while at the same time he left his kingdom exposed to the danger of rivals at home and fresh bands from abroad. Accordingly he chose the ignoble part, and followed in their footsteps with the view of regaining what he could to his dominions. The second and third of these expedi tions passed through the empire with comparatively little injury, though in the latter of the two the island of Cyprus was lost to Richard of England ; but the ill-will that was manifested by the Greeks on those occasions ripened in the minds of the Westerns those seeds of hatred which at last bore fruit in the great buccaneering expedition which is commonly called the fourth crusade (1204). This event, of which a narrative has been left us from both sides, by the Greek historian Nicetas and the Frank chronicler Villehardouin, is certainly one of the most disgraceful trans actions in history. A certain lustre has been shed over it t>y the age and blindness of the doge Dandolo, who was one of the principal leaders ; but that a Christian force assembled for the purpose of fighting the infidels should turn its arms against the most important Christian city of the time is an act of unparalleled baseness ; nor can any thing be conceived more deliberately mean than the treaty by which the spoil of the empire was partitioned beforehand between the nations who took part in the attack. From this blow Constantinople never recovered, though it is fair to add that hardly less injury had been caused by the storm and plunder of the city during the rebellion which set Alexius Comnenus on the throne.

In Asia this period opens with a great disaster, the defeat Romanus IV. by Alp Arslan, in the battle of Manzikert in Armenia (1071). Gibbon has eloquently described the scene, in which the Seljuk sultan, after placing his foot on the neck of the captive emperor, spares his life, and hospitably entertains him. The Seljuk race of Turks were already masters of a great part of western Asia, and in the reign of Malekshah, Alp Arslan s successor, their dominions extended from the banks of the Jaxartes to the Mediter ranean. The empire had now entered on the third great struggle of four centuries duration, which it maintained in the East first with the Persians, next with the Saracens, and finally with the Turks, whether Seljuk or Ottoman. But the present contest was commenced under altered circumstances. It was soon felt how fatal was the policy which had denuded the Armenian frontier of its native defenders, and how few obstacles were presented in Asia Minor to an invading force when a large portion of the free population had disappeared. And the character of the invaders also had changed; for, whereas the Persians and Saracens had felt an interest in civilization, the Turkish hordes were composed of nomad barbarians, whose object in war was plunder, and who occupied the countries they con quered as pastoral tribes. Hence their system of warfare consisted in exterminating the agricultural population by successive inroads, until one district after another lay open for their permanent settlement. Within three years after the battle of Manzikert, the Seljuk power extended over the greater part of Asia Minor ; and when, in the year 1080, Nicaea fell into their hands, that place became the capital of a separate kingdom, which was called the sultanate of Roum, that is, of Rome. From thence they were driven back by the crusaders at the time of the first crusade, and transferred their seat of government to Iconium, in a more remote position in the south-east of the country. After this they carried on a succession of wars with the Byzantine Government, the most remarkable event in which was the great battle at Myriocephalus, on the borders of Phrygia, in which the emperor Manuel was signally defeated. During the distractions that prevailed at Constantinople shortly before the fourth crusade, it might have been in the power of the Seljuks to seize that city, and so to anticipate the Latins ; but at this time the kingdom was divided between the ten sons of the sultan, Kilidji-Arslan II., and thenceforward the power of the Seljuks was less formidable.

Meanwhile the European dominions of the emperors had been assailed by a variety of foes, among whom the Normans were the most conspicuous. In the year 1071 Robert Guiscard succeeded in expelling the Byzantines from their remaining possessions in southern Italy, and fired by the am bition of rivalling his great compatriot, who four years and a half before this had made himself master of England, he conceived the design of conquering the Byzantine empire. With the object of carrying this into execution, he laid siege to Dyrrhachium, the most important Greek city on the Adriatic, and after defeating Alexius Comnenus, who had come to its relief, succeeded in making himself master of the place. Being forced to quit the country, he entrusted the campaign to his son Bohemund, who was de feated by the emperor, and withdrew into Italy. Fortune, however, ordained that these two chieftains should once more be brought into collision in Syria, and hence arose another Norman war, in which Bohemund was foiled by the strength of Dyrrhachium. At a later period, in the reign of Manuel, Greece was invaded by King Roger, who had received an affront from that emperor, and the cities of Thebes and Corinth were sacked in the most barbarous manner. But the most famous of these inroads was in 1185, and resulted in the siege of Thessalonica, which place was taken by the Normans, and treated with a cruelty that almost rivalled that of the Saracens in the former siege. Besides these wars, there were others with the Patzinaks, the Hungarians, the Servians, and the Venetians. But towards the end of this period the empire received a blow from the revolt of a people who on this one occasion appear prominently in history the Wallachians. This race, who, like the Greeks, claimed the name of Romans or Roumans, were the descendants of the Roman colonists in Dacia, whom the emperor Aurelian transplanted to the southern side of the Danube. There it is probable they intermingled with the natives, but they retained the Latin tongue, from which the modern language is derived. About the 13th century, it would seem, the great body of the nation once more migrated northward to the seats they now occupy; but those of whom we are speaking here were settled on the Balkan, where they had maintained them selves in their mountain fastnesses, owning an allegiance more or less qualified to Constantinople. In the reign of Isaac Angelas (1186), however, when they were heavily taxed, robbed of their cattle, and misused in other ways, they rose under the leadership of three brothers, Peter, Asan, and John, and having made a league with the Bulgarians, raised the standard of revolt, and established what is called the Bulgaro-Wallachian kingdom. Its suc cessive rulers contended with varied fortune against the Byzantine Government, but succeeded in maintaining their position in Thrace and Macedonia, to which countries for a time Thessaly also was added, forming, however, an inde pendent province, with a governor of its own. The emperor Baldwin, the first of the Latin emperors of Constantinople, was captured by them in battle, and put to death. The kingdom continued to exist until the Turks made their ap pearance on the scene, when, in common with the other in dependent sovereignties in these regions, it was finally overthrown.

The period from the end of the 9th century to the fourth crusade was to Greece a time of prosperity. Though its inhabitants were looked down upon as provincials by the people of Constantinople, and the country itself v, 7 as treated with neglect (Basil II. was the only emperor who for sev eral ages visited Athens), yet in material well-being it was one of the most flourishing parts of the empire. Though barbarian inroads were still not wholly unknown, one of the Uzes in particular is mentioned in 1065, yet security generally prevailed, and from the middle of the 1 1th century the coasts had nothing to fear from Saracen corsairs. The land produced com in abundance, so that it even supplied the capital in a time of dearth. The silk manufactures of Thebes, Athens, and Corinth were a source of great wealth, and much of the commerce of the time was in the hands of the people of Greece. The port of Monemvasia, in eastern Laconia, which gave its name to the Malmsey wine, was especially famous as a mediaeval emporium. How far Hellenic feeling and Hellenic traditions survived among the Greeks we have no means of discovering, but the proba bility is that these to a great extent perished, along with the Hellenic names, at the time of the great Slavonic im migration. The whole population had become Christian, though as late as the 9th century paganism existed among the inhabitants of the mountainous regions of Laconia. But in the latter half of the 12th century decline was ready to set in. Their commerce was passing into the hands of the Western traders ; the silk manufacture was transferred by the Norman Roger to Palermo ; and the profits of in dustry were absorbed by taxation, so that no surplus remained to be invested in works of public utility. The writings of Michael Acominatus, the noble and learned archbishop of Athens at the time of the fourth crusade, give clear evidence that in that city the decay had already commenced.

It is during the 12th century that we first meet with compositions in the popular Greek tongue, among the earliest specimens being poems by a monk called Ptochopro- dromus, addressed to the emperor Manuel Comnenus. The literary language of this time was still the same which had been used throughout the Byzantine period the "common" dialect of the Macedonian Greeks, as it had been transmitted with various modifications by the later Greek writers and the fathers of the church. The Byzantine histories and other works which were composed in it are usually stilted and pedantic in style, and conventional in their ideas and their treatment of events ; but it is possible to treat them too slightingly. Some of the writers, like M ichael Psellus and Eustathius of Thessalonica, were men of undoubted ability and learning ; and, besides this, it was the taste for these subjects, however faulty, which main tained the high level of cultivation that distinguished the Byzantines from the people of all other contemporary states during the Middle Ages, arid caused the ancient literature to be preserved. This language was also that spoken at court, so that it is not till the time of the Palaeologi that we find the highest circles and polite composition invaded by the vulgar tongue. But from the 4th century after Christ, if not earlier, there had been a divergence between the written and the spoken language, so that the two formed, so to speak, an upper and a lower stratum. Until the time of the iconoclasts, in all probability, the ancient speech was generally intelligible, but from the end of the 9th century it was a dead language to the great bulk of the nation. The change which the popular idiom was passing through, as might be expected, was twofold, arising, first, from the usual tendency of speech to become more analytical and of words to modify their meaning, and, secondly, from the loss of vocabulary, the mutilation of grammatical forms, and the confusion of syntax, which is produced by want of cultivation. At the same time it passed through no such violent process of disintegration as befell Latin in its change into the Romance languages, so that its historical con tinuity was never broken. But when it emerges to view in the compositions of the 12th century it is already a modern language, and its forms differ little from those of the Romaic of the present century, though of course the voca bulary was as yet free from the intrusive elements -Italian, Albanian, and Turkish which subsequently crept into it. The metre in which these poems were composed was regu lated entirely by accent, and not by the quantity of the syllables, and the verse usually employed was the so-called "political," i.e., popular verse, which corresponds to some of our longer ballad metres. The favourite subject was romances, and in the treatment of these, as well as to some extent in the stories themselves, subsequently to the Frarikish occupation the influence of the French romances is clearly traceable.

V. Period of Greek Survival : from the taking of Constantinople by the Latins to its Conquest by the Turks, 1204-1453 A.D.

The empire of the East never recovered from the effects of the fourth crusade. It was then broken into a number of separate fragments, and though some of these recovered their cohesion, and the end did not arrive for two centuries and a half, yet the strength of the system was gone, and paralysis crept more and more over the enfeebled frame. In accordance with the provisions of the partition treaty, a Latin emperor was set up at Constantinople, and Baldwin, count of Flanders, was elected to the office ; Latin kingdoms were established in different provinces, one at Thessalonica, which was of short duration, another at Athens under the family of De la Roche, and a third in the Peloponnesus under Champlitte and Villehardouin, which was called the principality of Achaia or the Morea. Of the occupation of the last-named of these countries an account is given in one of the most curious of mediaeval Greek poems, The Book of the Conquest, the French original of which also exists. But even the districts which remained in the hands of the Greeks did not continue united. An independent empire was established at Trebizond on the Black Sea by a scion of the house of Comnenus. Another principality was founded in Epirus, the despot of which, after overthrowing the Latin state of Thessalonica, established at that place an empire of his own. But the headquarters of the legitimate Greek monarchy were at Nicæa, the original capital of the Seljuk sultans in Asia Minor. Theodore Lascaris, a man of no mean ability, who had been acknowledged as emperor before the capture of Constantinople, having taken up his abode in that place, succeeded in maintaining himself in opposition to the crusaders, the Seljuks of Iconium, and the Greeks of Trebizond ; and his successors continued to reside there for nearly sixty years. When the difficulties of the Westerns in Constantinople became increasingly greater, and their downfall appeared imminent, it was for a time a question whether that city should become the prize of the emperor of Nicaea, or of the emperor of Thessalonica, or of the Bulgaro-Wallachian sovereign ; and this rivalry involved many alliances and wars. The man who ultimately decided it in favour of Nicaea was Michael Paheologus, who became the founder of the last dynasty that ruled the Greek empire (1261).

he The character of Michael, which was too faithfully re- "alteo- fleeted by many of his successors, represented most of the 1 unfavourable qualities of the Greek race. Though a brave soldier, lie was intriguing, selfish, and unscrupulous, as he soon showed by the deposition and blinding of the young emperor, whose guardian and colleague he was appointed to be. He entered on the possession of a ruined capital, which the barbarism of the Western nobles had reduced to a state of poverty and filth, and his attempts to restore it were misdirected and unsuccessful. His one object, when he had established himself on the throne, was to maintain his despotism ; and while he recovered part of the Pelo ponnesus to the empire, he ruined his subjects financially by debasing the coinage, and commercially by allowing the Genoese and Venetians to appropriate most of the carrying trade of the Greeks. But the act by which he gave the deepest offence was the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches, which amounted to the submission of the Greek Church to the pope, to which he consented at the council of Lyons (1274), in order to persuade Gregory X. to pro hibit Charles of Anjou from invading the empire. The narrowness of the theological spirit among the Greeks at this period was greater than we can well conceive, but it was a not unnatural outburst of national feeling which roused the people in opposition to this measure. The sub sequent attempt in the same direction at the councils of Florence and Ferrara (1438-9), when the nation was reduced to the direst straits, met with no better reception at home. Under the successors of Michael the empire con tinued for 170 years, but the whole of this time was a long death sickness. The doom of the empire was forecast by the powers that came to prey on its weakness the Cata lans, who plundered those whom they had undertaken to aid ; the knights of St John, who seized llhodes, a con quest which they rendered memorable by their gallant de fence of that island against the Mahometans ; and the Ser vians, who, under Stephen Dushan, established an important empire, which lasted until it was destroyed by Sultan Amurath at the great battle of Cossova (1389). Even the emperors themselves, from the endowments and gifts which they lavishly bestowed on monasteries, especially those of Athos, seemed to be providing beforehand for a day when their possessions would pass into the hands of others.

The nation was now arriving at the maturity which was to bring this time-worn empire to an end. Shortly before the Greeks regained possession of Constantinople, the Mongols, whose vast hordes had overrun a great part of Europe and Asia and had destroyed the caliphate of Baghdad, entered Anatolia, and shattered the power of the Seljuks of Iconium. But on the ruins of this dynasty another and far more terrible dominion arose. Towards the end of the 13th century Othman, the chief of a Turkish tribe in north ern Phrygia, penetrated through the passes of Mount Olympus, which the jealous policy of Michael Palasologus had denuded of the protection of the warlike mountaineers who occupied them, and descended into the lowlands of Bithynia. By his son, Orchan, the city of Broussa was captured, which became thenceforth the capital of the Ottoman race. The extraordinarily rapid rise of this people to be one of the greatest powers that the world lias seen was due in great measure to the remarkable ability of its successive rulers, but in no slight degree also to the in stitution of the Janissaries an inhuman but most efficient system, by which Christian children were torn from their homes and educated as Mahometans in the household of the sultans, to whose personal service, as a bodyguard, they were for life devoted. As early as the year 13 1C we find Cantacuzene, then the prime minister of John V., and after wards himself emperor, entering into alliance with Orchan, and giving him his daughter in marriage. The first step towards a permanent settlement of the Turks in Europe was made in 1354, when Gallipoli was occupied by Orchan s son, Suleiman. Seven years from this time Amurath I. made himself master of Adrianople, and before his death that sultan saw the Greek emperor his vassal and tributary. It seemed now as if the fall of Constantinople could not long be delayed, when, with one of those turns of the wheel of fortune which form the surprises of history, Bajazet, the most powerful of all the Ottoman rulers, was defeated and taken prisoner by Timur the Tartar at the battle of Angora (1402), and civil war setting in between his sons gave the Eastern empire a new lease of existence. But within twenty years again the capital was besieged by Amurath II., though he failed to take it, owing partly to the strength of its fortifications, and partly to a rebellion that broke out in his family. The empire was now reduced to Thessalonica, a part of the Peloponnesus, the city of Constantinople, and a few neighbouring towns.

In the midst of the gloom which hangs over this last End of period, it is consoling to find a ray of light that illumines tlie em its closing scene, in the heroic end of the last Constantine. P ire- The story is a sad one. The city was beleaguered by land and sea by the warlike hosts of Mahomet II.; no further succour could be expected from the West ; and the emperor, who had adopted the Latin rite, was thereby estranged from the great mass of his subjects. But he had determined not to survive his empire, and he died in a manner worthy of the greatest of his predecessors. On the eve of the final assault he rode round the positions occupied by his troops, to cheer them by his presence ; and then, having partaken of the eucharist in St Sophia s after the Latin form, and having solemnly asked pardon of the members of his house hold for any offences, he proceeded to occupy his station at the great breach. There on the following morning, after a desperate resistance, he fell fighting amidst a heap of slain, and the young sultan passed his lifeless body as he rode into the captured city. We have thus passed in review the fortunes of the Greeks during a period of nearly eighteen centuries. We have seen how the Roman system of government and the Greek character and social institutions, mutually influencing and modifying one another, produced the characteristic features of the Eastern empire. We have watched that empire maintaining a conflict on the one side with the invading barbarians, the Bulgarians, and the Western nations, on the other with the Persians, the Saracens, and the Turks, until to the last of these peoples it finally succumbed.

The following are the principal histories of this period :—in English, Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which, from its comprehensiveness and grasp of the subject, can never be superseded, and Finlay's History of Greece, which is the chief authority on the Byzantine empire ; in French, Le Beau's Histoire du Bas-Empire ; in German, Carl Hopf's Geschichte Griechenlands vom Beginn des Mittelalters, published in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopädie, and re-issued in vols. vi. and vii. of Brockhaus's Griechenland (a work of great erudition, which has cleared up many disputed questions), and Hertzberg's Geschichte Griechenlands unter der Herrschaft der Römer, and Geschichte Griechenlands seit dem Absterben des antiken Lebens bis zur Gegenwart ; in Greek, Paparrhegopoulous's Ίστορία τοῦ Έλληνικοῦ ἔθνους.-->


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