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Thus the Western empire under Honorius was in the most dreadful state of confusion. Alaric took and pillaged Rome; Atolphus, his successor, seized Languedoc, and the Burgundians subjugated a part of Gaul. Upon the death of Honorius, his chief secretary John assumed the imperial ornaments, and was acknowledged by the whole empire. This prince was taken prisoner by Theodosius's army, and delivered to Valentinian nephew to the former, by whose orders he was put to death. Valentinian permitted himself to be governed by court favourites and eunuchs. Under his reign the Vandals made themselves masters of a great part of Africa; Gaul and Italy were ravaged by the Huns, and England by the Picts. Maximus, whose wife Valentinian had used dishonourably, revenged the affront by his death, and placed himself upon the throne. He took to his bed Eudocia widow to Valentinian-against her will. This lady, in resentment of the injury, invited Genseric into Italy. Genseric laid waste the territories of the empire; and more did unhappy Rome become a prey to the rapacity and brutality of Gothic insolence. Maximus was murdered by his own subjects, and was succeeded by Avitus, who himself was quickly compelled to abdicate the imperial dignity. Majorinus followed, and was assassinated by Ricimer.
The patrician Severus, Majorinus's friend, seized the reins of government, and shared a similar fate from the hands of the treacherous Ricimer. After an interregnum of twenty months, Anthemius took upon himself the title of emperor, and reigned five years ; when he also fell by the perfidy of the turbulent and ambitious Ricimer, who next preferred Olybrius to the throne. Glycerius, count of the household, deposed Olybrius, and was himself superseded by Nepos. Nepos, too, was obliged to give place to Orestes, who proclaimed his son Romulus emperor, under the name of Augustulus. The partisans of Nepos invited into Italy Odoacer king of Bohemia, who defeated Orestes, and caused him to be put to death. Odoacer thus became master of Italy; although, contenting himself with his title of king, he did not assume that of emperor. He was a prince respected and adored by his subjects.
Britain at this epoch fell a prey to the Saxons; and the Goths and Visigoths established themselves in Gaul. Thus was the Roman dynasty annihilated in the West.
Polytheism had still its votaries, who, notwithstanding the edicts of the emperors, and the efforts of the christians, exerted their utmost ingenuity in its defence, and imputed all the misfortunes which befel the empire to its downfal. The christians were not backward in refuting the pretensions of their adversaries; and these disputes cherished the love of philosophy and of erudition, equally among the champions of truth and falsehood. Their philosophy was altogether theological, and turned
wholly upon religious disquisition ;-Pythagoreanism and Platon-
of jealousy as innovations dangerous to the state. However, the barbarism of the fifth age did not proceed so far. Poetry, eloquence and history, which had been cultivated with success in the preceding century, and at the commencement of the fifth, were still patro nised at court ; and the empress Eudocia consort to Theodosius II. composed sacred poems, and occasionally pronounced public harangues in person. Nor was Theodosius himself niggardly in rewarding his panegyrists. But every other merit gave way to that of a fiery and indiscriminating zeal against the authors of heterodox opinions : virtue was but of secondary importance: the defects and even the crimes of zealots were easily overlooked; while their hypocrisy passed for piety, and their pharisaical severity cast á veil over their personal disorders. Meanwhile some of the most bigoted opposers of error recently condemned, became themselves the authors or abettors of new doctrines, and themselves with equal obstinacy maintained their innovations proscribed and anathematised by the catholic church. Of this description was Nestorius a disciple of Theodorus of Mopsuestia, who in combating Apollinaris, thought he had discovered in Holy Scripture, that in Jesus Christ the human soul was totally distinct and separate from the Word, although instructed and directed by the Divinity: misled by these false principles Nestorius concluded, that the divinity resided in the humanity as in its temple, and was no otherwise united to the humanity; and that of course, there were two persons in Jesus Christ ;-the Word,-eternal, infinite, increated ; and man, who was a finite and created being: whatever went to unite in one person
the Divine and the human nature appeared to him a contradiction, and repugnant to the faith of the church. The title of Mother of God ordinarily given to the blessed Virgin, seemed to him
equally inconsistent with that faith. The people protested against this his novel doctrine; while Nestorius, through court influence, was enabled to bear down all opposition by the rigors of confinement and the scourge. St Cyril, archbishop of Alexandria, took up his pen against Nestorius; and the whole church was quickly made acquainted with the subject of their contest. At length a general council was assembled at Ephesus, which condemned the heresiarch, and, after much tumult and confue sion, Theodosius forbade the Nestorians to hold their assemblies; banished their leading men into Arabia, and confiscated their property. Many temporized, and cherished as it were the sparks of division under the embers of Nestorianism, without being styled themselves Nestorians.
A certain Nestorian refugee in Persia, availing himself of the hatred which the Persians had imbibed against the Roman name, found means to establish Nestorianism upon the ruins of catholicity in that kingdom. Thence it diffused itself over all Asia ; where, in succeeding ages, it seems to have formed a constituent part of the religion of the Lamas. The extreme rigor exercised upon the abettors of Nestorianism in the East, owed its birth to Eutyches, a monk in great repute for sanctity, and all-powerful at court. In his ardor to suppress the erroneous doctrine of Nestorius, he adopted expressions which confounded the two natures in Jesus Christ, and taught that he had only one, pretending that the human nature was absorbed by the Divinity, as a drop of water when thrown into the ocean.
This man's influence at court bore him out against the authority of a council held at Constantinople, and procured another to be assembled in his favor, over which presided his friend Dioscorus of Alexandria. Here every thing was carried by violence and faction-with such unblushing effrontery, that this pretended council was justly denominated the cabal of Ephesus. Its decrees notwithstanding, Theodosius II. enforced with his imperial authority. Marcian who succeeded him, caused a synod to be convened at Chalcedon; which condemned Eutychianism, but could not suppress the insolence of its sectaries, who filled the Eastern empire with sedition and with bloodshed. In the midst of these horrors a thousand frivolous questions were agitated by the party; upon which they split, and formed an infinite number of ridiculous and obscure sects, one persecuting the other with unabated fury.
While thus these enthusiasts endeavoured to introduce a new creed in the East, other innovators attacked the dogmas of christianity upon grace, the liberty of man, and his perversion, in the West. Some of these pretended, that by the sole efficacy of our free will, independentlyof divine grace, we may attain the sublimest pitch of virtue: others, in the opposite extreme, with our modern grand reformers Luther and Calvin, subjected man
to a blind destiny which left him neither liberty nor choice. Of the former class were the Pelagians and Semipelagians ; of the latter, the Predestinarians. None, however, of these last mentioned errors, were attended with consequences mischievous to the state.
Sixth age of the christian era.
Anastasius was emperor in the East at the commencement of the sixth century. Under this prince every thing was venal. He oppressed his subjects with intolerable taxes,-productive of insurrections in the provinces, and of sedition at Constantino
The empire was assaulted from without by the Per. sians, the Bulgarians, the Arabians, and the barbarous hordes of the North ; while the governors in their turn committed the most tyrannical vexations, the fruits of which they shared with Anastasius. The Eutychians too, whom Zeno had in vain attempted to re-unite with the catholics, were in open rebellion ; and, at length, Anastasius himself thought fit to espouse their party. Vitalian, one of the generals of the empire, put himself at the head of the catholics, defeated the troops sent against him, and compelled the frantic emperor to desist from persecution.
Such was the state of the empire when the soldiery raised Justin to the throne. From a common soldier--without interest, and ignorant of the first elements of literature, his merit had gradually elevated him to the sovereign power,
Nor did his virtue here forsake him. He governed with much prudence, and exerted equal vigor and zeal in favour of the catholic relilion, as Anastasius had done to effect its ruin. Justin was succeeded by his nephew Justinian, who waged a successful war against the Huns and Persians, and gained great glory in the conquest of Italy from the Goths by his two renowned generals Belisarius and Narses. But what added more to the glory of his reign than the splendor of his victories, was a new code of laws which he took care to have selected for the use and happiness of his subjects. The Eutychians continued to embroil the state; and, in order to give a check to their fury, he enacted against them many severe ordinances, expelled from their sees the bishops of that party, and greatly reduced the sect itself ; so much so, that Eutychianism seemed nearly extinct throughout the boundaries of the empire, till in the close of this prince's reign it again began to lift its head. His nephew and successor Justin II. was an effeminate and a vicious prince, during a great part of whose reign the empire was perpetually exposed to the ravages of barbarians. After Justin's decease, Tiberius was invested-with the imperial dignity. Maurice succeeded. Tiberius,
and gained great advantages over the foreign enemies of the state. He replaced the Persian Chosroes upon the throne; but lost his own authority together with his life, by the rebellion of Phocas, on whom the army conferred the title of Augustus.
Italy and the West had been severed from the empire towards the close of the preceding century. After a long and bloody contest, during which Rome was repeatedly taken and retaken by the contending parties, Belisarius and Narses reconquered Italy in the name of Justinian their master. In Gaul, the Burgundians, Francs and Visigoths were almost incessantly at war. The Francs who in the fifth century were divided into a variety of independent tribes,--the Salii, the Repuarii, the Catti, &c. united under Clovis. That prince subsequently reduced the greatest part of Gaul, and established his seat of empire at Paris, where he ended his days in 511, having previously embraced the christian religion. His children divided their father's dominions. Thierri reigned at Metz, Childebert at Paris, Clothaire at Soissons, and Clodomir at Orleans. Clothaire, by repeated murders and the most atrocious crimes, re-united these different principalities, which he again retailed amongst his four children.
These were perpetually at war, either by their own choice, or through the intrigues of Fredegondama woman of a turbulent spirit, extraordinary courage, and an ambition which stuck not at crimes of the blackest die, when necessary to effect its wicked purposes.
In Africa and in Spain the Goths and Vandals were always engaged either in civil broils with one another, or in wars against the Romans. Great Britain, during the whole of this century, struggled for its liberty with the Saxons, Jutes, and Angles, who eventually established their empire (styled the Heptarchy from its famous partition into seven kingdoms) in that devoted island.
In this so general and violent perturbation of mankind, we may easily infer what must have been the decay of learning and science. The rude barbarians who had subjugated nations more polished than themselves, were indebted to their courage, and sometimes to their treachery, for success; and valued no other arts than those of managing with effect the buckler and the sword, or of dexterously outwitting their enemy: literature and the polite arts they left to men without courage, and esteemed them below the notice of warriors who had subdued the kingdoms of the West. Ignorance, of course, at the commencement of the sixth century, made rapid progress : whatever was not written in the vulgar rustic style became unintelligible to the public. Only in the towns where a bishop held his residence, and in the asylums of monastic perfection, were schools of literature and theology; and these solitary mansions were the retreat alike of virtue, and of learning. Nor did the bishops