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A History Of The Church In Six Books by Evagrius

IN this manner did Justinian depart to the lowest region of retribution, after having filled every place with confusion and tumults, and having received at the close of his life the reward of his actions. His nephew Justin succeeds to the purple; having previously held the office of guardian of the palace, styled in the Latin language Curopalata. No one, except those who were immediately about his person, was aware of the demise of Justinian or the declaration of Justin, until the latter made his appearance in the hippodrome, by way of formally assuming the stated functions of royalty. Confining himself to this simple proceeding, he then returned to the palace.

His first edict was one dismissing the bishops to their respective sees, wherever they might be assembled, with a provision that they should maintain what was already established in religion, and abstain from novelties in matters of faith. This proceeding was to his honour. In his mode of life, however, he was dissolute, utterly abandoned to luxury and inordinate pleasures: and to such a degree was he inflamed with desire for the property of others, as to convert every thing into a means of unlawful gain; standing in no awe of the Deity even in the case of bishoprics, but making them a matter of public sale to any purchasers that offered. Possessed, as he was, alike by the vices of audacity and cowardice, he in the first place sends for his kinsman Justin, a man universally famous for military skill and his other distinctions, who was at that time stationed upon the Danube, and engaged in preventing the Avars from crossing that river.

These were one of those Scythian tribes who live in wagons, and inhabit the plains beyond the Caucasus. Having been worsted by their neighbours, the Turks, they had migrated in a mass to the Bosphorus; and, having subsequently left the shores of the Euxine—where were many barbarian tribes, and where also cities, castles, and some harbours had been located by the Romans, being either settlements of veterans, or colonies sent out by the emperors—they were pursuing their march, in continual conflict with the barbarians whom they encountered, until they reached the bank of the Danube; and thence they sent an embassy to Justinian.

From this quarter Justin was summoned, as having a claim to the fulfilment of the terms of the agreement between himself and the emperor. For, since both of them had been possessed of equal dignity, and the succession to the empire was in suspense between both, they had agreed, after much dispute, that whichever of the two should become possessed of the sovereignty, should confer the second place on the other; so that while ranking beneath the emperor, he should still take precedence of all others.








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