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It has been the custom of most historians

to cite the downfall of the Western Empire,

in the year 476 as marking the division

between Ancient and Modern History. The

question is embarrassed with peculiar difficulties. There is such a thing as a line of demarkation between the ancient and the modern

world, but it is not easy to be drawn. Like

a natural sunset in a region of valleys and

mountains, so the orb of antiquity declined on

the world. The light still lingered on peaks

here and there long after the lowlands were

immersed in the shadows. The last peak was

not Rome, but Constantinople.

The circumstances of the division of the

Empire by Theodosius the Great, in the year

395, will be readily recalled. After that event

the forces of the old civilization flowed in two

channels. There appears to be no good reason

for saying that ancient civilization is at an

end until both of these currents have sunk into

the sand. The Greek Empire having its capital in the City of Constantine, was just as

certainly the product of the old forces as was

the Roman Empire with its capital in Italy.

Why, therefore, should Ancient History be

limited by the downfall of the West more than

by the downfall of the East? Why should

the reigns of the line of sovereigns, beginning

with Honorius, be traced to a conclusion in

the overthrow of Romulus Augustulus, and not

the reigns of the sovereigns of the East, from

Arcadius to the final collapse under Constantine XIII. It would seem necessary, indeed,

to the unity and completeness of Ancient History that the course of the Greek Empire

should be followed to its dose, and included

with its natural antecedents in antiquity. To

stop with the end of the shorter tine of the

bifurcated dominion of Rome and leave the

longer projected into Modern History would

be to mar the unity of both volumes by substituting an artificial for a natural division.

It is therefore decided to resume the narrative

from the reign of Theodosius II., in the East,

and to trace the history of the Greek Empire

down to the capture of Constantinople by the

Mohammedans as the natural limit of the

First Volume of the present work. The decision has been reached after full consideration

of the fact that the Second Volume must be

begun by returning to the establishment of

the barbarian kingdom of the Heruli in Italy,

and with proper regard to the other fact that

in subsequent parts of the work frequent references must be made to the progress of the

Eastern Empire, lying, as it does, like a huge

anachronism across the earlier ages of Modern


In the year 450 the younger THEODOSIUS,

who had succeeded his father, Arcadius, on

the throne of Constantinople, fell from his

horse into the river Lycus and died from his

injury. He was succeeded by his sister PULCHERUA, who was the first woman ever raised to

the rank of Empress among the successors of

Augustus. She owed this distinction, in no

small measure, to the influence of the clergy,

with whom she was a favorite. Foreseeing,

however, the perils to which she was exposed

on account of her sex, and distrusting the

ability of her friends to support her in the sole

sovereignty of the Empire, she determined

to take a husband for a colleague. The choice

fell upon MARCIAN, a senator sixty years of

age, who was at once invested with the purple

and associated with his wife in the government.

After a brief joint-reign of three years' duration, Pulcheria died, and Marcian became

sole Emperor. He occupied the throne until

457, when he died, after an uneventful reign,

and was succeeded by LEO of Thrace. He it

was who accepted Anthemius as Emperor of

the West, and joined with him in the attempt

to overthrow the dominion of Genseric in

Spain and Africa. In 46, Dacia was invaded

by the Huns, but they were defeated in a

great battle by Leo's generals. Two years later

a fleet of a thousand ships, under command of

Basiliscus, was sent against the African Vandals. The armament reached the bay of Carthage; but was there attacked by night with

fire ships, and the whole fleet was either

1 Hereafter the letters "A. D." will be omitted

in the citation of dates as being unnecessary.

1 Leo was crowned by Anatolius, patriarch of

Constantinople. The event is noteworthy as being the first instance in which a bishop figured as

the chief personage in the coronation of an Emperor.