Page 0998

998 UNIVERSAL HISTORYTHE ANCIENT WORLD.

destroyed or dispersed. The Emperor was seriously embarrassed in his government by the

schemes of an Arian leader named Aspar, who

intrigued with the Count Ricimer in Italy, and

was thought to have instigated an invasion of

Thrace by the Goths.

The reign of Leo the Thracian was made

memorable by a series of natural disturbances

of a sort to alarm the people, and in some measure to chill the prosperity of the country. In

the year 458, the city of Antioch was destroyed

by an earthquake. In 465, a great part of

Constantinople was wrapped in a conflagration.

Two years afterwards, rains fell in such a deluge that the river valleys were overwhelmed

with floods. Finally, in 472, occurred a great

eruption of Vesuvius, which made the earth

tremble as far as Constantinople!

In 474, the Emperor died, and the crown

fell to his grandson, whose barbarous name of

Trascalsseus was exchanged for the more musical one of ZENO. He had already held the

office of consul, and had been the agent by

whom the assassination of Apsar and his sons

was procured. Soon after his accession to the

throne he was driven out of the kingdom in a

revolt headed by Basiliscus, who, notwithstanding the bad fame acquired in his African

expedition, was proclaimed Emperor. Zeno,

however, succeeded in buying over Harmatius, the nephew of Basiliscus, and by his support came back to power. He then appointed

IIus as consul and minister of state, and gave

himself up to an ignominious career of ease

and pleasure.

The year 478 was marked by an invasion

of the Goths, but the Emperor secured their

retirement with the payment of money. In

the following year a serious insurrection in

the city was suppressed by the bribery of the

troops. A second Gothic incursion was warded

off by the same means as the first, and in the

third the leader of the Gothic nation was induced to take service in the Empire. In 484

he was appointed consul, whereupon Illus revolted, and was put to death. This leader of

the Gothic tribes, now raised to such high influence in the state, was Theodoric the Great,

soon to become the Ostrogothic king of Italy.

To Zeno is attributed the beginning of the

movement by which the chieftain of the barbarians was raised to power in the West. The

Eastern Emperor quarreled with his consul,

and then in order to save himself from the

anger of Theodoric, persuaded him to lead the

Ostrogoths into Italy. The result was the

overthrow of the kingdom of the Heruli

planted by Odoacer in that country, and the

establishment of the Ostrogothic kingdom in

its stead.

It is narrated that Zeno met a horrible fate.

His wife, Ariadne, who had been faithful to

him in his exile, proved unfaithful in his prosperity. Having conceived for her lord an intense dislike, she had him buried alive while

drunk. It appears that the Empress was already engaged in an intrigue with ANASTASIUS

DICORUS, a captain of the guard, who, on the

decease of her husband, in 491, was proclaimed

Emperor of the East. A certain Longinus,

brother of Zeno, immediately organized a revolt, and a struggle ensued, in which Anastasius finally came off victorious. Other rebellions followed, and these were aggravated by

earthquakes, plagues, and famines. At times

the Empire seemed to totter, and the people

were reduced to the greatest extremity. The

closing years of the fifth century were still

further disturbed by the aggressions of the

Persians, who, under their king Cabades, invaded the Empire, and for a while threatened

its extinction. In 505, however, Anastasius

procured the withdrawal of the Persians by

the payment of enormous tribute.

Scarcely had the eastern invaders returned

to their own country when the Empire was

distracted by religious heresy, the work of the

priests named Eutyches and Nestorius. The

former became the founder of the sect known

as the Monophysites, who maintained the singleness of the nature of Christ. His doctrines

had been condemned as early as the year 448,

in a council at Constantinople; but the party

survived, and the heresy was espoused by Anastasius. For this he fell under the ban of

the church, and was anathematized by Pope

Symmachus.

Meanwhile a war broke out on the Dacian

frontier. This province, though within the

boundary of the Eastern Empire, had been