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To make this chapter fully consonant to its title it now remains for us to pass in review the sociological condition of the inhabitants, whilst we try to learn something of their mode of life, their national characteristics, and their mental aptitudes. We have already seen that in the case of the Neo-Byzantines or Lesser Greeks, the path of evolution lay through a series of historical vicissitudes in which there was more of artificial forcing than of the insensible growth essen­tial to the formation of a homogeneous people. Owing to its geographical position it was perhaps inevitable from the first that Byzantium should become a cosmopolitan town, whose population should develop little political stability or patriotic coherence. In addition, however, it happened that the Megareans, their chief progenitors, had gained an unenviable notoriety throughout Greece; they were generally esteemed to be gluttonous, slothful, ineffective, and curiously prolific in courtesans, who, for some reason which now escapes us, were peculiarly styled “Megarean sphinxes.” Once established on the Golden Horn the Byzantines seem to have found life very easy; their fisheries were inexhaustible and facile beyond belief; whilst the merchants trading in those seas soon flocked thither so that port dues furnished an unearned and considerable income. As a consequence the bulk of the populace spent their time idling in the mar­ket-place or about the wharves, each one assured of meeting some visitor to whom for a valuable consideration he was willing to let his house and even his wife, whilst he himself took up his abode in the more congenial wine-shop. So firmly did this dissolute mode of life gain a footing, that when the town was besieged the citizens could not be rallied to defend the walls until the municipal authorities had set up drinking-booths on the ramparts. Law was usually in abeyance, finance disorganized, and political independence forfeit to the leading power of the moment, whether Greek or Persian.

Such was the community whose possession of a matchless site decided Constantine to select them as the nucleus of population for his new Rome, the meditated capital of the East. And, in order to fill with life and movement the streets newly laid out, he engrafted on this doubtful stock a multi­tude of servile and penurious immigrants, whom he allured from their native haunts by the promise of free residence and rations.3 Nevertheless a metropolis constituted from such elements was scarcely below the level of the times, and was destined to prove a successful rival of the degenerate Rome which Constantine aspired to supplant.

The impressions of life and colour which affect a stranger on entering a new city arise in great part from the costume of its inhabitants. At Constantinople there prevails in this age a decency in dress foreign to Rome during the first cen­turies of the Empire, and even to Greece in the most classic period. Ladies invested with garments of such tenuity as to reveal more than they conceal of their physical beauties, to the confusion of some contemporary Seneca, are not here to be met with in the streets; the Athenian maiden, with her tunic divided almost to the hip, or the Spartan virgin dis­playing her limbs bare to the middle of the thigh, have no reflection under the piazzas of renascent Byzantium. A new modesty, born of Christian influences, has cast a mantle of uniformity over the licence as well as over the simplicity of the pagan world. In observing the costume of this time a modern eye would first, perhaps, note the fact that in civil life the garb of men differs but little from that of women. Loose clothing, which hides the shape of the body, and in general the whole of the lower limbs, is common to both sexes. Men usually shave, but a moustache is often worn; their hair is cropped, but not very close. Head-gear is an exception, and so, for the lower classes, are coverings for the feet. A workman, an artisan, or a slave, the latter a numerous class, wears a simple tunic of undyed wool, short-sleeved, girt round the waist and reaching to the knees, with probably a hood which can be drawn over the head as a protection against the weather. This garment is in fact the foundation dress of all ranks of men, but the rich wear fine materials, often of silk and of varied hues, have long sleeves, and use girdles of some costly stuff. They, in addition, are invested in handsome cloaks reaching to the ankles, which are open for their whole length on the right side and are secured by a jewelled clasp over the corresponding shoulder. Shoes often highly ornamented, and long hose, coloured according to taste, complete the dress of an ordinary Byzantine gentle­man. On less formal occasions a short sleeveless cloak, fastened at the neck, but open down the front, is the customary outer vestment. The tunic or gown of women reaches to the feet, and, in the case of ladies, is embroidered or woven with designs of various patterns and tints. The latter usually consist of some small variegated device which is repeated in oblique lines all over the garment. Shawls, somewhat similar in colour and texture to the gown, thrown over the back and shoulders or wound round the bust, are habitually worn at the same time. Gloves, shoes and stock­ings of various hues, and a simple form of cap which partly conceals the hair, are also essential to the attire of a Byzantine lady. As in all ages, jewellery is much coveted, and women of any social rank are rarely to be seen without heavy neck­laces, earrings of an elaborate spreading design, and golden  girdles. A less numerous class of the community are male ascetics, celibates of a puritanical cast, who love to placard themselves by wearing scarlet clothing and binding their hair with a fillet; also virgins devoted to the service of the churches, who are known by their sombre dress, black hoods, gray mantles, and black shoes. Philosophers adopt gray, rhetoricians crimson, and physicians blue, for the tint of their cloaks. To these may be added the courtesans who try to usurp the costume of every grade of women, even that of the sacred sisterhood.  Such is the population who usually crowd the thoroughfares and lend them a gaudy aspect which is still further heightened by numbers of private carriages—literally springless carts—bedizened with paint and gilding, and most fashionable if drawn by a pair of white mules with golden trappings. Such vehicles are indis­pensable to the outdoor movements of matrons of any rank;and in each case a train of eunuchs in gorgeous liveries, and decked with ornaments of gold, mark the progress of a great lady. Occasionally we may see the Praefect of the City, or some other man of signal rank, passing in a silver wagon drawn by four horses yoked abreast. Often we meet a noble riding a white horse, his saddle-cloth embroidered in gold; around him a throng of attendants bearing rods of office with which they rudely scatter all meaner citizens to make way for their haughty master. A person of any consequence perambulating the city is followed by at least one slave bearing a folding seat for incidental rest. In some retired nook we may encounter a circle of the populace gazing in­tently at the performance of a street mountebank; he juggles with cups and goblets; pipes, dances, and sings a lewd ballad; the bystanders reward him with a morsel of bread or an obole; he invokes a thousand blessings on their heads, and departs to resume his display in some other spot.

The Byzantine Emperor and Empress are distinguished in dress from all their subjects by the privilege of wearing the Imperial purple. The Emperor is further denoted by his jewelled shoes or slippers of a bright scarlet colour, a feature in his apparel which is even more exclusive than his cloak or his crown. The latter symbol of majesty is a broad black hoop expanding towards the top, bordered above and below with a row of pearls, thickly studded with gems all round, and bearing four great pendent pearls which fall in pairs on the nape of the neck. His ample purple robe, which falls to his feet, is fastened by a costly shoulder-clasp of precious stones. Its uniformity is diversified by two squares or tables of cloth of gold embroidered in various colours, which approach from the back and front the division on the right side. Purple hose and a white tunic, sleeved to the wrists and girt with a crimson scarf, complete the civil attire of the Emperor. When sitting in state he usually bears a globe surmounted by a cross in his left hand. His attendant nobles, a new order of patricians who are styled the Fathers of the Emperor, are garbed all in white, but the tables of their gowns are of plain purple, their girdles are red, and their shoes are black. His Protectors or guards wear green tunics, with red facings, and are shod in black with white hose; a thick ring of gold, joined to a secondary oval one in front, encircles the neck of each one; they are armed with a long spear, and carry an oval shield bordered with blue and widely starred from the centre in black on a red ground. Their Count or Captain is distinguished by a red and purple breasted tunic, and by the Christian mono­gram of his shield in yellow on a green ground. The dress of the Empress is very similar to that of her consort, but her crown is more imposing, being heightened by sprays of jewels, and laden with strings of pearls which fall over her neck and shoulders. Her purple mantle is without tables, but is brocaded with gold figures around the skirt; she wears besides an under-skirt embroidered in bright hues, golden slippers with green hose, and all jewels proper to ladies of the most costly description. Two or three patricians usually wait on the Empress, but her Court is chiefly composed of a bevy of noble matrons or maids, female patricians who act as her tire-women; the leader of these is distinguished by her purple gown.

Every morning at seven o’clock the Grand Janitor of the Palace, taking his bunch of keys, proceeds with a company of guards and Silentiaries to open all the doors which lead from the Augusteum to the Consistorium. After the lapse of an hour the Primicerius or captain of the watch knocks at the door of the Emperor’s private apartments. Surrounded by his eunuchs the prince then sallies forth and first, standing before an image of Christ in a reverential attitude, recites a formal prayer. On the completion of this pious office he takes his seat on the throne and calls for the Logothete or steward of the royal household. Upon this the Janitor, pushing aside the variegated curtains which close the door leading to the antechamber, passes out, and in a short time returns with the desired official. The Logothete first drops on one knee and adores the majesty of the Emperor, after which he rises and transaction of business for the day begins. By this time the antechamber of the Throne room has become crowded with dignitaries of state, patricians, senators, praefects, and logothetes of various denominations. The Emperor commands the presence from time to time of such of these as he wishes to confer with, and all of them at their first entrance salute him with the same form of submissive obeisance, except those of patrician rank, who merely bow profoundly, and are greeted by the Emperor with a kiss. Codicils or commissions for the appointment of officers of state or rulers of provinces are presented by the Master of the Rolls, and the Emperor signs the documents in purple ink, the use of which is for­bidden to subjects. Such codicils are illustrated in colours with various devices symbolical of the dignity or duties of the office conferred. Those of praefects and proconsuls of the highest rank display a draped abacus or table on which rests a framed image of the Emperor lighted by wax tapers; in addition, busts of the Emperor with his imperial asso­ciates or heirs on a pedestal, and a silver quadriga—insignia of office, which adorn the local vestibule or denote the vicegerent of the sovereign in his progress through the public ways. The provinces or districts are indicated by female figures or busts labelled with various names; in many instances by rivers, mountains, indigenous animals, and miniature fortresses representing the chief towns. In the case of rulers of lesser rank—dukes, vicars, correctors, counts, presidents—a portly volume inscribed with the initials of a conventional sentence supplants the painted image. For Masters of the Forces the codicils are illustrated with weapons of war or with the numerous designs, geo­metrical or pictorial, which distinguish the shields of the cohorts under their command. Dignitaries of civil rank, financial or secretarial, are suitably denoted on their diplomas by vessels loaded with coin, purses, writing-cases, and rolls of manuscript. In addition to those assigning administra­tive appointments honorary codicils are also issued, by which the prerogative or precedence only pertaining to various ranks is conferred. These documents are also called “nude”, as they are not illustrated with those figures which indicate that the holder is in authority over particular dis­tricts. They are equivalent to patents of nobility, and are granted for service to the state, general esteem, and probably also by mere purchase. Among the throng at the Emperor’s receptions are always a number of officers of a certain rank, who, on vacating their posts, have the privilege of waiting on the Emperor in order to adore or kiss his purple. In the absence of urgent business the audience closes at ten o’clock; at a sign from the Emperor the Janitor passes into the ante­chamber with his keys, which he agitates noisily as a signal of dismissal. The Palace is then shut up, but at two o’clock it is reopened with the same formalities for the further trans­action of affairs. At five o’clock it is again closed and the routine of Imperial reception is at an end for the day. On the Dominica or Sunday the assembly is most numerous, and the company repairs in procession to one of the adjoin­ing halls to attend the performance of a brief divine service. As a concession to the holiness of this day adoration of the Emperor is less formal. When the Emperor or Empress drives through the streets the carriage is drawn by four white horses or mules, the vehicle and the trappings of the animals being ornate in the highest degree. Public processions on festal days of the Church are regular and frequent; and on these occasions, as well as on those of national rejoicing, the Emperor rides a white horse amidst his train of eunuchs, nobles, and guards. At such times the Praefect of the City enjoins a special cleansing and decoration of the streets on the prescribed route. The way is adorned from end to end with myrtle, rosemary, ivy, box, and flowers of all kinds which are in bloom at the season. The air is filled with the odour of incense, and from private windows and balconies particoloured and embroidered fabrics are suspended by the inhabitants. Wherever the royal cavalcade passes, cries of “Long live the Emperor” rise from every throat. At night the thoroughfares are illuminated by frequent lamps displayed from windows and doorways. But on occasions of public calamity, such as ruinous earthquakes or prolonged drought, this scene of splendour is reversed; and the Emperor, on foot and uncrowned, proceeds amidst the clergy and populace, all clad in sombre garments, to one of the sacred shrines outside the walls to offer up supplications for a remission of the scourge. And again the Emperor may be seen as a humble pedestrian, whilst the Patriarch, who usually rides upon an ass, is seated in the Imperial carriage, on his way to the consecration of a new church, or holding on his knees the relics of some saint prior to their deposition in one of the sacred edifices.

At this date conventional titles of distinction or adulation have attained to the stage of full development. The Emperor, in Greek Basileus or Autocrator, the sole Augustus, is also styled Lord and Master, and is often addressed as “Your Clemency”. His appointed heir receives the dignity of Caesar and perhaps the title of Nobilissimus, an epithet confined to the nearest associates of the throne. Below the Imperial eminence and its attachments the great officers of state are disposed in three ranks, namely, the Illustres, Spectabiles, and Clarissimi. The Illustrious dignitaries are termed by the Prince and others “Most Glorious”, and are variously addressed as “Your Sublimity”, “Magnificence”, “Eminence”, “Excellence”, “Highness”, “Serenity”, or “Sincerity”, etc. The two lower ranks are similarly addressed, but only the less fulsome of such expressions are applied to them. Consonant to the same scheme the clergy receive the epithets of “Most Holy”, “Blessed,” “Reverend,” “Beloved of God”; and are addressed as “Your Beatitude”, “Eminence,” etc., the emphasis being graduated according as they may happen to be Patriarchs, Archbishops, Metropolitans, Bishops, or simple clericals.

In the assemblies of the Hippodrome popular fervour reaches its highest pitch, whether in times of festive or political excitement. From Daphne, by the gallery of St. Stephen’s and the Cochlea, the Emperor, surrounded by courtiers and guards, gains his throne in the Kathisma. On his entry the Protectors, already assembled in the Stama or Pi, elevate the Standards which have previously been lying on the ground. Before seating himself on his throne the Emperor, advancing to the balustrade of the Kathisma, greets the assembled populace by making the sign of the cross in the air. As soon as the answering cries of adulation subside, a set hymn is intoned from each side of the Circus in alternate responsions by particular bodies of the people called Demes, whose importance, not merely agonistic, but above all political, renders a special account of them here necessary.

The Demes or factionaries of the Hippodrome occupy the benches at the end of the arena on each side adjacent to the Kathisma, and are called the Veneti and Prasini, that is, the Blues and Greens. These bodies, which are legally in­corporated as guilds, consist of the contending parties in the chariot races, and of such others as elect to enroll themselves as their followers, and to wear the colours of the respective sides. Each Deme has a subdivision, or rather, a pendant, to which the colours white and red are attached respectively. The chief or president of each faction is entitled the Demarch. These two parties form cabals in the state, who are animated by a fierce rivalry engendering an intensely factious disposition. Every consideration is subordinated to a strained sense of personal or party honour, whence is evolved a generally uncompromising defiance to the restrictions of law and order. Ties of blood and friendship are habitually set at naught by the insolent clanship of these factions; even women, although excluded from the spectacles of the Circus, are liable to become violent partisans of either colour, and that in opposition sometimes to the affinities of their own husbands and families. Nor does the Emperor by an equal distribution of his favours seek to control the intemperate rivalry of the Demes, but usually becomes the avowed patron of a particular faction. At the present time the Greens are in the ascendant, and fill the benches to the left of the Kathisma, a position of honour assigned to them by the younger Theodosius. Every town of any magnitude has a Circus with its Blue and Green factions, and these parties are in sympathetic correspondence throughout the Empire.

The throng of spectators within the Hippodrome, who can be accommodated with seats around the arena, amounts to about 40,000, but this number falls far short of the whole mass of the populace eager to witness the exhibition. From early dawn men of all ages, even if maimed or crippled, assault the gates; and when the interior is filled to repletion the excluded multitude betake themselves to every post of vantage in the vicinity which overlooks the Circus. Then windows and roofs of houses, hill-tops and adjacent eminences of all kinds are seized on by determined pleasure seekers.

Public entertainments are given regularly in the Hippodrome and the theatre during the first week of January, in celebration of the Consul being newly installed for the year. They are given also on the 11th of May, the foundation day of the city, and on other occasions to celebrate some great national event, such as the accession of an emperor, the fifth or tenth anniversary of his reign, the birth or nomination of a Caesar or successor to the throne, or the happy termination of an important war. Several Praetors, officers who were formerly the chief oracles of the law, are nominated annually, their judicial functions being now abrogated in favour of organizing and paying for the amusements of the people.

Twelve chariot races take place in the morning, and, after an interval of retirement, a similar number in the afternoon; between the races other exhibitions are introduced, especially fights of men with lions, tigers, and bears, rope walking, and matches of boxing and wrestling. In the contests between two- or four-horse chariots, the competitors make the circuit of the arena seven times, whence the whole length of the course traversed amounts to about a mile and a half. The start is made from the top of the Euripus on the right-hand side, where a rope is stretched across to keep the horses in line after their exit from the Manganon, until the signal is given by the dropping of a white cloth. The race are run with great fury, and the charioteers, standing in their vehicles, make every effort to win, not merely by speed, but by fouling each other so as to pass in front or gain the inmost position of the circuit. Hence serious and fatal accidents are of habitual occurrence, and help to stimulate the popular frenzy to the highest pitch. The antagonists, however, pay but little attention to the clamours of the spectators, looking only to the Emperor’s eye for their meed of approval or censure. At the conclusion of the games, amid the chanting of various responsions by the factions and the populace, the victors, supported by delegates from the four Demes bearing crosses woven from fresh flowers, wait upon the Emperor in the Kathisma, and receive from his hand the awards of their prowess.

Less frequently the Circus may be contemplated under a more serious aspect, as the focus of national agitation. In the year 491, during Easter week, Constantinople was thrown into a great commotion by a report that the Emperor Zeno had died somewhat suddenly, and that no successor had yet been nominated for the throne. The people, the Demes, and the Imperial guards at once rushed to the Hippodrome, where all took up the stations allotted to them for viewing the Circensian games. On all sides an incessant clamour then arose, and the cry, addressed to those in authority, was vociferously repeated: “Give an Emperor to the Romans.” Simultaneously the great officers of the Court, the Senate, and the Patriarch assembled hastily within the Palace in order to decide on what course to pursue. In this convention the counsel of the chief eunuch Urbicius, Grand Chamberlain, had most weight; and, fearing a riot, it was resolved that the Empress Ariadne, on whose popularity they relied, should proceed immediately to the Kathisma, and, by a suitable address, attempt to pacify the populace. On the appearance of the Empress in the Hippodrome, with the retinue of her supreme rank, the clamours were redoubled. Exclamations arose from every throat: “Ariadne Augusta, may you be victorious! Lord have mercy on us! Long live the Augusta! Give an orthodox Emperor to the Romans, to all the earth!” The widow of Zeno addressed the multitude at some length, by the mouth of a crier, who read her speech from a written document. “Every consideration,” said she, “shall be shown to the majesty of the people. We have referred the matter to the Lords of the Court, to the Sacred Senate, and to the Heads of the Army; nor shall the presence of the Holy Patriarch be wanting to render the election valid. An orthodox Emperor shall be given to you and one of blameless life. Restrain yourselves for the present and be careful not to disturb the tranquillity of our choice.” With such promises and exhortations, often interrupted, Ariadne left the Circus amid the renewed shouts of the vast assembly. Within the Palace the council was reformed, and, after some debate, Urbicius carried his proposition that the election of an Emperor should be referred to the widowed Empress. Upon this Ariadne put forward a much respected officer of the Court, the Silentiary Anastasius, a man of about sixty years of age. Her nominee was about to be accepted unanimously when the Patriarch interposed his authority and demanded that Anastasius should give him an engagement to uphold the orthodox faith. The Silentiary was, in fact, suspected of a strong leaning towards the monophysite heresy, which declared that Christ was possessed of only one nature. His proposition was entertained, and thereupon a guard of honour was sent to summon Anastasius from his house, and to escort him to the Palace; but before any formal question was put they all set about performing the obsequies of the deceased Emperor Zeno. The next day Anastasius presided in the Consistorium to receive the officers of state, all of whom waited on him clad in white robes. He subscribed the document as required by the Patriarch, and took an oath to administer the Empire with a true conscience. He was then conducted to the Hippodrome, where he appeared in the undress of an emperor, but wearing the red buskins. Amid the acclamations of the populace he was exalted on a buckler, and a military officer crowned him with a golden collar removed from his own person. Anastasius then retired to the antechamber of the Kathisma to be invested, by the Patriarch himself, with the Imperial purple, and to have a jewelled crown placed upon his head. Again he sought the presence of the assembled multitude, whom he addressed in a set speech which was read out to them by a crier. Finally the newly-elected Autocrator departed to the Palace amid repeated cries of “God bless our Christian Emperor! You have lived virtuously, Reign as you have lived! ”

But the proceedings in the Hippodrome were not always merely pleasurable or peacefully political. The Circus was also the place where sedition was carried to the culminating point; and the same Anastasius, in his long reign of twenty­seven years, had to experience on more than one occasion the fickle humour of the Byzantine populace. About 498, during the progress of the games, a cry arose that certain rioters, who had been committed to prison for throwing stones inside the arena, should be liberated. The Emperor refused, a tumult arose, and the Imperial guards were ordered to arrest the apparent instigators of the disorder. Stones were immediately flung at Anastasius himself, who only escaped injury or death by his precipitate flight from the Kathisma. The mob then set fire to the wooden benches of the Hippodrome, and a conflagration ensued, which consumed part of the Imperial Palace in one direction, and ravaged a large tract of the city as far as the Forum of Constantine on the other. Again in 512, when the Emperor, yielding to his heretical tendencies to confound the persons of the Trinity, proclaimed that in future the Trisagion should be chanted with the addition “Who wast crucified for us,” the populace rose in a fury, set fire to the houses of many persons who were obnoxious to them, decapitated a monk suspected of suggesting the heresy, and, marching through the streets with his head upon a pole, demanded that “another Emperor should be given to the Romans.” Anastasius, affrighted, rushed into the Hippodrome without his crown, and protested his willingness to abdicate the purple. The spectacle, however, of their Emperor in such an abject state appeased the excited throng, and, on the withdrawal of the offensive phrase, peace was restored to the community.

The Byzantine theatre, in which there are usually diurnal performances, is by no means a lineal descendant of that of the Greeks and Romans. The names of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and the rest of those inimitable playwrights, are either altogether unknown, or are heard with complete indifference. Pantomime, farce, lewd songs, and dances in which troops of females1 virtually dispense with clothing, monopolize the stage to the exclusion of the classic drama. Ribaldry and obscenity, set off by spectacular displays, constitute the essence of the entertainment; and women even go through the form of bathing in a state of nudity for the delectation of the audience. A contemporary music-hall, without its enforced decency, would probably convey to a modern reader the most correct impression of the stage as maintained in Christian Constantinople. Actress and prostitute are synonymous terms, and all persons engaged in the theatrical profession are regarded in the eye of the law as vile and disreputable. Nevertheless, the pastimes of the public are jealously protected; and the amorous youth who runs away with an actress, equally with him who withdraws a favourite horse from the Circensian games for his private use, is subjected to a heavy fine. A woman, however, who wishes to reform her life on the plea of religious conviction, is permitted to quit the stage, but is not afterwards allowed to relapse into her former life of turpitude. Should she betray any inclination to do so, it is enacted that she shall be kept in a place of detention until such time as the decrepitude of age shall afford an involuntary guarantee of her chastity. The Byzantine aristocracy, from the rank of Clarissimus upwards is prohibited from marrying an actress or any woman on a level with that class.

A particular form of amusement among the Byzantines is the installation of a Consul every year on the Calends of January in imitation of the old republican function at Rome. The person nominated assumes a gorgeous robe decorated with purple stripes and gold embroidery, grasps a sceptre surmounted with a figure of Victory, and proceeds in state to the Hippodrome, where he displays his authority by manumitting a number of slaves specially provided for the purpose. He presides at the games from the Kathisma, and for the moment, if not the Emperor himself, as frequently happens, the pretence is made of regarding him as the sovereign of the Empire. The year is legally distinguished by his name and that of his colleague of the West, a series of public spectacles are exhibited for seven days, he scatters golden coin as largess among the citizens, and emissaries are dispatched in all directions throughout the provinces to announce his elevation, and to deposit in the local archives his diptychs, a pair of ivory plates inscribed with his likeness or insignia. Immediately afterwards, the office relapses into a sinecure, and the Consul resumes his ordinary avocations in life.

On Sunday there is a cessation of business and pleasure throughout the city, though not of agricultural labour in the rural districts. At the boom of the great semantron, a sonorous board suspended in the porch of each church, and beaten with mallets by a deacon, the various congregations issue forth to attend their respective places of worship. In the forecourt they are met by a crowd of mendicants, exemplifying every degree of poverty and every form of bodily infirmity, who enjoy a prescriptive right to solicit alms at this time and place. This practice has, in fact, been encouraged by the early Fathers of the Church, in order that the heart may be melted to pity and philanthropy at the sight of so much human misery as the most fitting preparation for the order of divine service. The centre of the same inclosure is occupied by a fountain of pure water, in which it is customary to wash the hands before entering the sacred edifice. In the narthex or vestibule, in a state of abject contrition, are found the various penitents, who, for some offence, have been cut off from the communion of the faithful, condemned to advance no farther than this part for a term of years proportionate to the heinousness of their sin. The males of the congregation make use of the central or Beautiful Gate of the church, in order to gain their station in the nave, whilst the females, passing through the doors on each side, ascend to the galleries which are set apart for their special accommodation. The liturgy consists of reading from the Scriptures, of prayers, and of hymns sung in responses; after which the Patriarch, coming forward from his throne in the apse to the ambo, preaches a homily based on some portion of the Bible. Finally the Eucharist is administered to the whole congregation, a spoon being used to give a portion of wine to each person. Ladies, to attend public worship, bedeck themselves with all their jewels and finery, whence female thieves, mingling amongst them, often take the opportunity to reap their harvest. Men, in the most obvious manner, betray their admiration for the women placed within their range of vision. The general behaviour of the audience is more suggestive of a place of amusement than of a holy temple; chattering and laughter go on continually, especially among the females; and, as a popular preacher makes his points, dealing didactically or reprehensively with topics of the day, the whole congregation is from time to time agitated with polemical murmurs, shaken with laughter, or bursts into uproarious applause. Contiguous to each church is a small building called the Baptistery, for the performance of the ceremonial entailed on those who wish to be received among the Christian elect. The practice of the period is to subject the body to complete immersion in pure water, but separate chambers or times are set apart for the convenience of the two sexes. Here on certain occasions nude females of all ages and ranks descend by steps into the baptismal font, whilst the ecclesiastics coldly pronounce the formulas of the mystic rite, a triumph of superstition over concupiscence pretended more often perhaps than real.

The luxury of the rich, especially in the use of the pre­cious metals and ivory, is in this age maintained at the maximum. Practically all the furniture in the house of a wealthy man, as far at least as the visible parts are concerned, is constructed of those costly materials. Gilding or plates of gold or silver are applied to every available surface—to tables, chairs, footstools, and bedsteads; even silver night­urns are essential to the comfort of the fastidious plutocracy. For banqueting the Byzantines make use of a large semi-circular table, on the convex side of which they recline at meals, still adhering to the custom of the earlier Greeks and Romans. By this table is set a ponderous gold vase with goblets of the same metal for mixing and serving out the wine. Rich carpets are strewn over the mosaic pavement; and troops of servants, either eunuchs or of barbarian origin, permeate the mansion. These domestics are costumed and adorned as expensively as are their masters, and in the largest establishments are retained to the number of one or two thousand. Like animals they are bought and sold; and, male and female alike, are as much the property of their owner as his ordinary goods and chattels; their life is virtually in his hands, but the growth of humanity under the Empire, and the tenets of Stoicism, have considerably ameliorated their condition since the time of the old Republic. In this, as in every other age, the artificial forms of politeness, which spring up as the inseparable concomitant of every aspect of civilization, have developed in social circles; and the various formalities and affectations of manners and speech familiar to the modern observer as characteristic of the different grades of society may be noted among the Constantinopolitans.

The Byzantine wife is in possession of complete liberty of action, and is entirely the mistress in her own household. She is, as a rule, devoted to enervating luxury and enjoyments, which she gratifies by extravagance in dress and jewels, by the use of costly unguents and the artificial tinting of her countenance, and by daily visits to the public baths and squares for the purpose of display and gossip. At home she is often a tyrant to her maidservants, and not infrequently whips them severely with her own hand. Precisely the reverse of this picture is the condition of the Byzantine maiden in her father’s house; before her coverture she is persistently immured in the women’s apartments, and seldom passes the outer door of the dwelling; never unless under strict surveillance. In most instances, however, her state of seclusion is not of long duration; for, at the age of fourteen or fifteen she is considered to be marriageable. She then becomes an article of traffic in the hands of the pro­fessional match-maker, who is usually an old woman of low social grade, but remarkable for her tactful and deceptive aptitudes. By her arts a suitable family alliance is arranged, but unless by a subterfuge, the proposed husband is not permitted to behold his future wife.

Once a marriage has been decided on, it is considered fitting that all the innocence of the ingenuous damsel should be put to flight on the threshold of the wedded state. In the dusk of the evening the bride is fetched from her home by a torchlight procession to the sound of pipes and flutes and orgiastic songs. Although women are not allowed to attend the theatre, on this occasion the theatre is brought to the houses of the contracting parties; and the installation of a wife takes place amid a scene of riot and debauchery, of lewdness and obscenity, which tears the veil from all the secrets of sexual cohabitation.

Mental culture, even in the mansions of wealthy Byzantines, occupies a very subordinate place. Everywhere may be seen dice and draughts, but books are usually conspicuous by their absence. Bibliophiles there are, however, but they merely cherish costly bindings and beautiful manuscripts, and seldom take the trouble to study their literary contents. They only value fine parchments dyed in various tints, especially purple, and handsomely inscribed with letters of gold or silver; these they delight to have bound in jewelled covers or in plates of carved ivory, and to preserve them in cabinets, whence they are drawn out on occasion in order to afford a proof of the taste and affluence of the owner.

Popular superstitions are extremely rife at this time in the Orient; a few examples of such may be here given. In choosing a name for a child it is the practice to light a number of candles, and to christen them by various names; the candle which burns longest is then selected to convey its appellation to the infant as an earnest of long life. Another custom is to take a baby to one of the public baths and to sign its forehead with some of the sedimental mud found there as a charm against the evil eye and all powers of enchantment. Amulets are commonly worn, hung about the neck, and of these, miniature copies of the Gospels are in great favour, especially for the protection of infants. Should a merchant on his way to business for the day first meet with a sacred virgin, he curses his luck and anticipates a bad issue to any pending negotiations; on the contrary, should the first woman he encounters be a prostitute, he rejoices in the auspicious omen with which his day has opened. At funerals the old Roman custom of hiring females to act as mourners, who keep up a discordant wailing and shed tears copiously at will, is still maintained. Black clothes are worn as a mark of sorrow for the dead. Great extravagance is often shown in the erection of handsome sepulchral monuments.

That the capital of the East, and by inference the whole Empire, is a hotbed of vice and immorality will impress itself on the mind of the most superficial reader. The dissoluteness of youth is in fact so appalling that the most sane of fathers resort to the extreme measure of expelling their sons from home in a penniless state, with the view that after a term of trial and hardship they may return as reformed and chastened members to the family circle. Yet to complete the picture one other sin against morality must be mentioned, which travels beyond the belief and almost eludes the conception of any ordinary mind. The incredible perversion of sexual instinct named paederasty is still more than ever rife in the principal cities of the East. Idealized by the Greek philosophers, tolerated by the later Republic, and almost deified under many of the pagan emperors, it has withstood the pronouncements of Trajan and Alexander, the diatribes of the Christian Fathers, and even the laws of Constantius and Valentinian, by which such delinquents are condemned to be burnt alive. Preaching at Antioch a century before this time, the earnest and fearless Chrysostom cannot refrain from expressing his amazement that that metropolis, in its open addiction to this vice, does not meet with the biblical fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. Nor is there any evidence to refute the assumption that Constantinople at the beginning of the sixth century is in this respect less impure than the Syrian capital.

The Byzantine coinage, which has been recast by Anastasius, consists of gold, silver, and copper. The standard gold coin, the aureus or solidus, subdivides the pound of gold into seventy-two equal parts, and is, therefore, to be valued at nearly twelve English shillings. Halves and thirds of the aureus are regularly minted for circulation. There is also a silver solidus which weighs nearly fifteen times as much as that of gold. Twelfths, twenty-fourths, and forty­eighths of this coin are issued; they are named the milliaresion, the siliqua, and the half-siliqua respectively. In the copper coinage at the head of the list stands the follis, two hundred and ten of which are contained in the solidus. Hence the milliaresion is not much less in value than a shilling, whilst the follis represents but little more than a halfpenny. Yet the follis is divided hypothetically into forty nummia, but pieces of five nummia are the smallest coins in actual use, approximately quarter-farthings, and less even than continental centimes, etc. The money of old Byzantium was generally figured with a crescent and a star, or with a dolphin contorted round a trident, but the Imperial coinage of Constantinople is stamped on the obverse with the bust of the reigning emperor, and on the reverse, in the case of gold or silver pieces, with a figure of Victory bearing a cross and a crown or some similar device. On the reverse of copper coins, with accompanying crosses and even crescents, we find a large letter—M, K, I, or E—indicating that they con tain 40, 20, 10, or 5 nummia respectively. As specimens of art the coinage of this epoch appears degraded to the most uncritical eye.

The population of Constantinople in the sixth century is unknown, but it may be estimated with some approach to accuracy at considerably over a million of inhabitants. The suburbs also are extremely populous, and for many miles around the capital, both in Europe and Asia, are covered with opulent country villas, farmhouses, and innumerable habitations of meaner residents. In this district are situated immense reservoirs for water, and many of the valleys are spanned by imposing aqueducts raised by a double series of lofty arches to a great height. At a distance of thirty-two miles westwards from the city is situated the Long Wall, a stupendous bulwark against the inroads of barbarians, built by Anastasius in 512. It stretches between the Euxine and Propontis, a range of nearly fifty miles, and forms also a safe and facile road for those travelling from sea to sea.

The description of manners given in this chapter, although nominally applied only to Constantinople, may be received as illustrating at this date the social features of the whole Roman Empire; or, to speak more accurately, of the Grecian fragment of that empire which once extended universally over Latins and Greeks.

Before concluding this sociological exposition of the Graeco-Roman people during the period I am treating of, a brief reference to their language may be deemed essential to the integrity of the subject. Viewed from the philological side the aspect of the Byzantines is peculiar and, perhaps, unique, since to them may fairly be applied the epithet of a trilingual nation. By the union of the Roman and Greek factors of the Empire the Latin tongue, as the official means of expression, became engrafted on the Eastern provinces; and in the lapse of centuries a third mode of speech, a popular vernacular, has been evolved, which often has little affinity with the first two. Sustained by the solid foundations of laws and literature, Latin and Greek of a more or less classical cast are the requisite equipment of every one who aims at civil or military employment in any governmental department, or who even pretends to recognition as a person of average culture. In the pride of original supremacy we may perceive that citizens of Latin lineage despise the feeble Greeks who forfeited nationality and independence, whilst the latter, pluming themselves on their inheritance of the harmonious tongue in which are enshrined all the masterpieces of poetry and philosophy, contemn the uninspired genius of the Romans, whose efforts to create a literature never soared above imitation and plagiarism.