The other works of Theodosius

Other works of Theodosius could be mentioned, such as the improvement of the Harbour of Eleu- therius (at Vlanga Bostan), and the palaces erected for the accommodation of members of the imperial family. But perhaps we shall obtain a more vivid impression of the extent to which the growth and improvement of Constantinople were due to this Emperor, from the impression which the changes he introduced made upon the mind of a contemporary who had known the city from the days of Constantius. “No longer/’ exclaims Themistius, as he surveys the altered aspect of the place, “no longer is the vacant ground in the city more extensive than the ground occupied by buildings; nor is the land under cultivation within the walls more than that which is inhabited. The beauty of the city is no longer scattered over it in patches, but is now continuous throughout its whole area, like a robe finished to the very fringe. The city is resplendent with gold and porphyry; it boasts of a new forum, named after the Emperor; it is provided with baths, porticoes, gymnasia, and what was its former extreme limit is now its centre. If Constantine could see the city he founded, he would look upon a glorious and splendid scene, not upon a bare and naked void; he would behold it fair, not with apparent, but with real, beauty.” The mansions of the wealthy were now larger and more stately; the suburbs also had grown. “ The city,” continues the orator, “ is full of carpenters, builders, decorators, and every other class of artisans, so that it might fitly be described as a workshop of magnificence. Should the zeal of the Emperor to adorn the city continue, a wider circuit will become necessary, and the question will arise, whether the city added to Constantinople by Theodosius does not excel in splendour the city which Constantine added to Byzantium.”

Events of great moment in the history of the city occurred

In the reign of Arcadius, events of great moment in the history of the city occurred. In the first place, the government of the Empire, which had been in the hands of Theodosius alone for a few months, was now again divided between his sons, the West falling to Honorius, the East becoming the dominion of Arcadius. This proved the final division of the government, and prepared the way for the ultimate sundering of Europe into two worlds. For it stimulated a conflict of interests and occasioned a warfare of intrigues that strengthened the tendency for the parts of the Empire to fall apart and form, practically, distinct States. Thus, however, the individuality and independence of Constantinople came to be clearly and fully asserted in the next place, under Arcadius, the question how far Constantinople and the Balkan lands were to remain under the control of the Germans settled to the south of the Danube reached its most critical stage.


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