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HERE was trouble and greatly disturbed by the tidings of this new invaconfusion in the Imper- sion. Already he had repelled at great cost the ial Palace of Theodosius first advance of these terrible Huns and had quelled the Little, Emperor of into a sort of half submission the less ferocious the East. Now, this followers of Ulpin the Thracian; but now he knew
Theodosius was called that his armies along the Danube were in no con“the Little" because, dition to withstand the hordes of Huns, that, pouring
though he bore the name in from distant Siberia, were following the lead of of his mighty grandfather, Theodosius the Great, Ruas, their king, for plunder and booty, and were emperor of both the east and west, he had as yet even now encamped scarce two hundred and done nothing worthy any other title than that fifty miles from the seven gates and the triple walls of “the Little,” or “Child.” For Theodosius, of splendid Constantinople. emperor though he was called, was only a boy Turbaned Turks, mosques and minarets, muftis of twelve and not a very bright boy, at that. and cadis, veiled eastern ladies, Mohammedans
His father, Arcadius the Emperor, and his and muezzins, Arabian Nights and attar of roses, mother, Eudoxia the Empress, were dead; and in bazars, dogs and donkeys — these, I suppose, are the great palace at Constantinople, in this year of what Constantinople suggests whenever its name grace, 413, Theodosius, the boy emperor, with his is mentioned to any girl or boy of to-day, the three sisters, Pulcheria, Marina, and Arcadia, capital of modern Turkey, the city of the Subalone were left to uphold the tottering dignity and lime Porte. But the greatest glory of Constantithe empty name of the once mighty Empire of the nople was away back in the early days before the East, which their great ancestors, Constantine and time of Mohammed, or of the Crusaders, when it was Theodosius, had established and strengthened. the center of the Christian religion, the chief and
And now there was confusion in the imperial gorgeous capital of a Christian empire, and the palace; for word came in haste from the Dacian residence of Christian emperors,- from the days of border that Ruas, king of the Huns, sweeping Constantine the conqueror to those of Justinian the down from the east, was ravaging the lands along Law-giver and of Irene the empress. It was the the Upper Danube, and with his host of barbarous metropolis of the eastern half of the great Roman warriors was defeating the legions and devastating Empire, and during this period of over five hunthe lands of the empire.
dred years all the wealth and treasure of the east The wise Anthemius, prefect of the east, and poured into Constantinople, while all the glories of governor or guardian of the young emperor, was the empire, even the treasures of old Rome itself,
Copyright, 1884, by E. S. Brooks. All rights reserved.
were drawn upon to adorn and beautify this rival master his astonishment to reply, the young Princity by the Golden Horn. And so in the days of cess Pulcheria faced the savage envoys, and pointTheodosius the Little, the court of Constantinople, ing to the cause of the disturbance, asked calmly: although troubled with fear of barbarian invasion “Who is this brawling boy, and what doth he and attack, glittered with all the gorgeousness and here in the palace of the Emperor?” display of the most magnificent empire in the world. And the boy made instant and defiant answer:
In the great daphne, or central space of the im- “I am Attila, the son of Mundzuk, kinsman to perial palace, the prefect Anthemius, with the Ruas the king and deadly foe to Rome." young emperor, the three princesses and their “Good Anthemius,” said the clear, calm voice gorgeously arrayed nobles and attendants, awaited, of the unterrified girl, “were it not wise to tell this one day, the envoys of Ruas the Hun, who sought wild young prince from the northern forest that the lands and power within the limits of the empire. great Emperor hath gold for his friends, but only
They came, at last, -- great, fierce-looking fel- iron for his foes ? 'Tis ever better to be friend than lows, not at all pleasant to contemplate -- big- foe. Bid, I pray, that the arras of the Hippodrome boned, broad-shouldered, flat-nosed, swarthy and be parted, and let our guests see the might and small-eyed, with shaggy skins, leathern armor, power of our arms." wolf-crowned helmets, and barbaric decorations, With a look of pleased surprise at this bold and the royal children shrunk from them in terror, stroke of the Princess, the prefect clapped his even as they watched them with wondering curios- hands in command, and the heavily brocaded curity. Imperial guards, gleaming in golden armor, tain that screened the gilded columns parted as if accompanied them, while with the envoys came also by unseen hands, and the Hunnish envoys, with a a small retinue of Hunnish spearmen as escort. gaze of stolid wonder, looked down upon the great And in the company of these, the Princess Pulcheria Hippodrome of Constantinople. noted a lad of ten or twelve years — short, swarthy, It was a vast inclosure, spacious enough for big-headed and flat-nosed like his brother barba- the marshaling of an army. Around its sides ran rians, but with an air of open and hostile supe- tiers of marble seats, and all about it rose gleaming riority that would not be moved even by all the statues of marble, of bronze, of silver and of goldglow and glitter of an imperial court.
Augustus and the emperors, gods and goddesses Then Eslaw, the chief of the envoys of King of the old pagan days, heroes of the eastern and Ruas the Hun, made known his master's demands: western empires. The bright oriental sun streamSo much land, so much treasure, so much in the ed down upon it and, as the trumpets sounded way of concession and power over the lands along from beneath the imperial balcony, there filed into the Danube, or Ruas the king would sweep down the arena the glittering troops of the empire, with his warriors and lay waste the cities and lands gorgeous in color and appointments, with lofty of the empire.
crests and gleaming armor, with shimmering spear“These be bold words,” said Anthemius the tips, prancing horses, towering elephants and prefect. “ And what if our lord the Emperor shall mighty engines of war and siege, with archers and say thee nay?”
spearmen, with sounding trumpets and swaying But ere the chief of the envoys could reply, the standards and, high over all, the purple labarum, lad whose presence in the escort the Princess Pul- woven in gold and jewels,- the sacred banner of cheria had noted, sprang into the circle before the Constantine. Marching and counter-marching, throne, brandishing his long spear in hot defiance. around and around, and in and out until it seemed
“Dogs and children of dogs, ye dare not say us well-nigh endless, the martial procession passed nay!” he cried harshly. “Except we be made the before the eyes of the northern barbarians, watchfriends and allies of the Emperor, and are given ful of every movement, eager as children to witfull store of southern gold and treasure, Ruas the ness this royal review. king shall overturn these your palaces and make “ These are but as a handful of dust amid the you all captives and slaves. It shall be war be- sands of the sea to the troops of the empire," said tween you and us forever. Thus saith my spear!” the prefect Anthemius, when the glittering rear
And as he spoke he dashed his long spear upon guard had passed from the Hippodrome. And the the floor, until the mosaic pavement rang again. Princess Pulcheria added, " And these, O men from
Boy emperor and princesses, prefect and nobles, the north, are to help and succor the friends of the and imperial guards sprang to their feet as the great Emperor even as they are for the terror and spear clashed on the pavement, and even the bar- destruction of his foes. Bid the messengers from barian envoys, while they smiled grimly at their Ruas the king consider, good Anthemius, whether young comrade's energy, pulled him hastily back. it were not wiser for their master to be the friend
But ere the prefect Anthemius could sufficiently rather than the foe of the Emperor, and whether it
would not be in keeping with his valor and his and fifty pounds of gold, good Anthemius, and might to be made one of the great captains of the let our guests bear to Ruas the king pledges and empire, with a yearly stipend of many pounds of tokens of the Emperor's friendship.” gold as the recompense of the Emperor for his “And bid, too, that they do leave yon barbaservice and his love."
rian boy at our court as hostage of their faith,” Again the Prefect looked with pleasure and sur- demanded young Theodosius the Emperor, now prise upon this wise young girl of fifteen, who had speaking for the first time and making a most seen so shrewdly and so well the way to the hearts stupid blunder at a critical moment. of these northern barbarians, to whom gold and For, with a sudden start of revengeful indignawarlike display were as meat and drink.
tion, young Attila the Hun turned to the boy Em“You hear the words of this wise young maid,” peror: “I will be no man's hostage,” he cried.
he said. “Would it not please Ruas the king to be “ Freely I came, freely will I go! Come down the friend of the Emperor, a general of the Empire, from thy bauble of a chair and thou and I will try, and the acceptor, on each recurring season of the even in your circus yonder, which is the better boy, Circensian games, of full two hundred pounds of and which should rightly be hostage for faith and gold as recompense for service and friendship ?” promise given !”.
“Say, rather, three hundred pounds," said “How now!” exclaimed the boy Emperor, altoEslaw, the chief of the envoys, “and our master gether unused to such uncourtier-like language ; may, perchance, esteem it wise and fair.” “this to me!” And the hasty young Hun con
"Nay, it is not for the great Emperor to chaf- tinued : fer with his friends,” said Pulcheria, the princess. “Ay, this and more! I tell thee, boy, that were “ Bid that the stipend be fixed at three hundred I Ruas the king, the grass should never grow where the hoofs of my war-horse trod; Scythia should be “She who can shape the ways of a boy may guide mine; Persia should be mine ; Rome should be the will of an empire. Be thou, then, Regent and mine. And look you, Sir Emperor, the time shall Augusta, and rule this empire as becometh the surely come when the king of the Huns shall be daughter of Arcadius and the granddaughter of content not with paltry tribute and needless office, the great Theodosius." but with naught but Roman treasure and Roman And as he desired, so it was decided. The Senate slaves ! "
of the East decreed it and, in long procession, over But into this torrent of words came Pulcheria's flower-strewn pavements and through gorgeously calm voice again. “Nay, good Attila, and nay, my decorated streets, with the trumpets sounding their brother and my lord," she said. “'T were not loudest, with swaying standards, and rank upon between friends and allies to talk of tribute nor of rank of imperial troops, with great officers of the slaves, nor yet of hostage. Freely you came; freely go; and let this pledge tell of friendship between Theodosius the Emperor and Ruas the King." And, with a step forward, she flung her own broad chain of gold around the stout and swarthy neck of the defiant young Attila.
So, through a girl's ready tact and quiet speech, was the terror of barbarian invasion averted. Ruas the Hun
IMP CON rested content for years with his annual salary of three hundred and fifty pounds of gold, or over seventy thousand dollars, and his title of General of the Empire ; while not for twenty years did the hot-headed young Attila make good his threat against the Roman power.
Anthemius the prefect, like the wise man he was, recognized the worth of the young Princess Pulcheria; he saw how great was her influence over her brother the Emperor, and noted with astonishment and pleasure her words of wisdom and her rare common sense.
“Rule thou in my place, O Princess!” he said, soon after this interview with the barbarian envoys. “ Thou, alone, of all in this broad
tel. empire, art best fitted to take lead and direction in the duties of its gov
“PULCHERIA AUGUSTA, REGENT OF THE EAST!" erning.”
Pulcheria, though a wise young girl, was pru- government and throngs of palace attendants, this dent and conscientious.
young girl of sixteen, on the fourth day of July, in “ Such high authority is not for a girl like me, the year 414, proceeded to the Church of the Holy good Anthemius,” she replied. “Rather let me Apostles, and was there publicly proclaimed Pulshape the ways and the growth of the Emperor cheria Augusta, Regent of the East, solemnly my brother, and teach him how best to maintain accepting the trust as a sacred and patriotic duty. himself in a deportment befitting his high estate, And, not many days after, before the high altar so that he may become a wise and just ruler ; but of this same Church of the Holy Apostles, Pulchedo thou bear sway for him until such time as he ria the princess stood with her younger sisters, may take the guidance on himself.”
Arcadia and Marina, and with all the impressive “Nay, not so, Princess,” the old prefect said. ceremonial of the Eastern Church, made a solemn vow to devote their lives to the keeping of their sixteen, granddaughter and sole inheritor of the father's heritage and the assistance of their only genius and courage of Theodosius the Great, govbrother; to forswear the world and all its allure- erning the empires of the east and west, and being ments; never to marry; and to be in all things proclaimed on the death of her brother, Augusta, faithful and constant to each other in this their Imperatrix, and mistress of the world ! ” promise and their pledge.
This last event — the death of Theodosius the And they were faithful and constant. The story Younger — occurred in the year 449, and Pulcheria of those three determined young maidens, yet ascended the golden throne of Constantinople — scarcely “in their teens," reads almost like a page the first woman that ever ruled as sole Empress from Tennyson's beautiful poem, “ The Princess," of the Roman world. with which many of my girl readers are doubtless She died July 18, 453. That same year saw the familiar. The young Regent and her sisters, with death of her youthful acquaintance, Attila the their train of attendant maidens, renounced the Hun, that fierce barbarian whom men had called vanity of dress,— wearing only plain and simple the “Scourge of God." His mighty empire stretched robes; they spent their time in making garments from the great wall of China to the Western Alps; for the poor, and embroidered work for church but, though he ravaged the lands of both eastern decorations; and with song and prayer and frugal and western Rome, he seems to have been so manmeals, interspersed with frequent fasts, they kept aged or controlled by the wise and peaceful meastheir vow “to forswear the world and its allure- ures of the girl regent that his destroying hordes ments” in an altogether strict and monotonous never troubled the splendid city by the Golden manner. Of course this style of living is no more Horn which offered so rare and tempting a booty, to be recommended to healthy, hearty, fun-loving It is not given to the girls of to-day to have anygirls of fifteen than is its extreme of gayety and thing like the magnificent opportunities of the indulgence, but it had its effect in those bad old young Pulcheria. But duty in many a form faces days of dissipation and excess, and the simplicity them again and again, while not unfrequently the and soberness of this wise young girl's life in the occasion comes for sacrifice of comfort or for devovery midst of so much power and luxury, made tion to a trust. To all such the example of this even the worst elements in the empire respect and fair young princess of old Constantinople, who, honor her.
fifteen centuries ago, saw her duty plainly and It would be interesting, did space permit, to undertook it simply and without hesitation, comes sketch at length some of the devisings and doings to strengthen and incite; and the girl who feels of this girl regent of sixteen. “ She superintended herself overwhelmed by responsibility, or who is with extraordinary wisdom,” says the old chroni- fearful of her own untried powers, may gather cler Sozemon, “the transactions of the Roman strength, courage, wisdom, and will from the story government,” and “afforded the spectacle," says of this historic girl of the long ago— the wise young Ozanam, a later historian, “of a girlish princess of Regent of the East, Pulcheria of Constantinople.