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The Nika riot: a reappraisal

  • Geoffrey Greatrex (a1)

The uprising which took place in Constantinople in January 532 has long attracted the attention of scholars, the first significant contribution being J.B. Bury's magisterial article of 1897. My present aim is to re-examine the Nika riot, and to set it in its wider context: it will be argued that the significant place assigned to it in accounts of the reign of Justinian distorts the reality of late fifth-sixth century Constantinople. The riot was by no means an isolated outbreak of popular discontent, but just one in a whole series of bloody confrontations in the capital. It has engaged the interest of historians more than other disturbances for the same reason that Justinian's reign attracts such frequent biographies, while Anastasius' remains neglected: the wealth of sources available for the riot of 532 is much greater than for any other such event.

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1 The Nika riot’, JHS xvii (1897) 92119, cf. Bury, J.B., History of the later Roman empire from the death of Theodosius I to the death of Justinian ii (New York-London 1958) 3948. There is a detailed treatment of the uprising by Chekalova, A.A., Konstatinopol' v VI veke. Vosstanie Nika (Moscow 1986, henceforth Konstantinopol'), cf. eadem, Narod i senatorskaja oppozitsija v vosstanii Nika’, Vizantiskij Vremennik xxxii (1971) 2439; note also the review of the book by Tinnefeld, F. in JÖBG xxxviii (1988) 442–4. Mention should be made of the extensive discussion of the riot in Gizewski, C., Zur Normativität und Struktur der Verfassungsverhältnisse in der späteren römischen Kaiserzeit, Münchener Beiträge zur Papyrus-forschung und antiken Rechtsgeschichte H.81 (Munich 1988), who considers the riot from a sociological perspective.

Briefer accounts may be found in Stein, E., Histoire du bas-empire ii (Paris 1949) 449–56, Martindale, J., Public disorders in the late Roman empire, unpublished B.Litt. thesis (Oxford 1960) 32–5, Cameron, A., Circus factions: Blues and Greens at Rome and Byzantium (Oxford 1976) 278–80, Moorhead, J., Justinian (London 1994) 44–9 and, most recently, Evans, J.A.S., The age of Justinian: the circumstances of imperial power (London 1996) 119–25.

I am grateful to Cyril Mango, James Howard-Johnston, Sam Lieu, John Matthews, Michael Whitby and Thanos Fotiou for comments on this paper; it has also benefited significantly from the comments of the anonymous readers.

2 Riots elsewhere will not for the most part be considered here, though it should be noted that factional strife was by no means confined to the capital, cf. the bloody riots in Antioch under Anastasius: Malalas, , Chronographia (henceforth Mal.) ed. Dindorf, L. (Bonn 1831) 395–8 (tr. Jeffreys, E., Jeffreys, M. and Scott, R., John Malalas. The chronicle [Melbourne 1986] 222–3), cf. Cameron, Circus factions, 198-201 on factions throughout the east. For a catalogue of riots elsewhere, cf. Gizewski (n.1) 206.

3 Cf. e.g. Cameron, Circus factions, 294, on the ‘relatively high level of popular disorder’ tolerated by Roman emperors, noted too by Veyne, P., tr. Pearce, B., Bread and circuses (Harmondsworth 1990) 392–3 and Nippel, W., Public order in ancient Rome (Cambridge 1995) 112; cf. also Patlagean, E., Pauvreté économique et pauvreté sociale à Byzance, 4e-7e siècles (Paris 1977) 213 and Cameron, Averil, The Mediterranean world in late antiquity (London 1993) 171–4. From 500 it may have become yet more violent as a result of the closure of the theatres and the consequent unification of theatre and circus rowdies, cf. Cameron, Circus factions, 225-7 and id., Porphyrius the charioteer (Oxford 1973) 232, 239; but as Patlagean, op. cit., 211, notes, Anastasius' measures were not wholly successful. Gizewski (n.1) 206-9, argues (not altogether persuasively) for an underlying discontent with the imperial system behind the incidences of violence, while conceding that no effort was ever made to change it.

4 On the population rise and the influx into the cities cf. Fossier, R., ed., The Cambridge illustrated history of the Middle Ages (Cambridge 1989) 164–7, Patlagean (n.3) 302-3 and Cameron, Mediterranean world, 172, 180. On the plague, cf. J. Durliat, ‘La peste du VIe siècle’ in Hommes et richesses dans l'empire Byzantin i, Kravari, V., Lefort, J. and Morrisson, C. (eds.), (Paris 1989) 107–19 with the remarks of J.N. Biraben, ibid. 121-5.

5 Lydus, John, De magistratibus, ed. Wünsch, R. (Leipzig 1903), tr. Bandy, A.C., loannes Lydus on powers (Philadelphia 1983) iii 70 (p.162.10-13), Zachariah of Mytilene, tr. Hamilton, F.W. and Brooks, E.W. (London 1899) ix 14; Stein (n.1) 442-9 on John's measures and the influx, cf. Gizewski (n.1) 168-9, Chekalova (n.1) 38 and Evans (n.1) 125. Given that John had held the prefecture for less than a year by January 532 (cf. Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire iii, ed. J. Martindale [Cambridge 1992, henceforth PLRE iii] s.v. Ioannes 11), the impact of his measures by this stage should not be exaggerated: he and his policies were a convenient scapegoat for later writers, below n.96. Note too that early in 1789 Paris ‘was flooded with unemployed country workers and urban poor’, yet in general they ‘played only a minor, marginal role in the disturbances of that year’ (G. Rudé, The Crowd in History, revised edition [London 1981] 200). On Justinian's measures later in the 530s, cf. Justinian, , Novellae (Schoell, R. and Kroll, W. (eds.) (sixth edition, Dublin-Zurich 1954)) 13 (535) and 80 (539) with Stein (n.1) 455-6 and Jones, A.H.M., The Later Roman Empire (Oxford 1964) 692.

6 The importance of the excerptors under Constantine Porphyrogenitus should be underlined: our text of Malalas lacks many of the details concerning factions to be found in the Excerpta Historica: de Insidiis, de Boor, C. (ed.) (Berlin 1905), as will be noticed from the footnotes below. John of Antioch, the other chief source, survives entirely through the labours of the excerptors. His fragments are cited from the edition by C. Müller, FHG iv (Paris 1851) and v (Paris 1870). The sources for the Nika riot are amply dealt with by Bury, ‘Nika riot’, 92-106, supplemented now by Jeffreys, M., ‘Bury, Malalas and the Nika riot’ in The sixth century: end or beginning?, Jeffreys, E. and Allen, P., eds. (Sydney 1996), 43–6.

7 Hobsbawm, E., Primitive rebels. Studies in archaic forms of social movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Manchester 1959) 115.

8 Hobsbawm (n.7) 111-12 for these features. The hostility of rioters in 512 towards the former praetorian prefect Marinus was, however, in part based on his being an easterner: Mal. 407.13 cf. 407.17-18.

9 Hobsbawm (n.7) 118-19 with Rudé (n.5) 226, 228-9, 241 on the conservatism of the crowd; cf. also Field, D., Rebels in the name of the Tsar (Boston, MA 1989) ch.1. Under the Roman republic the people assembled at games tended to be more conservative than those who took part in contiones, cf. Vanderbroeck, P.J.J., Popular leadership and collective behavior in the Late Roman republic (c. 80-50 BC) (Amsterdam 1987) 78. On the unpopularity of Nicholas II in the wake of the attack on a peaceful demonstration in St Petersburg in January 1905, cf. Westwood, J.N., Endurance and endeavour. Russian history 1812-1986 (third edition, Oxford 1990) 155–6. Note also Lydus, John, De mag. iii 69 (pp.160–1), stressing Justinian's ignorance of John the Cappadocian's wrongdoings.

10 Hobsbawm (n.7) 114 and Rudé (n.5) 198-200 with Brunt, P.A., ‘The Roman mob’, Past and Present xxxv (1966) 23–4, repr. in Finley, M.I., ed., Studies in ancient society (London 1976) IV (98–9) and Africa, T.W., ‘Urban violence in imperial Rome’, Journal of interdisciplinary history ii (1971) 34. Rioting partisans in Constantinople may actually have targeted some of the poorest people, cf. Mal. fr.43 (p. 171.2-3) and Chronicon Paschale, Dindorf, L. (ed.) (Bonn 1832) (henceforth CP), tr. M. and Whitby, M., Chronicon Paschale 284-628 AD (Liverpool 1989) (henceforth CPW) 622.18-20, if παρακενωτής means riff-raff, as translated by Jeffreys-Scott, 233, cf. DuCange, C., Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et infimae Graecitatis [Lyon 1688], 1107. It may, however, refer rather to ‘informers’ (cf. Lampe, G.W.H., A Patristic Greek lexicon [Oxford 1968] s.v. παρακενόω), as C. Mango has suggested to me.

11 Hobsbawm (n.7) 115-6, cf. Cameron, Mediterranean world, 174 and Nippel (n.3) 83, 86-7.

12 Cameron, Circus factions, esp. sections IV and VI and 272-3. Also id., Porphyrius, and ‘Bread and circuses: the Roman emperor and his people’, King's College, London, inaugural lecture (London 1973), and the similar conclusions of Dagron, G., Naissance d'une capitale: Constantinople et ses institutions de 330 à 451 (Paris 1974) 363–4. For a survey of reactions to Cameron, cf. Vespignani, G., ‘II circo e le fazioni del circo’, Rivista di Studi Bizantini e Slavi v (1985) 85–6; also Fotiou, A.S., ‘Byzantine circus factions and their riots‘, JÖBG xxvii (1978) 67 (backing Cameron's interpretation). Recently D. Misiou has sought to portray the Blue faction as the shock-troops of Justinian, Ὁι βένετοι στασιῶτες στην εποχή του Ιουστινιανοứ in C. Maltezou, ed., Η καθημερινή ζωή στο Βυζάντιο (Athens 1989) 43-73; but her view that Procopius is describing only the Blues in Anecdota, J. Haury (ed.), rev. G. Wirth (Leipzig 1963) 7.8-14 is not convincing. See too Roueché, C., Performers and partisans at Aphrodisias in the Roman and late Roman periods (London 1993) 138-40 and 154–5, on the pervasiveness of the faction groupings throughout society and the consequent increase in the scale of riots. As she notes, ibid. 132, some partisans identified themselves (in the hippodrome) by their profession, while others, presumably the most fanatical, were seated simply as Blues or Greens.

13 Cf. e.g. the disturbances at the Brytae festival in 500/1, on which cf. Martindale (n.1) 28, apparently not in the hippodrome; the riot of 498, however, reported in Mal. 394 and CP 608, started in the hippodrome, cf. Martindale (n.1) 27, but then spread all over the capital.

14 Martindale (n.1) 30 assembles the evidence, cf. CPW 102 n. 321. Gizewski (n.1) 205-6, also offers a brief catalogue of disturbances.

15 For this division of Anastasius' reign, cf. Cameron, Porphyrius, 236-43.

16 On Justin's attitude to the factions, cf. Vasiliev, A.A., Justin I. An introduction to the epoch of Justinian the Great (Cambridge, MA 1950) 115–19, and below. Martindale (n.1) 85 suggests that Justin changed his stance in 525 rather than 527, from the time of his appointment of Theodotus as city prefect to control the factions (Proc. Anecd. 9.37-46). A fragmentary philosophical work, the De scientia politico dialogus, which may well date from the 520s, lays great stress on the power of the partisans at this time—εἱς ἄκρον δυναστείας (v 101); cf. Menae patricii cum Thoma referendario De scientia politico dialogus, ed. Mazzucchi, C.M. (Milan 1982) v 97-101 (pp.32–3). Mazzucchi, xiii, places the work between 507 and 535; Fotiou, A., ‘Recruitment shortages in sixth-century Byzantium’, Byzantion lviii (1988) 67 n.14 suggests that the work was set (if not composed) in the period leading up to the Nika riot.

17 Cameron, Circus factions, 183-4 and ‘Bread and circuses’, 12-13, aptly cites Hobsbawm (n.7) 115: ‘Both sides knew how far they could go [in their rioting]’—but in 532 the rioters went too far. The acclamation in the hippodrome of a rival emperor, selected by the crowd, had no precedents in Constantinople. Cf. also Rudé (n.5) 242 on disturbances tending to follow a traditional pattern.

18 Mal. 484 for a riot in the hippodrome when no games were taking place; id. fr. 43 (in de Insidiis pp. 170-1, tr. Jeffreys-Scott 232), for the factions asking for Justin to come and watch the races in 520. Mal. 407-8 for the people flocking to the hippodrome when they hear of Anastasius' appearance there (in 512). For demands made by the people in the hippodrome, cf. Cameron, Circus Factions 185-7; also Theophylact Simocatta, History, C. de Boor (ed.), rev. G. Wirth (Leipzig 1972), tr. M. and M. Whitby (Oxford 1986) viii 7.9 (with p.220 n.33 in the translation) for an example of a chant of the factions with certain demands. On the hippodrome as the focus for relations between people and emperor, cf. Yavetz, Z., Plebs and princeps (Oxford 1969) esp. 1820, Millar, F., The emperor in the Roman world (London 1977) 369–75, Hopkins, K., Death and renewal (Cambridge 1983) 1619, Veyne (n.3) 400-1, Cameron, Circus factions, section VII, Dagron (n.11) 302-3 and esp.314-15; also Patlagean (n.3) 212-3, and the law of Leo, Codex Justinianus (henceforth C.J.) P. Krueger (ed.) (eleventh edition, Berlin 1954) ix 30.2 (466).

19 Cf. Cameron, Circus factions 271, for his four-fold distinction; I omit from consideration here those riots over economic factors (e.g. famine), and have altered his other categorisations somewhat.

20 Circus factions ch. VI.

21 As Cameron countenances, Circus factions 153.

22 Theodore Anagnostes (= Theodore Lector), Hansen, G.C. (ed.), Kirchengeschichte (Berlin 1971) 455; cf. Stein (n.1) 166.

23 Mal. 408 for the killings at random; cf. Proc. Anecd. 6.25, for his emphasis on such random murders by the partisans.

24 Cameron, Porphyrius 243 and Circus factions 277 (on the events of 507), ibid. 293-4 on the analogy with hooliganism. Gizewski (n.1) 186, also has a category for this type of disturbance, although he includes religious riots in it as well; cf. Gregory, T., ‘Urban violence in late antiquity’ in Aspects of Graeco-Roman urbanism, BAR International Series 188, Marchese, R. (ed.) (Oxford 1983) 143–5.

25 John of Antioch fr. 214b.2 on the cancellation of games in 493, 214c on the Brytae massacre, cf. Marcellinus comes, Th. Mommsen (ed.), MGH AA XI. 1 (Berlin 1893) a.501.1-3 (reprinted with translation in B. Croke, The Chronicle of Marcellinus [Sydney 1995]); John of Antioch, fr. 214e.12 on the cancellation of races in 514). See also Martindale (n. 1) 28 and the list of Cameron, Porphyrius 233-4. Many more examples of inter-factional fighting could be provided from later in Justinian's reign (e.g. Mal. 490-1 on riots in 562).

26 Cameron, Circus factions 294-5, stresses that ‘the typical faction riot was not a protest, it was a battle between the two colours.’

27 For instance, the riot in Antioch in 507 involved an attempt to arrest some partisans following an earlier disturbance, Mal. 396.16-397.6; also the riot in Constantinople in 498 (on which below n.43), sparked by Anastasius' refusal to release some Green partisans. This type of riot could also arise independently of the factions, it appears, such as in the case of the massacre at Thessalonica in 390 or the riot in Rome in 355: both of these took place following the arrest of charioteers, cf. Cameron, Porphyrius 236. See also Gizewski (n.1) 186-7, noting how disturbances may become uprisings against the régime.

28 Cf. PLRE iii s.v. Ioannes 11; the fact that Theodorus qui et Teganistes 57, PLRE ii, J. Martindale (ed.) (Cambridge 1981), was prefect of Constantinople four times also implies a swift turn-over in city prefects, even if it is not possible to date all his periods in office. On the powers and role of the praefectus urbi (city prefect), cf. Gizewski (n.1) 164-5, Dagron (n.12) 281-5 and Nippel (n.3) 98-100. In the early empire praetorian prefects such as Sejanus and Plautianus likewise had been sacrificed to public opinion, cf. Millar (n.18) 374 and Nippel (n.3) 88.

29 A good example of such a dismissal is that of Julian, dismissed c. 491 for being too harsh in his suppression of the rioters, John of Antioch fr. 214b.2 and PLRE ii s.v. Iulianus 14.

30 As Cameron, Circus factions 184 and 294, notes.

31 This may, of course, be due in part to the nature of the sources of the period, as Cameron, Circus factions, 184-5, and Martindale (n.1) 79-80, note. Mal. 351-2 on Theodosius' sympathies, cf. Dagron (n.12) 351-2; Marcellinus comes a.445.2, for the riot. Veyne (n.3) 393 argues that in the early empire the emperors usually backed the Blues.

32 On Marcian's sympathies, cf. Mal. 368 with Dagron (n.12) 352; on Zeno's, Mal. 379; on Leo's, Cameron, Circus factions 104 and 129. On imperial sympathies generally, Porphyrius 232-3. From accounts of riots late in Justinian's reign, it appears that the emperor continued to favour the Blues to some degree—cf. e.g. Theophanes, C. de Boor (ed.) (Leipzig 1883) 236.15-16 (Justinian takes a long time to be reconciled with the Greens after rioting in 559) and Mal. fr. 51 (pp. 175-6, translation in Jeffreys-Scott 305-6), where troops intervene specifically against the Greens; also Theophanes 243.5-9, where Justin II menaces the Blues by reminding them that Justinian is no longer alive.

33 Mal. 393 and cf. Cameron, Porphyrius 241 and n.2.

34 In 516, cf. 41 (pp.169-70), Theophanes 162.27-163.16, Theodore Lector 522, with Martindale (n.1) 10.

35 Mal. 394 and fr.38 (p.168), CP 608; below n.43.

36 43 (pp.170-1) and cf. Vasiliev (n.16) 116-17 and the notes of Jeffreys-Scott (n.2) 232. Vasiliev, loc. cit. suggests that the factions united in favour of Vitalian, which is possible (though the state of the text makes the connection uncertain); if this view is correct, the parallel with the Nika riot would be strengthened. The restlessness of the factions was of some importance during the deliberations over Anastasius' successor, it should be remembered: cf. Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De cerimoniis, Reiske, J.J. (ed.) (Bonn 1829) i 93.

37 Justinian's support for the Blues: Proc. Anecd. 7.1-7; 22-33; 39-42 (with Patlagean's comments [n.3] 227-8); also 8.2 (Justin witnesses this license in the hippodrome but fails to pay heed to it) and Evagrius, , Ecclesiastical History, Bidez, J. and Parmentier, L. (eds.) (London 1898), iv 32. Anecdota 9.35-42 for the case of Theodotus (in the Loeb translation of H.B. Dewing ‘the Emperor’ is given in place of ‘Justinian’ at §39 on p.115), cf. PLRE ii s.v. Theodotus 11 and Bury (n.1) 22 and n.6. On his measures, cf. also Vasiliev (n.16) 117. Theophanes 166.26-33 (cf. Mal. 416), states that the license of the factions went unchecked for five years from 519/20, until the sixth year of Justin's reign. There is an interesting independent account of Justinian's backing for the Blues in this period in of Nikiu, John, The Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu, tr. Charles, R.H. (London 1916) 90.16-23 (pp.134–5): according to John, Theodotus arrested Justinian for his activities, but released him when he fell ill. The people then called for a good emperor and for new officials, whereupon Justin sought to regain popularity by replacing Theodotus with Theodore; Theodore, along with the new comes Orientis, Ephraem, then proceeded to put an end to the inter-factional strife. Cf. the account of Mal. 416-17 and the comments of Jeffreys-Scott (n.2) 235.

38 Mal. 417, for measures against the factions in 524/5 (cf. Theophanes 170.24-28), noting too the banning of spectacles and dancers throughout the East. But cf. Scott, R., ‘Malalas, the secret history, and Justinian's propaganda’, DOP xxxix (1985) 99104 for Mal. reflecting official sources rather than reality—a not unlikely possibility in this case, cf. Patlagean (n.3) 211. On the Blues becoming σωϕρονέστατοι, cf. Anecdota 7.3 with Vasiliev (n.16) 119 n.14; also Scott, art. cit. 103-4, on the fear (ϕόβος) said by Mal. here to have prevailed at this time.

39 Mal. 473 and Theophanes 184.4-15, for the bungled execution of two of the partisans; Theophanes states that the scaffold broke twice. Gizewski (n.1) 238 discusses this episode in detail. Mal. 491.16, referring to the aftermath of factional violence in Constantinople in 562, states that some partisans ‘were even beheaded’ (τινὲς δὲ καὶ ἁπετμήθησαν); this would seem to imply that the execution of partisans was rare, and hence that Eudaemon's measures were unusually harsh, cf. Lydus, John, De mag. iii 70.2 (p.162.17–18). It is possible that the partisans had been restive on account of the lack of the consular games usually held in early January (on which cf. Bury (n.1) 347 and n.2): no consuls had been appointed in the east since Justinian held the office in 528 (with the possible exception of Decius in 529), cf. PLRE iii 1457. For another good example of factions uniting in the face of repressive measures, cf. Theophanes 230.5-14: the Samaritans, in the face of Justinian's measures against them, combined to form a Green-Blue faction in 555 (Prasinovenetoi—the same word used in the Nika riot).

40 Mal. 473-4; Theophanes 184. Cf. Theophanes 115, where (in 467) the crowd approves of the response of the arraigned philosopher Isocasius to the praetorian prefect Pusaeus; they therefore acclaim the emperor (Leo), who spares Isocasius when this comes to his attention. Cf. also Rudé (n.5) 228-9; the interpretation of Gizewski (n.1) App. XV, 238, who thinks it impossible that the crowd can have genuinely acclaimed the emperor, should be rejected. Sycae was a frequent site of executions, cf. CP 565, 694 with CPW 143 n.403 (also on the nearby monastery of St Conon). On the location of the church of St Laurence (in the Pulcherianae), cf. Janin, R., Le Siège de Constantinople et le patriarcat oecuménique. iii Les églises et les monastères (Paris 1969) 301–4.

41 Stein (n.1) 450 n.1 on the initial events taking place on Saturday. It seems highly improbable that the Akta dia Kalopodion the record of an altercation between a mandator of Justinian and representatives of the Blues and Greens reported in Theophanes, 181-4—should be placed on the Saturday as well; if they do belong in 532, the disunity of the factions only three days before they collaborated is striking. Bury, ‘Nika riot’ 118, places the Akta on Sunday January 11, 532 (followed by Evans (n.1) 123); Stein (n.1) 450 n.1 corrects the day. Against the placing of the Akta at this point cf. Baldwin, B., ‘The date of a circus dialogue’, REB xxxix (1981) 305 and Jeffreys, M., ‘Appendix: A lacuna in Theophanes’ text of Malalas?' in Jeffreys, E., Scott, R. and Croke, B. (eds.), Studies in John Malalas (Sydney 1990) 271, and Martindale (n.1) 31. Cameron, Circus factions 327, prefers to place them earlier in Justinian's reign, while P. Karlin-Hayter favours keeping them in 532, ‘Les ῎Ακτα δια καλαπσδιον le contexte réligieux et politique’, Byzantion xliii (1973) 101. She wants to separate the Akta, however, from the uprising, cf. ‘Factions, riots and acclamations’, Study III in Studies in Byzantine Political History (Aldershot 1981), 89, but cf. CPW 113-4. See now PLRE iii s.v. Calopodius I and C.Mango and R.Scott with G.Greatrex, The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor (Oxford November 1997) 281 n.8 for a discussion of the dating.

42 Mal. 396.16-397.6, cf. Cameron, Circus factions 151.

43 Mal. 394-5, cf. CP 621 (a.498) and above n.35; see also CPW 100 n.316 for a discussion of the dating of this riot (perhaps to be placed in 507), though Cameron, Porphyrius 234, is satisfied with CP's dating to 498, cf. also Martindale (n.1) 27, 29. Cameron, Circus factions 286, notes the similarity between the appeals of 498 and 532. The release of prisoners was a ‘common issue in disturbances’, cf. Cameron, Circus factions 276, citing instances in 498, 532 and 563.

44 For this incident, cf. Theophanes 294 and John of Antioch, fr. 218e; also PLRE iii s.v. Theophanes 3.

45 Cameron, Circus factions 166-7 and below n.107.

46 Stein (n.1) 451 n.1 ascribed the choice of this term (as opposed to tu vincas in Latin) to a desire to avoid infiltration by the troops; but it is in any case frequently found at the start of inscriptions of the partisans—νικᾷ ἡ τύχη…, cf. S. Borkowski, Inscriptions des factions à Alexandrie (Warsaw 1981) 76, Cameron, Porphyrius 76-80 and Roueché (n.12) 4 and no.46 (pp.99-117). Mal. 474.7-10 on the clamours at the races and cf. CPW 115 n.347 (for the probable total of twenty-four races). The suddenness and unexpectedness of the riot is rightly stressed by Gizewski (n.1) 151, cf. Procopius Wars, J. Haury (ed.), rev. G. Wirth (Leipzig 1962-3) i 24.1.

47 References at n.34.

48 References at n.36.

49 Proc. Wars i 24.10, on Justinian's withdrawal; Theophanes 154.15-16 for that of Anastasius, on which see Martindale (n.1) 29-30. Procopius' presence is accepted by Bury, ‘Nika riot’, 94 and Martindale (n.1) 32, but (in the author's view, unconvincingly) denied by Austin, N.J., ‘Autobiography and history: some later Roman historians and their veracity’, History and historians in late antiquity, Croke, B. and Emmett, A.M. (eds.) (Sydney 1983) 62. On the connection between the kathisma and the imperial palace cf. Guilland, R., Études de topographie de Constantinople byzantine i (Berlin 1969) 463 with the map by Mango, C. in Dagron, G. and Mango, C. (eds.), Constantinople and its hinterland (Aldershot 1995) 319.50 On the attack on the praetorium (of the city prefect) in 532, cf. Mal. 474.14-16, Theophanes 184.12-15; before the assault the crowd refers to the two partisans at St Laurence, who must therefore have still been under guard in the church. Proc. Wars i 24.7 on the release of the prisoners, cf. Cameron, Circus factions 276 and Dagron (n.12) 239. Cf. also Theophanes 239.12-13: in a riot of 563 partisans again broke into the prison. On the location of the praetorium see the Appendix below.

51 CP 571 (a.412) with CPW 62 n.210 on the case of Monaxius; CP 695 (a.603), for Leontius, with CPW 145 n.407. Note also Theophanes 297 and John of Antioch fr. 218e, for an occasion in 609 when the Greens burnt the praetorium and other government buildings in response to executions by the city prefect Cosmas (Cosmas 19 in PLRE iii). On the tendency for the praetorium of the city prefect to be targeted for destruction, see Cameron, Circus factions 276, Matthews, J.F., Western aristocracies and imperial court, A.D. 364-425 (Oxford 1974) 19-20 and Dagron (n.12) 238–9.

52 Mal. 474.20-475.1 (not in CP, which has a lacuna here). J. Bardill alerts me to the fact that Mal. does not specifically place this fire on the Wednesday; it merely takes place ‘at daybreak’ following the events of (Tuesday) 13 January. But since the next event in Mal. is the demand of the mob for the dismissal of certain officials, which (it will be argued below) took place on Wednesday, the date of the fire seems secure. The fires of Tuesday-Wednesday constitute my first and second conflagrations, cf. the Appendix. By this point the riot had gained a certain momentum of its own, independent of the demands which had been made to the emperor; cf. Gregory (n.24) 145 for another case of demands being lost in the escalation of violence and Rudé (n.5) on 242-3 on the remarkable momentum which might develop in a disturbance.

53 Note Cameron, Circus factions 275 on Justinian's offer at this point; also ibid. 276 and n.6, where he cites instances of rioting following the cancellation of races, from John of Antioch fr. 214b.2, and Mal. 484 (with the additions of the Tusculan fragment, cf. Jeffreys-Scott (n.2) 290). The second of these cases, however, merely concerns a mêlée in the hippodrome between partisans: they had congregated there when no races were being held (but not because they had been cancelled). A second instance can be supplied nonetheless, from John of Antioch, fr. 214e.12 (when Anastasius cancelled races in 513). Cf. also the riots which broke out when the city prefect Helias forbade the celebration of the Brytae in 500, also reported by John of Antioch, fr. 214c.

54 So Cameron, tentatively, Circus factions 186 ‘almost certainly senatorial agents’, cf. 279. Martindale (n.1) 87, suggests that agitators among the partisans may have put forward the name of Tribonian. Gizewski (n.1) 163-4, sees the riot as moving from a ‘mobilisation’ phase to a reforming one, while Chekalova (as Tinnefeld (n.1) 443 notes) even seeks to distinguish separate senatorial groups. Rudé (n.5) 243-4, however, rightly stresses the role of chance developments in disturbances, which may later be perceived as the work of conspirators.

55 Anecdota 9.37-42 on Theodotus; cf. also Anastasius' frequent dismissal of city prefects (such as Iulianus 14 (in 491), Helias (in 500) and Constantinus 13 Tzuruccas (501), all in PLRE ii), and see Cameron, Circus factions 185-7, for earlier instances. Although we are not specifically told that their removal was demanded by the factions, it is most likely that they were dismissed on account of their harshness in combatting the partisans. A prefect could also be removed, it appears, for failing to act sufficiently vigorously—-cf. the case of Zemarchus in 565, Mal. fr.51 (p.176, tr. Jeffreys-Scott (n.2) 305-6). The tendency of crowds to focus their complaints on individuals is noted by Rudé (n.5) 240-1, and cf. Brown, P., Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity (Madison, WI 1992) 87.

56 Cf. e.g. Cameron, Circus factions 102.

57 Cameron, Circus factions 186 and Nippel (n.3) 88 for other instances, e.g. Elagabalus’ prefect Eubulus in 222, or Severus’ prefect Plautianus, above n.28. In 512 the house of the praetorian prefect Marinus had been set upon by an angry mob, incensed by his anti-Chalcedonian views, above n.8; and in 602 Constantine Lardys, a former praetorian prefect, was killed by supporters of Phocas, cf. CP 694 with CPW 143 n.403 and PLRE iii s.v. Constantinus qui et Lardys 33. On John's prominence as an adviser of the emperor, cf. Proc. Wars iii. 10.7-18 and John Lydus De mag. iii 69 (p. 160) quoted by Cameron, Mediterranean world 121.

58 Lydus, John, De mag. iii 62 (p.152) for John's support for the Greens. Whitby and Whitby plausibly suggest that John only became an enthusiastic supporter of the Greens following his re-instatement to office, in order to avoid being dismissed again, CPW 116 n.349.

59 So Martindale (n.1) 86-7.

60 Anecdota 13.12, Wars i 24.16, cf. 25.2; cf. also Honoré, , Tribonian (London 1978) 53–5, who is not surprised at the demands for Tribonian's removal.

61 Whether or not Procopius' allegations are accurate is less important than that they were made in the first place: Tribonian was perceived to be venal and sycophantic. Honoré (n.61) 53-4 and n.118 suggests that the frequency of changes to the law may have reinforced this impression.

62 On Ulpian, cf. Honoré, T., Ulpian (Oxford 1982) 3746; on Paulus, OCD3 785-6 (‘Iulius Paulus’).

63 Cf. the translation of CPW 115; but ἅ έβουλεύσω is perhaps better translated as ‘what you have resolved’ than ‘as you are advised’.

64 On the text of CP at this point, cf. CPW 115 nn.346-8; also Bury, ‘Nika riot’ 98-9 (esp. 98 n.3) and Cameron, Circus factions 324-5. CP provides the names of the new officials, absent from Mal., but mistakenly has Rufinus in place of Tribonian, cf. CPW 116 n.349 and Mal. 474-5. Mal.'s text concerning the despatch of Basilides, Constantiolus and Mundus is somewhat unclear: these three go out in order to silence the rioters, who are demanding the dismissal of the three officials, perhaps with armed assistance (μετὰ βοηθείας [475.2]). Meanwhile the senators sent out to ascertain the wishes of the crowd relay them to Justinian, who accedes to the demands. It seems as though Mal. believed that two groups were sent out of the palace with slightly differing briefs, surely mistakenly; cf. Bury, ‘Nika riot’ 99, who argues that our text of Mal. here is the work of an epitomator.

65 Proc. Wars i 24.33-8 (Theodora's speech), Theophanes 184.27-30 (preparations for flight, discussed below). This is against the view of Whitby and Whitby, CPW 115 n.348.

66 Michael Whitby has argued that the advice to Justinian is too blunt to be that of advisers (pers. comm.); I would, however, draw attention to (e.g.) Proc. Wars i 11.16-18, a speech by the quaestor Proculus, addressing Justin and Justinian in forthright terms (and using the second person singular for the emperor).

67 CP 571 with the comments in CPW 62 n.210.

68 Marcellinus comes, a.512. On the background to this incident, cf. Greatrex, G., ‘Flavius Hypatius, quem vidit validum Parthus sensitque timendum’, Byzantion lxvi (1996) 125.

69 Cf. PLRE iii s.v. Constantiolus (in the East in 531 investigating the defeat at Callinicum), Mundus (usually in the Balkans, even if, according to Mal. 466, he was appointed magister militum per Orientem after Callinicum), and Basilides.

70 So described by Bury, ‘Nika riot’ 119, reported by CP 622 and Theophanes 184.21-4, cf. CPW 118 n.352.

71 ‘Nika riot’ 107, cf. Gizewski (n.1) 155; CP 621.15-17 on Belisarius, cf. Mal. 475.9-10.

72 This conflagration, while devastating, was scarcely more so than that which had occurred during some of the earlier riots in the capital, it should be noted: the area around the hippodrome had suffered greatly in the rioting of 498. On the buildings destroyed in this fire, see the Appendix (conflagration 3[a]).

73 The acclamation of Probus takes place in CP (622) immediately before the events of Friday 16 January: hence they most likely took place on Thursday. Thus the main event of Thursday, rather than being Belisarius' sortie from the palace, as Bury argued, was the acclamation of Probus (in response to Belisarius' attack).

74 CP 621.14-15.

75 CP 621.15-622.2 and cf. the Appendix below for a discussion of the topography of the buildings destroyed by the fire.

76 Cf. the events of the Sunday, and also Mal. 394.22, where it is expressly stated that the people were hemmed in (in 498). Note also Zonaras' belief (xiv 6, vol.3, L. Dindorf (ed.) (Bonn 1870) 272.22-4) that the crowd were unwilling to enter the hippodrome for fear that they would be trapped there, Bury, ‘Nika riot’ 105.

77 Zosimus, Histoire Nouvelle iii F. Paschoud (ed. and tr.) (Paris 1986) v 19.3-4 with Liebeschuetz, J.W.H.G., Barbarians and Bishops (Oxford 1991) 117–18; Gaïnas' forces may not have been exclusively Goths, cf. Cameron, A. and Long, J., Barbarians and politics at the Court of Arcadius (Los Angeles 1993) 205–6. In 562 imperial troops likewise had considerable difficulty in putting down a riot which spread across the Golden Horn to Sycae, Mal. 490-1.

78 Cf. PLRE ii s.v. Fl. Areobindus Dagalaiphus Areobindus 1 and Greatrex (n.68) 127-8. Theophanes 159.14-19 reports that the crowd hailed Vitalian (rather than Areobindus), and notes that Anastasius took refuge on an estate near Blachernae, such was his fear of the rioters.

79 Vasiliev (n.16) 136-48 provides an excellent account of the jubilation of the people of Constantinople at the accession of a pro-Chalcedonian emperor in 518. On Probus' relationship to Anastasius (and Hypatius and Pompey), cf. most recently Salway, R.W.B., ‘What's in a name? A survey of Roman onomastic practice from c. 700 BC to AD 700’, JRS lxxxiv (1994) 142–3.

80 As I have argued elsewhere (n.68) 130-1. Origenes, mentioned by Procopius (Wars i 24.26-30) as a senatorial opponent of Justinian, is nowhere else attested and is clearly not a significant figure, cf. PLRE iii s.v. Origenes.

81 ‘Nika riot’ 119, cf. Gizewski (n.1) 164 and Evans (n.1) 122.

82 It is possible that certain sections of the crowd directed the rioters to Probus' house, cf. Rudé (n.5) 208-9 for the course of a riot being diverted by the involvement of new elements. Gizewski (n.1) 178, while accepting that the move to Probus’ house could be part of a crowd dynamic or an attempt to wrest further concessions from the emperor, prefers to view it as part of a wider senatorial plot. But given the precedents for this development, I think Gizewski's other options more plausible, above nn.53, 55 on the momentum which can develop in disturbances and the role of chance factors.

83 Cf. Greatrex (n.68) 129 and PLRE ii, s.v. Fl. Probus 8.

84 CP 622 with CPW 118 n.353 on the storage of archives, noting a parallel incident in 608 (alluded to above, n.48, and placed in 609); cf. the Appendix for the location of this praetorium (of the praetorian prefect).

85 CP 621-2 with the comments on the buildings destroyed in CPW 120 nn.356-7. This is conflagration 5(a) of the appendix below. For soldiers setting fire to buildings to gain control of the streets cf. Herodian, K. Stavenhagen (ed.) (Leipzig 1922) vii 12.5-7, who notes the massive destruction caused in the process (at Rome), with Brunt (n.10) 10 (= 82-3).

86 Wars i 24.19-21; the other reason he mentions is that it was ordained that this should happen. On the dismissal of the two from the palace on Saturday evening, cf. Bury, ‘Nika riot’ 108. Procopius' explanation is, however, accepted by Stein (n.1) 453, effectively just paraphrasing Procopius.

87 The brothers may nevertheless have been reluctant to perform the task entrusted to them, cf. Proc. Wars i 24.20. If the compliance of Hypatius is rejected, it may be supposed that Justinian simply miscalculated (as so often during the riot) in releasing the two brothers.

88 CP 623-4, Mal. 475.12-16, with CPW 121 nn.358-9.

89 Above n.9 on this event; Justinian would be in an even worse position than Nicholas, since he would have been present at the slaughter in person, and hence could not avoid responsibility for it. Alternatively, the emperor may have overestimated his chances of calming the assembled people.

90 CP 627.4-6, cp. 624.22-3, Hypatius' first message to Justinian, 'See, I have assembled together all your enemies in the hippodrome; do what you command'; Proc. Wars i 24.56.

91 CP 624 on these events. CPW, 122 n.360 on Julian, with PLRE iii s.v. Iulianus 4—he had preceded John the Cappadocian as praetorian prefect. Only CP records his involvement here, and in terms which fail to make it clear whether he was a willing or unwilling participant; his fate after the riot is unknown. Cameron, , ‘The House of Anastasius’, GRBS xix (1978) 264–7, ascribes two epigrams concerning Hypatius to this Julian, cf. also ****id., Some prefects called Julian’, Byzantion lxvii (1977) 47 and id. and Cameron, Averil, ‘The cycle of Agathias’, JHS lxxxvi (1966) 1213.

92 CP 624.13 and above n.49 on the connection between the kathisma and the imperial palace.

93 Proc. Wars i 24.32-53.

94 Theophanes 184.27-30; Proc. Wars 1.24.32. Bury, ‘Nika riot’ 104, points out that the sentence after the one quoted in Theophanes belongs on Saturday. But the sentences following that one clearly refer to the events on Sunday and Hypatius' acclamation in the hippodrome. More likely, therefore, the sentence which intervenes between the one quoted and the account of Sunday's events is misplaced. Whitby and Whitby, CPW 115 n.348, wish to place Procopius' episode earlier on, but see n.62 above for a rejection of this view; cf. also Evans, J.A.S., ‘The ‘Nika’ rebellion and the Empress Theodora’, Byzantion liv (1984) 381–2 (with idem [n.1] 124) on the speech of Theodora at this point, which owes much to classical models and probably little to what may actually have been said at the time. Another good example of an emperor's withdrawal (by a dromon laden with imperial treasures) is furnished by Maurice, who escaped with his family thus in the night of 22 November 602, Theophylact viii 9.7 with the translation of Whitby and Whitby (n.18) 223 n.47.

95 Anecdota 15.11-12 (tr. Dewing) for the quotation and cf. also the passage cited by Cameron, Mediterranean world 125 (Anecdota 13.1-2), as well as her comments there. Honoré (n.60) 23-4, also draws attention to the emperor's accessibility and Procopius' criticisms of this; Justinian's character will be considered further in the conclusion below. Gizewski (n.1) 160 n.232 believes Justinian intended the troops merely to maintain control of the palace, while reinforcements were summoned; but, as he notes (155 n.220), 3000 men was a sizeable force, which could certainly therefore have quelled the riot by itself (even if some forces had taken the side of the rioters, CP 626.12-14).

96 CP 624-5, 625.8-11 for the quotation (from CPW 122). On the armed Greens who arrived to aid Hypatius, cf. Theophanes 185.6-8, CPW 123 n.362; they came either from the Flacillianae palace (Theophanes, cp. Proc. Wars i 24.30) or Constantianae (CP), both of which lie not far from the Church of the Holy Apostles (indicated on the map). The Helenianae palace, near the Troadesian porticoes, had also lapsed from imperial control, cf. Proc. Wars i 24.30.

97 CP 628.8-11 for the fate of Thomas and Ephraem with PLRE iii s.v. Ephraemius and Thomas 5. That Thomas was executed in no way precludes the idea that he made an unwitting mistake: Justinian could still regard him as guilty in part for causing Hypatius to turn against him. The two were also useful scapegoats for diverting responsibility from the emperor.

98 On the numbers killed, cf. Stein (n.1) 454 n.2; on the various figures given cf. CPW 125 n.366, rightly stressing what a large proportion of the population of the capital even 30,000 was (perhaps as much as 10%). CP 626 on the indiscriminate nature of the troops' actions and the presence of Antipater in the hippodrome. I intend to deal more fully with the topography of the assault on the hippodrome elsewhere. That the assault on the hippodrome depended on the appearance of Belisarius is clear from Proc. Wars i 24.52, where Mundus only engages when he has seen Belisarius break into the hippodrome. Although Procopius may seem to be overemphasising the role of Belisarius here, a co-ordinated attack was clearly vital to the success of the operation.

99 CP 628, Mal. 476-477.1; also Theophanes 185.27-186.2, where he notes the exile of eighteen patricians, cf. CPW 126 n.369. Property was also confiscated, but that belonging to Probus, his cousin Olybrius, and the children of Hypatius and Pompey was returned early in 533: Proc. Wars i 24.57-8, Mal. 478.18-21 and cf. Cameron, ‘House of Anastasius’ 266-7. For Gizewski (n.1) esp. 148,177-8 and Chekalova (n.1) 25-6, and Konstantinopol' (e.g.) 135-6, senatorial opposition to Justinian is crucial; yet, as Gizewski admits himself, 183, the figure of eighteen is not large, even in the Senate of the sixth century (on which cf Jones (n.5) 529 and 1221-2 n.16); see further below, p. 83. Note also the stress in CP 627.20-22 and Mal. 476.22-477.1 on the imperial pretensions of Hypatius, well brought out by Gizewski (n.1) App. XVII, 239.

100 Note the disputes which broke out at Phocas' accession, Theophylact viii 10.10, as well as the divisions between the factions when Heraclius was nearing Constantinople, John of Antioch fr.218f.3-5 with CPW 151 n.423; and cf. the support which the imperial troops in Antioch received from the Blues while trying to subdue the rioting Greens there in 507, Mal. 397. A minor exception to the statement above is the occasion in 607, described in n.44; but there the factions, although united in their demands, did not have recourse to violence. See also n.39 for (Samaritan) Greens and Blues uniting in Caesarea in 555.

101 As Cameron argues, Circus factions 265.

102 Proc. Wars i 24.39,47 and CP 626.12-14, on the defection of some forces. Clearly, however, most remained loyal to the emperor; on the forces available to the emperor, cf. CPW 115 n.351 and 121 n.363 with Gizewski (n.1) 155 n.220 and 172. As Rudé (n.5) 266 remarks, ‘It would seem […] to be almost a truism that the key factor in determining the outcome of popular rebellion and disturbance is the loyalty or disaffection of the armed forces at the government's disposal’.

103 For a similar verdict, cf. Cameron, Circus factions 280 and id., ‘The House of Anastasius’ 264: the Nika riot, he states, was ‘a sorry tale of vacillation and misjudgement’. Cf. Bury (n.1) 39 on how the riot on Saturday would ordinarily have been quelled without difficulty. Rudé (n.5) 263-4 notes how fatal a hesitant policy towards the crowd could be.

104 Libanius, Or. xix 19, vol.2, R. Foerster (ed.) (Leipzig 1904), cf. Norman, A.F., Libanius. Selected works ii (Cambridge, Mass. 1977) 281 and note a, an anecdote noted by Nippel (n.3) 92.

105 Eunapius, , Vitae sophistarum, Giangrande, J. (ed.) (Rome 1956) vi 2.7-11 (462–3), noted by Millar (n.18) 374. It is unclear whether the suggestions were made to Constantine in the theatre itself.

106 Josephus, , Antiquitates Judaicae xix 4.25-6, vol.4, Naber, S.A. (ed.) (Leipzig 1893) with Dio Cassius lix 13.4, vol.2, U.P. Boissevain (ed.) (Berlin 1898), Africa (n.10) 10-11 and Cameron, Circus factions 162-3; cf. Anastasius' prompt resort to armed force, noted above. At the very end of his reign Justinian followed a similar line, cf. Mal.'s approving verdict on the harsh measures of the city prefect Julian in 565,fr.51 (pp.175-6, tr. Jeffreys-Scott [n.2] 3056).

107 Millar (n.18) 68 and 371-2 on this behaviour of Domitian and Hadrian, with Cameron, Circus factions 166-7.

108 Millar (n.18) 373-4 and Africa (n.10) 10-11.

109 C.J. ix 47.12, precise date uncertain; see Millar (n.18) 374 (for the translation) and n.44. Jones (n.5) 477 for the date of publication of the first edition (7 April 529). Cf. Roueché (n.12) 133 on the laws in the Theodosian Code against governors seeking the favour of the crowds by means of lavish games (Codex Theodosianus, Mommsen, T. and Meyer, P. (eds.) (Berlin 1905) xv 5.1; also xv 5.2.1 and 9.2).

110 C.J. ix 43.3, with the comments of Gizewski (n.1) 165 n.245 on the right of an emperor to offer pardon to those condemned by law. Translation from Pharr, C., The Theodosian Code (New York 1952) ix 38.5.

111 On Justinian's consular games (in 521), cf. Marcellinus comes a.521 with Vasiliev (n.16) 93-4: 288,000 solidi were spent on them. His munificence as consul in 528 was no less remarkable, cf. CP 617 with Croke (n.25) 124. See above p. 78 on the accessibility of Justinian, and note also the passages cited by Roueché (n.12) 6-7, C.J. xi 41.1 and esp. Nov. 105.1 (536), in which Justinian encourages spectacles for the people. His clemency was displayed on numerous occasions; note, for example, his sparing of the plotters Artabanes and Chanaranges in 548/9 (Proc. Wars vii 32.51) and of a Green partisan in the 560s, (p.175, tr. Jeffreys-Scott (n.2) 305).

112 Cf. Yavetz, Z., ‘Vitellius and the “Fickleness of the Mob”’, Historia xviii (1969) 557, with Tacitus, Historiae, Koestermann, E. (ed.) (Leipzig 1969) ii 55 and iii 85.

113 Yavetz (n.112) 559, for the quotation; 560 and 564-8 on his efforts to win popular favour and his vacillation over his resignation. Also Tacitus Historiae, iii 70: by the end, according to Tacitus, he was no longer an emperor, only a cause for war.

114 Marcellinus comes a.532 for the emphasis on the role of the senators and the nephews of Anastasius, with the comments of Croke (n.25) 126, Gizewski (n.1) 239 and Bury, ‘Nika Riot’ 93. See above n.99 for the reports of CP and Mal. on this.

115 Bury, ‘Nika riot’ 94, for the throwing of the blame onto John the Cappadocian, cf. Greatrex, G., ‘The composition of Procopius’ Persian Wars and John the Cappadocian’, Prudentia xxvii (1995) 45. John Lydus, De mag. iii 62.1 (p. 152.22-3), on John's unlikely imperial aspirations. The partisans also came to be assigned much of the blame: cf. Proc. Wars i 24.1-6 and Mal. 474.8-10 (the Devil inspiring the factions to unite).

116 Bury's discussion of the topography of the city, ‘Nika riot’, 109-14, map on p. 110. For more recent discussions of the location of monuments cf. (e.g.) Guilland (n.49) i-ii, Mango, C., Le développement urbain de Constantinople2 (Paris 1990), idem, Studies on Constantinople (Aldershot 1993) and J. Bardill, ‘The palace of Lausus and nearby monuments in Constantinople: a topographical study’, AJA 101 (1996) 67-95. I am much indebted to Jonathan Bardill for advice on topographical matters and for the preparation of the map which accompanies the article.

117 Bury, ‘Nika riot’ 114-15.

118 Malalas 474.17 and Proc. Wars i 24.17 (clearly at the outset of the riot) with Dagron (n.12) 239 and above n.50.

119 Cf. Dagron (n.12) 239, Mango, Studies (n.116) Addenda 1.

120 Malalas 474.18-19, CP 621.20-622.2. CP is slightly unclear here as to whether the buildings were burnt down on the Wednesday or the Thursday; it was apparently in reaction to the attack of Belisarius, on which see above phase seven. Theoph. 184.26 places the destruction of St Sophia on the Friday; despite Mango-Scott (n.41) 284 n.40, CP should be followed here.

121 Cf. the comments of Jeffreys-Scott (n.2) 276 and CPW 112-13, 117 n.351. As Whitby and Whitby note, CP is here probably the best witness to the original text of Malalas, despite Bury's doubts on this, ‘Nika riot’ 100.

122 Malalas 474.20-475.1 and above n.52.

123 CP 622.4-6, according to which the fire at the house of Probus was soon extinguished (but note Theoph. 184.23-4). Guilland (n.49) ii.7 places the house near the harbour of Julian, cf. Janin, R., Constantinople byzantine2 (Paris 1964) 416 and CPW 118 n.352.

124 CP 621.20-622.2, above n.120.

125 CP 622.6-15 with CPW 118 n.353. On the location of the praetorium of the praetorian prefect, in the Forum of Leo, Mango, Studies (n. 116) Addenda 2-3; it is referred to by CP as the ‘praetorium of the prefects’, 622.7-8, and is so labelled on the map. It was a natural target in the wake of the demands for the dismissal of John the Cappadocian. Cf. also Bardill (n.116) 84.

126 CP 622.21-623.9 with CPW 120 n.356 and Bardill (n.116) 84-5. On the destruction along the Mesē, cf. Lydus, John, De mag. iii 70 (p. 163.21-2). See n.85 above for another instance of soldiers having resort to arson in order to defeat the inhabitants of a large city.

127 CP 623.9-11. On the location of these two places cf. CPW 120 n.357, Mango, C., The Brazen House (Copenhagen 1959) 57-8 and Berger, A., Untersuchungen zu den Patria Konstantinupoleos, Poikila Byzantina 8 (Bonn 1989) 268 and n.219 (who interprets CP as referring only to the Liburnon being burnt).

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