With the accession of Theodosius I a brighter day dawned upon the Empire. He not only subdued the Goths, but converted them into allies, and persuaded them to put 40,000 of their brave troops at his service. He even induced their aged king, Athanaric, who had sworn never to set a friendly foot upon Roman soil, to visit Constantinople. The visitor was profoundly impressed by the appearance of the city. “ Now, said he, I see what I often heard of, but never believed, the renown of this great city.” Then, surveying the city’s situation, the movement of ships coming and going, the splendid fortifications, the crowded population made up of various nationalities, like streams coming from different directions to gush from the same fountain, the well-ordered troops, he exclaimed, “ Verily, the Emperor is a god upon earth; whoso lifts a hand against him is guilty of his own blood.” Upon the death of Athanaric, which occurred about a fortnight after he reached Constantinople, Theodosius buried the body of his guest with royal honors in the Church of the Holy Apostles, and, by this act of chivalrous courtesy, bound the Goths more firmly to his side.
Only disturbers of the peace of the Empire
The barbarians, however, were by no means the only disturbers of the peace of the Empire with whom Theodosius found it necessary to deal. Society in the Roman world was distracted by the conflict between pagans and Christians on the one hand, and by the keener strife between Christian sects on the other, and it was the ambition of Theodosius to calm these troubled waters. For this laudable end he employed the questionable means of edicts for the violent suppression of heathenism and heresy. To destroy the old faith of the Empire was comparatively an easy task, although it involved him in a war with the pagan party in the West But to uproot the tares of heresy was a more formidable undertaking; they were so numerous, vigorous, and difficult to distinguish from the true wheat For the space of forty years, the views of Arius on the Person of Christ had prevailed in Constantinople, and the churches of the city were in the hands of that theological party. Only in one small chapel, the Church of Anastasia, was the Creed of Nicaea upheld there by Gregory of Nazianzus, and despite his eloquence he was a voice crying in the wilderness. But Theodosius, having been won over to the Nicene Creed, determined to make it the creed of the State. Accordingly, upon his arrival in Constantinople on the 20th of November 880, he sent for Demophilus, the Arian bishop of the city, and commanded him either to accept the orthodox views or leave Constantinople. Demophilus had the courage of his convictions, and, bidding his flock in S. Sophia farewell, left the capital in obedience, as he said, to the injunction, “When they persecute you in one city, flee ye to another.” All the churches of the city were now transferred to the orthodox party. The Arians, however, maintained religious services according to their own tenets outside the city walls, in the district known as the Exokionion (quarter of the outside column). The name was due to the presence there of a column surmounted by a statue of Constantine. Owing to their association with the district, Arians were sometimes designated Exokionitae. The district lay immediately outside the gateway in the Constantinian walls already noted as the Ancient Gate of late Byzantine times, and as Isa Kapoussi since the Turkish Conquest It can therefore be readily identified, and, curiously enough, under the disguise of a Turkish garb—Alti Mermer, the Six Marbles—the locality still retains its old name. For the Turkish designation is due to a misunderstanding of the meaning of the term Exakionion, a corrupt form of Exokionion frequently employed by Byzantine writers.
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