From the Suda: Tribônianos, A Complicated Man


“Tribônianus, son of Makedonianos, from a family of advocates for the prefects. This Tribônianos was Greek and an Atheist, hostile to the Christian faith in general. He was a flatterer and a cheat. He convinced the emperor Justinian that he would not die but would be raised up into heavens with his flesh. He was also a quaestor for Justinian.

This man had natural strength and attained a peak of education inferior to no other at his time. He was also peculiarly passionate about money and was always willing to sell justice for profit. When it came to laws, on each day he would cancel some and write others, selling either service to men who asked for them. After serving for many years in this office, he died because of a disease and had suffered nothing unfavorable from anyone.  He was both clever and charming in every way and was most capable of overshadowing his sickness of greed with his surfeit of education.”


Τριβωνιανός, Μακεδονιανοῦ, ἀπὸ δικηγόρων τῶν ὑπάρχων. οὗτος ὁ Τριβωνιανὸς Ἕλλην ὑπῆρχε καὶ ἄθεος, ἀλλότριος κατὰ πάντα τῆς τῶν Χριστιανῶν πίστεως: κόλαξ δὲ καὶ ἀπατεὼν καὶ πείθων Ἰουστινιανὸν τὸν βασιλέα, ὡς ὅτι οὐκ ἀποθανεῖται, ἀλλ’ εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς μετὰ σαρκὸς ἀναληφθήσεται. ἦν δὲ κοϊαίστωρ Ἰουστινιανοῦ. οὗτος φύσεως μὲν δυνάμει ἐχρῆτο καὶ παιδείας ἐς ἄκρον ἀφίκετο τῶν κατ’ αὑτὸν οὐδενὸς ἧσσον: ἐς δὲ φιλοχρηματίαν δαιμονίως ἐσπουδακὼς οἷός τε ἦν κέρδους ἀεὶ τὸ δίκαιον ἀποδίδοσθαι, τῶν τε νόμων ἡμέρᾳ οἱ ἐκ τοῦ ἐπιπλεῖστον ἑκάστῃ τοὺς μὲν ἀνῄρει, τοὺς δὲ ἔγραφεν, ἀπεμπολῶν τοῖς δεομένοις κατὰ τὴν χρείαν ἑκάτερον. ἔτη δὲ πολλὰ ἐπιβιοὺς τῇ τιμῇ ἐτελεύτησε νόσῳ, οὐδὲν ἄχαρι πρὸς οὐδενὸς παθών. ἦν γὰρ αἱμύλος τε καὶ τἄλλα ἡδὺς καὶ τῆς φιλοχρηματίας τὸ νόσημα ἐπισκιάσαι ἱκανώτατος τῆς παιδείας περιουσίᾳ.

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