Editor’s Note

This e-book contains J.C. Rolfe’s complete translation of the surviving books of the Res Gestae of Ammianus Marcellinus, originally published in 1935-40 as three volumes of the bilingual Loeb Classical Library. The text, which is in the public domain, is taken from Bill Thayer’s meticulous transcription at LacusCurtius.

Ellipses in the translation indicate a lacuna or a place where the original Latin has been so mangled by copyists that its sense is irrecoverable. Square brackets mark words or letters missing from the printed edition, except in one case where Rolfe himself has used them to mark a conjectural reading (“[bringing]” in Book XXXI). A few corrections to the punctuation have been made silently.

It is with some regret that I have omitted Rolfe’s footnotes, which are generally helpful, if occasionally wrong; the labor required, not least that of linking his many cross-references, was daunting and would have jeopardized the completion of the project. Serious students of Ammianus will want to obtain the Loeb volumes, still in print, or consult Thayer’s pages, which also include generous links to sources cited in the notes.

Peter Donnelly, July 2011

Version: 1.2


The Life of Ammianus

Our knowledge of Ammianus is derived almost wholly from his own writings. He was born about A.D. 330 in Syrian Antioch, of a good Greek family, and probably received his early education in his native city. Antioch at that time was one of the principal cities of the Roman Empire, orientis apex pulcher, and Ammianus took just pride in its material prosperity. He was not, however, equally proud of his fellow citizens, a mixed population of Greeks, Jews, Syrians, and other peoples, united only in their devotion to luxury and the pursuit of pleasure. The historian makes no reply to the criticisms passed upon them by Julian, except to characterize them as exaggerated. But Greek still maintained its intellectual leadership, and the opportunities for education were good. The city produced other men of distinction, notably Libanius and Joannes Chrysostom.

Ammianus spent his active life during the reigns of Constantius II, Julian, Jovian, Valentinian, and Valens, in the second half of the fourth century, when, in spite of some memorable victories, the prestige of the empire was on the wane. The turning-point in its history was the disastrous defeat of Valens by the Goths at Adrianople in 378, in which the emperor himself met his death, and at that date our direct knowledge of Ammianus comes to an end.

At an early age the future historian was made one of the protectores domestici, a select corps of the imperial bodyguard, which is further testimony to his good birth. In 353 he was attached by the emperor’s order to the staff of Ursicinus, commander-in-chief of the army in the East, and joined him at Nisibis in Mesopotamia. He accompanied his general to Antioch, where Ursicinus was entrusted by Gallus Caesar with the conduct of trials for high treason. Ammianus’ early life is closely connected with the career of Ursicinus, to whom he was strongly attached, and with whom he shared prosperity and adversity. Incidentally, he immortalized his chief, of whom little or nothing is known from other sources.

In 354 Ursicinus, who had become an object of suspicion to the emperor, was summoned to the court at Mediolanum, accompanied by Ammianus.

There palace intrigues caused Ursicinus to be still more distrusted by Constantius, who accordingly assigned to him the difficult task of suppressing the revolt of Silvanus, who had assumed the purple at Cologne; but although the mission was successful, Ursicinus not only received no commendation from the emperor, but was even accused of embezzling some of the Gallic treasure. Ammianus remained with his chief in Gaul until the summer of 357, and hence was in close touch with the exploits of Julian, the newly appointed Caesar. Ursicinus was next summoned by the suspicious emperor to Sirmium in Pannonia, and from there, because of the danger which threatened from the Persians, was once more sent to the East, still accompanied by Ammianus. But when the Persians began hostilities in 359, Ursicinus was again recalled to court, but on reaching the river Hebrus received orders to return to Mesopotamia, which had already been invaded by the enemy.

Since Sabinianus, who in the meantime had been appointed commander-in-chief of the army in the East, took no action, Ursicinus with his staff went to Nisibis, to prevent that city from being surprised and taken by the Persians. From there he set out for Amida, to keep the roads from being occupied, but immediately after leaving Nisibis sent Ammianus back to the city on an errand. In order to escape the hardships of the siege with which Nisibis was threatened, Ammianus after hastily carrying out his orders tried to rejoin his general. He was all but captured on the way, but finally came up with Ursicinus and his following at Amudis, warned them of the approach of the Persians, and accompanied them in their retreat. By a clever stratagem they misled their pursuers into taking the wrong direction, and finally reached Amida. There by a cipher message from Procopius, who had gone to the Persians as an envoy and was detained by them, they were informed that the enemy's main body had crossed the Tigris, and Ursicinus sent Ammianus, accompanied by a faithful centurion, to the satrap of Corduene, who was secretly a friend of the Romans, in quest of more definite information. From a rocky height Ammianus saw the advance of Sapor’s army, witnessed their crossing of the river Anzaba, and reported what he had learned to Ursicinus. He, on hearing of the enemy’s advance, resolved to go to Samosata and destroy the bridges by which the Persians were planning to cross the Euphrates; but through the negligence of the Roman cavalry outposts his forces were attacked and scattered. Ammianus after several narrow escapes was forced to return to Amida, where he took part in the stubborn resistance of the city to the Persian attack. When Amida finally fell, he succeeded in making his escape under cover of night and after many adventures met Ursicinus at Melitene in Armenia Minor and with him returned safely to Antioch.

After the deposition of Ursicinus in 360 we hear little definite about the historian’s career. He took some part in Julian’s Persian campaign of 363, but in what capacity is uncertain; he apparently joined Julian with the arrival of the Euphrates fleet, since it is after that point in his narrative that we find him using the first person. After the return of the Roman army to Antioch on the death of Julian and the accession of Jovian he seems to have remained in his native city for a considerable time, since his account of the trials conducted there for high treason in 371 is clearly that of an eye-witness. He probably made his home in Antioch until the defeat and death of Valens, but his residence in the city was interrupted by journeys to Egypt and to Greece after the great earthquake of July 6, 366. It was doubtless in Antioch that he did some of his extensive reading in preparation for the writing of his History. His military career occupied a comparatively brief period of his life, the greater part of which was devoted to study and writing.

After the events of 378 Ammianus went to Rome by way of Thrace, where he seems to have inspected the battlefields, choosing the land route rather than the more convenient trip by sea in order to get material for his History. At any rate, he seems to have taken up his residence in the Eternal City before 383, and his bitter language about the expulsion of foreigners at that time because of threatened famine has led some to infer that he was one of those who were forced to leave. The words of Symmachus, defectum timemus annonae, pulsis omnibus quos exserto et pleno ubere Roma susceperat, imply that the expulsion was general, and Ammianus’ unfavourable opinion of the Anicii, who at that time were a powerful family at Rome, may have some bearing on the question. Others believe that his rank as a former protector domesticus, which carried with it the title of perfectissimus, would have spared him such an indignity. If he was driven out, it seems probable that the hope of Symmachus, quam primum revocet urbs nostra quos invita dimisit, was fulfilled, for Ammianus wrote his History in Rome, and acquired a certain position in the city, numbering among his friends Symmachus and Praetextatus, although apparently some circles of distinguished Romans did not admit an honestus advena to intimacy.

That Ammianus was not a Christian is evident from many of his utterances, for he speaks of Christian rites, ceremonies, and officials in a way which shows a lack of familiarity with them. At the same time he was liberal in his attitude towards the Church; he twice censures the closing of the schools of rhetoric to Christian teachers, praises the simple life of the provincial bishops, and in general favours absolute religious toleration. He often refers to a supreme power (numen), with such adjectives as magnum, superum, caeleste, divinum, sempiternum, and others of the same kind, and he sometimes speaks of this power as deus, but in much the same sense as the word is used by Horace and other pagan writers. He indicates a belief in astrology, divination, dreams, and other superstitions of his time, and he speaks of Fortuna and fatum as controlling powers, but shows that they may be overcome or influenced by man’s courage and resourcefulness. The view of Dill, that “his real creed was probably a vague monotheism with a more decided tendency to fatalism” is rightly questioned by Ensslin, who says that Ammianus was a determinist, but not a passive fatalist, one who in inactive quiet awaited what might come.

When Ammianus died is quite uncertain. The latest allusion in his History is to the consulship of Neotherius in 391. In the same year the Serapeum at Alexandria was burned, but the historian refers to the building as if it were still standing; other indications are his references to Probus and Theodosius. He was certainly living in 391, and probably in 393, but how much longer his life was prolonged cannot be determined.

His History

Ammianus set himself the vast project of succeeding Tacitus as an historian, and might have entitled his work Res Gestae a fine Corneli Taciti; but the title which has come down to us is simply Res Gestae. It covered the period between the accession of Nerva in A.D. 96 to the death of Valens in 378, and was divided into thirty-one books, of which the first thirteen are lost. Since the surviving eighteen books deal with a period of twenty-five years, from 353, the seventeenth year of the reign of Constantius II, to the battle of Adrianople, the lost books must have given a brief account of the two hundred and fifty-seven years to which they were devoted. In 391 Libanius implies that Ammianus published, and probably recited parts of his work at Rome with great success. Seeck thinks that the part which was published in 390 or 391 ended with the twenty-fifth book; that this was his original plan, and that he was encouraged to go farther by the favourable reception given to a public recitation; that he intended to continue beyond the death of Valens is indicated by his promise to tell of the fate that overtook Maximinus and Simplicius, but his failure to do so may possibly have been an oversight. That the work was published in instalments seems to be indicated by the prefatory remarks at the beginning of Books XV and XXVI.

There can be no doubt that Ammianus took his task seriously and made careful preparation for it, reading extensively in Latin literature and making copious notes of what he read. He naturally gave special attention to Tacitus, in particular to the Histories, and imitated him so far as he could. He also read Livy and sometimes attempts to use his periodic structure, occasionally with success. He also was acquainted with Sallust, although the traces of the Amiternian’s diction may be due to the latter’s influence on Tacitus. It is of no significance that he nowhere mentions either Tacitus or Livy in his work. To perfect his Latinity he read Cicero, whom he quotes more than thirty times; partly for the same reason and partly for information about Gaul, he read Caesar. In addition to these conspicuous examples he shows acquaintance, not only with such prose writers and Gellius, Valerius Maximus, the elder Pliny, Florus, and others, but also with the poets; for example, Plautus and Terence, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and Lucan. Of later writers he used the Annales of Virius Nicomachus Flavianus, and the work of an anonymous Greek writer who followed the Thucydidean chronology by summers and winters; Ammianus shows in this respect a mixture of the annalistic and the Thucydidean method. He depended also for historical information on the Diary of Magnus of Carrhae; and in his excursuses he made use of Seneca, Naturales Quaestiones, Solinus, Ptolemy, and others, as well as of the official lists of the provinces (Notitiae).

In addition to his literary sources Ammianus relied for a considerable part of his work on his own observation and personal experiences, and it is these that give his work its greatest charm. It is evident that he wished to write a history, rather than follow the biographical treatment which had been popular since the time of Suetonius; he speaks with scorn of those who, detestantes ut venena doctrinas, read only Juvenal and Marius Maximus. Yet he could not wholly escape the influence of the followers of Suetonius; he has a biographical sketch of each of the emperors and Caesars included in his History, besides an encomium of the eunuch Eutherius, but he did not follow any fixed form of biographical composition. He also disapproved of the epitomes which were fashionable in his day, yet he did not hesitate to draw on Eutropius, Rufius Festus, and Aurelius Victor.

Ammianus aimed at strict truthfulness without suppressing anything that was well authenticated or indulging in deliberate invention, faults which he censures in his criticism of the official reports of the emperor Constantius; and he avoided exaggeration. Although he recognised the danger of speaking freely and frankly of recent or contemporary personages and events, he does not profess to write sine ira et studio, but gives free expression to praise or blame; he did not hesitate to censure where censure was due, and he more than once finds faults even in his hero Julian. In the historical part of his work he may fairly he said to have attained his ideal of truthfulness; that he was less successful in his numerous excursuses was due in part to lack of knowledge, and to some extent to an apparent desire to conceal the extent of his dependence upon literary sources. If he had heeded Livy’s warning about digressions, his work would have been more uniformly successful. They could be omitted without interfering with the course of the narrative.

Ammianus wrote for Roman readers, and in particular for the leading literary circle of the Eternal City, of which Symmachus was a prominent member. It was for that reason, and not merely because he was continuing the narrative of Tacitus, that he wrote in Latin and not in his native language. His readers and hearers were of course utriusque linguae periti, but they knew their Roman literature and could appreciate and applaud his echoes of Livy, Cicero, and other greater writers of the past.

In modern times Gibbon found him sincere, modest, loyal to his superior officers, copious and authentic, an accurate and faithful guide. Mackail calls him an officer and a gentleman, worthy of a place among the great Roman historians. Seeck praises his ability in depicting character, all but unexampled in ancient literature, and ranking him with the first historians of all time. In ancient times his work was little known; it is cited only once, by Priscian, who seems to have had no more of the History before him than we have today. Cassiodorus is said to have written out the entire work and to have imitated its author’s style.

His Style

That Ammianus gave great attention to the style of his work is evident. Klein’s idea of the manner in which he composed the History seems plausible, namely, that he wrote his first draft in his natural Latin, using also from memory expressions which he had met in his wide reading. When he wished to publish, or recite, a part of it, he worked it over with particular attention to stylistic effect, drawing heavily on the results of his reading from the notes which he had collected. Being a soldier, he knew Latin as the official language of the army; he could speak, read, and write it but he did not acquire a thorough mastery of it, the Sprachgefühl of a native Roman. As Pliny aptly says, invenire praeclare, enuntiare magnifice, interdum etiam barbari solent; disponere apte, figurare varie nisi eruditis negatum est. It was in particular Ammianus’ attempt to decorate his style with ornaments of all kinds, drawn from every source, combined with his imitation of Tacitus, that produced his very extraordinary Latin; in the words of Kroll, “sein taciteisches Latein ist schwer zu verstehen, unleidlich geziert und überladen, eine Qual seiner Leser,” a verdict in which the present translator would take exception only to the last clause. Some of his peculiarities are an unnatural word-order, attempted picturesque and poetic forms of expression, and a general striving for effect, due in part to the general taste of the time in which he lived, and in part to the custom of public recitations. There are colloquial features: the use of the comparative for the positive, of quod with the indicative for the accusative and the infinitive, of the present for the future, the imperfect for the pluperfect, and the pluperfect for a preterit; also improper uses of the subjunctive, and a disregard of the sequence of tenses. Naturally, characteristics of his native language appear; some of the peculiarities already noted may be traced to that source, as well as his extensive use of participial constructions.

In spite of all this, when we consider the high value which the Romans, even of late times, set upon form and rhetoric, it does not seem possible that the success of his public recitations was due solely to the content of his History, or that his style could have been as offensive to his hearers as it is to the modern reader of his work.

Ammianus’ attention to form is further shown by the rhythmical structure of his prose; for it has long since been observed that he regularly ended his clauses with metrical clausulae. These have recently been made the object of special study by Clark and Harmon, with the result that they have been found to be based upon accent and not upon quantity. The system which he uses was a simple one: between the last two accents of a phrase two or four unaccented syllables are placed, never one or three. Quantity makes no difference and final vowels are never elided; Greek words as a rule retain the Greek accent; I and u may be read either as vowels or as consonants. Of course it is possible that in some instances the arrangement of syllables may be accidental, but the number of clausulae is too great to be other than designed. In spite of the simplicity of his system Ammianus has considerable variety in his endings, as is illustrated by Clark in the following scheme:

Cursus planus:

expeditiónis evéntus, XIV.1.1.

illúc transitúrus, XIV.6.16.

Aégyptum pétens, XXII.5.5.

régna Persídis, XXIII.5.16.

Cursus tardus:

pártium ánimis, XIV.1.1.

instruménta non lévia, XIV.6,18.

Cursus velox:

frégerat et labórum XIV.1.1.

relatúri quae audíret, XIV.1.6

obiécti sunt praeter mórem, XIV.2.1.

Aégypto trucidátur, XIV.11.32

gramínea prope rívum, XXIV.8.7.

nómine allocútus est, XV.6.3.

incénsas et habitácula, XVIII.2.19.

Roman Officials in the Time of Ammianus

The transformation of the Roman Empire into an oriental monarchy began in A.D. 284, when Diocletian became sole ruler. He abandoned all republican traditions and undertook the reorganisation of the civil and military administration. The process was continued by Constantine and his successors, until the government became a bureaucracy in the hands of a limited number of high officials. The powers and rank of these ministers varied during this period, and involve a number of difficult problems. For the sake of reasonable brevity the offices are described so far as possible as they were in the time of Ammianus.

Diocletian, realising that the rule of the vast empire was too great a task for one man, took Maximianus as his colleague, sharing with him also the title Augustus. The authority of the two Augusti was equal and all the laws and edicts were issued in their common name, but practically the empire was divided into two parts, Diocletian ruling the East, with his headquarters at Nicomedia, Maximian the West, at Mediolanum. The Augusti were not accountable to any legislative body or magistrate. They wore the imperial diadem and a robe trimmed with jewels, and an elaborate ceremonial was required of all who approached them. Everything connected with the emperor was called sacer, sanctissimus, or divinus.

Nine years after Diocletian became emperor he and Maximian chose two Caesars, who stood next to themselves in rank and dignity; they were, however, dependents of the Augusti, having no authority except what was conferred upon them by their superiors, and receiving a fixed salary. The administration was divided into four parts; Diocletian took Thrace, Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor, and assigned to Galerius, the Caesar whom he had nominated, the Danubian provinces, Illyricum, Greece, and Crete; Maximian governed Italy and Africa; Constantius, his Caesar, ruled Gaul, Spain, and after 296 Britain. This division was only for administrative purposes; the empire in reality consisted of two parts, of which the two Augusti were the supreme rulers.

The main purpose of the institution of the Caesars was to provide for the succession, and it was a part of the plan that when one of the Augusti died or resigned, his place should be filled by one of the Caesars, who at the time of their appointment were adopted by the Augusti. When Diocletian and Maximian retired in 306, a series of wars followed among the Caesars and the Augusti. In that year Constantine I, later surnamed the Great, assumed the title of Caesar, which was acknowledged by Galerius; in 308 he was declared Augustus along with Galerius, and Severus and Maximinus were chosen as Caesars. Maxentius, son of Maximian, was proclaimed Augustus by the troops at Rome, but was not acknowledged by the other Augusti and Caesars; he defeated and slew Severus in Italy, whereupon Licinius was made an Augustus by Galerius. In 308 there were four Augusti: Constantine, Galerius, Licinius, and Maximinus in addition to the usurper Maxentius. A series of wars followed. Maximinus was defeated by Licinius and died shortly afterward; Galerius had died in 311. Constantine defeated Maxentius at Saxa Rubra in 312 and reigned for a time with Licinius. After two wars, with a brief interval of peace, Constantine defeated Licinius at Adrianople and Chalcedon in 324. In that year he became sole Augustus, with his sons Crispus, Constantine and Constantius as Caesars; in 335 Delmatius and Hannibalianus were added to the list of Caesars, making five in all.

Constantine ruled alone until his death in 337, when his sons Constantinus II, Constantius II, and Constans were declared Augusti; Crispus had in the meantime fallen victim to the jealousy of Fausta, his stepmother, and Delmatius and Hannibalianus were now put to death. In 340 war broke out between Constantinus II and Constans; the former was defeated and slain, and Constans became sole emperor in the West. In 350 Constans died, and three usurpers appeared: Magnentius in Gaul, Nepontianus at Rome, and Vetranio at Mursa in Pannonia. The last two were quickly disposed of; Nepontianus was killed in less than a month after his elevation to the supreme rank, and Vetranio was defeated and deposed by Constantius after ten months. The contest with Magnentius, who had appointed his brother Decentius to the position of Caesar, lasted for three years; Constantius defeated the usurper at Mursa and drove him into Gaul, where Magnentius was again defeated and took his own life. Constantius ruled as sole Augustus until 361; in 351, while the war with Magnentius was still going on, he had conferred the rank of Caesar on his cousin Gallus and sent him to the East, to carry on war against the Persians. With Gallus’ arrogance and cruelty to Antioch the extant part of Ammianus’ narrative begins.

After Constantius became sole emperor his authority was supreme, but the four-fold administrative division of the empire into the East, Illyricum, Italy, and Gaul was continued; the divisions were called prefectures, and were governed by praetorian prefects, resident at Constantinople, which Constantine had made the capital of the empire in 330; at Sirmium; at Mediolanum (Milan); and at Treveri (Treves) or at Eboracum (York). The prefectures were divided into dioceses, and the dioceses into provinces; the provinces were under the charge of a governor called consularis, corrector, or praeses. There were thirteen dioceses and 101 provinces (compared with 45 in Hadrian’s time), a number which was later increased to about 120.

The purpose of these divisions and of the consequent increase in the number of these and of other officials was to prevent any officer from becoming powerful enough to start a revolution and interfere with the regular succession to imperial power. The same end was sought by a sharp division between civil and military authority, and by the fact that the competence of the various official groups was not always clearly defined, which led to jealousy and rivalry among the officers. Also the subordinates of the higher officials were appointed by the emperor, and the conduct of their superiors was besides watched and reported to the Augustus by a corps of secret service men, the agentes in rebus. The effect of all this, and the elaborate ceremonial required in order to approach the emperor, removed him from contact with his subjects and enhanced his dignity and majesty; at the same time he was unable to hear the complaints of the people, since the officials, who often enriched themselves at the expense of the provincials, concealed one another’s misdemeanors. In fact, the emperor, although in theory all-powerful, was actually a tool in the hands of a hierarchy of powerful ministers; the real control was exercised by the highest civil and military officers, and those in charge of the affairs of the imperial household.

The entire body of officials was divided into a number of grades, each with its own title. All officers who held positions of sufficient importance became members of the senatorial order, with the title clarissimi, which was also held by the two higher grades. A smaller group of higher officials had the title spectabiles, and a third body, including not only the heads of the various administrative departments, made up the illustres. The title nobilissimus was reserved for the members of the imperial family. Two classes ranking below the clarissimi were the perfectissimi and the egregii; these included only a small number of officials, and the titles gradually went out of use.

Two other orders of a somewhat different character were created by Constantine. A purely honorary title, patricius, was open only to those who had held the positions of praetorian prefect, city prefect, commander-in-chief of the army, or consul ordinarius. It was held for life and its possessor took precedence of all officials except consuls in office.

To the comites, originally merely the companions of an emperor or high official on his travels, Constantine gave importance by making comes (count) a title of honour conferred upon the holders of some public offices, or conferred as a reward for service. The counts were attached to the emperor and the ruling house, but it was a natural and easy step to assign them various duties as the emperor’s deputies, both in a civil and in a military capacity. There were three grades (comites primi, secundi et tertii ordinis), and counts appear among the illustres, the spectabiles, and the clarissimi. Like other officials, they were variously designated as in actual service (in actu positi); as vacantes, men of inferior position who on retiring from office were given the rank and insignia of counts as a reward for good service; and as honorarii, who received the title by imperial favour or by purchase, but did not have the right to wear the insignia.

The emperors gathered about them a body of advisers, which entirely superseded the senate in importance. It was first called the auditorium or consilium principis, but Constantine gave it the title of consistorium principis or sacrum consistorium; consistorium does not appear in inscriptions until 353, and Ammianus seems to be the first writer to use the word. There is difference of opinion as to its membership. It was composed mainly of the heads of the various departments of administration, certainly of those most intimately connected with the imperial household (dignitates palatinae): the Minister of Finance (comes sacrarum largitionum), the Minister of the Privy Purse (comes rerum privatarum), the Quaestor (quaestor sacri palatii), who was the emperor’s legal adviser, and the Master of the Offices. The prefect, whose seat of government was at the capital (praefectus praetorio praesens), was probably a member, as well as the Grand Chamberlain (praepositus sacri cubiculi), and some officials of the grade spectabilis. The members of the council were called comites consistoriani or simply consistoriani. It was presided over by the emperor, or in his absence by the Quaestor, who was obliged to give his decisions in writing; the proceedings were taken down by secretaries and stenographers (notarii).

Since the consulship was often held by the emperor, that office was one of high honour and the consul in office ranked next to the emperor himself, above the patricii and the prefects. The consuls however, had little actual power. On the day of their accession to office they held a procession, which the emperor himself attended, exhibited games, and freed slaves. The title consularis, which was the highest title held by the governors of the provinces, did not necessarily imply that its holder was an ex-consul.

The Praetorian Prefect (praefectus praetorio) in the time of Augustus was a military officer, the commander of the praetorian cohorts in Rome, which formed the emperor’s body-guard. It was the highest grade in the equestrian cursus honorum, and its holder gradually acquired great power. Sejanus was practically the ruler of Rome during the absence of Tiberius, and Titus, although of senatorial rank, assumed the office in order to increase his authority and to have a freer hand. There were ordinarily two prefects, although occasionally there was only one, and in the latter part of the reign of Commodus there were three.

This official, as time went on, became more prominent as a judge and in a civil capacity, and under Septimius Severus and Gallienus he was practically a civil minister, although he retained some vestiges of military authority even under Diocletian. When Constantine abolished the praetorian guard and replaced it by the scholae Palatinae, the dignity and rank of the prefect survived and he became the highest civil servant of the emperor, without any participation in military affairs. He was appointed for an indefinite period, but because of his great power he was seldom kept in office for more than a year. Constantine also appointed a praefectus per Gallias and a praefectus per Orientem, and to these a praefectus per Illyricum was later added, so that each of the four grand divisions of the empire was governed by a prefect. The prefect had a number of vicarii, each of whom governed one of the dioceses into which his prefecture was divided.

In spite of various restrictions the power of a prefect was very extensive. His office, like that of the other illustres, was large and well organized with assistants, recorders, clerks, shorthand writers and mounted messengers. From the time of Alexander Severus he was a member of the senate. He had complete control of the general tax ordered by the emperor (indictio), and through his subordinates took part in levying it; he held court as the emperor’s representative; he issued edicts, which had the same force as those of the emperor, unless they were annulled by the Augustus; he supervised the governors and judges of the provinces, proposed their names, and paid their salaries; and he had a general supervision of the grain supplies, manufactures, coinage, roads and courier-service (cursus publicus). His insignia were a lofty chariot, a golden pen-case, a silver inkstand, and a silver tripod and bowl for receiving petitions. He wore a cloak like that of the emperor, except that it reached to the knees instead of to the feet; as a mark of his former military rank he carried a sword. Of the four praetorian prefects one who was resident at the court of an emperor or a Caesar seems to have been called praesens or praesentalis, if the number of Augusti and Caesars was less than four.

The Prefect of the City (praefectus urbis) in early times had charge of the city of Rome during the absence of the king or the consuls. His duties and powers were gradually taken over by the city praetor (praetor urbanus), until Augustus revived the office, in order to provide for the government of Rome during his absence. Under Tiberius, because of his long stay at Capri, the office became a permanent one, and it increased in power and importance until the City Prefect ranked next to the Praetorian. He had command of the city troops (cohortes urbanae) and general charge of the policing of the city. In addition to this he had a number of officers under his supervision, through whom he managed the census, the markets, and the granaries, and had power over all the corporations and guilds which carried on business in the city. Within the hundredth milestone he had supreme judicial, military, and administrative power. He convoked and presided over the senate, and made known its wishes to the emperor. His insignia were twelve fasces, he wore the toga, and shared with the praetorian prefect alone the privilege of using a chariot with the city. There was also a city prefect at Constantinople with corresponding powers.

In very early times the Master of the Horse (magister equitum) was an assistant of the dictator, and was appointed by him; he played a particularly important part between 49 and 44 B.C. because of the frequent absence of the dictator Caesar from Italy. Augustus transferred the powers of this official to the praefectus praetorio, who exercised them for a long time. Constantine in the early part of his reign, for the purpose of limiting the powers of the praetorian prefect, revived the office by appointing two commanders-in-chief of the military forces of the empire, one of the cavalry (magister equitum), the other of the infantry (magister peditum). From the middle of the fourth century these two officers began to be called magistri equitum et peditum, or magistri utriusque militiae, and finally, magistri militum. Ammianus uses both titles, as well as magister armorum, magister rei castrensis and pedestris militiae rector. Constantius added three more magistri militum, for the Orient, Gaul, and Illyricum, and in the Notitia Dignitatum we find five in the Eastern, and three in the Western Empire.

With the appointment of these officers the organisation of the army was changed. The limitanei, who guarded the boundaries of the empire, were diminished in number, while the comitatenses, or field-troops under command of the several magistri militum, and the palatini, attached to the court and commanded by the Master of the Offices, were increased. The magistri militum were the judges of the army under their control, and had the power of jurisdiction even in some civil cases involving their soldiers; but their civil powers were very strictly limited, and in civil matters the decision ordinarily rested with the provincial judges; and appeal from their decision went to the praefectus praetorio, and not the magister militum. The magistri militum were judges over their subordinates, the comites rei castrensis and the duces, but not over the subordinates of the comites and duces. They could not move troops from one part of the empire to another, without the emperor’s order, except in case of a very great emergency.

Next in rank to these three officials was the Grand Chamberlain (praepositus sacri cubiculi). Chamberlains are first mentioned in connection with Julius Caesar’s capture by the pirates. Four years later Cicero alludes to them in such a way as to imply that they were regular members of the families of the wealthier citizens; they had considerable importance as personal attendants of the governors of provinces, but were not members of their official staff. When Augustus reorganized the palace service, the chamberlains formed a corps under the headship of an officer called a cubiculo, who was in close touch with the emperor, later sometimes his companion and confidant, and hence gradually acquired wide influence. Another official of the corps is perhaps the decurio cubiculariorum, mentioned by Suetonius in connection with the murder of Domitian. The praepositi of the time of Ammianus were eunuchs, and as constant companions of the emperor they had great power; in once instance a praepositus who confessed that he had taken part in a conspiracy escaped punishment through the intervention of his fellow eunuchs, and Ammianus ironically says that the emperor Constantius had considerable influence, if the truth be told, with Eusebius, his Grand Chamberlain.

The Grand Chamberlain had a considerable body of subordinates, all of whom were employed in the personal service of the emperor; the primicerius sacri cubiculi was the head of those who served as the chamberlains of the emperor’s apartment, and the comes castrensis sacri palatii of all who were not chamberlains, such as pages, and the throng of palace servants; other subordinates, with appropriate titles, had charge of the royal wardrobe, of necessary repairs in the palace, and the keeping of any noise from reaching the imperial apartments (the silentiarii).

Another important official in close contact with the imperial household was the Master of the Offices (magister officiorum). In 321 and 323 we hear of a tribunus et magister officiorum, so that the office goes back at least as far as Constantine, although the earliest magister who appears in inscriptions held office in 346. Since tribunus implies military service, the office is supposed to have originated when Diocletian organized the officiales of the palace on a military basis and chose the senior tribune of the praetorian guard to take charge of the various corps of palace attendants, and also to command the soldiers attached to the court. As one of the dignitates palatinae the functions of the Master of the Offices came in conflict with those of the Praetorian Prefect, whose power he still further curtailed, and to some extent with those of the Grand Chamberlain. Besides being in command of the five scholae of the palace guards, he had supervision over the chiefs of the four imperial scrinia, or correspondence bureaus, and over the schola of the agentes in rebus, and he also had charge of the cursus publicus, or state courier-service. The management of this was at first in the hands of the Praetorian Prefect, but was transferred under Constantine to the Master of the Offices. This control of the means of conveying state dispatches and persons travelling on state business throughout the empire was a very important one, since it included the right to issue passes giving the privilege of using the cursus. It brought the Master into frequent collision with the Praetorian Prefect, but the Master had the superior supervision.

The Master of the Offices also had control of the great arsenals and manufactories of arms of Italy, and in particular it was through him that imperial audiences were obtained, and that the ambassadors of foreign powers were received and introduced. Actual entrance into the audience-chamber was under the direction of a magister admissionum, and a corps of admissionales; in the cases of distinguished applicants for audience the magister admissionum functioned and in very exceptional cases the magister officiorum himself, regularly in the case of women of distinction. He had a very large corps of assistants and subordinates; his duties were very complex and important, and he was one of the most powerful officials.

The Quaestor Sacri Palatii was also numbered among the dignitates palatinae and was in close touch with the emperor. In the days of Augustus the quaestorship was the lowest office that gave admission to the senate. It was given additional prestige by the arrangement by which some of its occupants were selected by the emperor himself (called quaestores candidati or quaestores Augusti, or principis), and because one of them was regularly attached to the person of the ruler, to read his letters and other communications to the senate. As the emperor’s letters came more and more to have the force of laws and edicts, the Quaestor was considered a legal officer connected with civil jurisprudence, and ranked as one of the highest officials of the court. He had the rank of Count and at fourth century became an illustris. His duties required him to be the mouthpiece of the emperor, and to suggest to the ruler anything that would be for the welfare of the state. He had the right to suggest laws and to answer petitions addressed to the emperor. It was therefore necessary that he should be a trained jurist, in order to be an exact and just interpreter of the law. He also had the supervision of every one who entered the capital; he made inquiries into the character of all who came from the provinces, and found out from what provinces they came and for what reasons, the purpose being to prevent worthless men from taking up their residence in the city.

Theodoric wrote to the senate with regard to the office of Quaestor: “It is only men whom we consider to be of the highest learning that we raise to the dignity of the quaestorship, such men as are fitted to be the interpreters of the laws and sharers of our counsels,” and Claudian said of that official “thou comest to give edicts to the world, to make reply to suppliants. A monarch’s utterance has won dignity from thine eloquence.”

The Count of the Sacred Largesses (comes sacrarum largitionum) was the Minister of Finance, who controlled the revenues of the state, except those which passed into the hands of the prefects, the Count of the Privy Purse (comes rerum privatarum), the Quaestor, and the Master of the Offices. He had supreme charge of the sacrum aerarium, or state treasury, including the former aerarium and fiscus, exerting it in the provinces through his subordinates, the comites largitionum, of whom there was one for each diocese. The latter had subordinates called rationales summarum, each of whom collected the money and taxes either of his whole diocese or of a great part of it.

The Comes Sacrarum Largitionum also had under his supervision numerous direct and indirect taxes, and the revenues from the provinces were sent to him by the first of March. Through subordinates he had control of the sea-coast and of merchants, who could not go beyond certain cities prescribed by law; and the trading in salt, which was a government monopoly, was under his direct supervision, including the granting of licenses for the working of the public salt mines, the revenues from which were under his control. Through other subordinates he had charge of the banks in the various provinces, in which the money that was collected was kept until it was sent to him. He controlled the other mines and those who worked in them, the coinage, and the mints. He was general superintendent of the imperial factories, the employees in which could not engage in private work and were hereditarily confined to their special trades; they were under the direct charge of procuratores.

He also had judicial control over his subordinates and the power of confirming the appointments of some judges in the provinces. As his title implies, he administered the bounties of the emperor (the largitiones). The disposition of the money under his charge was entirely dependent on the good will of the emperor, either in meeting the demands of the various necessities of state, or in giving presents, or in conferring rewards.

Like the other high officials he had in his office a great number of bureaus of correspondence (scrinia) consisting of officials who received the payments made each year by the provinces; kept accounts of the sacrae largitiones through tabularii; made out the fiscal accounts and supervised the largitiones; had charge of all the expenditures for clothing needed in the palace and for the soldiers, whether they belonged to the palace troops or not, of the silverware of the palace, and the like.

The Count of the Privy Purse (comes rerum privatarum) had charge of the aerarium privatum, consisting both of the res privatae, the inalienable crown property, and the patrimonium sacrum, the private and personal property of the emperor, which could be inherited by his family. His subordinates were at first the magistri (later the rationales) rei privatae, one for each diocese or province, who took care of all finances within their province, including lands belonging to the temples, and kept a record of the income. He had the superintendence through his rationales of the government estates, both at home and in the provinces, as well as of the revenues from estates which were especially assigned to the imperial house. The res privatae at this time included also the confiscated property of men who had been condemned or proscribed, which before Tiberius had gone to the state treasury (aerarium), as well as all deposited money which because of long lapse of time had no claimant, and property for which there were no heirs.

The Count of the Privy Purse also superintended the collectors of the rents of the imperial property in the provinces, and of the gifts of silver or gold demanded in time of need from those to whom the emperors had made presents of real estate, which was free from taxation.

To the dignitates palatinae, or offices whose duties did not call their holders away from the capital, might be added the Counts of the Body Guard (comes domesticorum equitum and comes domesticorum peditum), who are placed in the Notitia Dignitatum immediately after the Comes rerum privatarum, although they were not always illustres, but sometimes held that rank. With the domestici the protectores are sometimes coupled, and when Constantine in 312 disbanded the praetorian troops, he gave their rank and duties to the protectores et domestici. Thus we have two kinds of palace troops: the scholae palatinae under the command of the Master of the Offices, and two corps of protectores et domestici, who ranked higher than the members of the scholae palatinae and were commanded by the comites domesticorum. Ammianus is the first to refer to the protectores and domestici as also divided into scholae. These consisted of ten divisions of fifty men each, commanded by decemprimi, of the rank clarissimus, and these were under the supervision of a primicerius, of the grade spectabilis; the protectores themselves ranked as perfectissimi.

In addition to accompanying the emperor when he went abroad, the protectores and domestici were sent to the provinces to perform various public services, although a part had to be always in praesenti, or at court. Sometimes, as in the case of Ammianus, they were sent to a magister militum and placed under his orders. Whenever they were sent abroad, their pay, which was already large, was increased.

Tribunus is a title of various military officers in connection with the domestici, the armaturae, the scutarii, and the protectores; also of officers in charge of manufactories of arms and of the imperial stables. As has already been noted, the title was given also to civil officials, such as the higher in rank of the notarii. Tribuni vacantes had the title and rank of tribuni without a special assignment.

Manuscripts and Traditions.

There are twelve manuscripts that contain all the surviving books of Ammianus. Two break off at the end of Book XXVI (PR) and one ends abruptly at XXV.3.13 (D). There are besides six detached sheets which once formed part of a codex belonging to the abbey of Hersfeld; these are now in Kassel, and the manuscript to which they belonged is designated as M. Of the other fifteen manuscripts seven are in Rome (VDYEURP), one each in Florence (F), Modena (Q), Cesena (K), and Venice (W), and the remaining four in Paris (CHTN). V and M are of the ninth century, the rest of the fifteenth. A full description of all these and their relations to one another is given by Clark, who has convincingly shown that of the existing manuscripts only V had independent value. To this are added the readings of M, so far as that manuscript has been preserved, and so far as the readings of its lost part can be restored from the edition of Gelenius, who professed to follow M, but made extensive emendations of his own.

Clark reconstructs the history of the text as follows. A capital manuscript, presumably of the sixth century, was copied, probably in Germany by a writer using the scriptura Scottica. In the early Caroline period a copy was made from this insular manuscript, which is the parent of V (Fuldensis), and of the one of which the Hersfeld fragments formed a part (M. No copy of the Hersfeldensis exists, but many of its readings are found in the edition of Gelenius. Every other manuscript is copied from the Fuldensis (V), four directly (FDN and E), and the other nine through F, including Gardthausen’s codices mutili (P and R), which are copies of V at two removes at least.

Since the text of V is in bad shape, with numerous lacunae, some of the readings of the early editions are of value. The first printed edition (S) was that of Sabinus, Rome, 1474, containing Books XIV-XXVI; it is a reprint of R, the poorest manuscript in existence, and hence of little or no value. The next (B), that of Petrus Castellus, Bologna, 1517, was a reprint of S, in which the text was further debased by irresponsible emendations, which vitiated all the subsequent history of the text of books XIV-XXVI. A pirated reprint of B by Erasmus (b) was published at Basle in 1518.

The first improvement dates from the edition of Accursius (A), Augsburg, May, 1533, who used a manuscript copied from V and corrected from a copy of E, which is itself a transcript of V emended by a humanist. A still greater improvement was made by the edition of Gelenius, Basle, July, 1533, who also was partly dependent on the copy of E, but had access besides to the purer tradition of M.

Subsequent editions were those of Gruter, 1611, who corrected his text from V; of Lindenbrog, Hamburg, 1609, who made use of F and first provided the text with explanatory notes; of Henricus Valesius, Paris, 1636, whose annotations formed the basis of all later commentaries, while his brilliant scholarship and critical acumen led him to make numerous correct emendations, with the help of N (his codex Regius). He also recognised the existence of metrical clausulae, and says three or four times that certain emendations do not correspond with these. His punctuation also seems to take account of the clausulae, and hence is often the same as that of Clark. Also important are the editions of Wagner and Erfurdt, Leipzig, 1808, with a collection of the best material in previous commentaries, and of Ernesti, Leipzig, 1773, with a useful index verborum, which, however, is not complete, and gives only the numbers of the chapters, without those of the sections, a practice especially exasperating in the long chapters.

The critical study of the text begins with the edition of Henricus Valesius. His younger brother Hadrianus in his edition (Paris, 1681) had the use of two additional manuscripts,C and the codex Valentinus, which is now lost. Later editions were content with the readings of these editions until 1871, when Eyssenhardt published his text at Berlin, which was followed in 1874-75 by that of Gardthausen (Leipzig). The latter was the first to use the Petrinus (P), which he thought was written before V came into Italy, from an archetype on a plane with V, and that a copy of V, corrected from M, was the archetype of E and of Accursius’ codex. His readings of P are often erroneous, and it is now recognized, as already said, that P does not represent a tradition independent of V. The standard critical edition is that of C.U. Clark, of which volume one, containing Books XIV-XXV, and volume two, containing XXIV-XXXI, were published at Berlin in 1910 and 1915 respectively.

Book XIV

1 The cruelty of Gallus Caesar.

1 After the survival of the events of an unendurable campaign, when the spirits of both parties, broken by the variety of their dangers and hardships, were still drooping, before the blare of the trumpets had ceased or the soldiers been assigned to their winter quarters, the gusts of raging Fortune brought new storms upon the commonwealth through the misdeeds, many and notorious, of Gallus Caesar. He had been raised, at the very beginning of mature manhood, by an unexpected promotion from the utmost depths of wretchedness to princely heights, and overstepping the bounds of the authority conferred upon him, by excess of violence was causing trouble everywhere. For by his relationship to the imperial stock, and the affinity which he even then had with the name of Constantius, he was raised to such a height of presumption that, if he had been more powerful, he would have ventured (it seemed) upon a course hostile to the author of his good fortune. 2 To his cruelty his wife was besides a serious incentive, a woman beyond measure presumptuous because of her kinship to the emperor, and previously joined in marriage by her father Constantine with his brother’s son, King Hanniballianus. She, a Megaera in mortal guise, constantly aroused the savagery of Gallus, being as insatiable as he in her thirst for human blood. The pair in process of time gradually became more expert in doing harm, and through underhand and crafty eavesdroppers, who had the evil habit of lightly adding to their information and wanting to learn only what was false and agreeable to them, they fastened upon innocent victims false charges of aspiring to royal power or of practising magic. 3 There stood out among their lesser atrocities, when their unbridled power had already surpassed the limits of unimportant delinquencies, the sudden and awful death of one Clematius, a nobleman of Alexandria. This man’s mother-in-law, it was said, had a violent passion for her son-in-law, but was unable to seduce him; whereupon, gaining entrance to the palace by a back door, she presented the queen with a valuable necklace, and thus secured the dispatch of his death-warrant to Honoratus, at that time Count of the East; and so Clematius, a man contaminated by no guilt, was put to death without being allowed to protest or even to open his lips.

4 After the perpetration of this impious deed, which now began to arouse the fears of others also, as if cruelty were given free rein, some persons were adjudged guilty on the mere shadow of suspicion and condemned. Of these some were put to death, others punished by the confiscation of their property and driven from their homes into exile, where, having nothing left save tears and complaints, they lived on the doles of charity; and since constitutional and just rule had given place to cruel caprice, wealthy and famous houses were being closed. 5 And no words of an accuser, even though bribed, were required amid these accumulations of evils, in order that these crimes might be committed, at least ostensibly, under the forms of law, as has sometimes been done by cruel emperors; but whatever the implacable Caesar had resolved upon was rushed to fulfilment, as if it had been carefully weighed and determined to be right and lawful. 6 It was further devised that sundry low-born men, whose very insignificance made them little to be feared, should be appointed to gather gossip in all quarters of Antioch and report what they had heard. Then, as if travellers, and in disguise, attended the gatherings of distinguished citizens, and gained entrance to the houses of the wealthy in the guise of needy clients; then, being secretly admitted to the palace by a back door, they reported whatever they had been able to hear or learn, with one accord making it a rule to add inventions of their own and make doubly worse what they had learned, but suppressing the praise of Caesar which the fear of impending evils extorted from some against their will. 7 And sometimes it happened that if the head of a household, in the seclusion of his private apartments, with no confidential servant present, had whispered something in the ear of his wife, the emperor learned it on the following day, as if it were reported by Amphiaraus or Marcius, those famous seers of old. And so even the walls, the only sharers of secrets, were feared. 8 Moreover, his fixed purpose of ferreting out these and many similar things increased, spurred on by the queen, who pushed her husband’s fortunes headlong to sheer ruin, when she ought rather, with womanly gentleness, to have recalled him by helpful counsel to the path of truth and mercy, after the manner of the wife of that savage emperor Maximinus, as we have related in our account of the acts of the Gordians.

9 Finally, following an unprecedented and destructive course, Gallus also ventured to commit the atrocious crime which, to his utter disgrace, Gallienus is said to have once hazarded at Rome. Taking with him a few attendants with concealed weapons, he used to roam at evening about the inns and street-corners, inquiring of every one in Greek, of which he had remarkable command, what he thought of the Caesar. And this he did boldly in a city where the brightness of the lights at night commonly equals the resplendence of day. At last, being often recognized, and reflecting that if he continued that course he would be conspicuous, he appeared only in broad daylight, to attend to matters which he considered important. And all this conduct of his caused very deep sorrow to many.

10 Now at that time Thalassius was the Praetorian Prefect at court, a man who was himself of an imperious character. He, perceiving that Gallus’ temper was rising, to the peril of many, did not try to soothe it by ripe counsel, as sometimes high officials have moderated the ire of princes; but rather roused the Caesar to fury by opposing and reproving him at unseasonable times; very frequently he informed the emperor of Gallus’ doings, exaggerating them and taking pains — whatever his motive may have been — to do it openly. Through this conduct the Caesar was soon still more violently enraged, and as if raising higher, as it were, the standard of his obstinacy, with no regard for his own life or that of others, he rushed on with uncontrollable impetuosity, like a swift torrent, to overthrow whatever opposed him.

2 Inroads of the Isaurians.

1 And indeed this was not the only calamity to afflict the Orient with various disasters. For the Isaurians too, whose way it is now to keep the peace and now put everything in turmoil by sudden raids, abandoned their occasional secret plundering expeditions and, as impunity stimulated for the worse their growing boldness, broke out in a serious war. For a long time they had been inflaming their warlike spirits by reckless outbreaks, but they were now especially exasperated, as they declared, by the indignity of some of their associates, who had been taken prisoner, having been thrown to beasts of prey in the shows of the amphitheatre at Iconium, a town of Pisidia — an outrage without precedent. 2 And, in the words of Cicero, as even wild animals, when warned by hunger, generally return to the place where they were once fed, so they all, swooping like a whirlwind down from their steep and rugged mountains, made for the districts near the sea; and hiding themselves there in pathless lurking-places and defiles as the dark nights were coming on — the moon being still crescent and so not shining with full brilliance — they watched the sailors. And when they saw that they were buried in sleep, creeping on all fours along the anchor-ropes and making their way on tiptoe into the boats, they came upon the crew all unawares, and since their natural ferocity was fired by greed, they spared no one, even of those who surrendered, but massacred them all and without resistance carried off the cargoes, led either by their value or by their usefulness. 3 This however did not continue long; for when the fate of those whom they had butchered and plundered became known, no one afterwards put in at those ports, but avoiding them as they would the deadly cliffs of Sciron, they coasted along the shores of Cyprus, which lie opposite to the crags of Isauria. 4 Then presently, as time went on and nothing came their way from abroad, they left the sea-coast and withdrew to that part of Lycaonia that borders on Isauria; and there, blocking the roads with close barricades, they lived on the property of the provincials and of travellers. 5 Anger at this aroused the soldiers quartered in the numerous towns and fortresses which lie near those regions, and each division strove to the best of its power to check the marauders as they ranged more widely, now in solid bodies, sometimes even in isolated bands. But the soldiers were defeated by their strength and numbers; for since the Isaurians were born and brought up amid the steep and winding defiles of the mountains, they bounded over them as if they were a smooth and level plain, attacking the enemy with savage howls. 6 And sometimes our infantry in pursuing them were forced to scale lofty slopes, and when they lost their footing, even if they reached the very summits by catching hold of underbrush or briars, the narrow and pathless tracts allowed them neither to take order of battle nor with mighty effort to keep a firm footing; and while the enemy, running here and there, tore off and hurled down masses of rock from above, they made their perilous way down over steep slopes; or if, compelled by dire necessity, they made a brave fight, they were overwhelmed by falling boulders of enormous weight. 7 Therefore extreme caution was shown after that and when the marauders began to make for the mountain heights, the soldiers yielded to the unfavourable position. When, however, the Isaurians could be found on level ground, as constantly happened, they were allowed neither to stretch out their right arms nor poise their weapons, of which each carried two or three, but they were slaughtered like defenceless sheep.

8 Accordingly these same marauders, distrusting Lycaonia, which is for the most part level, and having learned by repeated experience that they would be no match for our soldiers in a stand-up fight, made their way by retired by-paths into Pamphylia, long unmolested, it is true, but through fear of raids and massacres protected everywhere by strong garrisons, while troops were spread all over the neighbouring country. 9 Therefore they made great haste, in order by extreme swiftness to anticipate the reports of their movements, trusting in their bodily strength and activity; but they made their way somewhat slowly to the summits of the hills over winding trails. And when, after overcoming extreme difficulties, they came to the steep banks of the Melas, a deep and eddying stream, which surrounds the inhabitants like a wall and protects them, the lateness of the night increased their alarm, and they halted for a time, waiting for daylight. They thought, indeed, to cross without opposition and by their unexpected raid to lay waste all before them; but they endured the greatest hardships to no purpose. 10 For when the sun rose, they were prevented from crossing by the size of the stream, which was narrow but deep. And while they were hunting for fishermen’s boats or preparing to cross on hastily woven hurdles, the legions that were then wintering at Side poured out and fell upon them in swift attack. And having set up their standards near the river-bank, the legions drew themselves up most skilfully for fighting hand to hand with a close formation of shields; and with perfect ease they slew some, who had even dared to cross the river secretly, trusting to swimming, or in hollowed out tree trunks. 11 From there, after trying the skill of our soldiers even to a final test without gaining anything, dislodged by fear and the strength of the legions, and not knowing what direction to take, they came to the neighborhood of the town of Laranda. 12 There they were refreshed with food and rest, and after their fear had left them, they attacked some rich villages; but since they were aided by some cohorts of cavalry, which chanced to come up, the enemy withdrew without attempting any resistance on the level plain; but as they retreated, they summoned all the flower of their youth that had been left at home. 13 And since they were distressed by severe hunger, they made for a place called Palaea, near the sea, which was protected by a strong wall. There supplies are regularly stored even to-day, for distribution to the troops that defend the whole frontier of Isauria. Therefore they invested the fortress for three days and three nights; but since the steep slope itself could not be approached without deadly peril, and nothing could be effected by mines, and no method of siege was successful, they withdrew in dejection, ready, under the pressure of extreme necessity, to undertake even tasks beyond their powers. 14 Accordingly, filled with still greater fury, to which despair and famine added fuel, with increased numbers and irresistible energy they rushed on to destroy Seleucia, the metropolis of the province, which Count Castricius was holding with three legions steeled by hard service. 15 Warned of their approach by trusty scouts, the officers of the garrison gave the watchword, according to regulations, and in a swift sally led out the entire force; and having quickly crossed the bridge over the river Calycadnus, whose mighty stream washes the towers of the city walls, they drew up their men in order of battle. And yet no one charged or was allowed to fight; for they feared that band on fire with madness, superior in numbers, and ready to rush upon the sword, regardless of their lives. 16 Consequently, when the army came into view afar off, and the notes of the trumpeters were heard, the marauders stopped and halted for a while; then, drawing their formidable swords, they came on at a slower pace. 17 And when the unperturbed soldiers made ready to meet them, deploying their ranks and striking their shields with their spears, an action which rouses the wrath and resentment of the combatants, they intimidated the nearest of the enemy by their very gestures. But as they were eagerly rushing to the fray, their leaders called them back, thinking it inadvisable to risk a doubtful combat when fortifications were not far distant, under the protection of which the safety of all could be put on a solid foundation. 18 In this conviction, then, the warriors were led back within the walls, the entrances to the gates on all sides were barred, and they took their place on the battlements and pinnacles with rocks gathered from every hand and weapons in readiness, so that, if anyone should force his way near to the walls, he might be overwhelmed by a shower of spears and stones. 19 Still, the besieged were greatly troubled by the fact that the Isaurians, having captured some boats which were carrying grain on the river, were abundantly supplied with provisions, while they themselves had already exhausted the regular stores and were dreading the deadly pangs of approaching famine. 20 When the news of this situation spread abroad, and repeated messages dispatched to Gallus Caesar had roused him to action, since the Master of the Horse was at the time too far removed from the spot, orders were given to Nebridius, Count of the East. He quickly got together troops from every side and with the greatest energy was hastening to rescue this great and strategically important city from danger. On learning this, the freebooters departed without accomplishing anything more of consequence, and scattering (after their usual fashion) made for the trackless wastes of the high mountains.

3 An unsuccessful plot of the Persians.

1 When affairs had reached this stage in Isauria, the king of Persia, involved in war with his neighbours, was driving back from his frontiers a number of very wild tribes which, with inconsistent policy, often make hostile raids upon his territories and sometimes aid him when he makes war upon us. One of his grandees, Nohodares by name, having received orders to invade Mesopotamia whenever occasion offered, was carefully reconnoitring our territory, intending a sudden incursion in case he found any opening. 2 And as all the districts of Mesopotamia, being exposed to frequent raids, were protected by frontier-guards and country garrisons, Nohodares, having turned his course to the left, had beset the remotest parts of Osdroene, attempting a novel and all but unprecedented manoeuvre; and if he had succeeded, he would have devastated the whole region like a thunderbolt. Now what he planned was the following.

3 The town of Batne, founded in Anthemusia in early times by a band of Macedonians, is separated by a short space from the river Euphrates; it is filled with wealthy traders when, at the yearly festival, near the beginning of the month of September, a great crowd of every condition gathers for the fair, to traffic in the wares sent from India and China, and in other articles that are regularly brought there in great abundance by land and sea. 4 This district the above-mentioned leader made ready to invade, on the days set for this celebration, through the wilderness and the grass-covered banks of the river Abora; but he was betrayed by information given by some of his own soldiers, who, fearing punishment for a crime which they had committed, deserted to the Roman garrison. Therefore, withdrawing without accomplishing anything, he languished thereafter in inaction.

4 Inroads of the Saracens; their customs.

1 The Saracens, however, whom we never found desirable either as friends or as enemies, ranging up and down the country, in a brief space of time laid waste whatever they could find, like rapacious kites which, whenever they have caught sight of any prey from on high, seize it with swift swoop, and directly they have seized it make off. 2 Although I recall having told of their customs in my history of the emperor Marcus, and several times after that, yet I will now briefly relate a few more particulars about them. 3 Among those tribes whose original abode extends from the Assyrians to the cataracts of the Nile and the frontiers of the Blemmyae all alike are warriors of equal rank, half-nude, clad in dyed cloaks as far as the loins, ranging widely with the help of swift horses and slender camels in times of peace or of disorder. No man ever grasps a plough-handle or cultivates a tree, none seeks a living by tilling the soil, but they rove continually over wide and extensive tracts without a home, without fixed abodes or laws; they cannot long endure the same sky, nor does the sun of a single district ever content them. 4 Their life is always on the move, and they have mercenary wives, hired under a temporary contract. But in order that there may be some semblance of matrimony, the future wife, by way of dower, offers her husband a spear and a tent, with the right to leave him after a stipulated time, if she so elect: and it is unbelievable with what ardour both sexes give themselves up to passion. 5 Moreover, they wander so widely as long as they live, that a woman marries in one place, gives birth in another, and rears her children far away, without being allowed an opportunity for rest. 6 They all feed upon game and an abundance of milk, which is their main sustenance, on a variety of plants, as well as on such birds as they are able to take by fowling; and I have seen many of them who were wholly unacquainted with grain and wine. 7 So much for this dangerous tribe. Let us now return to our original theme.

5 The torture of the followers of Magnentius.

1 While this was happening in the East, Constantius was passing the winter at Arelate, where he gave entertainments in the theatre and the circus with ostentatious magnificence. Then, on the 10th of October, which completed the thirtieth year of his reign, giving greater weight to his arrogance and accepting every false or doubtful charge as evident and proven, among other atrocities he tortured Gerontius, a count of the party of Magnentius, and visited him with the sorrow of exile. 2 And, as an ailing body is apt to be affected even by slight annoyances, so his narrow and sensitive mind, thinking that every sound indicated something done or planned at the expense of his safety, made his victory lamentable through the murder of innocent men. 3 For if anyone of the military commanders or ex-officials, or one of high rank in his own community, was accused even by rumour of having favoured the party of the emperor’s opponent, he was loaded with chains and dragged about like a wild beast. And whether a personal enemy pressed the charge or no one at all, as though it was enough that he had been named, informed against, or accused, he was condemned to death, or his property confiscated, or he was banished to some desert island.

4 Moreover his harsh cruelty, whenever the majesty of the empire was said to be insulted, and his angry passions and unfounded suspicions were increased by the bloodthirsty flattery of his courtiers, who exaggerated everything that happened and pretended to be greatly troubled by the thought of an attempt on the life of a prince on whose safety, as on a thread, they hypocritically declared that the condition of the whole world depended. 5 And he is even said to have given orders that no one who had ever been punished for these or similar offences should be given a new trial after a writ of condemnation had once been presented to him in the usual manner, which even the most inexorable emperors commonly allowed. And this fatal fault of cruelty, which in others sometimes grew less with advancing age, in his case became more violent, since a group of flatterers intensified his stubborn resolution.

6 Prominent among these was the state secretary Paulus, a native of Spain, a kind of viper, whose countenance concealed his character, but who was extremely clever in scenting out hidden means of danger for others. When he had been sent to Britain to fetch some officers who had dared to conspire with Magnentius, since they could make no resistance he autocratically exceeded his instructions and, like a flood, suddenly overwhelmed the fortunes of many, making his way amid manifold slaughter and destruction, imprisoning freeborn men and even degrading some with handcuffs; as a matter of fact, he patched together many accusations with utter disregard of the truth, and to him was due an impious crime, which fixed an eternal stain upon the time of Constantius. 7 Martinus, who was governing those provinces as substitute for the prefects, deeply deplored the woes suffered by innocent men; and after often begging that those who were free from any reproach should be spared, when he failed in his appeal he threatened to retire, in the hope that, at least through fear of this, that malevolent man-hunter might finally cease to expose to open danger men naturally given to peace. 8 Paulus thought that this would interfere with his profession, and being a formidable artist in devising complications, for which reason he was nicknamed “The Chain,” since the substitute continued to defend those whom he was appointed to govern, Paulus involved even him in the common peril, threatening to bring him also in chains to the emperor’s court, along with the tribunes and many others. Thereupon Martinus, alarmed at this threat, and thinking swift death imminent, drew his sword and attacked that same Paulus. But since the weakness of his hand prevented him from dealing a fatal blow, he plunged the sword which he had already drawn into his own side. And by that most ignominious death there passed from life a most just ruler, who had dared to lighten the unhappy lot of many. 9 After perpetrating these atrocious crimes, Paulus, stained with blood, returned to the emperor’s camp, bringing with him many men almost covered with chains and in a state of pitiful filth and wretchedness. On their arrival, the racks were made ready and the executioner prepared his hooks and other instruments of torture. Many of the prisoners were proscribed, others driven into exile; to some the sword dealt the penalty of death. For no one easily recalls the acquittal of anyone in the time of Constantius when an accusation against him had even been whispered.

6 The faults of the Roman Senate and People.

1 Meanwhile Orfitus was governing the eternal city with the rank of Prefect, and with an arrogance beyond the limit of the power that had been conferred upon him. He was a man of wisdom, it is true, and highly skilled in legal practice, but less equipped with the adornment of the liberal arts than became a man of noble rank. During his term of office serious riots broke out because of the scarcity of wine; for the people, eager for an unrestrained use of this commodity, are roused to frequent and violent disturbances.

2 Now I think that some foreigners who will perhaps read this work (if I shall be so fortunate) may wonder why it is that when the narrative turns to the description of what goes on at Rome, I tell of nothing save dissensions, taverns, and other similar vulgarities. Accordingly, I shall briefly touch upon the reasons, intending nowhere to depart intentionally from the truth.

3 At the time when Rome first began to rise into a position of world-wide splendour, in order that she might grow to a towering stature, Virtue and Fortune, ordinarily at variance, formed a pact of eternal peace; for if either one of them had failed her, Rome had not come to complete supremacy. 4 Her people, from the very cradle to the end of their childhood, a period of about three hundred years, carried on wars about her walls. Then, entering adult life, after many toilsome wars, they crossed the Alps and the sea. Grown to youth and manhood, from every region which the vast globe includes, they brought back laurels and triumphs. And now, declining into old age, and often owing victory to its name alone, it has come to a quieter period of life. 5 Thus the venerable city, after humbling the proud necks of savage nations, and making laws, the everlasting foundations and moorings of liberty, like a thrifty parent, wise and wealthy, has entrusted the management of her inheritance to the Caesars, as to her children. 6 And although for some time the tribes have been inactive and the centuries at peace, and there are no contests for votes but the tranquillity of Numa’s time has returned, yet throughout all regions and parts of the earth she is accepted as mistress and queen; everywhere the white hair of the senators and their authority are revered and the name of the Roman people is respected and honoured.

7 But this magnificence and splendour of the assemblies is marred by the rude worthlessness of a few, who do not consider where they were born, but, as if licence were granted to vice, descend to sin and wantonness. For as the lyric poet Simonides tells us, one who is going to live happy and in accord with perfect reason ought above all else to have a glorious fatherland. 8 Some of these men eagerly strive for statues, thinking that by them they can be made immortal, as if they would gain a greater reward from senseless brazen images than from the consciousness of honourable and virtuous conduct. And they take pains to have them overlaid with gold, a fashion first introduced by Acilius Glabrio, after his skill and his arms had overcome King Antiochus. But how noble it is, scorning these slight and trivial honours, to aim to read the long and steep ascent to true glory, as the bard of Ascra expresses it, is made clear by Cato the Censor. For when he was asked why he alone among many did not have a statue, he replied: “I would rather that the good men should wonder why I did not deserve one than (which is much worse) should mutter ‘Why was he given one?’”

9 Other men, taking great pride in the coaches higher than common and in ostentatious finery of apparel, sweat under heavy cloaks, which they fasten about their necks and bind around their very throats, while the air blows through them because of the excessive lightness of the material; and they lift them up with both hands and wave them with many gestures, especially with their left hands, in order that the over-long fringes and the tunics embroidered with party-coloured threads in multiform figures of animals may be conspicuous. 10 Others, though no one questions them, assume a grave expression and greatly exaggerate their wealth, doubling the annual yield of their fields, well cultivated (as they think), of which they assert that they possess a great number from the rising to the setting sun; they are clearly unaware that their forefathers, through whom the greatness of Rome was so far flung, gained renown, not by riches, but by fierce wars, and not differing from the common soldiers in wealth, mode of life, or simplicity of attire, overcame all obstacles by valour. 11 For that reason the eminent Valerius Publicola was buried by a contribution of money, and through the aid of her husband’s friends the needy wife of Regulus and her children were supported. And the daughter of Scipio received her dowry from the public treasury, since the nobles blushed to look upon the beauty of this marriageable maiden long unsought because of the absence of a father of modest means.

12 But now-a-days, if as a stranger of good position you enter for the first time to pay your respects to some man who is well-to-do and therefore puffed up, at first you will be greeted as if you were an eagerly expected friend, and after being asked many questions and forced to lie, you will wonder, since the man never saw you before, that a great personage should pay such marked attention to your humble self as to make you regret, because of such special kindness, that you did not see Rome ten years earlier. 13 When, encouraged by this affability, you make the same call on the following day, you will hang about unknown and unexpected, while the man who the day before urged you to call again counts up his clients, wondering who you are or whence you came. But when you are at last recognized and admitted to his friendship, if you devote yourself to calling upon for three years without interruption, then are away for the same number of days, and return to go through with a similar course, you will not be asked where you were, and unless you abandon the quest in sorrow, you will waste your whole life to no purpose in paying court to the blockhead.

14 And when, after a sufficient interval of time, the preparation of those tedious and unwholesome banquets begins, or the distribution of the customary doles, it is debated with anxious deliberation whether it will be suitable to invite a stranger, with the exception of those to whom a return of hospitality is due; and if, after full and mature deliberation, the decision is in the affirmative, the man who is invited is one who watches all night before the house of the charioteers, or who is a professional dicer, or who pretends to the knowledge of certain secrets. 15 For they avoid learned and serious everyone as unlucky and useless, in addition to which the announcers of names, who are wont to traffic in these and similar favours, on receiving a bribe, admit to the doles and the dinners obscure and low-born intruders.

16 But I pass over the gluttonous banquets and the various allurements of pleasures, lest I should go too far, and I shall pass to the fact that certain persons hasten without fear of danger through the broad streets of the city and over the upturned stones of the pavements as if they were driving post-horses with hoofs of fire (as the saying is), dragging after them armies of slaves like bands of brigands and not leaving even Sannio at home, as the comic writer says. And many matrons, imitating them, rush about through all quarters of the city with covered heads and in closed litters. 17 And as skilful directors of battles place in the van dense throngs of brave soldiers, then light-armed troops, after them the javelin-throwers, and last of all the reserve forces, to enter the action in case chance makes it needful, just so those who have charge of a city household, made conspicuous by wands grasped in their right hands, carefully and diligently draw up the array; then, as if the signal had been given in camp, close to the front of the carriage all the weavers march; next to these the blackened service of the kitchen, then all the rest of the slaves without distinction, accompanied by the idle plebeians of the neighbourhood; Italy, the throng of eunuchs, beginning with the old men and ending with the boys, sallow and disfigured by the distorted form of their members; so that, wherever anyone goes, beholding the troops of mutilated men, he would curse the memory of that Queen Samiramis of old, who was the first of all to castrate young males, thus doing violence, as it were, to Nature and wresting her from her intended course, since she at the very beginning of life, through the primitive founts of the seed, by a kind of secret law, shows the ways to propagate posterity.

18 In consequence of this state of things, the few houses that were formerly famed for devotion to serious pursuits now teem with the sports of sluggish indolence, re-echoing to the sound of singing and the tinkling of flutes and lyres. In short, in place of the philosopher the singer is called in, and in place of the orator the teacher of stagecraft, and while the libraries are shut up forever like tombs, water-organs are manufactured and lyres as large as carriages, and flutes and instruments heavy for gesticulating actors.

19 At last we have reached such a state of baseness, that whereas not so very long ago, when there was fear of a scarcity of food, foreigners were driven neck and crop from the city, and those who practised the liberal arts (very few in number) were thrust out without a breathing space, yet the genuine attendants upon actresses of the mimes, and those who for the time pretended to be such, were kept with us, while three thousand dancing girls, without even being questioned, remained here with their choruses, and an equal number of dancing masters. 20 And, wherever you turn your eyes, you may see a throng of women with curled hair, who might, if they had married, by this time, so far as age goes, have already produced three children, sweeping the pavements with their feet to the point of weariness and whirling in rapid gyrations, while they represent the innumerable figures that the stage-plays have devised.

21 Furthermore, there is no doubt that when once upon a time Rome was the abode of all the virtues, many of the nobles detained here foreigners of free birth by various kindly attentions, as the Lotus-eaters of Homer did by the sweetness of their fruits. 22 But now the vain arrogance of some men regards everything born outside the pomerium of our city as worthless, except the childless and unwedded; and it is beyond belief with what various kinds of obsequiousness men without children are courted at Rome. 23 And since among them, as is natural in the capital of the world, cruel disorders gain such heights that all the healing art is powerless even to mitigate them, it has been provided, as a means of safety, that no one shall visit a friend suffering from such a disease, and by a few who are more cautious another sufficiently effective remedy has been added, namely, that servants sent to inquire after the condition of a man’s acquaintances who have been attacked by that disorder should not be readmitted to their masters’ house until they have purified their persons by a bath. So fearful are they of a contagion seen only by the eyes of others. 24 But yet, although these precautions are so strictly observed, some men, when invited to a wedding, where gold is put into their cupped right hands, although the strength of their limbs is impaired, will run even all the way to Spoletium. Such are the habits of the nobles.

25 But of the multitude of lowest condition and greatest poverty some spend the entire night in wineshops, some lurk in the shade of the awnings of the theatres, which Catulus in his aedileship, imitating Campanian wantonness, was the first to spread, or they quarrel with one another in their games at dice, making a disgusting sound by drawing back the breath into their resounding nostrils; or, which is the favourite among all amusements, from sunrise until evening, in sunshine and in rain, they stand open-mouthed, examining minutely the good points or the defects of charioteers and their horses. 26 And it is most remarkable to see an innumerable crowd of plebeians, their minds filled with a kind of eagerness, hanging on the outcome of the chariot races. These and similar things prevent anything memorable or serious from being done in Rome. Accordingly, I must return to my subject.

7 Atrocities and savagery of Gallus Caesar.

1 His lawlessness now more widely extended, Caesar became offensive to all good men, and henceforth showing no restraint, he harassed all parts of the East, sparing neither ex-magistrates nor the chief men of the cities, nor even the plebeians. 2 Finally, he ordered the death of the leaders of the senate of Antioch in a single writ, enraged because when he urged a prompt introduction of cheap prices at an unseasonable time, since scarcity threatened, they had made a more vigorous reply than was fitting. And they would have perished to a man, had not Honoratus, then count-governor of the East, opposed him with firm resolution. 3 This also was a sign of his savage nature which was neither obscure nor hidden, that he delighted in cruel sports; and sometimes in the Circus, absorbed in six or seven contests, he exulted in the sight of boxers pounding each other to death and drenched with blood, as if he had made some great gain. 4 Besides this, his propensity for doing harm was inflamed and incited by a worthless woman, who, on being admitted to the palace (as she had demanded) had betrayed a plot that was secretly being made against him by some soldiers of the lowest condition. Whereupon Constantina, exulting as if the safety of her husband were now assured, gave her a reward, and seating her in a carriage, sent her out through the palace gates into the public streets, in order that by such inducements she might tempt others to reveal similar or greater conspiracies.

5 After this, when Gallus was on the point of leaving for Hierapolis, ostensibly to take part in the campaign, and the commons of Antioch suppliantly besought him to save them from the fear of a famine, which, through many difficulties of circumstance, was then believed to be imminent, he did not, after the manner of princes whose widely extended power sometimes cures local troubles, make any arrangements or command the bringing of supplies from neighbouring provinces; but to the multitude, which was in fear of the direst necessity, he delivered up Theophilus, consular governor of Syria, who was standing near by, constantly repeating the statement, that no one could lack food if the governor did not wish it. 6 These words increased the audacity of the lowest classes, and when the lack of provisions became more acute, driven by hunger and rage, they set fire to the pretentious house of a certain Eubulus, a man of distinction among his own people; then, as if the governor had been delivered into their hands by an imperial edict, they assailed him with kicks and blows, and trampling him under foot when he was half-dead, with awful mutilation tore him to pieces. After his wretched death each man saw in the end of one person an image of his own peril and dreaded a fate like that which he had just witnessed. 7 At that same time Serenianus, a former general, through whose inefficiency Celse in Phoenicia had been pillaged, as we have described, was justly and legally tried for high treason, and it was doubtful by what favour he could be acquitted; for it was clearly proved that he had enchanted by forbidden arts a cap which he used to wear, and sent a friend of his with it to a prophetic shrine, to seek for omens as to whether the imperial power was destined to be firmly and safely his, as he desired. 8 At that time a twofold evil befell, in that an awful fate took off Theophilus who was innocent, and Serenianus, who was deserving of universal execration, got off scotfree, almost without any strong public protest.

9 Constantius, hearing of these events from time to time, and being informed of some things by Thalassius, who, as he had now learned, had died a natural death, wrote in flattering terms to Caesar, but gradually withdrew from him his means of defence. He pretended to be anxious, since soldiers are apt to be disorderly in times of inaction, lest they might conspire for Gallus’ destruction, and bade him be satisfied with the palace troops only and those of the guards, besides the Targeteers and the Household troops. He further ordered Domitianus, a former state treasurer, and now prefect, that when he came into Syria, he should politely and respectfully urge Gallus, whom he had frequently summoned, to hasten to return to Italy. 10 But when Domitianus had quickened his pace because of these instructions and had come to Antioch, passing by the gates of the palace in contempt of the Caesar, on whom he ought to have called, he went to the general’s quarters with the usual pomp, and having for a long time pleaded illness, he neither entered the palace nor appeared in public, but remaining in hiding he made many plots for Gallus’ ruin, adding some superfluous details to the reports which from time to time he sent to the emperor. 11 At last, being invited to the palace and admitted to the council, without any preliminary remarks he said inconsiderately and coolly: “Depart, Caesar, and know that, if you delay, I shall at once order your supplies and those of your palace to be cut off.” Having said only this in an insolent tone, he went off in a passion, and although often sent for, he never afterwards came into Gallus’ presence. 12 Caesar, angered at this and feeling that such treatment was unjust and undeserved, ordered his faithful guards to arrest the prefect. When this became known, Montius, who was then quaestor, a spirited man but somewhat inclined to moderate measures, having in view the public welfare, sent for the foremost members of the palace troops and addressed them in mild terms, pointing out that such conduct was neither seemly nor expedient and adding in a tone of reproof that if they approved of this course, it would be fitting first to overthrow the statues of Constantius and then plan with less anxiety for taking the life of the prefect. 13 On learning this, Gallus, like a serpent attacked by darts or stones, waiting now for a last expedient and trying to save his life by any possible means, ordered all troops to be assembled under arms, and while they stood in amazement, he said, baring and gnashing his teeth, “Stand by me, my brave men, who are like myself in danger. 14 Montius with a kind of strange and unprecedented arrogance in this loud harangue of his accuses us of being rebels and as resisting the majesty of Augustus, no doubt in anger because I ordered an insolent prefect, who presumes to ignore what proper conduct requires, to be imprisoned, merely to frighten him.” 15 With no further delay the soldiers, as often eager for disturbance, first attacked Montius, who lodged close by, an old man frail of body and ill besides, bound coarse ropes to his legs, and dragged him spread-eagle fashion without any breathing-space all the way to Caesar’s headquarters. 16 And in the same access of rage they threw Domitianus down the steps, then bound him also with ropes, and tying the two together, dragged them at full speed through the broad streets of the city. And when finally their joints and limbs were torn asunder, leaping upon their dead bodies, they mutilated them in a horrible manner, and at last, as if glutted, threw them into the river. 17 Now these men, reckless to the point of madness, were roused to such atrocious deeds as they committed by a certain Luscus, curator of the city. He suddenly appeared and with repeated cries, like a bawling leader of porters, urged them to finish what they had begun. And for that not long afterwards he was burned alive.

18 And because Montius, when about to breathe his last in the hands of those who were rending him, cried out upon Epigonus and Eusebius, but without indicating their profession or rank, men of the same name were sought for with great diligence. And in order that the excitement might not cool, a philosopher Epigonus from Cilicia was arrested, and a Eusebius, surnamed Pittacas, a vehement orator, from Edessa, although it was not these that the quaestor had implicated, but some tribunes of forges, who had promised arms in case a revolution should be set on foot. 19 In those same days Apollinaris, son-in-law of Domitianus, who a short time before had been in charge of Caesar’s palace, being sent to Mesopotamia by his father-in-law, inquired with excessive interest among the companies of soldiers whether they had received any secret messages from Gallus which indicated that he was aiming higher; but when he heard what had happened at Antioch, he slipped off through Lesser Armenia and made for Constantinople, but from there he was brought back by the guards and kept in close confinement.

20 Now, while these things were happening, attention was drawn at Tyre to a royal robe that had been made secretly, but it was uncertain who had ordered it or for whose use it was made. Consequently the governor of the province at that time, who was the father of Apollinaris and of the same name, was brought to trial as his accomplice; and many others were gathered together from various cities and were bowed down by the weight of charges of heinous crimes.

21 And now, when the clarions of internal disaster were sounding, the disordered mind of Caesar, turned from consideration of the truth, and not secretly as before, vented its rage; and since no one conducted the usual examination of the charges either made or invented, or distinguished the innocent from association with the guilty, all justice vanished from the courts as though driven out. And while the legitimate defence of cases was put to silence, the executioner (trustee of plunderings), hoodwinking for execution, and confiscation of property ranged everywhere through the eastern provinces. These I think it now a suitable time to review, excepting Mesopotamia, which has already been described in connection with the account of the Parthian wars, and Egypt, which we will necessarily postpone to another time.

8 Description of the Eastern Provinces.

1 After one passes the summits of Mount Taurus, which on the east rise to a lofty height, Cilicia spreads out in widely extended plains, a land abounding in products of every kind; and adjoining its right side is Isauria, equally blest with fruitful vines and abundant grain, being divided in the middle by the navigable river Calycadnus. 2 This province too, in addition to many towns, is adorned by two cities; Seleucia, the work of king Seleucus, and Claudiopolis, which Claudius Caesar founded as a colony. For Isaura, which was formerly too powerful, was long ago overthrown as a dangerous rebel, and barely shows a few traces of its former glory. 3 Cilicia, however, which boasts of the river Cydnus, is ennobled by Tarsus, a fair city; this is said to have been founded by Perseus, son of Jupiter, and Danaë, or else by a wealthy and high-born man, Sandan by name, who came from Ethiopia. There is also Anazarbus, bearing the name of its founder, and Mobsuestia, the abode of that famous diviner Mobsus. He, wandering from his fellow-warriors the Argonauts when they were returning after carrying off the golden fleece, and being borne to the coast of Africa, met a sudden death. Thereafter his heroic remains, covered with Punic sod, have been for the most part effective in healing a variety of diseases. 4 These two provinces, crowded with bands of brigands, were long ago, during the war with the pirates, sent under the yoke by the proconsul Servilius and made to pay tribute. And these regions indeed, lying, as it were, upon a promontory, are separated from the eastern continent by Mount Amanus. 5 But the frontier of the East, extending a long distance in a straight line, reaches from the banks of the Euphrates to the borders of the Nile, being bounded on the left by the Saracenic races and on the right exposed to the waves of the sea. Of this district Nicator Seleucus took possession and greatly increased it in power, when by right of succession he was holding the rule of Persia after the death of Alexander of Macedon; and he was a successful and efficient king, as his surname Nicator indicates. 6 For by taking advantage of the great number of men whom he ruled for along time in peace, in place of their rustic dwellings he built cities of great strength and abundant wealth; and many of these, although they are now called by the Greek names which were imposed upon them by the will of their founder, nevertheless have not lost the old appellations in the Assyrian tongue which the original settlers gave them.

7 And first after Osdroene, which, as has been said, I have omitted from this account, Commagene, now called Euphratensis, gradually lifts itself into eminence; it is famous for the great cities of Hierapolis, the ancient Ninus, and Samosata.

8 Next Syria spreads for a distance over a beautiful plain. This is famed for Antioch, a city known to all the world, and without a rival, so rich is it in imported and domestic commodities; likewise for Laodicia, Apamia, and also Seleucia, most flourishing cities from their very origin.

9 After this come Phoenicia, lying at the foot of Mount Libanus, a region full of charm and beauty, adorned with many great cities; among these in attractiveness and the renown of their names Tyre, Sidon and Berytus are conspicuous, and equal to these are Emissa and Damascus, founded in days long past. 10 Now these provinces, encircled by the river Orontes, which, after flowing past the foot of that lofty mountain Cassius, empties into the Parthenian Sea, were taken from the realms of the Armenians by Gnaeus Pompeius, after his defeat of Tigranes, and brought under Roman sway.

11 The last region of the Syrias is Palestine, extending over a great extent of territory and abounding in cultivated and well-kept lands; it also has some splendid cities, none of which yields to any of the others, but they rival one another, as it were, by plumb-line. These are Caesarea, which Herodes built in honour of the emperor Octavianus, Eleutheropolis, and Neapolis, along with Ascalon and Gaza, built in a former age. 12 In these districts no navigable river is anywhere to be seen, but in numerous places natural warm springs gush forth, adapted to many medicinal uses. But these regions also met with a like fate, being formed into a province by Pompey, after he had defeated the Jews and taken Jerusalem, but left to the jurisdiction of a governor.

13 Adjacent to this region is Arabia, which on one side adjoins the country of the Nabataei, a land producing a rich variety of wares and studded with strong castles and fortresses, which the watchful care of the early inhabitants reared in suitable and readily defended defiles, to check the inroads of neighbouring tribes. This region also has, in addition to some towns, great cities, Bostra, Gerasa and Philadelphia, all strongly defended by mighty walls. It was given the name of a province, assigned a governor, and compelled to obey our laws by the emperor Trajan, who, by frequent victories crushed the arrogance of its inhabitants when he was waging glorious war with Media and the Parthians.

14 Cyprus, too, an island far removed from the mainland, and abounding in harbours, besides having numerous towns, is made famous by two cities, Salamis and Paphos, the one celebrated for its shrines of Jupiter, the other for its temple of Venus. This Cyprus is so fertile and abounds in products of every kind, that without the need of any help from without, by its native resources alone it builds cargo ships from the very keel to the topmast sails, and equipping them completely entrusts them to the deep. 15 Nor am I loth to say that the Roman people in invading that island showed more greed than justice; for King Ptolemy, our ally joined to us by a treaty, without any fault of his, merely because of the low state of our treasury was ordered to be proscribed, and in consequence committed suicide by drinking poison; whereupon the island was made tributary and its spoils, as though those of an enemy, were taken aboard our fleet and brought to Rome by Cato. I shall now resume the thread of my narrative.

9 Of Constantius Gallus Caesar.

1 Amid this variety of disasters Ursicinus, to whose attendance the imperial command had attached me, was summoned from Nisibis, of which he was in charge, and was compelled, in spite of his reluctance and his opposition to the clamorous troops of flatterers, to investigate the accusations in the deadly strife. He was in fact a warrior, having always been a soldier and a leader of soldiers, but far removed from the wranglings of the forum; accordingly, worried by fear of the danger which threatened him, seeing the corrupt accusers and judges with whom he was associated all coming forth from the same holes, he informed Constantius by secret letters of what was going on furtively or openly, and begged for aid, that through fear of it the well-known arrogance of the Caesar might subside. 2 But by too great caution he had fallen into worse snares, as we shall show later, since his rivals patched up dangerous plots with Constantius, who was in other respects a moderate emperor, but cruel and implacable if anyone, however obscure, had whispered in his ear anything of that kind, and in cases of that nature unlike himself.

3 Accordingly, on the day set for the fatal examinations the master of the horse took his seat, ostensibly as a judge, attended by others who had been told in advance what was to be done; and here and there shorthand writers were stationed who reported every question and every answer posthaste to Caesar; and by his cruel orders, instigated by the queen, who from time to time poked her face through a curtain, many were done to death without being allowed to clear themselves of the charges or to make any defence. 4 First of all, then, Epigonus and Eusebius were brought before them and ruined by the affinity of their names; for Montius, as I have said, at the very end of his life had accused certain tribunes of forges called by those names of having promised support to some imminent enterprise. 5 And Epigonus, for his part, was a philosopher only in his attire, as became evident; for when he had tried entreaties to no purpose, when his sides had been furrowed and he was threatened with death, by a shameful confession he declared that he was implicated in plans which never existed, whereas he had neither seen nor heard anything; he was wholly unacquainted with legal matters. Eusebius on the contrary, courageously denied the charges, and although he was put upon the rack, he remained firm in the same degree of constancy, crying out that it was the act of brigands and not of a court of justice. 6 And when, being acquainted with the law, he persistently called for his accuser and the usual formalities, Caesar, being informed of his demand and regarding his freedom of speech as arrogance, ordered that he be tortured as a reckless traducer. And when he had been so disembowelled that he had no parts left to torture, calling on Heaven for justice and smiling sardonically, he remained unshaken, with stout heart, neither deigning to according to himself nor anyone else; and at last, without having admitted his guilt or been convicted, he was condemned to death along with his abject associate. And he was led off to execution unafraid, railing at the wickedness of the time and imitating the ancient stoic Zeno, who, after being tortured for a long time, to induce him to give false witness, tore his tongue from its roots and hurled it with its blood and spittle into the eyes of the king of Cyprus, who was putting him to the question.

7 After this, the matter of the royal robe was investigated, and when those who were employed in dyeing purple were tortured and had confessed to making a short tunic to cover the chest, a man named Maras was brought in, a deacon, as the Christians call them. A letter of his was presented, written in Greek to the foreman of a weaving plant in Tyre, strongly urging him to speed up a piece of work; but what it was the letter did not say. But although finally Maras also was tortured within an inch of his life, he could not be forced to make any confession. 8 So when many men of various conditions had been put to the question, some things were found to be doubtful and others were obviously unimportant. And after many had been put to death, the two Apollinares, father and son, were exiled; but when they had come to a place called Craterae, namely, a villa of theirs distant twenty-four miles from Antioch, their legs were broken, according to orders, and they were killed. 9 After their death Gallus, no whit less ferocious than before, like a lion that had tasted blood, tried many cases of the kind; but of all these it is not worth while to give an account, for fear that I may exceed the limits which I have set myself, a thing which I certainly ought to avoid.

10 The Alamanni sue for peace, which is granted by Constantius Augustus.

1 While the East was enduring this long tyranny, as soon as the warm season began, Constantius, being in his seventh consulship with Gallus in his second, set out from Arelate for Valentia, to make war upon the brothers Gundomadus and Valomarius, kings of the Alamanni, whose frequent raids were devastating that part of Gaul which adjoined their frontiers. 2 And while he delayed there for a long time, waiting for supplies, the transport of which from Aquitania was hindered by spring rains of unusual frequency and by rivers in flood, Herculanus came there, one of his body-guard, the son of Hermogenes, formerly commander of the cavalry and, as we have before related, torn to pieces in a riot of the people at Constantinople. When this man gave a true account of what Gallus and his wife had done, the emperor, grieving over the past disasters and made anxious by fear of those to come, concealed the distress that he felt as long as he could. 3 The soldiers, however, who in the meantime had been assembled at Châlon, began to rage with impatience at the delay, being the more incensed because they lacked even the necessities of life, since the usual supplies had not yet been brought. 4 Therefore Rufinus, who was at that time praetorian prefect, was exposed to extreme danger; for he was forced to go in person before the troops, who were aroused both by the scarcity and by their natural savage temper, and besides were naturally inclined to be harsh and bitter towards men in civil positions, in order to pacify them and explain why the convoy of provisions was interrupted. 5 This was a shrewd plan, cunningly devised with set purpose, in order that by a plot of that kind the uncle of Gallus might perish, for fear that so very powerful a man might whet the boldness of his nephew and encourage his dangerous designs. But great precautions were taken, and when the design was postponed, Eusebius, the grand chamberlain, was sent to Châlon taking gold with him; when this had been secretly distributed among the turbulent inciters of rebellion, the rage of the soldiers abated and the safety of the prefect was assured. Then an abundant supply of food arrived and the camp was moved on the appointed day. 6 And so, after surmounting many difficulties, over paths many of which were heaped high with snow, they came near to Rauracum on the banks of the river Rhine. There a great force of the Alamanni opposed them, and hurling weapons from all sides like hail, by their superior numbers prevented the Romans from making a bridge by joining boats together. And when that was obviously impossible, the emperor was consumed with anxious thought and in doubt what course to take. 7 But lo! a guide acquainted with the region unexpectedly appeared, and, in return for money, pointed out by night a place abounding in shallows, where the river could be crossed. And there army might have been led over, while enemy’s attention was turned elsewhere, had not a few men of that same race, who held military positions of high rank, informed their countrymen of the design by secret messengers, as some thought. 8 Now the shame of that suspicion fell upon Latinus, count in command of the bodyguard, Agilo, tribune in charge of the stable, and Scudilo, commander of the targeteers, who were then highly regarded as having in their hands the defence of the state. 9 But the savages, taking such counsel as the immediate circumstances demanded, since the obstinacy which inspired a bold resistance was diminished perhaps because the auspices were unfavourable or because the authority of the sacrifices forbade an engagement, sent their chiefs to sue for peace and pardon for their offences. 10 Therefore the envoys of both kings were detained and the matter was discussed for a long time in secret; and since there was general agreement in the opinion that peace which was asked for on reasonable conditions ought to be granted, and that it would be expedient to do so under the present circumstances, the emperor summoned an assembly of the army, intending to say a few words appropriate to the occasion; and taking his place upon a tribunal, surrounded by a staff of high officials, he spoke after this fashion:

11 “Let no one, I pray, be surprised, if after going through the toil of long marches and getting together great quantities of supplies, I now, when approaching the abode of the savages, with my confidence in you leading the way, as if by a sudden change of plan have turned to milder designs. 12 For each one of you, according to his rank and judgment, upon consideration will find it to be true, that the soldier in all instances, however strong and vigorous of body, regards and defends only himself and his own life. The commander, on the other hand, has manifold duties, since he aims at fairness to all; and being the guardian of others’ safety, he realises that the interests of the people look to him wholly for protection and that therefore he ought eagerly to seize upon all remedies which the condition of affairs allows, as though offered to him by the favour of Heaven. 13 To put the matter, then, in a few words, and to explain why I have wished you all to be present here together, my loyal fellow-soldiers, receive with favourable ears what I shall briefly set forth; for perfect truth is always simple. 14 The kings and peoples of the Alamanni, in dread of the rising progress of your glory, which fame, growing greatly, has spread abroad even among the dwellers in far off lands, through the envoys whom you see with bowed heads ask for peace and indulgence for past offences. This I, being cautious, prudent, and an advisor of what is expedient, think ought to be granted to them (if I have your consent), for many reasons. First, to avoid the doubtful issue of war; then, that we may gain friends in place of enemies, as they promise; again, that without bloodshed we may tame their haughty fierceness, which is often destructive to the provinces; finally, bearing in mind this thought, that not only is the enemy vanquished who falls in battle, borne down by weight of arms and strength, but much more safely he who, while the trumpet is silent, of his own accord passes under the yoke and learns by experience that Romans lack neither courage against rebels nor mildness towards suppliants. 15 In short, I await your decision as arbiters, as it were, being myself convinced as a peace-loving prince, that it is best temperately to show moderation while prosperity is with us. For, believe me, such righteous conduct will be attributed, not to lack of spirit, but to discretion and humanity.”

16 No sooner had he finished speaking than the whole throng, fully in agreement with the emperor’s wish, praised his purpose and unanimously voted for peace. They were influenced especially by the conviction, which they had formed from frequent campaigns, that his fortune watched over him only in civil troubles, but that when foreign wars were undertaken, they had often ended disastrously. After this a treaty was struck in accordance with the rites of the Alamanni, and when the ceremony had been concluded, the emperor withdrew to Mediolanum for his winter quarters.

11 Constantius Gallus Caesar is summoned by Constantius Augustus and executed.

1 There having laid aside the burden of other cares, Constantius began to consider, as his most difficult knot and stumbling-block, how to uproot the Caesar by a mighty effort. And as he deliberated with his closest friends, in secret conference and by night, by what force or by what devices that might be done before the Caesar’s assurance should be more obstinately set upon throwing everything into disorder, it seemed best that Gallus should be summoned by courteous letters, under pretence of very urgent public business, to the end that, being deprived of support, he might be put to death without hindrance. 2 But this view was opposed by the groups of fickle flatterers, among whom was Arbitio, a man keen and eager in plotting treachery, and Eusebius, at that time grand chamberlain, who was sufficiently inclined to mischief, and it occurred to them to say that, if Caesar left the East, it would be dangerous to leave Ursicinus there, since he would be likely to think of a loftier station, if there were no one to restrain him. 3 And this faction was supported by the other royal eunuchs, whose love of gain at that time was growing beyond mortal limits. These, while performing duties of an intimate nature, by secret whispers supplied fuel for false accusations. They overwhelmed that most gallant man with the weight of a grave suspicion, muttering that his sons, who were now grown up, were beginning to have imperial hopes, being popular because of their youth and their handsome persons and through their knowledge of many kinds of weapons, and bodily activity gained amidst daily army exercises, besides being known to be of sound judgment; that Gallus, while naturally savage, had been incited to deeds of cruelty by persons attached to his person, to the end that, when he had incurred the merited detestation of all classes, the emblems of empire might be transferred to the children of the master of the horse.

4 When these and similar charges were dinned into the emperor’s anxious ears, which were always attentive and open to such gossip, the turmoil of his mind suggesting many plans, he at last chose the following as the best. First, in the most complimentary terms he directed Ursicinus to come to him, under pretence that, because of the urgent condition of affairs at the time, they might consult together and decide what increase of forces was necessary in order to crush the attacks of the Parthian tribes, which were threatening war. 5 And that Ursicinus might not suspect any unfriendly action, in case he should come, Count Prosper was sent to be his substitute until his return. So, when the letter was received and abundant transportation facilities were furnished, we hastened at full speed to Mediolanum.

6 After this the next thing was to summon Caesar and induce him to make equal haste, and in order to remove suspicion, Constantius with many feigned endearments urged his sister, the Caesar’s wife, at last to satisfy his longing and visit him. And although she hesitated, through fear of her brother’s habitual cruelty, yet she set forth, hoping that, since he was her own brother, she might be able to pacify him. But after she had entered Bithynia, at the station called Caeni Gallicani, she was carried off by a sudden attack of fever. After her death the Caesar, considering that the support on which he thought he could rely had failed him, hesitated in anxious deliberation what to do. 7 For in the midst of his embarrassments and troubles his anxious mind dwelt on this one thought, that Constantius, who measured everything by the standard of his own opinion, was not one to accept any excuse or pardon mistakes; but, being especially inclined to the ruin of his kin, would secretly set a snare for him and punish him with death, if he caught him off his guard. 8 But in such a critical situation and anticipating the worst if he were not on the watch, he secretly aimed at the highest rank, if any chance should offer; but for a twofold reason he feared treachery on the part of those nearest to his person, both because they stood in dread of him as cruel and untrustworthy, and because they feared the fortune of Constantius which in civil discords usually had the upper hand. 9 Amid this huge mass of anxieties he received constant letters from the emperor, admonishing and begging him to come to him and covertly hinting that the commonwealth could not be divided and ought not to be, but that each ought to the extent of his powers to lend it aid when it was tottering, doubtless referring to the devastation of Gaul. 10 To this he added an example of not so very great antiquity, that Diocletian and his colleague were obeyed by their Caesars as by attendants, who did not remain in one place but hastened about hither and thither, and that in Syria Galerius, clad in purple, walked for nearly a mile before the chariot of his Augustus when the latter was angry with him.

11 After many other messengers came Scudilo, tribune of the targeteers, a skilled artist in persuasion, under the cloak of a somewhat rough nature. He alone of all, by means of flattering words mingled with false oaths, succeeded in persuading Gallus to set out, constantly repeating with hypocritical expression that his cousin would ardently wish to see him, that being a mild and merciful prince he would overlap anything that was done through inadvertence; that he would make him a sharer in his rank, to be a partner also in the labours which the northern provinces, for a long time wearied, demanded. 12 And since, when the fates lay hands upon men, their senses are apt to be dulled and blunted, Gallus was roused by these blandishments to the hope of a better destiny, and leaving Antioch under the lead of an unpropitious power, he proceeded to go straight from the smoke into the fire, as the old proverb has it; and entering Constantinople as if in the height of prosperity and security, he exhibited horse-races and crowned Thorax the charioteer as victor.

13 On learning this Constantius was outraged beyond all human bounds, and lest by any chance Gallus should become uncertain as to the future and should try in the course of his journey to take measures for his own safety, all the soldiers in the towns through which he would pass were purposely removed. 14 And at that time Taurus, who had been sent to Armenia as quaestor, boldly passed that way without addressing him or going to see him. Others, however, visited him by the emperor’s orders, under pretext of various matters of business, but really to take care that he should not be able to make any move or indulge in any secret enterprise; among these was Leontius, then quaestor and later prefect of the city, Lucillianus, as count commander of the household troops, and a tribune of the targeteers called Bainobaudes. 15 Thus, after covering long distances over level country, he had entered Hadrianopolis, a city in the region of Mt. Haemus, formerly called Uscudama, and for twelve days was recovering his strength, exhausted by his exertions. There he learned that certain Theban legions that were passing the winter in near-by towns had sent some of their comrades to encourage him by faithful and sure promises to remain there, since they were full of confidence in their strength and were posted in large numbers in neighbouring encampments; but owing to the watchful care of those about him, he could not steal an opportunity of seeing them or hearing the message that they brought. 16 Then, as letter followed letter, urging him to leave, making use of ten public vehicles, as was directed, and leaving behind all his attendants with the exception of a few whom he had brought with him to serve in his bedroom and at his table, he was driven to make haste, being without proper care of his person and urged on by many, railing from time to time at the rashness which had reduced him, now mean and abject, to submit to the will of the lowest of mankind. 17 Yet all this time, whenever nature allowed him sleep, his senses were wounded by frightful spectres that shrieked about him, and throng of those whom he had slain, led by Domitianus and Montius, would seize him and fling him to the claws of the Furies, as he imagined in his dreams. 18 For the mind, when freed from the bonds of the body, being always filled with tireless movement, from the underlying thoughts and worries which torment the minds of mortals, conjures up the nocturnal visions to which we give the name of phantasies.

19 And thus with the way opened by the sad decree of fate, by which it was ordained that he should be stripped of life and rank, he hurried by the most direct way and with relays of horses and came to Petobio, a town of Noricum. There all the secret plots were revealed and Count Barbatio suddenly made his appearance — he had commanded the household troops under Gallus — accompanied by Apodemius, of the secret service, and at the head of soldiers whom Constantius had chosen because they were under obligation to him for favours and could not, he felt sure, be influenced by bribes or any feeling of pity.

20 And now the affair was being carried on with no disguised intrigue, but where the palace stood without the walls Barbatio surrounded with armed men. And entering when the light was now dim and removing the Caesar’s royal robes, he put upon him a tunic and an ordinary soldier’s cloak, assuring him with frequent oaths, as if by the emperor’s command, that he would suffer no further harm. Then he said to him: “Get up at once,” and having unexpectedly placed him in a private carriage, he took him to Histria, near the town of Pola, where in former times, as we are informed, Constantine’s son Crispus was killed. 21 And while he was kept there in closest confinement, already as good as buried by fear of his approaching end, there hastened to him Eusebius, at that time grand chamberlain, Pentadius, the secretary, and Mallobaudes, tribune of the guard, to compel him by order of the emperor to inform them, case by case, why he had ordered the execution of all those whom he had put to death at Antioch. 22 At this, o’erspread with the pallor of Adrastus, he was able to say only that he had slain most of them at the instigation of his wife Constantina, assuredly not knowing that when the mother of Alexander the Great urged her son to put an innocent man to death and said again and again, in the hope of later gaining what she desired, that she had carried him for nine months in her womb, the king made this wise answer: “Ask some other reward, dear mother, for a man’s life is not to be weighed against any favour.” 23 On hearing this the emperor, smitten with implacable anger and resentment, rested all his hopes of securing his safety on destroying Gallus; and sending Serenianus, who, as I have before shown, had been charged with high treason and acquitted by some jugglery or other, and with him Pentadius the secretary and Apodemius of the secret service, he condemned him to capital punishment. Accordingly his hands were bound, after the fashion of some guilty robber, and he was beheaded. Then his face and head were mutilated, and the man who a little while before had been a terror to cities and provinces was left a disfigured corpse. 24 But the justice of the heavenly power was everywhere watchful; for not only did his cruel deeds prove the ruin of Gallus, but not long afterwards a painful death overtook both of those whose false blandishments and perjuries led him, guilty though he was, into the snares of destruction. Of these Scudilo, because of an abscess of the liver, vomited up his lungs and so died; Barbatio, who for a long time had invented false accusations against Gallus, charged by the whispers of certain men of aiming higher than the mastership of the infantry, was found guilty and by an unwept end made atonement to the shades of the Caesar, whom he had treacherously done to death.

25 These and innumerable other instances of the kind are sometimes (and would that it were always so!) the work of Adrastia, the chastiser of evil deeds and the rewarder of good actions, whom we also call by the second name of Nemesis. She is, as it were, the sublime jurisdiction of an efficient divine power, dwelling, as men think, above the orbit of the moon; or as others define her, an actual guardian presiding with universal sway over the destinies of individual men. The ancient theologians, regarding her as the daughter of Justice, say that from an unknown eternity she looks down upon all the creatures of earth. 26 She, as queen of causes and arbiter and judge of events, controls the urn with its lots and causes the changes of fortune, and sometimes she gives our plans a different result than that at which we aimed, changing and confounding many actions. She too, binding the vainly swelling pride of mortals with the indissoluble bond of fate, and tilting changeably, as she knows how to do, the balance of gain and loss, now bends and weakens the uplifted necks of the proud, and now, raising the good from the lowest estate, lifts them to a happy life. Moreover, the storied past has given her wings in order that she might be thought to come to all with swift speed; and it has given her a helm to hold and has put a wheel beneath her feet, in order that none may fail to know that she runs through all the elements and rules the universe.

27 By this untimely death, although himself weary of his existence, the Caesar passed from life in the twenty-ninth year of his age, after a rule of four years. He was born in Etruria at Massa in the district of Vetulonia, being the son of Constantius, the brother of the emperor Constantine, and Galla, the sister of Rufinus and Cerealis, who were distinguished by the vesture of consul and prefect. 28 He was conspicuous for his handsome person, being well proportioned, with well-knit limbs. He had soft golden hair, and although his beard was just appearing in the form of tender down, yet he was conspicuous for the dignity of greater maturity. But he differed as much from the disciplined character of his brother Julian as did Domitian, son of Vespasian, from his brother Titus. 29 Raised to the highest rank in Fortune’s gift, he experienced her fickle changes, which make sport of mortals, now lifting some to the stars, now plunging them in the depths of Cocytus. But although instances of this are innumerable, I shall make cursory mention of only a few. 30 It was this mutable and fickle Fortune that changed the Sicilian Agathocles from a potter to a king, and Dionysius, once the terror of nations, to the head of an elementary school, at Corinth. 31 She it was that raised Andriscus of Adramyttium, who was born in a fullery, to the title of the Pseudo-Philip, and taught the legitimate son of Perseus the blacksmith’s trade as a means of livelihood. 32 She, too, delivered Mancinus, after his supreme command, to the Numantians, Veturius to the cruelty of the Samnites, and Claudius to the Corsicans, and she subjected Regulus to the savagery of the Carthaginians. Through her injustice Pompey, after he had gained the surname Great by his glorious deeds, was butchered in Egypt to give the eunuchs pleasure. 33 Eunus, too, a workhouse slave, commanded an army of runaways in Sicily. How many Romans of illustrious birth at the nod of that same arbiter of events embraced the knees of a Viriathus or a Spartacus! How many heads dreaded by all nations has the fatal executioner lopped off! One is led to prison, another is elevated to unlooked-for power, a third is cast down from the highest pinnacle of rank. 34 But if anyone should desire to know all these instances, varied and constantly occurring as they are, he will be mad enough to think of searching out the number of the sands and the weight of the mountains.

Book XV

1 The death of Gallus Caesar is reported to the Emperor.

1 So far as I could investigate the truth, I have, after putting the various events in clear order, related what I myself was allowed to witness in the course of my life, or to learn by meticulous questioning of those directly concerned. The rest, which the text to follow will disclose, we shall set forth to the best of our ability with still greater accuracy, feeling no fear of critics of the prolixity of our work, as they consider it; for conciseness is to be praised only when it breaks off ill-timed discursiveness, without detracting at all from an understanding of the course of events.

2 Hardly had Gallus been wholly stripped in Noricum, when Apodemius, a fiery inciter of disorder so long as he lived, seized and carried off Caesar’s shoes, and with such swift relays of horses that he killed some of them by over-driving, was the first to arrive in Milan as an advance informer. Entering the palace, he cast the shoes at Constantius’ feet, as if they were the spoils of the slain Parthian king. And on the arrival of the sudden tidings, which showed that an apparently hopeless and difficult enterprise had been carried out to their satisfaction with perfect ease, the highest court officials, as usual turning all their desire to please into flattery, extolled to the skies the emperor’s valour and good fortune, since at his beck two princes, though at different times, Veteranio to wit and Gallus, had been cashiered like common soldiers. 3 So Constantius, elated by this extravagant passion for flattery, and confidently believing that from now on he would be free from every mortal ill, swerved swiftly aside from just conduct so immoderately that sometimes in dictation he signed himself “My Eternity,” and in writing with his own hand called himself lord of the whole world — an expression which, if used by others, ought to have been received with just indignation by one who, as he often asserted, laboured with extreme care to model his life and character in rivalry with those of the constitutional emperors. 4 For even if he ruled the infinity of worlds postulated by Democritus, of which Alexander the Great dreamed under the stimulus of Anaxarchus, yet from reading or hearsay he should have considered that (as the astronomers unanimously teach) the circuit of whole earth, which to us seems endless, compared with the greatness of the universe has the likeness of a mere tiny point.

2 Ursicinus, commander of the cavalry in the Orient, Julian, brother of Gallus Caesar, and Gorgonius, his grand chamberlain, are accused of treason.

1 And now, after the pitiful downfall of the murdered Caesar, the trumpet of court trials sounded and Ursicinus was arraigned for high treason, since jealousy, the foe of all good men, grew more and more dangerous to his life. 2 For he fell victim to this difficulty, that the emperor’s ears were closed for receiving any just and easily proved defence, but were open to the secret whispers of plotters, who alleged that Constantius’ name was got rid of throughout all the eastern provinces and that the above-mentioned general was longed for both at home and abroad as being formidable to the Persian nation. 3 Yet in the face of events this high-souled hero stood immovable, taking care not to abase himself too abjectly, but lamenting from his heart that uprightness was so insecure, and the more depressed for the single reason that his friends, who had before been numerous, had deserted him for more powerful men, just as lictors are in the habit of passing, as custom requires, from magistrates to their successors. 4 Furthermore, he was attacked with the blandishments of counterfeit courtesy by Arbitio, who kept openly calling him his colleague and a brave man, but who was exceedingly shrewd in devising deadly snares for a straightforward character and was at that time altogether too powerful. For just as an underground serpent, lurking below the hidden entrance to its hole, watches each passer-by and attacks him with a sudden spring, so he, through envy of others’ fortune even after reaching the highest military position, without ever being injured or provoked kept staining his conscience from an insatiable determination to do harm. 5 So, in the presence of a few accomplices in the secret, after long deliberation it was privately arranged with the emperor that on the following night Ursicinus should be carried off far from the sight of the soldiers and slain with a trial, just as in days gone by it is said that Domitius Corbulo was murdered, a man who had been a loyal and prudent defender of the provinces amid the notorious corruption of Nero’s time. 6 When this had been so arranged and the persons appointed for it were awaiting the allotted time, the emperor changed his mind in the direction of mercy, and orders were given to postpone the wicked deed until after a second consultation.

7 But then the artillery of slander was turned against Julian, the future famous emperor, lately brought to account, and he was involved, as was unjustly held, in a two-fold accusation: first, that he had moved from the estate of Macellum, situated in Cappadocia, into the province of Asia, in his desire for a liberal education; and, second, that he had visited his brother Gallus as he passed through Constantinople. 8 And although he cleared himself of these implications and showed that he had done neither of these things without warrant, yet he would have perished at the instigation of the accursed crew of flatterers, had not, through the favour of divine power, Queen Eusebia befriended him; so he was brought to the town of Comum, near Milan, and after abiding there for a short time, he was allowed to go to Greece for the sake of perfecting his education, as he earnestly desired. 9 Nor were there wanting later actions arising from these occurrences which one might say had a happy issue, since the accusers were justly punished, or their charges came to naught as if void and vain. But it sometimes happened that rich men, knocking at the strongholds of the mighty, and clinging to them as ivy does to lofty trees, bought their acquittal at monstrous prices; but poor men, who had little or no means for purchasing safety, were condemned out of hand. And so both truth was masked by lies and sometimes false passed for true.

10 At that same time Gorgonius also, who had been appointed the Caesar’s head chamberlain, was brought to trial; and although it was clear from his own confession that he had been a party in his bold deeds, and sometimes their instigator, yet through a plot of the eunuchs justice was overshadowed with a clever tissue of lies, and he slipped out of danger and went his way.

3 Punishment is inflicted on the friends and tools of Gallus Caesar.

1 While these events were taking place at Milan, troops of soldiers were brought from the East to Aquileia together with several courtiers, their limbs wasting in chains as they drew feeble breaths and prayed to be delivered from longer life amid manifold miseries. For they were charged with having been tools of the savagery of Gallus, and it was through them, it was believed, that Domitianus and Montius were torn to pieces and others after them were driven to swift destruction. 2 To hear their defence were sent Arbetio and Eusebius, then grand chamberlain, both given to inconsiderate boasting, equally unjust and cruel. They, without examining anyone carefully or distinguishing between the innocent and the guilty, scourged and tortured some and condemned them to banishment, others they thrust down to the lowest military rank, the rest they sentenced to suffer death. And after filling the tombs with corpses, they returned as if in triumph and reported their exploits to the emperor, who in regard to these and similar cases was openly inflexible and severe. 3 Thereupon and henceforth Constantius, as if to upset the predestined order of the fates, more eagerly opened his heart and laid it bare to the plotters, many in number. Accordingly, numerous gossip-hunters suddenly arose, snapping with the jaws of wild beasts at even the highest officials, and afterwards at poor and rich indifferently, not like those Cibyrate hounds of Verres fawning upon the tribunal of only one governor, but afflicting the members of the whole commonwealth with a visitation of evils. 4 Among these Paulus and Mercurius were easily the leaders, the one a Persian by origin, the other born in Dacia; Paulus was a notary, Mercurius, a former imperial steward, was now a treasurer. And in fact this Paulus, as was told before, was nicknamed “the Chain,” because he was invincible in weaving coils of calumny, exerting himself in a wonderful variety of schemes, just as some expert wrestlers are in the habit of showing excessive skill in their contests. 5 But Mercurius was dubbed “Count of Dreams,” because, like a slinking, biting cur, savage within but peacefully wagging its tail, he would often worm his way into banquets and meetings, and if anyone had told a friend that he had seen anything in his sleep, when nature roams more freely, Mercurius would give it a worse colour by his venomous skill and pour it into the open ears of the emperor; and on such grounds a man, as though really chargeable with inexpiable guilt, would be beaten down by a heavy burden of accusation. 6 Since rumour exaggerated these reports and gave them wide currency, people were so far from revealing their nightly visions, that on the contrary they would hardly admit in the presence of strangers that they had slept at all, and certain scholars lamented that they had not been born near Mount Atlas, where it is said that dreams are not seen; but how that happens we may leave to those who are most versed in natural science.

7 Amid these dire aspects of trials and tortures there arose in Illyricum another disaster, which began with idle words and resulted in peril to many. At a dinner-party given by Africanus, governor of Pannonia Secunda, at Sirmium, certain men who were deep in their cups and supposed that no spy was present freely criticized the existing rule as most oppressive; whereupon some assured them, as if from portents, that the desired change of the times was at hand; others with inconceivable folly asserted that through auguries of the forefathers it was meant for them. 8 One of their number, Gaudentius, of the secret service, a dull man but of a hasty disposition, had reported the occurrence as serious to Rufinus, who was then chief steward of the praetorian prefecture, a man always eager for extreme measures and notorious for his natural depravity. 9 Rufinus at once, as though upborne on wings, flew to the emperor’s court and inflamed him, since he was easily influenced by such suspicions, to such excitement that without any deliberation Africanus and all those present at the fatal table were ordered to be quickly hoisted up and carried out. That done, the dire informer, more strongly desirous of things forbidden, as is the way of mankind, was directed to continue for two years in his present service, as he had requested. 10 So Teutomeres, the emperor’s bodyguard, was sent with a colleague to seize them, and loading them with chains, as he had been ordered, he brought them all in. But when they came to Aquileia, Marinus, an ex-drillmaster and now a tribune, who was on furlough at the time, the originator of that mischievous talk and besides a man of hot temper, being left in a tavern while things necessary for their journey were preparing, and chancing upon a long knife, stabbed himself in the side, at once plucked forth his vitals, and so died. 11 The rest were brought to Milan and cruelly tortured; and since they admitted that while feasting they had uttered some saucy expressions, it was ordered that they be kept in close confinement with some hope (though doubtful) of acquittal. But the members of the emperor’s guard, after being sentenced to leave the country for exile, since Marinus with their connivance had been allowed to die, at the suit of Arbetio obtained pardon.

4 Of the Lentienses, a tribe of the Alamanni, a part were slain and a part put to flight by Constantius Augustus.

1 The affair thus ended, war was declared on the . . . and Lentienses, tribes of the Alamanni, who often made extensive inroads through the Roman frontier defences. On that expedition the emperor himself set out and came to Raetia and the Campi Canini; and after long and careful deliberation it seemed both honorable and expedient that, while he waited there with a part of the soldiers, Arbetio, commander of the cavalry, with the stronger part of the army should march on, skirting the shores of Lake Brigantia, in order to engage at once with the savages. Here I will describe the appearance of this place as briefly as my project allows.

2 Between the defiles of lofty mountains the Rhine rises and pours with mighty current over high rocks, without receiving tributary streams, just as the Nile with headlong descent pours over the cataracts. And it could be navigated from its very source, since it overflows with waters of its own, did it not run along like a torrent rather than a quietly flowing river. 3 And now rolling to level ground and cutting its way between high and widely separated banks, it enters a vast round lake, which its Raetian neighbour calls Brigantia; this is four hundred and sixty stades long and in breadth spreads over an almost equal space; it is inaccessible through the bristling woods of the gloomy forest except where that old-time practical Roman ability, in spite of the opposition of the savages, the nature of the region, and the rigour of the climate, constructed a broad highroad. 4 Into this pool, then, the river bursts roaring with frothing eddies, and cleaving the sluggish quiet of the waters, cuts through its midst as if with a boundary line. And as if the element were divided by an everlasting discord, without increasing or diminishing the volume which it carried in, it emerges with name and force unchanged, and without thereafter suffering any contact it mingles with Ocean’s flood. 5 And what is exceeding strange, neither is the lake stirred by the swift passage of the waters nor is the hurrying river stayed by the foul mud of the lake, and though mingled they cannot be blended into one body; but if one’s very sight did not prove it to be so, one would not believe it possible for them to be kept apart by any power. 6 In the same way the river Alpheus, rising in Arcadia and falling in love with the fountain Arethusa, cleaves the Ionian Sea, as the myth tells us, and hastens to the retreat of the beloved nymph. 7 Arbetio did not wait for the coming of messengers to announce the arrival of the savages, although he knew that a dangerous war was on foot, and when he was decoyed into a hidden ambuscade, he stood immovable, overwhelmed by the sudden mischance. 8 For the enemy sprang unexpectedly out of their lurking places and without sparing pierced with many kinds of weapons everything within reach; and in fact not one of our men could resist, nor could they hope for any other means of saving their lives than swift flight. Therefore the soldiers, bent on avoiding wounds, straggled here and there in disorderly march, exposing their backs to blows. Very many however, scattering by narrow by-paths and saved from danger by the protecting darkness of the night, when daylight returned recovered their strength and rejoined each his own company. In this mischance, so heavy and so unexpected, an excessive number of soldiers and ten tribunes were lost. 9 As a result the Alamanni, elated in spirit, came on more boldly the following day against the Roman works; and while the morning mist obscured the light they rushed about with drawn swords, gnashing their teeth and giving vent to boastful threats. But the targeteers suddenly sallied forth, and when they were driven back by the opposition of the enemy’s battalions, and were at a standstill, with one mind they called out all their comrades to the fight. 10 But when the majority were terrified by the evidence of the recent disaster, and Arbetio hesitated, believing that the sequel would be dangerous, three tribunes sallied forth together: Arintheus, lieutenant-commander of the heavy-armed bodyguard, Seniauchus, leader of a squadron of the household cavalry, and Bappo, an officer of the veterans. 11 They with the soldiers under their command, devoting themselves on behalf of the common cause, like the Decii of old, poured like a torrent upon the enemy, and not in a pitched battle, but in a series of swift skirmishes, put them all to most shameful flight. And as they scattered with broken ranks and encumbered by their haste to escape, they exposed themselves unprotected, and by many a thrust of swords and spears were cut to pieces. 12 And many, as they lay there, slain horse and man together, seemed even then to be sitting fast upon the back of their mounts. On seeing this, all who had been in doubt about going into battle with their comrades poured forth from the camp, and careless of all precaution trod underfoot the horde of savages, except those whom flight had saved from death, trampling on heaps of dead bodies, and drenched with the blood of the slain. 13 The battle thus done and ended, the emperor returned in triumph and joy to Milan, to pass the winter.

5 Silvanus the Frank, commander of the infantry in Gaul, is hailed as Augustus at Cologne, but is treacherously slain on the twenty-eighth day of his reign.

1 Now there arises in this afflicted state of affairs a storm of new calamities, with no less mischief to the provinces; and it would have destroyed everything at once, had not Fortune, arbitress of human chances, brought to an end with speedy issue a most formidable uprising. 2 Since through long neglect Gaul was enduring bitter massacres, pillage, and the ravages of fire, as the savages plundered at will and no one helped, Silvanus, an infantry commander thought capable of redressing these outrages, came there at the emperor’s order; and Arbetio urged by whatever means he could that this should be hastened, in order that the burden of a perilous undertaking might be imposed upon an absent rival, whose survival even to this time he looked upon as an affliction.

3 A certain Dynamius, superintendent of the emperor’s pack-animals, had asked Silvanus for letters of recommendation to his friends, in order to make himself very conspicuous, as if he were one of his intimates. On obtaining this request, for Silvanus, suspecting nothing, had innocently granted it, he kept the letters, intending to work some mischief at the proper time. 4 So when the above-mentioned commander was traversing Gaul in the service of the government and driving forth the savages, who had now lost their confidence and courage, this same Dynamius, being restless in action, like the crafty man he was and practised in deceit, devised a wicked plot. He had as abettors and fellow conspirators, as uncertain rumours declared, Lampadius, the praetorian prefect, and Eusebius, former keeper of the privy purse, who had been nicknamed Mattyocopus, and Aedesius, late master of the rolls, all of whom the said prefect had arranged to have called to the consulship as his nearest friends. With a sponge he effaced the lines of writing, leaving only the signature intact, and wrote above it another text far different from the original, indicating that Silvanus in obscure terms was asking and urging his assistants within the palace or without official position, including both Tuscus Albinus and many more, to help him, aiming as he was at a loftier position and soon to mount to the imperial throne. 5 This packet of letters, thus forged at his pleasure to assail the life of an innocent man, the prefect received from Dynamius, and coming into the emperor’s private room at an opportune time and finding him alone, secretly handed it to him, accustomed as he was eagerly to investigate these and similar charges. Thereby the prefect hoped that he would be rewarded by the emperor, as a most watchful and careful guardian of his safety. And when these letters, patched together with cunning craft, were read to the consistory, orders were given that those tribunes whose names were mentioned in the letters should be imprisoned, and that the private individuals should be brought to the capital from the provinces. 6 But Malarichus, commander of the gentiles, was at once struck with the unfairness of the procedure, and summoning his colleagues, vigorously protested, exclaiming that men devoted to the empire ought not to be made victims of cliques and wiles. And he asked that he himself — leaving as hostages his relatives and having Mallobaudes, tribune of the heavy-armed guard, as surety for his return — might be commissioned to go quickly and fetch Silvanus, who was not entering upon any such attempt as those most bitter plotters had trumped up. Or as an alternative, he asked that he might make a like promise and that Mallobaudes be allowed to hurry there and perform what he himself had promised to do. 7 For he declared that he knew beyond question that, if any outsider should be sent, Silvanus, being by nature apprehensive, even when there was nothing alarming, would be likely to upset the peace.

8 But although his advice was expedient and necessary, yet he was talking vainly to the winds. For by Arbetio’s advice Apodemius, an inveterate and bitter enemy of every patriot, was sent with a letter to recall Silvanus. He, caring little for what might happen, on arriving in Gaul, departed from the instructions given him on his setting out and remained there without either interviewing Silvanus or citing him to come to court by delivering the letter; and associating with himself the fiscal agent of the province, as if the said infantry commander were proscribed and now to be executed, he abused his dependents and slaves with the arrogance of an enemy. 9 In the meantime, however, while Silvanus’ presence was awaited and Apodemius was disturbing the peace, Dynamius, in order to maintain the credibility of his wicked inventions with a stronger argument, had made up a letter tallying with the one which he had presented to the emperor through the prefect, and sent it to the tribune of the Cremona armory, in the name of Silvanus and Malarichus; in this letter the tribune, as one privy to their secret designs, was admonished to prepare everything with speed. 10 When the tribune had read this, hesitating for a long time and puzzling as to what in the world it meant (for he did not remember that the man whose letter he had received had ever talked with him about any confidential business), he sent the identical letter back to Malarichus by the carrier who had brought it, and with him a soldier, begging Malarichus to explain openly what he wanted, and not so enigmatically. For he declared that, being a somewhat rude and plain man, he had not understood what had been obscurely intimated. 11 Malarichus, on unexpectedly receiving this, being even then troubled and sad, and grievously lamenting his own lot and that of his fellow countryman Silvanus, called together the Franks, who at that time were numerous and influential in the palace, and now spoke more boldly, raising an outcry over the disclosure of the plot and the unveiling of the deceit by which their lives were avowedly aimed at. 12 And on learning this, the emperor decided that the matter should be investigated searchingly through the medium of his council and all his officers. And when the judges had taken their seats, Florentius, son of Nigrinianus, at the time deputy master of the offices, on scrutinising the script with greater care, and finding a kind of shadow, as it were, of the former letters, perceived what had been done, namely, that the earlier text had been tampered with and other matter added quite different from what Silvanus had dictated, in accordance with the intention of this patched-up forgery. 13 Accordingly, when this cloud of deceit had broken away, the emperor, learning of the events from a faithful report, deprived the prefect of his powers, and gave orders that he should be put under examination; but he was acquitted through an energetic conspiracy of many persons. Eusebius, however, former count of the privy purse, on being put upon the rack, admitted that this had been set on foot with his cognizance. 14 Aedesius, who maintained with stout denial that he had known nothing of what was done, got off scot-free. And so at the close of the business all those were acquitted whom the incriminating report had forced to be produced for trial; in fact Dynamius, as if given distinction by his illustrious conduct, was bidden to govern Etruria and Umbria with the rank of corrector.

15 Meanwhile Silvanus, stationed at Cologne and learning from his friends’ constant messages what Apodemius was undertaking to the ruin of his fortunes, knowing the pliant mind of the fickle emperor, and fearing lest he should be condemned to death absent and unheard, was put in a most difficult position and though of entrusting himself to the good faith of the savages. 16 But he was prevented by Laniogaisus, at that time a tribune, whom I have earlier stated to have been the sole witness of Constans’ death, while he was serving as a subaltern. He assured Silvanus that the Franks, whose fellow countryman he was, would kill him or on receipt of a bribe betray him. So Silvanus, seeing no safety under present conditions, was driven to extreme measures, and having gradually spoken more boldly with the chief officers, he aroused them by the greatness of the reward he promised; then as a temporary expedient he tore the purple decorations from the standards of the cohorts and the companies, and so mounted to the imperial dignity.

17 And while this was going on in Gaul, as the day was already drawing to its close, an unexpected messenger reached Milan, openly declaring that Silvanus aiming higher than the command of the infantry, had won over his army and risen to imperial eminence. 18 Constantius, struck down by the weight of this unexpected mischance as by a thunderbolt of Fate, called a council at about midnight, and all the chief officials hastened to the palace. And when no one’s mind or tongue was equal to showing what ought to be done, mention in subdued tones was made of Ursicinus, as a man conspicuous for his sagacity in the art of war, and one who had been without reason provoked by serious injustice. And when he had been summoned by the master of ceremonies (which is the more honourable way) and had entered the council chamber, he was offered the purple to kiss much more graciously than ever before. Now it was the emperor Diocletian who was the first to introduce this foreign and royal form of adoration, whereas we have read that always before our emperors were saluted like the higher officials. 19 So the man who shortly before with malicious slander was called the maelstrom of the East and a seeker after acquisition of imperial power through his sons, then became a most politic leader and mighty fellow soldier of Constantine’s, and the only person to extinguish the fire; but he was really being attacked under motives honourable, to be sure, but yet insidious. For great care was being taken that Silvanus should be destroyed as a very brave rebel; or, if that should fail, that Ursicinus, already deeply gangrened, should be utterly annihilated, in order that a rock so greatly to be dreaded should not be left. 20 Accordingly, when arrangements were being made for hastening his departure, and the general undertook the refutation of the charges brought against him, the emperor, forestalling him by a mild address, forbade it, declaring that it was not the time for taking up the defence of a disputed case, when the urgency of pressing affairs which should be mitigated before it grew worse, demanded that parties should mutually be restored to their old-time harmony. 21 Accordingly, after a many-sided debate, this point was chiefly discussed, namely, by what device Silvanus might be led to think that the emperor even then had no knowledge of his action. And they invented a plausible means of strengthening his confidence, advising him in a complimentary letter to receive Ursicinus as his successor and return with his dignities unimpaired. 22 After this had been thus settled, Ursicinus was ordered to set forth at once, accompanied (as he had requested) by some tribunes and ten of the body-guard, to assist the exigencies of the state. Among these I myself was one, with my colleague Verinianus; all the rest were relatives and friends. 23 And when he left, each of us attended him for a long distance in fear only for our own safety. But although we were, like gladiators, cast before ravening wild beasts, yet reflecting that melancholy events after all have this good sequel, that they give way to good fortune, we admired that saying of Tully’s, delivered even from the inmost depths of truth itself, which runs as follows: “And although it is most desirable that our fortune always remain wholly favourable, yet that evenness of life does not give so great a sense of satisfaction as when, after wretchedness and disaster, fortune is recalled to a better estate.”

24 Accordingly, we hastened by forced marches, since the commander-in-chief of the army, in his zeal, wished to appear in the suspected districts before any report of the usurpation had made its way into Italy. But for all our running haste, Rumour had flown before us by some aerial path and revealed our coming; and on arriving at Cologne we found everything above our reach. 25 For since a great crowd assembled from all sides gave a firm foundation to the enterprise so timidly begun, and large forces had been mustered, it seemed, in view of the state of affairs, more fitting that our general should complaisantly favour the upstart emperor’s purpose and desire to be strengthened in the growth of his power by deceptive omens; to the end that by means of manifold devices of flattery his feeling of security might be made more complete, and he might be caught off his guard against anything hostile. 26 But the issue of this project seemed difficult; for special care had to be observed that the onsets should take advantage of the right moment, neither anticipating it nor falling short of it. Since if they should break out prematurely, we were all sure to suffer death under a single sentence.

27 However, our general, being kindly received and forcing himself — since our very commission bent our necks — formally to reverence the high-aiming wearer of the purple, was welcomed as a distinguished and intimate friend. In freedom of access and honourable place at the royal table he was so preferred to others that he came to be confidentially consulted about the most important affairs. 28 Silvanus took it ill that while unworthy men were raised to the consulship and to high positions, he and Ursicinus alone, after having toiled through such heavy and repeated tasks for the government, had been so scorned that he himself had been cruelly harassed in an unworthy controversy through the examination of friends of his, and summoned to trial for treason, while Ursicinus, haled back from the East, was delivered over to the hatred of his enemies; and these continual complaints he made both covertly and openly. 29 We however were alarmed, in spite of these and similar speeches, at the uproarious complaints of the soldiers on every hand, pleading their destitution and eager to burst through the passes of the Cottian Alps with all speed.

30 Amid this perplexing distress of spirit we kept casting about in secret investigation for some plan likely to have results; and in the end, after often changing our minds through fear, we resolved to search with the greatest pains for discreet representatives, to bind our communication with solemn oaths, and try to win over the Bracchiati and Cornuti, troops wavering in their allegiance and ready to be swayed by any influence for an ample bribe. 31 Accordingly, the matter was arranged through some common soldiers as go-betweens, men who through their very inconspicuousness were suited to accomplish it; and just as sunrise was reddening the sky, a sudden group of armed men, fired by the expectation of rewards, burst forth; and as usually happens in critical moments, made bolder by slaying the sentinels, they forced their way into the palace, dragged Silvanus from a chapel where he had in breathless fear taken refuge, while on his way to the celebration of a Christian service, and butchered him with repeated sword-thrusts.

32 So fell by this manner of death a general of no slight merits, who through fear due to the slanders in which he was ensnared during his absence by a clique of his enemies, in order to save his life had resorted to the uttermost measures of defence. 33 For although he held Constantius under obligation through gratitude for that timely act of coming over to his side with his soldiers before the battle of Mursa, yet he feared him as variable and uncertain, although he could point also to the valiant deeds of his father Bonitus, a Frank it is true, but one who in the civil war often fought vigorously on the side of Constantine against the soldiers of Licinius. 34 Now it had happened that before anything of the kind was set on foot in Gaul, the people at Rome in the Great Circus (whether excited by some story or by some presentiment is uncertain) cried out with a loud voice: “Silvanus is vanquished.”

35 Accordingly, when Silvanus had been slain at Cologne, as had been related, the emperor learned of it with inconceivable joy, and swollen with vanity and pride, ascribed this also to the prosperous course of his own good fortune, in accordance with the way in which he always hated brave and energetic men, as Domitian did in times gone by, yet tried to overcome them by every possible scheme of opposition. 36 And so far was he from praising conscientious service, that he actually wrote that Ursicinus had embezzled funds from the Gallic treasury, which no one had touched. And he had ordered the matter to be closely examined, questioning Remigius, who at that time was already auditor of the general’s office of infantry supplies, and whose fate it was, long afterwards in the days of Valentinian, to take his life with the halter because of the affair of the embassy from Tripoli. 37 After this turn of affairs, Constantius, as one that now touched the skies with his head and would control all human chances, was puffed up by the grandiloquence of his flatterers, whose number he himself increased by scorning and rejecting those who were not adepts in that line; as we read of Croesus, that he drove Solon headlong out of his kingdom for the reason that he did not know how to flatter; and of Dionysius, that he threatened the poet Philoxenus with death, because when the tyrant was reading aloud his own silly and unrhythmical verses, and every one else applauded, the poet alone listened unmoved. 38 But this fault is a pernicious nurse of vices. For praise ought to be acceptable in high places only when opportunity is also sometimes given for reproach of things ill done.

6 The friends and accomplices of Silvanus are put to death.

1 And now after this relief the usual trials were set on foot, and many men were punished with bonds and chains, as malefactors. For up rose that diabolical informer Paulus, bubbling over with joy, to begin practising his venomous arts more freely; and when the councillors and officers (as was ordered) inquired into the matter, Proculus, Silvanus’ adjutant, was put upon the rack. Since he was a puny and sickly man, every one feared that his slight frame would yield to excessive torture, and that he would cause many persons of all conditions to be accused of heinous crimes. But the result was not at all what was expected. 2 For mindful of a dream, in which he was forbidden while asleep, as he himself declared, to strike a certain innocent person, although tortured to the very brink of death, he neither named or impeached anyone, but steadfastly defended the action of Silvanus, proving by credible evidence that he had attempted his enterprise, not driven on from ambition, but compelled by necessity. 3 For he brought forward a convincing reason, made clear by the testimony of many persons, namely, that four days before Silvanus assumed the badges of empire, he paid the soldiers and in Constantius’ name exhorted them to be brave and loyal. From which it was clear that if he were planning to appropriate the insignia of a higher rank, he would have bestowed so great a quantity of gold as his own gift. 4 After him Poemenius, doomed like evil doers, was haled to execution and perished; he was the man (as we have told above) who was chosen to protect his fellow-citizens when Treves closed its gates against Decentius Caesar. Then the counts Asclepiodotus, Lutto and Maudio were put to death, and many others, since the obduracy of the times made an intricate investigation into these and similar charges.

7 Riots of the Roman people are suppressed by Leontius, prefect of the City. The Bishop Liberius is deposed.

1 While the dire confusion was causing these calamities of general destruction, Leontius, governor of the Eternal City, gave many proofs of being an excellent judge; for he was prompt in hearing cases, most just in his decisions, by nature kindly, although for the sake of maintaining his authority he seemed to some to be severe and too apt to condemn. 2 Now the first device for stirring up rebellion against him was very slight and trivial. For when the arrest of the charioteer Philoromus was ordered, all the commons followed, as if to defend their own darling, and with a formidable onslaught set upon the governor, thinking him to be timid. But he, firm and resolute, sent his officers among them — seized some and put them to the torture, and then without anyone protesting or opposing him he punished them with exile to the islands. 3 And a few days later the people again, excited with their usual passion, and alleging a scarcity of wine, assembled at the Septemzodium, a much frequented spot, where the emperor Marcus Aurelius erected a Nymphaeum of pretentious style. Thither the governor resolutely proceeded, although earnestly entreated by all his legal and official suite not to trust himself to the self-confident and threatening throng, which was still angry from the former disturbance; but he, hard to frighten, kept straight on, so boldly that a part of his following deserted him, though he was hastening into imminent danger. 4 Then, seated in his carriage, with every appearance of confidence he scanned with keen eyes the faces of the crowds in their tiers, raging on all sides of him like serpents, and allowed many insults to be hurled at him; but recognising one fellow conspicuous among the rest, of huge stature and red-headed, he asked him if he were not Peter, surnamed Valuomeres, as he had heard. And when the man had replied in insolent tones that he was none other, the governor, who had known him of old as the ringleader of the malcontents, in spite of the outcries of many, gave orders to bind his hands behind him and hang him up. 5 On seeing him aloft, vainly begging for the aid of his fellows, the whole mob, until then crowded together, scattered through the various arteries of the city and vanished so completely that this most doughty promoter of riots had his sides well flogged, as if in a secret dungeon, and was banished to Picenum. There later he had the hardihood to offer violence to a maiden of good family, and under sentence of the governor Patruinus, suffered capital punishment.

6 During the administration of this Leontius, a priest of the Christian religion, Liberius by name, by order of Constantius was brought before the privy council on the charge of opposing the emperor’s commands and the decrees of the majority of his colleagues in an affair which I shall run over briefly. 7 Athanasius, at that time bishop of Alexandria, was a man who exalted himself above his calling and tried to pry into matters outside his province, as persistent rumours revealed; therefore an assembly which had been convoked of members of that same sect — a synod, as they call it — deposed him from the rank that he held. 8 For it was reported that, being highly skilled in the interpretation of prophetic lots or of omens indicated by birds, he had sometimes foretold future events; and besides this he was also charged with other practices repugnant to the purposes of the religion over which he presided. 9 Liberius, when directed by the emperor’s order to depose him from his priesthood by endorsing the official decree, though holding the same opinion as the rest strenuously objected, crying out that it was the height of injustice to condemn a man unseen and unheard, thus, of course, openly defying the emperor’s will. 10 For although Constantius, who was always hostile to Athanasius, knew that the matter had been carried out, yet he strove with eager desire to have it ratified also by the higher power of the bishop of the Eternal City; and since he could not obtain this, Liberius was spirited away, but only with the greatest difficulty and in the middle of the night, for fear of the populace, who were devotedly attached to him.

8 Julian, brother of Gallus, is appointed Caesar by his cousin Constantius Augustus, and given command over Gaul.

1 This, then, was the situation at Rome, as the preceding text has shown. But Constantius was disquieted by frequent messages reporting that Gaul was in desperate case, since the savages were ruinously devastating everything without opposition. And after worrying for a long time how he might forcibly avert these disasters, while himself remaining in Italy as he desired — for he thought it risky to thrust himself into a far-distant region — he at length hit upon the right plan and thought of associating with himself in a share of the empire his cousin Julian, who not so very long before had been summoned from the district of Achaia and still wore his student’s cloak.

2 When Constantius, driven by the weight of impending calamities, admitted his purpose to his intimates, openly declaring (what he had never done before) that in his lone state he was giving way before so many and such frequent crises, they, being trained to excessive flattery, tried to cajole him, constantly repeating that there was nothing so difficult that his surpassing ability and a good fortune so nearly celestial could not overcome as usual. And several, since the consciousness of their offences pricked them on, added that the title of Caesar ought henceforth to be avoided, rehearsing what had happened under Gallus. 3 To them in their obstinate resistance the queen alone opposed herself, whether she dreaded journeying to a far country or with her native intelligence took counsel for the common good, and she declared that a kinsman ought to be preferred to every one else. So, after much bandying the matter to and fro in fruitless deliberations, the emperor’s resolution stood firm, and setting aside all bootless discussion, he decided to admit Julian to a share in the imperial power. 4 So when he had been summoned and had arrived, on an appointed day all his fellow-soldiers there present were called together, and a platform was erected on a lofty scaffolding, surrounded by the eagles and the standards. On this Augustus stood, and holding Julian by the right hand, in a quiet tone delivered the following address:

5 “We stand before you, valiant defenders of our country, to avenge the common cause with one all but unanimous spirit; and how I shall accomplish this I shall briefly explain to you, as impartial judges. 6 After the death of those rebellious tyrants whom mad fury drove to attempt the designs which they projected, the savages, as if sacrificing to their wicked Manes with Roman blood, have forced our peaceful frontier and are over-running Gaul, encouraged by the belief that dire straits beset us throughout our far-flung empire. 7 If this evil therefore, which is already creeping on beyond set bounds, is met by the accord of our and your wills while time permits, the necks of these proud tribes will not swell so high, and the frontiers of our empire will remain inviolate. It remains for you to confirm with happy issue the hope of the future which I cherish. 8 This Julian, my cousin as you know, rightly honoured for the modesty through which he is as dear to us as through ties of blood, a young man of ability which is already conspicuous, I desire to admit to the rank of Caesar, and that this project, if it seems advantageous, may be confirmed also by your assent.”

9 As he was attempting to say more to this effect, the assembly interrupted and gently prevented him, declaring as if with foreknowledge of the future that this was the will of the supreme divinity rather than of any human mind. 10 And the emperor, standing motionless until they became silent, went on with the rest of his speech with greater assurance: “Since, then,” said he, “your joyful acclaim shows that I have your approval also, let this young man of quiet strength, whose temperate behaviour is rather to be imitated than proclaimed, rise to receive this honour conferred upon him by God’s favour. His excellent disposition, trained in all good arts, I seem to have fully described by the very fact that I have chosen him. Therefore with the immediate favour of the God of Heaven I will invest him with the imperial robes.”

11 This he said and then, after having clothed Julian in the ancestral purple and proclaimed him Caesar to the joy of the army, he thus addressed him, somewhat melancholy in aspect as he was, and with careworn countenance:

12 “My brother, dearest to me of all men, you have received in your prime the glorious flower of your origin; with increase of my own glory, I admit, since I seem to myself more truly great in bestowing almost equal power on a noble prince who is my kinsman, than through that power itself. 13 Come, then, to share in pains and perils, and undertake the charge of defending Gaul, ready to relieve the afflicted regions with every bounty. And if it becomes necessary to engage with the enemy, take your place with sure footing amid the standard bearers themselves; be a thoughtful advisor of daring in due season, animate the warriors by taking the lead with utmost caution, strengthen them when in disorder with reinforcements, modestly rebuke the slothful, and be present as a most faithful witness at the side of the strong, as well as of the weak. 14 Therefore, urged by the great crisis, go forth, yourself a brave man, ready to lead men equally brave. We shall stand by each other in turn with firm and steadfast affection, we shall campaign at the same time, and together we shall rule over a pacified world, provided only God grants our prayers, with equal moderation and conscientiousness. You will seem to be present with me everywhere, and I shall not fail you in whatever you undertake. In fine, go, hasten, with the united prayers of all, to defend with sleepless care the post assigned you, as it were, by your country herself.”

15 After this address was ended, no one held his peace, but all the soldiers with fearful din struck their shields against their knees (this is a sign of complete approval; for when, on the contrary, they smite their shields with their spears it is an indication of anger and resentment), and it was wonderful with what great joy all but a few approved Augustus’ choice and with due admiration welcomed the Caesar, brilliant with the gleam of the imperial purple. 16 Gazing long and earnestly on his eyes, at once terrible and full of charm, and on his face attractive in its unusual animation, they divined what manner of man he would be, as if they had perused those ancient books, the reading of which discloses from bodily signs the inward qualities of the soul. And that he might be regarded with the greater respect, they neither praised him beyond measure nor less than was fitting, and therefore their words were esteemed as those of censors, not of soldiers. 17 Finally, he was taken up to sit with the emperor in his carriage and conducted to the palace, whispering this verse from the Homeric song:

“By purple death I’m seized and fate supreme.”

This happened on the sixth of November of the year when Arbetio and Lollianus were consuls. 18 Then, within a few days, Helena, the maiden sister of Constantius, was joined in the bonds of wedlock to the Caesar; and when everything had been prepared which the imminence of his departure demanded, taking a small suite, he set out on the first of December, escorted by Augustus as far as the spot marked by two columns, lying between Laumello and Pavia, and came by direct marches to Turin. There he was staggered by serious news, which had lately been brought to the emperor’s court but had purposely been kept secret, for fear that the preparations might come to nothing. 19 The news stated that Cologne, a city of great renown in Lower Germany, after an obstinate siege by the savages in great force, had been stormed and destroyed. 20 Overwhelmed by sorrow at this, the first omen, as it were, of approaching ills, he was often heard to mutter in complaining tones that he had gained nothing, except to die with heavier work. 21 But when he reached Vienne and entered the city, all ages and ranks flocked together to receive him with honour, as a man both longed for and efficient; and when they saw him afar off, the whole populace with the immediate neighbourhood, saluted him as a commander gracious and fortunate, and marched ahead of him with a chorus of praise, the more eagerly beholding royal pomp in a legitimate prince. And in his coming they placed the redress of their common disasters, thinking that some helpful spirit had shone upon their desperate condition. 22 Then an old woman, who had lost her sight, on inquiring who had entered and learning that it was the Caesar Julian, cried out that he would repair the temples of the Gods.

9 Of the origin of the Gauls; and why the Celts and Galatians were so called; and of their learned men.

1 Now, since — as the lofty bard of Mantua said of old — a greater work I undertake, a greater train of events ariseth before me, I think now a suitable time to describe the regions and situation of the Gauls, for fear that amid fiery encounters and shifting fortunes of battle I may treat of matters unknown to some and seem to follow the example of slovenly sailors, who are forced amid surges and storms to mend their worn sails and rigging, which might have been put in order with less danger. 2 The ancient writers, in doubt as to the earliest origin of the Gauls, have left an incomplete account of the matter, but later Timagenes, a true Greek in accuracy as well as language, collected out of various books these facts that had been long forgotten; which, following his authority, and avoiding any obscurity, I shall state clearly and plainly. 3 Some asserted that the people first seen in these regions were Aborigines, called Celts from the name of a beloved king, and Galatae (for so the Greek language terms the Gauls) from the name of his mother. Others state that the Dorians, following the earlier Hercules, settled in the lands bordering on the Ocean. 4 The Drysidae say that a part of the people was in fact indigenous, but that others also poured in from the remote islands and the regions across the Rhine, driven from their homes by continual wars and by the inundation of the stormy sea. 5 Some assert that after the destruction of Troy a few of those who fled from the Greeks and were scattered everywhere occupied those regions, which were then deserted. 6 But the inhabitants of those countries affirm this beyond all else, and I have also read it inscribed upon their monuments, that Hercules, the son of Amphitryon, hastened to destroy the cruel tyrants Geryon and Tauriscus, of whom one oppressed Spain, the other, Gaul; and having overcome them both that he took to wife some high-born women and begat numerous children, who called by their own names the districts which they ruled. 7 But in fact a people of Asia from Phocaea, to avoid the severity of Harpalus, prefect of king Cyrus, set sail for Italy. A part of them founded Velia in Lucania, the rest, Massilia in the region of Vienne. Then in subsequent ages they established no small number of towns, as their strength and resources increased. But I must not discuss varying opinions, which often causes satiety. 8 Throughout these regions men gradually grew civilised and the study of the liberal arts flourished, initiated by the Bards, the Euhages and the Druids. Now, the Bards sang to the sweet strains of the lyre the valorous deeds of famous men composed in heroic verse, but the Euhages, investigating the sublime, attempted to explain the secret laws of nature. The Druids, being loftier than the rest in intellect, and bound together in fraternal organisations, as the authority of Pythagoras determined, were elevated by their investigation of obscure and profound subjects, and scorning all things human, pronounced the soul immortal.

10 Of the Gallic Alps and the various passes through them.

1 This country of Gaul, because of its lofty chains of mountains always covered with formidable snows, was formerly all but unknown to the inhabitants of the rest of the globe, except where it borders on the coast; and bulwarks enclose it on every side, surrounding it naturally, as if by the art of man. 2 Now on the southern side it is washed by the Tuscan and the Gallic Sea; where it looks up to the heavenly Wain, it is separated from the wild nations by the channels of the Rhine. Where it lies under the west-sloping sun it is bounded by the Ocean and the Pyrenaean heights; and where it rises towards the East it gives place to the bulk of the Cottian Alps. There King Cottius, after the subjugation of Gaul, lay hidden alone in their defiles, trusting to the pathless ruggedness of the region; finally, when his disaffection was allayed, and he was admitted to the emperor Octavian’s friendship, in lieu of a remarkable gift he built with great labour short cuts convenient to travellers, since they were midway between other ancient Alpine passes, about which I shall later tell what I have learned. 3 In these Cottian Alps, which begin at the town of Susa, there rises a lofty ridge, which scarcely anyone can cross without danger. 4 For as one comes from Gaul it falls off with sheer incline, terrible to look upon because of overhanging cliffs on either side, especially in the season of spring, when the ice melts and the snows thaw under the warmer breath of the wind; then over precipitous ravines on either side and chasms rendered treacherous through the accumulation of ice, men and animals descending with hesitating step slide forward, and waggons as well. And the only expedient that has been devised to ward off destruction is this: they bind together a number of vehicles with heavy ropes and hold them back from behind with powerful efforts of men or oxen at barely a snail’s pace; and so they roll down a little more safely. And this, as we have said, happens in the spring of the year. 5 But in winter the ground, caked with ice, and as it were polished and therefore slippery, drives men headlong in their gait and the spreading valleys in level places, made treacherous by ice, sometimes swallow up the traveller. Therefore those that know the country well drive projecting wooden stakes along the safer spots, in order that their line may guide the traveller in safety. But if these are covered with snow and hidden, or are overturned by the streams running down from the mountains, the paths are difficult to traverse even with natives leading the way. 6 But from the peak of this Italian slope a plateau extends for seven miles, as far as the post named from Mars; from there on another loftier height, equally difficult to surmount, reaches to the peak of the Matrona, so called from an accident to a noble lady. After that a route, steep to be sure, but easier to traverse extends to the fortress of Briançon. 7 The tomb of the prince, who, as we said, built these roads, is at Susa next to the walls, and his shades are devoutly venerated for a double reason: because he had ruled his subjects with a just government, and when admitted to alliance with the Roman state, procured eternal peace for his nation. 8 And although this road which I have described is the middle one, the short cut, and the more frequented, yet there are also others, constructed long before at various times. 9 Now the first of these the Theban Hercules, when travelling leisurely to destroy Geryon and Tauriscus, constructed near the Maritime Alps and gave them the name of Graian Alps. And in like manner he consecrated the castle and harbour of Monaco to his lasting memory. Then, later, after the passage of many centuries, the name Pennine was devised for these Alps for the following reason. 10 Publius Cornelius Scipio, father of the elder Africanus, when the Saguntines, famous both for their catastrophes and their loyalty, were besieged by the Africans with persistent obstinacy, wishing to help them, crossed to Spain with a fleet manned by a strong army. But as the city had been destroyed by a superior force, and he was unable to overtake Hannibal, who had crossed the Rhone three days before and was hastening to the regions of Italy, by swift sailing he crossed the intervening space — which is not great — and watched at Genoa, a town of Liguria, for Hannibal’s descent from the mountains, so that if chance should give him the opportunity, he might fight with him in the plain while exhausted by the roughness of the roads. 11 At the same time, having an eye to the common welfare, he advised his brother, Gnaeus Scipio, to proceed to Spain and hold off Hasdrubal, who was planning to burst forth in like manner from that quarter. But Hannibal learned of this from deserters, and being of a nimble and crafty wit, came, under the guidance of natives from among the Taurini, through the Tricasini and the extreme edge of the Vocontii to the passes of the Tricorii. Starting out from there, he made another road, where it hitherto had been impassable; he hewed out a cliff which rose to a vast height by burning it with flames of immense power and crumbling it by pouring on vinegar; then he marched along the river Druentia, dangerous with its shifting eddies, and seized upon the district of Etruria. So much about the Alps; let us now turn to the rest of the country.

11 A brief description of the various parts of Gaul and of the course of the Rhone.

1 In early times, when these regions lay in darkness as savage, they are thought to have been threefold, divided into Celts (the same as the Gauls), the Aquitanians, and the Belgians, differing in language, habits and laws. 2 Now the Gauls (who are the Celts) are separated from the Aquitanians by the Garonne river, which rises in the hills of the Pyrenees, and after running past many towns disappears in the Ocean. 3 But from the Belgians this same nation is separated by the Marne and the Seine, rivers of identical size; they flow through the district of Lyons, and after encircling in the manner of an island a stronghold of the Parisii called Lutetia, they unite in one channel, and flowing on together pour into the sea not far from Castra Constantia. 4 Of all these nations the Belgae had the reputation in the ancient writers of being the most valiant, for the reason that being far removed from civilised life and not made effeminate by imported luxuries, they warred for a long time with the Germans across the Rhine. 5 The Aquitanians, on the contrary, to whose coasts, as being near at hand and peaceable, imported wares are conveyed, had their characters weakened to effeminacy and easily came under the sway of Rome. 6 All the Gauls, ever since under the perpetual pressure of wars they yielded to the dictator Julius, have been governed by an administration divided into four parts. Of these Gallia Narbonensis by itself comprised the districts of Vienne and Lyons; the second had control of all Aquitania; Upper and Lower Germany, as well as the Belgians, were governed by two administrations at that same time. 7 But now the provinces over the whole extent of Gaul are reckoned as follows: The first province (beginning on the western front) is Lower, or Second, Germany, fortified by the wealthy and populous cities of Cologne and Tongres. 8 Next comes First, or Upper, Germany where besides other free towns are Mayence and Worms and Spires and Strasburg, famous for the disasters of the savages. 9 After these the First province of Belgium displays Metz and Treves, splendid abode of the emperors. 10 Adjoining this is the Second province of Belgium, in which are Amiens, a city eminent above the rest, and Châlons and Rheims. 11 In the Seine province we see Besançon and Augst, more important than its many other towns. The first Lyonnese province is made famous by Lyons, Châlon-sur-Saône, Sens, Bourges, and Autun with its huge ancient walls. 12 As for the second Lyonnese province, Rouen and Tours make it distinguished, as well as Evreux and Troyes. The Graian and Pennine Alps, not counting towns of lesser note, have Avenche, a city now abandoned, to be sure, but once of no slight importance, as is even yet evident from its half-ruined buildings. These are the goodly provinces and cities of Gaul. 13 In Aquitania, which trends towards the Pyrenees mountains and that part of the Ocean which extends towards Spain, the first province is Aquitania, much adorned by the greatness of its cities; leaving out numerous others, Bordeaux and Clermont are conspicuous, as well as Saintes and Poitiers. 14 The “Nine Nations” are ennobled by Auch and Bazas. In the Narbonese province Eauze, Narbonne, and Toulouse hold the primacy among the cities. The Viennese province rejoices in the distinction conferred by many cities, of which the most important are Vienne itself, Arles and Valence; and joined to these is Marseilles, by whose alliance and power we read that Rome was several times supported in severe crises. 15 Near these are Aix-en-Provence, Nice, Antibes, and the Iles d’Hyères. 16 And since we have reached these parts in the course of our work, it would be unfitting and absurd to say nothing of the Rhone, a river of the greatest celebrity. Rising in the Pennine Alps from a plenteous store of springs, the Rhone flows in headlong course towards more level places. It hides its banks with its own stream and bursts into the lagoon called Lake Leman. This it flows through, nowhere mingling with the water outside, but gliding along the surface of the less active water on either hand, it seeks an outlet and forces a way for itself by its swift onset. 17 From there without any loss of volume it flows through Savoy and the Seine Province, and after going on for a long distance, it grazes the Viennese Province on the left side and the Lyonnese on the right side. Next, after describing many meanders, it receives the Arar, which they call the Sauconna, flowing between Upper Germany and the Seine Province, and gives it its own name. This point is the beginning of Gaul, and from there they measure distances, not in miles but in leagues. 18 After this the Rhone, enriched by the tributary waters of the Isère, carries very large craft, which are frequently wont to be tossed by gales of wind, and having finished the bounds which nature has set for it, its foaming waters are mingled with the Gallic Sea through a broad bay which they call Ad Gradus at about the eighteenth milestone distant from Arles. Let this suffice for the topography of the region; I shall now describe the appearance and manners of its people.

12 The Manners and Customs of the Gauls.

1 Almost all the Gauls are of tall stature, fair and ruddy, terrible for the fierceness of their eyes, fond of quarrelling, and of overbearing insolence. In fact, a whole band of foreigners will be unable to cope with one of them in a fight, if he calls in his wife, stronger than he by far and with flashing eyes; least of all when she swells her neck and gnashes her teeth, and poising her huge white arms, proceeds to rain punches mingled with kicks, like shots discharged by the twisted cords of a catapult. 2 The voices of most of them are formidable and threatening, alike when they are good-natured or angry. But all of them with equal care keep clean and neat, and in those districts, particularly in Aquitania, no man or woman can be seen, be she never so poor, in soiled and ragged clothing, as elsewhere. 3 All ages are most fit for military service, and the old man marches out on a campaign with a courage equal to that of the man in the prime of life; since his limbs are toughened by cold and constant toil, and he will make light of many formidable dangers. Nor does anyone of them, for dread of the service of Mars, cut off his thumb, as in Italy: there they call such men “murci,” or cowards. 4 It is a race greedy for wine, devising numerous drinks similar to wine, and some among them of the baser sort, with wits dulled by continual drunkenness (which Cato’s saying pronounced a voluntary kind of madness) rush about in aimless revels, so that those words seem true which Cicero spoke when defending Fonteius: “The Gauls henceforth will drink wine mixed with water, which they once thought poison.”

5 These regions, and especially those bordering on Italy, came gradually and with slight effort under the dominion of Rome; they were first essayed by Fulvius, then undermined in petty battles by Sextius, and finally subdued by Fabius Maximus, on whom the full completion of this business (when he had vanquished the formidable tribe of the Allobroges) conferred that surname. 6 Now the whole of Gaul (except where, as the authority of Sallust informs us, it was impassable with marshes), after losses on both sides during ten years of war the dictator Caesar subdued and joined to us in an everlasting covenant of alliance. I have digressed too far, but I shall at last return to my subject.

13 The doings of the praetorian prefect, Musonianus, in the Orient.

1 After Domitianus was dispatched by a cruel death, his successor Musonianus governed the East with the rank of pretorian prefect, a man famed for his command of both languages, from which he won higher distinction than was expected. 2 For when Constantine was closely investigating the different religious sects, Manichaeans and the like, and no suitable interpreter could be found, he chose him, as a person recommended to him as competent; and when he had done that duty skilfully, he wished him to be called Musonianus, whereas he had hitherto had the name of Strategius. From that beginning, having run through many grades of honour, he rose to the prefecture, a man intelligent in other respects and satisfactory to the provinces, mild also and well-spoken, but on any and every occasion, and especially (which is odious) in hard-fought lawsuits and under all circumstances greedily bent upon filthy lucre. This became clearly evident (among many other instances) in the investigations set on foot regarding the death of Theophilus, governor of Syria, who, because of the betrayal of Gallus Caesar, was torn to pieces in an onslaught of the rabble upon him; on which occasion sundry poor men were condemned, although it was known that they had been away when this happened, while the wealthy perpetrators of the foul crime were set free after being stripped of their property.

3 He was matched by Prosper, who was at that time still representing the cavalry commander in Gaul and held military authority there, an abject coward and, as the comic poet says, scorning artifice in thieving and plundering openly.

4 While these men were in league and enriching themselves by bringing mutual gain one to the other, the Persian generals stationed by the rivers, while their king was busied in the farthest bounds of his empire, kept raiding our territories with predatory bands, now fearlessly invading Armenia and sometimes Mesopotamia, while the Roman officers were occupied in gathering the spoils of those who paid them obedience.

Book XVI

1 Praise of Julianus Caesar.

1 While the linked course of the fates was bringing this to pass in the Roman world, Julian Caesar at Vienne was admitted by Augustus, then consul for the eighth time, into the fellowship of the consular fasti. Urged on by his native energy, he dreamed of the din of battle and the slaughter of savages, already preparing to gather up the broken fragments of the province, if only fortune should at last aid him with her favouring breeze. 2 Accordingly, since the great deeds that he had the courage and good fortune to perform in Gaul surpass many valiant achievements of the ancients, I shall describe them one by one in progressive order, endeavouring to put in play all the resources of my modest ability, if only they will suffice. 3 Now whatever I shall tell (and no wordy deceit adorns my tale, but untrammelled faithfulness to fact, based upon clear proofs, composes it) will almost belong to the domain of the panegyric. 4 For some law of a higher life seems to have attended this youth from his cradle even to his last breath. For with rapid strides he grew so conspicuous at home and abroad that in his foresight he was esteemed a second Titus, son of Vespasian, in the glorious progress of his wars as very like Trajan, mild as Antoninus Pius, and in searching out the true and perfect reason of things in harmony with Marcus Aurelius, in emulation of whom he moulded his conduct and character. 5 And since (as the authority of Cicero informs us) “we take delight in the loftiness of all noble arts, as we do of trees, but not so much in their roots and stumps,” just so the beginnings of his surpassing ability were then veiled by many overshadowing features. Yet they ought to be preferred to his many admirable later achievements, for the reason that while still in early youth, educated like Erechtheus in Minerva’s retreat, and drawn from the peaceful shades of the Academy, not from a soldier’s tent, to the dust of battle, he vanquished Germany, subdued the meanders of the freezing Rhine, here shed the blood of kings, breathing cruel threats, and there loaded their arms with chains.

2 Julianus Caesar attacks the Alamanni, slaughters, captures, and vanquishes them.

1 Accordingly, while he was passing a busy winter in the above-mentioned town, in the thick of rumours which kept persistently flying about, he learned that the walls of the ancient city of Autun, of wide circuit, to be sure, but weakened by the decay of centuries, had been besieged by a sudden onset of the savages; and then, though the force of soldiers garrisoned there was paralysed, it had been defended by the watchfulness of veterans who hurried together for its aid, as it often happens that the extreme of desperation wards off imminent danger of death. 2 Therefore, without putting aside his cares, and disregarding the servile flattery with which his courtiers tried to turn him to pleasure and luxury, after making adequate preparation he reached Autun on the 24th of June, like some experienced general, distinguished for power and policy, intending to fall upon the savages, who were straggling in various directions, whenever chance should give opportunity. 3 Accordingly, when he held a council, with men present who knew the country, to decide what route should be chosen as a safe one, there was much interchange of opinion, some saying that they ought to go by Arbor . . . others by way of Saulieu and Cora. 4 But when some remarked that Silvanus, commander of the infantry, with 8000 reserve troops had shortly before passed (through with difficulty) by roads shorter but mistrusted because of the heavy shade of the branches, the Caesar with the greater confidence made a strong resolve to emulate the daring of that hardy man. 5 And to avoid any delay, he took only the cuirassiers and the crossbowmen, who were far from suitable to defend a general, and traversing the same road, he came to Auxerre. 6 There with but a short rest (as his custom was) he refreshed himself and his soldiers and kept on towards Troyes; and when troops of savages kept making attacks on him, he sometimes, fearing that they might be in greater force, strengthened his flanks and reconnoitered; sometimes he took advantage of suitable ground, easily ran them down and trampled them under foot, capturing some who in terror gave themselves up, while the remainder exerted all their powers of speed in an effort to escape. These he allowed to get away unscathed, since he was unable to follow them up, encumbered as he was with heavy-armed soldiers. 7 So, as he now had firmer hope of success in resisting their attacks, he proceeded among many dangers to Troyes, reaching there so unlooked for, that when he was almost knocking at the gates, the fear of the widespread bands of savages was such, that entrance to the city was vouchsafed only after anxious debate. 8 And after staying there a short time, out of consideration for this tired soldiers, he felt that he ought not to delay, and made for the city of Rheims. There he had ordered the whole army to assemble with provisions for a month and to await his coming; the place was commanded by Ursicinus’ successor Marcellus, and Ursicinus himself was directed to serve in the same region until the end of the campaign. 9 Accordingly, after the expression of many various opinions, it was agreed to attack the Alamannic horde by way of the Ten Cantons with closed ranks; and the soldiers went on in that direction with unusual alacrity. 10 And because the day was misty and overcast, so then even objects close at hand could not be seen, the enemy, aided by their acquaintance with the country, went around by way of a crossroad and made an attack on the two legions bringing up the rear of the Caesar’s army. And they would nearly have annihilated them, had not the shouts that they suddenly raised brought up the reinforcements of our allies. 11 Then and thereafter, thinking that he could cross neither roads nor rivers without ambuscades, Julian was wary and hesitant, which is a special merit in great commanders, and is wont both to help and save their armies. 12 Hearing therefore that Strasburg, Brumath, Saverne, Seltz, Speyer, Worms, and Mayence were held by the savages, who were living on their lands (for the towns themselves they avoid as if they were tombs surrounded by nets), he first of all seized Brumath, but while he was still approaching it a band of Germans met him and offered battle. 13 Julian drew up his forces in the form of a crescent, and when the fight began to come to close quarters, the enemy were overwhelmed by a double danger; some were captured, others were slain in the very heat of the battle, and rest got away, saved by recourse to speed.

3 Julian recovers Cologne, which had been captured by the Franks, and there makes peace with the kings of the Franks.

1 Accordingly, as after this no one offered resistance, Julian decided to go and recover Cologne, which had been destroyed before his arrival in Gaul. In all that region there is no city to be seen and no stronghold, except that at the Confluence, a place so called because there the river Moselle mingles with the Rhine, there is the town of Remagen and a single tower near Cologne itself. 2 So, having entered Cologne, he did not stir from there until he had overawed the Frankish kings and lessened their pugnacity, had made a peace with them which would benefit the state meanwhile, and had recovered that very strongly fortified city. 3 Pleased with these first-fruits of victory, he passed through the land of the Treveri, and went to winter at Sens, a town which was then convenient. There, bearing on his shoulders, as the saying is, the burden of a flood of wars, he was distracted by manifold cares — how the soldiers who had abandoned their usual posts might be taken back to danger-points, how he might scatter the tribes that had conspired to the hurt of the Roman cause, and how to see to it that food should not fail his army, as it was about to range in different directions.

4 Julian is besieged by the Alemanni in the town of Sens.

1 As he was anxiously weighing these problems, a host of the enemy attacked, fired with increased hope of taking the town, and full of confidence because they had learned from the statements of deserters that neither the targeteers nor the gentiles were at hand; for they had been distributed in the towns, so as to be more easily provisioned than before. 2 So, having shut the city gates and strengthened a weak section of the walls, Julian could be seen day and night with his soldiers among the bulwarks and battlements, boiling over with rage and fretting because however often he tried to sally forth, he was hampered by the scanty numbers of the troops at hand. Finally, after a month the savages withdrew crestfallen, muttering that they had been silly and foolish to have contemplated the blockade of the city. 3 But — a thing to be regarded as a shameful situation — while Caesar was in jeopardy, Marcellus, master of the horse, although he was stationed in neighbouring posts, postponed sending him reinforcements; whereas even if the city alone was endangered, to say nothing of the prince’s presence there, it ought to have been saved from the hardships of blockade by the intervention of a large force. 4 Once relieved of this fear, Caesar provided with the greatest efficiency and with unfailing solicitude that some rest should follow the long continued toil of the soldiers, a short one perhaps, but enough, at least, to restore their strength; and yet that region, a wilderness in its extreme destitution through having often been ravaged, provided very little suitable for rations. 5 But when this too had been provided for by his ever-watchful care, a happier hope of success was shed upon him, and with spirits revived he rose to the achievement of numerous enterprises.

5 The merits of Julianus Caesar.

1 First, then (and a hard thing to accomplish) he imposed moderation on himself, and kept to it, as if he were living bound by the sumptuary laws which were brought to Rome from the Edicts, that is, the wooden tablets, of Lycurgus; and when they had long been observed, but were going out of use, the dictator Sulla gradually renewed them, taking into account one of the sayings of Democritus, that a pretentious table is set by Fortune, a frugal one by Virtue. 2 Furthermore, Cato of Tusculum, whose austere manner of living conferred upon him the surname Censorius, wisely defined that point, saying: “Great care about food implies great neglect of virtue.” 3 Lastly, though he constantly read the booklet which Constantius, as if sending a stepson to the university, had written with his own hand, making lavish provision for what should be spent on Caesar’s table, he forbade the ordering and serving of pheasants and of sow’s matrix and udders, contenting himself with the coarse and ordinary rations of a common soldier.

4 So it came about that he divided his nights according to a threefold schedule — rest, affairs of state, and the Muses, a course which Alexander the Great, as we read, used to practise; but Julian was far more self-reliant. For Alexander used to set a bronze basin beside his couch and with outstretched arm hold a silver ball over it, so that when the coming of sleep relaxed the tension of his muscles, the clanging of the ball as it fell might break off his nap. 5 But Julian could wake up as often as he wished, without any artificial means. And when the night was half over, he always got up, not from a downy couch or silken coverlets glittering with varied hues, but from a rough blanket and rug, which the simple common folk call susurna. Then he secretly prayed to Mercury, whom the teaching of the theologians stated to be the swift intelligence of the universe, arousing the activity of men’s minds; and in spite of such great lack of material things he paid diligent heed to all his public duties. 6 And after bringing these (as his lofty and serious tasks) to an end, he turned to the exercise of his intellect, and it is unbelievable with what great eagerness he sought out the sublime knowledge of all chiefest things, and as if in search of some sort of sustenance for a soul soaring to loftier levels, ran through all the departments of philosophy in his learned discussions. 7 But yet, though he gained full and exhaustive knowledge in this sphere, he did not neglect more humble subjects, studying poetry to a moderate degree, and rhetoric (as is shown by the undefiled elegance and dignity of his speeches and letters) as well as the varied history of domestic and foreign affairs. Besides all this he had at his command adequate fluency also in Latin conversation. 8 If, then, it is true (as divers writers report) that King Cyrus and the lyric poet Simonides, and Hippias of Elis, keenest of the sophists, had such powerful memories because they had acquired that gift by drinking certain potions, we must believe that Julian, when only just arrived at manhood, had drained the entire cask of memory, if such could be found anywhere. These, then, were the nightly evidences of his self-restraint and his virtues.

9 But how he passed his days in brilliant and witty conversation, in preparation for war or in the actual clash of battle, or in lofty and liberal improvements in civil administration, shall later be shown in detail, each in its proper place. 10 When this philosopher, being a prince, was forced to practise the rudiments of military training and learn the art of marching rhythmically in pyrrhic measure to the harmony of the pipes, he often used to call on Plato’s name, quoting that famous old saying: “A pack-saddle is put on an ox; that is surely no burden for me.” 11 When the agents had been summoned by his order on a festival day to his council chamber, to receive their gold with the rest, one of the company took it, not (as the custom is) in a fold of his mantle, but in both his open hands. Whereupon the emperor said, “It is seizing, not accepting, that agents understand.” 12 When approached by the parents of a girl who had been assaulted, he ordered that her ravisher, if convicted, should be banished; and when they complained of the indignity suffered in that he was not punished with death, the emperor merely replied: “The laws may censure my clemency, but it is right for an emperor of very merciful disposition to rise above all other laws.” 13 When he was on the point of leaving on a campaign, many persons would appeal to him, as having grievances; but he used to recommend them to the provincial governors for their hearings. On his return he would inquire what had been decided in each case, and with his native kindliness would mitigate the punishment of the offences. 14 Last of all, not to speak of the victories in which he routed the savages, who often fell with spirits unbroken, what good he did to Gaul, labouring as it was in utmost destitution, appears most clearly from this fact: when he first entered those parts, he found that twenty-five pieces of gold were demanded by way of tribute from every one as a poll and land tax; but when he left, seven only for full satisfaction of all duties. And on account of this (as if clear sunshine had beamed upon them after ugly darkness), they expressed their joy in gaiety and dances. 15 To conclude, we know that to the very end of his reign, and of his life, he observed this rule profitably, not to remit arrears of tribute by so-called “indulgencies.” For he had learned that by so doing he would somewhat better the condition of the rich, since it is generally known that poor people at the very beginning of the tax levying are forced to pay in full without easement.

16 However, in the midst of these courses of wise governing, worthy of the imitation of good emperors, the fury of the savages had blazed forth again more than ever. 17 And as wild beasts accustomed to live by plundering when their guards are slack do not cease even when these guards are removed and stronger ones put in their place, but ravening with hunger rush upon flocks or herds without regard for their own lives: so they too, when they had used up all that they had seized by pillage, urged on by hunger, were continually driving off booty, and sometimes perishing of want before finding anything.

6 Arbetio, a man of consular rank, is accused and acquitted.

1 These were the events in Gaul during that year dubious in prospect, but successful in outcome. But in the court of the Augustus envy kept barking on every side at Arbetio, as one that would soon attain the highest rank and had already prepared the insignia of imperial dignity; and a certain count, Verissimus by name, assailed him with unbridled outcry, openly charging that although he had risen from the common soldiery to the chief military command, he was not satisfied even with this, but thinking it was a slight thing, was aiming at the imperial position. 2 But in particular one Dorus, ex-surgeon of the targeteers, kept pursuing him; he it was who (as I stated) when promoted under Magnentius to be centurion in charge of works of art at Rome, accused Adelphius, prefect of the city, of aiming at a higher station. 3 And when the matter came to an investigation, and everything needful for the business was at hand, a proof of the charges was looked for; when suddenly, as if by an irregular vote, at the instance of the chamberlains (as persistent rumour reported) both those persons under restraint as implicated were released from their fetters; Dorus disappeared, and Verissimus at once held his peace, just as when on the stage the curtain is lowered and put away.

7 Julianus Caesar is defended against Marcellus before the emperor by Eutherius, his chief chamberlain; and praise of Eutherius.

1 At that same time Constantius, apprised by approaching rumour that when Caesar was blockaded at Sens, Marcellus had not brought aid, discharged the latter from the army and commanded him to depart to his home. Whereupon Marcellus, as if staggered by a grievous insult, began to contrive a plot against Julian, presuming on Augustus, whose ears were open to every slander. 2 And so, when Marcellus was on his way, Eutherius, the head chamberlain, was sent immediately after him, to confute him in case he should trump up anything. But Marcellus, unaware of this, presently came to Milan, blustering and making trouble, being a vain talkative fool and all but mad; and when admitted to the council, he charged Julian with being arrogant and already fitting himself with stronger pinions, so as to soar up higher; for thus he spoke with a mighty movement of his body to match his words. 3 While he was freely forging these accusations, Eutherius (as he requested) was brought in, and being commanded to say what he wished, modestly and in few words showed that the truth was veiled with lies. For while the commander of the heavy-armed infantry (as was believed) deliberately held back, Caesar, who had long been blockaded in Sens, had by his watchful energy driven back the barbarians; and Eutherius staked his own head on the promise that Julian would be a loyal servitor to his superior, so long as he should live.

4 The subject prompts me to add a few facts about this same Eutherius, perhaps hardly to be credited, for the reason that if a Numa Pompilius or a Socrates should give any good report of a eunuch, they would be charged with having departed from the truth. But among brambles roses spring up, and among savage beasts some are tamed. Accordingly, I shall give a brief summary of the chief facts known about him. 5 He was born in Armenia of free parents, but when still very young he was kidnapped by hostile tribesman in that neighbourhood, who gelded him and sold him to some Roman traders, who brought him to Constantine’s palace. There, as he grew up, he gradually gave evidence of virtuous living and intelligence. He received as much training in letters as might suffice for one of that station; conspicuous for his remarkable keenness in devising and solving difficult and knotty problems, he had extraordinary powers of memory; he was eager to do kindnesses and full of sound counsel. And if the emperor Constans had listened to him in times past, when Eutherius had grown up and was already mature, and urged honourable and upright conduct upon him, he would have been guilty of no faults, or at least of only pardonable ones. 6 When he had become head chamberlain, he would sometimes criticise even Julian, as trained in the manners of Asia and therefore inconstant. Finally going into retirement, but afterwards summoned to the palace, always temperate and especially consistent, he so cultivated the noble virtues of loyalty and self-restraint that he was never charged, as the rest have been, with having disclosed a secret, unless it were to save another’s life, or to have been kindled with a desire to increase his wealth. 7 The result was, that when he presently retired to Rome and grew old there in a permanent home, he carried about with him a good conscience as his companion; he was honoured and loved by all classes, whereas that type of man, after amassing wealth by iniquitous means, usually seeks out secret lurking places, like creatures of darkness shunning the sight of the multitude they have wronged. 8 In unrolling many records of the past, to see which of the eunuchs of old I ought to compare him, I could find one. True, there were in times gone by those that were loyal and virtuous (although very few), but they were stained with some vice or other. For along with the excellent qualities which anyone of them had acquired by studious endeavour or natural ability he was either extortionate or despicable for his cruelty, or prone to do mischief, or too subservient to the rulers, or insolent through pride of power; but of one so well equipped in every direction I confess I have neither read nor heard, although I have relied on the abundant testimony of our age. 9 But if haply any curious student of ancient history should confront me with Menophilus, the eunuch of Mithridates, king of Pontus, let this reminder recall to him that nothing was recorded of Menophilus save this one fact, that in the supreme crisis he made a glorious showing. 10 The aforesaid king, after having been defeated in a mighty battle by Pompey and the Romans, fled to the kingdom of Colchis; he left his grown daughter, Drypetina by name, who was afflicted with a grievous disease, in the fortress of Sinhorium under the charge of this Menophilus. He, resorting to every healing remedy, entirely cured the girl and was guarding her in complete security for her father, when the fortress in which he was beleaguered began to be blockaded by Mallius Priscus, the Roman commander’s lieutenant-general; and when Menophilus learned that its defenders were thinking of surrender, fearing lest, to her father’s reproach, the high-born girl might be taken alive and suffer outrage, he killed her and then plunged the sword into his own vitals. Now let me return to the point from which I digressed.

8 Slanders and calumnies in the camp of Constantius Augustus, and the greed of the courtiers.

1 After Marcellus had been worsted, as I have said, and had returned to Serdica, his native place, in the camp of Augustus, under pretext of upholding his imperial majesty, many abominable acts were committed. 2 For if anyone consulted a soothsayer about the squeaking of a shrew-mouse, the meeting with a weasel on the way, or any like portent, or used some old wife’s charm to relieve pain (a thing which even medical authority allows), he was indicted (from what source he could not guess), was haled into court, and suffered death as the penalty.

3 At about that time a certain slave, Danus by name, was accused by his wife on trifling charges merely to intimidate him; this woman was approached by Rufinus, who had come to know her in some way or other. He was the man who had given certain information that he had learned through Gaudentius, one of the agents, and had caused the death of Africanus, then governor-general of Pannonia, along with his guests, as I have related; he was even then, because of his obsequiousness, chief steward of the praetorian prefecture. 4 This Rufinus (as he kept boastfully saying) led the fickle woman, first into shameful relations with him, and then into a dangerous deceit; he induced her by a tissue of lies to charge her guiltless husband with high treason, and to allege that he had stolen a purple robe from Diocletian’s tomb and with several accomplices was concealing it. 5 And having thus framed these matters to the destruction of many persons, Rufinus himself, in hope of greater profit, flies to the emperor’s camp, to stir up his customary scandals. And when the fact was divulged, Mavortius, then praetorian prefect, a man of high resolution, was bidden to look into the charge with a keen investigation, having associated with him, to hear the case in common. Ursulus, count of the largesses, likewise a man of praiseworthy severity. 6 So when the affair had been exaggerated, after the standard of the times, and after the torture of many persons nothing was discovered, and the judges were hesitating in perplexity, at last truth, crushed to earth, breathed again, and at the point of necessity the woman confessed that Rufinus was the contriver of the whole plot, and did not even keep back the shame of her adultery. And at once the laws were consulted and the judges, unanimous in their love of right and justice, condemned them both to death. 7 Constantius, on learning this, raged and lamented, as if the defender of his own life had perished; he sent fast horsemen and commanded Ursulus in threatening terms to return to the court. And when he had come there and wished to approach the emperor, the courtiers tried to keep him from being able to appear in defence of the truth. But he, scorning those who would hold him back, burst through fearlessly and, entering the council-chamber with frank speech and bold heart told what had been done; and by this confidence having stopped the mouths of the flatterers, he delivered both the prefect and himself from a grave danger.

8 Then a thing happened in Aquitania which fame bruited more widely abroad. A crafty old fellow who was invited to a sumptuous and elegant banquet, such as are very frequent in that country, noticed that the purple borders of the linen couch-covers were so very broad that the skill of the attendants made them seem all one piece, and that the table was covered with similar cloths; and by turning the front part of his cloak inward with both hands, he so adorned its whole structure, that it resembled an emperor’s garment; and this action ruined a rich estate.

9 With like malice a certain member of the secret service in Spain, who also invited to a dinner, when he heard the slaves who were bringing in the evening lights cry (as the manner is): “May we conquer,” gave the expression a serious meaning, and wickedly destroyed a noble house.

10 These and similar actions kept growing more and more common, for the reason that Constantius, who was excessively timid and fearful for his life, always anticipated that a knife was at his throat, like that famous Sicilian despot, Dionysius, who because of that same infirmity actually taught his daughters to be barbers, in order that he might not trust the shaving of his cheeks to an outsider; and he surrounded the little house in which he used to sleep, with a deep trench and spanned it with a knockdown bridge, the planks and pins of which he took apart and carried with him when he went off to bed; and reassembled them at daybreak, when he was on his way out. 11 These trumpet-blasts of internal revolt were likewise increased by powerful courtiers, to the end that they might lay claim to the property of condemned persons and incorporate it with their own, and thus have the means of encroaching widely on their neighbours. 12 For as clear proofs bore witness, the first of all to open the jaws of those nearest to him was Constantine, but it was Constantius who fattened them with the marrow of the provinces. 13 For under him the leading men of every rank were inflamed with a boundless eagerness for riches, without consideration for justice or right; among the civil functionaries first came Rufinus, the praetorian prefect; among the military, Arbetio, master of the horse, and the head-chamberlain Eusebius, . . .anus, the quaestor, and in Rome itself the members of the Anician family, whose younger generation, striving to outdo their forefathers, could never be satisfied with even much greater possessions.

9 Negotiations for peace with the Persians.

1 But the Persians in the East, rather by thieving and robbery than (as their former manner was) in set battles, kept driving off booty of men and animals; sometimes they got away with their loot, being unexpected; often they lost it, overmarched by the great number of our soldiers; occasionally they were not allowed to see anything at all which could be carried off. 2 None the less, Musonianus, the praetorian prefect, a man (as I have said before) gifted with many excellent accomplishments, but corrupt and easy to turn from the truth by a bribe, inquired into the designs of the Persians through emissaries of his who were adepts in deceit and incrimination; and he took into his counsels on this subject Cassianus, duke of Mesopotamia, who had been toughened by various campaigns and dangers. 3 When the two had certain knowledge from the unanimous reports of their scouts that Sapor, on the remotest frontiers of his realm, was with difficulty and with great bloodshed of his troops driving back hostile tribesmen, they made trial of Tamsapor, the commander nearest to our territory, in secret interviews through obscure soldiers, their idea being that, if chance gave an opportunity, he should by letter advise the king finally to make peace with the Roman emperor, in order that by so doing he might be secure on his whole western frontier and could rush upon his persistent enemies. 4 Tamsapor consented and relying on this information, reported to the king that Constantius, being involved in very serious wars, entreated and begged for peace. But while these communications were being sent to the Chionitae and Euseni, in whose territories Sapor was passing the winter, a long time elapsed.

10 Constantius Augustus in military attire and like a triumphator arrives in Rome.

1 While these events were so being arranged in the Orient and in Gaul in accordance with the times, Constantius, as if the temple of Janus had been closed and all his enemies overthrown, was eager to visit Rome and after the death of Magnentius to celebrate, without a title, a triumph over Roman blood. 2 For neither in person did he vanquish any nation that made war upon him, nor learn of any conquered by the valour of his generals; nor did he add anything to his empire; nor at critical moments was he ever seen to be foremost, or among the foremost; but he desired to display an inordinately long procession, banners stiff with gold-work, and the splendour of his retinue, to a populace living in perfect peace and neither expecting nor desiring to see this or anything like it. 3 Perhaps he did not know that some of our ancient commanders in time of peace were satisfied with the attendance of their lictors; but when the heat of battle could tolerate no inaction, one, with the mad blast of the winds shrieking, entrusted himself to a fisherman’s skiff; another, after the example of the Decii, vowed his life for the commonwealth; a third in his own person together with common soldiers explored the enemy’s camp; in short, various among them became famous through splendid deeds, so that they commended their glories to the frequent remembrance of posterity.

4 So soon, then, as much had been disbursed in regal preparation, and every sort of man had been rewarded according to his services, in the second prefecture of Orfitus he passed through Ocriculi, elated with his great honours and escorted by formidable troops; he was conducted, so as to speak, in battle array and everyone’s eyes were riveted upon him with fixed gaze. 5 And when he was nearing the city, as he beheld with calm countenance the dutiful attendance of the senate and the august likenesses of the patrician stock, he thought, not like Cineas, the famous envoy of Pyrrhus, that a throng of kings was assembled together, but that the sanctuary of the whole world was present before him. 6 And when he turned from them to the populace, he was amazed to see in what crowds men of every type had flocked from all quarters to Rome. And as if he were planning to overawe the Euphrates with a show of arms, or the Rhine, while the standards preceded him on each side, he himself sat alone upon a golden car in the resplendent blaze of shimmering precious stones, whose mingled glitter seemed to form a sort of shifting light. 7 And behind the manifold others that preceded him he was surrounded by dragons, woven out of purple thread and bound to the golden and jewelled tops of spears, with wide mouths open to the breeze and hence hissing as if roused by anger, and leaving their tails winding in the wind. 8 And there marched on either side twin lines of infantrymen with shields and crests gleaming with glittering rays, clad in shining mail; and scattered among them were the full-armoured cavalry (whom they called clibanarii), all masked, furnished with protecting breastplates and girt with iron belts, so that you might have supposed them statues polished by the hand of Praxiteles, not men. Thin circles of iron plates, fitted to the curves of their bodies, completely covered their limbs; so that whichever way they had to move their members, their garment fitted, so skilfully were the joinings made. 9 Accordingly, being saluted as Augustus with favouring shouts, while hills and shores thundered out the roar, he never stirred, but showed himself as calm and imperturbable as he was commonly seen in his provinces. 10 For he both stooped when passing through lofty gates (although he was very short), and as if his neck were in a vice, he kept the gaze of his eyes straight ahead, and turned his face neither to right nor to left, but (as if he were a lay figure) neither did he nod when the wheel jolted nor was he ever seen to spit, or to wipe or rub his face or nose, or move his hands about. 11 And although this was affectation on his part, yet these and various other features of his more intimate life were tokens of no slight endurance, granted to him alone, as was given to be understood. 12 Furthermore, that during the entire period of his reign he neither took up anyone to sit beside him in his car, nor admitted any private person to be his colleague in the insignia of the consulship, as other anointed princes did, and many like habits which in his pride of lofty conceit he observed as though they were most just laws, I pass by, remembering that I set them down when they occurred.

13 So then he entered Rome, the home of empire and of every virtue, and when he had come to the Rostra, the most renowned forum of ancient dominion, he stood amazed; and on every side on which his eyes rested he was dazzled by the array of marvellous sights. He addressed the nobles in the senate-house and the populace from the tribunal, and being welcomed to the place with manifold attentions, he enjoyed a longed-for pleasure; and on several occasions, when holding equestrian games, he took delight in the sallies of the commons, who were neither presumptuous nor regardless of their old-time freedom, while he himself also respectfully observed the due mean. 14 For he did not (as in the case of other cities) permit the contests to be terminated at his own discretion, but left them (as the custom is) to various chances. Then, as he surveyed the sections of the city and its suburbs, lying within the summits of the seven hills, along their slopes, or on level ground, he thought that whatever first met his gaze towered above all the rest: the sanctuaries of Tarpeian Jove so far surpassing as things divine excel those of earth; the baths built up to the measure of provinces; the huge bulk of the amphitheatre, strengthened by its framework of Tiburtine stone, to whose top human eyesight barely ascends; the Pantheon like a rounded city-district, vaulted over in lofty beauty; and the exalted heights which rise with platforms to which one may mount, and bear the likenesses of former emperors; the Temple of the City, the Forum of Peace, the Theatre of Pompey, the Odeum, the Stadium, and amongst these the other adornments of the Eternal City. 15 But when he came to the Forum of Trajan, a construction unique under the heavens, as we believe, and admirable even in the unanimous opinion of the gods, he stood fast in amazement, turning his attention to the gigantic complex about him, beggaring description and never again to be imitated by mortal men. Therefore abandoning all hope of attempting anything like it, he said that he would and could copy Trajan’s steed alone, which stands in the centre of the vestibule, carrying the emperor himself. 16 To this prince Ormisda, who was standing near him, and whose departure from Persia I have described above, replied with native wit: “First, Sire,” said he, “command a like stable to be built, if you can; let the steed which you propose to create range as widely as this which we see.” When Ormisda was asked directly what he thought of Rome, he said that he took comfort in this fact alone, that he had learned that even there men were mortal. 17 So then, when the emperor had viewed many objects with awe and amazement, he complained of Fame as either incapable or spiteful, because while always exaggerating everything, in describing what there is in Rome, she becomes shabby. And after long deliberation what he should do there, he determined to add to the adornments of the city by erecting in the Circus Maximus an obelisk, the provenance and figure of which I shall describe in the proper place.

18 Meanwhile Constantius’ sister Helena, wife of Julian Caesar, had been brought to Rome under pretence of affection, but the reigning queen, Eusebia, was plotting against her; she herself had been childless all her life, and by her wiles she coaxed Helena to drink a rare potion, so that as often as she was with child she should have a miscarriage. 19 For once before, in Gaul, when she had borne a baby boy, she lost it through machination: a midwife had been bribed with a sum of money, and as soon as the child was born cut the umbilical cord more than was right, and so killed it; such great pains and so much thought were taken that this most valiant man might have no heir. 20 Now the emperor desired to remain longer in this most majestic abode of all the world, to enjoy freer repose and pleasure, but he was alarmed by constant trustworthy reports, stating that the Suebi were raiding Raetia and the Quadi Valeria, while the Sarmatians, a tribe most accomplished in brigandage, were laying waste Upper Moesia and Lower Pannonia. Excited by this news, on the thirtieth day after entering Rome he left the city on May 29th, and marched rapidly into Illyricum by way of Tridentum. 21 From there he sent Severus, a general toughened by long military experience, to succeed Marcellus, and ordered Ursicinus to come to him. The latter received the letter with joy and came to Sirmium with his companions; and after long deliberations about the peace which Musonianus had reported might be established with the Persians, Ursicinus was sent back to the Orient with the powers of commander-in-chief; the elder members of our company were promoted to the command of his soldiers, while we younger men were directed to escort him and be ready to perform whatever he should direct on behalf of the commonwealth.

11 Julianus Caesar attacks the Alamanni on the islands of the Rhine, to which they had fled with their belongings, and refits Tres Tabernae against them.

1 But Julianus Caesar, after having passed a troubled winter at Sens, in the year when the emperor was consul for the ninth time and he for the second, with threats from the Germans thundering on every side, stirred by favourable omens hastened to Rheims. He felt the greater eagerness and pleasure because Severus was commanding the army, a man neither insubordinate nor overbearing but well known for his long excellent record in the army, who had followed Julian as he advanced straight ahead, as an obedient soldier follows his general. 2 From another direction Barbatio, who had been promoted after Silvanus’ death to the command of the infantry, came from Italy at the emperor’s order with twenty-five thousand soldiers to Augst. 3 For it was planned and carefully arranged beforehand that the Alamanni, who were raging beyond their customary manner and ranging more afield, should be driven into straits as if with a pair of pliers by twin forces of our soldiers, and cut to pieces. 4 But while these well-laid plans were being hurried on, the Laeti, a savage tribe skilled in seasonable raids, passed secretly between the encampments of both armies and made an unlooked for attack on Lyons; and with their sudden onset they would have sacked and burned the town, had they not been driven back from the closed gates but made havoc of whatever they could find outside the town. 5 This disaster was no sooner known than Caesar, with quick grasp of the situation, sent three squadrons of brave light cavalry and watched three roads, knowing that the raiders would doubtless burst forth by them; and his ambuscade was not in vain. 6 For all who passed out by those roads were butchered and all their booty recovered intact, and only those escaped unharmed who made their way undisturbed past the rampart of Barbatio; being allowed so to slip by because Bainobaudes, the tribune and Valentinian, afterwards emperor, who with the cavalry troops they commanded had been ordered to attend to that matter, were forbidden by Cella, tribune of the targeteers, who had come to the campaign as Barbatio’s colleague, to watch the road over which they were informed that the Germans would return. 7 And not content with that, the infantry commander, who was a coward and a persistent detractor of Julian’s reputation, knowing that what he had ordered was against the interests of the Roman cause (for when Cella was charged with this, he confessed it), deceived Constantius in his report and pretended that these same tribunes had come, under the pretext of public business, to tamper with the soldiers whom he had been commanding; and for that reason they were cashiered and returned to their homes in a private capacity.

8 At that same time the savages who had established their homes on our side of the Rhine, were alarmed by the approach of our armies, and some of them skilfully blocked the roads (which are difficult and naturally of heavy grades) by barricades of felled trees of huge size; others, taking possession of the islands which are scattered in numbers along the course of the Rhine, with wild and mournful cries heaped insults upon the Romans and Caesar. Whereupon he was inflamed with a mighty outburst of anger, and in order to catch some of them, asked Barbatio for seven of the ships which he had got ready for building bridges with the intention of crossing the river. but Barbatio burned them all, in order that he might be unable to give any help. 9 Finally, Julian, learning from the report of some scouts just captured, that now in the heat of summer the river could be forded, with words of encouragement sent the light-armed auxiliaries with Bainobaudes, tribune of the Cornuti, to perform a memorable feat, if fortune would favour them; and they, now wading through the shallows, now swimming on their shields, which they put under them like canoes, came to a neighbouring island and landing there they butchered everyone they found, men and women alike, without distinction of age, like so many sheep. Then, finding some empty boats, they rowed on in these, unsteady as they were, and raided a large number of such places; and when they were sated with slaughter, loaded down with a wealth of booty (a part of which they lost through the force of the current) they all came back safe and sound. 10 And the rest of the Germans, on learning of this, abandoned the islands as an unsafe refuge and carried off into the interior their families, their grain, and their rude treasures. 11 From here Julian turned aside to repair the fortress called Tres Tabernae, destroyed not long before by the enemy’s obstinate assault, the rebuilding of which ensured that the Germans could not approach the interior of Gaul, as they had been wont to do. And he both finished this work sooner than was expedited and, for the garrison that was to be stationed there, he stored up food for the needs of a whole year, gathered together by the hands of the soldiers, not without fear of danger, from the savages’ crops. 12 And not content with that alone, he gathered for himself also rations to serve for twenty days. For the warriors the more willingly made use of what they had won by their own right hands, being greatly incensed because from the supplies which had just been brought them they could get nothing, since Barbatio had arrogantly appropriated a part of them, when they were passing near him; and piled in a heap what remained over and burned it. Whether he did this like an empty-headed fool, or at the emperor’s bidding brazenly perpetrated his many abominable acts, has remained obscure up to this time. 13 However, it was current rumour everywhere, that Julian was not chosen to relieve the distress of Gaul, but that he might meet his death in the cruellest of wars, being even then (as it was thought) inexperienced and one who could not stand even the clash of arms. 14 While the fortifications of the camp were rapidly rising and part of the soldiers were garrisoning the country posts, part gathering in grain warily for fear of ambush, a horde of savages, outstripping by their extraordinary speed any rumour of their coming, with a sudden attack set upon Barbatio and the army he commanded, which was (as had been said) separated from the Gallic camp; and they followed them in their flight as far as Augst, and as much farther as they could; then, after seizing the greater part of his baggage and pack-animals, together with the camp-followers, they returned home again. 15 And Barbatio, as if he had ended the campaign successfully, distributed his soldiers in winter quarters and returned to the emperor’s court, to frame some charge against Caesar, as was his custom.

12 Julian Caesar attacks the seven kings of the Alamanni, who were oppressing the Gauls, and routs the savages in a battle at Argentoratum (Strasburg).

1 When this disgraceful panic had been spread abroad, the kings of the Alamanni, Chonodomarius and Vestralpus, as well as Urius and Ursicinus, together with Serapio and Suomarius and Hortarius, collected all the flower of their forces in one spot and having ordered the horns to sound the war-note, approached the city of Strasburg, thinking that Caesar had retired through fear of the worst, whereas he was even then busily employed in his project of completing the fort. 2 Moreover, as they tossed their heads proudly, their confidence was increased by a deserter from the targeteers; who, in fear of punishment for a crime he had committed, went over to them after the departure of his defeated leader, and informed them that only thirteen thousand soldiers had stayed with Julian; and in fact that was the number of his followers, while savage ferocity was arousing the frenzy of battle on every side. 3 Through this deserter’s frequent repetition of that statement their confidence was raised still higher; they sent delegates to Caesar and imperiously enough commanded him to depart from the lands which they had won by valour and the sword. But he, a stranger to fear, neither lost his temper nor felt aggrieved, but laughing at the presumption of the savages, he detained the envoys until the work of fortification was ended and remained steadfast in the same attitude of resolution.

4 Now King Chonodomarius was raising general disturbance and confusion, making his presence felt everywhere, without limit, a leader in dangerous enterprise, lifting up his brows in pride, being as he was conceited over frequent successes. 5 For he both met Decentius Caesar on equal terms and defeated him, and had destroyed and sacked many wealthy cities, and for a long time freely overran Gaul without opposition. To strengthen his confidence, there was added besides the recent rout of a general superior in numbers and strength. 6 For the Alamanni, on seeing the devices of their shields, realised that these soldiers, who had given ground before a few of their brigands, were the men in fear of whom they had at times in the past scattered and fled with heavy losses, before coming to close quarters. All this caused Julian worry and anxiety, because at the instance of urgent necessity, with the partner of his danger gone, he was forced with only a few (though brave) troops to meet swarming tribes.

7 Already the beams of the sun were reddening the sky, and the blare of the trumpets was sounding in unison, when the infantry forces were led out at a moderate pace, and to their flank were joined the squadrons of cavalry, among whom were the cuirassiers and the archers, a formidable branch of the service. 8 And since from the place where the Roman standards had begun advancing, the distance to the enemy’s camp was figured to be fourteen leagues — that is, twenty-one miles — Caesar had proper regard for both advantage and security, and having recalled his outposts, who had already gone ahead, and having proclaimed silence by the usual announcements, with his native calmness of speech he addressed the soldiers, who stood about him in companies, as follows:

9 “Regard for maintaining our common safety (to speak most sparingly) urges me, a Caesar far from pusillanimous, to urge and entreat you, fellow soldiers, to have confidence in our mature and sturdy courage, and to choose for all of us rather the path of caution, not the over-hasty and doubtful one, if we are to withstand or to repulse what we have to expect. 10 For in the midst of peril, while it is proper that young men should be energetic and daring, they should also (when occasion requires) be docile and circumspect. Let me therefore in few words detail what my opinion is and see if you will give me leave, and your just anger upholds it. 11 The day is already nearing noon; we are exhausted by the fatigue of the march; steep and blind paths will receive us; the moon is waning and the night will be relieved by no stars; the country is fairly ablaze with heat and relieved by no supply of water. If anyone should grant us the ability to pass through all this comfortably, what are we to do when the enemy’s swarms rush upon us, refreshed as they will be with rest and food and drink? What strength can we have, when our limbs are enfeebled with hunger, thirst and toil, to offer resistance? 12 Therefore, since even the most difficult situations have often been met by timely arrangement, and when suitable advice has been taken in good part, heaven-sent remedies have frequently restored the condition of affairs which threatened ruin, here, I ask of you, protected by a rampart and a trench and with our sentinels picketed, let us rest and for the present enjoy sleep and food suitable to the occasion; and then (with God’s leave be it spoken) let us advance our triumphant eagles and victorious standards at the first break of day.”

13 The soldiers did not allow him to finish what he was saying, but gnashed and ground their teeth and showed their eagerness for battle by striking their spears and shields together, and besought him that they might be led against an enemy who was already in sight, trusting in the favour of God in Heaven, in their own self-confidence, and in the tried valour of their lucky general; and (as the event showed) a sort of helpful guardian spirit was urging them to the fray, so long as he could be at hand. 14 To add to this eagerness there was the full approval of the high command and especially of Florentius, the praetorian prefect, who judged that though it was risky, they must none the less fight with hope of success while the savages were standing massed together; but if they scattered, the resentment of our soldiers, who, he said, are inclined by their native hotness of temper towards insubordination, would be impossible to withstand; for that victory (as they thought) should be wrested from their hands they would hardly endure without recourse to the last extremity. 15 Furthermore, our men’s confidence had been increased by a twofold consideration, since they recalled that during the year just elapsed, when the Romans were ranging freely all through the country beyond the Rhine, not a man was seen to defend his own home or to make a stand against them; but after blocking the paths everywhere with a thick barricade of felled trees, the savages, frost-bitten by winter climate, had much ado to live, moving far out of the way; and once the emperor had entered into their country they did not dare either to resist or show themselves, and obtained peace by suppliant entreaties. 16 But no one noticed that now the state of the case was changed, since then they were threatened with ruin from three sides; the emperor was menacing them by way of Raetia, Caesar was near at hand and would not allow them to slip out anywhere, and their neighbours (whom civil strife had made their enemies) were all but treading on their necks while they were hemmed in on all sides. But later, peace was granted and the emperor had departed; the source of their quarrels having disappeared, the border tribes were now in agreement; and the shameful departure of the Roman commander had greatly increased the savageness implanted in them by nature. 17 In another way also the Roman situation was made worse in consequence of the following occurrence; there they were two brothers of royal blood, who, bound by the obligation of the peace which they had obtained from Constantius the year before, dared neither to raise a disturbance nor to make any move; but a little later, when one of them, Gundomadus, who was the stronger of the two and truer to his promise, had been treacherously murdered, all his tribe made common cause with our enemies, and at once the subjects of Vadomarius (against his will, as he insisted) united with the armies of the savages who were clamouring for war.

18 So, since, the whole army, from the highest to the lowest, agreed that then was the suitable time to fight, and did not in the least abate their inflexibility of spirit, one of the standard bearers suddenly cried: “Forward, most fortunate of all Caesars, whither your lucky star guides you; in you at last we feel that both valour and good counsel are in the field. Leading the way for us like a lucky and valiant commander, you will find what the soldier will accomplish when his strength is called out to the full, under the eyes of a warlike general, the immediate witness of his achievements, if only the favour of the supreme deity be present.” 19 On hearing this no delay was permitted, but the army moved forward and approached a hill of gentle slope, covered with grain already ripe, and not far distant from the banks of the Rhine. From its top three of the enemy’s cavalry scouts galloped off and hastened to their troops, to bring speedy word of the Roman army’s approach. But one infantryman, who could not keep up with them, was caught through the quickness of our men, and reported that the Germans had been crossing the river for three days and three nights. 20 When our leading officers espied them, now near at hand, taking their places in close wedge-formation, they halted and stood fast, making a solid line, like an impregnable wall, of the vanguard, the standard bearers, and the staff-officers; and with like wariness the enemy held their ground in wedge-formation.  21 And when (just as the above-mentioned deserter had told us) they saw all our cavalry opposite them on the right flank, they put all their strongest cavalry forces on their flank in close order. And among them here and there they intermingled skirmishers and light-armed infantry, as safe policy certainly demanded. 22 For they realised that one of their warriors on horseback, no matter how skilful, in meeting one of our cavalry in coat-of-mail, must hold bridle and shield in one hand and brandish his spear with the other, and would thus be able to do no harm to a soldier hidden in iron armour; whereas the infantry soldier in the very hottest of the fight, when nothing is apt to be guarded against except what is straight before one, can creep about low and unseen, and by piercing a horse’s side throw its unsuspecting rider headlong, whereupon he can be slain with little trouble. 23 Having made this arrangement, they provided their right flank with secret and puzzling ambuscades. Now all these warlike and savage tribes were led by Chonodomarius and Serapio, kings higher than all the rest in authority. 24 And Chonodomarius, who was in fact the infamous instigator of the whole disturbance, rode before the left wing with a flame-coloured plume on his helmet, a bold man, who relied upon his mighty muscular strength, a huge figure on his foaming steed, he towered with a lance of formidable size; made conspicuous above others by the gleam of his armour, he was both a doughty soldier and a skilful general beyond all the rest. 25 But the right wing was led by Serapio, who was still a young man with downy cheeks, but his ability outran his years; he was the son of Mederichus, Chonodomarius’ brother, a man of the utmost treachery all his life; and he was so named because his father, who had for a long time ben kept as a hostage in Gaul and had been taught Greek mysteries, changed his son’s original native name of Agenarichus to that of Serapio. 26 These were followed by the kings next in power, five in number, by ten princes, with a long train of nobles, and 35,000 troops levied from various nations, partly for pay and partly under agreement to return the service.

27 And now as the trumpets blared ominously, Severus, the Roman general in command of the left wing, on coming near the trenches filled with soldiers, from which it had been arranged that the men in concealment should rise up suddenly and throw everything into confusion, halted fearlessly, and being somewhat suspicious of ambuscades, made no attempt either to draw back or to go further. 28 On seeing this, Caesar, who was courageous in the face of the greatest dangers, surrounded himself with an escort of two hundred horsemen, as the violence of this affair demanded, and with word and action urged the lines of infantry to deploy with swift speed. 29 And since to address them all at once was impossible, both on account of the wide extent of the field and the great numbers of the multitude that had been brought together (and besides he avoided the heavy burden of jealousy, for fear of seeming to have affected that which the emperor supposed to be due to himself alone) without thought of his own safety he flew past the enemy’s weapons and by these and similar speeches animated the soldiers, strangers as well as acquaintances, to deeds of valour. 30 “There has come now, comrades, the real time for fighting, which you and I have long since desired, and which you were just now demanding, when you were tumultuously calling for your weapons.” 31 Also, when he had come to others, who were stationed behind the standards and in the extreme rear, he said: “Behold, fellow-soldiers, the long-hoped-for day is now here, forcing us all to wash away the old-time stains and restore its due honour to the majesty of Rome. These are the savages whom madness and excessive folly have driven on to the ruin of their fortunes, doomed as they are to be overwhelmed by our might.” 32 In the same way, as he arranged in better order others who were experienced by long practice in warfare, he cheered them with such words of encouragement as these: “Let us bestir ourselves, brave soldiers, and by seasonable valour do away with the reproaches inflicted upon our cause, in consideration of which I have hesitatingly accepted the title of Caesar.” 33 But whenever he saw any soldiers who were calling for the battle-signal out of season, and foresaw that they would by their riotous actions break discipline, he said: “I beg of you, do not mar the glory of our coming victory by following too eagerly the enemy whom you are about to put to flight; and let none yield ground before the extremity of need. For I shall surely abandon those who are likely to flee, but I shall be inseparably present with those who shall wound their foeman’s backs, provided that it be done with regard for judgment and caution.

34 While he kept often repeating these and other words to the same effect, he placed the greater part of his army opposite the forefront of the savages, and suddenly there was heard the outcry of the German infantry, mingled with indignation, as they shouted with one accord that their princes ought to leave their horses and keep company with them, for fear that they, if anything adverse should occur, abandoning the wretched herd, would easily make shift to escape. 35 On learning of this, Chonodomarius at once sprang down from his horse, and the rest, following his example, did the same without delay; for not one of them doubted that their side would be victorious.

36 So, when the call to battle had been regularly given on both sides by the notes of the trumpeters, they began the fight with might and main; for a time missiles were hurled, and then the Germans, running forward with more haste than discretion, and wielding their weapons in their right hands, flew upon our cavalry squadrons; and as they gnashed their teeth hideously and raged beyond their usual manner, their flowing hair made a terrible sight, and a kind of madness shone from their eyes. Against them our soldiers resolutely protected their heads with the barriers of their shields, and with sword thrusts or by hurling darts threatened them with death and greatly terrified them. 37 And when in the very crisis of the battle the cavalry formed massed squadrons valiantly and the infantry stoutly protected their flanks by making a front of their bucklers joined fast together, clouds of thick dust arose. Then there were various manoeuvres, as our men now stood fast and now gave ground, and some of the most skilful warriors among the savages by the pressure of their knees tried to force their enemy back; but with extreme determination they came to hand-to-hand fighting, shield-boss pushed against shield, and the sky re-echoed with the loud cries of the victors or of the falling. And although our left wing, marching in close formation had driven back by main force the onrushing hordes of Germans and was advancing with shouts into the midst of the savages, our cavalry, which held the right wing, unexpectedly broke ranks and fled; but while the foremost of these fugitives hindered the hindmost, finding themselves sheltered in the bosom of the legions, they halted, and renewed the battle. 38 Now that had happened for the reason that while the order of their lines was being re-established, the cavalry in coat-of-mail, seeing their leader slightly wounded and one of their companions slipping over the neck of his horse, which had collapsed under the weight of his armour, scattered in whatever direction they could; the cavalry would have caused complete confusion by trampling the infantry underfoot, had not the latter, who were packed close together and intertwined one with the other, held their ground without stirring. So, when Caesar had seen from a distance that the cavalry were looking for nothing except safety in flight, he spurred on his horse and held them back like a kind of barrier. 39 On recognising him by the purple ensign of a dragon, fitted to the top of a very long lance and spreading out like the slough of a serpent, the tribune of one of the squadrons stopped, and pale and struck with fear rode back to renew the battle. 40 Whereupon Caesar, as is the custom to do in times of panic, rebuked them mildly and said: “Whither are we fleeing, my most valiant men? Do you know not that flight never leads to safety, but shows the folly of a useless effort? Let us return to our companions, to be at least sharers in their coming glory, if it is without consideration that we are abandoning them as they fight for their country.” 41 By his tactful way of saying this he recalled them all to perform their duty as soldiers, following (though with some difference) the example of Sulla of old. For when he had led out his forces against Mithradates’ general Archelaus and was being exhausted by the heat of battle and deserted by all his men, he rushed to the front rank, caught up a standard, flung it towards the enemy, and cried: “Go your way, you who were chosen to be companions of my dangers, and to those who ask you where I, your general, was left, answer truthfully: ‘Fighting along in Boeotia, and shedding his blood for all of us.’ “

42 Then the Alamanni, having beaten and scattered our cavalry, charged upon the front line of the infantry, supposing that their courage to resist was now lost and that they would therefore drive them back. 43 But as soon as they came to close quarters, the contest continued a long time on equal terms. For the Cornuti and the Bracchiati, toughened by long experience in fighting, at once intimidated them by their gestures, and raised their mighty battle-cry. This shout in the very heat of combat rises from a low murmur and gradually grows louder, like waves dashing against the cliffs. Then a cloud of hissing javelins flew hither and thither, the dust arose with steady motion on both sides and hid the view, so that weapon struck blindly on weapon and body against body. 44 But the savages, thrown into disorder by their violence and anger, flamed up like fire, and hacked with repeated strokes of their swords at the close-jointed array of shields, which protected our men like a tortoise-formation. 45 On learning this, the Batavians, with the “Kings” (a formidable band) came at the double quick to aid their comrades and (if fate would assist) to rescue them, girt about as they were, from the instant of dire need; and as their trumpets pealed savagely, they fought with all their powers. 46 But the Alamanni, who enter eagerly into wars, made all the greater effort, as if to destroy utterly everything in their way by a kind of fit of rage. Yet darts and javelins did not cease to fly, with showers of iron-tipped arrows, although at close quarters also blade clashed on blade and breastplates were cleft with the sword; the wounded too, before all their blood was shed, rose up to some more conspicuous deed of daring. 47 For in a way the combatants were evenly matched; the Alamanni were stronger and taller, our soldiers disciplined by long practice; they were savage and uncontrollable, our men quiet and wary, these relying on their courage, while the Germans presumed upon their huge size. 48 Yet frequently the Roman, driven from his post by the weight of armed men, rose up again; and the savage, with his legs giving way from fatigue, would drop on his bended left knee and even thus attack his foe, a proof of extreme resolution. 49 And so there suddenly leaped forth a fiery band of nobles, among whom even the kings fought, and with the common soldiers following they burst in upon our lines before the rest; and opening up a path for themselves they got as far as the legion of the Primani, which was stationed in the centre — a strong feature called praetorian camp; there our soldiers, closely packed and in fully-manned lines, stood their ground fast and firm, like towers, and renewed the battle with greater vigour; and being intent upon avoiding wounds, they protected themselves like murmillos, and with drawn swords pierced the enemy’s sides, left bare by their frenzied rage. 50 But the enemy strove to lavish their lives for victory and kept trying to break the fabric of our line. But as they fell in uninterrupted succession, and the Romans now laid them low with greater confidence, fresh savages took the places of the slain; but when they heard the frequent groans of the dying, they were overcome with panic and lost their courage. 51 Worn out at last by so many calamities, and now being eager for flight alone, over various paths they made haste with all speed to get away, just as sailors and passengers hurry to be cast up on land out of the midst of the billows of a raging sea, no matter where the wind has carried them; and anyone there present will admit that it was a means of escape more prayed for than expected. 52 Moreover, the gracious will of an appeased deity was on our side, and our soldiers slashed the backs of the fugitives; when sometimes their swords were bent, and no weapons were at hand for dealing blows, they seized their javelins from the savages themselves and sank them into their vitals; and not one of those who dealt these wounds could with their blood glut his rage or satiate his right hand by continual slaughter, or take pity on a suppliant and leave him. 53 And so a great number of them lay there pierced with mortal wounds, begging for death as a speedy relief; others half-dead, with their spirit already slipping away, sought with dying eyes for longer enjoyment of the light; some had their heads severed by pikes heavy as beams, so that they hung down, connected only by their throats; some had fallen in their comrades’ blood on the miry, slippery ground, and although their persons were untouched by the steel, they were perishing, buried beneath the heaps of those who kept falling above them. 54 When all this had turned out so very successfully, our victorious troops pressed on with greater vigour, blunting the edges of their swords with stroke after stroke, while gleaming helms and shields rolled about under foot. At last the savages, driven on by the utmost extremity, since the heaps of corpses were so high as to block their passage, made for the only recourse left, that of the river, which now almost grazed their backs. 55 And since our indefatigable soldiers, running fast even under their armour, pressed upon them as they fled, some of them, thinking that by their skill in swimming they could save themselves from the dangers, committed their lives to the waves. Whereupon Caesar, with swift intelligence foreseeing what might happen, joined with the tribunes and higher officers in restraining shouts, forbidding any of our men in their over-eager pursuit of the enemy to entrust themselves to the eddying flood. 56 As a result it was seen that they stood on the banks and transfixed the Germans with various kinds of darts; and if any of them by his speed escaped this death, he would sink to the bottom of the river through the weight of his struggling body. 57 And just as in some theatrical scene, when the curtain displays many wonderful sights, so now one could without apprehension see how some who did not know how to swim clung fast to good swimmers; how others floated like logs when they were left behind by those who swam faster; and some were swept into the currents and swallowed up, so to speak, by the struggling violence of the stream; some were carried along on their shields, and by frequently changing their direction avoided the steep masses of the onrushing waves, and so after many a risk reached the further shores. And at last the reddened river’s bed, foaming with the savages’ blood, was itself amazed at these strange additions to its waters.

58 While this was going on, King Chonodomarius found means to get away by slipping through the heaps of corpses with a few of his attendants, and hastened at top speed towards the camp which he had boldly pitched near the Roman fortifications of Tribunci and Concordia, his purpose being to embark in some boats which he had sometime before got ready for any emergency, and hide himself away in some secret retreat. 59 And since he could not reach his own territories except by crossing the Rhine, he covered his face for fear of being recognised and slowly retired. But when he was already nearing the river-bank and was skirting a lagoon which had been flooded with marsh water, in order to get by, his horse stumbled on the muddy and sticky ground and he was thrown off; but although he was fat and heavy, he quickly escaped to the refuge of a neighbouring hill. But he was recognised (for he could not conceal his identity, being betrayed by the greatness of his former estate); and immediately a cohort with its tribune followed him with breathless haste and surrounded the wooded height with their troops and cautiously invested it, afraid to break in for fear that some hidden ambush might meet them among the dark shadows of the branches. 60 On seeing them he was driven to the utmost fear and surrendered of his own accord, coming out alone; and his attendants, two hundred in number, with three of his closest friends, thinking it a disgrace to survive their king, or not to die for their king if an emergency required it, gave themselves up to be made prisoners. 61 And as the savages are by nature humble in adversity and overbearing in success, subservient as he now was to another’s will he was dragged along pale and abashed, tongue-tied by the consciousness of his crimes — how vastly different from the man who, after savage and woeful outrages, trampled upon the ashes of Gaul and threatened many dire deeds.

62 So the battle was thus finished by the favour of the supreme deity; the day had already ended and the trumpet sounded; the soldiers, very reluctant to be recalled, encamped near the banks of the Rhine, protected themselves by numerous rows of shields, and enjoyed food and sleep. 63 Now there fell in this battle on the Roman side two hundred and forty-three soldiers and four high officers: Bainobaudes, tribune of the Cornuti, and also Laipso; and Innocentius, commander of the mailed cavalry, and one unattached tribune, whose name is not available to me. But of the Alamanni there was counted six thousand corpses lying on the field, and heaps of dead, impossible to reckon, were carried off by the waves of the river. 64 Thereupon, since Julian was a man of greater mark than his position, and more powerful in his deserts than in his command, he was hailed as Augustus by the unanimous acclamation of the entire army; but he rebuked the soldiers for their thoughtless action, and declared with an oath that he neither expected nor desired to attain that honour. 65 And to enhance their rejoicing over their success, he called an assembly and offered rewards, and then courteously gave orders that Chonodomarius should be brought before him; the king at first bowed down and then humbly prostrated himself on the ground; and when he begged for forgiveness in his native tongue, he was told to be of good courage. 66 And a few days later he was conducted to the emperor’s court and thence sent to Rome; there in the Castra Peregrina, which is on the Caelian Hill, he died from senile decay.

67 On the successful outcome of these exploits, so numerous and so important, some of the courtiers in Constantius’ palace found fault with Julian, in order to please the emperor himself, or facetiously called him Victorinus, on the ground that, although he was modest in making reports whenever he led the army in battle, he often mentioned defeats of the Germans. 68 And between piling on empty praise, and pointing to what was clearly evident, they as usual puffed up the emperor, who was naturally conceited, by ascribing whatever was done anywhere in the world to his favourable auspices. 69 As a consequence, he was elated by the grandiloquence of his sycophants, and then and later in his published edicts he arrogantly lied about a great many matters, frequently writing that he alone (although he had not been present at the action) had both fought and conquered, and had raised up the suppliant kings of foreign nations. If, for example, when he himself was then in Italy, one of his generals had fought bravely against the Persians, he would make no mention of him in the course of a very long account, but would send out letters wreathed in laurel to the detriment of the provinces, indicating with odious self-praise that he had fought in the front ranks. 70 In short, there are extant statements filed among the public records of this emperor, in which ostentatious reports are given, of his boasting and exalting himself to the sky. When this battle was fought near Strasburg, although he was distant forty days’ march, in his description of the fight he falsely asserts that he arranged the order of battle, and stood among the standard-bearers, and drove the barbarians headlong, and that Chonodomarius was brought to him, saying nothing (Oh, shameful indignity!) of the glorious deeds of Julian, which he would have buried in oblivion, had not fame been unable to suppress his splendid exploits, however much many people would have obscured them.


1 Julianus Caesar, having crossed the Rhine, sacks and burns the villages of the Alamanni; he repairs a fortress of Trajan and grants the barbarians a truce of ten months.

1 After this conclusion of the variety of events which I have now summarised the young warrior, with mind at ease, since the Rhine flowed on peacefully after the battle of Strasburg, took care to keep birds of prey from devouring the bodies of the slain; and he gave orders that they should all be buried without distinction. Then, having dismissed the envoys, who (as we have related) had brought some insolent messages before the battle, he returned to Savernes. 2 From there he ordered the booty, with all the captives, to be taken to Metz and kept there until his return; he was himself planning to go to Mayence with the purpose of building a bridge, crossing the Rhine, and searching out the savages on their own ground, since he had left none of them in our territory; but he was opposed by the protests of the army. However, by his eloquence and the charm of his language he won them over and converted them to his will. For their affection, warmer after their experiences with him, prompted them to follow willingly one who was a fellow-soldier in every task, a leader brilliant in his prestige, and accustomed to prescribe more drudgery for himself than for a common soldier, as was clearly evident. And as soon as they came to the place above mentioned, crossing the river on the bridges which they made, they possessed themselves of the enemy’s country. 3 But the savages, thunderstruck at the vastness of the feat, since they little expected that they could be molested, settled as they were amid undisturbed peace, gave anxious thought to what might threaten their own fortunes, in view of the destruction of the others; and so under pretence of a prayer for peace, with the purpose of avoiding the brunt of the first onslaught, they sent envoys with set speeches, to declare the harmonious validity of the treaties with them; but for some unknown design that they suddenly formed they changed their minds, and by other messengers whom they forced to come post haste, they threatened our men with most bitter warfare, unless they should withdraw from their territory.

4 On learning this from a sure source, Caesar at the first quiet of nightfall embarked eight hundred soldiers on small, swift boats, so that they might go up the Rhine for a distance of twenty stadia, disembark, and with fire and sword lay waste whatever they could find. 5 This arrangement thus made, at the very break of day the savages were seen drawn up along the hill-tops, and the soldiers in high spirits were led up to the higher ground; but they found no one there (since the enemy, suspecting this, had hastily decamped), and then great columns of smoke were seen at a distance, revealing that our men had burst in and were devastating the enemy’s territory. 6 This action broke the Germans’ spirit, and abandoning the ambuscades which they had laid for our men in narrow and dangerous places, they fled across the river, Menus by name, to bear aid to their kinsfolk. 7 For, as is apt to happen in times of doubt and confusion, they were panic-stricken by the raid of our cavalry on the one side, and on the other by the sudden onset of our infantry, who had rowed up the river in their boats; and with their knowledge of the ground they had quick recourse to flight. Upon their departure our soldiers marched on undisturbed and plundered farms rich in cattle and crops, sparing none; and having dragged out the captives, they set fire to and burned down all the houses, which were built quite carefully in Roman fashion. 8 After having advanced approximately ten miles, they came to a forest formidable with its forbidding shade and their general stood in hesitation for some time, being informed by the report of a deserter that large forces were lurking in some hidden underground passages and wide-branching trenches, ready to burst forth when they saw an opportunity. 9 Yet they all ventured to draw near with the greatest confidence, but found the paths heaped with felled oak and ash-trees and a great quantity of fir. And so they warily retreated, their minds hardly containing their indignation, as they realised that they could not advance farther except by long and difficult detours. 10 And since the rigorous climate was trying to them and they struggled in vain with extreme difficulties (for the autumnal equinox had passed, and in those regions the fallen snows covered mountains and plains alike) they took in hand a memorable piece of work. 11 And while there was no one to withstand them, with eager haste they repaired a fortress which Trajan had built in the territory of the Alamanni and wished to be called by his name, and which had of late been very forcibly assaulted. There a temporary garrison was established and provisions were brought thither from the heart of the savages’ country. 12 When the enemy saw these preparations rapidly made for their destruction, they quickly assembled, dreading the completion of the work, and with prayers and extreme abasement sent envoys and sued for peace. And Caesar granted this for the space of ten months, since it was recommended by every kind of consideration, and he could allege very many plausible reasons for it; for doubtless he appreciated with his keen mind that the stronghold which, beyond any possible hope, he had seized without opposition, ought to be fortified with artillery on the walls and powerful appliances of war. 13 Confiding in this peace, three very savage kings finally appeared, though still somewhat apprehensive since they were of the number of those who had sent aid to the vanquished at Strasburg; and they took oath in words formally drawn up after the native manner that they would not disturb the peace, but would keep the agreement up to the appointed day, since that was our pleasure, and leave the fortress untouched; and they would even bring grain in on their shoulders, in case the defenders would let them know that they needed any; both of which things they did, since fear curbed their treacherous disposition.

14 In this memorable war, which in fact deserves to be compared with those against the Carthaginians and the Teutons, but was achieved with very slight losses to the Roman commonwealth, Caesar took pride as a fortunate and successful general. And one might well believe his detractors, who pretended that he had acted so courageously on all occasions because he chose rather to perish fighting gloriously than to be put to death like a condemned criminal (as he expected), after the manner of his brother Gallus — had he not with equal resolution, even after Constantius’ death, increased his renown by marvellous exploits.

2 Julianus Caesar besieges six hundred Franks, who were devastating Second Germany, and starves them into surrender.

1 Matters thus being firmly settled, so far as circumstances would permit, he returned to winter quarters and found the following sequel to his exertions. Severus, master of the horse, while on his way to Rheims by way of Cologne and Juliers, fell in with some very strong companies of Franks, to the number (as appeared later) of six hundred light-armed skirmishers, who were plundering the districts unprotected by garrisons; the favourable opportunity that had roused their boldness to the point of action was this, that they thought that while Caesar was busily employed among the retreats of the Alamanni, and there was no one to prevent them, they could load themselves with a wealth of booty. But in fear of the army, which had now returned, they possessed themselves of two strongholds, which had long since been left empty, and there defended themselves as well as they could. 2 Julian, disturbed by the novelty of the act, and guessing what might come of it if he passed by leaving them unmolested, halted his army, and made his plans to surround the strongholds, which the river Meuse flows past; and for fifty-four days (namely in the months of December and January) the delays of the siege were dragged out, while the savages with stout hearts and incredible resolution withstood him. 3 Then Caesar being very shrewd and fearing that the savages might take advantage of some moonless night and cross the frozen river, gave orders that every duty, from near sunset to the break of dawn, soldiers should row up and down stream in scouting vessels, so as to break up the cakes of ice and let no one get an opportunity of easy escape. And because of this device, since they were worn out by hunger, sleeplessness, and extreme desperation, they surrendered of their own accord and were sent at once to Augustus’ court. 4 A large troop of Franks had set out to rescue them from their danger; but on learning that they had been captured and carried off, without venturing on anything further they retired to their strongholds. And Caesar after these successes returned to Paris to pass the winter.

3 Julianus Caesar tries to relieve the Gauls of oppressive tributes.

1 Now since it was expected that a great number of tribes with greater forces would make head together, our cautious commander, weighing the doubtful issue of wars, was perplexed with great burdens of anxiety. So, thinking that during the truce, short though it was and full of business, some remedy might be found for the calamitous losses incurred by the land-holders, he set in order the system of taxation. 2 And whereas Florentius, the praetorian prefect, after having reviewed the whole matter (as he asserted) stated that whatever was lacking in the poll-tax and land-tax accounts he supplied out of special levies, Julian, knowing about such measures, declared that he would rather lose his life than allow it to be done. 3 For he knew that the incurable wounds of such arrangements, or rather derangements (to speak more truly) had often driven provinces to extreme poverty — a thing which (as will be shown later) was the complete ruin of Illyricum. 4 For this reason, though the praetorian prefect exclaimed that it was unbearable that he should suddenly become distrusted, when Augustus had conferred upon him the supreme charge of the state; Julian calmed him by his quiet manner, and by an exact and accurate computation proved that the amount of the poll-tax and land-tax was not only sufficient, but actually in excess of the inevitable requirements for government provisions. 5 But when long afterwards an increase of taxation was nevertheless proposed to him, he could not bring himself to read it or sign it, but threw it on the ground. And when he was advised by a letter of Augustus, after the prefect’s report, not to act so meticulously as to seem to discredit Florentius, he wrote back that it would be a cause for rejoicing if the provincials, harried as they were on every side, might at least have to furnish only the prescribed taxes, not the additional amounts, which no tortures could wring from the poverty-stricken. And so it came to pass then and thereafter, that through the resolution of one courageous spirit no one tried to extort from the Gauls anything beyond the normal tax. 6 Finally, contrary to precedent, Caesar by entreaty had obtained this favour from the prefect, that he should be entrusted with the administration of the province of Second Belgium, which was overwhelmed by many kinds of calamities, and indeed with the proviso that no agent either of the prefect or of the governor should force anyone to pay the tax. So every one whom he had taken under his charge was relieved by this comforting news, and without being dunned they brought in their dues before the appointed date.

4 By order of Constantius Augustus an obelisk is set up at Rome in the Circus Maximus; also an account of obelisks and hieroglyphics.

1 During these first steps towards the rehabilitation of Gaul, and while Orfitus was still conducting his second prefecture, an obelisk was set up at Rome in the Circus Maximus; and of it, since this is a suitable place, I shall give a brief account. 2 The city of Thebes, founded in primitive times and once famous for the stately structure of its walls and for the hundred approaches formed by its gates, was called by its builders from that feature Hecatompylos, or Hundred-gated Thebes; and from this name the province is to this day called Thebaid. 3 When Carthage was in its early career of wide expansion, Punic generals destroyed Thebes by unexpected attack; and when it was afterwards rebuilt, Cambyses, that renowned king of Persia, all his life covetous of others’ possessions, and cruel, overran Egypt and attacked Thebes, in the hope of carrying off therefrom its enviable wealth, since he did not spare even gifts made to the gods. 4 But while he was excitedly running among the plundering troops, tripped by the looseness of his garments, he fell headlong; and his own dagger, which he had fastened to his right thigh, was unsheathed by the sudden force of the fall and wounded him almost mortally. 5 Again long afterwards, when Octavian was ruling Rome, Cornelius Gallus, procurator of Egypt, drained the city by extensive embezzlements; and when on his return he was accused of peculation and the robbery of the province, in his fear of the bitterly exasperated nobility, to whom the emperor had committed the investigation of the case, he drew his sword and fell upon it. He was (if I am right in so thinking) the poet Gallus, whom Virgil laments in a way in the latter part of the Bucolics and celebrates in gentle verse.

6 In this city, amidst mighty shrines and colossal works of various kinds, which depict the likeness of the Egyptian deities, we have seen many obelisks, and others prostrate and broken, which kings of long ago, when they had subdued foreign nations in war or were proud of the prosperous condition of their realms, hewed out of the veins of the mountains which they sought for even among the remotest dwellers on the globe, set up, and in their religious devotion dedicated to the gods of heaven. 7 Now an obelisk is a very hard stone, rising gradually somewhat in the form of a turning-post to a lofty height; little by little it grows slenderer, to imitate a sunbeam; it is four-sided, tapers to a narrow point, and is polished by the workman’s hand. 8 Now the infinite carvings of characters called hieroglyphics, which we see cut into it on every side, have been made known by an ancient authority of primeval wisdom. 9 For by engraving many kinds of birds and beasts, even of another world, in order that the memory of their achievements might the more widely reach generations of a subsequent age, they registered the vows of kings, either promised or performed. 10 For not as nowadays, when a fixed and easy series of letters expresses whatever the mind of man may conceive, did the ancient Egyptian also write; but individual characters stood for individual nouns and verbs; and sometimes they meant whole phrases. 11 The principle of this thing for the time it will suffice to illustrate with these two examples: by a vulture they represented the word “nature”, because, as natural history records, no males can be found among these birds; and under the figure of the bee making honey they designate “a king”, showing by this imagery that in a ruler sweetness should be combined with a sting as well; and there are many similar instances.

12 And because sycophants, after their fashion, kept puffing up Constantius and endlessly dinning it into his ears that, whereas Octavius Augustus had brought over two obelisks from the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, one of which was set up in the Circus Maximus, the other in the Campus Martius, as for this one recently brought in, he neither ventured to meddle with it nor move it, overawed by the difficulties caused by its size — let me inform those who do not know it that that early emperor, after bringing over several obelisks, passed by this one and left it untouched because it was consecrated as a special gift to the Sun God, and because being placed in the sacred part of his sumptuous temple, which might not be profaned, there it towered aloft like the peak of the world. 13 But Constantine, making little account of that, tore the huge mass from its foundations; and since he rightly thought he was committing no sacrilege if he took this marvel from one temple and consecrated it at Rome, that is to say, in the temple of the whole world, he let it lie for a long time, while the things necessary for its transfer were being provided. And when it had been conveyed down the channel of the Nile and landed at Alexandria, a ship of a size hitherto unknown was constructed, to be rowed by three hundred oarsmen. 14 After these provisions, the aforesaid emperor departed this life and the urgency of the enterprise waned, but at last the obelisk was loaded on the ship, after long delay, and brought over the sea and up the channel of the Tiber, which seemed to fear that it could hardly forward over the difficulties of its outward course to the walls of its foster-child the gift which the almost unknown Nile had sent. But it was brought to the vicus Alexandri distant three miles from the city. There it was put on cradles and carefully drawn through the Ostian Gate and by the Piscina Publica and brought into the Circus Maximus. 15 After this there remained only the raising, which it was thought could be accomplished only with great difficulty, perhaps not at all. But it was done in the following manner: to tall beams which were brought and raised on end (so that you would see a very grove of derricks) were fastened long and heavy ropes in the likeness of a manifold web hiding the sky with their excessive numbers. To these was attached that veritable mountain engraved over with written characters, and it was gradually drawn up on high through the empty air, and after hanging for a long time, while many thousand men turned wheels resembling millstones, it was finally placed in the middle of the circus and capped by a bronze globe gleaming with gold leaf; this was immediately struck by a bolt of the divine fire and therefore removed and replaced by a bronze figure of a torch, likewise overlaid with gold foil and glowing like a mass of flame. 16 And subsequent generations have brought over other obelisks, of which one was set up on the Vatican, another in the gardens of Sallust, and two at the mausoleum of Augustus. 17 Now the text of the characters cut upon the ancient obelisk which we see in the Circus I add below in the Greek translation, following the work of Hermapion. The translation of the first line, beginning on the South side, reads as follows:

18 “The Sun speaks to King Ramestes. I have granted to thee that thou shouldst with joy rule over the whole earth, thou whom the Sun loveth — and powerful Apollo, lover of truth, son of Heron, god-born, creator of the world, whom the Sun hath chosen, the doughty son of Mars, King Ramestes. Unto him the whole earth is made subject through his valour and boldness. King Ramastes, eternal child of the Sun.”


19 “Mighty Apollo, seated upon truth, Lord of the Diadem, who hath gloriously honoured Egypt as his peculiar possession, who hath beautified Heliopolis, created the rest of the world, and adorned with manifold honours the Gods erected in Heliopolis — he whom the Sun loveth.”


20 “Mighty Apollo, child of the sun, all-radiant, whom the Sun hath chosen and valiant Mars endowed; whose blessings shall endure forever; whom Ammon loveth, as having filled his temple with the good fruits of the date palm; unto whom the Gods have given length of life.

“Apollo, mighty son of Heron, Ramestes, king of the world, who hath preserved Egypt by conquering other nations; whom the Sun loveth; to who the Gods have granted length of life; Lord of the world, Ramestes ever-living.”


21 “The Sun, great God, Lord of Heaven; I have granted to thee life hitherto unforeseen. Apollo the mighty, Lord incomparable of the Diadem, who hath set up statues of the Gods in this kingdom, ruler of Egypt, and he adorned Heliopolis just as he did the Sun himself, Ruler of Heaven; he finished a good work, child of the Sun, the king ever-living.”


22 “The God Sun, Lord of Heaven, to Ramastes the king. I have granted to thee the rule and the authority over all men; whom Apollo, lover of truth, Lord of seasons, and Vulcan, father of the Gods, hath chosen for Mars. King all-gladdening, child of the Sun and beloved of the Sun.”


23 “The great God of Heliopolis, heavenly, mighty Apollo, son of Heron, whom the Sun hath loved, whom the Gods hath honoured, the ruler over all the earth, whom the Sun hath chosen, a king valiant for Mars, whom Ammon loveth, and he that is all-radiant, having set apart the king eternal”; and so on.

5 Constantius Augustus and Sapor, king of the Persians, negotiate for peace through letters and envoys; but to no purpose.

1 In the consulship of Datianus and Cerealis, while all provisions in Gaul were being made with very careful endeavour, and dismay due to past losses halted the raids of the savages, the king of Persia was still encamped in the confines of the frontier tribes; and having now made a treaty of alliance with the Chionitae and Gelani, the fiercest warriors of all, he was on the point of returning to his own territories, when he received Tamsapor’s letter, stating that the Roman emperor begged and entreated for peace. 2 Therefore, imagining that such a step would not be attempted unless the fabric of the empire were weakened, he swelled with greater pride, embraced the name of peace, and proposed hard conditions; and dispatching one Narseus with gifts as his envoy, he sent a letter to Constantius, the tenor of which, as we have learned, was as follows:—

3 “I Sapor, King of Kings, partner with the Stars, brother of the Sun and Moon, to my brother Constantius Caesar offer most ample greeting.

“I rejoice and at last take pleasure that you have returned to the best course and acknowledged the inviolable sanction of justice, having learned from actual experience what havoc has been caused at various times by obstinate covetousness of what belongs to others. 4 Since therefore the consideration of truth ought to be free and untrammelled, and it befits those in high station to speak as they feel, I shall state my proposal in brief terms, recalling that what I am about to say I have often repeated. 5 That my forefathers’ empire reached as far as the river Strymon and the boundaries of Macedonia even your own ancient records bear witness; these lands it is fitting that I should demand, since (and may what I say not seem arrogant) I surpass the kings of old in magnificence and array of conspicuous virtues. But at all times right reason is dear to me, and trained in it from my earliest youth, I have never allowed myself to do anything for which I had cause to repent. 6 And therefore it is my duty to recover Armenia with Mesopotamia, which double-dealing wrested from my grandfather. That principle shall never be brought to acceptance among us which you exultantly maintain, that without any distinction between virtue and deceit all successful events of war should be approved. 7 Finally, if you wish to follow my sound advice, disregard this small tract, always a source of woe and bloodshed, so that you may rule the rest in security, wisely recalling that even expert physicians sometimes cauterize, lance, and even cut away some parts of the body, in order to save the rest sound for use; and that even wild beasts do this: for when they observe for what possession they are being relentlessly hunted, they give that up of their own accord, so as afterwards to live free from fear. 8 This assuredly I declare, that if this embassy of mine returns unsuccessful, after the time of the winter rest is past I shall gird myself with all my strength and with fortune and the justice of my terms upholding my hope of a successful issue, I shall hasten to come on, so far as reason permits.”

9 After this letter had long been pondered, answer was made with upright heart, as they say, and circumspectly, as follows:—

10 “I, Constantius, victor by land and sea, perpetual Augustus, to my brother King Sapor, offer most ample greeting.

“I rejoice in your health, and if you will, I shall be your friend hereafter; but this covetousness of yours, always unbending and more widely encroaching, I vehemently reprobate. 11 You demand Mesopotamia as your own and likewise Armenia, and you recommend lopping off some members of a sound body, so that its health may afterwards be put upon a firm footing — advice which is rather to be refuted than to be confirmed by any agreement. Therefore listen to the truth, not obscured by any juggling, but transparent and not to be intimidated by any empty threats. 12 My praetorian prefect, thinking to undertake an enterprise conducing to the public weal, entered into conversations with a general of yours, through the agency of some individuals of little worth and without consulting me, on the subject of peace. This we neither reject nor refuse, if only it take place with dignity and honour, without at all prejudicing our self-respect or our majesty. 13 For at this time, when the sequence of events (may envy’s breezes be placated!) has beamed in manifold form upon us, when with the overthrow of the usurpers the whole Roman world is subject to us, it is absurd and silly to surrender what we long preserved unmolested when we were still confined within the bounds of the Orient. 14 Furthermore, pray make an end of those intimidations which (as usual) are directed against us, since there can be no doubt that it was not through slackness, but through self-restraint that we have sometimes accepted battle rather than offered it, and that when we are set upon, we defend our territories with the most valiant spirit of a good conscience; for we know both by experience and by reading that while in some battles, though rarely, the Roman cause has stumbled, yet in the main issue of our wars it has never succumbed to defeat.”

15 This embassy having been sent back without obtaining anything — for no fuller answer could be made to the king’s unbridled greed — after a very few days it was followed by Count Prosper, Spectatus, tribune and secretary, and likewise, at the suggestion of Musonianus, the philosopher Eustathius, as a master of persuasion; they carried with them letters of the emperor and gifts, and meanwhile planned by some craft or other to stay Sapor’s preparations, so that his northern provinces might not be fortified beyond the possibility of attack.

6 The Juthungi, a tribe of the Alamanni, who were devastating Raetia, were defeated and put to flight by the Romans.

1 In the midst of these uncertainties the Juthungi, a branch of the Alamanni bordering on Italian territory, forgetful of the peace and the treaty which they had obtained by their prayers, were laying waste Raetia with such violence as even to attempt the besieging of towns, contrary to their habit. 2 To drive them back Barbatio was sent with a strong force; he had been promoted in place of Silvanus to be infantry commander. He was a coward but a fluent speaker, and having thoroughly roused the enthusiasm of the soldiers he utterly defeated a large number of the foe, so that only a small remnant, who for fear of danger had taken to flight, barely escaped and returned to their homes, not without tears and lamentations. 3 In this battle, we are assured, Nevitta, commander of a troop of cavalry and afterwards consul, was present and conducted himself manfully.

7 Nicomedia is destroyed by an earthquake; the different ways in which the earth is shaken.

1 At that same time fearful earthquakes throughout Asia, Macedonia, and Pontus with their repeated shocks shattered numerous cities and mountains. Now among the instances of manifold disaster was pre-eminent the collapse of Nicomedia, the metropolis of Bithynia; and of the misfortune of its destruction I shall give a true and concise account.

2 On the twenty-fourth of August, at the first break of day, thick masses of darkling clouds overcast the face of the sky, which had just before been brilliant; the sun’s splendour was dimmed, and not even objects near at hand or close by could be discerned, so restricted was the range of vision, as a foul, dense mist rolled up and settled over the ground. 3 Then, as if the supreme deity were hurling his fateful bolts and raising the winds from their very quarters, a mighty tempest of raging gales burst forth; and at its onslaught were heard the groans of the smitten mountains and the crash of the wave-lashed shore; these were followed by whirlwinds and waterspouts, which, together with a terrific earthquake, completely overturned the city and its suburbs. 4 And since most of the houses were carried down the slopes of the hills, they fell upon one another, while everything resounded with the vast roar of their destruction. Meanwhile the highest points re-echoed all manner of outcries, of those seeking their wives, their children, and whatever near kinsfolk belonged to them. 5 Finally, after the second hour, but well before the third, the air, which was now bright and clear, revealed the fatal ravages that lay concealed. For some who had been crushed by the huge bulk of the debris falling upon them perished under its very weight; some were buried up to their necks in the heaps of rubbish, and might have survived had anyone helped them, but died for want of assistance; others hung impaled upon the sharp points of projecting timbers. 6 The greater number were killed at one blow, and where there were just now human beings, were then seen confused piles of corpses. Some were imprisoned unhurt within slanting houseroofs, to be consumed by the agony of starvation. Among these was Aristaenetus, vice-governor of the recently created diocese which Constantius, in honour of his wife, Eusebia, had named Pietas; by this kind of mishap he slowly panted out his life amid torments. 7 Others, who were overwhelmed by the sudden magnitude of the disaster, are still hidden under the same ruins; some who with fractured skulls or amputated arms or legs hovered between life and death, imploring the aid of others in the same case, were abandoned, despite their pleas and protestations. 8 And, the greater part of the temples and private houses might have been saved, and of the population as well, had not a sudden onrush of flames, sweeping over them for five days and nights, burned up whatever could be consumed.

9 I think the time has come to say a few words about the theories which the men of old have brought together about earthquakes; for the hidden depths of the truth itself have neither been sounded by this general ignorance of ours, nor even by the everlasting controversies of the natural philosophers, which are not yet ended after long study. 10 Hence in the books of ritual and in those which are in conformity with the pontifical priesthood, nothing is said about the god that causes earthquakes, and this with due caution, for fear that by naming one deity instead of another, since it is not clear which of them thus shakes the earth, impieties may be perpetrated. 11 Now earthquakes take place (as the theories state, and among them Aristotle is perplexed and troubled) either in the tiny recesses of the earth, which in Greek we call σύριγγαι, under the excessive pressure of surging waters; or at any rate (as Anaxagoras asserts) through the force of the winds, which penetrate the innermost parts of the earth; for when these strike the solidly cemented walls and find no outlet, they violently shake those stretches of land under which they crept when swollen. Hence it is generally observed that during an earthquake not a breath of wind is felt where we are, because the winds are busied in the remotest recesses of the earth. 12 Anaximander says that when the earth dries up after excessive summer drought, or after soaking rainstorms, great clefts open, through which the upper air enters with excessive violence; and the earth, shaken by the mighty draft of air through these, is stirred from its very foundations. Accordingly such terrible disasters happen either in seasons of stifling heat or after excessive precipitation of water from heaven. And that is why the ancient poets and theologians call Neptune (the power of the watery element) Ennosigaeos and Sisichthon.

13 Now earthquakes take place in four ways; for they are either brasmatiae, or upheavings, which lift up the ground from far within, like a tide and force upward huge masses, as in Asia Delos came to the surface, and Hiera, Anaphe, and Rhodes, called in former ages Ophiusa and Pelagia, and once drenched with a shower of gold; also Eleusis in Boeotia, Vulcanus in the Tyrrhenian Sea, and many more islands. Or they are climatiae which rush along to one side and obliquely, levelling cities, buildings, and mountains. Or they are chasmatiae, or gaping, which with their intensive movement suddenly open abysses and swallow up parts of the earth; as in the Atlantic Ocean an island more extensive than all Europe, and in the Crisaean Gulf, Helice and Bura; and in the Ciminian district of Italy the town of Saccumum; these were all sunk into the deep abysses of Erebus, and lie hidden in eternal darkness. 14 Among these three sorts of earthquakes the mycematiae are heard with a threatening roar, when the elements break up into their component parts and clash of their own accord, or slide back when the ground settles. For then of necessity the crashing and rumbling of the earth must resound like the bellowing of a bull. But to return to the episode which we began.

8 Julianus Caesar receives the surrender of the Salii, a Frankish people; he kills a part of the Chamavi, captures others, and grants peace to the rest.

1 Now Caesar, while wintering in Paris, hastened with the greatest diligence to forestall the Alamanni, who were not yet assembled in one body, but were all venturesome and cruel to the point of madness after the battle of Strasburg; and while waiting for the month of July, when the campaigns in Gaul begin, he was for a long time in much anxiety. For he could not leave until the grain supply was brought up from Aquitania during the mild summer season, and after the breaking up of the cold weather and frost. 2 But as careful planning is victorious over nearly all difficulties, he turned over in his mind many various possibilities; and this at last he found to be the only one, namely, without waiting for the height of the season, to fall upon the savages before he was looked for. And having settled on his plan, he had the grain allowance for twenty days taken from what was to be consumed in the winter quarters, and baked up to serve for some time; he put this hard-tack (as they commonly call it) on the backs of his willing soldiers, and relying on this supply he set out under favourable auspices (as he did before), thinking that within the fifth or sixth month two urgent and inevitable campaigns might be brought to completion. 3 After these preparations he first of all aimed at the Franks, those namely whom custom calls the Salii, who once had the great assurance to venture to fix their abodes on Roman soil at Toxiandria. But when he had reached Tongres, a deputation of the aforesaid people met him, expecting to find the commander even then in winter quarters; and they offered peace on these terms, that while they remained quiet, as in their own territories, no one should attack or molest them. After having fully discussed the matter and proposed in reply some puzzling conditions, as if intending to remain in the same district until they returned, he gave these envoys gifts and dismissed them. 4 But quicker than a flash he followed them up after their departure, and sending his general Severus along the river bank, fell upon the whole troop suddenly and smote them like a thunderstorm; at once they took to entreaties rather than to resistance, and he turned the outcome of his victory into the timely direction of mercy by receiving them in surrender with their property and their children. 5 The Chamavi also had ventured to make a similar attempt; with the same rapidity he attacked these, killed a part of them, and a part, who resisted stoutly and were taken alive, he put in irons; others, who made tracks for home in headlong flight, he allowed for the time to get away unharmed, in order not to tire his soldiers by a long chase. A little later they sent delegates to make supplication and to provide for their safety, and as they lay prostrate on the ground before his eyes he granted them peace on condition that they should return unmolested to their homes.

9 Julianus Caesar rebuilds three fortresses on the Meuse that had been destroyed by the savages, and is assailed with insults and threats by the soldiers, who are suffering from hunger.

1 So, as everything was proceeding in accordance with his prayers, he made haste with watchful solicitude to put the well-being of the provinces in every way on a firm footing; and he planned to repair (as time would permit) three forts situated in a straight line along the banks overhanging the river Meuse, which had long since been overthrown by the obstinate assaults of the savages; and they were immediately restored, the campaign being interrupted for a short time. 2 And to the end that speed might make his wise policy safe, he took a part of the seventeen days’ provisions, which the soldiers, when they marched forward on their expedition carried about their necks, and stored it in those same forts, hoping that what had been deducted might be replaced from the harvests of the Chamavi. 3 But it turned out far otherwise; for the crops were not yet even ripe, and the soldiers, after using up what they carried, could find no food anywhere; and resorting to outrageous threats, they assailed Julian with foul names and opprobrious language, calling him an Asiatic, a Greekling and a deceiver, and a fool with a show of wisdom. And as some are usually to be found among the soldiers who are noteworthy for their volubility, they kept bawling out such words as these and many others to the same purport: 4 “Where are we being dragged, robbed of the hope of a better lot? We have long endured hardships of the bitterest kind to bear, in the midst of snows and the pinch of cruel frosts; but now (Oh shameful indignity!), when we are pressing on to the final destruction of the enemy it is by hunger, the most despicable form of death, that we are wasting away. 5 And let no man imagine us incitors to mutiny; we protest that we are speaking for our lives alone, asking for neither gold nor silver, which we have not been able to handle or even look upon for a long time, and which are denied us just as if it were against our country that we had been convicted of having undertaken so much toil and danger.” 6 And they had good reason for their complaints. For through all their career of laudable achievements, and the critical moments of hazard, the soldiers, though worn out by their labours in Gaul, had received neither donative nor pay from the very day that Julian was sent there, for the reason that he himself had no funds available from which to give, nor did Constantius allow any to be expended in the usual manner. 7 And it was evident that this was done through malice rather than through niggardliness, from the fact that when this same Julian was asked by a common soldier, as they often do, for money for a shave, and had given him some small coin, he was assailed for it with slanderous speeches by Gaudentius, who was then a secretary. He had remained in Gaul for a long time to watch Julian’s actions, and Caesar afterwards ordered that he be put to death, as will be shown in the proper place.

10 Suomarius and Hortarius, kings of the Alamanni, on giving back their prisoners are granted peace by Julianus Caesar.

1 At length, after the mutiny had been quelled, not without various sorts of fair words, they built a pontoon bridge and crossed the Rhine; but when they set foot in the lands of the Alamanni, Severus, master of the horse, who had previously been a warlike and energetic officer, suddenly lost heart. 2 And he that had often encouraged one and all to brave deeds, now advised against fighting and seemed despicable and timid — perhaps through fear of his coming death, as we read in the books of Tages or of Vegoe that those who are shortly to be struck by lightning are so dulled in their senses that they can hear neither thunder nor any louder crashes whatsoever. And contrary to his usual custom, he had marched so lazily that he intimidated the guides, who were leading the way rapidly, and threatened them with death unless they would all agree, and unanimously make a statement, that they were wholly ignorant of the region. So they, being thus forbidden, and in fear of his authority, on no occasion went ahead after that.

3 Now in the midst of these delays Suomarius, king of the Alamanni, of his own initiative met the Romans unexpectedly with his troops, and although he had previously been haughty and cruelly bent upon harming the Romans, at that time on the contrary he thought it an unlooked-for gain if he were allowed to keep what belonged to him. And inasmuch as his looks and his gait showed him to be a suppliant, he was received and told to be of good cheer and set his mind at rest; whereupon he completely abandoned his own independence and begged for peace on bended knee. 4 And he obtained it, with pardon for all that was past, on these terms: that he should deliver up his Roman captives and supply the soldiers with food as often as it should be needed, receiving security for what he brought in just like any ordinary contractor. And if he did not present it on time, he was to know that the same amount would again be demanded of him.

5 When this, which was properly arranged, had been carried out without a hitch, since the territory of a second king, Hortarius by name, was to be attacked and nothing seemed to be lacking but guides, Caesar had given orders to Nestica, a tribune of the targeteers, and Charietto, a man of extraordinary bravery, to take great pains to seek out and catch one and bring him in captive. Quickly a young Alamann was seized and led in, and on condition of having his life spared he promised to show the way. 6 He led and the army followed, but it was prevented from going forward by a barricade of tall felled trees. But when they finally, by long and circuitous detours, reached the spot, every man in the army, wild with anger, joined in setting the fields on fire and raiding flocks and men; and if they resisted, they butchered them, without compunction. 7 The king was overwhelmed by these calamities, and when he saw the numerous legions and the ruins of his villages which they had burned down, now fully convinced that the final wreck of his fortunes was at hand, he too begged for pardon and under the solemn sanction of an oath promised that he would do what might be ordered. Being bidden to restore all prisoners — for that was insisted on with special earnestness — he did not keep faith but held back a large number and gave up only a few. 8 On learning this, Julian was roused to righteous indignation, and when the king came to receive presents, as was usual, he would not release his four attendants, on whose aid and loyalty he chiefly relied, until all the captives returned. 9 Finally the king was summoned by Caesar to an interview and reverenced him with trembling eyes; and overcome at the sight of the conqueror, he was forced to accept these hard terms, namely, that inasmuch as it was fitting that after so many successes the cities also should be rebuilt which the violence of the savages had destroyed, the king should furnish carts and timber from his own supplies and those of his subjects. And when he had promised this and taken oath that if he did any disloyal act, he should expiate it with his heart’s blood, he was allowed to return to his own domains. For as to supplying grain, as Suomarius did, he could not be coerced, for the reason that his country had been ravaged to the point of ruin, and nothing to give to us could be found.

10 So these kings, who in times past were inordinately puffed up with pride, and accustomed to enrich themselves with the spoils of our subjects, put their necks, now bowed down, under the yoke of Roman dominion, and ungrudgingly obeyed our commander, as if born and brought up among our tributaries. And after this conclusion of events the soldiers were distributed among their usual posts and Caesar returned to winter quarters.

11 Julianus Caesar, after these successful campaigns in Gaul, is derided by envious courtiers at the palace of Constantius, and called slothful and timid.

1 Presently, when all this became known at Constantius’ court — for it was necessary that Caesar, like any subordinate, should render an account to Augustus of all his acts — all those who had the chief influence in the palace and were now past masters in flattery turned Julian’s well-devised and successful achievements into mere mockery by endless silly jests of this sort: “This fellow, a nanny-goat and no man, is getting insufferable with his victories,” jibing at him for being hairy, and calling him a “chattering mole” and “an ape in purple,” and “a Greekish pedant,” and other names like these; and by ringing bells, so to speak, in the ear of an emperor eager to hear these and similar things, they tried to bury his merits with shameless speeches, railing at him as a lazy, timid, unpractical person, and one who embellished his ill success with fine words; all of which did not take place then for the first time. 2 For as the greatest glory is always habitually subject to envy, we read that even against the renowned leaders of ancient days faults and charges were trumped up, even if none could be discovered, by spiteful persons incensed by their brilliant exploits. 3 As, for example, Cimon, the son of Miltiades, was accused of incest, although often before and particularly near the river Eurymedon in Pamphylia he annihilated a countless host of the Persians, and compelled a nation always swollen with pride to sue humbly for peace. Likewise Scipio Aemilianus was accused of inactivity by the malice of his rivals, although by his effective vigilance two most powerful cities, bent on the destruction of Rome, were razed to the ground. And also even in the case of Pompey, some malevolent critics, who after much search found nothing for which he could be blamed, noted these two laughable and silly facts: that in a certain characteristic way he used to scratch his head with one finger, and that for some time, to cover up an ugly ulcer, he wore a white bandage tied around his leg; the one of these things he did, they affirmed, because he was dissipated, the other because he planned a revolution, snarling at him with the somewhat pointless reason, that it mattered not what part of his body he bound with the emblem of kingly majesty — and this to a man than whom, as the clearest proofs show, none was more valiant or circumspect with regard to his country.

5 While these things were thus happening, at Rome Artemius, who held the office of vice-prefect, also succeeded Bassus, who a short time after he had been promoted to be prefect of the city had died a natural death. His administration suffered from mutinous disturbances, but had no remarkable incident which is worth relating.

12 Constantius Augustus compels the Sarmatians, formerly rulers, but now exiles, and the Quadi, who were laying waste Pannonia and Moesia, to give hostages and return their prisoners; and over the exiled Sarmatians, whom he restored to freedom and their ancestral abode, he appointed a king.

1 As Augustus meanwhile was taking his winter rest at Sirmium, frequent serious reports showed that the Sarmatians and the Quadi, who were in agreement because they were neighbours and had like customs and armour, had united and were raiding the Pannonias and Second Moesia in detached bands. 2 These people, better fitted for brigandage than for open warfare, have very long spears and cuirasses made from smooth and polished pieces of horn, fastened like scales to linen shirts; most of their horses are made serviceable by gelding, in order that they may not at sight of mares become excited and run away, or when in ambush become unruly and betray their riders by loud neighing. 3 And they run over very great distances, pursuing others or themselves turning their backs, being mounted on swift and obedient horses and leading one, or sometimes even two, to the end that an exchange may keep up the strength of their mounts and that their freshness may be renewed by alternate periods of rest.

4 And so, when the spring equinox was past, the emperor mustered a strong force of soldiers and set out under the guidance of a more propitious fortune; and although the river Ister was in flood since the masses of snow and ice were now melted, having come to the most suitable place, he crossed it on a bridge built over the decks of ships and invaded the savages’ lands with intent to lay them waste. They were outwitted by his rapid march, and on seeing already at their throats the troops of a fighting army, which they supposed could not yet be assembled owing to the time of year, they ventured neither to take breath nor make a stand, but to avoid unlooked-for destruction all took to precipitate flight. 5 The greater number, since fear clogged their steps, were cut down; if speed saved any from death, they hid in the obscure mountain gorges and saw their country perishing by the sword; and they might undoubtedly have protected her, had they resisted with the same vigour that had marked their flight. 6 This took place in that part of Sarmatia which faces Second Pannonia, and with equal courage our soldiers, like a tempest, laid waste the enemies’ possessions round about Valeria, burning and plundering everything before them. 7 Greatly disturbed by the vastness of this disaster, the Sarmatians abandoned their plan of hiding, and forming in three divisions, under pretence of suing for peace they planned to attack our soldiers with little danger, so that they could neither get their weapons ready nor parry the force of wounds, nor turn to flight, which is the last recourse in times of stress. 8 Furthermore the Quadi, who had often been their inseparable companions in raids, came at once to share the perils of the Sarmatians; but their ready boldness did not help them either, rushing as they were upon evident hazards. 9 For after very many of them had been cut down, the part that could save themselves escaped by paths familiar to them, and our army, their strength and courage aroused by this success, formed in closer order and hastened to the domain of the Quadi. They, dreading from their past disaster what impended, planned to sue suppliantly for peace and confidently presented themselves before the emperor, who was somewhat too lenient towards those and similar offences; and on the day named for settling the terms in like fashion, Zizais, a tall young man who was even then a royal prince, drew up the ranks of the Sarmatians in battle array to make their petition. And on seeing the emperor he threw aside his weapons and fell flat on his breast, as if lying lifeless. And since the use of his voice failed him from fear at the very time when he should have made his plea, he excited all the greater compassion; but after several attempts, interrupted by sobbing, he was able to set forth only a little of what he tried to ask. 10 At last, however, he was reassured and bidden to rise, and getting up on his knees and recovering the use of his voice, he begged that indulgence for his offences, and pardon, be granted him. Upon this the throng was admitted to make its entreaties, but mute terror closed their lips, so long as the fate of their superior was uncertain. But when he was told to get up from the ground and gave the long awaited signal for their petition, all threw down their shields and spears, stretched out their class with prayers, and succeeded in many ways in outdoing their prince in lowly supplication. 11 Their superior had also brought with the rest of the Sarmatians Rumo, Zinafer and Fragiledus, who were petty kings, and a number of nobles, to make like requests, which they hoped would be granted. They, though overjoyed that their lives were spared, offered to make up for their hostile acts by burdensome conditions, and would have willingly submitted themselves with their possessions, their children, their wives, and the whole of their territories to the power of the Romans. However, kindness combined with equity prevailed, and when they were told to retain their homes without fear, they returned all their Roman prisoners. They also brought in the hostages that were demanded and promised from that time on to obey orders with the utmost promptness. 12 Encouraged by this instance of mercy, there hastened to the spot with all their subjects the prince Araharius, and Usafer, a prominent noble, who were leaders of the army of their countrymen; one of them ruled a part of the Transiugitani and the Quadi, the other some of the Sarmatians, peoples closely united by the same frontiers and like savagery. Since the emperor feared their people, lest under pretence of striking a treaty they might suddenly rise to arms, he separated the united divisions and bade those who were interceding for the Sarmatians to withdraw for a time, while the case of Araharius and the Quadi was being considered. 13 When these presented themselves in the manner of criminals, standing with bended bodies, and were unable to clear themselves of serious misdeeds, in fear of calamities of the worst kind they gave the hostages which were demanded, although never before had they been forced to present pledges for a treaty. 14 When they had been justly and fairly disposed of, Usafer was admitted to make supplication, although Araharius stoutly objected and insisted that the terms which he himself had obtained ought to be valid also for the other as his partner, although Usafer was of inferior rank and accustomed to obey his commands. 15 But after a discussion of the question, orders were given that the Sarmatians (as permanent dependents of the Romans) should be freed from the domination of others and should present hostages as bonds for keeping the peace; an offer which they gladly accepted. 16 Moreover, after this there offered themselves a very great number of kings and nations, coming together in companies, and begged that swords be poised at their very throats, as soon as they learned that Araharius had got off scot-free. And they too in the same way gained the peace which they sought, and sooner than was expected they summoned from the innermost parts of the kingdom and brought in as hostages the sons of eminent men, and also our prisoners (as had been stipulated), from whom they parted with as deep sighs as they did from their own countrymen.

17 These affairs once set in order, his attention was turned to the Sarmatians, who were deserving rather of pity than of anger; and to them this situation brought an incredible degree of prosperity; so that the opinion of some might well be deemed true, that fortune is either mastered or made by the power of a prince. 18 The natives of this realm were once powerful and noble, but a secret conspiracy armed their slaves for rebellion; and since with savages all right is commonly might, they vanquished their masters, being their equals in courage and far superior in number. 19 The defeated, since fear prevented deliberation, fled to the Victohali, who dwelt afar off, thinking that to submit to protectors (considering their evil plight) was preferable to serving slaves. Bewailing this situation, after they had gained pardon and been assured of protection they asked that their freedom be guaranteed; whereupon the emperor, deeply moved by the injustice of their condition, in the presence of the whole army called them together, and addressing them in gracious terms, bade them yield obedience to none save himself and the Roman generals. 20 And to give their restoration to freedom an increase of dignity, he set over them as their king Zizais, a man even then surely suited for the honours of a conspicuous fortune and (as the result showed) loyal; but no one was allowed, after these glorious achievements, to leave the place, until (as had been agreed) the Roman prisoners should come back. 21 After these achievements in the savages’ country, the camp was moved to Bregetio, to the end that there also tears or blood might quench what was left of the war of the Quadi, who were astir in those regions. Then their prince Vitrodorus, son of King Viduarius, and Agilimundus, his vassal, along with other nobles and officials governing various nations, seeing the army in the heart of their kingdom and native soil, prostrated themselves before the marching soldiers, and having gained pardon, did what was ordered, giving their children as hostages by way of pledge that they would fulfil the conditions imposed upon them. Then, drawing their swords, which they venerate as gods, they swore that they would remain loyal.

13 Constantius Augustus compels the Limigantes, former slaves of the Sarmatians, after inflicting great bloodshed upon them, to leave their abodes; then he addresses his soldiers.

1 When these events had been brought to a successful issue, as has been told, the public welfare required that the standards be quickly transported to the Limigantes, former slaves of the Sarmatians, for it was most shameful that they had with impunity committed many infamous outrages. For as if forgetting the past, when the free Sarmatians rebelled, those others also found the opportunity most favourable and broke over the Roman frontier, for this outrage alone making common cause with their masters and enemies. 2 Nevertheless, it was determined after deliberation that this act should be punished less severely than the heinousness of their crimes demanded, and vengeance was confined to transferring them to remote places, where they would lose the opportunity of molesting our territories; yet the consciousness of their long series of misdeeds warned them to fear danger. 3 Accordingly, suspecting that the weight of war would be directed against them, they got ready wiles and arms and entreaties. But at the first sight of our army, as if smitten by a stroke of lightning and anticipating the utmost, after having pleaded for life they promised a yearly tribute, a levy of their able youth, and slavery; but they were ready, as they showed by gestures and expression, to refuse if they should be ordered to move elsewhere, trusting to the protection of the situation in which they had established themselves in security, after driving out their masters. 4 For the Parthiscus rushing into those lands with winding course, mingles with the Hister. But while it flows alone and unconfined, it slowly traverses a long expand of broad plain; near its mouth, however, it compresses this into a narrow tract, thus protecting those who dwell there from a Roman attack by the channel of the Danube, and making them safe from the inroads of other savages by the opposition of its own stream; for the greater part of the country is of a marshy nature, and since it is flooded when the rivers rise, is full of pools and overgrown with willows, and therefore impassable except for those well acquainted with the region. Besides this the larger river, enclosing the winding circuit of an island, which almost reaches the mouth of the Parthiscus, separates it from connection with the land. 5 So, at the emperor’s request, they came with their native arrogance to their bank of the river, not, as the event proved, intending to do what they were bidden, but in order not to appear to have feared the presence of the soldiers; and there they stood defiantly, thus giving the impression that they had come there to reject any orders that might be given. 6 But the emperor, suspecting that this might happen, had secretly divided his army into several bands, and with swift speed enclosed them, while they were delaying, within the lines of his own soldiers; then standing with a few followers on a loftier mound, protected by the defence of his guards, in mild terms he admonished them not to be unruly. 7 But they, wavering in uncertainty of mind, were distracted different ways, and with mingled craft and fury they thought both of entreaties and of battle; and preparing to sally out on our men where we lay near to them, they purposely threw forward their shields a long way, so that by advancing step by step to recover them they might without any show of treachery gain ground by stealth.

8 When the day was now declining to evening and the waning light warned them to do away with delay, the soldiers lifted up their standards and rushed upon them in a fiery attack. Thereupon the foe massed themselves together, and, huddled in close order, directed all their attack against the emperor himself, who, as was said, stood on higher ground, charging upon him with fierce looks and savage cries. 9 The furious madness of this onset so angered our army that it could not brook it, and as the savages hotly menaced the emperor (as was said), they took the form of a wedge (an order which the soldier’s naïve parlance calls “the pig’s head”), and scattered them with a hot charge; then on the right our infantry slaughtered the bands of their infantry, while on the left our cavalry poured into the nimble squadrons of their cavalry. 10 The praetorian cohort, which stood before Augustus and was carefully guarding him, fell upon the breasts of the resisting foe, and then upon their backs as they took flight. And the savages with invincible stubbornness showed as they fell, by their awful shrieking, that they did not so much resent death as the triumph of our soldiers; and besides the dead many lay about hamstrung and thus deprived of the means of flight, others had their right hands cut off, some were untouched by any steel but crushed by the weight of those who rushed over them; but all bore their anguish in deep silence. 11 And amid their varied torments not a single man asked for pardon or threw down his weapon, or even prayed for a speedy death, but they tightly grasped their weapons, although defeated, and thought it less shameful to be overcome by an enemy’s strength than by the judgement of their own conscience, while sometimes they were heard to mutter that what befell them was due to fortune, not to their deserts. Thus in the course of half an hour the decision of this battle was reached, and so many savages met a sudden death that the victory alone showed that there had been a fight.

12 Hardly yet had the hordes of the enemy been laid low, when the kinsfolk of the slain, dragged from their humble cots, were led forth in droves without regard to age or sex and abandoning the haughtiness of their former life, were reduced to the abjectness of servile submission; and only a brief space of time had elapsed, when heaps of slain and throngs of captives were to be seen. 13 Then, excited by the heat of battle and the fruits of victory, our soldiers roused themselves to destroy those who had deserted the battle or were lurking in concealment in their huts. And these, when the soldiers had come to the spot thirsting for the blood of the savages, they butchered after tearing to pieces the light straw; and no house, even though built with the stoutest of timbers, saved a single one from the danger of death. 14 Finally, when everything was in flames and none could longer hide, since every means of saving their lives was cut off, they either fell victims to fire in their obstinacy, or, fleeing the flames and coming out to avoid one torture, fell by the enemy’s steel. 15 Yet some escaped the weapons and the fires, great as they were, and plunged into the depths of the neighbouring river, hoping through skill in swimming to be able to reach the opposite banks; of these the most lost their lives by drowning, others were pierced by darts and perished, in such numbers that the whole course of the immense river foamed with the blood that flowed everywhere in abundance. Thus with the aid of two elements the wrath and valour of the victors annihilated the Sarmatians.

16 Then it was decided, after this course of events, that every hope and comfort of life should be taken from all, and after their homes had been burned and their families carried off, orders were given that boats should be brought together, for the purpose of hunting down those whom the opposite bank had kept aloof from our army. 17 And at once, for fear that the ardour of the warriors might cool, light-armed troops were put into skiffs, and taking the course which offered the greatest secrecy, came upon the lurking-places of the Sarmatians; and the enemy were deceived as they suddenly came in sight, seeing their native boats and the manner of rowing of their own country. 18 But when from the glittering of the weapons afar off they perceived that what they feared was approaching, they took refuge in marshy places; but the soldiers, following them still more mercilessly, slew great numbers of them, and gained a victory in a place where it seemed impossible to keep a firm footing or venture upon any action. 19 After the Amicenses had been scattered and all but wholly destroyed, the army immediately attacked the Picenses, so named from the adjoining regions, who had been put on their guard by the disasters to their allies, which were known from persistent rumours. To subdue these (for it was hard to pursue them, since they were scattered in divers places, and unfamiliarity with the roads was a hindrance) they resorted to the help of the Taifali and likewise of the free Sarmatians. 20 And as consideration of the terrain made it desirable to separate the troops of the allies, our soldiers chose the tracts near Moesia, the Taifali undertook those next to their own homes, and the free Sarmatians occupied the lands directly opposite to them.

21 The Limigantes having now suffered this fate, and terrified by the example of those who had been conquered and suddenly slain, hesitated long with wavering minds whether to die or plead, since for either course they had lessons of no slight weight; finally, however, the urgency of an assembly of the older men prevailed, and the resolve to surrender. Thus to the laurels of various victories there was added also the entreaties of those who had usurped freedom by arms; and such of them as survived bowed their necks with prayers before their former masters, whom they had despised as vanquished and weak, but now saw to be the stronger.

22 And so, having received a safe-conduct, the greater number of them forsook the defence of the mountains and hastened to the Roman camp, pouring forth over the broad and spacious plains with their parents, their children and wives, and as many of their poor possessions as haste allowed them to snatch up in time. 23 And those who (as it was supposed) would rather lose their lives than be compelled to change their country, since they believed mad licence to be freedom, now consented to obey orders and take other quiet and safe abodes, where they could neither be harried by wars nor affected by rebellions. And these men, being taken under protection according to their own wish (as was believed) remained quiet for a short time; later, through their inborn savagery they were aroused to an outrage which brought them destruction, as will be shown in the proper place.

24 Through this successful sequel of events adequate protection was provided for Illyricum in a twofold manner; and the emperor having in hand the greatness of this task fulfilled it in both ways. The unfaithful were laid low and trodden under foot, but exiled peoples (although equally unstable) who yet seemed likely to act with somewhat more respect, were at length recalled and settled in their ancestral homes. And as a crowning favour, he set over them, not some low-born king, but one whom they themselves had previously chosen as their ruler, a man eminent for his mental and physical gifts. 25 After such a series of successes Constantius, now raised above any fear, by the unanimous voice of the soldiers was hailed a second time as Sarmaticus, after the name of the conquered people; and now, on the point of departure, he called together all the cohorts, centuries, and maniples, and standing on a tribunal, surrounded by standards, eagles and a throng of many officers of high rank, he addressed the army with these words, being greeted (as usual) with the acclaim of all:

26 “The recollection of our glorious deeds, more grateful to brave men than any pleasure, moves me to rehearse to you, with due modesty, what abuses we most faithful defenders of the Roman state have corrected by the fortune of victory vouchsafed to us by Providence both before our battles and in the very heat of combat. For what is so noble, or so justly worthy to be commended to the memory of posterity, as that the soldier should rejoice in his valiant deeds, and the leader in the sagacity of his plans? 27 Our enemies in their madness were overrunning all Illyricum, with arrogant folly despising us in our absence, while we were defending Italy and Gaul, and in successive raids were laying waste our farthest frontiers, crossing the rivers now in dug-out canoes and sometimes on foot; they did not trust to engagements nor to arms and strength, but, as is their custom, to lurking brigandage, with the craft and various methods of deceit dreaded also by our forefathers from our very first knowledge of the race. These outrages we, being far away, endured as well as they could be borne, hoping that any more serious losses could be obviated by the efficiency of our generals. 28 But when, encouraged by impunity, they mounted higher and burst forth in destructive and repeated attacks upon our provinces, after securing the approaches to Raetia and by vigilant guard ensuring the safety of Gaul, leaving no cause of fear behind us, we came into Pannonia, intending, if it should please eternal God, to strengthen whatever was tottering. And sallying forth when all was ready (as you know) and spring was well advanced, we took in hand a mighty burden of tasks: first, to build a close-jointed bridge, without being overwhelmed by a shower of missiles, a work which was easily completed; and when we had seen and set foot upon the enemy’s territories, without any loss of our men we laid low the Sarmatians who, with spirits regardless of death attempted to resist us. And when with like impudence the Quadi bore aid to the Sarmatians and rushed upon the ranks of our noble legions, we trod them under foot. The latter, after grievous losses, having learned amid their raids and menacing efforts at resistance what our valour could effect, cast aside the protection of arms and offered hands that had been equipped for battle to be bound behind their backs; and seeing that their only safety lay in entreaties, they prostrated themselves at the feet of a merciful Augustus, whose battles they had often learned to have come to a happy issue. 29 These barely disposed of, we vanquished the Limigantes as well with equal valour, and after many of them had been slain, avoidance of danger forced the rest to seek the protection of their lairs in the marshes. 30 When these enterprises were brought to a successful issue, the time for seasonable mildness was at hand. The Limigantes we forced to move to remote places, so that they could make no further attempts to destroy our subjects, and very many of them we spared. And over the free Sarmatians we set Zizais, knowing that he would be devoted and loyal to us, and thinking it better to appoint a king for the savages than to take one from them; and it added to the happiness of the occasion, that a ruler was assigned them whom they had previously chosen and accepted. 31 Hence a fourfold prize, the fruit of a single campaign, was won by us and by our country: first, by taking vengeance on wicked robbers; then, in that you will have abundant booty taken from the enemy; for valour ought to be content with what it has won by toil and a strong arm. 32 We ourselves have ample wealth and great store of riches, if our labours and courage have preserved safe and sound the patrimonies of all; for this it is that beseems the mind of a good prince, this accords with prosperous successes. 33 Lastly, I also display the spoil of an enemy’s name, surnamed as I am Sarmaticus for the second time, a title not undeserved (without arrogance be it said), which you have with one accord bestowed upon me.”

After this speech was thus ended, the entire assembly with more enthusiasm than common, since the hope of betterment and gains had been increased, broke out into festal cries in praise of the emperor, and in customary fashion calling God to witness that Constantius was invincible, went back to their tents rejoicing. And when the emperor had been escorted to his palace and refreshed by two days’ rest, he returned in triumphal pomp to Sirmium, and the companies of soldiers went back to the quarters assigned them.

14 The Roman envoys about peace return from Persia without result, since Sapor was bent on recovering Armenia and Mesopotamia.

1 On these very same days Prosper, Spectatus, and Eustathius, who had been sent as envoys to the Persians (as we have shown above), approached the king on his return to Ctesiphon, bearing letters and gifts from the emperor, and demanded peace with no change in the present status. Mindful of the emperor’s instructions, they sacrificed no whit of the advantage and majesty of Rome, insisting that a treaty of friendship ought to be established with the condition that no move should be made to disturb the position of Armenia or Mesopotamia. 2 Having therefore tarried there for a long time, since they saw that the king was most obstinately hardened against accepting peace, unless the dominion over those regions should be made over to him, they returned without fulfilling their mission. 3 Afterwards Count Lucillianus was despatched, together with Procopius, at that time state secretary, to accomplish the self-same thing with like insistence on the conditions; the latter afterwards, bound as it were by a knot of stern necessity, rose in revolution.


1 Julianus Caesar looks out for the welfare of Gaul, and sees to it that justice be observed everywhere by every one.

1 Such are the events of one and the same year in various parts of the world. But in Gaul, now that affairs were in a better condition and the brothers Eusebius and Hypatius had been honoured with the high title of consul, Julian, famed for his series of successes and in winter quarters at Paris, lay aside for a time the cares of war and with no less regard made many arrangements leading to the well-being of the provinces, diligently providing that no one should be overloaded with a burden of tribute; that the powerful should not grasp the property of others, or those hold positions of authority whose private estates were being increased by public disasters; and that no official should with impunity swerve from equity. 2 And this last abuse he reformed with slight difficulty, for the reason that he settled controversies himself whenever the importance of the cases or of the persons required, and distinguished inflexibly between right and wrong. 3 And although there are many praiseworthy instances of his conduct in such cases, yet it will suffice to cite one, as a sample of his acts and words. 4 Numerius, shortly before governor of Gallia Narbonensis, was accused of embezzlement, and Julian examined him with unusual judicial strictness before his tribunal publicly, admitting all who wished to attend. And when the accused defended himself by denying the charge, and could not be confuted on any point, Delphidius, a very vigorous speaker, assailing him violently and, exasperated by the lack of proofs, cried: “Can anyone, most mighty Caesar, ever be found guilty, if it be enough to deny the charge?” And Julian was inspired at once to reply to him wisely: “Can anyone be proved innocent, if it be enough to have accused him?” And this was one of many like instances of humanity.

2 Julianus Caesar repairs the walls of the fortress on the Rhine which he had recovered. He crosses the Rhine, and after laying waste the hostile part of Alamannia compels five of their kings to sue for peace and return their prisoners.

1 But being on the point of entering upon an urgent campaign, since he considered that some districts of the Alamanni were hostile and would venture on outrages unless they also were overthrown after the example of the rest, he was anxious and doubtful with what force and with what speed (as soon as prudence gave an opportunity) he might anticipate the news of his coming and invade their territories unexpected. 2 And after thinking over many varied plans he at last decided to try the one which the outcome proved to be expedient. Without anyone’s knowledge he had sent Hariobaudes, an unattached tribune of tried fidelity and courage, ostensibly as an envoy to Hortarius, a king already subdued, with the idea that he could easily go on from there to the frontiers of those against whom war was presently to be made, and find out what they were plotting; for he was thoroughly acquainted with the language of the savages. 3 When the tribune had fearlessly set out to execute these orders, Julian, since the season of the year was favourable, called together his soldiers from all quarters for a campaign, and set forth; and he thought that above all things he ought betimes to attend to this, namely, before the heat of battle to enter the cities long since destroyed and abandoned, regain and fortify them, and even build granaries in place of those that had been burned, in which he could store the grain which was regularly brought over from Britain; and both things were accomplished sooner than anyone expected. 4 For not only did the granaries quickly rise, but a sufficiency of food was stored in them; and the cities were seized, to the number of seven: Castra Herculis, Quadriburgium, Tricensima and Novesium, Bonna, Antennacum and Vingo, where by a happy stroke of fortune the prefect Florentius also appeared unexpectedly, leading a part of the forces and bringing a store of provisions sufficient to last a long time.

5 After this had been accomplished, one pressing necessity remained, namely, to repair the walls of the recovered cities, since even then no one hindered; and it is evident from clear indications that the savages through fear, and the Romans through love for their commander, at that time served the public welfare. 6 The kings, according to the compact of the preceding year, sent in their wagons an abundance of building material, and the auxiliary soldiers, who always disdain such tasks, induced to diligent compliance by Julian’s fair words, willingly carried on their shoulders timbers fifty feet or more in length, and in the work of building rendered the greatest service.

7 While these works were being pushed on with diligence and success, Hariobaudes returned after examining into everything, and reported what he had learned. After his arrival all came at top speed to Mayence; and there, when Florentius and Lupicinus (successor to Severus) strongly insisted that they ought to build a bridge at that place and cross the river, Caesar stoutly opposed, declaring that they ought not to set foot in the lands of those who had submitted, for fear that (as often happens) through the rudeness of the soldiers, destroying everything in their way, the treaties might be abruptly broken.

8 However, the Alamanni as a whole, against whom our army was marching, thinking danger to be close at hand, with threats warned king Suomarius, a friend of ours through a previous treaty, to debar the Romans from passing over; for his territories adjoined the opposite bank of the Rhine. And when he declared that he could resist single-handed, the savages united their forces and came to the neighbourhood of Mayence, intending with might and main to prevent our army from crossing the river. 9 Therefore for a twofold reason what Caesar had advised seemed fitting, namely, that they should not ravage the lands of peaceful natives, nor against the opposition of a most warlike people construct the bridge with loss of life to many of our men, but should go to the place best suited for building a bridge. 10 This step the enemy observed with the greatest care, slowly marching along the opposite bank; and when from afar they saw our men pitching their tents, they themselves also passed sleepless nights, keeping guard with watchful diligence to prevent an attempt at crossing. 11 Our soldiers, however, on coming to the appointed place rested, protected by a rampart and a trench, and Caesar, after taking counsel with Lupicinus, ordered trusty tribunes to provide with stakes three hundred light-armed troops, who as yet were wholly unaware what was to be done or where they were to go. 12 And having been brought together when night was well advanced, all were embarked whom forty scouting boats (as many as were available at the time) would hold, and ordered to go down stream so quietly that they were even to keep their oars lifted for fear that the sound of the waters might arouse the savages; and while the enemy were watching our campfires, the soldiers were ordered with nimbleness of mind and body to force the opposite bank.

13 While this was being done with all haste, Hortarius, a king previously allied with us, not intending any disloyalty but being a friend also to his neighbours, invited all the kings, princes, and kinglets to a banquet and detained them until the third watch, prolonging the feasting after the native fashion. And as they were leaving the feast, it chanced that our men unexpectedly attacked them, but in were in no way able to kill or take any of them, aided as they were by the darkness and their horses, which carried them off wherever panic haste drove them; they did, however, slay the lackeys or slaves, who followed their masters on foot, except such as the darkness of the hour saved from danger.

14 When word at last came of the crossing of the Romans, who then, as in former campaigns, expected to find rest from their labours wherever they should succeed in finding the enemy, the panic-stricken kings and their peoples, who were watching with eager intentness and dreading the building of the bridge, shuddering with fear, took to their heels in all directions; and their unbridled anger now laid aside, they hastened to transport their kindred and their possessions to a greater distance. And at once every difficulty was removed, the bridge was built, and before the anxious nations expected it our soldiers appeared in the land of the savages, and were passing through the realms of Hortarius without doing any damage. 15 But when they reached the territories of kings that were still hostile, they burned and pillaged everything, ranging without fear through the midst of the rebel country.

After firing the fragile huts that sheltered them, killing a great number of men, and seeing many falling and others begging for mercy, our soldiers reached the region called Capillacii or Palas where boundary stones marked the frontiers of the Alamanni and the Burgundians. There they encamped with the design of capturing Macrianus and Hariobaudus, kings and own brothers, before they took alarm; for they, perceiving the ruin that threatened them, had come with anxious minds to sue for peace. 16 The kings were at once followed also by Vadomarius, whose abode was over against the Rauraci, and since he presented a letter of the emperor Constantius, in which he was strongly commended, he was received kindly (as was fitting), since he had long before been taken by Augustus under the protection of the Roman empire. 17 And Macrianus indeed, when admitted with his brother among the eagles and ensigns, was amazed at the variety and splendour of the arms and the forces, things which he saw then for the first time, and pleaded for his subjects. But Vadomarius, who was familiar with our affairs (since he had lived near the frontier) did indeed admire the equipment of the splendid array, but remembered that he had often seen the like from early youth. 18 Finally, after long deliberation, by the unanimous consent of all, peace was indeed granted to Macrianus and Hariobaudus; but to Vadomarius, who had come to secure his own safety, but at the same time as an envoy and intercessor, begging for peace in behalf of the kings Urius, Ursicinus and Vestralpus, no immediate reply could be given, for fear that (since savages are of unstable loyalty) they might take courage after the departure of our army and not abide by a peace secured through others. 19 But when they themselves also, after the burning of their harvests and homes and the capture or death of many men, sent envoys and made supplication as if they too had committed these sins against our people, they won peace on the same terms; and among these conditions it was especially stressed that they should give up all the prisoners whom they had taken in their frequent raids.

3 Why Barbatio, commander of the infantry, and his wife were beheaded by order of Constantius.

1 While in Gaul the providence of Heaven was reforming these abuses, in the court of Augustus a tempest of sedition arose, which from small beginnings proceeded to grief and lamentation. In the house of Barbatio, then commander of the infantry forces, bees made a conspicuous swarm; and when he anxiously consulted men skilled in prodigies about this, they replied that it portended great danger, obviously inferring this from the belief, that when these insects have made their homes and gathered their treasures, they are only driven out by smoke and the wild clashing of cymbals. 2 Barbatio had a wife, Assyria by name, who was talkative and indiscreet. She, when her husband had gone forth on a campaign and was worried by many fears because of what he remembered had been foretold him, overcome by a woman’s folly, confided in a maidservant skilled in cryptic writing, whom she had acquired from the estate of Silvanus. Through her Assyria wrote at this untimely moment to her husband, entreating him in tearful accents that when, after Constantius’ approaching death, he himself had become emperor, as he hoped, he should not cast her off and prefer marriage with Eusebia, who was then queen and was conspicuous among many women for the beauty of her person. 3 After this letter had been sent with all possible secrecy, the maidservant, who had written it at her mistress’ dictation, as soon as all had returned from the campaign took a copy of it and ran off to Arbetio in the quiet of the night; and being eagerly received, she handed over the note. 4 Arbetio, who was of all men most clever in framing an accusation, trusting to this evidence reported the matter to the emperor. The affair was investigated, as usual, without delay or rest, and when Barbatio admitted that he had received the letter, and strong evidence proved that the woman had written it, both were beheaded. 5 When they had been executed, far-reaching inquisitions followed, and many suffered, the most innocent as well as the guilty. Among these also Valentinus, formerly captain of the guard and then a tribune, was suspected with many others of being implicated and, although totally ignorant of what had been done, was tortured several times, but survived. And so, as compensation for his wrongs and his peril, he gained the position of a general in Illyricum.

6 Now the aforesaid Barbatio was a somewhat boorish fellow, of arrogant intentions, who was hated by many for the reason that, while he commanded the household troops under Gallus Caesar, he was a perfidious traitor; and after Gallus’ death, puffed up with pride in his higher military rank, he made like plots against Julian, when he became Caesar; and to the disgust of all good men he chattered into the open ears of the Augustus many cruel accusations. 7 He surely was unaware of the wise saying of Aristotle of old, who, on sending his disciple and relative Callisthenes to King Alexander, charged him repeatedly to speak as seldom and as pleasantly as possible in the presence of a man who had at the tip of his tongue the power of life and death. 8 And it should not cause surprise that men, whose minds we regard as akin to the gods, sometimes distinguish what is advantageous from what is harmful; for even unreasoning animals are at times wont to protect their lives by deep silence, as appears from this well-known fact. 9 The geese, when leaving the east because of heat and flying westward, no sooner begin to traverse Mount Taurus, which abounds in eagles, than in fear of those mighty birds they close their beaks with little stones, so that even extreme necessity may not call forth a clamour from them; and after they have passed over those same hills in speedier flight, they cast out the pebbles and so go on with greater peace of mind.

4 Sapor, king of the Persians, prepares to attack the Romans with all his forces.

1 While at Sirmium these matters were being investigated with all diligence, the fortune of the Orient kept sounding the dread trumpets of danger; for the king of Persia, armed with the help of the savage tribes which he had subdued, and burning with superhuman desire of extending his domain, was preparing arms, forces, and supplies, embroiling his plans with infernal powers and consulting all superstitions about the future; and having assembled enough of these, he planned with the first mildness of spring to overrun everything. 2 And when news of this came, at first by rumours and then by trustworthy messengers, and great dread of impending disasters held all in suspense, the forge of the courtiers, hammering day and night at the instigation of the eunuchs on the same anvil (as the saying is), held up Ursicinus to the suspicious and timid emperor as a grim-visaged gorgon, often reiterating these and similar charges: that he, having on the death of Silvanus been sent as if in default of better men, to defend the east, was panting for higher honours. 3 Furthermore, by this foul and excessive flattery very many strove to purchase the favour of Eusebius, then head-chamberlain, upon whom (if the truth must be told) Constantius greatly depended, and who was vigorously attacking the safety of the aforesaid commander of the cavalry for a double reason: because he alone of all was not, like the rest, adding to Eusebius’ wealth, and would not give up to him his house at Antioch, which the head-chamberlain most importunately demanded. 4 Eusebius then, like a viper swelling with abundant poison and arousing its multitudinous brood to mischief when they were still barely able to crawl, sent out his chamberlains, already well grown, with directions that, amid the duties of their more private attendance, with the soft utterances of voices always childish and persuasive they should with bitter hatred batter the reputation of that brave man in the too receptive ears of the prince. And they promptly did what they were ordered. 5 Through disgust with these and their kind, I take pleasure in praising Domitian of old, for although, unlike his father and his brother, he drenched the memory of his name with indelible detestation, yet he won distinction by a most highly approved law, by which he had under heavy penalties forbidden anyone within the bounds of the Roman jurisdiction to geld a boy; for if this had not happened, who could endure the swarms of those whose small number is with difficulty tolerated? 6 However, Eusebius proceeded warily, lest (as he pretended) that same Ursicinus, if again summoned to court, should through fear cause general disturbance, but actually that he might, whenever chance should give the opportunity, be haled off to execution.

7 While they held these plots in abeyance and were distracted by anxious thoughts, and I was staying for a time at Samosata, the famous seat of the former kingdom of Commagene, on a sudden repeated and trustworthy rumours were heard of new commotions; and of these the following chapter of my history shall tell.

5 Antoninus, of the household troops, goes over with all his household to Sapor, and urges him to the war against the Romans which he had already set on foot of his own accord.

1 There was a certain Antoninus, at first a rich merchant, then an accountant in the service of the governor of Mesopotamia, and finally one of his body-guard, a man of experience and sagacity, who was widely known throughout all that region. This man, being involved in great losses through the greed of certain powerful men, found on contending against them that he was more and more oppressed by unjust means, since those who examined the case were inclined to curry favour with men of higher position. Accordingly, in order not to kick against the pricks, he turned to mildness and flattery and acknowledged the debt, which by collusion had been transferred to the account of the privy purse. And then, planning to venture upon a vast enterprise, he covertly pried into all parts of the entire empire, and being versed in the language of both tongues, busied himself with calculations, making record of what troops were serving anywhere or of what strength, or at what time expeditions would be made, inquiring also by tireless questioning whether supplies of arms, provisions, and other things that would be useful in war were at hand in abundance. 2 And when he had learned the internal affairs of the entire Orient, since the greater part of the troops and the money for their pay were distributed through Illyricum, where the emperor was distracted with serious affairs, and as the stipulated time would soon be at hand for paying the money which he was compelled by force and threats to admit by written bond that he owed, foreseeing that he must be crushed by all manner of dangers on every side, since the count of the largesses through favour to his creditor was pressing him more urgently, he made a great effort to flee to the Persians with his wife, his children, and all his dear ones. 3 And to the end that he might elude the sentinels, he bought at no great price a farm in Iaspis, a place washed by the waters of the Tigris. And since because of this device no one ventured to ask one who was now a land-holder with many attendants his reason for coming to the utmost frontier of the Roman Empire, through friends who were loyal and skilled in swimming he held many secret conferences with Tamsapor, then acting as governor of all the lands across the river, whom he already knew; and when active men had been sent to his aid from the Persian camp, he embarked in fishing boats and ferried over all his beloved household in the dead of night, like Zopyrus, that famous betrayer of Babylon, but with the opposite intention.

4 After affairs in Mesopotamia had been brought to this pass, the Palace gang, chanting the old refrain with a view to our destruction, at last found an opportunity for injuring the most valiant of men, aided and abetted by the corps of eunuchs, who are always cruel and sour, and since they lack other offspring, embrace riches alone as their most dearly beloved daughters. 5 So it was decided that Sabinianus, a cultivated man, it is true, and well-to-do, but unfit for war, inefficient, and because of his obscurity still far removed from obtaining magisterial rank, should be sent to govern the eastern regions; but that Ursicinus should return to court to command the infantry and succeed Barbatio: to the end that by his presence there that eager inciter to revolution (as they persisted in calling him) might be open to the attacks of his bitter and formidable enemies.

6 While this was being done in the camp of Constantius, after the manner of brothels and the stage, and the distributors were scattering the price of suddenly purchased power through the homes of the powerful, Antoninus was conducted to the king’s winter quarters and received with open arms, being graced with the distinction of the turban, an honour shared by those who sit at the royal table and allowing men of merit among the Persians to speak words of advice and to vote in the assemblies. Thus, not with poles or tow-rope (as the saying is), that is, not by ambiguous or obscure subterfuges, but under full sail he attacked his country, urging on the aforesaid king, as long ago Maharbal chided the slowness of Hannibal, and kept insisting that he could win victories, but not take advantage of them. 7 For having been brought up in their midst, as a man well informed on all matters, finding eager hearers, desirous of having their ears tickled, who did not praise him but like Homer’s Phaeacians admired him in silence, he would rehearse the history of the past forty years. He showed that after constant successes in war, especially at Hileia and Singara, where that furious contest at night took place and our troops were cut to pieces with great carnage, as if some fetial priest were intervening to stop the fight, the Persians did not yet reach Edessa nor the bridges of the Euphrates, in spite of being victorious; whereas trusting to their prowess and their splendid successes, they ought so to have extended their kingdom as to rule over all Asia, especially at a time when through the continual commotions of civil wars Rome’s stoutest soldiers were shedding their blood on two sides.

8 With these and similar speeches from time to time at banquets, where after the old Greek custom they used to consult about preparations for war and other serious affairs, the deserter kept sober and fired the already eager king, so soon as winter was over, at once to take the field, trusting to his good fortune, and Antoninus himself confidently promised to aid him in many important ways.

6 Ursicinus, commander of the army in the Orient, being summoned from there and having already reached Thrace, is sent back to Mesopotamia; on his return he tries to learn through Marcellinus of the coming of Sapor.

1 At about that same time Sabinianus, puffed up by his suddenly acquired power, entered the confines of Cilicia and handed his predecessor the emperor’s letter, which directed him to make all haste to the court, to be invested with higher rank; and that too at a crisis when, even if Ursicinus were living in Thule, the weight of affairs with good reason demanded that he be sent for, well acquainted as he was with the old-time discipline and with the Persian methods of warfare from long experience. 2 The rumour of this action greatly disquieted the provinces, and the senates and peoples of the various cities, while decrees and acclamations came thick and fast, laid hands on him and all but held fast their public defender, recalling that though he had been left to protect them with weak and ease-loving soldiers, he had for ten years suffered no loss; and at the same time they feared for their safety on learning that at a critical time he had been deposed and a most inefficient man had come to take his place. 3 We believe (and in fact there is no doubt of it) that Rumour flies swiftly through the paths of air, since it was through her circulation of the news of these events that the Persians held council as to their course of action. And after long debate to and fro it was decided, on the advice of Antoninus, that since Ursicinus was far away and the new commander was lightly regarded, they should give up the dangerous sieges of cities, pass the barrier of the Euphrates, and push on with the design of outstripping by speed the news of their coming and seizing upon the provinces, which in all previous wars (except in the time of Gallienus) had been untouched and had grown rich through long-continued peace; and Antoninus promised that with God’s favour he would be a most helpful leader in this enterprise. 4 When this plan had been commended and approved by unanimous consent, all turned their attention to such things as must be amassed with speed; and so the preparation of supplies, soldiers, weapons, and other equipment which the coming campaign required, went on all winter long.

5 We meanwhile lingered for a time on this side the Taurus, and then in accordance with our orders were hastening to the regions of Italy and had come to the vicinity of the river Hebrus, which flows down from the mountains of the Odrysae; there we received the emperor’s dispatch, which without offering any excuse ordered us to return to Mesopotamia without any attendants and take charge of a perilous campaign, after all power had been transferred to another. 6 This was devised by the mischievous moulders of the empire with the idea that, if the Persians were baffled and returned to their own country, the glorious deed would be attributed to the ability of the new leader; but if Fortune proved unfavourable, Ursicinus would be accused as a traitor to his country. 7 Accordingly, after careful consideration, and long hesitation, we returned, to find Sabinianus a man full of haughtiness, but of insignificant stature and small and narrow mind, barely able to endure the slight noise of a banquet without shameful apprehension, to say nothing of din of battle.

8 Nevertheless, since scouts, and deserters agreeing with them, most persistently declared that the enemy were pushing all their preparations with hot haste, while the manikin yawned, we hastily marched to Nisibis, to prepare what was useful, lest the Persians, masking their design of a siege, might surprise the city when off its guard. 9 And while within the walls the things that required haste were being pushed vigorously, smoke and gleaming fires constantly shone from the Tigris on past Castra Maurorum and Sisara and all the neighbour country as far as the city, in greater number than usual and in a continuous line, clearly showing that the enemy’s bands of plunderers had burst forth and crossed the river. 10 Therefore, for fear that the roads might be blocked, we hastened on at full speed, and when we were within two miles, we saw a fine-looking boy, wearing a neck-chain, a child eight years old (as we guessed) and the son of a man of position (as he said), crying in the middle of the highway; his mother, while she was fleeing, wild with fear of the pursuing enemy, being hampered and agitated had left him alone. While I, at the command of my general, who was filled with pity, set the boy before me on my horse and took him back to the city, the pillagers, after building a rampart around the entire wall, were ranging more widely. 11 And because the calamities of a siege alarmed me, I set the boy down within a half-open postern gate and with winged speed hastened breathless to our troop; and I was all but taken prisoner. 12 For a tribune called Abdigildus was fleeing with his camp-servant, pursued by a troop of the enemy’s cavalry. And while the master made his escape, they caught the slave and asked him (just as I passed by at full gallop) who had been appointed governor. And when they heard that Ursicinus had entered the city a short time before and was now on his way to Mount Izala, they killed their informant and a great number, got together into one body, followed me with tireless speed. 13 When through the fleetness of my mount I had outstripped them and come to Amudis, a weak fortress, I found our men lying about at their ease, while their horses had been turned out to graze. Extending my arm far forward and gathering up my cloak and waving it on high, I showed by the usual sign that the enemy were near, and joining with them I was hurried along at their pace, although my horse was now growing tired. 14 We were alarmed, moreover, by the fact that it was full moon at night and by the level stretch of plain, which (in case any pressing emergency surprised us) could offer no hiding-places, since neither trees nor shrubs were to be seen, but nothing except short grass. 15 Therefore we devised the plan of placing a lighted lantern on a single pack-animal, binding it fast, so that it should not fall off, and then turning loose the animal that carried the light and letting him go towards the left without a driver, while we made our way to the mountain heights lying on the right, in order that the Persians, supposing that a tallow torch was carried before the general as he went slowly on his way, should take that course rather than any other; and had it not been for this stratagem, we should have been surrounded and captured and come into the power of the enemy.

16 Saved from this danger, we came to a wooded tract planted with vineyards and fruitbearing orchards, called Meiacarire, so named from its cold springs. There all the inhabitants had decamped, but we found one soldier hiding in a remote spot. He, on being brought before the general, because of fear gave contradictory answers and so fell under suspicion. But influenced by threats made against him, he told the whole truth, saying that he was born at Paris in Gaul and served in a cavalry troop; but in fear of punishment for a fault that he had once committed he had deserted to the Persians. Then, being found to be of upright character, and to have married and reared children, he was sent as a spy to our territories and often brought back trustworthy news. But now he had been sent out by the grandees Tamsapor and Nohodares, who had led the bands of pillagers, and was returning to them, to report what he had learned. After this, having added what he knew about what the enemy were doing, he was put to death.

17 Then with our anxious cares increasing we went from there as quickly as circumstances allowed to Amida, a city afterwards notorious for the calamities which it suffered. And when our scouts had returned there, we found in the scabbard of a sword a parchment written in cipher, which had been brought to us by order of Procopius, who, as I said before, had previously been sent as an envoy to the Persians with Count Lucillianus. In this, with intentional obscurity, for fear that, if the bearers were taken and the meaning of the message known, most disastrous consequences would follow, he gave the following message:—

18 “Now that the envoys of the Greeks have been sent far away and perhaps are to be killed, that aged king, not content with Hellespontus, will bridge the Granicus and the Rhyndacus and come to invade Asia with many nations. He is naturally passionate and very cruel, and he has as an instigator and abetter the successor of the former Roman emperor Hadrian; unless Greece takes heed, it is all over with her and her dirge chanted.”

19 This writing meant that the king of the Persians had crossed the rivers Anzaba and Tigris, and, urged on by Antoninus, aspired to the rule of the entire Orient. When it had been read, with the greatest difficulty because of its excessive ambiguity, a sagacious plan was formed.

20 There was at that time in Corduene, which was subject to the Persian power, a satrap called Jovinianus on Roman soil, a youth who had secret sympathy with us for the reason that, having been detained in Syria as a hostage and allured by the charm of liberal studies, he felt a burning desire to return to our country. 21 To him I was sent with a centurion of tried loyalty, for the purpose of getting better informed of what was going on; and I reached him over pathless mountains and through steep defiles. After he had seen and recognized me, and received me cordially, I confided to him alone the reason for my presence. Thereupon with one silent attendant who knew with the country he sent me to some lofty cliffs a long distance from there, from which, unless one’s eyesight was impaired, even the smallest object was visible at a distance of fifty miles. 22 There we stayed for two full days, and at dawn of the third day we saw below us the whole circuit of the lands (which we call ὁρίζοντες) filled with innumerable troops with the king leading the way, glittering in splendid attire. Close by him on the left went Grumbates, king of the Chionitae, a man of moderate strength, it is true, and with shrivelled limbs, but of a certain greatness of mind and distinguished by the glory of many victories. On the right was the king of the Albani, of equal rank, high in honour. After them came various leaders, prominent in reputation and rank, followed by a multitude of every degree, chosen from the flower of the neighbouring nations and taught to endure hardship by long continued training. 23 How long, storied Greece, will you continue to tell us of Doriscus, the city of Thrace, and of the armies drawn up in troops within enclosures and numbered? For I am too cautious, or (to speak more truly) too timid, to exaggerate anything beyond what is proven by trustworthy and sure evidence.

7 Sapor with the kings of the Chionitae and the Albani invades Mesopotamia. The Romans set fire to their own fields, drive the peasants into the towns, and fortify our bank of the Euphrates with strongholds and garrisons.

1 After the kings had passed by Nineveh, a great city of Adiabene, and after sacrificing victims in the middle of the bridge over the Anzaba and finding the omens favourable, had crossed full of joy, I judged that all the rest of the throng could hardly enter in three days; so I quickly returned to the satrap and rested, entertained with hospitable attentions. 2 Then I returned, again passing through deserted and solitary places, more quickly than could be expected, led as I was by the great consolation of necessity, and cheered the spirits of those who were troubled because they were informed that the kings, without any detour, had crossed on a single bridge of boats. 3 Therefore at once swift horsemen were sent to Cassianus, commander in Mesopotamia, and to Euphronius, then governor of the province, to compel the peasants with their households and all their flocks to move to safer quarters, directing also that the city of Carrhae should quickly be abandoned, since the town was surrounded only by weak fortifications; and in addition that all the plains be set on fire, to prevent the enemy from getting fodder. 4 These orders were executed without delay, and when the fires had been kindled, the mighty violence of that raging element consumed all the grain, which was filled out on the now yellowing stalk, and every kind of growing plant, so utterly that from the very banks of the Tigris all the way to the Euphrates not a green thing was to be seen. At that time many wild beasts were burned up, especially lions, which are excessively savage in those regions and usually perish or are gradually blinded in the following manner. 5 Amid the reed-beds and thickets of the Mesopotamian rivers lions range in countless numbers; and during the moderate winter, which is there very mild, they are always harmless. But when the sun’s rays have brought the season of burning heat, in regions parched by drought they are tormented both by the sultry breath of the sun and by crowds of gnats, swarms of which fill all parts of that land. And since these same insects make for the eyes, as the moist and shining parts of the body, and settling along the eyelids bite them, those same lions, after suffering long torture, either plunge into the rivers, to which they flee for protection, and are drowned, or after losing their eyes, which they dig out by constantly scratching them with their claws, become frightfully savage. And were it not for this, the entire Orient would be overrun by such beasts.

6 While the plains were burning (as was said), tribunes were sent with the guard and fortified the nearer bank of the Euphrates with towers, sharp stakes, and every kind of defence, planting hurling-engines in suitable places, where the river was not full of eddies.

7 While these preparations were being hastened, Sabinianus, that splendid choice of a leader in a deadly war, when every moment should have been seized to avert the common dangers, amid the tombs of Edessa, as if he had nothing to fear when he had made his peace with the dead, and acting with wantonness of a life free from care, in complete inaction was being entertained by his soldiers with a pyrrhic dance, in which music accompanied the gestures of the performers — conduct ominous both in itself and in its occasion, since we learn that these and similar things that are ill-omened in word and deed ought to be avoided by every good man as time goes on as foreboding coming troubles. 8 Meanwhile the kings passed by Nisibis as an unimportant halting place, and since fires were spreading because of the variety of dry fuel, to avoid a scarcity of fodder were marching through the grassy valleys at the foot of the mountains. 9 And now they had come to a hamlet called Bebase, from which as far as the town of Constantina, which is a hundred miles distant, everything is parched by constant drought except for a little water to be found in wells. There they hesitated for a long time what to do, and finally were planning to cross, being confident of the hardiness of their men, when they learned from a faithful scout that the Euphrates was swollen by the melted snows and overflowing in wide pools, and hence could not be forded anywhere. 10 Therefore, being unexpectedly disappointed in the hope that they had conceived, they turned to embrace whatever the chance of fortune should offer; and on holding a council, with reference to the sudden urgent difficulties of their present situation, Antoninus, on being bidden to say what he thought, began by advising that they should turn their march to the right, in order to make a long detour through regions abounding in all sorts of supplies, and still untouched by the Romans in the belief that the enemy would march straight ahead, and that they should go under his guidance to the two garrison camps of Barzalo and Claudias; for there the river was shallow and narrow near its source, and as yet increased by no tributaries, and hence was fordable and easy to cross. 11 When this proposition had been heard and its author commended and bidden to lead them by the way that he knew, the whole army changed its intended line of march and followed its guide.

8 Seven hundred Illyrian horsemen are surprised and put to flight by the Persians. Ursicinus and Marcellinus escape in different directions.

1 When this was known through trustworthy scouts, we planned to hasten to Samosata, in order to cross the river from there and break down the bridges at Zeugma and Capersana, and so (if fortune should aid us at all) repel the enemy’s attacks. 2 But there befell a terrible disgrace, which deserves to be buried in utter silence. For about seven hundred horsemen, belonging to two squadrons who had recently been sent to the aid of Mesopotamia from Illyricum, a spiritless and cowardly lot, were keeping guard in those parts. And dreading a night attack, they withdrew to a distance from the public roads at evening, when all the paths ought to be better guarded. 3 This was observed by the Persians, and about twenty thousand of them, under the command of Tamsapor and Nohodares, passed by the horsemen unobserved, while these were overcome with wine and sleep, and hid themselves with arms behind some high mounds near Amida.

4 And presently, when we were on the point of going to Samosata (as has been said) and were on our way while it was still twilight, from a high point our eyes caught the gleam of shining arms, and an excited cry was raised that the enemy were upon us; then the usual signal for summoning to battle was given and we halted in close order, thinking it prudent neither to take flight when our pursuers were already in sight, nor yet (through fear of certain death) to engage with a foe far superior in cavalry and in numbers. 5 Finally, after it became absolutely necessary to resort to arms, while we were hesitating as to what ought to be done, some of our men ran forward rashly and were killed. And as both sides pressed forward, Antoninus, who was ostentatiously leading the troops, was recognised by Ursicinus and rated with chiding language; and after being called traitor and criminal, Antoninus took off the tiara which he wore on his head as a token of high honour, sprang from his horse, and bending his body so that he almost touched the ground with his face, he saluted Ursicinus, calling him patron and lord, clasping his hands together behind his back, which among the Assyrians is a gesture of supplication. 6 Then, “Pardon me,” said he, “most illustrious Count, since it is from necessity and not voluntarily that I have descended to this conduct, which I know to be infamous. It was unjust duns, as you know, that drove me mad, whose avarice not even your lofty station, which tried to protect my wretchedness, could check.” As he said these words he withdrew from sight, not turning about, but respectfully walking backwards until he disappeared, and presenting his breast.

7 While all this took place in the course of half an hour, our soldiers in the rear, who occupied the higher part of the hill, cry out that another force, of heavy-armed cavalry, was to be seen behind the others, and that they were approaching with all possible speed. 8 And, as is usual in times of trouble, we were in doubt whom we should, or could, resist, and pushed onward by the weight of the vast throng, we all scattered here and there, wherever each saw the nearest way of escape; and while every one was trying to save himself from the great danger, we were mingled in scattered groups with the enemy’s skirmishers. 9 And so, now scorning any desire for life and fighting manfully, we were driven to the banks of the Tigris, which were high and steep. From these some hurled themselves headlong, but entangled by their weapons stuck fast in the shoals of the river; others were dragged down in the eddying pools and swallowed up; some engaged the enemy and fought with varying success; others, terrified by the dense array of hostile ranks, sought to reach the nearest elevations of Mount Taurus. 10 Among these the commander himself was recognised and surrounded by a horde of warriors, but he was saved by the speed of his horse and got away, in company with Aiadalthes, a tribune, and a single groom.

11 I myself, having taken a direction apart from that of my comrades, was looking around to see what to do, when Verennianus, one of the guard, came up with an arrow in his thigh; and while at the earnest request of my colleague I was trying to pull it out, finding myself surrounded on all sides by the foremost Persians, I moved ahead at breathless speed and aimed for the city, which from the point where we were attacked lay high up and could be approached only by a single very narrow ascent and this was made still narrower by mills which had been built on the cliffs for the purpose of making the paths. 12 Here, mingled with the Persians, who were rushing to the higher ground with the same effort as ourselves, we remained motionless until sunrise of the next day, so crowded together that the bodies of the slain, held upright by the throng, could nowhere find room to fall, and that in front of me a soldier with his head cut in two, and split into equal halves by a powerful sword stroke, was so pressed on all sides that he stood erect like a stump. 13 And although showers of weapons from all kinds of artillery flew from the battlements, nevertheless the nearness of the walls saved us from that danger, and when I at last entered the city by a postern gate I found it crowded, since a throng of both sexes had flocked to it from the neighbouring countryside. For, as it chanced, it was at that very time that the annual fair was held in the suburbs, and there was a throng of country folk in addition to the foreign traders. 14 Meanwhile there was a confusion of varied cries, some bewailing their lost kindred, others wounded to the death, many calling upon loved ones from whom they were separated and could not see because of the press.

9 A description of Amida, and the number of the legions and troops of cavalry that were on guard there.

1 This city was once very small, but Constantius, when he was still a Caesar, in order that the neighbours might have a secure place of refuge, at the same time that he built another city called Antoninupolis, surrounded Amida with strong walls and towers; and by establishing there an armoury of mural artillery, he made it a terror to the enemy and wished it to be called after his own name. 2 Now, on the south side it is washed by the winding course of the Tigris, which rises near-by; where it faces the blasts of Eurus it looks down on Mesopotamia’s plains; where it is exposed to the north wind it is close to the river Nymphaeus and lies under the shadow of the peaks of Taurus, which separate the peoples beyond the Tigris from Armenia; opposite the breath of Zephyrus it borders on Gumathena, a region rich alike in fertility and in tillage, in which is the village called Abarne, famed for its warm baths of healing waters. Moreover, in the very heart of Amida, at the foot of the citadel, a bountiful spring gushes forth, drinkable indeed, but sometimes malodorous from hot vapours. 3 Of this town the regular garrison was formed by the Fifth Legion, Parthica, along with a force of no mean size of natives. But at that time six additional legions, having outstripped the advancing horde of Persians by rapid marches, were drawn up upon its very strong walls. These were the soldiers of Magnentius and Decentius, whom, after finishing the campaigns of the civil wars, the emperor had forced, as being untrustworthy and turbulent, to come to the Orient, where none but foreign wars are to be feared; also the soldiers of the Thirtieth, and the Tenth, also called Fortenses, and the Superventores and Praeventores with Aelianus, who was then a count; these troops, when still raw recruits, at the urging of the same Aelianus, then one of the guard, had made a sally from Singara (as I have said) and slain great numbers of the Persians while they were buried in sleep. 4 There were also in the town the greater part of the comites sagittarii (household archers), that is to say, a squadron of horsemen so-named, in which all the freeborn foreigners serve who are conspicuous above the rest for their prowess in arms and their bodily strength.

10 Sapor receives two Roman fortresses in surrender.

1 While the storm of the first attack was thus busied with unlooked-for undertakings, the king with his own people and the nations that he was leading turned his march to the right from the place called Bebase, as Antoninus had recommended, through Horre and Meiacarire and Charcha, as if he would pass by Amida; but when he had come near two fortresses of the Romans, of which one is called Reman and the other Busan, he learned from the information of deserters that the wealth of many people had been brought there and was kept in what were regarded as lofty and safe fortifications; and it was added that there was to be found there with a costly outfit a beautiful woman with her little daughter, the wife of a certain Craugasius of Nisibis, a man distinguished among the officials of his town for family, reputation, and influence. 2 Accordingly the king, with a haste due to his greed for seizing others’ property, attacked the fortresses with fiery confidence, whereupon the defenders, overcome with sudden panic and dazzled by the variety of arms, surrendered themselves and all those who had taken refuge with the garrison; and when ordered to depart, they at once handed over the keys of the gates. When entrance was given, whatever was stored there was brought out, and the women, paralysed with fear, were dragged forth with the children clinging to their mothers and experiencing grievous woes at the beginning of their tender years. 3 And when the king by inquiring whose wife the lady was had found that her husband was Craugasius, he allowed her, fearing as she did that violence would be offered her, to approach nearer without apprehension; and when she had been reassured and covered as far as her very lips with a black veil, he courteously encouraged her with sure hope of regaining her husband and of keeping her honour unsullied. For hearing that her husband ardently loved her, he thought that at this price he might purchase the betrayal of Nisibis. 4 Yet finding that there were others also who were maidens and consecrated to divine service according to the Christian custom, he ordered that they be kept uninjured and allowed to practise their religion in their wonted manner without any opposition; to be sure he made a pretence of mildness for the time, to the end that all whom he had heretofore terrified by his harshness and cruelty might lay aside their fear and come to him of their own volition, when they learned from recent instances that he now tempered the greatness of his fortune with kindliness and gracious deportment.

Book XIX

1 Sapor, while urging the people of Amida to surrender, is attacked by the garrison with arrows and spears. While King Grumbates attempts the same thing, his son is slain.

1 The king, rejoicing in the wretched imprisonment of our men that had come to pass, and anticipating like successes, set forth from there, and slowly advancing, came to Amida on the third day. 2 And when the first gleam of dawn appeared, everything so far as the eye could reach shone with glittering arms, and mail-clad cavalry filled hill and dale. 3 The king himself, mounted upon a charger and overtopping the others, rode before the whole army, wearing in place of a diadem a golden image of a ram’s head set with precious stones, distinguished too by a great retinue of men of the highest rank and of various nations. But it was clear that he would merely try the effect of a conference on the defenders of the walls, since by the advice of Antoninus he was in haste to go elsewhere. 4 However, the power of heaven, in order to compress the miseries of the whole Roman Empire within the confines of a single region, had driven the king to an enormous degree of self-confidence, and to the belief that all the besieged would be paralysed with fear at the mere sight of him, and would resort to suppliant prayers. 5 So he rode up to the gates attended by his royal escort, and while with too great assurance he came so near that even his features could clearly be recognised, because of his conspicuous adornment he became the target of arrows and other missiles, and would have fallen, had not the dust hidden him from the sight of his assailants, so that after a part of his garment was torn by the stroke of a lance he escaped, to cause the death of thousands at a later time. 6 In consequence of this attack he raged as if against sacrilegious violators of a temple, and declaring that the lord of so many kings and nations had been outraged, he pushed on with great effort every preparation for destroying the city; but when his most distinguished generals begged that he would not under stress of anger abandon his glorious enterprises, he was appeased by their soothing plea and decided that on the following day the defenders should again be warned to surrender.

7 And so, at the first dawn of day, Grumbates, king of the Chionitae, wishing to render courageous service to his lord, boldly advanced to the walls with a band of active attendants; but a skilful observer caught sight of him as soon as he chanced to come within range of his weapon, and discharging a ballista, pierced both cuirass and breast of Grumbates’ son, a youth just come to manhood, who was riding at his father’s side and was conspicuous among his companions for his height and his handsome person. 8 Upon his fall all his countrymen scattered in flight, but presently returned in well-founded fear that his body might be carried off, and with harsh outcries roused numerous tribes to arms; and on their onset weapons flew from both sides like hail and a fierce fight ensued. 9 After a murderous contest, protracted to the very end of the day, at nightfall the body, which had with difficulty been protected amid heaps of slain and streams of blood, was dragged off under cover of darkness, as once upon a time before Troy his companions contended in a fierce struggle over the lifeless comrade of the Thessalian leader. 10 By this death the palace was saddened, and all the nobles, as well as the father, were stunned by the sudden calamity; accordingly a truce was declared and the young man, honoured for his high birth and beloved, was mourned after the fashion of his own nation. Accordingly he was carried out, armed in his usual manner, and placed upon a large and lofty platform, and about him were spread ten couches bearing figures of dead men, so carefully made ready that the images were like bodies already in the tomb. For the space of seven days all men by communities and companies feasted (lamenting the young prince) with dances and the singing of certain sorrowful dirges. 11 The women for their part, woefully beating their breasts and weeping after their wonted manner, loudly bewailed the hope of their nation cut off in the bloom of youth, just as the priestesses of Venus are often seen to weep at the annual festival of Adonis, which, as the mystic lore of religion tells us, is a kind of symbol of the ripened grain.

2 Amida is besieged and assaulted twice within two days by the Persians.

1 After the body had been burned and the ashes collected and placed in a silver urn, since the father had decided that they should be taken to his native land to be consigned to the earth, they debated what it was best to do; and it was resolved to propitiate the spirit of the slain youth by burning and destroying the city; for Grumbates would not allow them to go farther while the shade of his only son was unavenged. 2 Accordingly, after two days had been given to rest, a large force was sent to devastate the rich, cultivated fields, which were unprotected as in time of peace; then the city was begirt by a fivefold line of shields, and on the morning of the third day gleaming bands of horsemen filled all places which the eye could reach, and the ranks, advancing at a quiet pace, took the places assigned them by lot. 3 The Persians beset the whole circuit of the walls. The part which faced the east fell to the lot of the Chionitae, the place where the youth so fatal to us was slain, whose shade was destined to be appeased by the destruction of the city. The Gelani were assigned to the southern side, the Albani guarded the quarter to the north, and to the western gate were opposed the Segestani, the bravest warriors of all. With them, making a lofty show, slowly marched the lines of elephants, frightful with their wrinkled bodies and loaded with armed men, a hideous spectacle, dreadful beyond every form of horror, as I have often declared.

4 Beholding such innumerable peoples, long got together to set fire to the Roman world and bent upon our destruction, we despaired of any hope of safety and henceforth strove to end our lives gloriously, which was now our sole desire. 5 And so from sunrise until the day’s end the battle lines stood fast, as though rooted in the same spot; no sound was heard, no neighing of horses; and they withdrew in the same order in which they had come, and then refreshed with food and sleep, when only a small part of the night remained, led by the trumpeters’ blast they surrounded the city with the same awful ring, as if it were soon to fall. 6 And hardly had Grumbates hurled a bloodstained spear, following the usage of his country and the custom of our fetial priest, than the army with clashing weapons flew to the walls, and at once the lamentable tempest of war grew fiercer, the cavalry advancing at full speed as they hurried to the fight with general eagerness, while our men resisted with courage and determination.

7 Then heads were shattered, as masses of stone, hurled from the scorpions, crushed many of the enemy; others were pierced by arrows, some were struck down by spears and the ground strewn with their bodies, while others that were only wounded retreated in headlong flight to their companions. 8 No less was the grief and no fewer the deaths in the city, whence a thick cloud of arrows in compact mass darkened the air, while the artillery which the Persians had acquired from the plunder of Singara inflicted still more wounds. 9 For the defenders, recovering their strength and returning in relays to the contest they had abandoned, when wounded in their great ardour for defence fell with destructive results; or if only mangled, they overturned in their writhing those who stood next to them, or at any rate, so long as they remained alive kept calling for those who had the skill to pull out the arrows implanted in their bodies. 10 Thus slaughter was piled upon slaughter and prolonged to the very end of the day, nor was it lessened even by the darkness of evening, with such great determination did both sides fight. 11 And so the night watches were passed under the burden of arms, while the hills re-echoed from the shouts rising from both sides, as our men praised the power of Constantius Caesar as lord of the world and the universe, and the Persians called Sapor “saansaan” and “pirosen,” which being interpreted is “king of kings” and “victor in wars.”

12 And before the dawn of the fifth day the signal was given on the trumpets and the countless forces were aroused anew from all sides to battles of equal heat, rushing to the strife like birds of prey; and the plains and dales as far and as wide as the eye could reach revealed nothing save the flashing arms of savage nations. 13 Presently a shout was raised and all rushed blindly forward, a vast shower of weapons flew from the walls, and as might be supposed, not one that fell among that dense throng of men was discharged in vain. For since so many ills hedged us about, we burned, not with the desire of saving our lives, but, as I have said, of dying bravely; and from the beginning of the day until the light was dim we fought with more fury than discretion, without a turn of the battle to either side. For the shouts of those who would terrify and of those who feared constantly rang out, and such was the heat of battle that scarcely anyone could stand his ground without a wound. 14 At length night put an end to the bloodshed and satiety of woes had brought both sides a longer rest from fighting; for even when time for rest was given us, constant toil and sleeplessness sapped the little strength that remained, and we were terrified by the blood and the pale faces of the dying, to whom not even the last consolation of burial could be given because of the confined space; for within the limits of a city that was none too large there were shut seven legions, a promiscuous throng of strangers and citizens of both sexes, and a few other soldiers, to the number of 120,000 in all. 15 Therefore each cured his wounds according to his ability or the supply of helpers; some, who were severely hurt, gave up the ghost slowly from loss of blood; others, pierced through by arrows, after vain attempts to relieve them, breathed out their lives, and were cast out when death came; others, whose limbs were gashed everywhere, the physicians forbade to be treated, lest their sufferings should be increased by useless infliction of pain; still others plucked out the arrows and through this doubtful remedy endured torments worse than death.

3 Ursicinus vainly attempts to surprise the besiegers by night, being opposed by Sabinianus, commander of the infantry.

1 While the fight was going on at Amida with such determination on both sides, Ursicinus, grieving because he was dependent upon the will of another, who was then of greater authority in the command of the soldiers, frequently admonished Sabinianus, who was still clinging to his graves, that, getting together all his skirmishers, he should hasten by secret paths along the foot of the mountains, so that with the help of these light-armed troops (if fortune was at all favourable) he might surprise the pickets and attack the night-watches of the enemy, who had surrounded the walls in wide extent, or by repeated assaults distract the attention of those who were stoutly persisting in the siege. 2 These proposals Sabinianus opposed as dangerous, publicly offering as a pretext letters of the emperor, which expressly directed that whatever could be done should be effected without injury to the soldiers anywhere, but secretly in his inmost heart keeping in mind that he had often been instructed at court to cut off from his predecessor, because of his burning desire for glory, every means of gaining honour, even though it promised to turn out to the advantage of the state. 3 Such great haste was made, even though attended with the destruction of the provinces, that this valiant warrior should not receive mention as author of, or participant in, any noteworthy action. Therefore, alarmed by this unhappy situation, Ursicinus often sent us scouts, although because of the strict guard no one could easily enter the town, and attempted many helpful things; but he obviously could accomplish nothing, being like a lion of huge size and terrible fierceness which did not dare to go to save from danger his whelps that were caught in a net, because he had been robbed of his claws and teeth.

4 A plague which broke out in Amida is ended within ten days by a light rain. Remarks on the causes and varieties of plagues.

1 But within the city, where the quantity of corpses scattered through the streets was too great to admit of burial, a plague was added to so many ills, fostered by the contagious infection of maggot-infested bodies, the steaming heat, and the weakness of the populace from various causes. The origin of diseases of this kind I shall briefly set forth.

2 Philosophers and eminent physicians have told us that an excess of cold or heat, or of moisture or dryness, produces plagues. Hence those who dwell in marshy or damp places suffer from coughs, from affections of the eyes, and from similar complaints; on the other hand, the inhabitants of hot climates dry up with the heat of fever. But by as much as the substance of fire is fiercer and more effective than the other elements, by so much is drought the swifter to kill. 3 Therefore when Greece was toiling in a ten years’ war in order that a foreigner might not evade the penalty for separating a royal pair, a scourge of this kind raged and many men perished by the darts of Apollo, who is regarded as the sun. 4 And, as Thucydides shows, that calamity which, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, harassed the Athenians with a grievous kind of sickness, gradually crept all the way from the torrid region of Africa and lay hold upon Attica. 5 Others believe that when the air, as often happens, and the waters are polluted by the stench of corpses or the like, the greater part of their healthfulness is spoiled, or at any rate that a sudden change of air causes minor ailments. 6 Some also assert that when the air is made heavy by grosser exhalations from the earth, it checks the secretions that should be expelled from the body, and is fatal to some; and it is for that reason, as we know on the authority of Homer as well as from many later experiences, that when such a pestilence has appeared, the other animals besides man, which constantly look downward, are the first to perish. 7 Now the first kind of plague is called endemic, and causes those who live in places that are too dry to be cut off by frequent fevers. The second is epidemic, which breaks out at certain seasons of the year, dimming the sight of the eyes and causing a dangerous flow of moisture. The third is loemodes, which is also periodic, but deadly from its winged speed.

8 After we had been exhausted by this destructive plague and a few had succumbed to the excessive heat and still more from the crowded conditions, at last on the night following the tenth day the thick and gross exhalations were dispelled by light showers, and sound health of body was regained.

5 Amida is attacked on one side about the walls, and on the other, under the lead of a deserter, by underground passages.

1 But meanwhile the restless Persian was surrounding the city with sheds and mantlets, and mounds began to be raised and towers were constructed; these last were lofty, with ironclad fronts, and on the top of each a ballista was placed, for the purpose of driving the defenders from the ramparts; yet not even for a moment did the skirmishing by the slingers and archers slacken. 2 There were with us two Magnentian legions, recently brought from Gaul (as I have said) and composed of brave, active men, experienced in battle in the open field, but to the sort of warfare to which we were constrained they were not merely unsuited, but actually a great hindrance; for whereas they were of no help with the artillery or in the construction of fortifications, they would sometimes make reckless sallies and after fighting with the greatest confidence return with diminished numbers, accomplishing just as much as would the pouring of a single handful of water (as the saying is) upon a general conflagration. 3 Finally, when the gates were very carefully barred, and their officers forbade them to go forth, they gnashed their teeth like wild beasts. But in the days that followed (as I shall show) their efficiency was conspicuous. 4 In a remote part of the walls on the southern side, which looks down on the river Tigris, there was a tower rising to a lofty height, beneath which yawned rocks so precipitous that one could not look down without shuddering dizziness. From these rocks subterranean arches had been hollowed out, and skilfully made steps led through the roots of the mountain as far as the plateau on which the city stood, in order that water might be brought secretly from the channel of the river, a device which I have seen in all the fortifications in those regions which border on streams. 5 Through these dark passages, left unguarded because of their steepness, led by a deserter in the city who had gone over to the opposite side, seventy Persian bowmen from the king’s bodyguard who excelled in skill and bravery, protected by the silence of the remote spot, suddenly one by one in the middle of the night mounted to the third story of the tower and there concealed themselves; in the morning they displayed a cloak of red hue, which was the signal for beginning battle, and when they saw the city surrounded on all sides with the floods of their forces, emptying their quivers, and throwing them at their feet, with a conflagration of shouts and yells they sent their shafts in all directions with the utmost skill. And presently all the Persian forces in dense array attacked the city with far greater fury than before. 6 We were perplexed and uncertain where first to offer resistance, whether to those who stood above us or to the throng mounting on scaling-ladders and already laying hold of the very battlements; so the work was divided among us and five of the lighter ballistae were moved and placed over against the tower, rapidly pouring forth wooden shafts, which sometimes pierced even two men at a time. Some of the enemy fell, severely wounded; others, through fear of the clanging engines, leaped off headlong and were dashed to pieces. 7 This being so quickly accomplished and the engines restored to their usual places, with a little greater confidence all ran together to defend the walls. 8 And since the wicked deed of the deserter increased the soldiers’ wrath, as if they were entering a level ground in a sham fight they used such strength of arm as they hurled their various weapons, that as the day inclined towards noon the enemy were scattered in bitter defeat, and lamenting the death of many of their number, retreated to their tents through fear of wounds.

6 A sally of the Gallic legions, destructive to the Persians.

1 Fortune thus breathed upon us some hope of safety, since a day had passed without harm to us and with disaster to the enemy; so the remainder of that day was devoted to rest, for refreshing our bodies. But at the arrival of the following dawn we saw from the citadel a countless throng which after the capture of the fortress of Ziata was being taken to the enemy’s camp; for in that stronghold, which was both capacious and well fortified (it has a circuit of ten stadia) a multitude of people of all sorts had taken refuge. 2 For other fortifications also were seized and burned during those same days, and from them many thousands of men had been dragged, and were following into slavery, among them many feeble old men, and women already advanced in years, who, when they gave out for various reasons, discouraged by the long march and abandoning the desire to live, were left behind with their calves or hams cut out.

3 The Gallic soldiers, seeing these throngs of wretches, with a reasonable, but untimely, impulse demanded that the opportunity be given them of encountering the enemy, threatening death to the tribunes who forbade them, and to the higher officers, if they in their turn prevented them. 4 And just as ravening beasts in cages, roused to greater fierceness by the odour of carrion, in hope of getting out dash against the revolving bars, so did they hew with swords at the gates, which (as I said above) were locked, being exceedingly anxious lest, if the city should be destroyed, they also might perish without any glorious action, or if it were saved from peril, they should be said to have done nothing worth while, as Gallic greatness of heart demanded; and yet before this they had made frequent sallies and attempted to interfere with the builders of mounds, had killed some, and had suffered the like themselves.

5 We, at our wit’s end and in doubt what opposition ought to be made to the raging Gauls, at last chose this course as the best, to which they reluctantly consented: that since they could no longer be restrained, they would wait for a while and then be allowed to attack the enemy’s outposts, which were stationed not much farther than a bowshot away, with the understanding that if they broke through them, they might keep right on. For it was apparent that, if their request were granted, they would deal immense slaughter. 6 While preparations for this were going on, the walls were being vigorously defended by various kinds of effort: by toil and watchfulness and by placing engines so as to scatter stones and darts in all directions. However, two lofty mounds were constructed by a troop of Persian infantry, and the storming of the city was being prepared with slowly built siege-works; and in opposition to these troops our soldiers also with extreme care were rearing earthworks of great height, equal in elevation to those of the enemy and capable of supporting the greatest possible weight of fighting men.

7 Meanwhile the Gauls, impatient of delay, armed with axes and swords rushed out through an opened postern gate, taking advantage of a gloomy, moonless night and praying for the protection of heaven, that it might propitiously and willingly aid them. And holding their very breath when they had come near the enemy, they rushed violently upon them in close order, and having slain some of the outposts, they butchered the outer guards of the camp in their sleep (since they feared nothing of the kind), and secretly thought of a surprise attack even on the king’s quarters, if a favourable fortune smiled on them. 8 But the sound of their cautious advance, slight though it was, and the groans of the dying were heard, and many of the enemy were roused from sleep and sprang up, while each for himself raised the call to arms. Our soldiers stood rooted to the spot, not daring to advance farther; for it no longer seemed prudent, when those against whom the surprise was directed were aroused, to rush into open danger, since now throngs of raging Persians were coming to battle from every side, fired with fury. 9 But the Gauls faced them, relying on their strength of body and keeping their courage unshaken as long as they could, cut down their opponents with the sword, while a part of their own number were slain or wounded by the cloud of arrows flying from every side. But when they saw that the whole weight of peril and all the troops of the enem