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Book XIV

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Roman History

of
Ammianus Marcellinus

published in Vol. I
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1935

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Book XVI

(Vol. I) Ammianus Marcellinus
Roman Antiquities

p109 Book XV

1 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.

p111 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, Veteranio1 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 p113circuit of whole earth, which to us seems endless, compared with the greatness of the universe has the likeness of a mere tiny point.

2 1 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 p115deadly 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,2 situated in Cappadocia, into the province of Asia, in his desire for a liberal education;3 and, second, that he had visited his brother Gallus as he passed through p117Constantinople. 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.

p119 3 1 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 Verres4 fawning upon the tribunal of only one p121governor, 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,5 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;6 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 p123began with idle words and resulted in peril to many. At a dinner-party given by Africanus, governor of Pannonia Secunda, at Sirmium,7 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,8 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,9 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-drillmaster10 and now a tribune,11 who was on furlough p125at 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 confinement12 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 1 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 . . .13 and Lentienses,14 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;15 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, p127skirting the shores of Lake Brigantia,16a 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;16b 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 p129what 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 retreat17 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 p131the light they rushed about with drawn swords, gnashing their teeth and giving vent to boastful threats. But the targeteers18 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,19 and Bappo, an officer of the veterans.20 11 They with the soldiers under their command, devoting themselves on behalf of the common cause, like the Decii of old,21 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 p133had 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 1 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,22 had asked Silvanus for letters of recommendation to his friends, in order to make himself very conspicuous, as if he were one p135of 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,23 the praetorian prefect, and Eusebius, former keeper of the privy purse,24 who had been nicknamed Mattyocopus,25 and Aedesius, late master of the rolls,26 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 p137private 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,27 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,28 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 p139and 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 p141sad, 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,29 on scrutinising the script with greater care, and finding a kind of shadow, as it were, of the former letters,30 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,31 on being put upon the rack, admitted that this had been set on foot with his cognizance. p14314 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.32

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.33 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 p145the 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 ceremonies34 (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.35 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 p147extinguish 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 rock36 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 p149and 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,37 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."38

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 general39 should complaisantly favour the upstart40 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 p151of 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 Alps41 with all speed.

30 Amid this perplexing distress of spirit we kept casting about in secret investigation for some plan p153likely 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,42 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 p155anything 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."43

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.44 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,45 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 Philoxenus46 with death, because when the tyrant was reading aloud p157his 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 1 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 p159the badges47 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)48 who was chosen to protect his fellow-citizens when Treves closed its gates against Decentius Caesar.49 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 1 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 p161onslaught 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,50 a much frequented spot, where the emperor Marcus Aurelius erected a Nymphaeum51 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.52 5 On seeing him aloft, vainly begging for the aid of his fellows, the p163whole 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 Constantius53 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. p16510 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;54 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 1 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,55 who not so very long before had been summoned from the district of Achaia and still wore his student's cloak.56

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, p167being 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 offences57 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 p169over-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 p171Julian 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."

p173 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),58 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.59 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:60

"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 p175been 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.

p177 9 1 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 old61 — 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,62 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,63 settled in the lands bordering on the Ocean. 4 The p179Drysidae64 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,º 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,65 prefect of king Cyrus, set sail for Italy. A part of them founded Velia66 in Lucania, the rest, Massilia67 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.68 Now, the Bards sang to the sweet strains of the lyre the valorous deeds of famous men composed in heroic p181verse, but the Euhages,69 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 1 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,70 it is separated from the wild nations by the channels71 of the Rhine. Where it lies under the west-sloping sun72 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 p183region; 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 p185hidden, 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;73 from there on another loftier height, equally difficult to surmount, reaches to the peak of the Matrona,74 so called from an accident to a noble lady.a 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,75 when travelling leisurely to destroy Geryon and Tauriscus, constructed near the Maritime Alps and gave them the name of Graian76 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.b 10 Publius Cornelius Scipio, p187father of the elder Africanus, when the Saguntines, famous both for their catastrophesº and their loyalty, were besieged by the Africans77 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,78 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;79 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.

p189 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,80 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,81 they unite in one channel, and flowing on together pour into the sea not far from Castra Constantia.82 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 wars83 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 p191second 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.84 9 After these the First province of Belgium displays Metz and Treves, splendid abode of the emperors.85 10 Adjoining this is the Second province of Belgium, in which are Amiens, a city eminent above the rest, and Châlons86 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 p193towards 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 Saintesº and Poitiers. 14 The "Nine Nations"87 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 Ilesº 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 stream88 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 through89 Savoy and the Seine Province,90 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, p195which they call the Sauconna,91 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 Gradus92 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 1 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 p197so 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:93 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:94 "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,95 then undermined in petty battles by Sextius,96 and finally subdued by Fabius Maximus,97a on whom the full completion of this business (when he had vanquished the formidable tribe of the Allobroges)97b conferred that surname.98 6 Now the whole of Gaul (except where, as the authority of Sallust99 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 p199everlasting covenant of alliance. I have digressed too far, but I shall at last return to my subject.

13 1 The doings of the praetorian prefect, Musonianus, in the Orient.

1 After Domitianus was dispatched by a cruel death,100 his successor Musonianus governed the East with the rank of pretorian prefect, a man famed for his command of both languages,101 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.

p201 3 He was matched by Prosper, who was at that time still representing the cavalry commander102 in Gaul and held military authority there, an abject coward and, as the comic poet says,103 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.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 He joined in the attempt of Magnentius; see note 2, p3. The name seems really to be Vetranio.

2 A villa or castle near Caesarea, where Gallus and Julian were brought up.

3 Julian was devoted to the study of Greek literature and philosophy. He wrote a great many books, some of which have been preserved: orations, letters, satires, and a few epigrams.

4 Two brothers from Cibyra, in Phrygia, Tlepolemus and Hiero, tools of Verres; cf. Cic., Verr., IV.21.47; IV.13.30.

5 XIV.5.8.

6 Cf. Herodotus, IV.184.

7 The principal city of Pannonia; see Index.

8 See note 2, p98.

9 See note 3, p56.

10 His office was to drill and exercise the soldiers.

11 See Introd., pp. xliii f.

12 Cf. Cod. Just., X.19.2, carcer poenalium.

13 See critical note.

14 Dwelling in the neighbourhood of Lentia, modern Lenze.

15 Plains in Raetia, round about Bellinzona.

16a 16b The Lake of Constance.

17 The spring of Ortygia, at Syracuse in Sicily.

18 See note 3, p56.

19 A picked body of troops, perhaps the same as the comitatenses; they were divided into several bodies, distinguished by various names.

20 Soldiers who were given a higher rank on account of good service or favour: cf. Vegetius, II.3, legionum robur infractum est, cum per gratiam promoverentur milites, qui promoveri consueverant per labores.

21 See Index.

22 He had charge during campaigns and journeys of the transportation of the emperor's baggage; other actuarii are mentioned in XX.5.9 (see note), and actuarii a rationibus scrutandis in XXV.10.7. Actuarius is an adjective, sc. scriba.

23 See Dessau, Inscr. 4154, note 3.

24 See Introd., pp. xli f.

25 "Glutton," from -κοπέω, "cut," and ματτύα, "delicacies," "delicate food."

26 The magister memoriae was a subordinate of the magister officiorum, and head of the scrinium memoriae (first established by Caracalla) consisting of 62 clerks and 12 adiutores. They sent out acta prepared by the scrinia epistularum et libellorum, and kept on record answers to petitions.

27 The emperor's council, or secret cabinet; see Introd., pp. xxix f.

28 The foreign contingent of the household troops; see note 3, p56.

29 The magister officiorum was a very important official, to whom many of the former functions of the praetorian prefect had been transferred (or shared with the prefect). Along with his many duties was complete charge of the discipline of the palace. See Introd., pp. xxxvii f.

30 For the meaning of apices, see Amer. Jour. of Philol., XLVIII (1927), pp1 ff. The word is wrongly translated by Holland, "prickes or accents over the letters," and by Yonge, "some vestiges of the tops of former words"; rightly by Tross, "einiger Spuren der früheren Buchstaben."

31 See Introd., pp. xli f.

32 Correctores in the fourth century were governors of smaller provinces, ranking between the highest (consulares) and the lowest (praesides). Originally a corrector governed the whole of Italy. The title gradually died out, being replaced by consulares or praesides. See Index II.

33 See Index II, s.v. candidatus.

34 The magister admissionum was a subordinate of the magister officiorum; imperial audiences were obtained through the latter, and the actual entrance into the audience chamber was under the direction of the former.

35 For this meaning of iudices, see Index of Officials, s.v.

36 Cf. Florus, IV.9.1; cum scopulus et nodus et mora publicae securitatis superesset Antonius, "a rock in his path" (L. C. L., p316).

37 The bestiarii were matched against wild beasts.

38 This passage does not occur in Cicero's extant works. A similar one appears in Ad Quir. post Reditum, i.2.

39 Ursicinus.

40 Novelli is contemptuous; cf. XXVI.6.15.

41 In order to march to Italy against Constantius himself.

42 Against Magnentius; see note 2, p3.

43 Cf. Gellius, XV.18, for a similar prophecy.

44 Cf. XXVIII.6.7 and XXX.2.9.

45 Cf. Herodotus, I.33.

46 Cf. Diod. Sic. XV.6, and see Index.

47 These were improvised for the occasion; see 5.16, at the end.

48 In one of the lost books.

49 Decentius had been given the rank of Caesar by his brother Magnentius.

50 Probably the well-known building of Severus at the south-eastern corner of the Palatine, named from the seven planets; see Suet., L. C. L. II p321.

Problematic on many grounds; see Septizonium (2) in Platner & Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

51 Referring probably to the Septemzodium. See preceding note, and index, s.v. Marcus.

52 To be flogged.

53 At Mediolanum, where Constantius then was.

54 One of the earliest indications of the growing importance of the Roman bishops.

55 Cf. Zosimus, III.1 ff.

56 The pallium was the characteristic Greek cloak, worn among others by students.

Comprehensive details are supplied by the article Pallium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

57 I.e. their offences against Julian, which made them fear his rise to greater power.

58 See critical note.

59 Cf. Gellius, I.9.2, (Pythagoras) iam a principio adulescentes ἐφυσιογνωμόνει. Id verbum significat, mores . . . de oris et vultus ingenio . . . sciscitari.

60 Iliad, V.83; cf. § 20; a play on πορφύρεος as the colour of blood and of royalty.

61 Aen. VII.44 f., maior rerum mihi nascitur ordo, Maius opus moveo.

62 Timagenes of Alexandria, who, according to Suidas, was brought to Rome as a prisoner of war by Pompey. He wrote a History of Alexander and a History of the Gauls. Cf. Hor. Epist. I.19.15; Quint., I.10.10; X.1.75.

63 "Earlier" seems to be contrasted with "the son of Amphitryon"º in 9.6, below and "the Theban Hercules" in 10.9, whom Ammianus identifies with the son of Amphitryon. The story of a hero similar to Hercules is found in Greece, Italy, Egypt, the Orient and among the Celts and Germans. Cicero, De Nat. Deor. III.16.42, names six Herculeses, Serv., ad Aen. VIII.564, four: the Tirynthian, Argive, Theban, and Libyan. The Theban Hercules is generally regarded as the son of Amphitryon, but the one here referred to seems to have been the Italic hero, locally called Recaranus and Garanus, who was later identified with the Greek Heracles.

64 Druids.

65 An error for Harpagus, see Index.

66 Modern Castellammareº della Bruca.

67 Marseilles.

68 The three are connected also by Strabo (IV.4.4), who says that the bards were poets; the euhages (Οὐάτεις), diviners and natural philosophers; while the Druids studied both natural and moral philosophy. L. C. L. II p245.

69 Properly, Vates (Οὐάτεις).

70 The septentriones, the constellation of ursa major, representing the north.

71 As it enters the sea, the Rhine divides into several branches.

72 As there is no specific western constellation, sidus seems to mean "sun"; cf. Pliny, N. H. II.12; etc., and solis ortus, below, of the east.

73 Modern Oulx, in the Ant. Itin. called mansio Martis; in the Itin. Burdigalense, ad Martis. Amm. uses statio both of a military post, and of a station on the cursus publicus, but see Hyde, R. Alp. Routes, p59.

74 Mont Genèvre.

75 See note, p176.

76 "Grecian," but see Hyde, R. Alpine Routes, p59.

77 That is the Carthaginians, in 218 B.C. See Hyde, pp197 ff.

78 After a siege of eight months.

79 Cf. Livy, XXI.37.1‑3; Juvenal, X.153; etc. Pliny, N. H. XXIII.57, attributes this power to vinegar, but Polybius does not mention the story, which is doubted for various reasons.

80 With this part of the account, Cf. Caesar, B. G., I.1.

81 Paris.

82 The site of Harfleur.

83 Referring to Caesar's campaigns, 58‑49 B.C.

84 At the battle of Argentoratus (Strasburg); see XVI.12.

85 Augusta Trevirorum was the headquarters of the Roman commanders on the Rhine, and a frequent residence of the Roman emperors; Ausonius, in his Ordo Urbium Nobilium gives it sixth place.

And in modern English, we call the city by its German name Trier. For an illustrated survey of its Roman monuments, with further links, see Class. J.XXIX, pp3‑12.

86 Châlons-sur‑Marne.

87 The country between the Garonne and the Pyrenees, Aquitania in the narrower sense. The names of the nine nations are not known.

88 That is, it receives no tributaries, yet fills its channel full.

89 Really "between."

90 Maxima Sequanorum.

91 Saône.

92 The Gulf of Lyons; cf. Grau-du‑Roi.

93 Cf. Suet., Aug. 24.1.

94 Ammianus is the only source for these words.

95 M. Fulvius Flaccus; see Index and cf. Livy, Periochae, LX and LXI.

96 C. Sextius Calvinus; see Index and cf. Livy, Periochae, LXI.

97a 97b In 121 B.C.

98 Allobrogicus.

99 Hist. I. 11, Maurenbrecher.

100 Cf. XIV. 7.16.

101 Greek and Latin; cf. Suet., Claud., 42.1.

102 Ursicinus (see XIV.11.5).

103 Plautus, Epidicus, 12, minus iam furtificus sum quam antehac. Quid ita? Rapio propalam.


Thayer's Notes:

a A folk etymology.

Ernest Nègre, Toponymie Générale de la France, Vol. I, p119 f. (Librairie Droz, Geneva, 1990), lists seventeen toponyms which he traces to a Celtic root matrona, "goddess of springs", following Georges Dottin, La Langue gauloise (Paris, 1920). The Mons Matrona seems to have been marked by a shrine to the springs of the Durance and the Doire (Druentia and *Dora).

b Another folk etymology — and as a supposed explanation of the name, the tale that follows will be utterly mystifying if read without reference to the Latin text, in which Ammian calls these mountains Poeninae, as if derived from PoenusCarthaginian. The spelling is aetiological; the usual Latin spelling was Penninae.

The correct derivation, as that of Pennines elsewhere and the Apennines in Italy, is almost certainly from the Celtic root pensummit, found in many placenames in Wales and Brittany and not a few elsewhere.

Page updated: 2 Sep 13