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Book XXI

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Roman History

Ammianus Marcellinus

published in Vol. II
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1940

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,
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(Vol. II) Ammianus Marcellinus
Roman Antiquities

 p187  Book XXII

1 1 Julianus Augustus, through fear of Constantius Augustus, halts in Dacia and secretly consults soothsayers and augurs.

1 While Fortune's mutable phases were causing these occurrences in a different part of the world, Julian in the midst of his many occupations in Illyricum was constantly prying into the entrails of victims and watching the flight of birds, in his eagerness to foreknow the result of events; but he was perplexed by ambiguous and obscure predictions and continued to be uncertain of the future. 2 At length, however, Aprunculus, a Gallic orator skilled in soothsaying, afterwards advanced to be governor of Gallia Narbonensis, told him what would happen, having learned it (as he himself declared) from the inspection of a liver which he had seen covered with a double lobe.​1 And although Julian feared that it might be a fiction conformable to his own desire, and was therefore troubled, he himself saw a much more evident sign which clearly foretold the death of Constantius. For at the very moment when that emperor died in Cilicia, a soldier who lifted Julian with his right hand to mount his horse slipped and fell to the ground; and Julian at once cried in the hearing of many: "The man has fallen who raised me to my high estate." 3 But although he knew that these were favourable signs, yet as if standing fast upon his guard he remained within the confines of Dacia, and even so was troubled with many fears. For he  p189 did not deem it prudent to trust the predictions which might perhaps be fulfilled by contraries.

2 1 Julian, on learning of the death of Constantius, traverses Thrace and enters Constantinople without opposition, thus assuming the rule of the entire Roman empire without a struggle.

1 Amid this state of suspense the envoys Theolaifus and Aligildus, who had been sent to him,​2 suddenly appeared and reported the death of Constantius, adding that with his last words he had made Julian the successor to his power. 2 On learning this, and being now saved from the fret of dangers and the throes of war's anxieties, he was hugely elated. And now believing in the prophecies, and knowing by experience that speed had often been helpful to his enterprises, he ordered a march into Thrace, quickly broke camp, and passing the slope of Succi,​3 made for Philippopolis,​4 the ancient Eumolpias, followed with eager step by all who were under his command. 3 For they perceived that the throne, which they were on their way to usurp in the face of the greatest dangers, had beyond their hope been granted to him by the ordinary course of law. And as rumour is wont to exaggerate all novelties, he hastened on from there, now raised still higher, as though in some chariot of Triptolemus,​5 which the poets of old, because of its swift turnings, represented as drawn through the air by winged  p191 dragons; and dreaded by land and sea and opposed by no delays, he entered Heraclea, also called Perinthus. 4 When this was presently known at Constantinople, all ages and sexes poured forth, as if to look upon someone sent from heaven. And so he was met on the eleventh of December with the respectful attendance of the senate and the unanimous applause of the people, and surrounded by troops of soldiers and citizens he was escorted as if by an army in line of battle, while all eyes were turned upon him, not only with a fixed gaze, but also with great admiration. 5 For it seemed almost like a dream that this young man, just come to his growth,​6 of small stature but conspicuous for great deeds, after the bloodstained destruction of kings and nations had passed from city to city with unlooked‑for speed; that increasing in power and strength wherever he went, he had easily seized upon all places as swiftly as rumour flies, and finally had received the imperial power, bestowed upon him by Heaven's nod without any loss to the state.

3 1 Some adherents of Constantius are condemned to death, a part justly, others unjustly.

1 Shortly after this Salutius Secundus was raised to the rank of praetorian prefect,​7 and given, as a trustworthy official, the chief oversight of the inquisitions that were to be set on foot; and with him were associated Mamertinus,​8 Arbitio,​9 Agilo,​10 and Nevitta,​11 and also Jovinus,​12 lately advanced to be commander of the cavalry in Illyricum. 2 These  p193 crossed all to Chalcedon, and in the presence of the generals and tribunes of the Joviani and the Herculiani​13 examined the cases with more passion than was just and right,​14 with the exception of a few, in which the evidence showed that the accused were most guilty. 3 At first they banished to Britain Palladius, formerly chief marshal of the court, who was brought before them merely on the suspicion of having made certain charges to Constantius against Gallus, when he held the same office under the said Gallus, who was at the time Caesar. 4 Then Taurus,​15 who had been praetorian prefect, was exiled to Vercellum,​16 although before judges who could distinguish justice from injustice his action might have appeared deserving of pardon. For what sin did he commit, if in fear of a storm that had arisen he fled to the protection of his emperor? And the decisions that were passed upon him were read not without great horror in the public proto­col, which contained this beginning, "In the consulate of Taurus and Florentius, when Taurus was summoned to court by the criers." 5 Pentadius also was threatened with the same fate, against whom the charge was made, that, being sent by Constantius he took down in shorthand the answers that Gallus had made to the many questions put to him when his ruin was approaching. But since he justified himself, he finally got off unpunished. 6 With like injustice Florentius (son of Nigrinianus), then chief marshal of the court, was imprisoned in​17 the  p195 Dalmatian island of Boae.​18 For a second Florentius,​19 a former praetorian prefect and consul at the time, being alarmed by the sudden change in the state, saved himself from danger with his wife, lay hid for a long time, and could not return until after the death of Julian; yet he was condemned to death in his absence. 7 In like manner Euagrius, count of the privy purse, and Saturninus, former steward of the household, and Cyrinus, a former secretary, were all exiled. But for the death of Ursulus, count of the sacred largesses, Justice herself seems to me to have wept, and to have accused the emperor of ingratitude. For when Julian was sent as Caesar to the western regions, to be treated with extreme niggardliness, being granted no power of making any donative to the soldiers to the end that he might be exposed to more serious mutinies of the army, this very Ursulus wrote to the man in charge of the Gallic treasury, ordering that whatever the Caesar asked for should be given him without hesitation. 8 After Ursulus' death Julian found himself the object of the reproaches and curses of many men, and thinking that he could excuse himself for the unpardonable crime, he declared that the man had been put to death without his knowledge, alleging that his taking off was due to the anger of the soldiers, who remembered his words (which we have reported before)​20 when he saw the ruins of Amida.

9 From this it was clear that Julian was timorous, or that he did not know what was fitting, when he put Arbitio, who was always untrustworthy and excessively haughty, in charge of these inquisitions, while the others, including the officers of the legions, were  p197 present merely for show; for Arbitio was a man whom he knew above all others to be a threat to his own safety,​21 as was to be expected of one who had taken a valiant part in the victories of the civil wars.

10 But, although these acts which I have mentioned displeased even Julian's supporters, yet those which follow were executed with proper vigour and severity. 11 For Apodemius, of the imperial secret service, who, as we have said,​22 showed unbridled eagerness for the death of Silvanus and Gallus, was burned alive, as well as Paulus the notary, surnamed Catena,​23 a man to be mentioned by many with groans, who thus met the fate which was to have been hoped for. 12 Eusebius besides, who had been made Constantius' grand chamberlain, a man full of pride and cruelty, was condemned to death by the judges. This man, who had been raised from the lowest station to a position which enabled him almost to give orders like those of the emperor himself,​24 and in consequence had become intolerable, Adrastia, the judge of human acts,​25 had plucked by the ear (as the saying is) and warned him to live with more restraint; and when he demurred, she threw him headlong, as if from a lofty cliff.

4 1 Julianus Augustus drives all the eunuchs, barbers and cooks from the palace. On the vices of the eunuchs of the court and the corruption of military discipline.

1 After this the emperor turned his attention to the palace attendants, and dismissed all who belonged to that class or could be included in it, but not  p199 like a philosopher claiming to research into truth. 2 For he might have been commended if he at least retained some, few though they were, who were of modest behaviour or known to be of virtuous character. But it must be admitted that the major part of those creatures maintained a vast nursery of all the vices, to such a degree that they infected the state with evil passions, and rather by their example than by their license in wrong-doing injured many. 3 For some of them, fattened on the robbery of temples and scenting out gain from every source, on being raised from abject poverty at one bound to enormous wealth, knew no limit to bribery, robbery, and extravagance, always accustomed as they were to seize the property of others. 4 Hence sprang the seeds of a dissolute life, perjury and disregard for good name, and their mad pride stained their honour by shameful gains. 5 Meanwhile, gluttony and deep abysses of banquets​26 grew apace, and the place of triumphs won in battle was taken by those gained at the table. The lavish use of silk and of the textile arts increased, and more anxious attention to the kitchen. Showy sites for richly adorned houses were eagerly sought, of such dimensions that if the consul Quinctius​27 had owned as much in farmland, he would have lost the glory of his poverty even after his dictator­ship.

6 To these conditions, shameful as they were, were added serious defects in military discipline. In place of the war-song the soldiers practised effeminate ditties; the warriors' bed was not a stone  p201 (as in days of yore), but feathers and folding couches; their cups were now heavier than their swords (for they were ashamed to drink from earthenware); they even procured houses of marble, although it is written in the records of old that a Spartan soldier was severely punished because during a campaign he dared to be seen under a roof. 7 Moreover, the soldiers of those times were so insolent and rapacious towards their countrymen, and so cowardly and weak in the presence of the enemy, that having acquired riches by patronage and idleness, they were adepts in distinguishing the varieties of gold and gems, contrary to the usage even of recent times. 8 For it is well known that under Caesar Maximianus,​28 when a fortified camp of the Persian king was pillaged, a common soldier after finding a Parthian jewel-box containing pearls, threw away the gems in ignorance of their value, and went his way, quite satisfied with the beauty of the leather alone.29

9 It happened at that same time that a barber, who had been summoned to trim the emperor's hair, appeared in splendid attire. On seeing him, Julian was amazed, and said: "I sent for a barber, not a fiscal agent." However, he asked the man what his trade brought him in; to which the barber replied twenty daily allowances​30 of bread, and the same amount of fodder for pack-animals (these they commonly call capita), as well as a heavy annual salary, not to mention many rich perquisites. 10 Incensed by this, Julian discharged all attendants of that kind (as being not at all necessary to him),  p203 as well as cooks and other similar servants, who were in the habit of receiving almost the same amount, giving them permission to go wherever they wished.

5 1 Julianus Augustus openly and freely professes the worship of the gods, which he had previously practised secretly, and sets the bishops of the Christians at odds.

1 Although Julian from the earliest days of his childhood had been more inclined towards the worship of the pagan gods, and as he gradually grew up burned with longing to practise it, yet because of his many reasons for anxiety he observed certain of its rites with the greatest possible secrecy. 2 But when his fears were ended, and he saw that the time had come when he could do as he wished, he revealed the secrets of his heart and by plain and formal decrees ordered the temples to be opened, victims brought to the altars, and the worship of the gods restored. 3 And in order to add to the effectiveness of these ordinances, he summoned to the palace the bishops of the Christians, who were of conflicting opinions, and the people, who were also at variance, and politely advised them to lay aside their differences, and each fearlessly and without opposition to observe his own beliefs. 4 On this he took a firm stand, to the end that, as this freedom increased their dissension, he might afterwards have no fear of a united populace, knowing as he did from experience that no wild beasts are such enemies to mankind as are most of the Christians in their deadly hatred of one another. And he often used to say:  p205 "Hear me, to whom the Alamanni and the Franks have given ear," thinking that in this he was imitating a saying of the earlier emperor Marcus. But he did not observe that the two cases were very different. 5 For Marcus, as he was passing through Palestine on his way to Egypt, being often disgusted with the malodorous​a and rebellious Jews is reported to have cried: "O Marcomanni, O Quadi, O Sarmatians, at last I have found a people more unruly than you."

6 1 The cleverness with which Julian forced several Egyptian petitioners, by whom he was annoyed and interrupted, to return to their homes.

1 At this same time, induced by sundry rumours, there came​31 a number of Egyptians, a contentious race of men, by custom always delighting in intricate litigation, and especially eager for excessive indemnification if they had paid anything to a collector of debts, either for the purpose of being relieved of the debt or at any rate, to bring in​32 what was demanded of them more conveniently by postponing it; or eager to charge wealthy men with extortion and threaten them with court proceedings. 2 All these, crowding together and chattering like jays, unseasonably interrupted the emperor himself, as well as the praetorian prefects, demanding after almost seventy years moneys that they declared that they had paid, justly or otherwise, to many individuals. 3 And, since they prevented any other business from receiving attention, the emperor issued an edict, in which he bade them all go to Chalcedon; he promised that he would himself also shortly come there, to settle all  p207 their claims. 4 After they had crossed, orders were given to the captains of ships going to or coming from that port not to dare to give an Egyptian passage; and since that order was strictly observed, this obstinate attempt at blackmail vanished, and they all returned to their homes, disappointed in the hopes that they had entertained. 5 Thereupon a law was passed, as if at the proposal of Justice herself, which provided that no advocate at court should be troubled about payments which it was recognised that he had justly received.33

7 1 Julian often holds court in the senate-house at Constantinople, and there, while he is setting in order the affairs of Thrace, he is approached by several deputations from foreign nations.

1 And so the first of January came, when the consular annals took on the names of Mamertinus and Nevitta; and the emperor showed himself especially condescending by going on foot to their inauguration in company with other high officials, an action which some commended but others criticised as affected and cheap.​34 2 Then, when Mamertinus gave games in the Circus and the slaves that were to be manumitted were led in by the assistant master of ceremonies,​35 the emperor himself,  p209 with too great haste, pronounced the usual formula, that it be done according to law;​36 and on being reminded that the jurisdiction that day belonged to another,​37 he fined himself ten pounds of gold, as guilty of an oversight.

3 Meanwhile, he came frequently into the senate house to give attention to various matters with which the many changes in the state burdened him. And when one day, as he was sitting in judgement there, and it was announced that the philosopher Maximus​38 had come from Asia, he started up in an undignified manner, so far forgetting himself that he ran at full speed to a distance from the vestibule, and after having kissed the philosopher and received him with reverence, brought him back with him. This unseemly ostentation made him appear to be an excessive seeker for empty fame, and to have forgotten that splendid saying of Cicero's,​39 which narrates the following in criticising such folk: 4 "Those very same philosophers inscribe their names on the very books which they write despising glory, so that even when they express scorn of honour and fame, they wish to be praised and known by name."

5 Not long after this, two former members of the secret service who were among those who had been discharged approached the emperor confidently and promised to point out the hiding-place of Florentius​40 on condition that their military rank be restored to them.​41 But he rebuked them and called them informers, adding that it was not worthy of an  p211 emperor to be led by indirect information to bring back a man who had concealed himself through fear of death, and who perhaps would not be allowed to remain long in hiding without hope of pardon.

6 Present at all these events was Praetextatus,​42 a senator of noble character and old-time dignity, whom Julian had chanced to find engaged in private business at Constantinople and on his own initiative had appointed governor of Achaia with proconsular authority.

7 But, although he was so diligently engaged in reforming civil abuses, he did not on that account neglect military affairs, but put in command of the soldiers men approved by long trial; nay more, he repaired all the cities throughout Thrace as well as the fortifications on the borders, and took particular pains that the troops posted along the banks of the Danube, who, as he heard, were meeting inroads of the savages with watchfulness and valour, should lack neither arms and clothing nor pay and supplies. 8 While he was so arranging these matters, tolerating no slackness in action, his intimates tried to persuade him to attack the neighbouring Goths, who were often deceitful and treacherous; but he replied that he was looking for a better enemy; that for the Goths the Galatian traders were enough, by whom they were offered for sale everywhere without distinction of rank.43

9 While he was attending to these and similar affairs he gained a reputation among foreign nations for eminence in bravery, sobriety, and knowledge of military affairs, as well as of all noble qualities; and his fame gradually spread  p213 and filled the entire world. 10 Then, since the fear of his coming extended widely over neighbouring and far distant nations, deputations hastened to him from all sides more speedily than usual: on one side, the peoples beyond the Tigris and the Armenians begged for peace; on another, the Indian nations as far as the Divi​44 and the Serendivi vied with one another in sending their leading men with gifts ahead of time; on the south, the Moors offered their services to the Roman state; from the north and the desert regions, through which the Phasis flows to the sea, came embassies from the Bosporani and other hitherto unknown peoples, humbly asking that on payment of their annual tribute​45 they might be allowed to live in peace within the bounds of their native lands.

8 1 A description of Thrace, of the Pontic sea, and of the regions and peoples adjacent to the latter.

1 Now is a fitting time (I think), since the history of a great prince has opportunely brought us to these places, to give some account of the remote parts of Thrace, and of the topography of the Pontic sea, with clearness and accuracy, partly from my own observation and partly from reading.46

2 Athos,​47 that lofty mountain in Macedonia through which the Medic ships once passed,​48 and Caphereus, the headland of Euboea​49 where Nauplius,  p215 father of Palamedes, wrecked the Argive fleet,​50 although they face each other at a long distance apart, separate the Aegean and the Thessalian seas.​51 The Aegean gradually grows larger, and on the right,​52º where it is of wide extent, is rich in islands through the Sporades and Cyclades, so‑called because they are all grouped about Delos, famous as the cradle of the gods.​53 On the left, it washes Imbros and Tenedos, Lemnos and Thasos, and when the wind is strong, dashes violently upon Lesbos. 3 From there, with back-flowing current,​54 it laves the temple of Apollo Sminthius,​55 the Troad, and Ilium, famed for the death of heroes, and forms the bay of Melas,​56 facing the west wind, at the entrance of which is seen Abdera, the home of Protagoras and Democritus, and the bloodstained dwelling of the Thracian Diomedes,​57 and the vales through which the Hebrus​58 flows into it, and Maronea and Aenos,​59 a city which Aeneas began under unfavourable auspices, but presently abandoned it and hastened on to ancient Ausonia under the guidance of the gods.

4 After this, the Aegean gradually grows narrower and flows as if by a kind of natural union into the Pontus; and joining with a part of this it takes the  p217 form of the Greek letter Φ.​60 Then it separates Hellespontus from the province of Rhodopa and flows past Cynossema,​61 where Hecuba is supposed to be buried, and Coela, Sestos and Callipolis.​62 On the opposite side it washes the tombs of Achilles and Ajax, and Dardanus and Abydus, from which Xerxes built a bridge and crossed the sea on foot; then Lampsacus, which the Persian king gave to Themistocles as a gift,​63 and Parion, founded by Paris, the son of Iasion. 5 Then swelling on both sides into the form of a half-circle and giving a view of widely separated lands, it laves with the spreading waters of the Propontis,​64 on the eastern side Cyzicus​65 and Dindyma,​66 where there is a sacred shrine of the Great Mother,​67 and Apamia and Cius, where Hylas was pursued and carried off by the nymph,​68 and Astacus, in a later age called after King Nicomedes.​69 Where it turns to the westward it beats upon the Cherronesus and Aegospotami, where Anaxagoras predicted a rain of stones from heaven,​70 and Lysimachia and the city which Hercules founded and dedicated to the name of his comrade Perinthus; 6 and in order to keep the form of the letter Φ full and complete, in the  p219 very middle of the circle lies the oblong island of Proconesos,​71 and Besbicus.72

7 After reaching the extreme end of this part,​73 it again contracts into a narrow strait, and flowing between Europe and Bithynia, passes by Chalcedon, Chrysopolis,​74 and some obscure stations. 8 Its left bank, however, is looked down upon by the port of Athyras and Selymbria, and Constantinople, the ancient Byzantium, a colony of the Athenians,​75 and the promontory Ceras, which bears a tower built high and giving light to ships;​76 therefore a very cold wind which often blows from that quarter is called Ceratas.

9 After being broken in this fashion and coming to an end through the mingling of the two seas, it now grows quieter and spreads out into the form of a flat of water extending in width and length as far as the eye can reach.​77 10 The complete voyage around its shores, as one would encircle an island, is a distance of 23,000​78 stadia, as is asserted by Eratosthenes, Hecataeus, Ptolemy, and other very accurate investigators of such problems; and according to the testimony of all geographers it has the  p221 form of a drawn Scythian bow.​79 11 And where the sun rises from the eastern ocean it comes to an end in the marshes of the Maeotis;​80 where it inclines towards the west it is bounded by Roman provinces; where it looks up to the Bears it breeds men of varying languages and habits; on the southern side it slopes downward​81 in a gentle curve. 12 Over this vast space are scattered cities of the Greeks, all of which, with a few exceptions, were founded at varying periods by the Milesians, who were themselves colonists of the Athenians. The Milesians in much earlier times were established among other Ionians in Asia by Nileus, the son of that Codrus who (they say) sacrificed himself for his country in the Dorian war.​82 13 Now the tips of the bow on both sides are represented by the two Bospori lying opposite to each other, the Thracian​83 and the Cimmerian; and they are called Bospori, as the poets say, because the daughter of Inachus,​84 when she was changed into a heifer, once crossed through them into the Ionian sea.

14 The right-hand curve of the Thracian Bosporus begins with the shore of Bithynia, which the men  p223 of old called Mygdonia, containing the provinces of Thynia and Mariandena, and also the Bebrycians, who were delivered from the cruelty of Amycus through the valour of Pollux;​85 and a remote station, a place where the menacing harpies fluttered about the seer Phineus and filled him with fear.​86 Along these shores, which curve into extensive bays, the rivers Sangarius and Phyllis, Lycus and Rheba pour into the sea; opposite them are the dark Symplegades, twin rocks rising on all sides into precipitous cliffs, which were wont in ages past to rush together and dash their huge mass upon each other with awful crash, and then to recoil with a swift spring and return to what they had struck.​87 If even a bird should fly between these swiftly separating and clashing rocks, no speed of wing could save it from being crushed to death. 15 But these cliffs, ever since the Argo, first of all ships, hastening to Colchis to carry off the golden fleece, had passed between them unharmed, have stood motionless with their force assuaged and so united that no one of those who now look upon them would believe that they had ever been separated, were it not that all the songs of the poets of old agree about the story.88

16 Beyond one part of Bithynia extend the provinces of Pontus and Paphlagonia, in which are the great cities of Heraclea, Sinope, Polemonion and Amisos, as well as Tios and Amastris, all owing their origin to the activity of the Greeks; also Cerasus,  p225 from which Lucullus brought the fruit so‑named.​89 There are also two islands, on which are situated the celebrated cities of Trapezus and Pityus. 17 Beyond these places is the Acherusian cave, which the natives call Mychopontion,​90 and the port of Acone,​91 besides the rivers Acheron (also called the Arcadius), Iris, Thybris, and hard by, the Parthenius, all of which flow with swift course into the sea. The next river to these is the Thermodon, flowing from Mount Armonius and gliding through the Themiscyraean groves, to which the Amazons were forced to migrate in days of yore for the following reason.

18 The Amazons of old, after having by constant losses worn out their neighbours, and devastated them by bloody raids, had higher aspirations; and considering their strength and feeling that it was too great merely for frequent attacks upon their neighbours, being carried away besides by the headstrong heat of covetousness, they broke through many nations and made war upon the Athenians.​92 But after a bitter contest they were scattered in all directions, and since the flanks of their cavalry were left unprotected, they all perished. 19 Upon the news of the destruction the remainder, who had been left at home as unfit for war, suffered extreme hardship; and in order to avoid the deadly attacks of their neighbours, who paid them like for like, they moved to a quieter abode on the Thermodon. Thereafter their descendants, who had greatly increased, returned, thanks to their numerous offspring, with a  p227 very powerful force, and in later times were a cause of terror to peoples of divers nationalities.93

20 Not far from there the hill called Carambis lifts itself with gentle slope, rising towards the Great Bear of the north, and opposite this, at a distance of 2500 stadia, is Criumetopon,​94 a promontory of Taurica. From this point the whole seacoast, beginning at the river Halys, as if drawn in a straight line, has the form of the string joined to the two tips of the bow. 21 Bordering on these regions are the Dahae, the fiercest of all warriors, and the Chalybes, by whom iron was first mined and worked. Beyond these are open plains, inhabited by the Byzares, Sapires, Tibareni, Mossynoeci, Macrones and Philyres, peoples not known to us through any intercourse. 22 A short distance from these are the tombs of famous men, in which are buried Sthenelus,​95 Idmon,​96 and Tiphys;​97 the first of these was a companion of Hercules, mortally wounded in the war with the Amazons, the second the augur of the Argonauts, the third the careful steersman of that same craft. 23 After passing the places mentioned, one comes to the grotto of Aulion and the river Callichorus,​98 which owes its name to the fact that Bacchus, when he had after three years vanquished the peoples of India, returned to those regions, and on the green and shady banks of that river renewed the former orgies and dances;​99 some think that this kind of festival was also called trieterica.​100 24 Beyond these  p229 territories are the populous districts of the Camaritae,​101 and the Phasis in impetuous course borders on the Colchians, an ancient race of Egyptian origin. There,​102 among other cities, is Phasis, which gets its name from the river, and Dioscurias, well known even to this day, said to have been founded by Amphitus and Cercius of Sparta, the charioteers of Castor and Pollux, and founders of the nation of the Heniochi.​103 25 A short distance from these are the Achaei, who, after the end of an earlier war at Troy (not the one which was fought about Helen, as some writers have asserted), being carried out of their course by contrary winds to Pontus, and meeting enemies everywhere, were unable to find a place for a permanent home, and so they settled on the tops of mountains covered with perpetual snow, where, compelled by the rigorous climate, they became accustomed to make a dangerous living by robbery, and hence became later beyond all measure savage. About the Cercetae, who adjoin them, we have no information worth mentioning.

26 Behind these dwell the inhabitants of the Cimmerianº Bosporus, where Milesian cities are, and Panticapaeum, the mother, so to speak, of all; this the river Hypanis washes, swollen with its own and tributary waters. 27 Next, at a considerable distance, are the Amazons, who extend to the Caspian Sea and live about the Tanaïs,​104 which rises among the crags of Caucasus, flows in a course  p231 with many windings, and after separating Europe from Asia vanishes in the standing pools of the Maeotis. 28 Near this is the river Ra,​105 on whose banks grows a plant of the same name, the root of which is used for many medicinal purposes.106

29 Beyond the Tanaïs the Sauromatae have a territory of wide extent, through which flow the never-failing rivers Maraccus, Rombites, Theophanes and Totordanes. However, there is also another nation of the Sauromatae, an enormous distance away, extending along the shore which receives the river Corax and pours it far out into the Euxine Sea.

30 Nearby is the Maeotic Gulf​107 of wide circuit, from whose abundant springs a great body of water bursts through the narrows of Panticapes into the Pontus. On its right side are the islands Phanagorus and Hermonassa, founded by the industry of the Greeks. 31 Around these farthest and most distant marshes live numerous nations, differing in the variety of their languages and customs: the Ixomatae, Maeotae, Iazyges, Roxolani, Halani, Melanchlaenae, and with the Geloni, the Agathyrsi, in whose country an abundance of the stone called adamant​108 is found; and farther beyond are other peoples, who are wholly unknown, since they are the remotest of all men. 32 But near the left side of the Maeotis is the Cherronesus,​109 full of Greek colonies. Hence the inhabitants are quiet and  p233 peaceful, plying the plough and living on the products of the soil.

33 At no great distance from these are the Tauri, divided into various kingdoms, among whom the Arichi, the Sinchi, and the Napaei are terrible for their ruthless cruelty, and since long continued license has increased their savageness, they have given the sea the name of Inhospitable; but in irony​110 it is called by the contrary name of Pontus Εὔξεινος,​111 just as we Greeks call a fool εὐήθης, and night εὐφρόνη, and the Furies Εὐμενίδες.​112 34 For these peoples offer human victims to the gods and sacrifice strangers to Diana, whom they call Orsiloche, and affix the skulls of the slain to the walls of her temple, as a lasting memorial of their valorous deeds.113

35 In this Tauric country is the island of Leuce,​114 entirely uninhabited dedicated to Achilles. And if any happen to be carried to that island, after looking at the ancient remains, the temple, and the gifts consecrated to that hero, they return at evening to their ships; for it is said that no one can pass the night there except at the risk of his life. At that place there are also springs and white birds live there resembling halcyons, of whose origin and battles in the Hellespont I shall speak​115 at the appropriate  p235 time. 36 Now there are some cities in the Taurica, conspicuous among which are Eupatoria, Dandace, and Theodosia, with other smaller towns, which are not contaminated with human sacrifices.

37 So far the peak of the bow is thought to extend; the remainder of it, gently curved and lying under the Bear in the heavens, we shall now follow as far as the left side of the Thracian Bosporus, as the order demands, with this warning; that while the bows of all other races are bent with the staves curved, in those of the Scythians alone, or the Parthians, since a straight rounded​116 handle divides them in the middle, the ends are bent downwards on both sides and far apart,​117 presenting the form of a waning moon.118

38 Well then, at the very beginning of this district, where the Riphaean mountains sink to the plain, dwell the Aremphaei, just men and known for their gentleness, through whose country flow the rivers Chronius and Visula. Near them are the Massagetae, Halani, and Sargetae, as well as several other obscure peoples whose names and customs are unknown to us. 39 Then at a considerable distance the Carcinitian gulf opens up, with a river of the same name, and the grove of Trivia,​119 sacred in those regions. 40 Next the Borysthenes,​120 rising in the mountains of the Nervii, rich in waters from its own springs, which are increased by many tributaries, and mingle with the sea in high-rolling  p237 waves. On its well-wooded banks are the cities of Borysthenes and Cephalonesus and the altars consecrated to Alexander the Great and Augustus Caesar. 41 Then, a long distance away, is a peninsula inhabited by the Sindi, people of low birth, who after the disaster to their masters in Asia​121 got possession of their wives and property. Next to these is a narrow strip of shore which the natives call Ἀχιλλέως δρόμος,​122 memorable in times past for the exercises of the Thessalian leader.​123 And next to it is the city Tyros, a colony of the Phoenicians, washed by the river Tyras.124

42 Now in the middle space of the bow, which, as I have said, is widely rounded out and is fifteen days' journey for an active traveller, are the European Halani, the Costobocae, and innumerable Scythian tribes, which extend to lands which have no known limit. Of these, only a small part live on the fruits of the earth; all the rest roam over desert wastes, which never knew plough nor seeds, but are rough from neglect and subject to frosts; and they feed after the foul manner of wild beasts. Their dear ones, their dwellings, and their poor belongings they pack upon wains covered with the bark of trees, and when the fancy takes them they change their abode without trouble, wheeling their carts to the place which has attracted them.

43 But when we have come to another bend, abounding in harbours, which forms the last part of the curve of the bow, the island of Peuce juts forth,​125 and around this dwell the Trogodytae, the Peuci, and other lesser tribes. Here is Histros, once a  p239 powerful city, and Tomi, Apollonia, Anchialos, and Odessos, besides many other cities which lie along the Thracian coast. 44 But the river Danube, rising near Augst,​126 and the mountains near the Raetian frontier, extends over a wide tract, and after receiving sixty tributaries, nearly all of which are navigable, breaks through this Scythian shore into the sea through seven mouths.​127 45 The first of these, as their names are interpreted in the Greek tongue, is the aforesaid island of Peuce,​128 the second Naracustoma, the third Calonstoma, the fourth Pseudostoma; but the Borionstoma and Stenostoma are far smaller than the others; the seventh is muddy and black like a swamp.

46 Now the entire Pontus throughout its whole circuit is misty,​129 has sweeter​130 waters than the other seas,​131 and is full of shoals, since the air is often thickened and condensed from the evaporation of moisture, and is tempered by the great masses of water that flow into it; and, because the many rivers that pour into it from every side bring in mud and clods, it rises in shoals that are full of ridges. 47 And it is a well-known fact that fish from the remotest bounds of our sea​132 come in schools to this  p241 retreat for the purpose of spawning, in order that they may rear their young more healthfully in its sweet waters, and that in the refuge of the hollows, such as are very numerous there, they may be secure from voracious sea-beasts; for in the Pontus nothing of that kind has ever been seen,​133 except small and harmless dolphins. 48 But the part of that same Pontic gulf which is scourged by the north wind and by frosts is so completely bound in ice, that neither are the courses of the rivers believed to flow beneath the ice, nor can men or animals keep their footing on the treacherous and slippery surface, a defect which an unmixed sea never has, but only one which is mingled with water from rivers. But since I have been carried somewhat farther than I expected, let us hasten on to the rest of our story.

49 Another thing was added,​134 to crown the present joys, something long hoped for it is true, but delayed by an extensive complex of postponements. For it was announced by Agilo and Jovius, who was later quaestor, that the defenders of Aquileia,​135 through weariness of the long siege and having learned of the death of Constantius, had opened their gates, come out, and surrendered the instigators of the revolt; that these were burned alive (as was told above),​136 and all the rest obtained indulgence and pardon for their offences.

 p243  9 1 Julianus Augustus, after having enlarged and adorned Constantinople, went to Antioch. On the way he gave the people of Nicomedia funds for the restoration of their ruined city, and found time for holding court at Ancyra.

1 But Julian, elated by his success, now felt more than mortal aspirations,​137 since he had been tried by so many dangers and now upon him, the undisputed ruler of the Roman world, propitious Fortune, as if bearing an earthly horn of plenty,​138 was bestowing all glory and prosperity; also adding this to the records of his former victories, that so long as he was sole ruler he was disturbed by no internal strife and no barbarians crossed his frontiers; but all nations, laying aside their former eagerness for repeated attacks, as ruinous and liable to punishment, were fired with a wonderful desire of sounding his praises.

2 Therefore, after everything that the times and the changed circumstances demanded had been arranged with careful deliberation, and the soldiers had by numerous addresses and by adequate pay been roused to greater readiness for carrying out the coming enterprises, exulting in the favour of all men, he hastened to go to Antioch, leaving Constantinople supported by great increase of strength; for it was there that he was born, and he loved and cherished the city as his natal place. 3 Accordingly, having crossed the strait,​139 and passed by Chalcedon and Libyssa, where  p245 Hannibal the Carthaginian was buried, he came to Nicomedia, a city famed of old and so enlarged at the great expense of earlier emperors,​140 that because of the great number of its private and public buildings it was regarded by good judges as one of the regions, so to speak, of the Eternal City.​141 4 When he saw that its walls​142 had sunk into a pitiful heap of ashes, showing his distress by silent tears he went with lagging step to the palace: and in particular he wept over the wretched state of the city because the senate and the people, who had formerly been in a most flourishing condition, met him in mourning garb. And certain of them he recognised, since he had been brought up there under the bishop Eusebius,​143 whose distant relative he was. 5 Having here also in a similar way generously furnished many things that were necessary for repairing the damage done by the earthquake, he went on past Nicaea to the borders of Gallograecia.​144 From there he made a detour to the right and turned to Pessinus, in order to visit the ancient shrine of the Great Mother. It was from that town, in the second Punic war, that at the direction of the Cumaean verses​145 her image was brought to Rome by Scipio Nasica.​146 6 Of its arrival in Italy, along with other matters relating to the subject I have given a brief account by way of digression in telling of the acts of the emperor Commodus.​147 But why the town was called by that  p247 name writers of history are not in agreement; 7 for some have maintained that since the image of the goddess fell from heaven, the city was named from πεσεῖν, which is the Greek word meaning "to fall."​148 Others say that Ilus, son of Tros, king of Dardania, gave the place that name. But Theopompus​149 asserts that it was not Ilus who did it, but Midas,​150 the once mighty king of Phrygia.

8 Then, after Julian had worshipped the deity and propitiated her with victims and vows, he returned to Ancyra.​151 And as he continued his journey from there, the multitude annoyed him, some demanding the return of what had been wrested from them by violence, others complaining that they had unjustly been forced onto the boards of senators,​152 while some, without regard to their own danger, exerted themselves to the point of madness to involve their opponents in charges of high treason. 9 But he, a judge more severe than a Cassius,​153 or a Lycurgus,​154 weighed the evidence in the cases with impartial justice and gave every man his due, never deviating from the truth, and showing particular severity towards calumniators, whom he hated because he had experienced the impudent madness of  p249 many such folk even to the peril of his life, while he was still a humble private citizen. 10 Of his patience in such matters it will suffice to give this single example, although there are many others. A certain man with great vehemence charged an enemy of his, with whom he was at bitter odds, of being guilty of high treason; and when the emperor ignored it, he repeated the same charge day after day. At last, on being asked who it was that he accused, he replied that it was a wealthy citizen. On hearing this, the emperor said with a smile: "On what evidence have you come to this conclusion?" 11 And the man answered: "He is making himself a purple robe out of a silk cloak";​155 and when after this he was bidden to depart in silence, but unpunished, as a low fellow making a serious charge against another of the same sort, he was none the less insistent. Whereupon Julian, wearied and disgusted with the man's conduct, seeing his treasurer nearby, said to him: "Have a pair of purple shoes given to this dangerous chatterbox, to take to his enemy (who he says, so far as I can understand, has had a cloak of that colour sewn for him), in order that he may be able to learn what insignificant rags amount to without great power."

12 But, although such conduct was laudable and worthy of imitation by good rulers, it was on the contrary hard and censurable that under his rule anyone who was sought by the curiales,​156 even though protected by special privileges, by length of service in the army, or by proof that he was wholly ineligible by birth for such a position, could with difficulty obtain full justice; so that many of them  p251 through fear bought immunity from annoyance by secret and heavy bribes.

13 Thus proceeding on his way and arriving at the Gates,​157 a place which separates the Cappadocians from the Cilicians, he received with a kiss the governor of the province, Celsus by name,​158 whom he had known since his student days in Athens, gave him a seat in his carriage, and took him with him into Tarsus. 14 But hastening from there to visit Antioch, fair crown of the Orient, he reached it by the usual roads; and as he neared the city, he was received with public prayers, as if he were some deity, and he wondered at the cries of the great throng, who shouted that a lucky star had risen over the East. 15 Now, it chanced that at that same time the annual cycle was completed and they were celebrating, in the ancient fashion, the festival of Adonis (beloved by Venus, as the poet's tales say), who was slain by the death-dealing tusk of a boar — a festival which is symbolic of the reaping of the ripe fruits of the field.​159 And it seemed a gloomy omen, as the emperor now for the first time entered the great city, the residence of princes, that on all sides melancholy wailing was heard and cries of grief. 16 It was here that he gave a proof of his patience and mildness, slight, it is true, but surprising. He hated a certain Thalassius,​160 a former assistant master of petitions, who had plotted against his brother Gallus. When this man had been prohibited from greeting the emperor and attending at court among the other dignitaries,​161 some enemies of his, with whom he had a suit in the forum, gathered together next day a huge throng of his remaining  p253 foes and approaching the emperor, shouted: "Thalassius, your majesty's​162 enemy, has lawlessly robbed us of our goods." 17 But, although Julian believed that this was an opportunity to ruin the man, he replied: "I know that the person to whom you refer has given me just cause for offence, but it is proper for you to keep silence until he gives satisfaction to me, his opponent of higher rank." And he ordered the prefect who was sitting in judgement not to listen to their charge until he himself was reconciled with Thalassius, which shortly happened.

10 1 Julian, wintering at Antioch, holds court, but disturbs no one because of his religious beliefs.

1 Passing the winter there to his heart's content, he was meanwhile carried away by no incitements of the pleasures in which all Syria abounds; but as if for recreation devoting his attention to cases at law, not less than to difficult and warlike affairs, he was distracted by many cares, as with remarkable willingness to receive information he deliberated how he might give each man his due by righteous decisions, bringing the guilty to order with moderate punishments and protecting the innocent with the safety of their property. 2 And, although in arguing cases he was sometimes untimely, asking at some inopportune moment what the religion of each of the litigants was, yet it cannot be found that in the decision of any suit he was inconsistent with equity, nor could he ever be accused because of a man's religious views, or for any other cause, of having deviated from the straight path of justice. 3 For that is desirable  p255 and proper judgement, when, after examination of all the circumstances, just is distinguished from unjust; that he might not depart from this, he was as careful as of dangerous rocks.​163 Now this he was able to accomplish for the reason that, recognizing the hastiness of his somewhat excitable disposition, he allowed his prefects and associates freely to curb his impulses, when they led him away from what was fitting, by a timely admonition; and at times he showed that he regretted his errors and was glad to be corrected. 4 And when the defenders of causes greeted him with the greatest applause, declaring that he understood perfect justice, he is said to have replied with emotion: "I should certainly rejoice and show my joy, if I were praised by those whom I knew to have also the power to blame me in case I was wrong in deed or word." 5 But it will suffice, in place of many examples of the clemency that he showed in judicial processes, to set down this one, which is neither out of place nor ill-chosen. When a certain woman had been brought before the court, and contrary to her expectation saw that her accuser, who was one of the court servants that had been discharged, wore his girdle,​164 she loudly complained at this act of insolence. Whereupon the emperor said: "Go on with your charge, woman, if you think that you have been wronged in any way; for this man has thus girt himself in order to go through the mire more easily;​165 it can do little harm to your cause."

 p257  6 And these and similar instances led to the belief, as he himself constantly affirmed, that the old goddess of Justice,​166 whom Aratus takes up to heaven​167 because she was displeased with the vices of mankind, had returned to earth during his reign, were it not that sometimes Julian followed his own inclination rather than the demands of the laws, and by occasionally erring clouded the many glories of his career. 7 For after many other things, he also corrected some of the laws, removing ambiguities, so that they showed clearly what they demanded or forbade to be done. But this one thing was inhumane, that he forbade teachers of rhetoric and literature to practise their profession, if they were followers of the Christian religion.

11 Georgius, bishop of Alexandria, with two others is dragged through the streets by the Pagans of Alexandria, torn to pieces, and burned to ashes; and no one was punished for it.

1 At about that same time, that notorious state-secretary Gaudentius, who (as I said before)​168 had been sent to Africa by Constantius to oppose Julian there, and also Julianus, a former vice-governor, an intemperate partisan of the same faction, were brought back in chains and punished with death. 2 Then, too, Artemius, sometime military commander in Egypt,​169 since the Alexandrians heaped upon him a mass of atrocious charges, suffered capital  p259 punishment. After him the son of Marcellus, at one time commander of the cavalry and infantry,​170 was publicly executed, on the ground that he had aspired to the throne. Finally, even Romanus and Vincentius, tribunes of the first and the second corps of the targeteers, were convicted of designs beyond their powers and exiled.171

3 Hardly had a brief time elapsed, when the Alexandrians, on learning of the death of Artemius, whom they dreaded, for fear that he would return with his power restored (for so he had threatened) and do harm to many for the wrong that he had suffered, turned their wrath against the bishop Georgius, who had often, so to speak, made them feel his poisonous fangs. 4 The story goes that he was born in a fullery at Epiphania, a town of Cilicia,​172 and flourished to the ruin of many people. Then, contrary to his own advantage and that of the commonwealth, he was ordained bishop of Alexandria, a city which on its own impulse, and without ground, is frequently roused to rebellion and rioting,​173 as the oracles themselves show.​174 5 To the frenzied minds of these people Georgius himself was also a powerful incentive by pouring, after his appointment, into the ready ears of Constantius charges against many, alleging that they were rebellious against his authority; and, forgetful of his calling, which counselled only justice and mildness, he descended to the informer's deadly practices. 6 And, among other matters, it was said that he maliciously  p261 informed Constantius also of this, namely, that all the edifices standing on the soil of the said city had been built by its founder, Alexander, at great public cost, and ought justly to be a source of profit to the treasury. 7 To these evil deeds he had added still another, which soon after drove him headlong into destruction. As he was returning from the emperor's court and passed by the beautiful temple of the Genius,​175 attended as usual by a large crowd, he turned his eyes straight at the temple, and said: "How long shall this sepulchre stand?" On hearing this, many were struck as if by a thunderbolt, and fearing that he might try to overthrow even that building, they devised secret plots to destroy him in whatever way they could. 8 And lo! on the sudden arrival of the glad news that told of the death of Artemius, all the populace, transported by this unlooked-for joy, grinding their teeth and uttering fearful outcries, made for Georgius and seized him, maltreating him in divers ways and trampling upon him; then they dragged him about spread-eagle fashion,​176 and killed him.​b

9 And with him Dracontius, superintendent of the mint, and one Diodorus, who had the honorary rank of count,​177 were dragged about with ropes fastened to their legs and both killed; the former, because he overthrew an altar,​178 newly set up in the mint, of which he had charge; the other, because, while overseer of the building of a church, he arbitrarily cut off the curls of some boys, thinking that this also was a fashion belonging to the pagan worship. 10 Not content with this, the inhuman mob loaded the mutilated bodies of the slain men upon camels  p263 and carried them to the shore; there they burned them on a fire and threw the ashes into the sea, fearing (as they shouted) that their relics might be collected and a church built for them, as for others who, when urged to abandon their religion, endured terrible tortures, even going so far as to meet a glorious death with unsullied faith; whence they are now called martyrs.

And these wretched men who were dragged off to cruel torture might have been protected by the aid of the Christians, were it not that all men without distinction burned with hatred for Georgius. 11 The emperor, on hearing of this abominable deed, was bent upon taking vengeance, but just as he was on the point of inflicting the extreme penalty upon the guilty parties, he was pacified by his intimates, who counselled leniency. Accordingly, he issued an edict expressing, in the strongest terms, his horror at the outrage that had been committed, and threatened extreme measures in case in the future anything was attempted contrary to justice and the laws.

12 1 Julian prepares for a campaign against the Persians, and in order to learn the outcome of the war, he consults the oracles and slays countless victims, abandoning himself wholly to soothsaying and prophecies.

1 Meanwhile, Julian was preparing a campaign against the Persians, which he had long before planned with lofty strength of mind, being exceedingly aroused to punish their misdeeds in the past, knowing and hearing as he did that this savage  p265 people for almost three score years had branded the Orient with the cruelest records of murder and pillage, and had often all but annihilated our armies. 2 He was inflamed besides with a two-fold longing for war, first, because he was tired of inactivity and dreamed of clarions and battle; and then, exposed as he had been in the first flower of his youth to warfare with savage nations, while his ears were still warm​179 with the prayers of kings and princes who (as it was believed) could more easily be vanquished than led to hold out their hands as suppliants, he burned to add to the tokens of his glorious victories the surname Parthicus.

3 But his idle and envious detractors,​180 seeing these mighty and hasty preparations, cried out that it was shameful and ruinous that through the exchange of one man for another​181 so many untimely disturbances should be set on foot; and they devoted all their efforts to putting off the campaign. And they repeatedly said, in the presence of those who they thought could repeat to the emperor what they had heard, that if he did not conduct himself with more moderation in his excessive prosperity and success, like plants that grow rank from too great fertility, he would soon find destruction in his own good fortune. 4 But though they kept up this agitation long and persistently, it was in vain that they barked around a man as unmoved by secret insults, as was Hercules by those of the Pygmies,​182 or by  p267 those of the Lindian peasant Thiodamas.​183 5 But Julian, being a man of uncommonly high spirit, no less carefully considered the importance of his campaign, and used every effort to make corresponding preparations.

6 Nevertheless, he drenched the altars with the blood of an excessive number of victims, sometimes offering up a hundred oxen at once, with countless flocks of various other animals, and with white birds​184 hunted out by land and sea; to such a degree that almost every day his soldiers, who gorged themselves on the abundance of meat, living boorishly and corrupted by their eagerness for drink, were carried through the squares to their lodgings on the shoulders of passers‑by from the public temples, where they indulged in banquets​185 that deserved punishment rather than indulgence; especially the Petulantes​186 and the Celts, whose wilfulness at that time had passed all bounds. 7 Moreover, the ceremonial rites were excessively increased, with an expenditure of money hitherto unusual and burdensome. And, as it was now allowed without hindrance, everyone who professed a knowledge of divination, alike the learned and the ignorant, without limit or prescribed rules, were permitted to question the oracles and the entrails, which sometimes disclose the future; and from the notes of birds, from their flight, and from omens, the truth was sought with studied variety, if anywhere it  p269 might be found. 8 While these things were thus going on, as if in time of peace, Julian devoted to many interests, entered upon a new way of consultation, and thought of opening the prophetic springs of the Castalian fount;​187 this, it is said, Caesar Hadrian had blocked up with a huge mass of stones, for fear that (as he himself had learned from the prophetic waters​188 that he was destined to become emperor), others also might get similar information. And Julian, after invoking the god, decided that the bodies which had been buried around the spring,​189 should be moved to another place, under the same ceremonial with which the Athenians had purified the island of Delos.190

13 1 The Burning of the temple of Apollo, at Daphne, is falsely attributed to the Christians by Julian, who therefore orders the greater church of Antioch to be closed.

1 At that same time, on the twenty-second of October, the splendid temple of the Daphnaean Apollo, which that hot-tempered and cruel king Antiochus Epiphanes had built,​191 and with it the statue of the god, a copy of that of the Olympian Zeus​192 and of equal size, was reduced to ashes by a  p271 sudden fire. 2 The sudden destruction of this shrine by so terrible an accident inflamed the emperor with such anger, that he ordered stricter investigations than usual to be made, and the greater church at Antioch to be closed. For he suspected that the Christians had done the deed, aroused by jealousy and unwillingness to see the temple enclosed by a magnificent colonnade. 3 It was said, however, though on very slight evidence, that the cause of the burning of the temple was this: the philosopher Asclepiades, whom I have mentioned in the history of Magnentius,​193 when he had come to that suburb​194 from abroad to visit Julian, placed before the lofty feet of the statue a little silver image of the Dea Caelestis,​195 which he always carried with him wherever he went, and after lighting some wax tapers as usual, went away. From these tapers after midnight, when no one could be present to render aid, some flying sparks alighted on the woodwork, which was very old, and the fire, fed by the dry fuel, mounted and burned whatever it could reach, at however great a height it was. 4 In that year also, just as the winter season was at hand, there was such a fearful scarcity of water that some brooks dried up, as well as springs which had before overflowed with plentiful jets of water; the later these were restored to their former condition. 5 Then, on the second of December, just before evening, the rest of Nicomedia​196 was wholly destroyed by an earthquake, as well as a good part of Nicaea.

 p273  14 1 Julian offers sacrifice to Jupiter on Mt. Casius. Why he wrote the Misopogon through anger at the people of Antioch.

1 Although these disasters filled the prince with sorrow and anxiety, yet he did not neglect the urgent duties that remained to be done before the longed-for time of battle arrived. All the same, amid such weighty and serious affairs, it did seem superfluous, that with no satisfactory reason for such a measure, but merely from a desire for popularity, he wished to lower the price of commodities;​197 although sometimes, when this matter is not properly regulated, it is wont to cause scarcity and famine. 2 And, although the senate at Antioch clearly pointed out that this could not be done at the time when he ordered it, he in no wise gave up his plan, since he resembled his brother Gallus, though without his cruelty. Therefore raging against them one by one as recalcitrant and stubborn, he composed an invective, which he entitled The Antiochian or Misopogon,​198 in which he enumerated in a hostile spirit the faults of the city, including more than were justified. After this, finding that he was the object of many jests, he was forced at the time to disregard them, but was filled with suppressed wrath. 3 For he was ridiculed as a Cercops,​199 as a dwarf, spreading his narrow shoulders and displaying a billy-goat's beard,​200 taking mighty strides as if he were the  p275 brother of Otus and Ephialtes, whose height Homer describes as enormous.​201 He was also called by many a slaughterer​202 instead of high-priest, in jesting allusion to his many offerings; and in fact he was fittingly criticised because for the sake of display he improperly took pleasure in carrying the sacred emblems in place of the priests, and in being attended by a company of women. But although he was indignant for these and similar reasons, he held his peace, kept control of his feelings, and continued to celebrate the festivals.

4 Finally, on a previously appointed festal day, he ascended Mount Casius,​203 a wooded hill rising on high with a rounded contour, from which at the second cock-crow​204 the sun is first seen to rise. And as he was offering sacrifice to Jove, he suddenly caught sight of a man lying flat upon the ground, and in suppliant words begging for life and pardon. And when Julian asked who he was, the man answered that he was the ex-governor Theodotus of Hierapolis; that when in company with other dignitaries he was escorting Constantius as he set out from his city, he shamefully flattered him, in the belief that he would unquestionably be victorious, begging him with feigned tears and wailing to send them the head of Julian, that ungrateful rebel, just as he remembered that the head of Magnentius had been paraded about. 5 Upon hearing this, the emperor answered: "I heard of this speech of yours long ago from the mouths of many; but go to your home carefree, relieved of all fear by the  p277 mercy of your prince, who (as the philosopher​205 advised) of his own accord and willingly strives to diminish the number of his enemies and increase that of his friends."

6 When he left there after completing the sacred rites, a letter was presented to him from the governor of Egypt, reporting that after laborious search for a new Apis bull, they had finally, after a time, been able to find one, which (in the belief of the people of that region) is an indication of prosperity, fruitful crops, and various blessings.

7 About this matter it will be in place to give a brief explanation. Among the animals consecrated by ancient religious observance, the better known are Mnevis and Apis.​206 Mnevis​207 is consecrated to the Sun, but about him there is nothing noteworthy to be said; Apis to the moon.​208 Apis, then, is a bull distinguished by natural marks of various forms,​209 and most of all conspicuous for the image of a crescent moon on his right side. When this bull, after its destined span of life,​210 is plunged in the sacred fount​211 and dies (for it is not lawful for him to prolong his life beyond the time prescribed by the secret authority of the mystic books), there is slain with the same ceremony a cow, which has been found with special marks and presented to him. After his death another Apis is sought amid public mourning;  p279 and if it has been possible to find one, complete with all its marks, it is taken to Memphis, famed for the frequent presence of the god Aesculapius. 8 And when he has been led into the city by a hundred priests and conducted to his chamber, he begins to be an object of worship; and it is said that by manifest signs he gives indications of coming events; and some of those who approach him he evidently rejects by unfavourable signs, as once (so we read)​212 he turned away from Caesar Germanicus when he offered him food, and thus prophesied what soon after came to pass.

15 1 A description of Egypt, and of the Nile, the crocodile, the ibis, and the Pyramids.

1 Accordingly, since the occasion seems to demand it, let us touch briefly on matters Egyptian, of which I discoursed at length in connection with the history of the emperors Hadrian and Severus,​213 telling for the most part what I myself had seen. 2 The Egyptian nation is the most ancient of all, except that in antiquity it vies with the Scythians.​214 It is bounded on the south​215 by the Greater Syrtes, the promontories Phycus and Borion, by the Garamantes​216 and various other nations. Where it looks directly east it extends to Elephantine and Meroë, cities of the Aethiopians, to the Catadupi​217 and the Red Sea, and to the Scenitic Arabs, whom we now call the  p281 Saracens.​218 On the north it forms part of the boundless tract from which Asia and the provinces of Syria take their beginning. On the west its boundary is the Issiac Sea, which some have called the Parthenian.219

3 Now it will be in place to touch briefly on the most helpful of all rivers, the Nile, which Homer calls the Aegyptus,​220 and then to describe other remarkable things to be found in those lands. 4 The origin of the sources of the Nile (so at least I am wont to think) will be unknown also to future ages, as it has been up to the present. But, since the poets' tales and dissenting geographers give varying accounts of this unknown subject, I shall succinctly set forth such of their views as in my opinion approach the truth. 5 Some natural philosophers affirm that in the tracts lying beneath the north, when the cold winters freeze everything, great masses of snow are congealed; that afterwards when these are melted by the heat of the blazing sun, they form clouds filled with flowing moisture, which are then driven towards the south by the Etesian winds,​221 and when melted by the excessive warmth, are believed to cause the rich overflow of the Nile. 6 Others assert that it is by the Aethiopian rains, which are said to fall in abundance in those regions in the season of torrid heat, that its floods are raised at the appointed season of the year; but both these reasons seem to  p283 be out of harmony with the truth. For it is reported that in the land of the Aethiopians rains fall either not at all or at long intervals of time. 7 Another, more widespread opinion is, that when the Prodromoi blow and after them the Etesians for forty-five consecutive days, since they drive back the course of the river and check its speed, it swells with overflowing waves; and while the contrary wind blows against it, it increases more and more, since on the one side the force of the wind hurls it back and on the other the flow of its perennial springs forces it onward; and rising high it covers everything, and hiding the ground, over the low-lying plains it has the appearance of a sea. 8 But King Juba,​222 relying upon the testimony of Punic books, thinks that the Nile rises in a mountain situated in Mauritania and looking down upon the ocean, and he says that this is proved by the fact that in those marshes​223 are found fishes, plants, and animals like those of the Nile. 9 But the river, flowing through the regions of Aethiopia, and going under various names, which many nations have given it in its course over the earth, swelling with its rich flood, comes to the cataracts, which are steep rocks, from which it plunges headlong rather than flows; for which reason the Ati, who formerly lived nearby, since their hearing was impaired by the continual roar, were forced to change their abode to a quieter spot. 10 Flowing more gently from there, through seven  p285 mouths, each of which has the appearance of an uninterrupted river, and is equally usable, it empties into the sea without being increased by any tributaries in Egypt. And besides many streams which flow from the main channel and fall into others nearly as great, seven are full of surges and navigable, and to them the ancients gave the following names: the Heracleotic, Sebennytic, Bolbitic, Pathmitic, Mendesian, Tanitic, and Pelusiac.​224 11 Rising, then, in the quarter which has been mentioned, it passes from the marshes​225 as far as the cataracts and forms many islands, some of which (it is said) extend over such wide-spread spaces that the stream hardly leaves each of them behind on the third day. 12 Of these two are famous, namely Meroë and Delta, the latter clearly so‑called from the form of the triangular letter.​226 But when the sun has begun to ride through the sign of the Crab, the river increases until it passes into the Balance;​227 then, flowing at high water for a hundred days, the river becomes smaller, and as the weight of its waters decreases, it shows the plains that before were navigable for boats now suitable for riders on horseback. 13 However, too great a rise of the Nile is as harmful to the crops as too small a one is unfruitful. For if it soaks the land for too long a time with an excess of water, it delays the cultivation of the fields; but if the rise is too small, it threatens a bad harvest. No landowner has ever wished for a higher rise than sixteen cubits. But if there is a more moderate rise, seeds sown on a  p287 place where the soil is very rich sometimes return an increase of nearly seventy-fold. And it is the only river that does not raise a breeze.228

14 Egypt abounds also in many animals, some of which are terrestrial, some aquatic; and there are others which live both on land and in the water, and hence are called amphibious. And on the dry plains roebucks feed and antelopes and spinturnicia,​229 laughable for their utter ugliness, and other monsters, which it is not worth while to enumerate.

15 Now among aquatic animals crocodiles abound everywhere in that region, a destructive four-footed monster, a curse to the land, accustomed to both elements. It has no tongue, and moves only its upper jaw; its teeth are arranged like those of a comb, and whatever it meets it persistently attacks with destructive bites. It produces its young from eggs resembling those of geese. 16 And, if besides the claws with which it is armed it also had thumbs, its strength would be great enough to overturn even ships; for it sometimes attains a length of eighteen cubits. At night it remains quiet in the water; in the daytime it suns itself on land, trusting to its hide, which is so strong that its mail-clad back can hardly be pierced by the bolts of artillery. 17 Now, savage as these same beasts always are, during the seven festal days on which the priests at Memphis celebrate the birthday of the Nile, as if by a kind of military truce they lay aside all their  p289 fierceness and become mild. 18 Besides those that lose their lives through accident, some are destroyed by creatures resembling dolphins, which are found in that same river and with sawlike dorsal fins tear the crocodiles' soft bellies; and others die in the following manner. 19 The trochilus, a little bird, as it looks for bits of food, flutters and plays about the crocodile as it lies outstretched, and pleasantly tickling its cheeks, makes its way as far as its throat. Seeing this going on, a water rat, a kind of ichneumon, enters the opening of the crocodile's mouth, to which the bird has shown the way, and after lacerating its belly and tearing its vitals to pieces, forces its way out.​230 20 Yet daring as this monster is towards those who run from it, when it sees that it has a daring opponent it is most timorous. It has sharper sight when on land, and during the four winter months it is said to take no food.

21 Hippopotami also, or river-horses,​231 are produced in those parts, animals sagacious beyond all unreasoning beasts, with cloven hooves like horses and short tails. Of their cunning it will suffice for the present to give two instances. 22 This monster makes it lair amid a thick growth of high and rough reeds and with watchful care looks about for a time of quiet; when free means are offered, it goes forth to feed upon the cornfields.º And when it has finally begun to return, gorged with  p291 food, it walks backward and makes several paths, for fear that hunters, following the lines of one direct course, may find and stab it without difficulty. 23 Also, when by excessive greed it has made its belly bulge and grown sluggish, it rolls its thighs and legs on freshly cut reeds, in order that the blood flowing from its wounded feet may relieve its repletion; and it keeps the injured parts covered with mud until the raw places scab over. 24 This monstrous and once rare kind of beast the Roman people first saw when Scaurus was aedile, the father of that Scaurus in whose defence Cicero spoke​232 and bade the Sardinians also to conform with the authority of the whole world in their judgement of so noble a family; and for many ages after that more hippopotami were often brought to Rome. But now they can nowhere be found, since, as the inhabitants of those regions conjecture, they were forced from weariness of the multitude that hunted them to take refuge in the land of the Blemmyae.233

25 Among Egyptian birds, the variety of which is countless, the ibis is sacred, harmless, and beloved for the reason that by carrying the eggs of serpents to its nestlings for food it destroys and makes fewer those destructive pests.​234 26 These same birds meet the winged armies of snakes which issue from the marshes of Arabia, producing deadly poisons, and before they leave their own lands vanquish  p293 them in battles in the air, and devour them. And it is said of those birds that they lay their eggs through their beaks.​235 27 Egypt also breeds innumerable serpents, surpassing all their destructive kind in fierceness: basilisks,​c amphisbaenae, scytalae, acontiae, dipsades, vipers, and many others,​236 all of which are easily surpassed in size and beauty by the asp, which never of its own accord leaves the bed of the Nile.237

28 Many and great things there are in that land which it is worth while to see; of these it will be in place to describe a few. Everywhere temples of vast size have been erected. The Pyramids have been enrolled among the seven wonders of the world,​238 and of their slow and difficult construction the historian Herodotus tells us.​239 These are towers higher than any others which can be erected by human hands, extremely broad at the base and tapering to very pointed summits. 29 The figure pyramid has that name among geometers because it narrows into a cone after the manner of fire, which in our language is called πῦρ; for their size, as they mount to a vast height, gradually becomes slenderer,  p295 and also they cast no shadows at all, in accordance with a principle of mechanics.240

30 There are also subterranean fissures and winding passages called syringes,​241 which, it is said, those acquainted with the ancient rites, since they had fore-knowledge that a deluge was coming, and feared that the memory of the ceremonies might be destroyed, dug in the earth in many places with great labour; and on the walls of these caverns they carved many kinds of birds and beasts, and those countless forms of animals which they called hierographicº writing.​242/d

31 Then comes Syene,​243 where at the solstice, to which the sun extends its summer course, its rays surround all upright bodies and do not allow their shadows to extend beyond the bodies themselves.​244 At that time if one fixes a stake upright in the earth, or looks at a man or a tree standing anywhere, he will observe that the shadows are lost in the outer circumference of the figures. The same thing is said to happen at Meroë, a part of Aethiopia lying next to the equinoctial circle, where for ninety days the shadows fall on the side opposite to ours, for which reason those who dwell there are called Antiscii.​245 32 But since there are many such wonders, which extend beyond the plan of my  p297 little work, let me refer them to lofty minds, since I wish to tell a few things about the provinces.

16 1 Of the five provinces of Egypt and their famous cities.

1 In early times Egypt is said to have had three provinces: Egypt proper, Thebaïs, and Libya. To these later times have added two: Augustamnica being taken from Egypt, and Pentapolis from the dryer part of Libya.

2 Now Thebaïs has these among cities that are especially famous: Hermopolis, Coptos and Antinoü,​246a which Hadrian founded​246b in honour of his favourite Antinoüs; for hundred-gated Thebes​247 everyone knows.

3 In Augustamnica is the famous city of Pelusium, which Peleus, the father of Achilles, is said to have founded, being bidden by order of the gods to purify himself in the lake which washes the walls of that city, when after the murder of his brother, Phocus by name, he was hounded by the dread forms of the furies;​248 also Cassium,​249 where is the tomb of Pompey the Great, and Ostracine, and Rhinocorura.

4 In Pentapolis-Libya is Cyrene, an ancient city, but deserted, founded by the Spartan Battus,​250 and Ptolemaïs, and Arsinoë, also called Teuchira, and  p299 Darnis and Berenice, which two they call Hesperidae. 5 But in dry Libya are Paraetonion, Chaerecla, Neapolis, and a few small towns.

6 Egypt itself, which from the time when it was joined with the Roman empire has been governed by prefects in place of kings,​251 is adorned by the great cities of Athribis, Oxyrynchus, Thumis, and Memphis, to say nothing of many lesser towns.

7 But the crown of all cities is Alexandria, which is made famous by many splendid things, through the wisdom of its mighty founder and by the cleverness of the architect Dinocrates. The latter, when laying out its extensive and beautiful walls, for lack of lime, of which too little could at the time be found, sprinkled the whole line of its circuit with flour,​252 which chanced to be a sign that later the city would abound with a plentiful store of food. 8 There healthful breezes blow, the air is calm and mild, and as the accumulated experience of many ages has shown, there is almost no day on which the dwellers in that city do not see a cloudless sun. 9 Since this coast in former times, because of its treacherous and perilous approaches, involved seafarers in many dangers, Cleopatra​253 devised a lofty tower in the harbour, which from its situation is called the  p301 Pharos​254 and furnishes the means of showing lights to ships by night; whereas before that, as they came from the Parthenian or the Libyan sea past flat and low shores, seeing no landmarks of mountains or signs of hills, they were dashed upon the soft, tenacious sandbanks and wrecked. 10 This same queen built the Heptastadium,​255 remarkable alike for its great size and for the incredible speed with which it was constructed, for a well-known and sufficient reason. The island of Pharos, where Proteus, as Homer relates in lofty language,​256 lived with his herd of seals, lay a mile from the shore of the city, and was subject to tribute by the Rhodians. 11 When they had come one day to collect this tax, which was excessive, the queen, who was ever skilled in deception, under pretence of a solemn festival, took the same tax-collectors with her to the suburbs, and gave orders that the work should be completed by unremitting toil. In seven days, by building dams in the sea near the shore, the same number of stadia were won for the land; then the queen rode to the spot in a carriage drawn by horses, and laughed at the Rhodians, since it was on islands and not on the mainland that they imposed a duty.257

12 There are besides in the city temples pompous with lofty roofs, conspicuous among them the  p303 Serapeum, which, though feeble words merely belittle it, yet is so adorned with extensive columned halls, with almost breathing statues, and a great number of other works of art, that next to the Capitolium, with which revered Rome elevates herself to eternity, the whole world beholds nothing more magnificent. 13 In this were invaluable libraries, and the unanimous testimony of ancient records declares that 700,000 books, brought together by the unremitting energy of the Ptolemaïc kings, were burned in the Alexandrine war, when the city was sacked under the dictator Caesar.258

14 At a distance of twelve miles from Alexandria is Canopus, which, according to the statements of ancient writers, got its name from the burial there of Menelaüs' steersman. The place is most delightful because of its beautiful pleasure-resorts, its soft air and healthful climate, so that anyone staying in that region believes that he is living outside of this world, as oftentimes he hears the winds that murmur a welcome with sunny breath.

15 But Alexandria herself, not gradually (like other cities), but at her very origin, attained her wide extent; and for a long time she was grievouslyº troubled by internal dissensions, until at last, many years later under the rule of Aurelian,​259 the quarrels of the citizens turned into deadly strife; then her  p305 walls were destroyed and she lost the greater part of the district called Bruchion,​260 which had long been the abode of distinguished men. 16 From there came Aristarchus,​261 eminent in thorny problems of grammatical lore, and Herodian,​262 a most accurate investigator in science and Saccas Ammonius, the teacher of Plotinus, and numerous other writers in many famous branches of literature. Among these Didymus Chalcenterus​263 was conspicuous for the abundance of his diversified knowledge, although in those six books in which he criticises Cicero, imitating the scurrilous writers of Silli,​264 he makes the same impression on learned ears as a puppy-dog barking from a distance with quavering voice around a lion roaring awfully. 17 And although very many writers flourished in early times as well as these whom I have mentioned, nevertheless not even to‑day is learning of various kinds silent in that same city; for the teachers of the arts show signs of life, and the geometrical measuring-rod​e brings to light whatever is concealed, the stream of music is not yet wholly dried up among them, harmony is not reduced to silence, the consideration of the motion of the universe and of the stars is still kept warm with some, few though they be, and there are others who are skilled in numbers; and a few besides are versed in the knowledge which reveals the course  p307 of the fates. 18 Moreover, studies in the art of healing, whose help is often required in this life of ours, which is neither frugal nor sober, are so enriched from day to day, that although a physician's work itself indicates it, yet in place of every testimony it is enough to commend his knowledge of the art, if he has said that he was trained at Alexandria. 19 But enough on this point. If one wishes to investigate with attentive mind the many publications on the knowledge of the divine, and the origin of divination, he will find that learning of this kind has been spread abroad from Egypt through the whole world. 20 There, for the first time, long before other men, they discovered the cradles, so to speak, of the various religions, and now carefully guard the first beginnings of worship, stored up in secret writings. 21 Trained in this wisdom, Pythagoras, secretly honoring the gods, made whatever he said or believed recognised authority, and often showed his golden thigh at Olympia,​265 and let himself be seen from time to time talking with an eagle. 22 From here Anaxagoras foretold a rain of stones, and by handling mud from a well predicted an earthquake. Solon, too, aided by the opinions of the Egyptian priests, passed laws in accordance with the measure of justice, and thus gave also to Roman law its greatest support.​266 On this source, Plato  p309 drew and after visiting Egypt, traversed higher regions,​267 and rivalled Jupiter in lofty language, gloriously serving in the field of wisdom.

23 Now the men of Egypt are, as a rule, somewhat swarthy and dark of complexion, and rather gloomy-looking,​268 slender and hardy, excitable in all their movements, quarrelsome, and most persistent duns. Any one of them would blush if he did not, in consequence of refusing tribute, show many stripes on his body; and as yet it has been possible to find no torture cruel enough to compel a hardened robber of that region against his will to reveal his own name.

24 Moreover, it is a well-known fact, as the ancient annals show, that all Egypt was formerly ruled by their ancestral kings; but after Antony and Cleopatra were vanquished in the sea-fight at Actium, the country fell into the power of Octavianus Augustus and received the name of a province.​269 We acquired the dryer part of Libya by the last will of King Apion; we received Cyrene, with the remaining cities of Libya-Pentapolis, through the generosity of Ptolemy.​270 After this long digression, I shall return to the order of my narrative.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Cf. Pliny, N. H. XI.190; Suet. Aug. 95.

2 Cf. XXI.15.4.

3 Cf. XXI.10.2.

4 See XXI.10.3, note.

5 It was drawn by winged dragons and given to him by Ceres, to carry a knowledge of agriculture through the world. See Hygin. Fab. 147; Ovid, Metam. V.641 ff.

6 He was 31 years old.

7 Of the Orient.

8 XXI.10.8.

9 XVI.6.1; XX.2.2.

10 XX.2.5.

11 XXI.10.8.

12 XXI.8.3; 12.2.

13 See Index II, vol. I.

14 Julian excuses himself in a Letter to Hermogenes, p390, vol. III, p33, L. C. L., τούτους δὲ ἀδίκως τι παθεῖν οὐκ ἂν ἐθέλοιμι ἴστω Ζευς. ἐπειδὰν δὲ αὐτοῖς ἐπανίσταντα πολλοὶ κατήγοροι, δικαστήριον ἀποκεκλήρωται: "nor would I wish, Zeus be my witness, that these others should be punished unjustly; but since my accusers are rising up against them, I have appointed a court to judge them."

15 XXI.6.5.

16 Perhaps for Vercellae.

17 Lit. "thrust off to."

18 Modern Bua.

19 Cf. XX.8.20.

20 XX.11.5.

21 Cf. XV.2.4.

22 Cf. XV.5.8; XIV.11.19.

23 The Chain, or Fetter; cf. XIV.5.6.

24 See XVIII.4.3, and Introd., p. xxxvi.

25 Cf. XIV.11.25.

26 Cf. mensarum voragines, XIV.6.16.

27 Cincinnatus: cf.  Val. Max. IV.4.7.

28 Emperor A.D. 286‑305, a little over a half-century earlier.

29 I.e. of the box; Parthian leather was famous; cf. Pollio, Claud. 17.6.º This story is perhaps referred to by Shakespeare, Othello, V.II.346: "Like the base Indian threw a pearl away, richer than all his tribe."

30 I.e. loaves.

31 To Constantinople.

32 I.e. pay.

33 For his services; these advocates were influential men at court, who appeared for men of humble rank when they brought petitions before the emperor. Evidently they were sometimes paid for their services. Julian's law is to be found in Cod. Theod. II. tit. 29.

34 It was, however, unusual; cf. Spart., Hadr. IX.7, praetorum et consulum officia frequentavit; Claud. in Eutrop. I.308; Ausonius, Prec. Consulis (Edyll. VIII), 34.

35 The consuls on entering office gave games lasting three days, and usually freed some slaves in the presence of the people.

36 Manumitting slaves was a legal process, and the enactment was introduced by a formula; cf. Vopiscus, Aurel. 14 (of the adoption of Aurelian), iube lege agatur, fitque Aurelianus heres, etc.

37 Probably to Mamertinus, as the consul giving the games.

38 Letters of a familiar nature from Julian to Maximus have come down to us.

39 Pro Archia, 11.26.

40 Cf. 3.6, above.

41 They belonged to the so‑called scholae Palatinae; see XIV.7.9, note 3.

42 His full name was Vettius Agorius Praetextatus. He appears as prefect of the city in XXVII.9.8, and XXVIII.1.24.

43 Cf. Claudian, In Eutr. I.59, hinc fora venalis Galata ductore frequentat permutatque domos varias (Eutropius), "next in the train of a Galatian slave-merchant he stands for sale in many a market and knows many diverse houses" (L. C. L., I, p143).

44 The Divi, or Diveni, lived on some island off the west coast of India, the Serendivi probably on the island of Ceylon, called Serandib by the Arabs. Gibbon says that these embassies were not due to Julian's widespread fame, since they must have thought that Constantius was still ruling. So also Zonaras, XIII.12.

45 See XX.8.4, note.

46 Ammianus' account is confused and in places inaccurate.

Thayer's Note: For a detailed look at just how, see J. W. Drijvers, "Ammianus Marcellinus on the Geography of the Pontus Euxinus" (Histos II, 1998).

47 Modern Ἱερὸν Ὄρος, Monte Santo.

48 Under Xerxes: see Hdt. VII.122.

49 Its mediaeval name was Negroponte and the headland's Cappoº d'Oro.

50 In order to avenge the death of his son, Nauplius kindled a beacon-fire on the cliff, which misled the Greek fleet and caused its almost utter destruction.

51 This is not accurate, but makes the Aegean and the Thessalian sea, more commonly called Mare Thracicum, too large; see Strabo, Mela, and Pliny.

52 Looking eastward.

53 Apollo and Diana.

54 Cf. Hor., Odes, I.2.13, retortis violenter undis.

55 On Tenedos: Iliad I.38; Strabo, XIII.1.46. The god has this epithet from σμίνθος, a kind of field-mouse destructive to the crops, destroyed by Apollo.

56 The Bay of Saros, west of the Thracian Chersonese and the Hellespont.

57 According to the myth, he fed his horses on human flesh, and was slain by Hercules.

58 To‑day the Maritza.

59 Modern Marogna. The identification of this town with the city founded by Aeneas in Thrace is doubtful, since Homer says that auxiliaries came from there to Ilium, and Apollodorus represents Heracles as landing there on his return from Troy; see Heyne, Excursus to Aen. III p416; and XXVIII.4.13, below.

60 This seems to refer to the Propontis; see § 6, below. This part of the description looks hopelessly confused; Ammianus returns to Aenos or farther westward; see note 2, p218.

61 Κυνὸς σῆμα, "the dog's monument," since Hecuba, after the capture of Troy, was said to have been changed into a dog; cf. Ovid, Metam. XIII.399 ff.

62 Gallipoli.

63 See Nepos, Them. 10.3.

64 The Sea of Marmora.

65 On the southern side of the Propontis.

66 Named from Mt. Dindymus, in Phrygia, near Pessinus. There is another Mt. Dindymus, five miles north of Cyzicus, and, apparently, a town or village called Dindyma.

67 Cybele.

68 There is evidently a lacuna here. Lindenbrog suggested ubi Hylam insecuta rapuit nympha. Others refer Hyla to the river near Cius.

69 Nicomedia.

70 Cf. Pliny, N. H. II.149; Strabo, VII.55 (III.377, L. C. L.). It was also famous as the scene of the last battle of the Peloponnesian war.

71 See § 4, above, and the note.

72 This island is a long way to the westward of the middle of the Propontis, and since the length of the two islands is from west to east, they would form a theta, Θ, rather than a Φ.

73 Here the reference clearly is to the whole of the Propontis.

74 Modern Scutari, opposite Constantinople.

75 According to the Eusebian Chronicle, Byzantium was founded by the Megarians in Olymp. 30, 2 (600 B.C.); so also Herodotus (IV.144), who, however, gives the date as Olym. 26, 2 (616 B.C.). Justin (IX.1.2 f.) names the Spartans; Velleius (II.7.7) the Milesians, who were descended from the Athenians. The founding was probably attributed to the Athenians from the time of Constantine from motives of pride.

76 A pharos, or lighthouse.

77 The Pontus, or Euxine Sea.

78 Polyb. IV.39.1, gives 20,000; Strabo, II.5.22,º 25,000; Pliny, N. H. IV.77, says that Varro made it 21,000, and Nepos, 21,350.

79 The descriptions of the Scythian bow in the handbooks on antiquities vary, and are sometimes misleading, in particular the comparison with different forms of the Greek sigma. As represented in vases and other works of art, it has, as a general rule, the form of the following cut:

[image ALT: A woodcut of an unstrung bow.]

from Smith's Dict. of Ant.1, p126. It is well defined in the note on Strabo, II.5.22, in L. C. L. I.479, n4. When it was drawn, which is commonly taken to be the meaning of nervo coagmentati, the arms were bent down and the handle remained immovable; see also note on § 37, below.

80 The Palus Maeotis is on the northern side of the Euxine.

81 The directions are so uncertain that the meaning it is not clear.

82 Cf. Hdt. V.76; Val. Max. II.6, ext. 1.

83 At Constantinople.

84 Io; cf. Ovid, Metam. I.586 ff. A more probable reason is that they were so narrow that an ox could swim across them. Amm. is wrong about the second curve, which extends to the Colchi, while the Cimmerian Bosporus (between the Euxine and the Palus Maeotis) is in the middle of the curve; cf. Mela, I.112, 114; Procop. VIII.6.14 f.

85 Amycus mistreated his subjects and compelled strangers to box with him, until Pollux came with the Argonauts and slew him in fight.

86 Cf. Virg. Aen. III.212 ff.; Apollod. I.9.20; Val. Flacc., IV.464 ff.; Hygin. Fab. 17.

87 Like the lightning, it was hardly necessary for them to strike the same object twice; the recoil was rather to be ready for the next thing that passed between them.

88 See Apollodorus, I.9, p480, L. C. L.

89 That is cherries; cf. Pliny, N. H. XV.102.

90 μυχοπόντιον = "a nook of the sea."

91 From which aconite is said to get its name.

92 In the days of Theseus. The war of the Greeks and the Amazons is a frequent subject in works of Greek art.

93 Cf. Justin, II.4.

94 Κριοῦ μέτωπον, The Ram's head."

95 Val. Flacc. V.89 f.

96 Id. V.2 ff.

97 Id. V.15 ff.

98 "Of beautiful dances."

99 Val. Flacc. V.75.

100 As celebrated every third year; cf. Virg. Aen. IV.302.

101 Bands of pirates, using small ships called camarae.

102 Cf. Hdt. II.103‑4; Val. Flacc. V.418 ff.

103 From ἡνίοχος, "charioteer"; Dioscurias is derived from Dioscuri, i.e. (Διόσκουροι), "the sons of Zeus," Castor and Polydeuces (Pollux).

104 To‑day the Don.

105 Now the Volga.

106 Rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum, Linnaeus), the vegetable radix Pontica (Celsus, V.23.3); the drug is made from Chinese rhubarbs.

107 The Sea of Azov.

108 adamas, "untamable," "Unbreakable" is variously applied to a kind of steel, and to diamonds and like stones.

109 The Crimea. The colonies were from Miletus.

110 The principle is probably irony in some cases, but in the case of the Furies it appears to be euphemism. Sometimes we have neither; cf. Plutarch, De Curios. 12, who says that some of the Greeks call night εὐφρόνη ("kindly"), because it brings good and salutary resolves; others, because it invites gaiety or refreshes the body.

111 "Hospitable." Cf. Ovid, Tristia, IV.4.55 f., frigida me cohibent Euxini litora Ponti, dictus ab antiquis Axenus (inhospitable) ille fuit.

112 Εὐήθης, "Good-natured," εὐφρόνη, "the well-wisher," and Εὐμενίδες, "kindly goddesses." There seem to be varying motives here; see note 1.

113 See Strabo, VII.3.6; Mela, II.1.13; Ovid, Ex Pont., III.2.45 K. The story of Iphigenia.

114 The island is located more accurately by Mela (II.7.98) at the mouth of the Dnieper; see § 40, below.

115 This promise was not fulfilled, unless a lost book is referred to: see crit. note.

116 These apparently contradictory words have given a good deal of trouble, but the meaning is plain. The handle is straight laterally, but is rounded like a broomstick for example, or a hoe-handle, and for the same reason; see note on § 10, above.

117 That is, the Greek bow is bent in a continuous curve; in the Scythian, the two sides are bent, but not the handle.

118 I.e. in the "gibbous" stage; see XX.3.11, notes.

119 Diana; on the origin of the name, see Varro, L. L. VII.16.

120 Modern Dnieper.

121 By a servile war; see Justin, II.5.1‑8.

122 "The racecourse of Achilles."

123 See Mela, II.1.55; Pliny, N. H. IV.83.

124 Now the Dniester.

125 At the mouth of the Danube.

126 According to Pliny, N. H. IV.79, the Danube rises in Germania iugus montis Abnobae ex adverso Rauraci Galliae oppidi. For the seven months, cf. Val. Flacc. VIII.186, septem exit aquis, septem ostia pandit.

127 The earlier writers counted only five; Pliny and Ptolemy, six; Strabo, seven.

128 The name of the mouth itself is ἱερόν (στόμα). Stoma (στόμα) in each of the following names is the word meaning "mouth." Naracu cannot be interpreted; those that follow are "beautiful," "false," "north" and "narrow."

129 Cf. Mela, I.19.102, brevis, atrox, nebulosus, etc.

130 I.e. "fresher."

131 Cf. Sall., Hist. III.65, Maur., mare Ponticum dulcius quam cetera; Val. Flacc. IV.719 ff.

132 The Mediterranean.

133 Pliny, N. H. IX.50.

134 Continuing from the end of XXII.7, p213.

135 Cf. XXI.11.2.

136 XXI.12.20.

137 Cf. Soph., Ajax, V.777; Aesch., Septem, 425.

138 Fortuna is commonly represented in art with a ship's helm in her right hand, and in her left the horn of Amaltheia, which was placed among the stars; hence here mundanam.

139 The Thracian Bosporus.

140 Especially Diocletian and Constantine the Great, whose favourite resort it was.

141 The reference is to the fourteen regions into which Rome was divided by Augustus. Nicomedia, in the opinion of good judges of such matters, was worthy to be considered a fifteenth region of Rome.

142 That is of the public buildings and monuments erected by former emperors. The city had suffered from an earthquake and a fire that lasted for five days and nights; cf. XVII.7.1‑8.

143 Eusebius of Nicomedia, not the Church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea.

144 Galatia (Gallacia); cf. Suet. Calig. 29.2.

145 The Sibylline Verses; see Livy, XXIX.10.11.

146 In 204 B.C.; see Livy, l.c.

147 In one of the lost books.

148 Herodian, I.11.1.

149 Of Chios, a pupil of Isocrates, and a rhetorician and historian. His works are lost.

150 According to Diod. Sic. (III.59.8), he was the first to build a splendid temple to Cybele at Pessinus.

151 Modern Angora.

152 The position of curialis, or local senator, was an honorary office, without pay, and imposing many obligations. Therefore many sought to avoid such positions, and it was necessary to force men to take them. Julian was not always indulgent in such cases; see 9.12, below, and cf. XXV.4.21.

153 Cassius, city praetor in 111 B.C., was feared as a judge; Cic., Brut. 25.97; Val. Max. III.7.9; cf. XXVI.10.10; XXX.8.13.

154 Not the celebrated Spartan lawgiver, but the statesman and orator of Athens, a contemporary of Demosthenes. He is often cited as a severe judge, e.g. Plutarch, Vitae X Orat. 541F; Plautus, Bacch. 111; Diod. Sicul. XVI.88.1.

155 Under Constantius the wearing of such a garment was a serious offence; see XIV.9.7; XVI.8.8.

156 That is: whom they wished to make a member of their curia, or local senate; see note 5 on 9.8, above (p246).

157 That is, the Cilician Gates.

158 He was a Cilician, a pupil of Libanius.

159 Cf. XIX.1.11, and Cumont, Syria, pp45‑49.

160 Not the same as the one mentioned in XIV.1.10.

161 Cf. XXI.6.2.

162 Pietas tua is one of the numerous titles by which the later emperors were addressed.

163 With the expression cf. Caesar (ap. Gell. I.10.4), ut tamquam scopulum fugias . . . insolens verbum.

164 The sign either of military rank or of a position at court; the right to wear it was lost with the office.

165 This seems to be a sarcastic reference to the "muck-raking" that would characterize the trial.

166 Astraea, who left the earth in the iron age; cf. Ovid., Metam. I.150 f., Victa iacet pietas et virgo caede madentes Ultima caelestum terras Astraea reliquit.

167 That is, was represented by Aratus, a Greek poet of Soli in Cilicia (circ. 276 B.C.), as leaving the earth; cf. Aratus, 130, καὶ τότε μισήσασα δίκη κείνων γένος ἀνδρῶν ἕπταθ’ ὑπουρανίη: Cic., Arat. Phaen. 137 ff. (lines 1, 3 and 4 in the supplement of Grotius):

Tunc, mortale exosa genus, dea in alta volavit

Et Iovis in regno caelique in parte resedit,

Illustrem sortita locum, qua nocte serena

Virgo conspicuo fulget vicina Boötae.

Thayer's Note: Not only Aratus; see Allen's Star Names, s.v. Virgo.

168 See XXI.7.2.

169 XVII.11.5.

170 XVI.2.7, 8.

171 They were followers of the banished Athanasius, XV.7.7 and 10.

172 According to Athanasius he was a Cappadocian.

173 See, for example, Curtius, IV.1.30; Aegyptii, vana gens, et novandis quam gerendis aptior rebus; Trebellius, Thirty Tyrants, 22.1.

174 Nothing is known of these oracles.

175 I.e. of the city.

176 Cf. XIV.7.15, of Montius.

177 veluti seems to indicate that he had the title, but not the office.

178 To Juno Moneta.

179 His two motives were: a love of action; and, since those men had prayed to him for peace who no one ever thought would do so, a desire for further glory in the Orient.

180 Apparently referring to the Christians.

181 That is, of Julian for Constantius.

182 When Hercules entered the country of the Pygmies an army of them attacked him in his sleep, but he gathered them up and packed them in his lion skin.

183 According to Apollodorus (II.5.11) Thiodamas was a neatherd of the Dryopians. Hercules killed and ate one of his cattle, without being disturbed by the scolding of Thiodamas.

184 A colour of good omen; cf. Juv. XIII.141, gallinae filius albae; Suet. Galba 1; Hor. Sat. I.7.8, equis albis; etc.

185 I.e. sacrificial feasts.

186 Cf. XX.4.2, note.

187 Not the one at Delphi, but a spring at Daphne, a suburb of Antioch.

188 According to Sozomenus, Church History, V.19, he threw a laurel leaf into the spring, and, when he took it out, found on it a note, which confirmed his hopes.

189 Caesar Gallus, in order to purify the place from pagan superstition, had caused the remains of martyrs to be brought there.

190 First under Peisistratus (Hdt. I.64) and again in the sixth year of the Peloponnesian war (Thuc. III.104.1).

191 According to others, the builder was Seleucus Nicator. Antiochus may have enlarged or embellished it.

192 At Olympia, the work of Phidias; cf. Pausanias, V.11.9.

193 In a lost book.

194 Daphne.

195 Venus Urania, as worshipped in Syria and Phoenicia.

196 Cf. XVII.7.1‑8.

197 Diocletian had done the same in his edict, De Pretiis Venalium Rerum.

198 This work has survived. It means "The Beard-Hater"; see Julian, L. C. L., II.420 ff. It is a satire on Julian himself, in which he also scolded the people of Antioch. They made fun of his beard because they themselves were clean-shaven. Hadrian and his successors wore beards, but Constantine and his successors did not.

199 One of a people living in an island near Sicily, changed by Jupiter into apes; Ov., Metam. XIV.91, and Suidas, s.v. Κέρκωπες.

200 Cf. XXV.4.22.

201 Two giants, the Aloïdae; cf. Odyss. XI.307 ff.

202 The victimarius slew the animal that was offered up.

203 In Seleucia, near Antioch.

204 One of the divisions of the night; the latter part of the fourth watch; cf. Pliny, N. H. V.80; Mart. Cap. VI, p235.

205 Socrates; perhaps referring to the saying quoted by Stobaeus, Sermones, CCXIII πόσῳ μᾶλλον χαριέστερον ἐποίησας, εἰ καὶ τούτους (= ἐχθρούς) εἰς φιλίαν μετετρόπωσας.

206 Cf. Diod. Sic. I.21.10; Hdt. III.27.28; Strabo, XVII.1.31; Pliny, N. H. VIII.184 ff.

207 Older than Apis, but later neglected; his shrine was in Heliopolis.

208 Later also to the Sun; Macrob. I.21.20.

209 There were twenty-nine in all.

210 Twenty-five years.

211 Its location was a secret known only to the priests.

212 In A.D. 49 in Egypt. Soon after, Plancina, Piso's wife, was suspected of poisoning him. Cf. Pliny, N. H. VIII.185.

213 In lost books.

214 Cf. Justinus, II.1.5.

215 The account of Ammianus is very confused and inexact.

216 A nomadic people of Libya.

Thayer's Note: To many readers today this will suggest an insignificant and primitive people, to be dismissed, and that may well have been meant by the Loeb editor then; but modern research has considerably expanded our knowledge of these people: to dispel that image, see the interesting (and illustrated) page Garamantes at Livius.

217 At the cataracts of the Nile.

218 Cf. XIV.4.1 ff.

219 See XIV.8.10, note, and Index I, vol. I.

220 Cf. Odyss. IV.477. On the Nile and its floods, see Hdt. II.19.20; Diod. Sic. I.36; Strabo, XVII.1.5; Pliny, N. H. V.51 ff.

221 Periodic winds which blow yearly in the dog-days, according to Colum. XI.2.56, from August 1 to 30; cf. Pliny, N. H. II.124; XVIII.270 f. The Prodromoi, "forerunners," mentioned below in section 7, begin eight days earlier.

222 The one whom Julius Caesar led in triumph; Octavian later made him his friend and restored his kingdom to him; Pliny, N. H. V.16.

223 Those from which the river flows.

224 Not all writers give the same names. We have for instance Canopic and Naucratic.

225 Ammianus seems to accept King Juba's opinion; cf. section 8, above.

226 Greek Δ (inverted on our maps).

227 That is, from the summer solstice until the autumnal equinox.

228 The meaning is not clear; it may mean because it flows so slowly in the lower part of its course, or because it is spread over the plains by canals.

229 A kind of monkey.

230 As a matter of fact, the ichneumon destroys only the eggs of the crocodile; cf. Diod. Sic. I.35.7; Solinus, 32.25, agrees with Ammianus, and in 32.26, tells of the destruction of crocodiles by dolphins with sharp dorsal fins.

231 Cf. Hdt. II.71; Diod. Sic. I.35.8; Pliny, N. H. VIII.95.

232 We have fragments of the oration Pro M. Aemilio Scauro, delivered in 54 B.C. The Scaurus who gave magnificent games when aedile was the same as the one defended by Cicero. His father, who was an aedile in 123 B.C., was poor at the time and nothing is said of his games, while those of his son were famous. Pliny, N. H. VIII.96, says: eum (= hippopotamum) et quinque crocodilos Romae aedilitatis suae ludis M. Scaurus temporario euripo ostendit. It seems natural to apply this to the man defended by Cicero, and temporario euripo may have been a feature of the temporary theatre which he built on that occasion.

233 A people of Aethiopia, near the cataracts of the Nile.

234 Cf. Cic., Nat. Deo. I.36.101.

235 See Aristotle, De Gen. III.6.

236 The basilisk was found principally in the Cyrenaica and got its name from a white spot on its head, resembling a diadem; Pliny, N. H. VIII.78. The amphisbaenae were so‑called from moving forwards and backward. The scytalae were long and slender like a staff (σκυτάλη). The acontiae are called by Pliny (VIII.85) by the Latin name iaculus, "javelin." The dipsades caused excessive thirst (δίψος). These snakes are not found in Egypt in modern times, and the ibis has gone to its native Aethiopia.

237 Apparently a misunderstanding of Lucan, IX.704 f.,º ipsa caloris egens gelidum non transit in orbem sponte sua Niloque tenus metitur harenas, "needing heat, the asp never of its own accord passes into cold regions, but traverses the desert as far as the Nile and no farther" (Lucan, L. C. L., p557).

238 The lists of these vary; see Gellius, I, p10, note 2, L. C. L.

Thayer's Note: A goof-up in the Loeb edition; that note is about varying lists — of the Seven Sages.

239 II.124.″w

240 This, of course, is true only when the sun stands directly over their tops.

Thayer's Note: — which in turn is not possible at the latitude of Gizeh; as Ammian himself implicitly acknowledges in § 31.

241 σύριγγες, XVII.7.11, note.

242 Described in XVII.4.8 ff.

243 Modern Assouan.

244 That is, they cast no shadows. Macrobius, Somn. Scip. II.7.15, limits this to eo die quo sol certam partem ingreditur Cancri, hora dies sexta; Strabo also limits the time to midday (XVII.1.48; L. C. L., VIII p129).

245 From ἀντί, "against," "opposite, and σκιά, "shadow." Ammianus means that the locality is so far south that the sun for a time casts shadows southwards; cf. Pliny, N. H. II.183, per eos dies XC in meridiem umbras iaci, "the shadows are turned towards the south."

246a 246b I.e. Antinoü(polis), also called Antinupolis (see XVIII.9.1). Antinupolis was not actually founded by Hadrian, but he embellishedº and renamed it.

247 Cf. XVII.4.2.

248 All other writers say that Peleus was banished by his father Aeacus, and fled to Eurytus, son of Actor, who purified him; cf. Diod. Sic. IV.72.6.

249 Also called Casium and containing a temple of Jupiter Casius. He was also worshipped in Syria; cf. 14.4, above.

250 Cf. Hdt. IV.150 ff.; Strabo, XVII.3.21. The founder is sometimes called Aristaeus (Just. XIII.7.1).

251 Because of its importance as a grain supply; cf. Suet. Jul. 35.1; Tac. Hist. I.11. The praefectus Aegypti ranked next to the praefectus praetorio in the equestrian cursus honorum.

252 Cf. Strabo, XVII.1.6 (at end); Plutarch, Alex. 26.5 f.

253 The pharos was the work of Sostrates of Cnidus, master-builder of Ptolemy Philadelphus. It was destroyed during the Alexandrine war, and rebuilt by Cleopatra.

254 It was built on an island called Pharos; its height is estimated to have been about 360 feet, and its base 82 feet square. It stood until 1477 or 1478, when a fort was built from its material.

255 A causeway seven stadia in length; "it is now, generally speaking, a mile wide, and forms a large part of the site of the modern city" (Strabo, L. C. L., vol. VIII p27, n2.º Cf. Strabo, XVII.1.6 (p792). This also is earlier than Cleopatra.

256 Odyss. IV.400 ff.

257 The language is somewhat obscure, but the meaning is clear. The Heptastadion connected the island of Pharos with the mainland, and so took away the right of the Rhodians to tax it as an island.

258 Ammianus confuses two libraries, that of the Bruchion and that of the Serapeum. The former was founded by Ptolemy Soter (322‑283 B.C.) and in the time of Callimachus contained 490,000 volumes; the Serapeum, founded by Ptolemy Philadelphus (285‑247 B.C.), contained 42,800. At the time of the battle of Pharsalia the total number was 532,800 and it may have reached 700,000 by the time of the Alexandrine war. Antony gave Cleopatra 200,000 volumes that had been collected in Pergamum. The damage done by Caesar has been greatly exaggerated. Strabo, who visited Alexandria twenty-three years later, found the Museum intact. The Bruchion library was destroyed A.D. 272; the Serapeum in A.D. 391. 400,000 volumes were destroyed in the Alexandrine war. See especially J. W. White, The Scholia on the Aves of Aristophanes, Introd.

259 In A.D. 272.

260 This included at least a fourth part of the city, and contained the royal palace.

261 The celebrated critic, born in Samothrace; he lived under Ptolemy Philometor (181‑146 B.C.).

262 Also a grammarian.

263 This scholar (65 B.C.-circ. A.D. 10) was surnamed Χαλκέντερος, "of the brazen guts," because of his tireless industry; see also Index.

264 Satirical poems; cf. Gell. III.7.4 f.

265 Wishing to represent himself as the equal of Apollo. Iamblichus, De Vita Pyth. XXVIII.135, Nauck, τὸν μηρὸν χρύσεον ἐπέδειξεν Ἀβάριδι τῷ Ὑπερβορέῶ, εἰκάσαντι αὑτὸν Ἀπόλλωνα εἰναι τὸν ἐν Ὑπερβορέοις, οὗπερ ἦν ἱερεὺς ὁ Ἄβαρις. This was one of the many absurd fictions of the Neo-Platonic writers.

266 Cf. Hdt. 1.30, who says that Solon did not come to Egypt until after he had made his laws; see also Aristotle, Const. of Athens. The Romans are said to have made use of his code in compiling the XII Tables.

267 Of thought.

268 Or "gloomier than magi are."

269 It differed, however, from other provinces, in being ruled by a prefect of equestrian rank. See 16.6, note.

270 This Ptolemy is identical with (Ptolemaeus) Apion just mentioned, following, as the similarity in language indicates, Rufius Festus, Brev. 13. Cyrenas . . . antiquioris Ptolomaei liberalitate suscepimus; Libyam supremo Apionis regis arbitrio sumus adsecuti. Ptolemaeus Apion, king of Cyrene, died in 96 B.C., but Cyrene first became a Roman province in 74 B.C.; cf. Eutropius, VI.11.2, qui rex eius (= Cyrenae) fuerat.

Thayer's Notes:

a For the whole question of whether Jews stink — an opinion current in Christian Europe for a thousand and some years after Ammian — see the rather detailed commonsense refutation by Sir Thomas Browne, Pseud. Epid. IV.9, Of the Jews. The good doctor — while mentioning Ammian — inclines that the unreasonable opinion proceeds from misunderstood Christianity.

Our passage here is of interest, though, since it is one of the few such statements that does not appear to have been made under the influence of that religion. The only possible explanation (short of an interpolation in the text of Ammian, noting that the point of the Marcus Aurelius story is fractiousness rather than odor) seems to be that as a group and in their own country, Jews may have had different enough dietary habits from those of gentiles as to make their scent noticeable. I am told that natives of India find the odor of Westerners offensive, very likely for our diet high in beef and animal fat.

Another possibility, detailed by David Rohrbacher in Mnemosyne LVIII.441‑42 (2005), is that here we find expressed the notion, current among gentile Greeks and Romans at the time, that Egyptian Jews were afflicted with leprosy and therefore foul-smelling; the idea is found several centuries before Ammian, in Manetho, Frag. 54 ap. Josephus, Contra Apionem 229. My thanks to Prof. Rohrbacher for bringing his paper to my attention.

b This unsavoury character (at least in Ammian's account), though an Arian, just might be the origin of our familiar semi-legendary St. George: see The Origin of the Cult of St. George (at the excellent Military Martyrs site); James Eason in his equally good pages on the saint follows Sir Walter Ralegh and thinks not.

c Immediately from ibises and their eggs we pass to basilisks. One gets the feeling that some source is being abridged, since the relation­ship of these animals (and their eggs) was intimate; for a first approach to this convoluted topic, see Sir Thomas Browne, Pseud. Epid. III.7: On the Basilisk.

d This is a fairly good description, and would seem to be a pretty distinct memory, of the later royal tombs not far from the Pyramids.

e The geometers' rod (in the text: geometrico radio) was not for measuring, but for drawing in the sand and pointing; see Daremberg & Saglio, s.v. Radius, and the references there.

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