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channel of the river, keeping close under the bank; so that, if they perceived the barbarians in disorder, they might come upon them and surprise their rear, while their attention was directed elsewhere. 9. The Limigantes became aware of the measures thus promptly taken, but still employed no other means of defence than humility and entreaty; though secretly they cherished designs very different from those indicated by their words and gestures. 10. But when they saw the emperor on his high mound preparing a mild harangue, and about to address them as men who would prove obedient in future, one of them, seized with a sudden fury, hurled his shoe at the tribune, and cried out, “Marha, Marha !” which in their language is a signal of war; and a disorderly mob following him, suddenly raised their barbaric standard, and with fierce howls rushed upon the emperor himself. 11. And when he, looking down from his high position, saw the whole place filled with thousands of men running to and fro, and their drawn swords and rapiers threatening him with immediate destruction, he descended, and mingling both with the barbarians and his own men, without any one perceiving him or knowing whether he was an officer or a common soldier; and since there was no time for delay or inaction, he mounted a speedy horse, and galloped away, and so escaped. 12. But his few guards, while endeavouring to keep back the mutineers, who rushed on with the fierceness of fire, were all killed, either by wounds, or by being crushed beneath the weight of others who fell upon them; and the royal throne, with its golden cushion, was torn to pieces without any one making an effort to save it. 13. But presently, when it became known that theemperor, after having been in the most imminent danger of his life, was still in peril, the army, feeling it to be the most important of all objects to assist him, for they did not yet think him safe, and confiding in their prowess, though from the suddenness of the attack they were only half formed, threw themselves, with loud and warlike cries upon the bands of the barbarians, fearlessly braving death. 14. And because in their fiery valour our men were resolved to wipe out disgrace by glory, and were full o
A.D. 359.] PROSECUTIONS FOR TREASON. 207
anger at the treachery of the foe, they slew every one whom they met without mercy, trampling all under foot, living, wounded, and dead alike; so that heaps of dead were piled up before their hands were weary of the slaughter. For the rebels were completely overwhelmed, some being slain, and others fleeing in fear, many of whom implored their lives with various entreaties, but were slaughtered with repeated wounds. And when, after they were all destroyed, the trumpets sounded a retreat, it was found that only a very few of our men were killed, and these had either been trampled down at first, or had perished from the insufficiency of their armour to resist the violence of the enemy.
15. But the most glorious death was that of Cella, the tribune of the Scutarii, who at the beginning of the uproar set the example of plunging first into the middle of the Sarmatian host.
16. After these blood-stained transactions, Constantius took what precautions prudence suggested for the security of his frontiers, and then returned to Sirmium, having avenged himself on the perfidity of his enemies. And having there settled everything which the occasion required, he quitted Sirmium and went to Constantinople, that by being nearer to the East, he might remedy the disasters which had been sustained at Amida, and having reinforced his army with new levies, he might check the attempts of the king of Persia with equal vigour; as it was clear that Sapor, if Providence and some more pressing occupation did not prevent him, would leave Mesopotamia and bring the war over the plains on this side of that country.
§ 1. BUT amid these causes of anxiety, as if in accordance with old-established custom, instead of the signal for civil war, the trumpet sounded groundless charges of treason, and a secretary, whom we shall often have to speak of, named Paulus, was sent to inquire into these charges. He was a man skilful in all the contrivances of cruelty, making gain and profit of tortures and executions, as a master of gladiators does of his fatal games. 2. For as he was firm and resolute in his purpose of
injuring people’, he did not abstain even from theft, and
invented all kinds of causes for the destruction of innocent
men, while engaged in this miserable campaign.
3. A slight and trivial circumstance afforded infinite material. for extending his investigations. There is atown called Abydum in the most remote corner of the Egyptian Thebais, where an oracle of the god, known in that region by the name of Besa, had formerly enjoyed some celebrity for its prophecies, and had sacred rites performed at it with all the ceremonies anciently in use in the neighbouring districts.
4. Some used to go themselves to consult this oracle, some to send by others documents containing their wishes, and with prayers couched in explicit language inquired the will of the deities; and the paper or parchment on which their wants were written, after the answer had been given, was sometimes left in the temple.
5. Some of these were spitefully sent to the emperor, and he, narrow minded as he was, though often deaf to other matters of serious consequence, had, as the proverb says, a soft place in his ear for this kind of information ; and being of a suspicious and petty temper, became full of gall and fury; and immediately ordered Paulus to repair with all speed to the East, giving him authority, as to a chief of great eminence and experience, to try all the causes as he pleased.
6. And Modestus also, at that time count of the East, a man well suited for such a business, was joined with him in this commission. For Hermogenes of Pontus, at that time prefect of the praetorium, was passed over as of too gentle a disposition.
7. Paulus proceeded, as he was ordered, full of deadly eagerness and rage; inviting all kinds of calumnies, so that numbers from every part of the empire were brought before him, noble and low born alike; some of whom were condemned to imprisonment, others to instant death.
8. The city which was chosen to Witness these fatal scenes was Scythopolis in Palestine, which for two reasons seemed the most suitable of all places; first, because it was little frequented and secondly, because it was halfway between Antioch and Alexandria, from which city many of those brought before this tribunal came.
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9. One of the first persons accused was Simplicius, the son of Philip; a man who, after having been prefect and consul, was now impeached on the ground that he was said to have consulted the oracle how to obtain the empire. He was sentenced to the torture by the express command of the emperor, who in these cases never erred on the side of mercy; but by some special fate he was saved from it, and with uninjured body was condemned to distant banishment.
10. The next victim was Parnasius, who had been prefect of Egypt, a man of simple manners, but now in danger of being condemned to death, and glad to escape with exile; because long ago he had been heard to say that when he left Patrae in Achaia, the place of his birth, with the view of procuring some high office, he had in a dream seen himself conducted on his road by several figures in tragic robes.
11. The next was Andronicus, subsequently celebrated for his liberal accomplishments and his poetry; he was brought before the court without having given any real
ground for suspicion of any kind, and defended himself so
vigorously that he was acquitted. 12. There was also Demetrius, surnamed Chytras, a £ of great age, but still firm in mind and body; e, when charged with having frequently offered sacrifices in the temple of his oracle, could not deny it; but affirmed that, for the sake of propitiating the deity, he had constantly done so from his early youth, and not with any idea of aiming at any higher fortune by his questions; nor had he known any one who had aimed at such. And though he was long on the rack he supported it with great constancy, never varying in his statement, till at length he was acquitted and allowed to retire to Alexandria, where he was born. 13. These and a few others, justice, coming to the aid of truth, delivered from their imminent dangers. But as accusations extended more widely, involving numbers
without end in their snares, many perished; some with
their bodies mangled on the rack; others were condemned
to death and confiscation of their goods; while Paulus kept
on inventing groundless accusations, as if he had a store
of lies on which to draw, and suggesting various pretences P
for injuring people, so that on his nod, it may be said, the safety of every one in the place depended.
14. For if any one wore on his neck a charm against the quartan ague or any other disease, or if by any information laid by his ill-wishers he was accused of having passed by a sepulchre at nightfall, and therefore of being s. sorcerer, and one who dealt in the honors of tombs and the vain mockeries of the shades which haunt_ them, he was found guilty and condemned to death.
15. And the aflairs went on as if people had been consulting Claros, or the oaks at Dodona, or the Delphic oracles of old fame, with a view to the destruction of the emperor.
16. Meantime, the crowd of courtiers, inventing every kind of deceitful flattery, affirmed that he would be free from all common misfortunes, asserting that his fate had always shone forth with vigour and power in destroying all who attempted anything injurious to him.
17. That indeed strict investigation should be made into such matters, no one in his senses will deny; nor do we question that the safety of our lawful prince, the champion and defender of the good, and on whom the safety of all other people depends, ought to be watched over by the combined zeal of all men; and for the sake of insuring this more completely, when any treasonable enterprise is discovered, the Cornelian laws have provided that no rank shall be exempted even from torture if necessary for the investigation.
18. But it is not decent to exult unrestrainedly in melancholy events, lest the subjects should seem to be governed by tyranny, not by authority. lt is better to imitate Cicero, who, when he had it in his power either to spare or to strike, preferred, as he tells us himself, to seek occasions for pardoning rather than for punishing, which is characteristic of a. prudent and wise judge.
19. At that time a monster,~horrible both to see and to describe, was produced at'Daphne, a beautiful and celebrated suburb of Antioch; namely, an infant with two mouths, two sets of teeth, two heads, four eyes. and only two very short ears. And such a mis-shapen olispring was an omen that the republic would become deformed.
20. Prodigies of this kind are often produced, presaging