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A.D 371.] ANSWER OF THE ORACLE. 511
with these letters, by the order in which he touched them, verses in the heroic metre, corresponding to the questions which we had asked; the verses being also perfect in maetre and rhythm; like the answers of the Pythia which are so celebrated, or those given by the oracles of the Branchidae. 32. “Then, when we asked who should succeed the present emperor, since it was said that it would be a person of universal accomplishments, the ring bounded up, and touched the two syllables 6 EO; and then as it added another letter, some one of the bystanders exclaimed that Theodorus was pointed out by the inevitable decrees of Fate. We asked no further questions concerning the matter: for it seemed quite plain to us that he was the man who was intended.” 33. And when he had with this exactness laid the knowledge of this affair open to the eyes of the judges, he added with great benevolence, that Theodorus knew nothing of the matter. When after this they were asked whether the oracles which they had consulted had given them any foreknowledge of their present sufferings, they repeated these well-known verses which clearly pronounce that this employment of investigating those high secrets would cost them their lives. Nevertheless, they added, that the Furies equally threatened the judges themselves, and also the emperor, breathing only slaughter and conflagration against
them. It will be enough to quote the three final verses.
When he had read these verses they were both tortured with great severity, and carried away dead. 34. Afterwards, that the whole workshop where the wickedness had been wrought might be disclosed to the world, a great number of men of rank were brought in, among whom were some of the original promoters of the whole business. And when each, regarding nothing but
his own personal safety, sought to turn the destruction which menaced himself in some other quarter, by the permission of the judges, Theodorus began to address them. First of all, he humbled himself with entreaties for pardon; then being compelled to answer more precisely to the charges alleged, he proved that he, after having been informed of the whole affair by Eucaerius, was prevented by him from repeating it to the emperor, as he had often attempted to do: since Eucaerius afiirmed that what did not spring from a lawless desire of reigning, but from some fixed law of inevitable fate, would surely come to pass.
35. Eucaerius, when cruelly tortured, confirmed this statement by his own confession. His own letters were employed to convict Theodorus, letters which he had written to Hilarius full of indirect hints, which showed that he had conceived a sure hope of such events from the prophecies of the soothsayers; and was not inclined to delay, but was looking for an opportunity of attaining the object of his desires.
36. After the establishment of these facts, the prisoners were removed; and Eutropius, who at that time was governing Asia with the rank of proconsul, having been involved in the accusation as having been a partisan of theirs, was nevertheless acquitted; being exculpated by Pasiphilus the philosopher, who, though cruelly tortured to make him implicate Eutropius by a wicked lie, could not be moved from his vigorous resolution and fortitude.
37. To that was added the philosopher Simonides, a young man, but the most rigidly virtuous of all men in our time. An information had been laid against him as having been made aware of what was going on by Fidustius, as he saw that his cause depended, not on its truth, but on the will of one man, avowed that he had known all that was alleged, but had forborne to mention it out of regard for his character for constancy.
38, When all these matters had been minutely inquired into, the emperor. in answer to the question addressed to him by the judges, ordered them all to be condemned and at once executed: and it was not without shuddering that the vast populace beheld the mournful spectacle; filling the whole air with lamentations (since they looked on the misery of each individual as threatening the whole
community with a similar fate) when the whole number of accused persons, except Simonides, were executed in a Simonides being reserved to be burnt alive by the express command of the savage judge, who was enraged at his dignified constancy.
39. And he, abandoning life as an imperious mistress, and defying the sudden destruction thus coming on him, was burnt without giving any sign of shrinking; imitating, in his death, the philosopher Peregrinus, surnamed Proteus, who having determined to quit the world, at the quinquennial games of Olympia, in the sight of all Greece, mounted a funeral pile which he had built himself, and was there burnt alive.
40. After his death, on the ensuing days a vast multitude of almost all ranks, whose names it would be too arduous a task to enumerate, being convicted by calumnious accusations, were despatched by the executioners, after having been first exhausted by every description of torture. Some were put to death without a moment’s breathing-time or delay, while the question was still being asked whether they deserved to be punished at all; in fact, men were slaughtered like sheep in all directions.
4-1. After this, innumerable quantities of papers, and many heaps of volumes were collected, and burnt under the eyes of the jud es, having been taken out of various houses as unlawful €OOkS; in order to lessen the unpopularity arising from so many executions, though in fact, the greater part of them were books teaching various kinds of liberal accomplishments, or books of law.
42. Not long afterwards, Maximus, the celebrated philosopher, a man of vast reputation for learning, from whose eloquent discourses the emperor Julian derived his great learning and wisdom, being accused of having been acquainted with the verses of the oracle mentioned above, and confessing that he had known something of them, but that he had not divulged what he knew, as being bound to keep silence out of consideration for his promise; but adding that he had of his own accord predicted that those who had consulted the oracle would perish by public execution, was conducted to Ephesus, his native place, and there beheaded. And thus by his own forfeiture of life, he
found that the injustice of a judge is the worst of all. crimes. _
43. Diogenes, too, a man of noble family, great forensic eloquence and pre-eminent courtesy, who had some time before been governor of Bithynia, being entangled in the toils of wicked falsehood, was put to death in order to afford a pretext for seizing on his ample patrimony. 44. Alypius also, who had been governor of Britain, a man of most delightful mildness of temper, and who had lived a tranquil and retired life (since even against such as him did Injustice stretch forth her hands), was involved in the greatest misfortune; and was accused, with Hierocles his son, a youth of most amiable disposition, of having been guilty of poisoning, on the unsupported information of a low fellow named Diogenes, who had been tortured with extreme severity to force him to make confessions which might please the emperor, or rather, which might please his accuser. When his limbs could no longer endure their punishment, he was burnt alive; and Alypius, after having had his property confiscated, was condemned to banishment, though by an extraordinary piece of good fortune he received back his son after he had been condemned, and had actually been led out to suffer a miserable death.
§ 1. DURING all this time, Palladius, the original cause of these miseries, whom we have already spoken of as having been arrested by Fortunatianus, being, from the lowness of his original condition, a man ready to fall into every kind of wickedness, by heaping one murder on another diffused mourning and lamentation over the whole empire. 2. For being allowed to name any persons he chose, without distinction of rank, as men contaminated by the practice of forbidden arts, like a huntsman who has learnt to mark the secret tracks of wild beasts, he enclosed many victims within his wretched toils, some as being polluted with a knowledge of poisonings, others as accomplices of those who were guilty of treason. • 3. And that wives too might not have leisure to weep over the miseries of their husbands, officers were sent at once to
-seal up the house of any one who was condemned, and who, while examining all the furniture, slipped in among it old women’s incantations, or ridiculous love-tokens, contrived to bring destruction on the innocent; and then,’ when. these things were mentioned before the bench,‘ where neither law, nor religion, nor equity were present to separate truth from falsehood, those whom they thus accused, though utterly void of offence, without any distinction, youths, and decrepit old men, without being heard in their defence, found their property confiscated, and were hurried otf to execution in litters.
4. One of the consequences in the eastern provinces was, that from fear of similar treatment, people burnt all their libraries; so great was the terror which seized upon all ranks. For, to cut my story short, at that time all of us crawled about as if in Cimmerian darkness, in the same kind of dread as the guest of Dionysius of Sicily; who,
l while feasting at a banquet more irksome than famine
itself, saw a sword suspended over his head by a single horsehair.
5. There was a man named Bassianus, of most noble family, a secretary, and eminently distinguished for his military services, who, on a charge of having entertained ambitious projects, and of having sought oracles concerning their issue, though he declared he had only consulted the oracles to know the sex of his next child, was saved indeed from death by the great interest made for him by his relations who protected him; but he was stripped of all his splendid inheritance.
6. Amid all this destruction and ruin, Heliodorus, that hellish colleague of Palladius in bringing about these miseries (being what the common people call a mathematician), having been admitted into the secret conferences‘ of the imperial palace, and been tempted by every kind of caress and cajolery to relate all he knew or could invent, was putting forth his fatal stings.
7. For he was carefully feasted on the most delicate food, and furnished with large sums of money to give to his concubines; and he strutted about in every direction with a pompous, haughty countenance, and was universally dreaded. Being the more confident and arrogant, because as he was high chamberlain, he could go constantly and?