Sidebilder
PDF

3. But when Firmus perceived that these intrigues were going on to keep his defence out of sight, trembling for fear of the worst if all his excuses should be passed over, and he himself be condemned as disaffected and mischievous. and so be put to death, he revolted from the emperor's authority, and aided . . . in devastation." 4. Therefore, to prevent an implacable enemy from gaining strength by such an increase of force, Theodosius, the commander of the cavalry, was sent with a small body of the emperor's guards to crush him at once. Theodosius was an officer whose virtues and successes were at that time conspicuous above those of all other men: he resembled those ancient heroes, Domitius Corbulo, and Lusius; the first of whom was distinguished by a great number of gallant achievements in the time of Nero, and the latter of equal reputation under Trajan. 5. Theodosius marched from Arles with favourable auspices, and having crossed the sea with the fleet under his command so rapidly that no report of his approach could arrive before himself, he reached the coast of Mauritania Sitifensis; that portion of the coast being called, by the natives, Igilgitanum. There, by accident, he met Romanus, and addressing him kindly, sent him to arrange the stations of the sentries and the outposts, without reproaching him for any of the matters for which he was liable to blame. 6. And when he had gone to the other province, Mauritania Caesariensis, he sent Gildo, the brother of Firmus and Maximus, to assist Vincentius, who, as the deputy of Romanus, was the partner of his disloyal schemes and thefts. 7. Accordingly, as soon as his soldiers arrived, who had been delayed by the length of the sea voyage, he hastened to Sitifis; and gave orders to the body-guards to keep Romanus and his attendants under surveillance. He himself remained in the city, full of embarrassment and anxiety, working many plans in his mind, while devising by what means or contrivances he could conduct his soldiers who were accustomed to a cold climate through a country parched up with heat; or how he could catch an

* Manuscript imperfect.

A.D. 371.] MOVEMENTS OF THEODORUS. 527

enemy always on the alert and appearing when least expected, and who relied more on surprises and ambuscades than a pitched battle. 8. When news of these facts reached Firmus, first through vague reports, and subsequently by precise information, he, terrified at the approach of a general of tried valour, sent envoys and letters to him, confessing all he had done, and imploring pardon; asserting that it was not of his own accord that he had been driven on to an action which he knew to be criminal, but that he had been goaded on by unjust treatment of a flagitious character, as he undertook to show. 9. When his letters had been read, and when peace was, promised him, and hostages received from him, Theodosius proceeded to the Pancharian station to review the legions to which the protection of Africa was intrusted, and who had been ordered to assemble to meet him at that place. There he encouraged the hopes of them all by confident. yet prudent language; and then returned to Sitifis, having reinforced his troops with some native soldiers; and, not being inclined to admit of any delay, he hastened to regain his camp. 10. Among many other admirable qualities which he displayed, his popularity was immensely increased by an order which he issued, forbidding the army to demand supplies from the inhabitants of the province; and asserting, with a captivating confidence, that the harvests and granaries of the enemy were the magazines of the valour of our soldiers. 11. Having arranged these matters in a way which caused great joy to the landowners, he advanced to Tubusuptum, a town near Mons Ferratus, where he rejected a second embassy of Firmus, because it had not brought with it the hostages, as had been provided before. From this place, having made as careful an examination of everything as the time and place permitted, he proceeded by rapid marches to the Tyndenses and Massisenses; tribes equipped with light arms, under the command of Mascizel and Dius, brothers of Firmus. 12. When the enemy, being quick and active in all their movements, came in sight, after a fierce skirmish by a rapid interchange of missiles, both sides engaged in a furious contest; and amid the groans of the wounded and dying were heard also the wailing and lamentations of barbarian prisoners. When the battle was over, the territory for a great distance was ravaged and wasted by fire. 13. Among the havoc thus caused, the destruction of the farm of Petra, which was razed to the ground, and which had been originally built by Salmaces, its owner, a brother of Firmus, in such a manner as to resemble a town, was especially remarkable. The conqueror was elated at this success, and with incredible speed proceeded to occupy the town of Lamforctense, which was situated among the tribes already mentioned; here he caused large stores of provisions to be accumulated, in order that if, in his advance into the inland districts, he should find a scarcity of supplies, he might order them to be brought from this town, which would be at no great distance. 14. In the mean time Mascizel, having recruited his forces by auxiliaries which he had procured from the tribes on the borders, ventured on a pitched battle with our army, in which his men were routed, and a great portion of them slain, while he himself was with difficulty saved from death by the speed of his horse. 15. Firmus, being weakened by the losses he had sustained in two battles, and in great perplexity, in order to leave no expedient untried, sent some priests of the Christian religion with the hostages, as ambassadors to implore peace. They were received kindly, and having promised supplies of food for our soldiers, as they were commissioned to do, they brought back a propitious answer. And then, sending before him a present, Firmus himself went with confidence to meet the Roman general, mounted on a horse fitted for any emergency. When he came near Theodosius, he was awe-struck at the brilliancy of the standards, and the terrible countenance of the general himself; and leapt from his horse, and with neck bowed down almost to the ground, he, with tears, laid all the blame on his own rashness, and entreated pardon and peace. 16. He was received with a kiss, since such treatment of him appeared advantageous to the republic; and being

A.D. 373.] MOVEMENTS OF THEODOSIUS. 52.

now full of joyful hope, he supplied the army with pro

visions in abundance; and having left some of his own relations as hostages, he departed in order, as he promised, to restore those prisoners whom he had taken at the first beginning of these disturbances. And two days after

wards, without any delay, he restored the town of Icosium

(of the founders of which we have already spoken), also the military standards, the crown belonging to the priest, and all the other things which he had taken, as he had been commanded to do. 17. Leaving this place, our general, advancing by long marches, reached Tiposa, where, with great elation, he gave answers to the envoys of the Mazices, who had combined with Firmus, and now in a suppliant tone implored pardon, replying to their entreaties that he would at once march against them as perfidious enemies. 18. When he had thus cowed them by the fear of impending danger, and had commanded them to return to their own country, he proceeded onwards to Caesarea, a city formerly of great wealth and importance, of the origin of which we have given a full account in our description of Africa. When he reached it, and saw that nearly the whole of it had been destroyed by extensive conflagra tions, and that the flint stones of the streets were covered with ashes, he ordered the first and second legions to be stationed there for a time, that they might clear away the heaps of cinders and ashes, and keep guard there to prevent a fresh attack of the barbarians from repeating this devastation. 19. When accurate intelligence of these events had arrived, the governors of the province and the tribune Vincentius issued forth from the places of concealment in which they had been lying, and came with speed and confidence to the general. He saw and received them with joy, and, while still at Caesarea, having accurately inquired into every circumstance, he found that Firmus, while assuming the disguise of an ally and a suppliant, was secretly planning how, like a sudden tempest, to overwhelm his army while unprepared for any such danger. 20. On this he quitted Caesarea, and went to the town of Sugabarritanum, which is on the slope of Mount Transcel'ensis. There he found the cavalry of the fourth cohort of archers, who had revolted to the rebels, and in order to show himself content with lenient punishments, he degraded them all to the lowest class of the service, and ordered them, and a portion of the infantry of the Constantian legion, to come to Tigaviae with their tribunes, one of whom was the man who, for want of a diadem, had placed a neck-chain on the head of Firmus. 21. While these events were proceeding, Gildo and Maximus returned, and brought with them Bellenes, one of the princes of the Mazices, and Fericius, prefect of that nation, both of whom had espoused the faction of the disturber of the public peace, leading them forth in chains. 22. When this order had been executed, Theodosius himself came forth from his camp at daybreak, and on seeing those men surrounded by his army, said, “What, my trusty comrades, do you think ought to be done to these nefarious traitors?” And then, in compliance with the acclamations of the whole army, who demanded that their treason should be expiated by their blood, he, according to the ancient fashion, handed over those of them who had served in the Constantian legion to the soldiers to be put to death by them. The officers of the archers he sentenced to lose their hands, and the rest he condemned to death, in imitation of Curio, that most vigorous and severe general, who by this kind of punishment crushed the ferocity of the Dardanians, when it was reviving like the Lernaean hydra. 23. But malignant detractors, though they praise the ancient deed, vituperate this one as terrible and inhuman, affirming that the Dardanians were implacable enemies, and therefore justly suffered the punishment inflicted on them; but that those soldiers, who belonged to our own standards, ought to have been corrected with more lenity, for falling into one single error. But we will remind these cavillers, of what perhaps they know already, namely, that this cohort was not only an enemy by its own conduct, but also by the example which it set to others. 24. He also commanded Bellenes and Fericins, who have been mentioned above, and whom Gildo brought with him, to be put to death; and likewise Curandiu ', * The Dardanians were a Thracian tribe.

« ForrigeFortsett »