1.0. 355.)



23. And now all of us, fearing mainly for ourselves, accompanied him a long distance on his journey; and although we seemed as exposed to danger as gladiators about to fight with wild beasts, yet considering in our minds that evils are often the forerunners of good, we recollected with admiration that expression of Cicero's, uttered by him in accordance with the eternal maxims of truth, which runs in these words :'-" And although it is a thing most desirable that one's fortune should always continue in a most flourishing condition; still that general level state of life brings not so much sensation of joy as we feel when, after having been surrounded by disasters or by dangers, fortune returns into a happier condition."

24. Accordingly we hastened onwards by forced journeys, in order that the master of the horse, who was eager to acquire the honour of suppressing the revolt, might make his

appearance in the suspected district before any rumour of the usurpation of. Silvanus had spread among the Italians. But rapidly as we hastened, fame, like the wind, had outstripped us, and had revealed some part of the facts; and when we reached Agrippina we found matters quite out of the reach of our attempts.

25. For a vast multitude of people, assembled from all quarters, were, with a mixture of haste and alarm, strengthening the foundations of Silvanus's enterprise, and a numerous military force was collected ; so that it seemed more advisable, on the existing emergency, for our unfortunate general to await the intentions and pleasure of the new emperor, who was assuring himself by ridiculous omens and signs that he was gaining accessions of strength. By permitting his feelings of security to increase, by different

· There is no such passage in any extant work of Cicero, but a sentence in his speech ad Pontifices resembles it : “ For although it be more desirable to end one's life without pain, and without injury, still it tends more to an immortality of glory to be regretted by one's countrymen, than to have been always free from injury.” And a still closer likeness to the sentiment is found in his speech ad Quirites post reditum : “Although there is nothing more to be wished for by inan than prosperous, equal, continual good-fortune in life, flowing on in a prosperous course, without any misadventure ; still, if all my life bad been tranquil and peaceful, I should have been deprived of the incredible and almost beavenly delight and happiness which I now enjoy through your kindness."-Orations, v. 2; Bohn, p. 491-2.

pretences of agreement and flattery, Silvanus, it was thought, might be relieved from all fear of hostility, and so be the more easily deceived.

26. But the accomplishment of such a design appeared difficult. For it was necessary to use great care and watchfulness to make our desires subordinate to our oppor. tunities, and to prevent their either outrunning them, or falling behind them; since if our wishes were allowed to become known unseasonably, it was plain we should all be involved in one sentence of death.

27. However our general was kindly received, and (the very business itself forcing 118 to bend our necks), having been compelled to prostrate himself with all solemnity before the newly robed prince, still aiming at higher power, was treated as a highly favoured and eminent friend; having freedom of access and the honour of a seat at the royal table granted to him in preference to every one else, in order that he might be consulted with the more secrecy about the principal affairs of state.

28. Silvanus expressed his indignation that, while unworthy persons had been raised to the consulship and to other high dignities, he and Ursicinus alone, after the froquent and great toils which they had endured for the sake of the republic, had been so despised that he himself had been accused of treason in consequence of the examination of soine slaves, and had been exposed to an ignoble trial ; while Ursicinus had been brought over from the East, and placed at the mercy of his enemies; and these were the subjects of his incessant complaints both in public and in private.

29. While, however, he was holding this kind of language, we were alarmed at the murmurs of our soldiers who were now suffering from want, which surrounded us on all sides; the troops showing every eagerness to make a rapid march through the defiles of the Cottian Alps.

30. In this state of anxiety and agitation, we occupied ourselves in secretly deliberating on the means of arriving at our object; and at length, after our plans had been repeatedly changed out of fear, it was determined to use great industry in seeking out prudent agents, bind ing them to secrecy by solemn oaths, in order to tamper

A.D. 355.)

63 with the Gallic soldiers wlion we knew to be men of duubtful fidelity, and at any time open to change for a sufficient reward.

3i. Therefore, after we had secured our success by the address of some agents among the common soldiers, men by their very obscurity fitted for the accomplishment of such a task, and now excited by the expectation of reward, at sunrise, as soon as the east began to redden, a band of armed men suddenly sallied forth, and, 28 is common in critical moments, behaving with more than usual audacity. They slew the sentinels and penetrated into the palace, and so having dragged Silvanus out of a little chapel in which, in his terror, he had taken refuge on his way to a conventicle devoted to the ceremunies of the Christian worship, they slew him with repeated strokes of their swords.

32. In this way did a general of no slight merit perish, through fear of false accusations heaped on him in his absence by a faction of wicked men, and which drove hm to the utmost extremities in order to preserve bis safety.

33. For although he had acquired strong clainus on the gratitude of Constantius by his seasonable sally with his troops before the battle of Mursa, and although he could boast the valorous exploits of his father Bonitus, a man of Frankish extraction, but who had espoused the party of Constantine, and often in the civil war had exhibited great prowess against the troops of Licinius, still he always feared him as a prince of wavering and fickle character.

34. Now before any of these events had taken place in Gaul, it happened that one day in the Circus Maximus at Rome, the populace cried out with a loud voice, “Silvanus is conquered. Whether influenced by instinct or by some prophetic spirit, cannot be decided.

35. Silvanus having been slain, as I have narrated, at Agrippina, the emperor was seized with inconceivable joy when he heard the news, and gave way to exceeding insolence and arrogance, attributing this event also to the prosperous course of his good fortune; giving the reins to his habitual disposition which always led him to hate men of brave conduct, as Domitian in former times bad done,

and desiring at all times to destroy them by every act of opposition.

36. And he was so far from praising even his act of diligence and fidelity, that he recorded in writing a charge that Ursicinus had embezzled a part of the Gallic treasures, which no one had ever touched. And he ordered strict inquiry to be made into the fact, by an examination of Remigius, who was at that time accountant-general to Ursicinus in his capacity of conimander of the heuvy troops. And long afterwards, in the time of Valentinian, this Remigius hung himself on account of the trouble into which he fell in the matter of his appointment as legate in 'Tripolis.

37. And after this business was terminated, Constantins, thinking his prosperity had now raised him to an equality with the gods, and had bestowed on him entire sovereignty over human affairs, gave himself up to

lation at the praises of his flatterers, whom he himselt encouraged, despising and trampling under foot all who were unskilled in that kind of court. As we read that Croesus, when he was king, drove Solon headlong from his court because he would not fawn on him; and that Dionysius threatened the poet Philoxenus with death because, when the king recited his absurd and unrhythmical verses, he alone refused to fall into an ecstasy while all the rest of the courtiers praised them.

38. And this mischievous taste is the nurse of vices ; for praise ought only to be acceptable in high places, where blame also is permitted when things are not suficiently performed.


§ 1. And now, after the re-establishment of security, investigations as usual were set on foot, and many persons were put in prison as guilty. For that infernal informer Paulus, boiling over with delight, arose to exercise his poisonous employment with increased freedom, and while the members of the emperor's council and the military officers were employed in the investigation of these affairs, as they were commanded, Proculus was put to the torture, who had been a servant of Silvanus, a man of weak body and of ill health; so that every one was afraid lest the exceed

A.D. 356.]



ing violense of his torture should prove too much for his feeble limbs, so that he would expose numbers to be iviplicated in the accusations of atrocious crimes. But the result proved quite different to what had been expected.

2. For remembering a dream in which he had been forbidden, while asleep, as he affirmed, to accuse any innocent person, though he should be tortured till he was brought to the very point of death, he neither informed against, nor even named any one ; but, with reference to the usurpation of Silvanus, he invariably asserted that he had been driven to contemplate that act, not out of ambition, but from sheer necessity; and he proved this assertion by evident arguments.

3. For he adduced one important excuse, which was established by the testimony of many persons, that, five days before he assumed the ensigns of imperial authority, he addressed the soldiers, while distributing their pay to them, in the name of Constantius, exhorting them to prove always brave and loyal. From which it was plain that if he had then been thinking of seizing on a loftier fortune, he would have given them this money as if it bad proceeded from himself.

4. After Proculus, Pæmenius was condemned and put to death ; he who, as we have mëntioned before,' when the Treveri had shut their gates against Cæsar Decentius, was chosen to defend that people. After him, Asclepiodotus. and Luto, and Maudio, all Counts, were put to death, and many others also, the obdurate cruelty of the times seeking for these and similar punishments with avidity.

VII. § 1. WHILE the fatal disturbances of the state multi. plied these general slaughters, Leontius, who was the governor of Rome itself

, gave many proofs of his deserving the character of an admirable judge; being prompt in hearing cases, rigidly just in deciding them, and merciful by nature, although, for the sake of maintaining lawful anthority, he appeared to some people to be severe. also of a somewhat amorous temperament.

es 2. The first pretext for exciting any sedition against him

" In one of the lost books of this history.

He w88

« ForrigeFortsett »