A.D. 360..



equal to the crime, because the criminal had not been condemned to death, he replied, “Let tbe laws blame my clemency; but it is fitting that an emperor of a most merciful disposition should be superior to all other laws."

13. Once when he was about to set forth on an expedition, he was interrupted by several people complaining of injuries which they had received, whom he referred for a hearing to the governors of their respective provinces. And after he had returned, he inquired what had been done in each case, and with genuine clemency mitigated the punishments which had been assigned to the offences.

14. Last of all, without here making any mention of the victories in which he repeatedly defeated the barbarians, and the vigilance with which he protected his army from all harm, the benefits which he conferred on the Galli, previously exhausted by extreme want, are most especially evident from this fact, that when he first entered the country he found that four-and-twenty pieces of gold were exacted, under the name of tribute, in the way of poll-tax, from each individual. But when he quitted the country seven pieces only were required, which made up all the payments due from them to the state. On which account they rejoiced with festivals and dances, looking upon him as a serene sun which had shone upon them after melancholy darkness.

15. Moreover we know that up to the very end of his reign and of his life, he carefully and with great benefit observed this rule, not to remit the arrears of tribute by edicts which they call indulgences. For he knew that by such conduct he should be giving something to the rich, whilst it is notorious everywhere that, the moment that taxes are imposed, the poor are compelled to pay them all at once without any relief.

16. But while he was thus regulating and governing the country in a manner deserving the imitation of all virtuous princes, the rage of the barbarians again broke out more violently than ever.

17. And as wild beasts, which, owing to the carelessness of the shepherds, have been wont to plunder their flocks, even when these careless keepers are exchanged for more watchful ones, still cling to their habit, and being furious with hunger, will, without any regard for their own safety,

again attack the flocks and herds ; so also the barbarians, having consumed all their plunder, continued, under the pressure of hunger, repeatedly to make inroads for the sake of booty, though sometimes they died of want before they could obtain any.


§ 1. These were the events which took place in Gaul during this year; at first of doubtful issue, but in the end successful. Meanwhile in the emperor's court envy constantly assailed Arbetio, accusing him of having already assumed the ensigns of imperial rank, as if designing soon to attain the supreme dignity itself. And especially was he attacked by a count named Verissimus, who with great vehemence brought forth terrible charges against him, openly alleging that although he had been raised from the rank of a common soldier to high military office, he was not contented, thinking little of what he had obtained, and aiming at the highest place.

2. And he was also vigorously attacked by a man named Dorus, who had formerly been surgeon of the Scutarii, and of whom we have spoken, when promoted in the time of Magnentius to be inspector of the works of art at Rome, as having brought accusations against Adelphius, the prefect of the city, as forming ambitious designs.

3. And when the matter was brought forward for judicial inquiry, and all preliminary arrangements were made, proof of the accusations which had been confidently looked for was still delayed ; when suddenly, as if the business had been meant as a satire on the administration of justice, through the interposition of the chamberlains, as rumour affirmed, the persons who had been imprisoned as accomplices were released from their confinement: Dorus disappeared, and Verissimus kept silence for the future, as if the curtain had dropped and the scene had been suddenly changed.

VII. § 1. ABOUT the same time, Constantius having leamt, from common report, that Marcellus had omitted to carry assistance to the Cæsar when he was besieged at Sens, cashiered him, and ordered him to retire to his own house. And he,


A.D. 356.] MARCELLUS PLOTS AGAINST JULIAN. as if he had received a great injury, began to plot against Julian, relying upon the disposition of the emperor to open his ears to every

accusation. 2. Therefore, when he departed, Eutherius, the chief chamberlain, was immediately sent after him, that he might convict him before the emperor if he propagated any falsehoods. But Marcellus, unaware of this, as soon as he arrived at Milan, began talking loudly, and seeking to create alarm, like a vain chatterer half mad as he was. And when he was admitted into the council-chamber, he began to accuse Julian of being insolent, and of preparing for himself stronger wings in order to soar to a greater height. For this was his expression, agitating his body violently as he uttered it.

3. While he was thus uttering his imaginary charges with great freedom, Eutherius being, at his own request, introduced into the presence, and being commanded to say what he wished, speaking with great respect and moderation showed the emperor that the truth was being overlaid with falsehood. For that, while the commander of the heavyarmed troops had, as it was believed, held back on purpose, the Cæsar having been long besieged at Sens, had by his vigilance and energy repelled the barbarians. And he pledged his own life that the Cæsar would, as long as he sived, be faithful to the author of his greatness.

4. The opportunity reminds me here to mention a few facts concerning this same Eutherius, which perhaps will hardly be believed ; because if Numa Pompilius or Socrates were to say anything good of a eunuch, and were to confirm what they said by an oath, they would be accused of having departed from the truth. But roses grow up among thorns, and among wild beasts some are of gentle disposition. And therefore I will briefly mention a few of his most important acts which are well ascertained.

5. He was born in Armenia, of a respectable family, and having while a very little child been taken prisoner by the enemies on the border, he was castrated and sold to some Roman merchants, and by them conducted to the palace of Constantine, where, while growing up to manhood, he began to display good principles and good talents, becoming accomplished in literature to a degree quite sufficient for his fortune, displaying extraordinary acuteness in dis

covering matters of a doubtful and difficult complexion ; being remarkable also for a marvellous memory, always eager to do good, and full of wise and honest counsel. A man, in short, who, if the Emperor Constantius had listened to his advice, which, whether he gave it in youth or manhood, was always honourable and upright, would have been prevented from committing any errors, or at least any that were not pardonable.

6. When he became high chamberlain he sometimes also found fault even with Julian, who, as being tainted with Asiatic manners, was apt to be capricious. Finally, when he quitted office for private life, and again when he was recalled to court, he was always sober and consistent, cultivating those excellent virtues of good faith and constancy to such a degree that he never betrayed any secret, except for the purpose of securing another's safety; nor was he ever accused of covetous or grasping conduct, as the other courtiers were.

7. From which it arose that, when at a late period he retired to Rome, and fixed there the abode of his old age, bearing with him the company of a good conscience, he was loved and respected by men of all ranks, though men of that class generally, after having amassed riches by iniquity, love to seek secret places of retirement, just as owls or moths, and avoid the sight of the multitude whom they have injured.

8. Though I have often ransacked the accounts of antiquity, I do not find any ancient eunuch to whom I can compare him. There were indeed among the ancients some, though very few, faithful and economical, but still they were stained by some vice or other; and chief faults which they had either by nature or babit, they were apt to be either rapacious or else boorish, and on that account contemptible; or else ill-natured and mischievous ; or fawning too much on the powerful ; or too elated with power, and therefore arrogant. But of any one so universally accomplished and prudent, I confess I have neither ever read nor heard, relying for the truth of this judgment on the general testimony of the age.

9. But if any careful reader of ancient histories should oppose to us Menophilus, the eunuch of King Mithridates, I would warn him to recollect that nothing is really known

among the

A.D. 356.j



of him except this single fact, that he behaved gloriocsly in a moment of extreme danger.

10. When the king above mentioned, having been defeated by the Romans under the command of Pompey, and fleeing to his kingdom of Colchis, left a grown-up daughter, named Drypetina, who at the time was danger. ously ill, in the castle of Synborium, under the care of this Menophilus, he completely cured the maiden by a variety of remedies, and preserved her in safety for her father; and when the fortress in which they were enclosed began to be besieged by. Manlius Priscus, the lieutenant of the general, and when he became aware that the garrison were proposing to surrender, he, fearing that, to the dishonour of her father, this noble damsel might be made a prisoner and be ravished, slew her, and then fell upon his sword himself. Now I will return to the point from which I digressed.

[ocr errors]


§ 1. AFTER Marcellus had been foiled, as I have mentioned, and had returned to Serdica, which was his native place, many great crimes were perpetrated in the camp of Augustus, under pretence of upholding the majesty of the emperor.

2. For if any one had consulted any cunning soothsayer about the squeak of a mouse, or the appearance of a wea

easel, or any other similar portent, or had used any old woman's chants to assuage any pain—a practice which the authority of medicine does not always prohibit-such a man was at once informed against, without being able to conceive by whom, and was brought before a court of law, and at once condemned to death.

3. About the same time an individual nanied Damer was accused by his wife of certain trifling acts, of which, whether he was innocent or not is uncertain ; but Rufinus was his enemy, who, as we have mentioned, had given information of some matters which had been communicated to him by Gaudentius, the emperor's secretary, causing Africanus, then governing Pannonia with the rank of a consul, to be put to death, with all his friends. This Rufinus was now, for his devotion to the interests of the emperor, the chief commander of the prætorian guard

« ForrigeFortsett »