While his hours were passed in studious retirement, the empress, resolute to achieve the generous design which she had undertaken, was not unmindful of the care of his fortune. The death of the late Cesar had left Constantius invested with the sole command, and oppressed by the accumulated weight of a mighty empire. Before the wounds of civil discord could be healed, the provinces of Gaul were overwhelmed by a deluge of barbarians. The Sarmatians no longer respected the barrier of the Danube. The impunity of rapine had increased the boldness and numbers of the wild Isaurians: those robbers descended from their craggy mountains to ravage the adjacent country, and had even presumed, though without success, to j e the important city of Seleucia, which was defended by a garrison of j, legions. Above all, the Persian monarch, elated by victory, again threatened the peace of Asia, and the presence of the emperor was indispensably required, .. the West and in the East. . For the first time, Constantius sincerely acknowledged, that his . strength was unequal to such an extent of care and of *...) Insensible to the voice of . which assured him that his all-powerfu virtue, and celestial fortune, would still continue to triumph over every obstacle, he listened with complacency to the advice of Eusebia, which gratified his indolence, without offending his suspicious pride. As she perceived that the remembrance of Gallus dwelt on the emperor's mind, she artsully turned his attention to the opposite characters of the two brothers, which from their infancy had been compared to those of Domitian and of Titus.(31). She accustomed her husband to consider Julian as a youth of a mild unambitious disposition, whose allegiance and gratitude might be secured by the gift of the purple, and who was qualified to fill, with honour, a subordinate station, without F. to dispute the commands, or to shade the glories, of his sovereign and benefactor. After an obstinate, though secret struggle, the opposition of the favourite eunuchs submitted to the ascendency of the empress; and it was resolved that Julian, after celebrating his nuptials with Helena, sister of Constantius, should be * with the title of Cesar, to reign over the countries beyond the Alps.(32

Although the order which recalled him to court was probably accompanied by some intimation of his approaching greatness, he appeals to the people of Athens to witness his tears of undissembled sorrow, when he was reluctant torn away from his beloved retirement.(33) He trembled for his life, for his fame, and even for his virtue; and his sole confidence was derived from the persuasion, that Minerva inspired all his actions, and that he was protected by an invisible guard of angels, whom for that purpose she had borrowed from the Sun and Moon. He approached with horror the palace of Milan; nor could the ingenuous youth conceal his indignation, when he found himself accosted with false and servile respect by the assassins of his family. Eusebia, rejoicing in the success of her benevolent schemes, embraced him with the tenderness of a sister; and endeavoured, by the most soothing caresses, to dispel his terrors, and reconcile him to his fortune. But the ceremony of shaving his beard, and his awkward demeanour, when he first exchanged the cloak of a Greek philosopher for the military habit of a Roman prince, amused, during a few days, the levity of the imperial court.(34)

The emperors of the age of Constantine no longer deigned to consult with the senate in the choice of a colleague; but they were anxious that their nomi

(30) Succumbere tot necessitatibus tamgue crebris unum se quod nunquam fecerat aperté demon. Ammian. 1. xv. c. 1. He then expresses, in their own words, the flattering assurances of the courthers.

(31) Tantum a temperatismoribus Juliani differens fratris quantum inter Vespasiani filios, fuit, Domitianum et Titum. Ammian. I. xiv. c. 11. The circumstances and education of the two brothers were so nearly the same, as to afford a strong example of the innate difference of characters

(32) Ammianus, l. xv. c. 8. Zosimus, l. iii. p. 137, 138.

(33) Julian. ad S. P. Q. A. p. 275,276. Libanius, Orat. x. p. 268. Julian did not yield till the gods had signified their will by repeated visions and omens. His piety then forbade him to resist.

(34) Julian himself relates (p. 274,) with some humour, the circumstances of his own metamorphosis, his downcast looks, and his perplexity at being thus suddenly transported into a new world, where every object appeared strange and hostile.

nation should be ratified by the consent of the army. On this solemn occasion, the guards, with the other troops whose stations were in the neighbourhood of Milan, appeared under arms; and Constantius ascended his lofty tribunal, holding by the hand his cousin Julian, who entered the same day into the twenty§ ear of his age.(35) In a studied speech, conceived and delivered with dignity, the emperor represented the various dangers which threatened the prosperity of the republic, the necessity of naming a Cesar for the administration of the West, and his own intention, if it was agreeable to their wishes, of rewarding, with the honours of the purple, the promising virtues of the nephew of Constantine. The approbation of the soldiers was testified by a respectful murmur: they gazed on the . countenance of Julian, and observed with leasure, that the fire which sparkled in his eyes was tempered by a modest lush, on being thus exposed, for the first time, to the public view of mankind. As soon as the ceremony of his investiture had been performed, Constantius addressed him with the tone of authority, which his superior age and station permitted him to assume; and exhorting the new Cesar to deserve, by heroic deeds, that sacred and immortal name, the or. gave his colleague, the strongest assurances of a friendship which should never be impaired by time, nor interrupted by their separation into the most distant climates. As soon as the speech was ended, the troops, as a token of applause, clashed their shields against their knees;(36) while the officers who surrounded the tribunal exÉ. with decent reserve, their sense of the merits of the representative of onstantius. o: D. 355..] The two princes returned to the palace in the same chariot; and during the slow procession, Julian repeated to himself a verse of his favourite Homer, which he might equally apply to his fortune and to his fears.(37). The four-and-twenty days which the Cesar spent at Milan after his investiture, and the first months of his Gallic reign, were devoted to a splendid, but severe captivity, nor could the acquisition of honour compensate or the loss of freedom.(38). His steps were watched, his correspondence was intercepted; and he was obliged, by prudence, to decline the visits of his most intimate friends. Of his former domestics, four only were permitted to attend him; two pages, his physician, and his librarian; the last of whom was enployed in the care o a valuable collection of books, the gift of the empress, who studied the inclinations as well as the interest of her friend. In the room of these faithful servants, a household was formed, such indeed as became the dignity of a Cesar: but it was filled with a crowd of slaves, destitute, and perhaps incapable, of any attachment for their new master, to whom, for the most part, they were either unknown or suspected. His want of experience might require the assistance of a wise council; but the minute instructions which regulated the service of his table, and the distribution of his hours, were adapted to a youth still under the discipline of his preceptors, rather than to the situation of a prince intrusted with the conduct of an important war. If he aspired to deserve the esteem of his subjects, he was checked by the fear of displeasing his sovereign; and even the fruits of his .. ed were blasted by off. jealous artifices of Eusebia(39) herself, who, on this occasion


(35) See Ammian. Marcellin. 1. xv. c. 8. Zosimus, l. iii. p. 139. Aurelius Victor. Victor Junior in Epitom. Eutrop. x. 14. (36) Militares omnes horrendo fragorescuta genibus illidentes; quodest prosperitatis indicium plenum; nam contra cum hastis clypei feriuntur, irae documentum est et doloris. . . . Ammianus adds, with a 2. ** eumque ut potiori reverentia servaretur, nec supra modum laudabant nec infa quam eCebat. (37) EXAast repòupco; 6avaros, kat woupa kparain. The word purple, which Homer had used as a vague but common epithet for death, was applied by Julian to express, very aptly, the nature and object of his own apprehensions. (38) He represents, in the most pathetic terms (p. 277), the distress of his new situation. The provision for his table was however so elegant and sumptuous, that the young philosopher rejected it with disdain. Quum legeret libellum assidue, quem Constantius ut privignum ad studia mittens manā sud conscripserat, preclienter, disponens quid in convivio Caesaris impendi deberet, Phasianum, et vulvam et suuren exigi vetuit ct inferri. Ammian, MarceMin. l. xvi. c. 5. (39) If we recollect that Constantine, the father of Helena, died above eighteen years before in a mature old age, it will appear probable, that the daughter, though a virgin, could not be very young at the time of her marriage She was soon afterward delivered of a son, who died immediately, quéd obstreuix

alone, seems to have been unmindful of the tenderness of her sex, and the generosity of her character. , The memory of his father and of his brothers reminded Julian of his own danger, and his apprehensions were increased by the recent and unworthy fate of Sylvanus. In the summer which preceded his own elevation, that general had been chosen to deliver Gaul from the tyranny of the barbarians; but Sylvanus soon discovered that he had left his most dangerous enemies in the imperial court. A dexterous informer, countenanced by several of the principal ministers, procured from him some recommendatory letters; and erasing the whole of the contents, except the signatures, filled up the vacant parchment with matters of high and treasonable import. By the industry * courage of his friends, the fraud was however detected, and in a great council of the civil and military officers, held in the presence of the emperor himself, the innocence of Sylvanus was publicly acknowledged. . But the discovery came too late; the report of the calumny, and the hasty seizure of his estate, had already provoked the indignant chief to the rebellion of which he was so unjustly accused He assumed the purple at his head-quarters of Cologne, and his active powers appeared to menace Italy with an invasion, and Milan with a siege. }. this emergency, Ursicinus, a general of equal rank, regained, by an act of treachery, the favour which he had lost by his eminent services in the East. Exasperated, as he might speciously allege, by injuries of a similar mature, he hastened with a few followers to join the standard, and to betray the confidence, of his too credulous friend. After a reign of only twenty-eight days, Sylvanus was assassinated; the soldiers who, without any criminal intention, had blindly followed the example of their leader, immediately returned to their allegiance; and the flatterers of Constantius celebrated the wisdom and felicity of the monarch who had extinguished a civil war without the hazard of a battle.(40) [A. D. 357.] The protection of the Rhaetian frontier, and the persecution of the Catholic church, detained Constantius in Italy above eighteen months after the departure of Julian. Before the emperor returned into the East, he indulged his pride and curiosity in a visit to the ancient capital.(41) He proceeded from Milan to Rome along the Æmilian and Flaminian ways; and as soon as he approached within forty miles of the city, the march of a prince who had never vanquished a foreign enemy assumed the appearance of a triumphal procession. His splendid train was composed of j'. ministers of luxury; but in the time of profound peace, he was encompassed o the glittering arms of the numerous squadrons of his guards and cuirassiers. Their streaming banners of silk, embossed with gold, and shaped in the form of dragons, waved round the person of the emperor. Constantius sat alone in a lofty car, resplendent with gold and precious gems; and, except when he bowed his head to pass under the gates of the cities, he affected a stately demeanour of inflexible, and, as it might seem, of insensible #. The severe discipline of the Persian youth had been introduced by the eunuchs into the imperial palace; and such were the habits of patience which they had inculcated, that, during a slow and sultry march, he was never seen to move his hand toward his face, or to turn his eyes either to the right or to the left. He was received by the magistrates and senate of Rome; and the emperor surveyed, with attention, the civil honours of the republic, and the consular images of the noble families. The streets were lined with an innumerable multitude. Their repeated acclamations expressed their joy at beholding, after an absence of thirty-two years, the sacred person of their sovereign; and Constantius himself expressed, with some

corrupta mercede, mox natum praesecto plusquam convenerat umbilico necnvit. She accompanied the enperor and empress in their journey to Rome, and the latter, quaesitum venenum bibere per fraudem illexit, ut quotiescunque concepisset, immaturum abjiceret partuin. Ammian. 1. xvi. c. 10. Our physitians will determine whether there exists such a poison. For my own part, I am inclined to hope that the public malignity imputed the effects of accident as the guilt of Fusebia.

(40) Ammianus (xv.5) was perfectly well informed of the conduct and fate of Sylvanus. He himself was one of the few followers who attended Ursicinus in his dangerous enterprise.

(41) For the particulars of the visit of Constantius to Rome, see Ammianus, 1. xvi. c. 10. . We have only to add, that Themistius was appointed deputy from Constantinople, and that he composed his fourth oration for this ceremony.

pleasantry, his affected surprise that the human race should thus suddenly be collected on the same spot. The son of Constantine was lodged in the ancient palace of Augustus: he presided in the senate, harangued the people from the tribunal which Cicero had so often ascended, assisted with unusual courtesy at the games of the Circus, and accepted the crowns of gold, as well as the panerics which had been prepared for the ceremony by the deputies of the principal cities. His short visit of thirty days was employed in viewing the monuments of art and power, which were scattered over the seven hills and the interjacent valleys. He admired the awful majesty of the capitol, the vast extent of the baths of Caracalla and Diocletian, #. severe simplicity of the pantheon, the massy greatness of the amphitheatre of Titus, the elegant architecture of the theatre of Pompey and the temple of Peace, and, above all, the stately structure of the forum and column of Trajan; acknowledging, that the voice of fame, so prone to invent and to magnify, had made an inadequate report of the metropolis of the world. The ..., who has contemplated the ruins of ancient Rome, may conceive some imperfect idea of the sentiments which they É. have inspired when they reared their heads in the splendour of unsullied auty. § satisfaction which Constantius had received from this journey excited him to the generous emulation of bestowing on the Romans some memorial of his own gratitude and munificence. His first idea was to imitate the equestrian and colossal statue which he had seen in the forum of Trajan; but when he had maturely weighed the difficulties of the ..". e chose rather to embellish the capital, by the gift of an ptian obelisk. In a remote but polished age, which seems to have preceded the invention of alphabetical writing, a great number of these obelisks had been erected, in the cities of Thebes and Heliopolis, by the ancient sovereigns of Egypt, in a just confidence that the simplicity of their form, and the hardness of their substance, would resist the injuries of time and violence.(43) Several of these extraordinary columns had been transported to Rome by Augustus and his successors, as the most durable monuments of their power and victory i.) but there remained one obelisk, which, from its size or sanctity, escaped for a long time the rapacious vanity of the conquerors. It was designed by Constantine to adorn his new y o and, after being removed by his order from the pedestal where it stood before the temple of the Sun at Heliopolis, was floated down the Nile to Alexandria. The death of Constantine suspended the execution of his purpose, and this obelisk was destined by his son to the ancient capital of the empire. A vessel of uncommon strength and capaciousness was provided to convey this enormous weight of granite, at least a hundred and fifteen feet in length, from the banks of the Nile to those of the Tiber. The obelisk of Constantius was landed about three miles from the city, and elevated, by the efforts of art and labour, in the great circus of Rome.(46) [A. D. 357–359.] The departure of Constantius from Rome was hastened by the alarming intelligence of the distress and danger of the Illyrian provinces. The distractions of civil war, and the irreparable loss which the Roman legions had sustained in the battle of Mursa, exposed those countries, almost without

(43) Hormisdas, a fugitive prince of Persia, observed to the emperor, that if he made such a horse, he must think of preparing a similar stable (the forum of Trajan). Another saying of Hormisdas is recorded, “that one thing only had displeased him, to find that men died at Rome as well as elsewhere.” If we adopt this reading of the text of Ammianus (displicuisse instead of placuisse), we may consider it as a proof of Roman vanity. The contrary sense would be that of a misanthrope.

(43) When Germanicus visited the ancient monuments of Thebes, the eldest *the priests explained to him the meaning of these hieroglyphics. Tacit. Annal. ii. c. 60. But it seems probable that before the useful invention of an alphabet, these natural or arbitrary signs were the common characters of the Egyptian nation...See Warburton's Divine Legation of Moses, vol. iii. p. 69–243.

(44) See Plin. Hist. Nat. l. xxxvi. c. 14, 15.

(45) Ammian. Marcellin. I. xvii. c. 4. He gives us a Greek interpretation of the hieroglyphics, and his commentator #.o. adds a Latin inscription, which, in twenty verses of the age of Constantius, contain a short history of the obelisk.

(46) See Donat. Roma Antiqua. l. iii. c. 14. l. iv. c. 12, and the learned, though confused, Dissertation of Bargaeus on Obelisks, inserted in the fourth volume of Graevius's Roman Antiquities, p. 1897–1936. This Dissertation is dedicated to Pope Sixtus V., who erected the obelisk of Constantius in the square before the patriarchal church of St. John Lateran.*

defence, to the light cavalry of the barbarians; and particularly to the inroads of the Quadi, a fierce and powerful nation, who seem to have exchanged the institutions of Germany for the arms and military arts of their Sarmatian allies.(47). The garrisons of the frontier were insufficient to check their progress; and the indolent monarch was at length compelled to assemble, from the extremities of his dominions, the flower of the Palatine troops, to take the field in person, and to employ a whole campaign, with the preceding autumn and the ensuing spring, in the serious prosecution of the war. The emperor passed the Danube on a bridge of boats, cut in pieces all that encountered his march, penetrated into the heart of the country of the Quadi, and severely retaliated the calamities which they had inflicted on the Roman province. . The dismayed barbarians were soon reduced to sue for peace: they offered the restitution of his captive subjects, as an atonement for the past, and the noblest hostages as a pledge of their future conduct. The generous courtesy which was .. to the #. among their chieftains who implored the clemency of Constantius, encouraged the more timid or the more obstinate, to imitate their example; and the imperial camp was crowded with the princes and ambassadors of the most distant tribes, who occupied the plains of the Lesser Poland, and who might have deemed themselves secure behind the lofty ridge of the Carpathian mountains. While Constantius gave laws to the barbarians beyond the Danube, he distinguished with specious compassion the Sarmatian exiles, who had been expelled from their native country by the rebellion of their slaves, and who formed a very considerable accession to the power of the Quadi. The emperor, embracing a generous, but artful system of policy, released the Sarmatians from the bands of this humiliating dependence, and restored them, by a separate treaty, to the dignity of a nation united under the government of a king, the friend and ally of the republic. He declared his resolution of asserting the justice of their cause, and of securing the peace of the provinces by the extirpation, or at least the banishment, of the Limigantes, whose manners were still infected with the vices of their servile origin. The execution of this design was attended with more difficulty than glory. The territory of the Limigantes was protected against the Romans by the Danube, against the hostile barbarians by the Teyss. The marshy lands which lay between those rivers, and were often covered by their inundations, formed an intricate wilderness, pervious only to the inhabitants, who were acquainted with its secret

aths and inaccessible fortresses. On the approach of Constantius, the

imigantes tried the efficacy of prayers, of fraud, and of arms; but he sternl rejected their supplications, defeated their rude stratagems, and repelled o skill and firmness the efforts of their irregular valour. "One of their most warlike tribes, established in a small island toward the conflux of the Teyss and the Danube, consented to pass the river with the intention of surprising the emperor during the security of an amicable conference. They soon became the victims of the perfidy which they meditated. Encompassed on every side, trampled down by the cavalry, slaughtered by the swords of the legions, they disdained to ask for mercy; and with an undaunted countenance still grasped their weapons in the o: of death. After this victory a considerable body of Romans was landed on the opposite banks of the Danube; the Taifalae, a Gothic tribe engaged in the service of the empire, invaded the Limigantes on the side of the Teyss; and their former masters, the free Sarmatians, animated by hope and revenge, penetrated through the hilly country into the heart of their ancient ssions. A general conflagration revealed the huts of the barbarians, which were seated in the depth of the wilderness; and the soldier fought with confidence on marshy ground which it was dangerous for him to tread. In this extremity, the bravest of the Limigantes were resolved to die in arms, rather than to yield; but the milder sentiment, enforced by the authority of their elders, at length prevailed; and the suppliant crowd, followed by

aso. The events of this Quadian and Sarmatian war are related by Ammianus, xvi. 10. xvii. 12, 13

« ForrigeFortsett »