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allegiance and gratitude might be secured by the gift of the purple, and who was qualified to Gil, with honour, a subordinate station, without aspiring 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 ascendancy of the empress; and it was resolved that Julian, after celebrating his nuptials with Helena, sister of Constantius, should be appointed, with the title of Caesar, 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 reluctantly 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 ingenupus youth conceal his indignation, when he found himself accosted with false and servile respect by the assassins of jus^mily. Eusehia, rejoicing in the success of her benevolent schertjjj&tfmbraced 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 hahit 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 nomination 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; Constantius ascended his lofty tribunal, holding by the hand his co*sin Julian, who entered the same day into the twenty-fifth yeas 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 Caesar for the administration of the West, and his <
r. c. 8- Zosimus, l. iii. p. 137. 138. ) Julian. adS.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.
(35) See Ammian. Marcellin. l. xv. c. 8. Zosimus, l. iii. p. 139. Aurclius Victor. Victor Junior ia Bpitom.
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 manly countenance of Julian, and observed with pleasure, that the fire which sparkled in his eyes was tempered by a modest blush, 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 Caesar to deserve, by heroic deeds, that sacred and immortal name, the emperor 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 expressed, with decent reserve, their sense of the merits of the representative of Constantius.
andc^lred The two princes returned to the palace in the same chariot; and A. D. 355. 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 Caesar 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 for 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 domesties, four only were permitted to attend him; two pages, his physician, and his librarian ; the last of whom was employed in the care of a valuable collection of books, the gift of the empfess, who studied the inclinations as well as the interest of her friend. In the room of these faithful servants, an household was formed, such indeed as became the dignity of a Caesar; 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
(36) Militares omnes horrendo fragore scuta genibus illidentes; quod est prosperitatis indicium plenum; nam contra cum-hastis clypei feriuntur, irae documentum est et doloris. . . . Ammianus adds, with a nice distinction, Eumque ut potiori reverentia servaretur, nec supra modum laudabant ncc infra quam decebat.
(37) EUaffc iropcp1jpEo; SavatTot;, xat poTpa xpaTat7J. The word purple, which Homer bad 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 manu sua conscripserat, praelicenter disponens quid in convivia Casaris impendi deberet: Phasianum, ct vulvam et sumen exigi vetuit et inferri. Ammian. Uarcellin. l. xvi. c. 5.
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 praeceptors, rather than to the situation of a prince entrusted 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 marriage-bed were blasted by the jealous artifices of Eusebia (39) herself, who, on this occasion 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 Fataiendot summer which preceded his own elevation, that general had been jpiyjjji chosen to deliver Gaul from the tyranny of the Barbarians; but September'. 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 signature, filled up the vacant parchment with matters of . high and treasonable import. By the industry and 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. In 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 nature, 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
(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 afterwards delivered of a son, who died immediately, quod obstetrix corrupta mercede, mox natuin prasceto plusquam convencrat umbilico necavit. She' accompanied the emperor and empress in their journey to Rome, and the latter, quaesitum venenum bibere per fraudem illexit, ut quotiescunque concepisset, immaturum abjiceret partum. Ammian. 1. xvi. c. 10. Our physicians 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 Eusebia.
wisdom and felicity of the monarch who had extinguished a civil war without the hazard of a battle (40). co»stantius The protection of the Rhaetian frontier, and the persecution of Tdr357?' the Catholic church, detained Constantius in Italy above eighteen April 28. 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 ^Emilian 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 all the ministers of luxury; but in a time of profound peace, he was encompassed by 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 gravity. The severe discipline of the Persian youth had been introduced by the eunuchs into the Imperial palace; and such were the hahits of patience which they had inculcated, that during a slow and sultry march, he was never seen to move his hand towards 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 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 panegyries 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 vallies. He admired the awful majesty of the capitol, the vast extent of the baths of Caracalla
(40) Ammianus (xv. v.) 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.
(4t) For the particulars of the visit of Constantius to Rome, see Ammianus, l. xvi. c. 10. We have only to add, that Themistius was appointed deputy from Constantinople, and that he composed his ourth oration for this ceremony.
and Diocletian, the severe simplicity of the Pantheon, the massy greatuess 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 traveller, who has contemplated the ruins of ancient Rome, may conceive some imperfect idea of the sentiments which they must have inspired when they reared their heads in the splendour of unsullied beauty.
The satisfaction which Constantius had received from this journey A new excited him to the generous emulation of bestowing on the Romans obdisk' 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 execution (4-2), he chose rather to embellish the capital by the gift of an Egyptian 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 extraurdinary columns had been transported to Rome by Augustus and his successors, as the most durable monuments of their power and victory (44); 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 city (45); 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 an hundred and fifteen feet in length, from the banks of
(42) 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 reproof of Roman vanity. The contrary sense would be that of a misanthrope.
(43) 'When Germanicus visited the ancient monuments of Thebes, the eldest of the priests explained to him the meaning of these hieroglyphies. Tacit. Anna1. 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, vo1. iii. p. 69—243.
(44) See Plin. Hist. Natur. 1. xxxvi. c. 14, 15.
(45) Ammian. Marcellin. 1. xvii. c. 4. He gives us a Greek interpretation of the hieroglyphics, and his commentator Lindenbrogius adds a Latin inscription, which, in twenty verses of the age of Constantius, contains a short history of the obelisk.