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390 MASSACRE OF THE IMPERIAL MINISTERS. Chap. XIX.
the capital of Syria. The prince of the East, as if he had been conscious how much he had to fear, and how little he deserved to reign, selected for the objects of his resentment the provincials accused of some imaginary treason, and his own courtiers, whom with more reason he suspected of incensing, by their secret correspondence, the timid and suspicious mind of Constantius. But he forgot that he was depriving himself of his only support, the affection of the people; whilst he furnished the malice of his enemies with the arms of truth, and afforded the emperor the fairest pretence of exacting the forfeit of his purple and of his life.18
As long as the civil war suspended the fate of the Roman world Mu«cn Constantius dissembled his knowledge of the weak and imperial cruel administration to which his choice had subjected the i.o 3M. East; and the discovery of some assassins, secretly despatched to Antioch by the tyrant of Gaul, was employed to convince the public that the emperor and the Caesar were united by the same interest, and pursued by the same enemies." But when the victory was decided in favour of Constantius, his dependent colleague became less useful and less formidable. Every circumstance of his conduct was severely and suspiciously examined, and it was privately resolved either to deprive Gallus of the purple, or at least to remove him from the indolent luxury of Asia to the hardships and dangers of a German war. The death of Theophilus, consular of the province of Syria, who in a time of scarcity had been massacred by the people of Antioch, with the connivance and almost at the instigation of Gallus, was justly resented, not only as an act of wanton cruelty, but as a dangerous insult on the supreme majesty of Constantius. Two ministers of illustrious rank, Domitian the Oriental praefect, and Montius, quaestor of the palace, were empowered by a special commission* to visit and reform the state of the East. They were instructed to behave towards Gallus with moderation and respect, and, by the gentlest arts of persuasion, to engage him to comply with tbe invitation of his brother and colleague. The rashness of the praefect disappointed these prudent measures, and hastened his own ruin as well as that of his enemy. On his arrival at Antioch, Domitian
"See in Ammianus (I. xiv. c. 1, 7) a very ample detail of the cruelties of Gallus. His brother Julian (p. 272) insinuates that a secret conspiracy had been formed against him; and Zosimus names (1. ii. [c. 55] p. 135) the persons engaged in it; a minister of considerable rank, and two obscure agents, who were resolved to make their fortune.
"Zonaras, 1. xiii. [c. 8] torn. ii. p. 17, 18. The assassins had seduced a great number of legionaries; but their designs were discovered and revealed by an old woman in whose cottage they lodged.
* The commission seems to have been terfered to support his authority. Amm. granted to Domitian alone. Montius in- Marc. loo. cit.—M.
A.D. 354. DANGEROUS SITUATION OF GALLUS. 391
passed disdainfully before the gates of the palace; and, alleging a slight pretence of indisposition, continued several days in sullen retirement, to prepare an inflammatory memorial, which he transmitted to the Imperial court. Yielding at length to the pressing solicitations of Gallus, the praefect condescended to take his seat in council; but his first step was to signify a concise and haughty mandate, importing that the Caesar should immediately repair to Italy, and threatening that he himself would punish his delay or hesitation by suspending the usual allowance of his household. The nephew and daughter of Constantine, who could ill brook the insolence of a subject, expressed their resentment by instantly delivering Domitian to the custody of a guard. The quarrel still admitted of some terms of accommodation. They were rendered impracticable by the imprudent behaviour of Montius, a statesman whose art and experience were frequently betrayed by the levity of his disposition.20 The quaestor reproached Gallus, in haughty language, that a prince who was scarcely authorized to remove a municipal magistrate should presume to imprison a Praetorian praefect; convoked a meeting of the civil and military officers, and required them, in the name of their sovereign, to defend the person and dignity of his representatives. By this rash declaration of war the impatient temper of Gallus was provoked to embrace the most desperate counsels. He ordered his guards to stand to their arms, assembled the populace of Antioch, and recommended to their zeal the care of his safety and revenge. His commands were too fatally obeyed. They rudely seized the praefect and the quaestor, and, tying their legs together with ropes, they dragged them through the streets of the city, inflicted a thousand insults and a thousand wounds on these unhappy victims, and at last precipitated their mangled and lifeless bodies into the stream of the Orontes.21
After such a deed, whatever might have been the designs of Gallus, it was only in a field of battle that he could assert nangmm his innocence with any hope of success. But the mind of oaiim. that prince was formed of an equal mixture of violence and weakness. Instead of assuming the title of Augustus, instead of employing in his defence the troops and treasures of the East, he suffered himself to be deceived by the affected tranquillity of Constantius, who,
*• In the present text of Ammianus [xiv. 7] we read Aspcr, quidem, Bed ad lenitatem propensior; which forma a sentence of contradictory nonsense. With the aid of an old manuscript, Valesius has rectified the first of these corruptions, and we perceive a ray of light in the substitution of the word vafer. If we venture to change lenitatem into levitatem, this alteration of a single letter will render the whole passage clear and consistent.
"Instead of being obliged to collect scattered and imperfect hints from various sources, we now enter into the full stream of the history of Ammianus, and need only refer to the seventh and ninth chapters of his fourteenth book. Philostorgius, however (1. iii. c. 28), though partial to Gallus, should not be entirely overlooked.
392 DISGRACE OF GALLUS. Chap. XIX.
leaving him the vain pageantry of a court, imperceptibly recalled the veteran legions from the provinces of Asia. But as it still appeared dangerous to arrest Gallus in his capital, the slow and safer arts of dissimulation were practised with success. The frequent and pressing epistles of Constantius were filled with professions of confidence and friendship, exhorting the Caesar to discharge the duties of his high station, to relieve his colleague from a part of the public cares, and to assist the West by his presence, his counsels, and his arms. After so many reciprocal injuries, Gallus had reason to fear and to distrust. But he had neglected the opportunities of flight and of resistance; he was seduced by the flattering assurances of the tribune Scudilo, who, under the semblance of a rough soldier, disguised the most artful insinuation; and he depended on the credit of his wife Constaiitina till the unseasonable death of that princess completed the ruin in which he had been involved by her impetuous passions.23
After a long delay the reluctant Caesar set forwards on his journey His disgrace to the Imperial court. From Antioch to Hadrianople he To.tit' traversed the wide extent of his dominions with a numerous i*cember. an(j stately train; and, as he laboured to conceal his apprehensions from the world, and perhaps from himself, he entertained the people of Constantinople with an exhibition of the games of the circus. The progress of the journey might, however, have warned him of the impending danger. In all the principal cities he was met by ministers of confidence, commissioned to seize the offices of government, to observe his motions, and to prevent the hasty sallies of his despair. The persons despatched to secure the provinces which he left behind passed him with cold salutations or affected disdain; and the troops whose station lay along the public road were studiously removed on his approach, lest they might be tempted to offer their swords for the service of a civil war.23 After Gallu3 had been permitted to repose himself a few days at Hadrianople he received a mandate, expressed in the most haughty and absolute style, that his splendid retinue should halt in that city, while the Caesar himself, with only ten post-carriages, should hasten to the Imperial residence at Milan. In this rapid journey the profound respect which was due to the brother and colleague of Constantius was insensibly changed into rude familiarity; and Gallus, who discovered in the countenances
** She had preceded her husband, but died of a fever on the road, at a little place in Bithynia called Cocnum Gallicanum.
*a The Thebtcan legions, which were then quartered at Hadrianople, sent a deputation to Gallus, with a tender of their services. Ammion. 1. xiv. c. 11. The Notitia (s. G, 20, 38, edit. Labb.) mentions three several legions which bore the name of Thobican. The zeal of M. de Voltaire to destroy a despicable though celebrated legend has tempted him on the slightest grounds to deny the existence of a Thebfeau legion in the Roman armies. See (Euvres de Voltaire, torn. xv. p. 414, quarto edition.
A.D. 354. HIS DEATH. 393
of the attendants that they already considered themselves as his guards, and might soon be employed as his executioners, began to accuse his fatal rashness, and to recollect with terror and remorse the conduct by which he had provoked his fate. The dissimulation which had hitherto been preserved was laid aside at Petovio* in Pannonia. lie was conducted to a palace in the suburbs, where the general Barbatio, with a select band of soldiers, who could neither be moved by pity nor corrupted by rewards, expected the arrival of his illustrious victim. In the close of the evening he was arrested, ignominiously stripped of the ensigns of Caesar, and hurried away to Pola,b in Istria, a sequestered prison, which had been so recently polluted with royal blood. The horror which he felt was soon increased by the appearance of his implacable enemy the eunuch Eusebius, who, with the assistance of a notary and a tribune, proceeded to interrogate him concerning the administration of the East. The Caesar sunk under the weight of shame and guilt, confessed all the criminal actions and all the treasonable designs with which he was charged; and, by imputing them to the advice of his wife, exasperated the indignation of Constantius, who reviewed with partial prejudice the minutes of the examination. The emperor was easily convinced that his own safety was incompatible with the life of his cousin: the sentence of death was signed, despatched, and executed; and the nephew of Constantine, with his hands tied behind his back, was beheaded in prison, like the vilest malefactor.24 Those who are inclined to palliate the cruelties of Constantius assert that he soon relented, and endeavoured to recall the bloody mandate; but that the second messenger, intrusted with the reprieve, was detained by the eunuchs, who dreaded the unforgiving temper of Gallus, and were desirous of reuniting to their empire the wealthy provinces of the East.25
Besides the reigning emperor, Julian alone survived of all the numerous posterity of Constantius Chlorus. The misfortune The danger of his royal birth involved him in the disgrace of Gallus. of juKT From his retirement in the happy country of Ionia he was conveyed, under a strong guard, to the court of Milan, where he languished
"See the complete narrative of the journey and death of Gallus in Ammianus, 1. xiv. c. 11. Julian complains that his brother was put to death without a trial; attempts to justify, or at least to excuse, the cruel revenge which he had inflicted on his enemies; but seems at last to acknowledge that he might justly have been deprived of the purple.
a Philostorgius, 1. iv. c. 1. Zonaras, 1. xiii. fc. 9] torn. ii. p. 19. But the former was partial towards an Arian monarch, and the latter transcribed, without choice or criticism, whatever he found in the writings of the ancients.
* Pettau in Styria.—M.
b Bather to Flanonia, now Fianone, near Pola. St. Martin.—M.
394 JULIAN SENT TO ATHENS. Chap. XIX.
above seven months in the continual apprehension of suffering the same ignominious death which was daily inflicted, almost before his eyes, on the friends and adherents of his persecuted family. His looks, his gestures, his silence, were scrutinized with malignant curiosity, and he was perpetually assaulted by enemies whom he had never offended, and by arts to which he was a stranger.26 But in the school of adversity Julian insensibly acquired the virtues of firmness and discretion. He defended his honour, as well as his life, against the ensnaring subtleties of the eunuchs, who endeavoured to extort some declaration of his sentiments; and whilst he cautiously suppressed his grief and resentment, he nobly disdained to flatter the tyrant by any seeming approbation of his brother's murder. Julian most devoutly ascribes his miraculous deliverance to the protection of the gods, who had exempted his innocence from the sentence of destruction pronounced by their justice against the impious house of Constantine.27 As the most effectual instrument of their providence, he gratefully acknowledges the steady and generous friendship of the empress Eusebia,28 a woman of beauty and merit, who, by the ascendant which she had gained over the mind of her husband, counterbalanced in some measure the powerful conspiracy of the eunuchs. By the intercession of his patroness Julian was admitted into the Imperial presence: he pleaded his cause with a decent freedom; he was heard with favour; and, notwithstanding the efforts of his enemies, who urged the danger of sparing an avenger of the blood of Gallus, the milder sentiment of Eusebia prevailed in the council. But the effects of a second interview were dreaded by the eunuchs; and Julian was advised to withdraw for a while into the neighbourhood of Milan, till the emperor thought proper to assign He is sent tne city of Athens for the place of his honourable exile. As A^ms!*" ne had discovered from his earliest youth a propensity, or M**- rather passion, for the language, the manners, the learning,
and the religion of the Greeks, he obeyed with pleasure an order so agreeable to his wishes. Far from the tumult of arms and the treachery of courts, he spent six months amidst the groves of the
* See Ammianus Marcellin. 1. iv. c. 1, 3, 8. Julian himself, in his epistle to the Athenians, draws a very lively and j ust picture of his own danger and of his sentiments. Ho shows, however, a tendency to exaggerate his sufferings, by insinuating, though in obscure terms, that they lasted above a year; a period which cannot be reconciled with the truth of chronology.
"Julian has worked the crimes nnd misfortunes of the family of Constantine into an allegorical fable, which is happily conceived and agreeably related. It forms the conclusion of the seventh Oration, from whence it has been detached and translated by the AbW de la BWterie, Vie de Jovien, torn. ii. p. 385-408.
"She was a native of Thessalonica in Macedonia, of a noble family, and the daughter as well as sister of consuls. Her marriage with the emperor may be placed in the year 352. In a divided age the historians of all parties agree in her praises. See their testimonies collected by Tillemont, Hist, des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 750-754.