« ForrigeFortsett »
mere fact that his name had been mentioned was sufficient, every one who was informed against or in any way called in question, was condemned cither to death, or to confiscation of his property, or to confinement in a desert island.
4. For his ferocity was excited to a still further degree whon any mention was made of treason or sedition; and the bloodthirsty insinuations of those around him, exaggerating everything that happened, and pretending great concern at any danger which might threaten the lifo of the emperor, on whose safety, as on a thread, they hypocritically exclaimed the whole world depended, added daily to his suspicions and watchful anger.
6. And therefore it is reported ho gave orders that no one who was at any time sentenced to punishment for these or similar offences should bo readmitted to his presence for the purpose of offering the usual testimonies to his character, a thing which the most implacable princes have been wont to permit. And thus deadly cruelty, which in all other men at times grows cool, in him only became more violent as he advanced in years, because the court of flatterers which attended on him added continual fuel to his stern obstinacy.
6. Of this court a most conspicuous member was Panlus, the secretary, a native of Spain, a man keeping his objects hidden beneath a smooth countenance, and acute beyond all men in smelling out secret ways to bring others into danger. He, having been sent into Britain to arrest some military officers who had dared to favour the conspiracy of Magncntius, as they could not resist, licentiously exceeded his commands, and like a flood poured with sudden violence upon the fortunes of a great number of people, making his path through manifold slaughter and destmction, loading the bodies of free-born men with chains, and crushing some with fetters, while patching up all kinds of accusations far removed from the truth. And to this man is owing one cspocinl atrocity which has branded the time of Constautius with indelible infamy.
7. Mart inns, who at that time governed theso provinces as deputy, being greatly concerned for tho sufferings inflicted on innocent men, and making frequent entreaties that those who were free from all giiilt might bo spared, when ho found that ho could not prevail, threatened to withdraw from the province, in the hopo that this ranlevolent inquisitor, Paulus, might bo afraid of his doing so, and so give over exposing to open danger men who had combined only in a wish for tranquillity.
8. Paulus, thinking that this conduct of Martinns was a hindrance to his own zeal, being, as he was, a formidable artint in involving matters, from which people gavo him tho nickname of "tho Chain," attacked tho deputy himself while still engaged in defending tho peoplo whom ho was set to govern, and involved him in the dangers which surrounded every one else, threatening that he would carry him, with his tribunes and many other persons, as a prisoner to tho emperor's court. Martinns, alarmed at this threat, and seeing tho imminont danger in which his life was, drew his sword and attacked l'aulus. But because from want of strength in his hand he was unablo to give him a mortal wound, ho then plunged his drawn sword into his own side. And by this unseemly kind of death tliat most just man departed from life, merely for having dared to interpose some delay to the miserablo calamities of many citizens.
9. And when theso wicked deeds had been perpetrated, Paulus, covered with blood, returned to the emperor's camp, bringing with him a crowd of prisoners almost covered with chains, in the lowest condition of squalor and misory; on whoso arrival the racks wore prepared, and tho exocutioner began to prepare his hooks and other engines of torture. Of those prisoners, many of them had thoir property confiscated, others wore sontoncod to banishment, some wore givon over to tho sword of tho oxecutioner. Nor is it easy to cite tho acquittal of a singlo person in the time of Constantius, whore the slightest whisper of accusation had been brought against him.
§ 1. At this time Orfitus was the governor of the Eternal City, with the rank of prefect; and he behaved with a degree of insolence bovond the proper limits of tho dignity thus conferred upon him. A man of prudence indoed, and
well skilled in all tho foiensic business of the city, but
than was becoming in a nobleman. Under his administration some very formidable seditions broke out in consequence of the scarcity of wine, as the people, being exceedingly eager for an abundant use of that article, weio easily oxoitod to frequent and violent disorders.
2. And since 1 think it likely that foreigners who may read this account (if, indeod, any such should moot with it) are likely to wonder how it is that, when my history has ronchod tho point of narrating wbnt was dono at Homo, nothing is spoken of but seditions, and shops, and cheapness, and other similarly inconsiderable matters, I will briefly touch upon the causes of this, never intentionally departing from the strict truth.
3. At tho timo when Home first rose into mundane brilliancy—that Romo which was fated to Inst as long as mankind shall enduro, and to be increased with a sublime progress and growth—virtue and fortune, though commonly at variance, agreed upon a treaty of eternal peace, as far as «ho was concerned. For if either of them had been wanting to her, she would never have reached her perfect and complete supremacy.
4. Her people, from its very earliest infancy to tho latest moment of its youth, a poriod which extends over about three hundred years, carried on a variety of wars with the natives around its walls. Then, when it arrived at its full-grown manhood, after many and various labours in war, it crossed tho Alps and the sea. till, as youth and man, it had carriod tho triumphs of victory into every country in tho world.
6. And now that it is doclining into old ago, and often owes its victories to its mero name, it has come to a moretranquil time of life. Therefore the venerable city, after having bowed down the haughty necks of fierce nations, and given laws to the world, to be the foundations and eternal anchors of liberty, like a thrifty parent, prudent and rich, intrusted to the Caesars, as toots own children, the right of governing their ancestral inheritance.
6. And although the tribes are indolent, and tho oountrios peaceful, and although there aro no contests for votes, but the tranquillity of tho age of Kunia has returned,
nevertheless, in every quarter of the world Rome is still looked up to as the mistress and tho queen of the earth, and tho name of the Roman people is rcspoctcd and venerated.
7. But this magnificent splendour of tho assemblies and councils of tho lloman people is defaced by tho inconsiderate levity of a few, who never recollect where they have been born, but who fall away into error and licentiousness, as if a perfect impunity were granted to vice. 'For as the lyrio poet Simonitlcs teaches us, the man who would livo happily in accordance with porfeot reason, ought above all things to havo a glorious country.
8. Of thcHO men, somo thinking that thoy can bo handed down to immortality by moans of statuos, are eagerly desirous of them, as if they would obtain a higher reward from brazen figures unendowed with sonso than from a consciousness of upright and honourable actions; and they even are anxious to havo them plated over with gold, a thing which is reported to have been first done in the instance of Acilius Glabrio, who by his wisdom and valour had subdued King Antiochus. But how really noble a thing it is to dospiso all those inconsiderable and trifling things, and to bond one's attention to tho long and toilsome stops of true glory, as tho poet of Ascrea' has sung, and Cato tho Censor has shown by his example. For when he was asked how it was that while many other nobles had statues he had nono, replied: "I had rather that good men should marvel how it was that 1 did not earn one, than (what would be a much heavier misfortune) inquiro how it was that I had obtained one."
9. Others place the height ol glory in having a coach higher than usual, or splendid apparel j and so toil and sweat under a vast burdon of cloaks, which are fastened to their necks by many olasps, and blow about from tho excessive fineness of the material; showing a desire, by the continual wriggling of thoir bodies, and especially by the waving of the left hand, to make their long fringes and tunics, embroidered in multiform figures of animals with threads of various colours, more conspicuous.
10. Others, with not any one asking them, put on a
1 Heaiod. Ammianoa refers to the passage in Heaiod's Op. et Dies, 280, beginning—T<jf t* AprHft Itpira (to) rfrrioaiStr ftiprar.
feigned severity of countenance, and extol their patrimonial estates in a boundlcHS degree, exaggerating tho yearly prodnco of their fruitful fields, which they boast of possessing in numbers from east to west, being forsooth ignorant that their ancestors, by whom tho greatness of Konio was so widoly extended, woro not eminent for riches; but through a course of dreadful wars overpowered by their valour all who were opposed to them, though differing but little from tho common soldiers either in riches, or in their mode of life, or in the costliness of their garments.
11. This is how it happened that Valorius Publicola was buried by tho contributions of his friends, and that the destitute wifo of ltcgulus was, with hor children, supported by tho aid of tho friends of her husband, and that tho daughter of Scipio had a dowry provided for her out of tho public treasury, the other nobles being u-slmmed to seo the beauty of this full-grown maiden, while her moneyless father was so long absent on the service of his country.
12. But now if you, as an honourable stronger, should enter the house of any one well off, and on that account full of pride, for tho purposo of saluting him, at first, indood, you will bo hospitably received, as though your presence had boon dosirod; and after having had ninny questions put to you, and having been forced to tell a number of lies, you will wonder, since tho man had never seen you before, that one of high rank should pay such attention to you who are but an unimportant individual; so that by reason of this as a principal source of happiness, you begin to repent of not having come to Home ten years ago.
13. And when relying on this affability you do tho same thing the nest day, you will stand waiting as one uttorly unknown and unexpected, whilo he who yesterday encouraged you to repeat your visit, counts upon his fingers who you can be, marvelling, for a long time, whence you come, and what you want But when at length you -are recognized and admitted to his acquaintance, if you should dovote yourself to tho attention of saluting him for three years consecutively, and after this intermit your visits for an equal length of time, then if you return to repeat a similar course, you will never bo questioned about your absence any more than if you had