« ForrigeFortsett »
1*353.] DISCONTENT OF THE SOLDIERS. S3
for some time while waiting for supplies, the importation of which from Aqnitania was prevented by the spring rains, which were this year more severe than usual, so that the rivers were flooded by them, Herculanus arrived, a principal officer of the guard, son of Hermogenes, who had formerly be«n master of the horse at Consiantinople, and had been torn to pieces in a popular tumult as we have mentioned before. And as he brought a faithful account of what Gallus had done, the emperor, sorrowing over the miseries that were passed, and full of anxious fear for the future, for a time stilled the grief of his mind as well as he could.
o. But in the mean time all the soldiery being assembled at Cabillon,1 began to be. impatient of delay, and to get furious, being so much the more exasperated because they had not sufficient means of living, the usual supplies not yet having arrived.
4. And in consequence of this state of things, Rufinus, at that time prefect of the camp, was exposed to the most imminent danger. For he himself was fompelled to go among the soldiers, whose natural ferocity was inflamed by their want of food, and who on other occasions are by nature generally inclined to be savage and bitter against men of civil dignities. He was compelled, l say, to go among them to appease them and explain on what account the arrival of their corn was delayed.
5. And the task thus imposed on him was very cunningly contrived, in order that he, the uncle of Gallus, might perish in the snare; lest he, being a man of great power and energy, should rouse his nephew to confidence, and lead him to undertake enterprises which might be mischievous. Great caution, however, was used to escape this; and, when the danger was got rid of for a while, Ensebius, the high chamberlain, was sent to Cabillon with a large sum of money, which he distributed secretly among the chief leaders of sedition: and so the turbulent and arrogant disposition of the soldiers-was pacified, and the safety of the prefect secured. Afterwards food having arrived in abundance the camp was struck on the day appointed.
6. After great difficulties had been surmounted, many
'Chalons sur Saoiie.
of the roads being buried in snow, the army came near to Rauracum1 on the banks of the Rhine, where the multitude of the Allemanni offered great resistance, so that by their fierceness the Romans were prevented from fixing their bridge of boats, darts being poured upon them from all sides like hail; and, when it seemed impossible to succeed in that attempt, the emperor being taken by surprise, and full of anxious thoughts, began to consider what to do.
7. When suddenly a guide well acquainted with the country arrived, and for a reward pointed out a ford by night, where the river could be crossed; and the army crossing at that point, while the enemy had their attention directed elsewhere, might without any one expecting such a step, have and waste the whole country, if a few men of the same nation to whom the higher posts in the l toman army were intrusted had not (as some people believe) informed their fellow-countrymen of the design by secret messengers.
8. The disgrace of this suspicion fell chiefly on Latinus, a commander of the domestic guard, and on Agilo, an equerry, and on Scudilo, the commander of the Scutarii, men who at that time were looked up to as those who supported the republic with their right hands.
9. But the barbarians, though taking instant counsel on such an emergency, yet either because the auspices turned out unfavourable, or because the authority of the sacrifices prohibited an instant engagement, abated their energy, and the confidence with which they had hitherto resisted; and sent some of their chiefs to beg pardon for their offences, and sue for peace.
10 Therefore, having detained for some time the envoys of both the kings, and having long deliberated over the affair in secret, the emperor, when he had decided that it was expedient to grant peace on the terms proposed, summoned his army to an assembly with the intention of making them a short 6peech, and mounting the tribunal, surrounded with a *taff of officers of high rank, spoke in the following manner:
11. "I hope no one will wonder, after the long and oilsome marches we have made, and the vast supplies nnd magazines which have been provided, from the confi1 Near Basle.
a-»- 3SS.J SPEECH OF CONSTANTIUS. 3ft
deuce which I felt in you, that now although we are close to the villages of the barbarians, I have, as if I had suddenly changed my plans, adopted more peaceful counsels.
12. "For if every one of you, having regard to his own position and his own feelings, considers the case, he will find this to be the truth: that the individual soldier in all cases, however strong and vigorous he may be, regards and defends nothing but himself and his own life; while the general, looking on all with impartiality as the guardian of their general safety, is aware that the common interest of the people cannot be separated from his own safety; and he is bound to seize with alacrity every remedy of which the condition of affairs admits, as being put into his hand by the favour of the gods.
13. "That therefore I may in a few words set before you and explain on what account I wished all of you, my most faithful comrades, to assemble hero, I entreat you to listen attentively to what I will state with all the brevity possible. For the language of truth is always concise and simple.
14. "The kings and people of the Allemanni, viewing with apprehension the lofty steps of your glory (which fame, increasing in magnificence, has diffused throughout the most distant countries), now by their ambassadors humbly implore pardon for their past offences, and peace. And this indulgence I, as a cautious and prudent adviser of what is useful, think expedient to grant them, if your consent be not wanting: being led to this opinion by many considerations, in the first place that so we may avoid the doubtful issues of war; in the second place, that instead of enemies we may have allies, as they promise we shall find them; further, that without bloodshed we may pacify their haughty ferocity, a feeling which is often mischievous in our provinces; and last of all, recollecting that the man who falls in battle, overwhelmed by superior weapons or strength, is not the only enemy who has to be subdued; and that with much greater safety to the state, even while the trumpet of war is silent, he is subdued who makes voluntary submission, having learnt by experience that we lack neither courage against rebels, nor mercy towards suppliants.
15. "To sum up, making you as it were the arbitrators, I wait to see what you determine; having no doubt myself, as an emperor always desirous of peace, that it is best to employ moderation while prosperity descends upon us. For, believe me, this conduct which I recommend, and which is wisely chosen, will not be imputed to want of courage on your part, but to your moderation and humanity."
1t5. As soon as he had finished speaking, the whole assembly being ready to agree to what the emperor desired, and praising his advice, gave their votes for peace; being principally influenced by this consideration, that they had already learnt by frequent expeditions that the fortune of the emperor was only propitious in times of civil troubles; but that when foreign wars were undertaken they had often proved disastrous. On this, therefore, a treaty being made according to the customs of the Allemanni, and all the solemnities being completed, the emperor retired to Milan for the winter.
§ 1. At Milan, having discarded the weight of other cares, the emperor took into his consideration that most difficult gordian knot, how by a mighty effort to uproot the Caesar. And while he was deliberating on this matter with his friends in secret conference by night, and considering what force, and what contrivances might be emplo3'ed for the purpose, before Gallus in his audacity should more resolutely set himself to plunging affairs into confusion, it seemed best that Gallus should be invited by civil letters, under pretence of some public affairs of an urgent nature requiring his advice, so that, being deprived of all support, he might be put to death without any hindrance.
2. But as several knots of light-minded flatterers opposed this opinion, among whom was Arbetio, a man of keen wit and always inclined to treachery, and Eusebius, a man always disposed to mischief, at that time the principal chamberlain, they suggested that if the Coesar were to quit those countries it would be dangerous to leave Ursicinus in the East, with no one to check his designs, if he should cherish ambitious notions.
3. And these counsels were supported by the rest of the
AJV353.] JEALOUSY OF CONSTANTTO8. 87
royal eunuchs, whose avarice and covetousness at that period had risen to excess. These men, -while performing their private duties about the court, by secret whispers supplied food for false accusations; and by raising bitter suspicions of Ursicinus, ruined a most gallant man, creating by underhand means a belief that his grown-up sons began to aim at supreme power; intimating that they were youths in the flower of their age and of admirable personal beauty, skilful in the use of every kind of weapon, well trained, in all athletic and military exercises, and favourably known for prudence and wisdom. They insinuated also that Gallus himself, being by nature fierce and unmanageable, had been excited to acts of additional cruelty and ferocity by persons placed about him for that purpose, to the end that, when he had brought upon himself universal detestation, the ensigns of power might be transferred to the children of the master of the horse.
4. When these and simliar suspicions were poured into the ears of Constantius, which were always open to reports of this kind, the emperor, revolving different plans in his mind, at last chose the following as the most advisable course. He commanded Ursicinus in a most complimentary manner to come to him, on the pretence that the urgent state of certain affairs required to be arranged by the aid of his counsel and concurrence, and that he had need of such additional support in order to crush the power of the Parthian tribes, who were threatening war.
5. And that he who was thus invited might not suspect anything unfriendly, the Count Prosper was sent to act as his deputy till he returned. Accordingly, when Ursicinus had received the letters, and had obtained a sufficient supply of carriages, and means of travelling, we' hastened to Milan with all speed.
6. The next thing was to contrive to summon the Caesar, and to induce him to make the like haste. And to remove all suspicion in his mind, Constantius used many hypocritical endearments to persuade his own sister, Gallus's wife, whom ho pretended he had long been wishing to see, to accompany him. And although she hesitated
1 It will be observed that Ammianus here speaks of himself ai in attendance upon Ursicinus.