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more favourable audience, with the offer of resigning the purple, and the promise of devoting the remainder of his life to the service of the emperor. But Constantius, though he granted fair terms of pardon and reconciliation to all who abandoned the standard of rebellion,* avowed his inflexible resolution to inflict a just punishment on the crimes of an assassin, whom he prepared to overwhelm on every side by the effort of his victorious arms. An imperial fleet acquired the easy possession of Africa and Spain; confirmed the wavering faith of the Moorish nations; and landed a considerable force, which passed the Pyrenees, and advanced towards Lyons, the last and fatal station of Magnentius.b The temper of the tyrant, which was never inclined to clemency, was urged by distress to exercise every act of oppression which could extort an immediate supply from the cities of Gaul.' Their patience was at length exhausted; and Treves, the seat of praetorian government, gave the signal of revolt, by shutting her gates against Decentius, who had been raised by his brother to the rank either of Caesar or of Augustus.*1 From Treves, Decentius was obliged to retire to Sens, where he was soon surrounded by an army of Germans, whom the pernicious arts of Constantius had introduced into the civil dissensions of Rome.'' In the mean time, the imperial troops forced the passages of the Cottian Alps, and in the bloody combat of mount Seleucus, irrevocably fixed the title of rebels on the party of Magnentius/ He was unable to bring another army into the field; the fidelity of his guards was corrupted; and when he appeared in public to animate them by his exhortations, he was saluted with the unanimous shout of Long live the emperor Constantius! The tyrant, who perceived that they were preparing to deserve pardon and rewards by the sacrifice of the most obnoxious criminal, prevented their design, by falling on his sword;8 a death more easy and more honourable than he could hope to obtain from the hands of an enemy, whose revenge would have been coloured with the specious pretence of justice and fraternal piety. The example of suicide was imitated by Decentius, who strangled himself on the news of his brother's death. The author of the conspiracy, Marcellinus, had long since disappeared in the battle of Mursa,b and the public tranquillity was confirmed by the execution of the surviving leaders of a guilty and unsuccessful faction. A severe inquisition was extended over all who, either from choice or from compulsion, had been involved in the cause of rebellion. Paul, surnamed Catena, from his superior skill in the judicial exercise of tyranny, was sent to explore the latent remains of the conspiracy in the remote province of Britain. The honest indignation expressed by Martin, vice-prefect of the island, was interpreted as an evidence of his own guilt; and the governor was urged to the necessity of turning against his breast the sword with which he had been provoked to wound the imperial minister. The most innocent subjects of the west were exposed to exile and confiscation, to death and torture; and, as the timid are always cruel, the mind of Constantius was inaccessible to mercy.'
* Zonaras, tom. 2. lib. 13. p. 17. Julian, in several places of the two oration?! expatiates on the clemency of Constantius to the rebels.
b Zosim. lib. 1. p. 133. Julian, Orat. 1. p. 40.2. p. 74.
c Ammian, 15. 6. Zosim. lib. 2, p. 123. Julian, who (Orat. 1. p. 40.) inveighs against the cruel effects of the tyrant's despair, mentions (Ora:. 1. p. 34.) the oppressive edicts which were dictated by his necessities, or by his avarice. His subjects were compelled to purchase the imperial demesnes; a doubtful and dangerous species of property, which, in case of a revolution, might be imputed to them as a treasonable usurpation.
d The medals of Magnentius celebrate the victories of the two Augusti, and of the Caesar. The Caesar was another brother, named Desiderius. See Tillemont, Hist. ill-s Empereurs, tom. 4. p. 757.
• Julian, Orat. 1. p. 40. 2. p. 74. with Spanheim, p. 263. His Commentary illustrates the transactions of this civil war. Mons Seieuci was a small place in the Cottian Alps, a few miles distant from Vapincum, or Gap, an episcopal city of Dauphin^. See d'Anville, Notice de la Gaule, p. 464. and Longiwrae, Description de la France, p. 327.
1 Zosimus, lib. 2. p. 134. Liban. Orat. 10. p. S68, 269. The latter most vehemently arraigns this cruel and selfish policy of Constantine.
I Julian, Orat. 1. p. 40. Zosimus, lib. 2. p. 134. Socrates,, lib. 1. c. 32. Sozomen, lib. 4. c. 7. The younger Victor describes his death with some horrid circumstances: Transfosso latere, ut erat vasti corporis, vulnere naribusque et ore cruorem effundens, exspiravit. If we can give credit to Zonaras, the tyrant, before he expired, had the pleasure of murdering with his own hands his mother and his brother Desiderius.
h Julian (Orat. 1. p. 58, 59.) seems at a loss to determine, whether he inflicted on himself the punishment of his crimes, whether he was drowned in the Grave, or whether he was carried by the avenging demons from the field of battle to his destined place of eternal tortures.
Constantius sole emperor. — Elevation and death of Gallus. — Danger and elevation of Julian. — Sarmatian and Persian wars. — Victories of Julian in Gaul.
Power The divided provinces of the empire were again of the united by the victory of Constantius: but as that
eunuchs. - , , . ,
feeble prince was destitute of personal merit, either in peace or war; as he feared his generals, and distrusted his ministers; the triumph of his arms served only to establish the reign of the eunuchs over the Roman world. Those unhappy beings, the ancient production of oriental jealousy and despotism," were introduced into Greece and Rome by the contagion of Asiatic luxury.6 Their progress was rapid; and the eunuchs, who, in the time of Augustus, had been abhorred, as the monstrous retinue of an Egyptian queen,c were gradually admitted into the families of matrons, of senators, and of the emperors themselves.11 Restrained by the severe edicts of Domitian and Nerva,' cherished by the pride of Diocletian, reduced to an humble station by the prudence of Constantine/ they multiplied in the palaces of his degenerate sons, and insensibly acquired the knowledge, and at length the direction, of the secret councils of Constantius. The aversion and contempt which mankind has so uniformly entertained for that imperfect species, appears to have degraded their character, and to have rendered them almost as incapable as they were supposed to be, of conceiving any generous sentiment, or of performing any worthy action.8 But the eunuchs were skilled in the arts of flattery and intrigue; and they alternately governed the mind of Constantius by his fears, his indolence, and his vanity.h Whilst he viewed in a deceitful mirror the fair appearance of public prosperity, he supinely permitted them to intercept the complaints of the injured provinces, to accumulate immense treasures by the sale of justice and of honours; to disgrace the most important dignities, by the promotion of those who had purchased at their hands the power of oppression,' and to gratify their resentment against the few independent spirits, who arrogantly refused to solicit the protection of slaves. Of these slaves the most distinguished was the chamberlain Eusebius, who ruled the monarch and the palac&with such absolute sway, that Constantius, according to the sarcasm of an impartial historian, possessed some credit with his haughty favourite.11 By his artful suggestions, the emperor was persuaded to subscribe the condemnation of the unfortunate Gallus, and to add a new crime to the long list of unnatural murders which pollute the honour of the house of Constantine. Educa- When the two nephews of Constantine, Gallus tion of and Julian, were saved from the fury of the soland diers, the former was about twelve, and the latter uhan' about six, years of age; and as the eldest was thought to be of a sickly constitution, they obtained with the less difficulty a precarious and dependant life, from the affected pity of Constantius, who was sensible that the execution of these helpless orphans would have been esteemed, by all mankind, an act of the most deliberate cruelty.1 Different cities of Ionia and Bithyhia were assigned for the places of their exile and education; but as soon as their growing years excited the jealousy of the emperor, he judged it more prudent to secure those unhappy youths in the strong castle of Macellum, near Caesarea. The treatment which they experienced during a six years' confinement, was partly such as they could hope from a careful guardian, and partly such as they might dread from a suspicious tyrant." Their prison was an ancient palace, the residence of the kings of
1 Ammian 14. 5. t1. 16.
1 Ammianus (lib. 14. c. 6.) imputes the first practice of castration to the cruel ingenuity of Semiramis, who is supposed to have reigned above nineteen hundred years before Christ. The use of eunuchs is of high antiquity, both in Asia and Egypt. They are mentioned in the law of Moses, Deuteron. xxiii. 1. See Goguet, Ongines des Loix, &c. part 1. lib. 1. c. 4.
* Eunuchum dixti velle te;
Quia solas utuntur his regime - Terent. Eunuch, act . 1. scene J. This play is translated from Menander, and the original must have appeared soon after the eastern conquests of Alexander.
• Miles . . spadonibus
Servire rugosis potest. Orut. Cam. 5. 9. and Dacier ad loc. By the word spado, the Romans very forcibly expressed their abhorrence of this mutilated condition. The Greek appellation of eunuchs, which insensibly prevailed, had a milder sound and a more ambiguous sense.
d We need only mention Posides, a freedman and eunuch of Claudius, in whose favour the emperor prostituted some of the most honourable rewards of military valour. See Sueton. in Claudio, c. 28. Posideg employed a great part of his wealth in building.
Ut Spado vinceb.it Cnpiiolia nostra
Posides. Juvenal. Sat. 14.
* Castrari mares vetuit. Sueton. in Domitian. c. 7. See Dion Cassius, lib. 67. p. 1107. Iib.68. p. 1119.
'There is a passage in the Augustan history, p. 137, in which Lampridius, whilst he praises Alexander Severus and Constantine, for restraining the tyranny of the eunuchs, deplores the mischiefs which they occasioned in other reigns. Hue accedit quod eunuchos nee in consiliis nee in ministeriis habuit; qui soli principes perdunt, dum eos more gentium aut regum Persarum volunt vivere; qui a populo etiam amicissimum semovent; qui internnntii sunt, aliud quam respondetur referentes ; claudentes principem suum, et agentes ante omnia ne quid sciat.
I Xenophon (Cyrop&dia, lib. 8. p. 540.) has stated the specious reasons which engaged Cyrus to intrust his person to the guard of eunuchs. He had observed in animals, that although the practice of castration might tame their ungovernable fierceness, it did not diminish their strength or spirit; and he persuaded himself, that those who were separated from the rest of human kind, would be more firmly attached to the person of their benefactor. But a long experience has contradicted the judgment of Cyrus. Some particular instances may occur of eunuchs distinguished by their fidelity, their valour, and their abilities; but if we examine the general history of Persia, India, and China, we shall find that the power of the eunuchs has uniformly marked the decline and fall of every dynasty.
Ii See Ammianus Marcellinus, lib. 21. c. 16. lib. 22. c. 4. The whole tenor of his impartial history serves to justify the invectives of Mamertinus, of Libanius, and of Julian himself, who have insulted the vices of the court of Constantius.
Aurelius Victor censures the negligence of his sovereign in choosing the governors of the provinces, and the generals of the army, and concludes his history with a very bold observation, as it is much more dangerous under a feeble reign to attack the ministers than the master himself. "Uti verum absolvam brevi, ut imperatore ipso clarius ita apparitorum plerisque magia atrox nihil."
VOL. II. 2 D
k Apud quern (si vere did debeat) multum Constantius potuit. Ammian. lib. 18. c. 4.
1 Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. S. p. 90.) reproaches the apostate with his ingratitude towards Mark, bishop of Arethusa, who had contributed to save his life : and we learn, though from a less respectable authority, (TUlemont, Hist, des Emperqurs, torn. 4. p. 916.) that Julian was concealed in the sanctuary of a church.
m The most authentic account of the education and adventures of Julian, u contained in the epistle or manifesto which he himself addressed to the senate and people of Athens. Libanins (Orat. Parentalis), on the side of the Pagans, and Socrates, (lib. 3. c. 1.) on that of the Christians, have preserved several interesting circumstances.