east. For the first time, Constantius sincerely acknowledged, that his single strength was unequal to such an extent of care and of dominion/ Insensible to the voice of flattery, which assured him that his all-powerful virtue, and celestial fortune, would still continue to triumph over every obstacle, he listened with complacency to the advice of Eusebia, which gratified his indolence, without offending his suspicious pride. As she perceived that the remembrance ofGallusdweltonthe emperor's mind, she artfully turned his attention to the opposite characters of the two brothers, which from their infancy had been compared to those of Domitian and of Titus.8 She accustomed her husband to consider Julian as a youth of a mild, unambitious disposition, whose allegiance and gratitude might be secured by the gift of the purple, and who was qualified to fill, 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.11

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.' 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 ingenious youth conceal his indignation, when he found himself accosted with false and servile respect by the assassins of his family. Eusebia, rejoicing in the success of her benevolent schemes, embraced 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 habit of a Roman prince, amused, during a few days, the levity of the imperial court.'

'Snecumbere tot necessitatibus tamque crebris unum se quod nunquam fecerat a perte demonstrans. Ammian. lib. 15. c. 8. He then expresses, in their own words, the flattering assurances of the courtiers.

K Tam am a temperatis moribus Juliani differens fratris quantum inter Vespasiani lilins fuit, Domitianum et Titurn. Ammian. lib. 14. c. 11. The circumstances and education of the two brothers were so nearly the same, as to afford a strong example of the innate difference of character.

b Ammianus, lib. 15. c. 8. Zosimus, lib. 3. p. 137,138.

1 Julian, ad S. P. Q. A. p. 275, 876. Libanius, Orat. 10. 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.

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; and Constantius ascended his lofty tribunal, holding by the hand his cousin Julian, who entered the same day into the twenty-fifth year of his age.' 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 own 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;'" while the officers who surrounded the tribunal expressed, with decent reserve, their sense of the merits of the representative of Constantius. and de- The two princes returned to the palace in the c"sar same chariot; and during the slow procession, A.d. 355, Julian repeated to himself a verse of his favourite Homer, which he might equally apply to his fortune and to his fears." 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.0 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 domestics, four

k Julian himself relates, (p. 274.) with some humour, the circumstances of bis own metamorphosis, his downcast looks, and his perplexity at being thus suddenly transported into a new world, where every object appeared strange and hostile.

I See A minimi. Marcellin. lib. 15. c. 8. Zosimus, lib. 3. p. 139. Aurelius Victor. Victor Junior in Epitom. Eutrop. 10. 14.

'" Militares omnes horrendo fragore scuta genibus illidentes; quod eat prosperitatia indicium plenum; nam contra cum hastis clypei feriuntur, ira documentum est et doloris .... Ammianua adds, with a nice distinction, Eumque ut potion reverentia servaretur, nee supra modum laudabant nee infra quam decebat.

0 Exxa?i «{<tyufeo; Oavare;, xai fjtoipa xpaT<un. The word purple, which Homer had 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.

0 He represents, in the most pathetic terms, (p. 877.) 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. Qnum legeret libellum assidue, quern Constantins ut privignum ad studia mittens manii sua conscripserat, pralicenter disponens quid in convivio Caesaria impendi deberet, Phasianum, et vulvam et -snmen exigi vetuit et inferri. Ammism. Marcellin. lib. 16. c. 5.

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 empress, who studied the inclinations as well as the interest of her friend. In the room of these faithful servants, a 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 suspected. His want of experience might require the assistance of a wise counsel; 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 preceptors, rather than to the situation of a prince intrusted 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 Eusebiap 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 Fatal end unworthy fate of Sylvanus. In the summer "anus! which preceded his own elevation, that general A. D.355, kad ljeen chosen to deliver Gaul from the tyranny

Septem- • *

ber. of the barbarians; but Sylvanus soon discovered that he had left his most dangerous enemies in the imperial court. A dexterous informer, countenanced by

P 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 afterward delivered of a son, who died immediately, quod obstetrix corrupts, mercede, mox natum pitesecto plusquam convenerat umbilico necavit. She accompanied the emperor and empress in their journey to Rome, and the latter, qursitum venenum bibere per fraudem illexit, ut quotiescunque concepisset, immaturura abjiceret parturn. Ammian. lib. 16. 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.

several of the principal ministers, procured from him some recommendatory letters; and eracing 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 wisdom and felicity of the monarch who had extinguished a civil war without the hazard of a battle.q

Constan- The protection of the Rhaetian frontier, and tius visits tne persecution of the Catholic church, detained

Rome, l .-tit • i/

A.d. 357. Constantius in Italy above eighteen months after pr "" the departure of Julian. Before the emperor returned into the east, he indulged his pride and curiosity in a visit to the ancient capital/ He proceeded

4 Ammianus (15. 5.) was perfectly well informed of the conduct and fate of Sylvanus. He himself was one of the few followers who attended Unicinus in his dangerous enterprise.

'For the particulars of the visit of Constantius to Rome, see Ammianus, lib. 16.

VOL. II. 2 E

« ForrigeFortsett »