Sidebilder
PDF

had sent some of their comrades to exhort him by trust-A worthy and sure promises to remain there relying upon them, since they were posted in great force among the neighbouring stations; but those about him watched him with such diligent care that he could get no opportunity of seeing them, or of hearing their message.

16. Then, as letter after letter from the emperor urged him to quit that city, he took ten public carriages, as he was desired to do, and leaving behind him all his retinue, except a few of his chamberlains and domestic oflicers, whom he had brought with him, he was in this poor manner compelled to hasten his journey, his guards forcing him to use all speed; while he from time to time, with many regrets, bewailed the rashness which had placed

' him in a mean and despised condition at the mercy of men

of the lowest class.

17. And amid all these circumstances, in moments when exhausted nature sought repose in sleep, his senses were kept in a state of agitation by dreadful spectres making unseemly noises about him; and crowds of those whom he had slain, led on by Domitianus and Montius, seemed to seize and torture him with all the torments of the Furies.

18. For the mind, when freed by sleep from its connection with the body, is nevertheless active, and being full of the thoughts and anxieties of mortal pursuits, engenders mighty visions which we call phantoms.

19. Therefore his melancholy fate, by which it was destined he should be deprived of empire and life, leading the way, he proceeded on his journey by continual relays of horses, till he arrived at Petobio,‘ a town in Noricum. Here all disguise was thrown off, and the Count Barbatio suddenly made his appearance, with Apodemius. the secretary for the provinces. and an escort of soldiers whom the emperor had picked out as men bound to him by especial favours, feeling sure that they could not be turned from their obedience either by bribes or it .

2p0.yAnd now the affair was conducted to its conclusion without further disguise or deceit, and the whole portion of the palace which is outside the walls was surrounded by

l The town of Pettau, on the Drave.

A». 353.1 GALLUS 1s SENT mro ISTRIA. 41

armed men. Barbatio, entering the palace before daybreak, stripped the Caesar of his royal robes, and clothed him with a tunic and an ordinary soldier’s garment, assuring him with many protestations, as if by the especial command of the emperor, that he should be exposed to no further suffering; and then said to him, “ Stand up at once.” And having suddenly placed him in a private carriage, he conducted him into lstria. near to the town of Pola, where it is reported that Crispus, the son of Constantine, was formerly put to death.

21. And while he was there kept in strict confinement, being already terrified with apprehensions of his approaching destruction, Eusebius, at that time the high chamberlain, arrived in haste, and with him Pentadins the secretary, and Mallobaudes the tribune of the guard, who had the emperor's orders to compel him to explain, case by case, on what accounts he had ordered each of the individuals whom he had executed at Antioch to be put to death.

22. He being struck with a paleness like that of Adrastus‘ at these questions, was only able to reply that he had put most of them to death at the instigation of his wife Constantine; being forsooth ignorant that when the mother of Alexander the Great urged him to put to death some one who was innocent, and in the hope of prevailing with him, repeated to him over and over again that she had borne him nine months in her womb, and was his mother, that emperor made her this prudent answer, “ My excellent mother, ask for some other reward; for the life of a man cannot be put in the balance with any kind of service.”

23. When this was known, the emperor, giving way to unchangeable indignation and anger, saw that his only hope of establishing security firmly lay in putting the Caesar to death. And having sent Serenianus, whom we have already spoken of as having been accu>ed of treason, but acquitted by intrigue, and Pentadius the score' tary, and Apodemius the secretary for the provinces, he commanded that they should put him to death. And

1 A paleness such' as overspread the countenance of Adrastus when he saw his two sons-in-law, Pydeus and Polyniees, slain at Thebes. Virgil speaks of Admsti pallentis imago, IEn. vi. 480.

accordingly his hands were bound like those of some convicted thief, and he was beheaded, and his carcass, which but a little while ago had been the object of dread to cities and provinces, deprived of head and defaced: it was then left on the ground.

'\ 24-. In this the supervision of the supreme Deity manifested itself to be everywhere vigilant. For not only did the cruelties of Gallus bring about his own destruction, but . they also who, by their pernicious flattery and instigation, and charges supported by perjury, had led him to the perpetration of many murders, not long afterwards died miserably. Scudilo, being afflicted with a liver complaint which penetrated to his lungs, died vomiting; while Barbatio, who had long busied himself in inventing false accusations against Gallus, was accused by secret information of aiming at some post higher than his command of infantry, and being condemned, though unjustly, was put to death, and so by his melancholy end made atonement to the shade of the Caesar.

25. These, and innumerable other actions of the same kind, Adrastea, who is also called Nemesis, the avenger of wicked and the rewarder of good deedsI is continually bringing to pass: would that she could always do so! She is a kind of sublime agent of the powerful Deity, dwelling, according to common belief, above the human circle; or, as others define her, she is a substantial protection, presiding over the particular destinies of individuals, and feigned by the ancient theologians to be the daughter of Justice, looking down from a certain inscrutable eternity upon all terrestrial and mundane afl'airs.

26. She, as queen of all causes of events, and arbitress and umpire in all affairs of life, regulates the urn which contains the lots of men, and directs the alternations of fortune which we behold in the world, frequently bringing our undertakings to an issue different from what we intended, and involving and changing great numbers of actions. She also, binding the vainly swelling pride of mankind by the indissolublc fetters of necessity, and swaying the inclination of progress and decay according to her will, sometimes bows down and enfeebles the stiff neck of arrogance, and sometimes raises virtuous men from the w. 353.] DEATH or GALLUS. 43

lowest depth, leading them to a prosperous and happy life. And it is on this account that the fables of antiquity have represented her with wings, that she may he supposed to be present at all events with prompt celerity. And they have also placed a rudder in her hand and given her a wheel under her feet, that mankind may be aware that she governs the universe, running at will through all the elements.‘

27. In this untimely manner did the Caesar, being himself also already weary of life, die, in the twenty-ninth year of his age, having reigned four years. He was born in the country of the Etrurians, in the district of Veternum,i being the son of Constantius, the brother of the Emperor Constantine; his mother was Galla. the sister of Rufinus and Cerealis, men who had been ennobled by the oflices of consul and prefect.

28. He was a man of splendid stature and great beauty of person and figure, with soft hair of a golden colour, his newly sprouting beard covering his cheeks with a tender down, and in spite of his youth his countenance showed dignity and authority. He differed as much from the temperate habits of his brother Julian, as the sons of Vespasian, Domitian and Titus, differed from each other.

29. After he had been taken by the emperor as his colleague, and raised to the highest eminence of power, he

experienced the fickle changeableness of fortune which '

mocks mortality, sometimes raising individuals to the

1 Ammianus here confounds Nemesis with Fortuna. Compare Horace’s description of the latter goddess, Lib. i. ()d. 34 :“ . . . Valet ima summis Mutare, et insignia attenuat deus Obscura promens : hinc apicem rapax Fortune cum stridore acuto Sustulit; hic posuisse gaudet."

Or, as it is translated by Dr. Francis :~
“ The hand of Jove can crush the proud

Down to the meanness of the crowd :
And raise the lowest in his stead:

But rapid Fortune pulls him down,

And snatches his imperial crown,
To place, not fix it, on another’s head."

2 Near the modern city of Sienna.

stars, at others sinking them to the lowest depths of hell,

30. And though the examples of such vicissitudes are beyond number, nevertheless I will only enumerable a few in a cursory manner. This changeable and fickle fortune made Agathoclcs, the Sicilian, a king from being a potter, and reduced Dionysius, formerly the terror of all nations, to be the master of a grammar school. This same fortune emboldened Andriscus of Adramyttium, who had been born in a fuller’s shop, to assume the name of Philip, and compelled the legitimate son of Perseusl to descend to the trade of a blacksmith to obtain a livelihood. Again, fortune surrendered Mancinus2 to the people of Numantia. after he had enjoyed the supreme command, exposed Veturiusa to the cruelty of the Samnites, Claudius‘ to that of the Oorsicans, and made Regulus5 a victim to the ferocity of the Oarthaginians. Through the injustice of fortune, Pompey,‘ after he had acquired the surname of the Great by the grandeur of his exploits, was murdered in Egypt at the pleasure of some eunuchs, while a fellow named Eunus, a slave who had escaped from a house of correction, commanded an army of runaway slaves in Sicily. How many men of the highest birth, through the connivance of this same fortune, submitted to the authority of Viriathus and of Spartacus!7 How many heads at which nations once trembled have fallen under the deadly hand of the executioner! One man is thrown into prison, another is promoted to unexpected power,

1 See Plutarch’s Life of Emilius, c. 37. The name of the young prince was Alexander. 2 Called also Hostilius; cf. Vell. Paterc. ii. 1. 3 Cf. Liv. ix. 0. x.; Cicero de Ofliciis, iii. 30. 4 Of Val. Max. vi. 3. "’ Cf. Horace, 0d. iv. ult. ; Florus, ii. 1. The story of the cruelties inflicted on Regulus is now, however, generally disbelicved. ° The fate of Pompey served also as an instance to Juvenal in his satire on the vanity of human wishes. Provida Pompeio diderat Campania febres Optandas, sed multae urbes et publica vota "icerunt; igitur Fortune ipsius et urbis Scrvatum victo caput abstulit. Sat. X. 283, &c. 1 Spartacus was the celebrated leader of the slaves in the Servile ar.

« ForrigeFortsett »