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emperor. As was usual, no delay was allowed, and Barbatio, who confessed that he had received the letter, and his wife, who was distinctly proved to have written it, were both beheaded. 5. After this execution, investigations were carried further, and many persons, innocent as well as guilty, were brought into question. Among whom was Valentinus, who having lately been an officer of the protectores, had been promoted to be a tribune; and he with many others was put to the torture as having been privy to the affair, though he was wholly ignorant of it. But he survived his sufferings; and as some compensation for the injury done to him, and for his danger, he received the rank of duke of Illyricum. 6. This same Barbatio was a man of rude and arrogant manners, and very unpopular, because while captain of the protectores of the household, in the time of Gallus Caesar, he was a false and treacherous man; and after he had attained the higher rank he became so elated that he invented calumnies against the Caesar Julian, and, though all good men hated him, whispered many wicked lies into the ever-ready ears of the emperor. 7. Being forsooth ignorant of the wise old saying of Aristotle, who when he sent Callisthenes, his pupil and relation, to the king Alexander, warned him to say as little as he could, and that only of a pleasant kind, before a man who carried the power of life and death on the tip of his tongue. 8. We should not wonder that mankind, whose minds we look upon as akin to those of the gods, can sometimes discern what is likely to be beneficial or hurtful to them, when even animals devoid of reason sometimes secure their own safety by profound silence, of which the following is a notorious instance — 9. When the wild geese leave the East because of the heat, and seek a western climate, as soon as they reach Mount Taurus, which is full of eagles, fearing those warlike birds, they stop up their own beaks with stones, that not even the hardest necessity may draw a cry from them; they fly more rapidly than usual across that range, and when they have passed it they throw away the stones, and then proceed more securely.
A.D. 35.] DESIGNS OF SAPOR. I67
§ 1. WHILE these investigations were being carried on with great diligence at Sirmium, the fortune of the East sounded the terrible trumpet of danger. For the king of Persia, being strengthened by the aid of the fierce nations whom he had lately subdued, and being above all men ambitious of extending his territories, began to prepare men and arms and supplies, mingling hellish wisdom with his human counsels, and consulting all kinds of soothsayers about futurity. And when he had collected everything, he proposed to invade our territories at the first opening of the spring. 2. And when the emperor learnt this, at first by report, but subsequently by certain intelligence, and while all were in suspense from dread of the impending danger, the dependents of the court, hammering on the same anvil day and night (as the saying is), at the prompting of the eunuchs, held up Ursicinus as a Gorgon's head before the suspicious and timid emperor, continually repeating that, because on the death of Silvanus, in a dearth of better men, he had been sent to defend the eastern districts, he had become ambitious of still greater power. 3. And by this base compliance many tried to purchase the favour of Eusebius, at that time the principal chamberlain, with whom (if we are to say the real truth) Constantius had great influence, and who was now a bitter enemy of the safety of the master of the horse, Ursicinus, on two accounts; first, because he was the only person who did not need his assistance, as others did; and secondly, because he would not give up his house at Antioch, which Eusebius greatly coveted. 4. So this latter, like a snake abounding in poison, and exciting its offsping as soon as they can crawl to do mischief, stirred up the other chamberlains, that they, while performing their more private duties about the prince's person, with their thin and boyish voices, might damage the reputation of a brave man by pouring into the too open ears of the emperor accusations of great odium. And they soon did what they were commanded. 5. Disgust at this and similar events leads one to praise
Domitian, who although, by the unalterable detestation he incurred, has ever stained the memory of his father and his brother,‘ still deserved credit for a most excellent law, by which he forbade with severe threats any one to castrate any boy within the limits of the Roman jurisdiction. For if there were no such edict, who could endure the swarms of such creatures as would exist, when it is so difiicult to bear even a few of them?
6. However, they proceeded with caution, lest, as Eusebius suggested, if Ursicinus were again sent for, he should take alarm and throw everything into confusion; but it was proposed that on the first casual opportunity he should be put to death.
7. While they were waiting for this chance, and full of doubt and anxiety; and while we” were tarrying a short time at Samosata, the greatest city of what had formerly been the kingdom of Commagene, we suddenly received frequent and consistent reports of some new commotions, which I will now proceed to relate.
§ 1. A CERTAIN man named Antoninus, who from having been a wealthy merchant had become superintendent of the accounts of the duke of Mesopotamia, and after that entered the corps of the protectores, a man of experience and wisdom, and very well known in all that country. Being through the avarice of certain persons involved in heavy losses, and perceiving that while defending actions against men of influence he was being sunk lower and lower through injustice, since the judges who had to decide on his affairs sought to gratify people in power, he, not wishing to kick against the pric-ks, bent himself to obsequious caresses; and confessing that he owed what was claimed of him, the claim, by collusion, was transferred to the treasury. He now, having resolved on a flagitious plan, began secretly to look into the secrets of the whole republic; and being acquainted with both languages, he devoted his attention to the accounts; re
1 Vespasian and Titus.
marking the amount, quality, and situation of the different divisions of the army, and the employment of them on any expeditions; inquiring also with unwearied diligence intc the extent of the supplies of arms and provisions, and other things likely to be needful in war.
2. And when he had made himself acquainted with all the internal circumstances of the East, and had learnt that a great portion of the troops and of the money for their pay was distributed in lllyricum, where the emperor himself was detained by serious business ; as the day was now approaching which had been fixed for the payment of the money for which he had been constrained by fear to give an acknowledgment of his bond; and as he saw that he must be overwhelmed by disasters on all sides, since the chief treasurer was devoted to the interests of his adversary ; he conceived the audacious design of crossing over to the Persians with his wife and children, and his whole numerous family of relations.
3. And to elude the observation of the soldiers at their different stations, he bought for a small price a farm in Hiaspis, a district on the banks of the Tigris. And, relying on this pretext, since no one would venture to ask why a landed proprietor should go to the extreme frontier of the Roman territory, as many others did the same, by the agency of some trusty friends who were skilful swimmers, he carried on frequent secret negotiations with Tamsapor, who was at that time governing the country on the other side of the river with the rank of duke, and with whom he was already acquainted. And at last, having received from the Persian camp an escort of wellmounted men, he embarked in some boats, and crossed over at night with all his family, in the same manner as Zopyrus, the betrayer of Babylon, had formerly done, only with an opposite object.
4. While affairs in Mesopotamia were in this state, the hangers-on of the palace, always singing the same song for our destruction, at last found a handle to injure the gallant Ursicinus; the gang of eunuchs being still the contrivers and promoters of the plot; since they are always sour tempered and savage, and having no relations, cling to riches as their dearest kindred.
5. The design now adopted was to send Sabinianus, a withered old man of great wealth, but infirm and timid, and from the lowness of his birth far removed from any ofiice of command, to govern the districts of the East; while Ursicinus should be recalled to court, to command the infantry, as successor to Barbatio. And then he, this greedy promoter of revolution, as they called him, being
within their reach, could easily be attacked by his bitter
and formidable enemies.
6. While these things were going on in the camp of Constantius, as at a festival or a theatre, and while the dispensers of rank which was bought and sold were distributing the price agreed upon among the influential houses, Antoninus, having reached Sap0r’s winter quarters, was received with gladness; and being ennobled by the grant of a turban, an honour which gives admission to the royal table, and also that of assisting at and delivering one’s opinion in the councils of the Persians, went onwards, not with a punt pole or a tar rope, as the proverb is (that is to say, not by any tedious or circuitous path), but with flowing sails into the conduct of state aifairs, and stirring up Sapor, as formerly Maharbal roused the sluggish Hannibal, was always telling him that he knew how to conquer, but not how to use a victory. '
7. For having been bred up in active life, and being a thorough man of business, he got possession of the feelings of his hearers, who like what tickles their ears, and who do not utter their praises aloud, but, like the Phseacians in Homer, admire in silence,‘ while he recounted the events of the last forty years; urging that, after all these continual wars, and especially the battles of Hileia and Singara,’ where that fierce combat by night took place, in which we lost a vast number of our men, as if some fecial had interposed to stop them, the Persians, though victorious, had never advanced as far as Edessa or the bridges over the Euphrates. Though with their warlike power
1 Homer, Od. 1 ; translated by Pope
“ He ceased, but left. so pleasin on their ear,
And imitated by Milton, Paradise Lost, ix. 1
" The angel ended, and in Adam's ear
' The battle of Hileia took place A-D. 348; that of Singers three years earlier.