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A.n. 360.] NATURE OF THE RAINBOW. 241
ances are formed. The vapours of the eanh becoming warmer, and the watery particles gathering in clouds, and thence being dispersed in spray, and made brilliant by the fusion of rays, turn upwards towards the fiery orb of the sun, and form a rainbow, which sweeps round with a large curve because it is spread over our world, which physical investigations place on the moiety of a sphere.
27 . lts appearance, as far as mortal sight can discern, is, in the first line yellow, in the second tawny, in the third scarlet, in the fourth purple, and in the last a mixture of blue and green.
28. And it is so tempered with this mixed beauty, as mankind believe, because its first portion is discerned in a thin diluted state, of the same colour as the air which surrounds it; the next line is tawny, that is a somewhat richer colour than yellow; the third is scarlet, because it is opposite to the bright rays of the sun, and so pumps up and appropriates, if one may so say, the most subtle portion of its beams; the fourth is purple, because the density of the spray by which the splendour of the sun's rays is quenched shines between, and so it assumes a colour near that of flame; and as that colour is the more difiused, it shades ofi” into blue and green.
29. Others think that the rainbow is caused by the rays of the sun becoming infused into some dense cloud, and pouring into it a liquid light, which, as it can find no exit, falls back upon itself, and shines the more brilliantly because of a kind of attrition; and receives those hues which are most akin to white from the sun above; its green hues from the cloud under which it lies, as often happens in the sea, where the waters which beat upon the shore are white, and those farther from the land, which, as being so, are more free from any admixture, are blue.
30. And since it is an indication of a change in the atmosphere (as we have already said), when in a clear sky sudden masses of clouds appear, or on the other hand, when the sky changed from a gloomy look to a joyful serenity, therefore we often read in the poets that lris is sent from heaven when a change is required in the condition of any present afi'airs.' There are various other opinions which it would be superfluous now to enumerate, since my narration must hasten back to the point from which it digressed.
31. By these and similar events the emperor was kept wavering between hope and fear, as the severity of winter was increasing, and he suspected ambuscades in the country, which was destitute of roads; fearing also, among other things, the discontent of the exasperated soldiers. And it further goaded his unquiet spirit to return balked of his purpose, after, as it were, the door of the rich mansion was opened to him.
32. However, giving up his enterprise as fruitless, he returned into the unwelcome Syria, to winter at Antioch, after having suffered a succession of melancholy disasters. For, as if some unfriendly constellation so governed events, Constantius himself, while warring with the Persians, was always attended by adverse fortune; on which account he hoped at least to gain victories by means of his generals; and this, as we remember, usually happened.
Book xxL |
I. The Emperor Julian at Vienne learns that Constantins is about to die-How he knew it—An essay on the different arts of learning the future.-II. Julian at Vienne feigns to be a Christian in order to conciliate the multitude, and on a day of festival worships God among the Christians.—III. Vadomarius, king of the Allemanni, breaking his treaty, lays waste our frontier, and slays Count Libino, with a few of his men—IV. Julian having intercepted letters of Vadomarius to the Emperor Constantius, contrives to have him seized at a banquet; and having slain some of the Allemanni, and compelled others to surrender, grants the rest peace at their entreaty.—Julian harangues his soldiers, and makes them all promise obedience to him, intending to make war upon the Emperor Constantius.—VI. Constantius marries Faustina-Increases his army by fresh levies; gains over the kings of Armenia and Hiberia by gifts.—WII. Constantius, at that time at Antioch, retains Africa in his power by means of his secretary Gaudentius; crosses the Euphrates, and moves with his army upon Edessa.— VIII. After settling the affairs of Gaul, Julian marches to the Danube, sending on before a part of his army through Italy and
A.D. 360.] PLANS OF JULIAN. 243
the Tyrol.—IX. Taurus and Florentius, consuls, and prefects of the praetorium, fly at the approach of Julian, the one through Illyricum, the other through Italy – Lucillianus, the commander of the cavalry, who was preparing to resist Julian, is crushed by him.—X. Julian receives the allegiance of Sirmium, the capital of Western Illyricum, and of its garrison—Occupies the country of the Sacci, and writes to the senate letters of complaint against Constantius.—XI. Two of the legions of Constantius which at Sirmium had passed over to Julian are sent by him into Gaul, and occupy Aquileia, with the consent of the citizens, who, however, shut their gates against the troops of Julian.— XII. Aquileia takes the part of Constantius, and is besieged, but resently, when news of his death arrives, surrenders to Julian.II. Sapor leads back his army home, because the auspices forbid war-Constantius, intending to march against Julian, harangues his soldiers. —XIV. Omens of the death of Constantius.— XV. Constantius dies at Mopsucrenae in Cilicia.—XVI. His virtues and vices.
§ 1. WHILE Constantius was detained by this perplexing war beyond the Euphrates, Julian at Vienne devoted his days and mights to forming plans for the future, as far as his limited resources would allow; being in great suspense, and continually doubting whether to try every expedient to win Constantius over to friendship, or to anticipate his attack, with the view of alarming him. 2. And while anxiously considering these points he feared him, as likely to be in the one case a cruel friend, while in the other case he recollected that he had always been successful in civil disturbances. Above all things his anxiety was increased by the example of his brother Gallus, who had been betrayed by his own want of caution and the perjured deceit of certain individuals. 3. Nevertheless he often raised himself to ideas of energetic action, thinking it safest to show himself as an avowed enemy to him whose movements he could, as a prudent man, judge of only from his past actions, in order not to be entrapped by secret snares founded on pretended friendship. 4. Therefore, paying little attention to the letters which Constantius had sent by Leonas, and admitting none of his appointments with the exception of that of Nebridius, he
now celebrated the Quinquenna1ia' as emperor, and wore a splendid diadem inlaid with precious stones, though when first entering on that power he had worn but a pa.ltrylooking crown like that of a president of the public games.
5. At this time also he sent the body of his wife Helen, recently deceased, to Rome, to be buried in the suburb on the road to Nomentum, where also Constantina, his sisterin-law, the wife of Gallus, had been buried.
6. His desire to march against Constantius, now that Gaul was tranquillized, was inflamed by the belief which he had adopted from many omens (in the interpretation of which he had great skill), and from dreams that the emperor would soon die.
7. And since malignant people have attributed to this prince, so erudite and so eager to acquire all knowledge, wicked practices for the purpose of learning future events, we may here briefly point out how this important branch of learning may be acquired by a wise man.
8. The spirit which directs all the elements, and which at all times and throughout all places exercises its activity by the movement of these eternal bodies, can communicate to us the capacity of foreseeing the future by the sciences which we attain through various kinds of discipline. And the ruling powers, when properly propitiated, as from everlasting springs, supply mankind with words of prophecy, over which the deity of Themis is said to preside, and which, because she teaches men to know what has been settled for the future by the law of Fate, has received that name from the Greek word Ttatl/Jévfl (“fixed”), and has been placed by ancient theologians in the bed and on the throne of Jupiter, who gives life to all the world.
9. Auguries and auspices are not collected from the will of birds who are themselves ignorant of the future (for there is no one so silly as to say they understand it) ; but God directs the flight of birds, so that the sound of their beaks, or the motion of their feathers, whether quiet or disturbed, indicates the character of the future. For the
' The Quinquennalia (games under which title had been previously instituted in honour of Julius Caesar and Augustus) were revived by Nero, A.D. 60, again fell into disuse, and were again revived by Domitian.-—Of. Tacit. An. xiv. 20.
A.D. 360.] MODES OF AUGURY. 245
kindness of the deity, whether it be that men deserve it, or that he is touched by affection for them, likes by these acts to give information of what is impending. 10. Again, those who attend to the prophetic entrails of cattle, which often take all kinds of shapes, learn from them what happens. Of this practice a man called Tages was the inventor, who, as is reported, was certainly seen to rise up out of the earth in the district of Etruria. 11. Men too, when their hearts are in a state of excitement, foretell the future, but then they are speaking under divine inspiration. For the sun, which is, as natural philosophers say, the mind of the world, and which scatters our minds among us as sparks proceeding from itself, when it has inflamed them with more than usual vehemence, renders them conscious of the future. From which the Sibyls often say they are burning and fired by a vast power of flames; and with reference to these cases the sound of voices, various signs, thunder, lightning, thunderbolts, and falling stars, have a great significance. 12. But the belief in dreams would be strong and undoubted if the interpreters of them were never deceived; and sometimes, as Aristotle asserts, they are fixed and stable when the eye of the person, being soundly asleep, turns neither way, but looks straight forward. 13. And because the ignorance of the vulgar often talks loudly, though ignorantly, against these ideas, asking why, if there were any faculty of foreseeing the future, one man should be ignorant that he would be killed in battle, or another that he would meet with some misfortune, and so on; it will be enough to reply that sometimes a grammarian has spoken incorrectly, or a musician has sung out of tune, or a physician been ignorant of the proper remedy for a disease; but these facts do not disprove the existence of the sciences of grammar, music, or medicine. 14. So that Tully is right in this as well as other sayings of his, when he says, “Signs of future events are shown by the gods; if any one mistakes them he errs, not because of the nature of the gods, but because of the conjectures of men.” But lest this discussion, running on this point beyond the goal, as the proverb is, should disgust the reader, we will now return to relate what follows.