The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. II
Edward Gibbon

Part 6 out of 16

pursued by the same enemies. ^19 But when the victory was decided
in favor of Constantius, his dependent colleague became less
useful and less formidable. Every circumstance of his conduct
was severely and suspiciously examined, and it was privately
resolved, either to deprive Gallus of the purple, or at least to
remove him from the indolent luxury of Asia to the hardships and
dangers of a German war. The death of Theophilus, consular of
the province of Syria, who in a time of scarcity had been
massacred by the people of Antioch, with the connivance, and
almost at the instigation, of Gallus, was justly resented, not
only as an act of wanton cruelty, but as a dangerous insult on
the supreme majesty of Constantius. Two ministers of illustrious
rank, Domitian the Oriental praefect, and Montius, quaestor of
the palace, were empowered by a special commission ^* to visit
and reform the state of the East. They were instructed to behave
towards Gallus with moderation and respect, and, by the gentlest
arts of persuasion, to engage him to comply with the invitation
of his brother and colleague. The rashness of the praefect
disappointed these prudent measures, and hastened his own ruin,
as well as that of his enemy. On his arrival at Antioch,
Domitian passed disdainfully before the gates of the palace, and
alleging a slight pretence of indisposition, continued several
days in sullen retirement, to prepare an inflammatory memorial,
which he transmitted to the Imperial court. Yielding at length to
the pressing solicitations of Gallus, the praefect condescended
to take his seat in council; but his first step was to signify a
concise and haughty mandate, importing that the Caesar should
immediately repair to Italy, and threatening that he himself
would punish his delay or hesitation, by suspending the usual
allowance of his household. The nephew and daughter of
Constantine, who could ill brook the insolence of a subject,
expressed their resentment by instantly delivering Domitian to
the custody of a guard. The quarrel still admitted of some terms
of accommodation. They were rendered impracticable by the
imprudent behavior of Montius, a statesman whose arts and
experience were frequently betrayed by the levity of his
disposition. ^20 The quaestor reproached Gallus in a haughty
language, that a prince who was scarcely authorized to remove a
municipal magistrate, should presume to imprison a Praetorian
praefect; convoked a meeting of the civil and military officers;
and required them, in the name of their sovereign, to defend the
person and dignity of his representatives. By this rash
declaration of war, the impatient temper of Gallus was provoked
to embrace the most desperate counsels. He ordered his guards to
stand to their arms, assembled the populace of Antioch, and
recommended to their zeal the care of his safety and revenge.
His commands were too fatally obeyed. They rudely seized the
praefect and the quaestor, and tying their legs together with
ropes, they dragged them through the streets of the city,
inflicted a thousand insults and a thousand wounds on these
unhappy victims, and at last precipitated their mangled and
lifeless bodies into the stream of the Orontes. ^21

[Footnote 19: Zonaras, l. xiii. tom. ii. p. 17, 18. The
assassins had seduced a great number of legionaries; but their
designs were discovered and revealed by an old woman in whose
cottage they lodged.]
[Footnote *: The commission seems to have been granted to
Domitian alone. Montius interfered to support his authority.
Amm. Marc. loc. cit. - M]
[Footnote 20: In the present text of Ammianus, we read Asper,
quidem, sed ad lenitatem propensior; which forms a sentence of
contradictory nonsense. With the aid of an old manuscript,
Valesius has rectified the first of these corruptions, and we
perceive a ray of light in the substitution of the word vafer.
If we venture to change lenitatem into lexitatem, this alteration
of a single letter will render the whole passage clear and

[Footnote 21: Instead of being obliged to collect scattered and
imperfect hints from various sources, we now enter into the full
stream of the history of Ammianus, and need only refer to the
seventh and ninth chapters of his fourteenth book.
Philostorgius, however, (l. iii. c. 28) though partial to Gallus,
should not be entirely overlooked.]

After such a deed, whatever might have been the designs of
Gallus, it was only in a field of battle that he could assert his
innocence with any hope of success. But the mind of that prince
was formed of an equal mixture of violence and weakness. Instead
of assuming the title of Augustus, instead of employing in his
defence the troops and treasures of the East, he suffered himself
to be deceived by the affected tranquillity of Constantius, who,
leaving him the vain pageantry of a court, imperceptibly recalled
the veteran legions from the provinces of Asia. But as it still
appeared dangerous to arrest Gallus in his capital, the slow and
safer arts of dissimulation were practised with success. The
frequent and pressing epistles of Constantius were filled with
professions of confidence and friendship; exhorting the Caesar to
discharge the duties of his high station, to relieve his
colleague from a part of the public cares, and to assist the West
by his presence, his counsels, and his arms. After so many
reciprocal injuries, Gallus had reason to fear and to distrust.
But he had neglected the opportunities of flight and of
resistance; he was seduced by the flattering assurances of the
tribune Scudilo, who, under the semblance of a rough soldier,
disguised the most artful insinuation; and he depended on the
credit of his wife Constantina, till the unseasonable death of
that princess completed the ruin in which he had been involved by
her impetuous passions. ^22

[Footnote 22: She had preceded her husband, but died of a fever
on the road at a little place in Bithynia, called Coenum

Chapter XIX: Constantius Sole Emperor.

Part II.

After a long delay, the reluctant Caesar set forwards on his
journey to the Imperial court. From Antioch to Hadrianople, he
traversed the wide extent of his dominions with a numerous and
stately train; and as he labored to conceal his apprehensions
from the world, and perhaps from himself, he entertained the
people of Constantinople with an exhibition of the games of the
circus. The progress of the journey might, however, have warned
him of the impending danger. In all the principal cities he was
met by ministers of confidence, commissioned to seize the offices
of government, to observe his motions, and to prevent the hasty
sallies of his despair. The persons despatched to secure the
provinces which he left behind, passed him with cold salutations,
or affected disdain; and the troops, whose station lay along the
public road, were studiously removed on his approach, lest they
might be tempted to offer their swords for the service of a civil
war. ^23 After Gallus had been permitted to repose himself a few
days at Hadrianople, he received a mandate, expressed in the most
haughty and absolute style, that his splendid retinue should halt
in that city, while the Caesar himself, with only ten
post-carriages, should hasten to the Imperial residence at Milan.

In this rapid journey, the profound respect which was due to the
brother and colleague of Constantius, was insensibly changed into
rude familiarity; and Gallus, who discovered in the countenances
of the attendants that they already considered themselves as his
guards, and might soon be employed as his executioners, began to
accuse his fatal rashness, and to recollect, with terror and
remorse, the conduct by which he had provoked his fate. The
dissimulation which had hitherto been preserved, was laid aside
at Petovio, ^* in Pannonia. He was conducted to a palace in the
suburbs, where the general Barbatio, with a select band of
soldiers, who could neither be moved by pity, nor corrupted by
rewards, expected the arrival of his illustrious victim. In the
close of the evening he was arrested, ignominiously stripped of
the ensigns of Caesar, and hurried away to Pola, ^! in Istria, a
sequestered prison, which had been so recently polluted with
royal blood. The horror which he felt was soon increased by the
appearance of his implacable enemy the eunuch Eusebius, who, with
the assistance of a notary and a tribune, proceeded to
interrogate him concerning the administration of the East. The
Caesar sank under the weight of shame and guilt, confessed all
the criminal actions and all the treasonable designs with which
he was charged; and by imputing them to the advice of his wife,
exasperated the indignation of Constantius, who reviewed with
partial prejudice the minutes of the examination. The emperor
was easily convinced, that his own safety was incompatible with
the life of his cousin: the sentence of death was signed,
despatched, and executed; and the nephew of Constantine, with his
hands tied behind his back, was beheaded in prison like the
vilest malefactor. ^24 Those who are inclined to palliate the
cruelties of Constantius, assert that he soon relented, and
endeavored to recall the bloody mandate; but that the second
messenger, intrusted with the reprieve, was detained by the
eunuchs, who dreaded the unforgiving temper of Gallus, and were
desirous of reuniting to their empire the wealthy provinces of
the East. ^25

[Footnote 23: The Thebaean legions, which were then quartered at
Hadrianople, sent a deputation to Gallus, with a tender of their
services. Ammian. l. xiv. c. 11. The Notitia (s. 6, 20, 38,
edit. Labb.) mentions three several legions which bore the name
of Thebaean. The zeal of M. de Voltaire to destroy a despicable
though celebrated legion, has tempted him on the slightest
grounds to deny the existence of a Thenaean legion in the Roman
armies. See Oeuvres de Voltaire, tom. xv. p. 414, quarto
[Footnote *: Pettau in Styria. - M]

[Footnote *: Rather to Flanonia. now Fianone, near Pola. St.
Martin. - M.]
[Footnote 24: See the complete narrative of the journey and death
of Gallus in Ammianus, l. xiv. c. 11. Julian complains that his
brother was put to death without a trial; attempts to justify, or
at least to excuse, the cruel revenge which he had inflicted on
his enemies; but seems at last to acknowledge that he might
justly have been deprived of the purple.]
[Footnote 25: Philostorgius, l. iv. c. 1. Zonaras, l. xiii. tom.
ii. p. 19. But the former was partial towards an Arian monarch,
and the latter transcribed, without choice or criticism, whatever
he found in the writings of the ancients.]

Besides the reigning emperor, Julian alone survived, of all
the numerous posterity of Constantius Chlorus. The misfortune of
his royal birth involved him in the disgrace of Gallus. From his
retirement in the happy country of Ionia, he was conveyed under a
strong guard to the court of Milan; where he languished above
seven months, in the continual apprehension of suffering the same
ignominious death, which was daily inflicted almost before his
eyes, on the friends and adherents of his persecuted family. His
looks, his gestures, his silence, were scrutinized with malignant
curiosity, and he was perpetually assaulted by enemies whom he
had never offended, and by arts to which he was a stranger. ^26
But in the school of adversity, Julian insensibly acquired the
virtues of firmness and discretion. He defended his honor, as
well as his life, against the insnaring subtleties of the
eunuchs, who endeavored to extort some declaration of his
sentiments; and whilst he cautiously suppressed his grief and
resentment, he nobly disdained to flatter the tyrant, by any
seeming approbation of his brother's murder. Julian most
devoutly ascribes his miraculous deliverance to the protection of
the gods, who had exempted his innocence from the sentence of
destruction pronounced by their justice against the impious house
of Constantine. ^27 As the most effectual instrument of their
providence, he gratefully acknowledges the steady and generous
friendship of the empress Eusebia, ^28 a woman of beauty and
merit, who, by the ascendant which she had gained over the mind
of her husband, counterbalanced, in some measure, the powerful
conspiracy of the eunuchs. By the intercession of his patroness,
Julian was admitted into the Imperial presence: he pleaded his
cause with a decent freedom, he was heard with favor; and,
notwithstanding the efforts of his enemies, who urged the danger
of sparing an avenger of the blood of Gallus, the milder
sentiment of Eusebia prevailed in the council. But the effects
of a second interview were dreaded by the eunuchs; and Julian was
advised to withdraw for a while into the neighborhood of Milan,
till the emperor thought proper to assign the city of Athens for
the place of his honorable exile. As he had discovered, from his
earliest youth, a propensity, or rather passion, for the
language, the manners, the learning, and the religion of the
Greeks, he obeyed with pleasure an order so agreeable to his
wishes. Far from the tumult of arms, and the treachery of
courts, he spent six months under the groves of the academy, in a
free intercourse with the philosophers of the age, who studied to
cultivate the genius, to encourage the vanity, and to inflame the
devotion of their royal pupil. Their labors were not
unsuccessful; and Julian inviolably preserved for Athens that
tender regard which seldom fails to arise in a liberal mind, from
the recollection of the place where it has discovered and
exercised its growing powers. The gentleness and affability of
manners, which his temper suggested and his situation imposed,
insensibly engaged the affections of the strangers, as well as
citizens, with whom he conversed. Some of his fellow-students
might perhaps examine his behavior with an eye of prejudice and
aversion; but Julian established, in the schools of Athens, a
general prepossession in favor of his virtues and talents, which
was soon diffused over the Roman world. ^29

[Footnote 26: See Ammianus Marcellin. l. xv. c. 1, 3, 8. Julian
himself in his epistle to the Athenians, draws a very lively and
just picture of his own danger, and of his sentiments. He shows,
however, a tendency to exaggerate his sufferings, by insinuating,
though in obscure terms, that they lasted above a year; a period
which cannot be reconciled with the truth of chronology.]

[Footnote 27: Julian has worked the crimes and misfortunes of the
family of Constantine into an allegorical fable, which is happily
conceived and agreeably related. It forms the conclusion of the
seventh Oration, from whence it has been detached and translated
by the Abbe de la Bleterie, Vie de Jovien, tom. ii. p. 385-408.]

[Footnote 28: She was a native of Thessalonica, in Macedonia, of
a noble family, and the daughter, as well as sister, of consuls.
Her marriage with the emperor may be placed in the year 352. In
a divided age, the historians of all parties agree in her
praises. See their testimonies collected by Tillemont, Hist. des
Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 750-754.]
[Footnote 29: Libanius and Gregory Nazianzen have exhausted the
arts as well as the powers of their eloquence, to represent
Julian as the first of heroes, or the worst of tyrants. Gregory
was his fellow-student at Athens; and the symptoms which he so
tragically describes, of the future wickedness of the apostate,
amount only to some bodily imperfections, and to some
peculiarities in his speech and manner. He protests, however,
that he then foresaw and foretold the calamities of the church
and state. (Greg. Nazianzen, Orat. iv. p. 121, 122.)]

Whilst his hours were passed in studious retirement, the
empress, resolute to achieve the generous design which she had
undertaken, was not unmindful of the care of his fortune. The
death of the late Caesar had left Constantius invested with the
sole command, and oppressed by the accumulated weight, of a
mighty empire. Before the wounds of civil discord could be
healed, the provinces of Gaul were overwhelmed by a deluge of
Barbarians. The Sarmatians no longer respected the barrier of
the Danube. The impunity of rapine had increased the boldness and
numbers of the wild Isaurians: those robbers descended from their
craggy mountains to ravage the adjacent country, and had even
presumed, though without success, to besiege the important city
of Seleucia, which was defended by a garrison of three Roman
legions. Above all, the Persian monarch, elated by victory,
again threatened the peace of Asia, and the presence of the
emperor was indispensably required, both in the West and in the
East. For the first time, Constantius sincerely acknowledged,
that his single strength was unequal to such an extent of care
and of dominion. ^30 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 of Gallus dwelt on the 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. ^31 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 honor
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
favorite eunuchs submitted to the ascendency 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. ^32

[Footnote 30: Succumbere tot necessitatibus tamque crebris unum
se, quod nunquam fecerat, aperte demonstrans. Ammian. l. xv. c.
8. He then expresses, in their own words, the fattering
assurances of the courtiers.]
[Footnote 31: Tantum a temperatis moribus Juliani differens
fratris quantum inter Vespasiani filios fuit, Domitianum et
Titum. Ammian. l. xiv. 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 characters.]

[Footnote 32: Ammianus, l. xv. c. 8. Zosimus, l. iii. p. 137,
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. ^33 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 ingenuous 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 endeavored, 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 demeanor, 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. ^34

[Footnote 33: Julian. ad S. P. Q. A. p. 275, 276. Libanius,
Orat. x. 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.]
[Footnote 34: Julian himself relates, (p. 274) with some humor,
the circumstances of his own metamorphoses, his downcast looks,
and his perplexity at being thus suddenly transported into a new
world, where every object appeared strange and hostile.]

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 neighborhood 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. ^35 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 honors 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 climes. As soon as the speech
was ended, the troops, as a token of applause, clashed their
shields against their knees; ^36 while the officers who
surrounded the tribunal expressed, with decent reserve, their
sense of the merits of the representative of Constantius.

[Footnote 35: See Ammian. Marcellin. l. xv. c. 8. Zosimus, l.
iii. p. 139. Aurelius Victor. Victor Junior in Epitom. Eutrop.
x. 14.]
[Footnote 36: Militares omnes horrendo fragore scuta genibus
illidentes; quod est prosperitatis indicium plenum; nam contra
cum hastis clypei feriuntur, irae documentum est et doloris. . .
. . . Ammianus adds, with a nice distinction, Eumque ut potiori
reverentia servaretur, nec supra modum laudabant nec infra quam

The two princes returned to the palace in the same chariot;
and during the slow procession, Julian repeated to himself a
verse of his favorite Homer, which he might equally apply to his
fortune and to his fears. ^37 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 honor compensate for the
loss of freedom. ^38 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 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 council; 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 Eusebia ^39
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 unworthy fate of Sylvanus. In the summer which
preceded his own elevation, that general had been chosen to
deliver Gaul from the tyranny of the Barbarians; but Sylvanus
soon discovered that he had left his most dangerous enemies in
the Imperial court. A dexterous informer, countenanced by
several of the principal ministers, procured from him some
recommendatory letters; and erasing 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
favor which he had lost by his eminent services in the East.
Exasperated, as he might speciously allege, by the 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. ^40

[Footnote 37: 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.]

[Footnote 38: He represents, in the most pathetic terms, (p.
277,) 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. Quum legeret libellum
assidue, quem Constantius ut privignum ad studia mittens manu sua
conscripserat, praelicenter disponens quid in convivio Caesaris
impendi deberit: Phasianum, et vulvam et sumen exigi vetuit et
inferri. Ammian. Marcellin. l. xvi. c. 5.]

[Footnote 39: 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
afterwards delivered of a son, who died immediately, quod
obstetrix corrupta mercede, mox natum praesecto plusquam
convenerat umbilico necavit. She accompanied the emperor and
empress in their journey to Rome, and the latter, quaesitum
venenum bibere per fraudem illexit, ut quotiescunque concepisset,
immaturum abjicerit partum. Ammian. l. xvi. 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.]

[Footnote 40: Ammianus (xv. v.) was perfectly well informed of
the conduct and fate of Sylvanus. He himself was one of the few
followers who attended Ursicinus in his dangerous enterprise.]

The protection of the Rhaetian frontier, and the persecution
of the Catholic church, detained Constantius in Italy above
eighteen months after the departure of Julian. Before the
emperor returned into the East, he indulged his pride and
curiosity in a visit to the ancient capital. ^41 He proceeded
from Milan to Rome along the Aemilian and Flaminian ways, and as
soon as he approached within forty miles of the city, the march
of a prince who had never vanquished a foreign enemy, assumed the
appearance of a triumphal procession. His splendid train was
composed of all the ministers of luxury; but in a time of
profound peace, he was encompassed by the glittering arms of the
numerous squadrons of his guards and cuirassiers. Their streaming
banners of silk, embossed with gold, and shaped in the form of
dragons, waved round the person of the emperor. Constantius sat
alone in a lofty car, resplendent with gold and precious gems;
and, except when he bowed his head to pass under the gates of the
cities, he affected a stately demeanor of inflexible, and, as it
might seem, of insensible gravity. The severe discipline of the
Persian youth had been introduced by the eunuchs into the
Imperial palace; and such were the habits of patience which they
had inculcated, that during a slow and sultry march, he was never
seen to move his hand towards his face, or to turn his eyes
either to the right or to the left. He was received by the
magistrates and senate of Rome; and the emperor surveyed, with
attention, the civil honors of the republic, and the consular
images of the noble families. The streets were lined with an
innumerable multitude. Their repeated acclamations expressed
their joy at beholding, after an absence of thirty-two years, the
sacred person of their sovereign, and Constantius himself
expressed, with some pleasantry, he affected surprise that the
human race should thus suddenly be collected on the same spot.
The son of Constantine was lodged in the ancient palace of
Augustus: he presided in the senate, harangued the people from
the tribunal which Cicero had so often ascended, assisted with
unusual courtesy at the games of the Circus, and accepted the
crowns of gold, as well as the Panegyrics which had been prepared
for the ceremony by the deputies of the principal cities. His
short visit of thirty days was employed in viewing the monuments
of art and power which were scattered over the seven hills and
the interjacent valleys. He admired the awful majesty of the
Capitol, the vast extent of the baths of Caracalla and
Diocletian, the severe simplicity of the Pantheon, the massy
greatness of the amphitheatre of Titus, the elegant architecture
of the theatre of Pompey and the Temple of Peace, and, above all,
the stately structure of the Forum and column of Trajan;
acknowledging that the voice of fame, so prone to invent and to
magnify, had made an inadequate report of the metropolis of the
world. The traveller, who has contemplated the ruins of ancient
Rome, may conceive some imperfect idea of the sentiments which
they must have inspired when they reared their heads in the
splendor of unsullied beauty.

[See The Pantheon: The severe simplicity of the Pantheon]

[Footnote 41: For the particulars of the visit of Constantius to
Rome, see Ammianus, l. xvi. c. 10. We have only to add, that
Themistius was appointed deputy from Constantinople, and that he
composed his fourth oration for his ceremony.]

The satisfaction which Constantius had received from this
journey excited him to the generous emulation of bestowing on the
Romans some memorial of his own gratitude and munificence. His
first idea was to imitate the equestrian and colossal statue
which he had seen in the Forum of Trajan; but when he had
maturely weighed the difficulties of the execution, ^42 he chose
rather to embellish the capital by the gift of an Egyptian
obelisk. In a remote but polished age, which seems to have
preceded the invention of alphabetical writing, a great number of
these obelisks had been erected, in the cities of Thebes and
Heliopolis, by the ancient sovereigns of Egypt, in a just
confidence that the simplicity of their form, and the hardness of
their substance, would resist the injuries of time and violence.
^43 Several of these extraordinary columns had been transported
to Rome by Augustus and his successors, as the most durable
monuments of their power and victory; ^44 but there remained one
obelisk, which, from its size or sanctity, escaped for a long
time the rapacious vanity of the conquerors. It was designed by
Constantine to adorn his new city; ^45 and, after being removed
by his order from the pedestal where it stood before the Temple
of the Sun at Heliopolis, was floated down the Nile to
Alexandria. The death of Constantine suspended the execution of
his purpose, and this obelisk was destined by his son to the
ancient capital of the empire. A vessel of uncommon strength and
capaciousness was provided to convey this enormous weight of
granite, at least a hundred and fifteen feet in length, from the
banks of the Nile to those of the Tyber. The obelisk of
Constantius was landed about three miles from the city, and
elevated, by the efforts of art and labor, in the great Circus of
Rome. ^46
[Footnote 42: Hormisdas, a fugitive prince of Persia, observed to
the emperor, that if he made such a horse, he must think of
preparing a similar stable, (the Forum of Trajan.) Another saying
of Hormisdas is recorded, "that one thing only had displeased
him, to find that men died at Rome as well as elsewhere." If we
adopt this reading of the text of Ammianus, (displicuisse,
instead of placuisse,) we may consider it as a reproof of Roman
vanity. The contrary sense would be that of a misanthrope.]
[Footnote 43: When Germanicus visited the ancient monuments of
Thebes, the eldest of the priests explained to him the meaning of
these hiero glyphics. Tacit. Annal. ii. c. 60. But it seems
probable, that before the useful invention of an alphabet, these
natural or arbitrary signs were the common characters of the
Egyptian nation. See Warburton's Divine Legation of Moses, vol.
iii. p. 69-243.]

[Footnote 44: See Plin. Hist. Natur. l. xxxvi. c. 14, 15.]
[Footnote 45: Ammian. Marcellin l. xvii. c. 4. He gives us a
Greek interpretation of the hieroglyphics, and his commentator
Lindenbrogius adds a Latin inscription, which, in twenty verses
of the age of Constantius, contain a short history of the

[Footnote 46: See Donat. Roma. Antiqua, l. iii. c. 14, l. iv. c.
12, and the learned, though confused, Dissertation of Bargaeus on
Obelisks, inserted in the fourth volume of Graevius's Roman
Antiquities, p. 1897- 1936. This dissertation is dedicated to
Pope Sixtus V., who erected the obelisk of Constantius in the
square before the patriarchal church of at. John Lateran.]

[Footnote *: It is doubtful whether the obelisk transported by
Constantius to Rome now exists. Even from the text of Ammianus,
it is uncertain whether the interpretation of Hermapion refers to
the older obelisk, (obelisco incisus est veteri quem videmus in
Circo,) raised, as he himself states, in the Circus Maximus, long
before, by Augustus, or to the one brought by Constantius. The
obelisk in the square before the church of St. John Lateran is
ascribed not to Rameses the Great but to Thoutmos II.
Champollion, 1. Lettre a M. de Blacas, p. 32. - M]

The departure of Constantius from Rome was hastened by the
alarming intelligence of the distress and danger of the Illyrian
provinces. The distractions of civil war, and the irreparable
loss which the Roman legions had sustained in the battle of
Mursa, exposed those countries, almost without defence, to the
light cavalry of the Barbarians; and particularly to the inroads
of the Quadi, a fierce and powerful nation, who seem to have
exchanged the institutions of Germany for the arms and military
arts of their Sarmatian allies. ^47 The garrisons of the
frontiers were insufficient to check their progress; and the
indolent monarch was at length compelled to assemble, from the
extremities of his dominions, the flower of the Palatine troops,
to take the field in person, and to employ a whole campaign, with
the preceding autumn and the ensuing spring, in the serious
prosecution of the war. The emperor passed the Danube on a
bridge of boats, cut in pieces all that encountered his march,
penetrated into the heart of the country of the Quadi, and
severely retaliated the calamities which they had inflicted on
the Roman province. The dismayed Barbarians were soon reduced to
sue for peace: they offered the restitution of his captive
subjects as an atonement for the past, and the noblest hostages
as a pledge of their future conduct. The generous courtesy which
was shown to the first among their chieftains who implored the
clemency of Constantius, encouraged the more timid, or the more
obstinate, to imitate their example; and the Imperial camp was
crowded with the princes and ambassadors of the most distant
tribes, who occupied the plains of the Lesser Poland, and who
might have deemed themselves secure behind the lofty ridge of the
Carpathian Mountains. While Constantius gave laws to the
Barbarians beyond the Danube, he distinguished, with specious
compassion, the Sarmatian exiles, who had been expelled from
their native country by the rebellion of their slaves, and who
formed a very considerable accession to the power of the Quadi.
The emperor, embracing a generous but artful system of policy,
released the Sarmatians from the bands of this humiliating
dependence, and restored them, by a separate treaty, to the
dignity of a nation united under the government of a king, the
friend and ally of the republic. He declared his resolution of
asserting the justice of their cause, and of securing the peace
of the provinces by the extirpation, or at least the banishment,
of the Limigantes, whose manners were still infected with the
vices of their servile origin. The execution of this design was
attended with more difficulty than glory. The territory of the
Limigantes was protected against the Romans by the Danube,
against the hostile Barbarians by the Teyss. The marshy lands
which lay between those rivers, and were often covered by their
inundations, formed an intricate wilderness, pervious only to the
inhabitants, who were acquainted with its secret paths and
inaccessible fortresses. On the approach of Constantius, the
Limigantes tried the efficacy of prayers, of fraud, and of arms;
but he sternly rejected their supplications, defeated their rude
stratagems, and repelled with skill and firmness the efforts of
their irregular valor. One of their most warlike tribes,
established in a small island towards the conflux of the Teyss
and the Danube, consented to pass the river with the intention of
surprising the emperor during the security of an amicable
conference. They soon became the victims of the perfidy which
they meditated. Encompassed on every side, trampled down by the
cavalry, slaughtered by the swords of the legions, they disdained
to ask for mercy; and with an undaunted countenance, still
grasped their weapons in the agonies of death. After this
victory, a considerable body of Romans was landed on the opposite
banks of the Danube; the Taifalae, a Gothic tribe engaged in the
service of the empire, invaded the Limigantes on the side of the
Teyss; and their former masters, the free Sarmatians, animated by
hope and revenge, penetrated through the hilly country, into the
heart of their ancient possessions. A general conflagration
revealed the huts of the Barbarians, which were seated in the
depth of the wilderness; and the soldier fought with confidence
on marshy ground, which it was dangerous for him to tread. In
this extremity, the bravest of the Limigantes were resolved to
die in arms, rather than to yield: but the milder sentiment,
enforced by the authority of their elders, at length prevailed;
and the suppliant crowd, followed by their wives and children,
repaired to the Imperial camp, to learn their fate from the mouth
of the conqueror. After celebrating his own clemency, which was
still inclined to pardon their repeated crimes, and to spare the
remnant of a guilty nation, Constantius assigned for the place of
their exile a remote country, where they might enjoy a safe and
honorable repose. The Limigantes obeyed with reluctance; but
before they could reach, at least before they could occupy, their
destined habitations, they returned to the banks of the Danube,
exaggerating the hardships of their situation, and requesting,
with fervent professions of fidelity, that the emperor would
grant them an undisturbed settlement within the limits of the
Roman provinces. Instead of consulting his own experience of
their incurable perfidy, Constantius listened to his flatterers,
who were ready to represent the honor and advantage of accepting
a colony of soldiers, at a time when it was much easier to obtain
the pecuniary contributions than the military service of the
subjects of the empire. The Limigantes were permitted to pass
the Danube; and the emperor gave audience to the multitude in a
large plain near the modern city of Buda. They surrounded the
tribunal, and seemed to hear with respect an oration full of
mildness and dignity when one of the Barbarians, casting his shoe
into the air, exclaimed with a loud voice, Marha! Marha! ^* a
word of defiance, which was received as a signal of the tumult.
They rushed with fury to seize the person of the emperor; his
royal throne and golden couch were pillaged by these rude hands;
but the faithful defence of his guards, who died at his feet,
allowed him a moment to mount a fleet horse, and to escape from
the confusion. The disgrace which had been incurred by a
treacherous surprise was soon retrieved by the numbers and
discipline of the Romans; and the combat was only terminated by
the extinction of the name and nation of the Limigantes. The
free Sarmatians were reinstated in the possession of their
ancient seats; and although Constantius distrusted the levity of
their character, he entertained some hopes that a sense of
gratitude might influence their future conduct. He had remarked
the lofty stature and obsequious demeanor of Zizais, one of the
noblest of their chiefs. He conferred on him the title of King;
and Zizais proved that he was not unworthy to reign, by a sincere
and lasting attachment to the interests of his benefactor, who,
after this splendid success, received the name of Sarmaticus from
the acclamations of his victorious army. ^48

[Footnote 47: The events of this Quadian and Sarmatian war are
related by Ammianus, xvi. 10, xvii. 12, 13, xix. 11]
[Footnote *: Reinesius reads Warrha, Warrha, Guerre, War. Wagner
note as a mm. Marc xix. ll. - M.]

[Footnote 48: Genti Sarmatarum magno decori confidens apud eos
regem dedit. Aurelius Victor. In a pompous oration pronounced by
Constantius himself, he expatiates on his own exploits with much
vanity, and some truth]

Chapter XIX: Constantius Sole Emperor.

Part III.

While the Roman emperor and the Persian monarch, at the
distance of three thousand miles, defended their extreme limits
against the Barbarians of the Danube and of the Oxus, their
intermediate frontier experienced the vicissitudes of a languid
war, and a precarious truce. Two of the eastern ministers of
Constantius, the Praetorian praefect Musonian, whose abilities
were disgraced by the want of truth and integrity, and Cassian,
duke of Mesopotamia, a hardy and veteran soldier, opened a secret
negotiation with the satrap Tamsapor. ^49 ^! These overtures of
peace, translated into the servile and flattering language of
Asia, were transmitted to the camp of the Great King; who
resolved to signify, by an ambassador, the terms which he was
inclined to grant to the suppliant Romans. Narses, whom he
invested with that character, was honorably received in his
passage through Antioch and Constantinople: he reached Sirmium
after a long journey, and, at his first audience, respectfully
unfolded the silken veil which covered the haughty epistle of his
sovereign. Sapor, King of Kings, and Brother of the Sun and
Moon, (such were the lofty titles affected by Oriental vanity,)
expressed his satisfaction that his brother, Constantius Caesar,
had been taught wisdom by adversity. As the lawful successor of
Darius Hystaspes, Sapor asserted, that the River Strymon, in
Macedonia, was the true and ancient boundary of his empire;
declaring, however, that as an evidence of his moderation, he
would content himself with the provinces of Armenia and
Mesopotamia, which had been fraudulently extorted from his
ancestors. He alleged, that, without the restitution of these
disputed countries, it was impossible to establish any treaty on
a solid and permanent basis; and he arrogantly threatened, that
if his ambassador returned in vain, he was prepared to take the
field in the spring, and to support the justice of his cause by
the strength of his invincible arms. Narses, who was endowed
with the most polite and amiable manners, endeavored, as far as
was consistent with his duty, to soften the harshness of the
message. ^50 Both the style and substance were maturely weighed
in the Imperial council, and he was dismissed with the following
answer: "Constantius had a right to disclaim the officiousness of
his ministers, who had acted without any specific orders from the
throne: he was not, however, averse to an equal and honorable
treaty; but it was highly indecent, as well as absurd, to propose
to the sole and victorious emperor of the Roman world, the same
conditions of peace which he had indignantly rejected at the time
when his power was contracted within the narrow limits of the
East: the chance of arms was uncertain; and Sapor should
recollect, that if the Romans had sometimes been vanquished in
battle, they had almost always been successful in the event of
the war." A few days after the departure of Narses, three
ambassadors were sent to the court of Sapor, who was already
returned from the Scythian expedition to his ordinary residence
of Ctesiphon. A count, a notary, and a sophist, had been selected
for this important commission; and Constantius, who was secretly
anxious for the conclusion of the peace, entertained some hopes
that the dignity of the first of these ministers, the dexterity
of the second, and the rhetoric of the third, ^51 would persuade
the Persian monarch to abate of the rigor of his demands. But
the progress of their negotiation was opposed and defeated by the
hostile arts of Antoninus, ^52 a Roman subject of Syria, who had
fled from oppression, and was admitted into the councils of
Sapor, and even to the royal table, where, according to the
custom of the Persians, the most important business was
frequently discussed. ^53 The dexterous fugitive promoted his
interest by the same conduct which gratified his revenge. He
incessantly urged the ambition of his new master to embrace the
favorable opportunity when the bravest of the Palatine troops
were employed with the emperor in a distant war on the Danube. He
pressed Sapor to invade the exhausted and defenceless provinces
of the East, with the numerous armies of Persia, now fortified by
the alliance and accession of the fiercest Barbarians. The
ambassadors of Rome retired without success, and a second
embassy, of a still more honorable rank, was detained in strict
confinement, and threatened either with death or exile.
[Footnote 49: Ammian. xvi. 9.]

[Footnote *: In Persian, Ten-schah-pour. St. Martin, ii. 177. -
[Footnote 50: Ammianus (xvii. 5) transcribes the haughty letter.
Themistius (Orat. iv. p. 57, edit. Petav.) takes notice of the
silken covering. Idatius and Zonaras mention the journey of the
ambassador; and Peter the Patrician (in Excerpt. Legat. p. 58)
has informed us of his behavior.]

[Footnote 51: Ammianus, xvii. 5, and Valesius ad loc. The
sophist, or philosopher, (in that age these words were almost
synonymous,) was Eustathius the Cappadocian, the disciple of
Jamblichus, and the friend of St. Basil. Eunapius (in Vit.
Aedesii, p. 44-47) fondly attributes to this philosophic
ambassador the glory of enchanting the Barbarian king by the
persuasive charms of reason and eloquence. See Tillemont, Hist.
des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 828, 1132.]

[Footnote 52: Ammian. xviii. 5, 6, 8. The decent and respectful
behavior of Antoninus towards the Roman general, sets him in a
very interesting light; and Ammianus himself speaks of the
traitor with some compassion and esteem.]

[Footnote 53: This circumstance, as it is noticed by Ammianus,
serves to prove the veracity of Herodotus, (l. i. c. 133,) and
the permanency of the Persian manners. In every age the Persians
have been addicted to intemperance, and the wines of Shiraz have
triumphed over the law of Mahomet. Brisson de Regno Pers. l. ii.
p. 462-472, and Voyages en Perse, tom, iii. p. 90.]
The military historian, ^54 who was himself despatched to
observe the army of the Persians, as they were preparing to
construct a bridge of boats over the Tigris, beheld from an
eminence the plain of Assyria, as far as the edge of the horizon,
covered with men, with horses, and with arms. Sapor appeared in
the front, conspicuous by the splendor of his purple. On his
left hand, the place of honor among the Orientals, Grumbates,
king of the Chionites, displayed the stern countenance of an aged
and renowned warrior. The monarch had reserved a similar place
on his right hand for the king of the Albanians, who led his
independent tribes from the shores of the Caspian. ^* The satraps
and generals were distributed according to their several ranks,
and the whole army, besides the numerous train of Oriental
luxury, consisted of more than one hundred thousand effective
men, inured to fatigue, and selected from the bravest nations of
Asia. The Roman deserter, who in some measure guided the
councils of Sapor, had prudently advised, that, instead of
wasting the summer in tedious and difficult sieges, he should
march directly to the Euphrates, and press forwards without delay
to seize the feeble and wealthy metropolis of Syria. But the
Persians were no sooner advanced into the plains of Mesopotamia,
than they discovered that every precaution had been used which
could retard their progress, or defeat their design. The
inhabitants, with their cattle, were secured in places of
strength, the green forage throughout the country was set on
fire, the fords of the rivers were fortified by sharp stakes;
military engines were planted on the opposite banks, and a
seasonable swell of the waters of the Euphrates deterred the
Barbarians from attempting the ordinary passage of the bridge of
Thapsacus. Their skilful guide, changing his plan of operations,
then conducted the army by a longer circuit, but through a
fertile territory, towards the head of the Euphrates, where the
infant river is reduced to a shallow and accessible stream.
Sapor overlooked, with prudent disdain, the strength of Nisibis;
but as he passed under the walls of Amida, he resolved to try
whether the majesty of his presence would not awe the garrison
into immediate submission. The sacrilegious insult of a random
dart, which glanced against the royal tiara, convinced him of his
error; and the indignant monarch listened with impatience to the
advice of his ministers, who conjured him not to sacrifice the
success of his ambition to the gratification of his resentment.
The following day Grumbates advanced towards the gates with a
select body of troops, and required the instant surrender of the
city, as the only atonement which could be accepted for such an
act of rashness and insolence. His proposals were answered by a
general discharge, and his only son, a beautiful and valiant
youth, was pierced through the heart by a javelin, shot from one
of the balistae. The funeral of the prince of the Chionites was
celebrated according to the rites of the country; and the grief
of his aged father was alleviated by the solemn promise of Sapor,
that the guilty city of Amida should serve as a funeral pile to
expiate the death, and to perpetuate the memory, of his son.

[Footnote 54: Ammian. lxviii. 6, 7, 8, 10.]

[Footnote *: These perhaps were the barbarous tribes who inhabit
the northern part of the present Schirwan, the Albania of the
ancients. This country, now inhabited by the Lezghis, the terror
of the neighboring districts, was then occupied by the same
people, called by the ancients Legae, by the Armenians Gheg, or
Leg. The latter represent them as constant allies of the
Persians in their wars against Armenia and the Empire. A little
after this period, a certain Schergir was their king, and it is
of him doubtless Ammianus Marcellinus speaks. St. Martin, ii.
285. - M.]

The ancient city of Amid or Amida, ^55 which sometimes
assumes the provincial appellation of Diarbekir, ^56 is
advantageously situate in a fertile plain, watered by the natural
and artificial channels of the Tigris, of which the least
inconsiderable stream bends in a semicircular form round the
eastern part of the city. The emperor Constantius had recently
conferred on Amida the honor of his own name, and the additional
fortifications of strong walls and lofty towers. It was provided
with an arsenal of military engines, and the ordinary garrison
had been reenforced to the amount of seven legions, when the
place was invested by the arms of Sapor. ^57 His first and most
sanguine hopes depended on the success of a general assault. To
the several nations which followed his standard, their respective
posts were assigned; the south to the Vertae; the north to the
Albanians; the east to the Chionites, inflamed with grief and
indignation; the west to the Segestans, the bravest of his
warriors, who covered their front with a formidable line of
Indian elephants. ^58 The Persians, on every side, supported
their efforts, and animated their courage; and the monarch
himself, careless of his rank and safety, displayed, in the
prosecution of the siege, the ardor of a youthful soldier. After
an obstinate combat, the Barbarians were repulsed; they
incessantly returned to the charge; they were again driven back
with a dreadful slaughter, and two rebel legions of Gauls, who
had been banished into the East, signalized their undisciplined
courage by a nocturnal sally into the heart of the Persian camp.
In one of the fiercest of these repeated assaults, Amida was
betrayed by the treachery of a deserter, who indicated to the
Barbarians a secret and neglected staircase, scooped out of the
rock that hangs over the stream of the Tigris. Seventy chosen
archers of the royal guard ascended in silence to the third story
of a lofty tower, which commanded the precipice; they elevated on
high the Persian banner, the signal of confidence to the
assailants, and of dismay to the besieged; and if this devoted
band could have maintained their post a few minutes longer, the
reduction of the place might have been purchased by the sacrifice
of their lives. After Sapor had tried, without success, the
efficacy of force and of stratagem, he had recourse to the slower
but more certain operations of a regular siege, in the conduct of
which he was instructed by the skill of the Roman deserters. The
trenches were opened at a convenient distance, and the troops
destined for that service advanced under the portable cover of
strong hurdles, to fill up the ditch, and undermine the
foundations of the walls. Wooden towers were at the same time
constructed, and moved forwards on wheels, till the soldiers, who
were provided with every species of missile weapons, could engage
almost on level ground with the troops who defended the rampart.
Every mode of resistance which art could suggest, or courage
could execute, was employed in the defence of Amida, and the
works of Sapor were more than once destroyed by the fire of the
Romans. But the resources of a besieged city may be exhausted.
The Persians repaired their losses, and pushed their approaches;
a large preach was made by the battering-ram, and the strength of
the garrison, wasted by the sword and by disease, yielded to the
fury of the assault. The soldiers, the citizens, their wives,
their children, all who had not time to escape through the
opposite gate, were involved by the conquerors in a promiscuous
[Footnote 55: For the description of Amida, see D'Herbelot,
Bebliotheque Orientale, p. Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 108.
Histoire de Timur Bec, par Cherefeddin Ali, l. iii. c. 41. Ahmed
Arabsiades, tom. i. p. 331, c. 43. Voyages de Tavernier, tom. i.
p. 301. Voyages d'Otter, tom. ii. p. 273, and Voyages de
Niebuhr, tom. ii. p. 324-328. The last of these travellers, a
learned and accurate Dane, has given a plan of Amida, which
illustrates the operations of the siege.]

[Footnote 56: Diarbekir, which is styled Amid, or Kara Amid, in
the public writings of the Turks, contains above 16,000 houses,
and is the residence of a pacha with three tails. The epithet of
Kara is derived from the blackness of the stone which composes
the strong and ancient wall of Amida.]

[Footnote *: In my Mem. Hist. sur l'Armenie, l. i. p. 166, 173, I
conceive that I have proved this city, still called, by the
Armenians, Dirkranagerd, the city of Tigranes, to be the same
with the famous Tigranocerta, of which the situation was unknown.

St. Martin, i. 432. On the siege of Amida, see St. Martin's
Notes, ii. 290. Faustus of Byzantium, nearly a contemporary,
(Armenian,) states that the Persians, on becoming masters of it,
destroyed 40,000 houses though Ammianus describes the city as of
no great extent, (civitatis ambitum non nimium amplae.) Besides
the ordinary population, and those who took refuge from the
country, it contained 20,000 soldiers. St. Martin, ii. 290.
This interpretation is extremely doubtful. Wagner (note on
Ammianus) considers the whole population to amount only to - M.]
[Footnote 57: The operations of the siege of Amida are very
minutely described by Ammianus, (xix. 1-9,) who acted an
honorable part in the defence, and escaped with difficulty when
the city was stormed by the Persians.]

[Footnote 58: Of these four nations, the Albanians are too well
known to require any description. The Segestans [Sacastene. St.
Martin.] inhabited a large and level country, which still
preserves their name, to the south of Khorasan, and the west of
Hindostan. (See Geographia Nubiensis. p. 133, and D'Herbelot,
Biblitheque Orientale, p. 797.) Notwithstanding the boasted
victory of Bahram, (vol. i. p. 410,) the Segestans, above
fourscore years afterwards, appear as an independent nation, the
ally of Persia. We are ignorant of the situation of the Vertae
and Chionites, but I am inclined to place them (at least the
latter) towards the confines of India and Scythia. See Ammian.
xvi. 9.]

[Footnote *: Klaproth considers the real Albanians the same with
the ancient Alani, and quotes a passage of the emperor Julian in
support of his opinion. They are the Ossetae, now inhabiting part
of Caucasus. Tableaux Hist. de l'Asie, p. 179, 180. - M.

The Vertae are still unknown. It is possible that the
Chionites are the same as the Huns. These people were already
known; and we find from Armenian authors that they were making,
at this period, incursions into Asia. They were often at war
with the Persians. The name was perhaps pronounced differently
in the East and in the West, and this prevents us from
recognizing it. St. Martin, ii. 177. - M.]

But the ruin of Amida was the safety of the Roman provinces.

As soon as the first transports of victory had subsided, Sapor
was at leisure to reflect, that to chastise a disobedient city,
he had lost the flower of his troops, and the most favorable
season for conquest. ^59 Thirty thousand of his veterans had
fallen under the walls of Amida, during the continuance of a
siege, which lasted seventy-three days; and the disappointed
monarch returned to his capital with affected triumph and secret
mortification. It is more than probable, that the inconstancy of
his Barbarian allies was tempted to relinquish a war in which
they had encountered such unexpected difficulties; and that the
aged king of the Chionites, satiated with revenge, turned away
with horror from a scene of action where he had been deprived of
the hope of his family and nation. The strength as well as the
spirit of the army with which Sapor took the field in the ensuing
spring was no longer equal to the unbounded views of his
ambition. Instead of aspiring to the conquest of the East, he
was obliged to content himself with the reduction of two
fortified cities of Mesopotamia, Singara and Bezabde; ^60 the one
situate in the midst of a sandy desert, the other in a small
peninsula, surrounded almost on every side by the deep and rapid
stream of the Tigris. Five Roman legions, of the diminutive size
to which they had been reduced in the age of Constantine, were
made prisoners, and sent into remote captivity on the extreme
confines of Persia. After dismantling the walls of Singara, the
conqueror abandoned that solitary and sequestered place; but he
carefully restored the fortifications of Bezabde, and fixed in
that important post a garrison or colony of veterans; amply
supplied with every means of defence, and animated by high
sentiments of honor and fidelity. Towards the close of the
campaign, the arms of Sapor incurred some disgrace by an
unsuccessful enterprise against Virtha, or Tecrit, a strong, or,
as it was universally esteemed till the age of Tamerlane, an
impregnable fortress of the independent Arabs. ^61
[Footnote 59: Ammianus has marked the chronology of this year by
three signs, which do not perfectly coincide with each other, or
with the series of the history. 1 The corn was ripe when Sapor
invaded Mesopotamia; "Cum jam stipula flaveate turgerent;" a
circumstance, which, in the latitude of Aleppo, would naturally
refer us to the month of April or May. See Harmer's Observations
on Scripture vol. i. p. 41. Shaw's Travels, p. 335, edit 4to.
2. The progress of Sapor was checked by the overflowing of the
Euphrates, which generally happens in July and August. Plin.
Hist. Nat. v. 21. Viaggi di Pietro della Valle, tom. i. p. 696.
3. When Sapor had taken Amida, after a siege of seventy-three
days, the autumn was far advanced. "Autumno praecipiti
haedorumque improbo sidere exorto." To reconcile these apparent
contradictions, we must allow for some delay in the Persian king,
some inaccuracy in the historian, and some disorder in the

[Footnote 60: The account of these sieges is given by Ammianus,
xx. 6, 7.]
[Footnote *: The Christian bishop of Bezabde went to the camp of
the king of Persia, to persuade him to check the waste of human
blood Amm. Mare xx. 7. - M.]

[Footnote 61: For the identity of Virtha and Tecrit, see
D'Anville, Geographie. For the siege of that castle by Timur Bec
or Tamerlane, see Cherefeddin, l. iii. c. 33. The Persian
biographer exaggerates the merit and difficulty of this exploit,
which delivered the caravans of Bagdad from a formidable gang of

[Footnote *: St. Martin doubts whether it lay so much to the
south. "The word Girtha means in Syriac a castle or fortress, and
might be applied to many places."]

The defence of the East against the arms of Sapor required
and would have exercised, the abilities of the most consummate
general; and it seemed fortunate for the state, that it was the
actual province of the brave Ursicinus, who alone deserved the
confidence of the soldiers and people. In the hour of danger, ^62
Ursicinus was removed from his station by the intrigues of the
eunuchs; and the military command of the East was bestowed, by
the same influence, on Sabinian, a wealthy and subtle veteran,
who had attained the infirmities, without acquiring the
experience, of age. By a second order, which issued from the same
jealous and inconstant councils, Ursicinus was again despatched
to the frontier of Mesopotamia, and condemned to sustain the
labors of a war, the honors of which had been transferred to his
unworthy rival. Sabinian fixed his indolent station under the
walls of Edessa; and while he amused himself with the idle parade
of military exercise, and moved to the sound of flutes in the
Pyrrhic dance, the public defence was abandoned to the boldness
and diligence of the former general of the East. But whenever
Ursicinus recommended any vigorous plan of operations; when he
proposed, at the head of a light and active army, to wheel round
the foot of the mountains, to intercept the convoys of the enemy,
to harass the wide extent of the Persian lines, and to relieve
the distress of Amida; the timid and envious commander alleged,
that he was restrained by his positive orders from endangering
the safety of the troops. Amida was at length taken; its bravest
defenders, who had escaped the sword of the Barbarians, died in
the Roman camp by the hand of the executioner: and Ursicinus
himself, after supporting the disgrace of a partial inquiry, was
punished for the misconduct of Sabinian by the loss of his
military rank. But Constantius soon experienced the truth of the
prediction which honest indignation had extorted from his injured
lieutenant, that as long as such maxims of government were
suffered to prevail, the emperor himself would find it is no easy
task to defend his eastern dominions from the invasion of a
foreign enemy. When he had subdued or pacified the Barbarians of
the Danube, Constantius proceeded by slow marches into the East;
and after he had wept over the smoking ruins of Amida, he formed,
with a powerful army, the siege of Becabde. The walls were
shaken by the reiterated efforts of the most enormous of the
battering-rams; the town was reduced to the last extremity; but
it was still defended by the patient and intrepid valor of the
garrison, till the approach of the rainy season obliged the
emperor to raise the siege, and ingloviously to retreat into his
winter quarters at Antioch. ^63 The pride of Constantius, and the
ingenuity of his courtiers, were at a loss to discover any
materials for panegyric in the events of the Persian war; while
the glory of his cousin Julian, to whose military command he had
intrusted the provinces of Gaul, was proclaimed to the world in
the simple and concise narrative of his exploits.
[Footnote 62: Ammianus (xviii. 5, 6, xix. 3, xx. 2) represents
the merit and disgrace of Ursicinus with that faithful attention
which a soldier owed to his general. Some partiality may be
suspected, yet the whole account is consistent and probable.]

[Footnote 63: Ammian. xx. 11. Omisso vano incepto, hiematurus
Antiochiae redit in Syriam aerumnosam, perpessus et ulcerum sed
et atrocia, diuque deflenda. It is thus that James Gronovius has
restored an obscure passage; and he thinks that this correction
alone would have deserved a new edition of his author: whose
sense may now be darkly perceived. I expected some additional
light from the recent labors of the learned Ernestus. (Lipsiae,

Note: The late editor (Wagner) has nothing better to
suggest, and le menta with Gibbon, the silence of Ernesti. - M.]

In the blind fury of civil discord, Constantius had
abandoned to the Barbarians of Germany the countries of Gaul,
which still acknowledged the authority of his rival. A numerous
swarm of Franks and Alemanni were invited to cross the Rhine by
presents and promises, by the hopes of spoil, and by a perpetual
grant of all the territories which they should be able to subdue.
^64 But the emperor, who for a temporary service had thus
imprudently provoked the rapacious spirit of the Barbarians, soon
discovered and lamented the difficulty of dismissing these
formidable allies, after they had tasted the richness of the
Roman soil. Regardless of the nice distinction of loyalty and
rebellion, these undisciplined robbers treated as their natural
enemies all the subjects of the empire, who possessed any
property which they were desirous of acquiring Forty-five
flourishing cities, Tongres, Cologne, Treves, Worms, Spires,
Strasburgh, &c., besides a far greater number of towns and
villages, were pillaged, and for the most part reduced to ashes.
The Barbarians of Germany, still faithful to the maxims of their
ancestors, abhorred the confinement of walls, to which they
applied the odious names of prisons and sepulchres; and fixing
their independent habitations on the banks of rivers, the Rhine,
the Moselle, and the Meuse, they secured themselves against the
danger of a surprise, by a rude and hasty fortification of large
trees, which were felled and thrown across the roads. The
Alemanni were established in the modern countries of Alsace and
Lorraine; the Franks occupied the island of the Batavians,
together with an extensive district of Brabant, which was then
known by the appellation of Toxandria, ^65 and may deserve to be
considered as the original seat of their Gallic monarchy. ^66
From the sources, to the mouth, of the Rhine, the conquests of
the Germans extended above forty miles to the west of that river,
over a country peopled by colonies of their own name and nation:
and the scene of their devastations was three times more
extensive than that of their conquests. At a still greater
distance the open towns of Gaul were deserted, and the
inhabitants of the fortified cities, who trusted to their
strength and vigilance, were obliged to content themselves with
such supplies of corn as they could raise on the vacant land
within the enclosure of their walls. The diminished legions,
destitute of pay and provisions, of arms and discipline, trembled
at the approach, and even at the name, of the Barbarians.

[Footnote 64: The ravages of the Germans, and the distress of
Gaul, may be collected from Julian himself. Orat. ad S. P. Q.
Athen. p. 277. Ammian. xv. ll. Libanius, Orat. x. Zosimus, l.
iii. p. 140. Sozomen, l. iii. c. l. (Mamertin. Grat. Art. c.

[Footnote 65: Ammianus, xvi. 8. This name seems to be derived
from the Toxandri of Pliny, and very frequently occurs in the
histories of the middle age. Toxandria was a country of woods
and morasses, which extended from the neighborhood of Tongres to
the conflux of the Vahal and the Rhine. See Valesius, Notit.
Galliar. p. 558.]

[Footnote 66: The paradox of P. Daniel, that the Franks never
obtained any permanent settlement on this side of the Rhine
before the time of Clovis, is refuted with much learning and good
sense by M. Biet, who has proved by a chain of evidence, their
uninterrupted possession of Toxandria, one hundred and thirty
years before the accession of Clovis. The Dissertation of M.
Biet was crowned by the Academy of Soissons, in the year 1736,
and seems to have been justly preferred to the discourse of his
more celebrated competitor, the Abbe le Boeuf, an antiquarian,
whose name was happily expressive of his talents.]

Chapter XIX: Constantius Sole Emperor.

Part IV.

Under these melancholy circumstances, an unexperienced youth
was appointed to save and to govern the provinces of Gaul, or
rather, as he expressed it himself, to exhibit the vain image of
Imperial greatness. The retired scholastic education of Julian,
in which he had been more conversant with books than with arms,
with the dead than with the living, left him in profound
ignorance of the practical arts of war and government; and when
he awkwardly repeated some military exercise which it was
necessary for him to learn, he exclaimed with a sigh, "O Plato,
Plato, what a task for a philosopher!" Yet even this speculative
philosophy, which men of business are too apt to despise, had
filled the mind of Julian with the noblest precepts and the most
shining examples; had animated him with the love of virtue, the
desire of fame, and the contempt of death. The habits of
temperance recommended in the schools, are still more essential
in the severe discipline of a camp. The simple wants of nature
regulated the measure of his food and sleep. Rejecting with
disdain the delicacies provided for his table, he satisfied his
appetite with the coarse and common fare which was allotted to
the meanest soldiers. During the rigor of a Gallic winter, he
never suffered a fire in his bed-chamber; and after a short and
interrupted slumber, he frequently rose in the middle of the
night from a carpet spread on the floor, to despatch any urgent
business, to visit his rounds, or to steal a few moments for the
prosecution of his favorite studies. ^67 The precepts of
eloquence, which he had hitherto practised on fancied topics of
declamation, were more usefully applied to excite or to assuage
the passions of an armed multitude: and although Julian, from his
early habits of conversation and literature, was more familiarly
acquainted with the beauties of the Greek language, he had
attained a competent knowledge of the Latin tongue. ^68 Since
Julian was not originally designed for the character of a
legislator, or a judge, it is probable that the civil
jurisprudence of the Romans had not engaged any considerable
share of his attention: but he derived from his philosophic
studies an inflexible regard for justice, tempered by a
disposition to clemency; the knowledge of the general principles
of equity and evidence, and the faculty of patiently
investigating the most intricate and tedious questions which
could be proposed for his discussion. The measures of policy,
and the operations of war, must submit to the various accidents
of circumstance and character, and the unpractised student will
often be perplexed in the application of the most perfect theory.

But in the acquisition of this important science, Julian was
assisted by the active vigor of his own genius, as well as by the
wisdom and experience of Sallust, and officer of rank, who soon
conceived a sincere attachment for a prince so worthy of his
friendship; and whose incorruptible integrity was adorned by the
talent of insinuating the harshest truths without wounding the
delicacy of a royal ear. ^69

[Footnote 67: The private life of Julian in Gaul, and the severe
discipline which he embraced, are displayed by Ammianus, (xvi.
5,) who professes to praise, and by Julian himself, who affects
to ridicule, (Misopogon, p. 340,) a conduct, which, in a prince
of the house of Constantine, might justly excite the surprise of

[Footnote 68: Aderat Latine quoque disserenti sufficiens sermo.
Ammianus xvi. 5. But Julian, educated in the schools of Greece,
always considered the language of the Romans as a foreign and
popular dialect which he might use on necessary occasions.]

[Footnote 69: We are ignorant of the actual office of this
excellent minister, whom Julian afterwards created praefect of
Gaul. Sallust was speedly recalled by the jealousy of the
emperor; and we may still read a sensible but pedantic discourse,
(p. 240-252,) in which Julian deplores the loss of so valuable a
friend, to whom he acknowledges himself indebted for his
reputation. See La Bleterie, Preface a la Vie de lovien, p. 20.]

Immediately after Julian had received the purple at Milan,
he was sent into Gaul with a feeble retinue of three hundred and
sixty soldiers. At Vienna, where he passed a painful and anxious
winter in the hands of those ministers to whom Constantius had
intrusted the direction of his conduct, the Caesar was informed
of the siege and deliverance of Autun. That large and ancient
city, protected only by a ruined wall and pusillanimous garrison,
was saved by the generous resolution of a few veterans, who
resumed their arms for the defence of their country. In his
march from Autun, through the heart of the Gallic provinces,
Julian embraced with ardor the earliest opportunity of
signalizing his courage. At the head of a small body of archers
and heavy cavalry, he preferred the shorter but the more
dangerous of two roads; ^* and sometimes eluding, and sometimes
resisting, the attacks of the Barbarians, who were masters of the
field, he arrived with honor and safety at the camp near Rheims,
where the Roman troops had been ordered to assemble. The aspect
of their young prince revived the drooping spirits of the
soldiers, and they marched from Rheims in search of the enemy,
with a confidence which had almost proved fatal to them. The
Alemanni, familiarized to the knowledge of the country, secretly
collected their scattered forces, and seizing the opportunity of
a dark and rainy day, poured with unexpected fury on the
rear-guard of the Romans. Before the inevitable disorder could be
remedied, two legions were destroyed; and Julian was taught by
experience that caution and vigilance are the most important
lessons of the art of war. In a second and more successful
action, ^* he recovered and established his military fame; but as
the agility of the Barbarians saved them from the pursuit, his
victory was neither bloody nor decisive. He advanced, however,
to the banks of the Rhine, surveyed the ruins of Cologne,
convinced himself of the difficulties of the war, and retreated
on the approach of winter, discontented with the court, with his
army, and with his own success. ^70 The power of the enemy was
yet unbroken; and the Caesar had no sooner separated his troops,
and fixed his own quarters at Sens, in the centre of Gaul, than
he was surrounded and besieged, by a numerous host of Germans.
Reduced, in this extremity, to the resources of his own mind, he
displayed a prudent intrepidity, which compensated for all the
deficiencies of the place and garrison; and the Barbarians, at
the end of thirty days, were obliged to retire with disappointed
[Footnote *: Aliis per Arbor - quibusdam per Sedelaucum et Coram
in debere firrantibus. Amm. Marc. xvi. 2. I do not know what
place can be meant by the mutilated name Arbor. Sedelanus is
Saulieu, a small town of the department of the Cote d'Or, six
leagues from Autun. Cora answers to the village of Cure, on the
river of the same name, between Autun and Nevera 4; Martin, ii.
162. - M.

Note: At Brocomages, Brumat, near Strasburgh. St. Martin,
ii. 184. - M.]
[Footnote 70: Ammianus (xvi. 2, 3) appears much better satisfied
with the success of his first campaign than Julian himself; who
very fairly owns that he did nothing of consequence, and that he
fled before the enemy.]
The conscious pride of Julian, who was indebted only to his
sword for this signal deliverance, was imbittered by the
reflection, that he was abandoned, betrayed, and perhaps devoted
to destruction, by those who were bound to assist him, by every
tie of honor and fidelity. Marcellus, master-general of the
cavalry in Gaul, interpreting too strictly the jealous orders of
the court, beheld with supine indifference the distress of
Julian, and had restrained the troops under his command from
marching to the relief of Sens. If the Caesar had dissembled in
silence so dangerous an insult, his person and authority would
have been exposed to the contempt of the world; and if an action
so criminal had been suffered to pass with impunity, the emperor
would have confirmed the suspicions, which received a very
specious color from his past conduct towards the princes of the
Flavian family. Marcellus was recalled, and gently dismissed
from his office. ^71 In his room Severus was appointed general of
the cavalry; an experienced soldier, of approved courage and
fidelity, who could advise with respect, and execute with zeal;
and who submitted, without reluctance to the supreme command
which Julian, by the inrerest of his patroness Eusebia, at length
obtained over the armies of Gaul. ^72 A very judicious plan of
operations was adopted for the approaching campaign. Julian
himself, at the head of the remains of the veteran bands, and of
some new levies which he had been permitted to form, boldly
penetrated into the centre of the German cantonments, and
carefully reestablished the fortifications of Saverne, in an
advantageous post, which would either check the incursions, or
intercept the retreat, of the enemy. At the same time, Barbatio,
general of the infantry, advanced from Milan with an army of
thirty thousand men, and passing the mountains, prepared to throw
a bridge over the Rhine, in the neighborhood of Basil. It was
reasonable to expect that the Alemanni, pressed on either side by
the Roman arms, would soon be forced to evacuate the provinces of
Gaul, and to hasten to the defence of their native country. But
the hopes of the campaign were defeated by the incapacity, or the
envy, or the secret instructions, of Barbatio; who acted as if he
had been the enemy of the Caesar, and the secret ally of the
Barbarians. The negligence with which he permitted a troop of
pillagers freely to pass, and to return almost before the gates
of his camp, may be imputed to his want of abilities; but the
treasonable act of burning a number of boats, and a superfluous
stock of provisions, which would have been of the most essential
service to the army of Gaul, was an evidence of his hostile and
criminal intentions. The Germans despised an enemy who appeared
destitute either of power or of inclination to offend them; and
the ignominious retreat of Barbatio deprived Julian of the
expected support; and left him to extricate himself from a
hazardous situation, where he could neither remain with safety,
nor retire with honor. ^73

[Footnote 71: Ammian. xvi. 7. Libanius speaks rather more
advantageously of the military talents of Marcellus, Orat. x. p.
272. And Julian insinuates, that he would not have been so
easily recalled, unless he had given other reasons of offence to
the court, p. 278.]

[Footnote 72: Severus, non discors, non arrogans, sed longa
militiae frugalitate compertus; et eum recta praeeuntem
secuturus, ut duetorem morigeran miles. Ammian xvi. 11.
Zosimus, l. iii. p. 140.]
[Footnote 73: On the design and failure of the cooperation
between Julian and Barbatio, see Ammianus (xvi. 11) and Libanius,
(Orat. x. p. 273.)
Note: Barbatio seems to have allowed himself to be surprised
and defeated - M.]

As soon as they were delivered from the fears of invasion,
the Alemanni prepared to chastise the Roman youth, who presumed
to dispute the possession of that country, which they claimed as
their own by the right of conquest and of treaties. They
employed three days, and as many nights, in transporting over the
Rhine their military powers. The fierce Chnodomar, shaking the
ponderous javelin which he had victoriously wielded against the
brother of Magnentius, led the van of the Barbarians, and
moderated by his experience the martial ardor which his example
inspired. ^74 He was followed by six other kings, by ten princes
of regal extraction, by a long train of high-spirited nobles, and
by thirty-five thousand of the bravest warriors of the tribes of
Germany. The confidence derived from the view of their own
strength, was increased by the intelligence which they received
from a deserter, that the Caesar, with a feeble army of thirteen
thousand men, occupied a post about one-and-twenty miles from
their camp of Strasburgh. With this inadequate force, Julian
resolved to seek and to encounter the Barbarian host; and the
chance of a general action was preferred to the tedious and
uncertain operation of separately engaging the dispersed parties
of the Alemanni. The Romans marched in close order, and in two
columns; the cavalry on the right, the infantry on the left; and
the day was so far spent when they appeared in sight of the
enemy, that Julian was desirous of deferring the battle till the
next morning, and of allowing his troops to recruit their
exhausted strength by the necessary refreshments of sleep and
food. Yielding, however, with some reluctance, to the clamors of
the soldiers, and even to the opinion of his council, he exhorted
them to justify by their valor the eager impatience, which, in
case of a defeat, would be universally branded with the epithets
of rashness and presumption. The trumpets sounded, the military
shout was heard through the field, and the two armies rushed with
equal fury to the charge. The Caesar, who conducted in person his
right wing, depended on the dexterity of his archers, and the
weight of his cuirassiers. But his ranks were instantly broken
by an irregular mixture of light horse and of light infantry, and
he had the mortification of beholding the flight of six hundred
of his most renowned cuirassiers. ^75 The fugitives were stopped
and rallied by the presence and authority of Julian, who,
careless of his own safety, threw himself before them, and urging
every motive of shame and honor, led them back against the
victorious enemy. The conflict between the two lines of infantry
was obstinate and bloody. The Germans possessed the superiority
of strength and stature, the Romans that of discipline and
temper; and as the Barbarians, who served under the standard of
the empire, united the respective advantages of both parties,
their strenuous efforts, guided by a skilful leader, at length
determined the event of the day. The Romans lost four tribunes,
and two hundred and forty-three soldiers, in this memorable
battle of Strasburgh, so glorious to the Caesar, ^76 and so
salutary to the afflicted provinces of Gaul. Six thousand of the
Alemanni were slain in the field, without including those who
were drowned in the Rhine, or transfixed with darts while they
attempted to swim across the river. ^77 Chnodomar himself was
surrounded and taken prisoner, with three of his brave
companions, who had devoted themselves to follow in life or death
the fate of their chieftain. Julian received him with military
pomp in the council of his officers; and expressing a generous
pity for the fallen state, dissembled his inward contempt for the
abject humiliation, of his captive. Instead of exhibiting the
vanquished king of the Alemanni, as a grateful spectacle to the
cities of Gaul, he respectfully laid at the feet of the emperor
this splendid trophy of his victory. Chnodomar experienced an
honorable treatment: but the impatient Barbarian could not long
survive his defeat, his confinement, and his exile. ^78

[Footnote 74: Ammianus (xvi. 12) describes with his inflated
eloquence the figure and character of Chnodomar. Audax et fidens
ingenti robore lacertorum, ubi ardor proelii sperabatur immanis,
equo spumante sublimior, erectus in jaculum formidandae
vastitatis, armorumque nitore conspicuus: antea strenuus et
miles, et utilis praeter caeteros ductor . . . Decentium Caesarem
superavit aequo marte congressus.]

[Footnote 75: After the battle, Julian ventured to revive the
rigor of ancient discipline, by exposing these fugitives in
female apparel to the derision of the whole camp. In the next
campaign, these troops nobly retrieved their honor. Zosimus, l.
iii. p. 142.]

[Footnote 76: Julian himself (ad S. P. Q. Athen. p. 279) speaks
of the battle of Strasburgh with the modesty of conscious merit;.

Zosimus compares it with the victory of Alexander over Darius;
and yet we are at a loss to discover any of those strokes of
military genius which fix the attention of ages on the conduct
and success of a single day.]

[Footnote 77: Ammianus, xvi. 12. Libanius adds 2000 more to the
number of the slain, (Orat. x. p. 274.) But these trifling
differences disappear before the 60,000 Barbarians, whom Zosimus
has sacrificed to the glory of his hero, (l. iii. p. 141.) We
might attribute this extravagant number to the carelessness of
transcribers, if this credulous or partial historian had not
swelled the army of 35,000 Alemanni to an innumerable multitude
of Barbarians,. It is our own fault if this detection does not
inspire us with proper distrust on similar occasions.]

[Footnote 78: Ammian. xvi. 12. Libanius, Orat. x. p. 276.]
After Julian had repulsed the Alemanni from the provinces of
the Upper Rhine, he turned his arms against the Franks, who were
seated nearer to the ocean, on the confines of Gaul and Germany;
and who, from their numbers, and still more from their intrepid
valor, had ever been esteemed the most formidable of the
Barbarians. ^79 Although they were strongly actuated by the
allurements of rapine, they professed a disinterested love of
war; which they considered as the supreme honor and felicity of
human nature; and their minds and bodies were so completely
hardened by perpetual action, that, according to the lively
expression of an orator, the snows of winter were as pleasant to
them as the flowers of spring. In the month of December, which
followed the battle of Strasburgh, Julian attacked a body of six
hundred Franks, who had thrown themselves into two castles on the
Meuse. ^80 In the midst of that severe season they sustained,
with inflexible constancy, a siege of fifty-four days; till at
length, exhausted by hunger, and satisfied that the vigilance of
the enemy, in breaking the ice of the river, left them no hopes
of escape, the Franks consented, for the first time, to dispense
with the ancient law which commanded them to conquer or to die.
The Caesar immediately sent his captives to the court of
Constantius, who, accepting them as a valuable present, ^81
rejoiced in the opportunity of adding so many heroes to the
choicest troops of his domestic guards. The obstinate resistance
of this handful of Franks apprised Julian of the difficulties of
the expedition which he meditated for the ensuing spring, against
the whole body of the nation. His rapid diligence surprised and
astonished the active Barbarians. Ordering his soldiers to
provide themselves with biscuit for twenty days, he suddenly
pitched his camp near Tongres, while the enemy still supposed him
in his winter quarters of Paris, expecting the slow arrival of
his convoys from Aquitain. Without allowing the Franks to unite
or deliberate, he skilfully spread his legions from Cologne to
the ocean; and by the terror, as well as by the success, of his
arms, soon reduced the suppliant tribes to implore the clemency,
and to obey the commands, of their conqueror. The Chamavians
submissively retired to their former habitations beyond the
Rhine; but the Salians were permitted to possess their new
establishment of Toxandria, as the subjects and auxiliaries of
the Roman empire. ^82 The treaty was ratified by solemn oaths;
and perpetual inspectors were appointed to reside among the
Franks, with the authority of enforcing the strict observance of
the conditions. An incident is related, interesting enough in
itself, and by no means repugnant to the character of Julian, who
ingeniously contrived both the plot and the catastrophe of the
tragedy. When the Chamavians sued for peace, he required the son
of their king, as the only hostage on whom he could rely. A
mournful silence, interrupted by tears and groans, declared the
sad perplexity of the Barbarians; and their aged chief lamented
in pathetic language, that his private loss was now imbittered by
a sense of public calamity. While the Chamavians lay prostrate
at the foot of his throne, the royal captive, whom they believed
to have been slain, unexpectedly appeared before their eyes; and
as soon as the tumult of joy was hushed into attention, the
Caesar addressed the assembly in the following terms: "Behold the
son, the prince, whom you wept. You had lost him by your fault.
God and the Romans have restored him to you. I shall still
preserve and educate the youth, rather as a monument of my own
virtue, than as a pledge of your sincerity. Should you presume
to violate the faith which you have sworn, the arms of the
republic will avenge the perfidy, not on the innocent, but on the
guilty." The Barbarians withdrew from his presence, impressed
with the warmest sentiments of gratitude and admiration. ^83

[Footnote 79: Libanius (Orat. iii. p. 137) draws a very lively
picture of the manners of the Franks.]

[Footnote 80: Ammianus, xvii. 2. Libanius, Orat. x. p. 278. The
Greek orator, by misapprehending a passage of Julian, has been
induced to represent the Franks as consisting of a thousand men;
and as his head was always full of the Peloponnesian war, he
compares them to the Lacedaemonians, who were besieged and taken
in the Island of Sphatoria.]

[Footnote 81: Julian. ad S. P. Q. Athen. p. 280. Libanius, Orat.
x. p. 278. According to the expression of Libanius, the emperor,
which La Bleterie understands (Vie de Julien, p. 118) as an
honest confession, and Valesius (ad Ammian. xvii. 2) as a mean
evasion, of the truth. Dom Bouquet, (Historiens de France, tom.
i. p. 733,) by substituting another word, would suppress both the
difficulty and the spirit of this passage.]

[Footnote 82: Ammian. xvii. 8. Zosimus, l. iii. p. 146-150, (his
narrative is darkened by a mixture of fable,) and Julian. ad S.
P. Q. Athen. p. 280. His expression. This difference of
treatment confirms the opinion that the Salian Franks were
permitted to retain the settlements in Toxandria.
Note: A newly discovered fragment of Eunapius, whom Zosimus
probably transcribed, illustrates this transaction. "Julian
commanded the Romans to abstain from all hostile measures against
the Salians, neither to waste or ravage their own country, for he
called every country their own which was surrendered without
resistance or toil on the part of the conquerors." Mai, Script.
Vez Nov. Collect. ii. 256, and Eunapius in Niebuhr, Byzant.
[Footnote 83: This interesting story, which Zosimus has abridged,
is related by Eunapius, (in Excerpt. Legationum, p. 15, 16, 17,)
with all the amplifications of Grecian rhetoric: but the silence
of Libanius, of Ammianus, and of Julian himself, renders the
truth of it extremely suspicious.]
It was not enough for Julian to have delivered the provinces
of Gaul from the Barbarians of Germany. He aspired to emulate
the glory of the first and most illustrious of the emperors;
after whose example, he composed his own commentaries of the
Gallic war. ^84 Caesar has related, with conscious pride, the
manner in which he twice passed the Rhine. Julian could boast,
that before he assumed the title of Augustus, he had carried the
Roman eagles beyond that great river in three successful
expeditions. ^85 The consternation of the Germans, after the
battle of Strasburgh, encouraged him to the first attempt; and
the reluctance of the troops soon yielded to the persuasive
eloquence of a leader, who shared the fatigues and dangers which
he imposed on the meanest of the soldiers. The villages on
either side of the Meyn, which were plentifully stored with corn
and cattle, felt the ravages of an invading army. The principal
houses, constructed with some imitation of Roman elegance, were
consumed by the flames; and the Caesar boldly advanced about ten
miles, till his progress was stopped by a dark and impenetrable
forest, undermined by subterraneous passages, which threatened
with secret snares and ambush every step of the assailants. The
ground was already covered with snow; and Julian, after repairing
an ancient castle which had been erected by Trajan, granted a
truce of ten months to the submissive Barbarians. At the
expiration of the truce, Julian undertook a second expedition
beyond the Rhine, to humble the pride of Surmar and Hortaire, two
of the kings of the Alemanni, who had been present at the battle
of Strasburgh. They promised to restore all the Roman captives
who yet remained alive; and as the Caesar had procured an exact
account from the cities and villages of Gaul, of the inhabitants
whom they had lost, he detected every attempt to deceive him,
with a degree of readiness and accuracy, which almost established
the belief of his supernatural knowledge. His third expedition
was still more splendid and important than the two former. The
Germans had collected their military powers, and moved along the
opposite banks of the river, with a design of destroying the
bridge, and of preventing the passage of the Romans. But this
judicious plan of defence was disconcerted by a skilful
diversion. Three hundred light-armed and active soldiers were
detached in forty small boats, to fall down the stream in
silence, and to land at some distance from the posts of the
enemy. They executed their orders with so much boldness and
celerity, that they had almost surprised the Barbarian chiefs,
who returned in the fearless confidence of intoxication from one
of their nocturnal festivals. Without repeating the uniform and
disgusting tale of slaughter and devastation, it is sufficient to
observe, that Julian dictated his own conditions of peace to six
of the haughtiest kings of the Alemanni, three of whom were
permitted to view the severe discipline and martial pomp of a
Roman camp. Followed by twenty thousand captives, whom he had
rescued from the chains of the Barbarians, the Caesar repassed
the Rhine, after terminating a war, the success of which has been
compared to the ancient glories of the Punic and Cimbric
[Footnote 84: Libanius, the friend of Julian, clearly insinuates
(Orat. ix. p. 178) that his hero had composed the history of his
Gallic campaigns But Zosimus (l. iii. p, 140) seems to have
derived his information only from the Orations and the Epistles
of Julian. The discourse which is addressed to the Athenians
contains an accurate, though general, account of the war against
the Germans.]

[Footnote 85: See Ammian. xvii. 1, 10, xviii. 2, and Zosim. l.
iii. p. 144. Julian ad S. P. Q. Athen. p. 280.]

As soon as the valor and conduct of Julian had secured an
interval of peace, he applied himself to a work more congenial to
his humane and philosophic temper. The cities of Gaul, which had
suffered from the inroads of the Barbarians, he diligently
repaired; and seven important posts, between Mentz and the mouth
of the Rhine, are particularly mentioned, as having been rebuilt
and fortified by the order of Julian. ^86 The vanquished Germans
had submitted to the just but humiliating condition of preparing
and conveying the necessary materials. The active zeal of Julian
urged the prosecution of the work; and such was the spirit which
he had diffused among the troops, that the auxiliaries
themselves, waiving their exemption from any duties of fatigue,
contended in the most servile labors with the diligence of the
Roman soldiers. It was incumbent on the Caesar to provide for the
subsistence, as well as for the safety, of the inhabitants and of
the garrisons. The desertion of the former, and the mutiny of
the latter, must have been the fatal and inevitable consequences
of famine. The tillage of the provinces of Gaul had been
interrupted by the calamities of war; but the scanty harvests of
the continent were supplied, by his paternal care, from the
plenty of the adjacent island. Six hundred large barks, framed in
the forest of the Ardennes, made several voyages to the coast of
Britain; and returning from thence, laden with corn, sailed up
the Rhine, and distributed their cargoes to the several towns and
fortresses along the banks of the river. ^87 The arms of Julian
had restored a free and secure navigation, which Constantinius
had offered to purchase at the expense of his dignity, and of a
tributary present of two thousand pounds of silver. The emperor
parsimoniously refused to his soldiers the sums which he granted
with a lavish and trembling hand to the Barbarians. The
dexterity, as well as the firmness, of Julian was put to a severe
trial, when he took the field with a discontented army, which had
already served two campaigns, without receiving any regular pay
or any extraordinary donative. ^88
[Footnote 86: Ammian. xviii. 2. Libanius, Orat. x. p. 279, 280.
Of these seven posts, four are at present towns of some
consequence; Bingen, Andernach, Bonn, and Nuyss. The other
three, Tricesimae, Quadriburgium, and Castra Herculis, or
Heraclea, no longer subsist; but there is room to believe, that
on the ground of Quadriburgium the Dutch have constructed the
fort of Schenk, a name so offensive to the fastidious delicacy of
Boileau. See D'Anville, Notice de l'Ancienne Gaule, p. 183.
Boileau, Epitre iv. and the notes.
Note: Tricesimae, Kellen, Mannert, quoted by Wagner.
Heraclea, Erkeleus in the district of Juliers. St. Martin, ii.
311. - M.]

[Footnote 87: We may credit Julian himself, (Orat. ad S. P. Q.
Atheniensem, p. 280,) who gives a very particular account of the
transaction. Zosimus adds two hundred vessels more, (l. iii. p.
145.) If we compute the 600 corn ships of Julian at only seventy
tons each, they were capable of exporting 120,000 quarters, (see
Arbuthnot's Weights and Measures, p. 237;) and the country which
could bear so large an exportation, must already have attained an
improved state of agriculture.]

[Footnote 88: The troops once broke out into a mutiny,
immediately before the second passage of the Rhine. Ammian.
xvii. 9.]

A tender regard for the peace and happiness of his subjects
was the ruling principle which directed, or seemed to direct, the
administration of Julian. ^89 He devoted the leisure of his
winter quarters to the offices of civil government; and affected
to assume, with more pleasure, the character of a magistrate than
that of a general. Before he took the field, he devolved on the
provincial governors most of the public and private causes which
had been referred to his tribunal; but, on his return, he
carefully revised their proceedings, mitigated the rigor of the
law, and pronounced a second judgment on the judges themselves.
Superior to the last temptation of virtuous minds, an indiscreet
and intemperate zeal for justice, he restrained, with calmness
and dignity, the warmth of an advocate, who prosecuted, for
extortion, the president of the Narbonnese province. "Who will
ever be found guilty," exclaimed the vehement Delphidius, "if it
be enough to deny?" "And who," replied Julian, "will ever be
innocent, if it be sufficient to affirm?" In the general
administration of peace and war, the interest of the sovereign is
commonly the same as that of his people; but Constantius would
have thought himself deeply injured, if the virtues of Julian had
defrauded him of any part of the tribute which he extorted from
an oppressed and exhausted country. The prince who was invested
with the ensigns of royalty, might sometimes presume to correct
the rapacious insolence of his inferior agents, to expose their
corrupt arts, and to introduce an equal and easier mode of
collection. But the management of the finances was more safely
intrusted to Florentius, praetorian praefect of Gaul, an
effeminate tyrant, incapable of pity or remorse: and the haughty
minister complained of the most decent and gentle opposition,
while Julian himself was rather inclined to censure the weakness
of his own behavior. The Caesar had rejected, with abhorrence, a
mandate for the levy of an extraordinary tax; a new
superindiction, which the praefect had offered for his signature;
and the faithful picture of the public misery, by which he had
been obliged to justify his refusal, offended the court of
Constantius. We may enjoy the pleasure of reading the sentiments
of Julian, as he expresses them with warmth and freedom in a
letter to one of his most intimate friends. After stating his
own conduct, he proceeds in the following terms: "Was it possible
for the disciple of Plato and Aristotle to act otherwise than I
have done? Could I abandon the unhappy subjects intrusted to my
care? Was I not called upon to defend them from the repeated
injuries of these unfeeling robbers? A tribune who deserts his
post is punished with death, and deprived of the honors of
burial. With what justice could I pronounce his sentence, if, in
the hour of danger, I myself neglected a duty far more sacred and
far more important? God has placed me in this elevated post; his
providence will guard and support me. Should I be condemned to
suffer, I shall derive comfort from the testimony of a pure and
upright conscience. Would to Heaven that I still possessed a
counsellor like Sallust! If they think proper to send me a
successor, I shall submit without reluctance; and had much rather
improve the short opportunity of doing good, than enjoy a long
and lasting impunity of evil." ^90 The precarious and dependent
situation of Julian displayed his virtues and concealed his
defects. The young hero who supported, in Gaul, the throne of
Constantius, was not permitted to reform the vices of the
government; but he had courage to alleviate or to pity the
distress of the people. Unless he had been able to revive the
martial spirit of the Romans, or to introduce the arts of
industry and refinement among their savage enemies, he could not
entertain any rational hopes of securing the public tranquillity,
either by the peace or conquest of Germany. Yet the victories of
Julian suspended, for a short time, the inroads of the
Barbarians, and delayed the ruin of the Western Empire.
[Footnote 89: Ammian. xvi. 5, xviii. 1. Mamertinus in Panegyr.
Vet. xi. 4]
[Footnote 90: Ammian. xvii. 3. Julian. Epistol. xv. edit.
Spanheim. Such a conduct almost justifies the encomium of
Mamertinus. Ita illi anni spatia divisa sunt, ut aut Barbaros
domitet, aut civibus jura restituat, perpetuum professus, aut
contra hostem, aut contra vitia, certamen.]
His salutary influence restored the cities of Gaul, which
had been so long exposed to the evils of civil discord, Barbarian
war, and domestic tyranny; and the spirit of industry was revived
with the hopes of enjoyment. Agriculture, manufactures, and
commerce, again flourished under the protection of the laws; and
the curioe, or civil corporations, were again filled with useful
and respectable members: the youth were no longer apprehensive of
marriage; and married persons were no longer apprehensive of
posterity: the public and private festivals were celebrated with
customary pomp; and the frequent and secure intercourse of the
provinces displayed the image of national prosperity. ^91 A mind
like that of Julian must have felt the general happiness of which
he was the author; but he viewed, with particular satisfaction
and complacency, the city of Paris; the seat of his winter
residence, and the object even of his partial affection. ^92 That
splendid capital, which now embraces an ample territory on either
side of the Seine, was originally confined to the small island in
the midst of the river, from whence the inhabitants derived a
supply of pure and salubrious water. The river bathed the foot
of the walls; and the town was accessible only by two wooden
bridges. A forest overspread the northern side of the Seine, but
on the south, the ground, which now bears the name of the
University, was insensibly covered with houses, and adorned with
a palace and amphitheatre, baths, an aqueduct, and a field of
Mars for the exercise of the Roman troops. The severity of the
climate was tempered by the neighborhood of the ocean; and with
some precautions, which experience had taught, the vine and
fig-tree were successfully cultivated. But in remarkable winters,
the Seine was deeply frozen; and the huge pieces of ice that
floated down the stream, might be compared, by an Asiatic, to the
blocks of white marble which were extracted from the quarries of
Phrygia. The licentiousness and corruption of Antioch recalled
to the memory of Julian the severe and simple manners of his
beloved Lutetia; ^93 where the amusements of the theatre were
unknown or despised. He indignantly contrasted the effeminate
Syrians with the brave and honest simplicity of the Gauls, and
almost forgave the intemperance, which was the only stain of the
Celtic character. ^94 If Julian could now revisit the capital of
France, he might converse with men of science and genius, capable
of understanding and of instructing a disciple of the Greeks; he
might excuse the lively and graceful follies of a nation, whose
martial spirit has never been enervated by the indulgence of
luxury; and he must applaud the perfection of that inestimable
art, which softens and refines and embellishes the intercourse of
social life.

[Footnote 91: Libanius, Orat. Parental. in Imp. Julian. c. 38, in
Fabricius Bibliothec. Graec. tom. vii. p. 263, 264.]

[Footnote 92: See Julian. in Misopogon, p. 340, 341. The
primitive state of Paris is illustrated by Henry Valesius, (ad
Ammian. xx. 4,) his brother Hadrian Valesius, or de Valois, and
M. D'Anville, (in their respective Notitias of ancient Gaul,) the
Abbe de Longuerue, (Description de la France, tom. i. p. 12, 13,)
and M. Bonamy, (in the Mem. de l'Aca demie des Inscriptions, tom.
xv. p. 656-691.)]

[Footnote 93: Julian, in Misopogon, p. 340. Leuce tia, or
Lutetia, was the ancient name of the city, which, according to
the fashion of the fourth century, assumed the territorial
appellation of Parisii.]

[Footnote 94: Julian in Misopogon, p. 359, 360.]

Chapter XX: Conversion Of Constantine.

Part I.

The Motives, Progress, And Effects Of The Conversion Of
Constantine. - Legal Establishment And Constitution Of The
Christian Or Catholic Church.

The public establishment of Christianity may be considered
as one of those important and domestic revolutions which excite
the most lively curiosity, and afford the most valuable
instruction. The victories and the civil policy of Constantine
no longer influence the state of Europe; but a considerable
portion of the globe still retains the impression which it
received from the conversion of that monarch; and the
ecclesiastical institutions of his reign are still connected, by
an indissoluble chain, with the opinions, the passions, and the
interests of the present generation.
In the consideration of a subject which may be examined with
impartiality, but cannot be viewed with indifference, a
difficulty immediately arises of a very unexpected nature; that
of ascertaining the real and precise date of the conversion of
Constantine. The eloquent Lactantius, in the midst of his court,
seems impatient ^1 to proclaim to the world the glorious example
of the sovereign of Gaul; who, in the first moments of his reign,
acknowledged and adored the majesty of the true and only God. ^2
The learned Eusebius has ascribed the faith of Constantine to the
miraculous sign which was displayed in the heavens whilst he
meditated and prepared the Italian expedition. ^3 The historian
Zosimus maliciously asserts, that the emperor had imbrued his
hands in the blood of his eldest son, before he publicly
renounced the gods of Rome and of his ancestors. ^4 The
perplexity produced by these discordant authorities is derived
from the behavior of Constantine himself. According to the
strictness of ecclesiastical language, the first of the Christian
emperors was unworthy of that name, till the moment of his death;
since it was only during his last illness that he received, as a
catechumen, the imposition of hands, ^5 and was afterwards
admitted, by the initiatory rites of baptism, into the number of
the faithful. ^6 The Christianity of Constantine must be allowed
in a much more vague and qualified sense; and the nicest accuracy
is required in tracing the slow and almost imperceptible
gradations by which the monarch declared himself the protector,
and at length the proselyte, of the church. It was an arduous
task to eradicate the habits and prejudices of his education, to
acknowledge the divine power of Christ, and to understand that
the truth of his revelation was incompatible with the worship of
the gods. The obstacles which he had probably experienced in his
own mind, instructed him to proceed with caution in the momentous
change of a national religion; and he insensibly discovered his
new opinions, as far as he could enforce them with safety and
with effect. During the whole course of his reign, the stream of
Christianity flowed with a gentle, though accelerated, motion:
but its general direction was sometimes checked, and sometimes
diverted, by the accidental circumstances of the times, and by
the prudence, or possibly by the caprice, of the monarch. His
ministers were permitted to signify the intentions of their
master in the various language which was best adapted to their
respective principles; ^7 and he artfully balanced the hopes and
fears of his subjects, by publishing in the same year two edicts;
the first of which enjoined the solemn observance of Sunday, ^8
and the second directed the regular consultation of the
Aruspices. ^9 While this important revolution yet remained in
suspense, the Christians and the Pagans watched the conduct of
their sovereign with the same anxiety, but with very opposite
sentiments. The former were prompted by every motive of zeal, as
well as vanity, to exaggerate the marks of his favor, and the
evidences of his faith. The latter, till their just
apprehensions were changed into despair and resentment, attempted
to conceal from the world, and from themselves, that the gods of
Rome could no longer reckon the emperor in the number of their
votaries. The same passions and prejudices have engaged the
partial writers of the times to connect the public profession of
Christianity with the most glorious or the most ignominious aera
of the reign of Constantine.

[Footnote 1: The date of the Divine Institutions of Lactantius
has been accurately discussed, difficulties have been started,
solutions proposed, and an expedient imagined of two original
editions; the former published during the persecution of
Diocletian, the latter under that of Licinius. See Dufresnoy,
Prefat. p. v. Tillemont, Mem. Ecclesiast. tom. vi. p. 465- 470.
Lardner's Credibility, part ii. vol. vii. p. 78-86. For my own
part, I am almost convinced that Lactantius dedicated his
Institutions to the sovereign of Gaul, at a time when Galerius,
Maximin, and even Licinius, persecuted the Christians; that is,
between the years 306 and 311.]

[Footnote 2: Lactant. Divin. Instit. i. l. vii. 27. The first
and most important of these passages is indeed wanting in
twenty-eight manuscripts; but it is found in nineteen. If we
weigh the comparative value of these manuscripts, one of 900
years old, in the king of France's library may be alleged in its
favor; but the passage is omitted in the correct manuscript of
Bologna, which the P. de Montfaucon ascribes to the sixth or
seventh century (Diarium Italic. p. 489.) The taste of most of
the editors (except Isaeus; see Lactant. edit. Dufresnoy, tom. i.
p. 596) has felt the genuine style of Lactantius.]

[Footnote 3: Euseb. in Vit. Constant. l. i. c. 27-32.]

[Footnote 4: Zosimus, l. ii. p. 104.]

[Footnote 5: That rite was always used in making a catechumen,
(see Bingham's Antiquities. l. x. c. i. p. 419. Dom Chardon,
Hist. des Sacramens, tom. i. p. 62,) and Constantine received it
for the first time (Euseb. in Vit Constant. l. iv. c. 61)
immediately before his baptism and death. From the connection of
these two facts, Valesius (ad loc. Euseb.) has drawn the
conclusion which is reluctantly admitted by Tillemont, (Hist. des
Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 628,) and opposed with feeble arguments by


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