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Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.11

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Ubi curarum abiectis ponderibus aliis, tamquam nodum et difficillimum, Caesarem convellere nisu valido cogitabat; eique deliberanti cum proximis, clandestinis colloquiis et nocturnis, qua vi quibusve commentis id fieret, antequam effundendis rebus pertinacius incumberet confidentia, acciri mollioribus scriptis, per simulationem tractatus publici nimis urgentis, eundem placuerat Gallum, ut auxilio destitutus, sine ullo interiret. Huic sententiae versabilium adulatorum refragantibus globis, inter quos erat , ad insidiandum acer et flagrans, et Eusebius praepositus cubiculi effusior ad nocendum, id occurrebat, Caesare discedente, Ursicinum in oriente perniciose relinquendum, si nullus esset qui prohibere altiora meditaturum. Eisdemque residui regii accessere spadones, quorum ea tempestate plus habendi cupiditas ultra mortalem modum adolescebat, inter ministeria vitae secretioris per arcanos susurros nutrimenta fictis criminibus subserentes; qui ponderibus invidiae gravioris virum fortissimum opprimebant, subolescere imperio adultos eius filios mussitantes, decore corporum favorabiles et aetate, per multiplicem armaturae scientiam, agilitatenque membrorum, inter cotidiana proludia exercitus, consulto consilio cognitos: Gallum suopte ingenio trucem, per suppositos quosdam ad saeva facinora ideo animatum, ut eo digna omnium detestatione exoso, ad magistri equitum liberos principatus insignia transferantur. Cum haec taliaque sollicitas eius aures everberarent, expositas semper eius modi rumoribus et patentes, vario animi motu miscente consilia, tandem id ut optimum factu elegit: et Ursicinum primum ad se venire summo cum honore mandavit, ea specie ut pro rerum tune urgentium captu, disponeretur concordi consilio, quibus virium incrementis, Parthicarum gentium arma minantium impetus frangerentur. Et nequid suspicaretur adversi venturus, vicarius eius (dum redit) Prosper missus est comes; acceptisque litteris, et copia rei vehiculariae data, Mediolanum itineribus properavimus magnis. Restabat ut Caesar post haec properaret accitus, et abstergendae causa suspicionis, sororem suam (eius uxorem) Constantius ad se tandem desideratam venire, multis fictisque blanditiis hortabatur. Quae licet ambigeret, metuens saepe cruentum, spe tamen quod eum lenire poterit ut germanum, profecta, cum Bithyniam introisset, in statione quae Caenos Gallicanos appellatur, absumpta est vi febrium repentina. Cuius post obitum maritus cecidisse fiduciam qua se fultum existimabat, anxia cogitatione quid moliretur haerebat. Inter res enim impeditas et turbidas, ad hoc unum mentem sollicitam dirigebat, quod Constantius cuncta ad suam sententiam conferens, nec satisfactionem suscipiet aliquam, nec erratis ignoscet, sed ut erat in propinquitatis perniciem inclinatior, laqueos ei latenter obtendens, si cepisset incautum, morte multaret. Eo necessitatis adductus, ultimaque ni vigilasset opperiens, principem locum, si copia patuisset, clam affectabat, sed perfidiam proximorum ratione 1 bifaria verebatur, qui eum ut truculentum horrebant et levem, quique altiorem Constantii fortunam in discordiis civilibus formidabant. Inter has curarum moles immensas, imperatoris scripta suscipiebat assidua, monentis orantisque ut ad se veniret, et mente monstrantis obliqua, rem publicam nec posse dividi nec debere, sed pro viribus quemque ei ferre suppetias fluctuanti, nimirum Galliarum indicans vastitatem. Quibus subserebat non adeo vetus exemplum, quod Diocletiano et eius collegae, ut apparitores Caesares non resides sed ultro citroque discurrentes, obtemperabant, et in Syria Augusti vehiculum irascentis, per spatium mille passuum fere pedes antegressus est Galerius purpuratus. Advenit post multos Scudilo scutariorum tribunus, velamento subagrestis ingenii, persuasionis opifex callidus. Qui eum adulabili sermone periuriis admixto, solus omnium proficisci pellexit, vultu assimulato saepius replicando, quod flagrantibus votis eum videre frater cuperet patruelis, siquid per imprudentiam gestum est, remissurus, ut mitis et clemens, participemque eum suae maiestatis assciscet, futurum laborum quoque socium, quos Arctoae provinciae diu fessae poscebant. Utque solent manum iniectantibus fatis, hebetari sensus hominum et obtundi, his illecebris ad meliorum expectationem erectus, egressusque Antiochia numine laevo ductante, prorsus ire tendebat de fumo, ut proverbium loquitur vetus, ad flammam; et ingressus Constantinopolim, tamquam in rebus prosperis et securis, editis equestribus ludis, capiti Thoracis aurigae coronam imposuit, ut victoris. Quo cognito Constantius ultra mortalem modum exarsit; ac nequo casu idem Gallus de futuris incertus, agitare quaedam conducentia saluti suae per itinera conaretur, remoti sunt omnes de industria milites agentes in civitatibus perviis. Eoque tempore Taurus quaestor ad Armeniam missus, confidenter nec appellate eo nec viso transivit. Venere tamen aliqui iussu imperatoris, administrationum specie diversarum, eundem ne commovere se posset, neve temptaret aliquid occulte custodituri; inter quos Leontius erat, postea urbi praefectus, ut quaestor, et Lucillianus quasi domesticorum comes et scutariorum tribunus nomine Bainobaudes. Emensis itaque longis intervallis et planis, cum Hadrianopolim introisset, urbem Haemimontanam, Uscudamam antehac appellatam, fessasque labore diebus duodecim recreans vires, comperit Thebaeas legiones in vicinis oppidis hiemantes, consortes suos misisse quosdam, eum ut remaneret promissis fidis hortaturos et firmis, cum animarentur roboris sui fiducia, abunde per stationes locatae confines, sed observante cura pervigili proximorum, nullam videndi vel audiendi quae ferebant, furari potuit facultatem. Inde aliis super alias urgentibus litteris exire et decem vehiculis publicis, ut praeceptum est, usus, relicto palatio omni, praeter paucos tori ministros et mensae, quos avexerat secum, squalore concretus, celerare gradum compellebatur, adigentibus multis, temeritati suae subinde flebiliter imprecatus, quae eum iam despectum et vilem arbitrio subdiderat infimorum. Inter haec tamen per indutias naturae conquiescentis, sauciabantur eius sensus circumstridentium terrore larvarum, interfectorumque catervae, Domitiano et Montio praeviis, correptum eum (ut existimabat in somnis), uncis furialibus obiectabant. Solutus enim corporeis nexibus, animus semper vigens motibus indefessis, ex cogitationibus subiectis et curis, quae mortalium sollicitant mentes, colligit visa nocturna, quas φαντασίας nos appellamus. Pandente itaque viam fatorum sorte tristissima, qua praestitutum erat eum vita et imperio spoliari, itineribus rectis permutatione iumentorum emensis, venit Petobionem oppidum Noricorum, ubi reseratae sunt insidiarum latebrae omnes, et Barbatio repente apparuit Comes, qui sub eo domesticis praefuit, cum Apodemio agente in rebus, milites ducens, quos beneficiis suis oppigneratos elegerat imperator, certus nec praemiis nec miseratione ulla posse deflecti. Iamque non umbratis fallaciis res agebatur, sed qua palatium est extra muros, armatis Barbatio omne circumdedit. Ingressusque obscuro iam die, ablatis regiis indumentis, Caesarem tunica texit et paludamento communi, eum post haec nihil passurum, velut mandato principis iurandi crebritate confirmans, et Statim inquit exsurge, et inopinum carpento privato impositum, ad Histriam duxit, prope oppidum Polam, ubi quondam peremptum Constantini filium accipimus Crispum. Et cum ibi servaretur artissime, terrore propinquantis exitii iam praesepultus, accurrit Eusebius, cubiculi tune praepositus, Pentadiusque notarius, et Mallobaudes armaturarum tribunus, iussu imperatoris compulsuri eum singillatim docere, quam ob causam quemque apud Antiochiam necatorum iusserat trucidari. Ad quae Adrasteo pallore perfusus, hactenus valuit loqui, quod plerosque incitante coniuge iugulaverit Constantina, ignorans profecto Alexandrum Magnum urgenti matri ut occideret quendam insontem, et dictitanti spe impetrandi postea quae vellet, eum se per novem menses utero portasse praegnantem, ita respondisse prudenter: Aliam, parens optima, posce mercedem; hominis enim salus beneficio nullo pensatur. Quo comperto irrevocabili ira princeps percitus et dolore, fiduciam omnem fundandae securitatis in eodem posuit abolendo. Et misso Sereniano, quem in crimen maiestatis vocatum quibusdam absolutum esse supra monstravimus, Pentadio quin etiam notario, et Apodemio agente in rebus, eum capitali supplicio destinavit, et ita colligatis manibus in modum noxii cuiusdam latronis, cervice abscisa, ereptaque vultus et capitis dignitate, cadaver est relictum informe, paulo ante urbibus et provinciis formidatum. Sed vigilavit utrubique superni numinis aequitas. Nam et Gallum actus oppressere crudeles, et non diu postea ambo cruciabili morte absumpti sunt, qui eum licet nocentem, blandius palpantes periuriis, ad usque plagas perduxere letales. Quorum Scudilo destillatione iecoris pulmones vomitans interiit; Barbatio, qui in eum iam diu falsa composuerat crimina, cum ex magisterio peditum altius niti quorundam susurris incusaretur, damnatus extincti per fallacias Caesaris obitu parentavit. Haec et huius modi quaedam innumerabilia ultrix facinorum impiorum, bonorumque praemiatrix, aliquotiens operatur Adrastia, (atque utinam semper!): quam vocabulo duplici etiam Nemesim appellamus: ius quoddam sublime numinis efficacis, humanarum mentium opinione lunari circulo superpositum, vel ut definiunt alii, substantialis tutela generali potentia partilibus praesidens fatis, quam theologi veteres fingentes Iustitiae filiam, ex abdita quadam aeternitate tradunt omnia despectare terrena. Haec ut regina causarum, et arbitra rerum ac disceptatrix, urnam sortium temperat, accidentium vices alternans, voluntatumque nostrarum exorsa interdum alio quam quo contendebant exitu terminans, multiplices actus permutando convolvit. Eademque necessitatis insolubili retinaculo mortalitatis vinciens fastus, tumentes in cassum, et incrementorum detrimentorumque momenta versabilis librans (ut novit), nunc erectas eminentium cervices opprimit et enervat, nunc bonos ab imo suscitans ad bene vivendum extollit. Pinnas autem ideo illi fabulosa vetustas aptavit, ut adesse velocitate volucri existimetur, et praetendere gubernaculum dedit, eique subdidit rotam, ut universitatem regere per elementa discurrens omnia non ignoretur. Hoc immaturo interitu, ipse quoque sui pertaesus, excessit e vita, aetatis nono anno atque vicensimo, cum quadriennio imperasset. Natus apud Tuscos in Massa Veternensi patre Constantio, Constantini fratre imperatoris, matreque Galla, sorore Rufini et Cerealis, quos trabeae consulares nobilitarunt, et praefecturae. Fuit autem forma conspicuus bona, decente filo corporis membrorumque recta compage, flavo capillo et molli, barba licet recens emergente lanugine tenera, ita tamen ut maturius auctoritas emineret; tantum a temperatis moribus Iuliani differens fratris, quantum inter Vespasiani filios fuit Domitianum et Titum. Assumptus autem in amplissimum fortunae fastigium, versabilis eius motus expertus est, qui ludunt mortalitatem, nunc evehentes quosdam in sidera, nunc ad Cocyti profunda mergentes. Cuius rei cum innumera sint exempla, pauca tactu summo transcurram. Haec fortuna mutabilis et inconstans fecit Agathoclem Siculum ex figulo regem, et Dionysium, gentium quondam terrorem, Corinthi litterario ludo praefecit. Haec Adramytenum Andriscum, in fullonio natum, ad Pseudophilippi nomen evexit, et Persei legitimum filium artem ferrariam ob quaerendum docuit victum. Eadem Mancinum post imperium dedidit[*] Numantinis, Samnitum atrocitati Veturium, et Claudium Corsis, substravitque feritati Carthaginis Regulum; istius iniquitate Pompeius, post quaesitum Magni ex rerum gestarum amplitudine cognomentum, ad spadonum libidinem in Aegypto trucidatur. Et Eunus quidam ergastularius servus ductavit in Sicilia . Quam multi splendido loco nati Romani, eadem rerum domina conivente, Viriathi genua sunt amplexi vel Spartaci? Quot capita quae horruere gentes funesti carnifices absciderunt? Alter in vincula ducitur, alter insperatae praeficitur potestati, alius a summo culmine dignitatis excutitur. Quae omnia si scire quisquam velit quam varia sint et assidua, harenarum numerum idem iam desipiens et montium pondera scrutari putabit.

Translation

After the survival of the events of an unendurable campaign, Against Magnentius, who in 350 had assumed the rank of an Augustus in the west, with Veteranio; but was defeated, in 351, by Constantius at Mursa, on the river Drave, a tributary of the Danube and in the passes of the Cottian Alps in 353. His followers then abandoned him and he committed suicide. See Index. when the spirits of both parties, broken by the variety of their dangers and hardships, were still drooping, before the blare of the trumpets had ceased or the soldiers been assigned to their winter quarters, the gusts of raging Fortune brought new storms upon the commonwealth through the misdeeds, many and notorious, of Gallus Caesar. The title of Augustus was lawfully held only by the reigning emperor, or emperors. Caesar was the title next in rank and was conferred by the emperor on one or more of the imperial family; see Introd. p. xxiv. He had been raised, at the very beginning of mature manhood, by an unexpected promotion from the utmost depths of wretchedness to princely heights, and overstepping the bounds of the authority conferred upon him, by excess of violence was causing trouble everywhere. For by his relationship to the imperial stock, and the affinity which he even then had with the name of Constantius, He was married to Constantia, daughter of Constantine the Great and Fausta, wrongly called Constantina, XIV. 7, 4, etc. he was raised to such a height of presumption that, if he had been more powerful, he would have ventured (it seemed) upon a course hostile to the author of his good fortune. To his cruelty his wife was besides a serious incentive, a woman beyond measure presumptuous because of her kinship to the emperor, and previously joined in marriage by her father Constantine with his brother’s son, King Hanniballianus. Constantine had given him the rule of Pontus, Armenia Minor, and Cappadocia, but Constantius II., soon after his accession, had caused his assassination. She, a Megaera One of the Furies. in mortal guise, constantly aroused the savagery of Gallus, being as insatiable as he in her thirst for human blood. The pair in process of time gradually became more expert in doing harm, and through underhand and crafty eavesdroppers, who had the evil habit of lightly adding to their information and wanting to learn only what was false and agreeable to them, they fastened upon innocent victims false charges of aspiring to royal power or of practising magic. There stood out among their lesser atrocities, when their unbridled power had already surpassed the limits of unimportant delinquencies, the sudden and awful death of one Clematius, a nobleman of Alexandria. This man’s mother-in-law, it was said, had a violent passion for her son-in-law, but was unable to seduce him; whereupon, gaining entrance to the palace by a back door, she presented the queen with a valuable necklace, and thus secured the dispatch of his death-warrant to Honoratus, at that time Count 2 of the East; Comites originally were companions of an official on his travels, as Catullus accompanied Memmius to Bithynia; cf. Horace, Epist. i. 8, 2, etc. They gradually became his advisers, and later they were appointed to various duties as his deputies. They differed in rank; the Comes Orientis was of the second grade spectabilis ), see Introd., p. xviii. and so Clematius, a man contaminated by no guilt, was put to death without being allowed to protest or even to open his lips. After the perpetration of this impious deed, which now began to arouse the fears of others also, as if cruelty were given free rein, some persons were adjudged guilty on the mere shadow of suspicion and condemned. Of these some were put to death, others punished by the confiscation of their property and driven from their homes into exile, where, having nothing left save tears and complaints, they lived on the doles of charity; and since constitutional and just rule had given place to cruel caprice, wealthy and famous houses were being closed. And no words of an accuser, even though bribed, were required amid these accumulations of evils, in order that these crimes might be committed, at least ostensibly, under the forms of law, as has sometimes been done by cruel emperors; but whatever the implacable Caesar had resolved upon was rushed to fulfilment, as if it had been carefully weighed and determined to be right and lawful.

Works Cited

  • 1 Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae: Machine Readable Text, ed. John C. Rolfe (Medford, MA: Trustees of Tufts University, 2009), section: 14.11.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae [English Translation]: Machine Readable Text, trans. John C. Rolfe (Medford, MA: Trustees of Tufts University, 2009), section: 14.11.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Additional Bibliography

  • Ammianus Marcellinus, Ammianus Marcellinus I, trans. John Carew Rolfe, vol. 1, 3 vols., Loeb Classical Library (London: W. Heinemann, 1935), section: 14.11.Link to Zotero Bibliographic RecordLink to Archive.org Bibliographic record
  • Ammianus Marcellinus, Ammianus Marcellinus I, trans. John Carew Rolfe, vol. 1, 3 vols., Loeb Classical Library (London: W. Heinemann, 1935), section: 14.11.Link to Zotero Bibliographic RecordLink to Archive.org Bibliographic record

 

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How to Cite This Entry

Joseph L. Rife et al., “Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.11,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, last modified March 30, 2020, https://caesarea-maritima.org/testimonia/50.

Bibliography:

Joseph L. Rife et al., “Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.11.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife, Phillip I. Lieberman and David A. Michelson., edited by Joseph L. Rife et al.. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2020. Entry published March 30, 2020. https://caesarea-maritima.org/testimonia/50.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.11

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife, Phillip I. Lieberman, and David A. Michelson, editors, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editors, “Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.11
  • Joseph L. Rife and Bianca Gardner, entry contributors, “Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.11

Additional Credit:

  • TEI encoding by William L. Potter
  • Electronic text added by Bianca Gardner
  • Testimonia identified by Joseph L. Rife
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