5While these events were taking place in the East, Constantius was passing the winter at Arles; and after an exhibition of games in the theatre and in the circus, which were displayed with most sumptuous magnificence, on the tenth of October, the day which completed the thirtieth year of his reign, he began to give the reins more freely to his insolence, believing every information which was laid before him as proved, however doubtful or false it might be; and among other acts of cruelty, he put Gerontius, a count of the party of Magnentius, to the torture, and then condemned him to banishment.
2And as the body of a sick man is apt to be agitated by even trifling grievances, so his narrow and sensitive mind, thinking every sound that stirred something either done or planned to the injury of his safety, made his victory mournful by the slaughter of innocent men.
3For if any one of his military officers, or of those who had ever received marks of honour, or if any one of high rank was accused, on the barest rumour, of having favoured the faction of his enemy, he was loaded with chains and dragged about like a beast. And whether any enemy of the accused man pressed him or not, as if the mere fact that his name had been mentioned was sufficient, every one who was informed against or in any way called in question, was condemned either to death, or to confiscation of his property, or to confinement in a desert island.
4For his ferocity was excited to a still further degree when any mention was made of treason or sedition; and the bloodthirsty insinuations of those around him, exaggerating everything that happened, and pretending great concern at any danger which might threaten the life of the emperor, on whose safety, as on a thread, they hypocritically exclaimed the whole world depended, added daily to his suspicions and watchful anger.
5And therefore it is reported he gave orders that no one who was at any time sentenced to punishment for these or similar offences should be readmitted to his presence for the purpose of offering the usual testimonies to his character, a thing which the most implacable princes have been wont to permit. And thus deadly cruelty, which in all other men at times grows cool, in him only became more violent as he advanced in years, because the court of flatterers which attended on him added continual fuel to his stern obstinacy.
6Of this court a most conspicuous member was Paulus, the secretary, a native of Spain, a man keeping his objects hidden beneath a smooth countenance, and acute beyond all men in smelling out secret ways to bring others into danger. He, having been sent into Britain to arrest some military officers who had dared to favour the conspiracy of Magnentius, as they could not resist, licentiously exceeded his commands, and like a flood poured with sudden violence upon the fortunes of a great number of people, making his path through manifold slaughter and destruction, loading the bodies of free-born men with chains, and crushing some with fetters, while patching up all kinds of accusations far removed from the truth. And to this man is owing one especial atrocity which has branded the time of Constantius with indelible infamy.
7Martinus, who at that time governed these provinces as deputy, being greatly concerned for the sufferings inflicted on innocent men, and making frequent entreaties that those who were free from all guilt might be spared, when he found that he could not prevail, threatened to withdraw from the province, in the hope that this malevolent inquisitor, Paulus, might be afraid of his doing so, and so give over exposing to open danger men who had combined only in a wish for tranquillity.
8Paulus, thinking that this conduct of Martinus was a hindrance to his own zeal, being, as he was, a formidable artist in involving matters, from which people gave him the nickname of “the Chain,” attacked the deputy himself while still engaged in defending the people whom he was set to govern, and involved him in the dangers which surrounded every one else, threatening that he would carry him, with his tribunes and many other persons, as a prisoner to the emperor’s court. Martinus, alarmed at this threat, and seeing the imminent danger in which his life was, drew his sword and attacked Paulus. But because from want of strength in his hand he was unable to give him a mortal wound, he then plunged his drawn sword into his own side. And by this unseemly kind of death that most just man departed from life, merely for having dared to interpose some delay to the miserable calamities of many citizens.
9And when these wicked deeds had been perpetrated, Paulus, covered with blood, returned to the emperor’s camp, bringing with him a crowd of prisoners almost covered with chains, in the lowest condition of squalor and misery; on whose arrival the racks were prepared, and the executioner began to prepare his hooks and other engines of torture. Of these prisoners, many of them had their property confiscated, others were sentenced to banishment, some were given over to the sword of the executioner. Nor is it easy to cite the acquittal of a single person in the time of Constantius, where the slightest whisper of accusation had been brought against him.