The History, 14.9

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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9Amid all these various disasters, Ursicinus, who was the governor of Nisibis, an officer to whom the command of the emperor had particularly attached me as a servant, was summoned from that city, and in spite of his reluctance, and of the opposition which he made to the clamorous bands of flatterers, was forced to investigate the origin of the pernicious strife which had arisen. He was indeed a soldier of great skill in war, and an approved leader of troops; but a man who had always kept himself aloof from the strife of the forum. He, alarmed at his own danger when he saw the corrupt accusers and judges who were associated with him, all emerging out of the same lurking-places, wrote secret letters to Constantius informing him of what was going on, both publicly and in secret; and imploring such assistance as, by striking fear into Gallus, should somewhat curb his notorious arrogance.

2But through excessive caution he had fallen into a worse snare, as we shall relate hereafter, since his enemies got the opportunity of laying numerous snares for him, to poison the mind of Constantius against him; Constantius, in other respects a prince of moderation, was severe and implacable if any person, however mean and unknown, whispered suspicion of danger into his ears, and in such matters was wholly unlike himself.

3On the day appointed for this fatal examination, the master of the horse took his seat under the pretence of being the judge; others being also set as his assessors, who were instructed beforehand what was to be done: and there were present also notaries on each side of him, who kept the Cæsar rapidly and continually informed of all the questions which were put and all the answers which were given; and by his pitiless orders, urged as he was by the persuasions of the queen, who kept her ear at the curtain, many were put to death without being permitted to soften the accusations brought against them, or to say a word in their own defence.

4The first persons who were brought before them were Epigonius and Eusebius, who were ruined because of the similarity of their names to those of other people; for we have already mentioned that Montius, when just at the point of death, had intended to inculpate the tribunes of manufactures, who were called by these names, as men who had promised to be his supports in some future enterprise.

5Epigonius was only a philosopher as far as his dress went, as was evident, when, having tried entreaties in vain, his sides having been torn with blows, and the fear of instant death being presented to him, he affirmed by a base confession that his companion was privy to his plans, though in fact he had no plans; nor had he ever seen or heard anything, being wholly unconnected with forensic affairs. But Eusebius, confidently denying what he was accused of, continued firm in unshaken constancy, loudly declaring that it was a band of robbers before whom he was brought, and not a court of justice.

6And when, like a man well acquainted with the law, he demanded that his accuser should be produced, and claimed the usual rights of a prisoner; the Cæsar, having heard of his conduct, and looking on his freedom as pride, ordered him to be put to the torture as an audacious calumniator; and when Eusebius had been tortured so severely that he had no longer any limbs left for torments, imploring heaven for justice, and still smiling disdainfully, he remained immovable, with a firm heart, not permitting his tongue to accuse himself or any one else. And so at length, without having either made any confession, or being convicted of anything, he was condemned to death with the spiritless partner of his sufferings. He was then led away to death, protesting against the iniquity of the times; imitating in his conduct the celebrated Stoic of old, Zeno, who, after he had been long subjected to torture in order to extract from him some false confession, tore out his tongue by the roots and threw it, bloody as it was, into the face of the king of Cyprus, who was examining him.

7After these events the affair of the royal robe was examined into. And when those who were employed in dyeing purple had been put to the torture, and had confessed that they had woven a short tunic to cover the chest, without sleeves, a certain person, by name Maras, was brought in, a deacon, as the Christians call him; letters from whom were produced, written in the Greek language to the superintendent of the weaving manufactory at Tyre, which pressed him to have the beautiful work finished speedily; of which work, however, these letters gave no further description. And at last this man also was tortured, to the danger of his life, but could not be made to confess anything.

8After the investigation had been carried on with the examination, under torture of many persons, when some things appeared doubtful, and others it was plain were of a very unimportant character, and after many persons had been put to death, the two Apollinares, father and son, were condemned to banishment; and when they had come to a place which is called Crateræ, a country house of their own, which is four-and-twenty miles from Antioch, there, according to the order which had been given, their legs were broken, and they were put to death.

9After their death Gallus was not at all less ferocious than before, but rather like a lion which has once tasted blood, he made many similar investigations, all of which it is not worth while to relate, lest I should exceed the bounds which I have laid down for myself; an error which is to be avoided.

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