The History, 16.4

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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4While he was anxiously revolving these things in his mind, he was attacked by a numerous force of the enemy, who had conceived a hope of being able to take the town. And they were the more confident of success because, from the information of deserters, they had learnt that he neither had with him his Scutarii nor his Gentiles, both of which bodies of troops had been distributed among the different municipal towns in order that they might be the more easily supplied with provisions.

2Therefore after the gates of the city had been barricaded, and the weakest portions of the walls carefully strengthened, Julian was seen night and day on the battlements and ramparts, attended by a band of armed men, boiling over with anger and gnashing his teeth, because, often as he wished to sally forth, he was prevented from taking such a step by the scantiness of the force which he had with him.

3At last, after thirty days, the barbarians retired disappointed, murmuring that they had been so vain and weak as to attempt the siege of such a city. It deserves however to be remarked, as a most unworthy circumstance, that when Julian was in great personal danger, Marcellus, the master of the horse, who was posted in the immediate neighbourhood, omitted to bring him any assistance, though the danger of the city itself, even if the prince had not been there, ought to have excited his endeavours to relieve it from the peril of a siege by so formidable an enemy.

4Being now delivered from this fear, Julian, ever prudent and active, directed his anxious thoughts incessantly to the care of providing that, after their long labours, his soldiers should have rest, which, however brief, might be sufficient to recruit their strength. In addition to the exhaustion consequent on their toils, they were distressed by the deficiency of crops on the land, which through the frequent devastations to which they had been exposed afforded but little suitable for human food.

5But these difficulties he likewise surmounted by his ever wakeful diligence, and a more confident hope of future success opening itself to his mind, he rose with higher spirits to accomplish his other designs.

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