The History, 21.4

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

« Amm. 21.3 | Amm. 21.4 | Amm. 21.5 | About This Work »

4These affairs were full of danger and doubt; and Julian considering them likely to lead to absolute destruction, bent all his mind to the one object of seizing Vadomarius unawares, through the rapidity of his movements, in order to secure his own safety and that of the provinces. And the plan which he decided on was this.

2He sent to those districts Philagrius, one of his secretaries, afterwards count of the East, in whose proved prudence and fidelity he could thoroughly rely; and besides a general authority to act as he could upon emergencies, he gave him also a paper signed by himself, which he bade him not to open nor read unless Vadomarius appeared on the western side of the Rhine.

3Philagrius went as he was ordered, and while he was in that district busying himself with various arrangements, Vadomarius crossed the river, as if he had nothing to fear, in a time of profound peace, and pretending to know of nothing having been done contrary to treaty, when he saw the commander of the troops who were stationed there, made him a short customary speech, and to remove all suspicion, of his own accord promised to come to a banquet to which Philagrius also had been invited.

4As soon as Philagrius arrived, when he saw the king, he recollected Julian’s words, and pretending some serious and urgent business, returned to his lodging, where having read the paper intrusted to him, and learnt what he was to do, he immediately returned and took his seat among the rest.

5But when the banquet was over he boldly arrested Vadomarius, and gave him to the commander of the forces, to be kept in strict custody in the camp, reading to him the commands he had received; but as nothing was mentioned about Vadomarius’s retinue, he ordered them to return to their own country.

6But the king was afterwards conducted to Julian’s camp, and despaired of pardon when he heard that his secretary had been taken, and the letters which he had written to Constantius read; he was however not even reproached by Julian, but merely sent off to Spain, as it was an object of great importance that, while Julian was absent from Gaul, this ferocious man should not be able to throw into confusion the provinces which had been tranquillized with such great difficulty.

7Julian, being much elated at this occurrence, since the king, whom he feared to leave behind him while at a distance, had been caught more quickly than he expected, without delay prepared to attack the barbarians who, as we have just related, had slain Count Libino and some of his soldiers in battle.

8And to prevent any rumour of his approach giving them warning to retire to remoter districts, he passed the Rhine by night with great silence, with some of the most rapid of his auxiliary bands; and so came upon them while fearing nothing of the sort. And he at once attacked them the moment they were first roused by the sound of enemies, and while still examining their swords and javelins; some he slew, some he took prisoners, who sued for mercy and offered to surrender their booty; to the rest who remained and implored peace, and promised to be quiet for the future, he granted peace.

« Amm. 21.3 | Amm. 21.4 | Amm. 21.5 | About This Work »

Version menu

Table of contents