The History, 21.6

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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6It is fitting now to retrace our steps and to relate briefly what (while these events just related were taking place in Gaul) Constantius, who passed the winter at Antioch, did, whether in peace or war.

2Besides many others of high rank, some of the most distinguished tribunes generally come to salute an emperor on his arrival from distant lands. And accordingly, when Constantius, on his return from Mesopotamia, received this compliment, a Paphlagonian named Amphilochius, who had been a tribune, and whom suspicion, not very far removed from the truth, hinted at as having, while serving formerly under Constans, sown the seeds of discord between him and his brother, now ventured, with no little audacity, to come forward as if he were to be admitted to pay his duty in this way, but was recognized and refused admittance. Many also raised an outcry against him, crying out that he, as a stubborn rebel, ought not to be permitted to see another day. But Constantius, on this occasion more merciful than usual, said, “Cease to press upon a man who, indeed, as I believe, is guilty, but who has not been convicted. And remember that if he has done anything of the kind, he, as long as he is in my sight, will be punished by the judgment of his own conscience, which he will not be able to escape.” And so he departed.

3The next day, at the Circensian games, the same man was present as a spectator, just opposite the usual seat of the emperor, when a sudden shout was raised at the moment of the commencement of the expected contest; the barriers, on which he with many others was leaning, were broken, and the whole crowd as well as he were thrown forward into the empty space; and though a few were slightly hurt, he alone was found to be killed, having received some internal injury. At which Constantius rejoiced, prognosticating from this omen protection from his other enemies.

4About the same time (his wife Eusebia having died some time before) he took another wife, named Faustina. Eusebia’s brothers were two men of consular rank, Hypatius and Eusebius. She had been a woman of pre-eminent beauty both of person and character, and for one of her high rank most courteous and humane. And to her favour and justice it was owing, as we have already mentioned, that Julian was saved from danger and declared Cæsar.

5About the same time Florentius also was rewarded, who had quitted Gaul from fear of a revolution. He was now appointed to succeed Anatolius, the prefect of the prætorium in Illyricum, who had lately died. And in conjunction with Taurus, who was appointed to the same office in Italy, he received the ensigns of this most honourable dignity.

6Nevertheless, the preparations for both foreign and civil wars went on, the number of the squadrons of cavalry was augmented, and reinforcements for the legions were enlisted with equal zeal, recruits being collected all over the provinces. Also every class and profession was exposed to annoyances, being called upon to furnish arms, clothes, military engines, and even gold and silver and abundant stores of provisions, and various kinds of animals.

7And because, as the king of Persia had been compelled unwillingly to fall back on account of the difficulties of the winter, it was feared that as soon as the weather became open he would return with greater impetuosity than ever, ambassadors were sent to the kings and satraps across the Tigris, with splendid presents, to advise and entreat them all to join us, and abstain from all designs or plots against us.

8But the most important object of all was to win over Arsaces and Meribanes, the kings of Armenia and Hiberia, who were conciliated by the gift of magnificent and honourable robes and by presents of all kinds, and who could have done great harm to the Roman interests if at such a crisis they had gone over to the Persians.

9At this important time, Hermogenes died, and was succeeded in his prefecture by Helpidius, a native of Paphlagonia, a man of mean appearance and no eloquence, but of a frank and truthful disposition, humane and merciful. So much so that once when Constantius ordered an innocent man to be put to the torture before him, he calmly requested to be deprived of his office, and that such commissions might be given to others who would discharge them in a manner more in accordance with the emperor’s sentence.

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