The History, 21.9

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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9These things having been arranged according to the best of his judgment, Julian adhering to the maxim by which he had often forced his way through the countries of the barbarians, and trusting in his continued successes, proceeded in his advance.

2And when he had reached the spot at which he had been informed that the river was navigable, he embarked on board some boats which good fortune had brought thither in numbers, and passed as secretly as he could down the stream, escaping notice the more because his habits of endurance and fortitude had made him indifferent to delicate food; so that, being contented with meagre and poor fare, he did not care to approach their towns or camps, forming his conduct in this respect according to the celebrated saying of the ancient Cyrus, who, when he was introduced to a host who asked him what he wished to have got ready for supper, answered, “Nothing beyond bread, for that he hoped he should sup by the side of a river.”

3But Fame, which, as they say, having a thousand tongues, always exaggerates the truth, at this time spread abroad a report among all the tribes of Illyricum that Julian, having overthrown a number of kings and nations in Gaul, was coming on flushed with success and with a numerous army.

4Jovinus, the prefect of the prætorium, being alarmed at this rumour, fled in haste, as if from a foreign enemy; and going by the public conveyances with frequent relays, he crossed the Julian Alps, taking with him also Florentius the prefect.

5But Count Lucillianus, who at that time had the command of the army in these districts, being at Sirmium, and having received some slight intelligence of Julian’s movements, collected the soldiers whom the emergency gave time for being quickly called from their several stations, and proposed to resist his advance.

6Julian, however, like a firebrand or torch once kindled, hastened quickly to his object; and when, at the waning of the moon, he had reached Bonmunster, which is about nineteen miles from Sirmium, and when, therefore, the main part of the night was dark, he unexpectedly quitted his boats, and at once sent forward Dagalaiphus with his light troops to summon Lucillianus to his presence, and to drag him before him if he resisted.

7He was asleep, and when he was awakened by the violence of this uproar, and saw himself surrounded by a crowd of strangers, perceiving the state of the case, and being filled with awe at the name of the emperor, he obeyed his orders, though sadly against his will. And though commander of the cavalry, a little while before proud and fierce, he now obeyed the will of another, and mounting a horse which was brought him on a sudden, he was led before Julian, as an ignoble prisoner, and from fear was hardly able to collect his senses.

8But as soon as he saw the emperor, and was relieved by receiving permission to offer his salutations to his purple robe, he recovered his courage, and feeling safe said, “You have been incautious and rash, O emperor, to trust yourself with but a few troops in the country of another.” But Julian, with a sarcastic smile, replied, “Keep these prudent speeches for Constantius. I offered you the ensign of my royal rank to ease you of your fears, and not to take you for my counsellor.”

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