The History, 22.13

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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13About the same time, on the 22nd of October, the splendid temple of Apollo, at Daphne, which that furious and cruel king Antiochus Epiphanes had built with the statue of the god, equal in size to that of Olympian Jupiter, was suddenly burnt down.

2This terrible accident inflamed the emperor with such anger, that he instantly ordered investigations of unprecedented severity to be instituted, and the chief church of Antioch to be shut up. For he suspected that the Christians had done it out of envy, not being able to bear the sight of the magnificent colonnade which surrounded the temple.

3But it was reported, though the rumour was most vague, that the temple had been burnt by means of Asclepiades the philosopher, of whom we have made mention while relating the actions of Magnentius. He is said to have come to the suburb in which the temple stood to pay a visit to Julian, and being accustomed to carry with him wherever he went a small silver statue of the Heavenly Venus, he placed it at the feet of the image of Apollo, and then, according to his custom, having lighted wax tapers in front of it, he went away. At midnight, when no one was there to give any assistance, some sparks flying about stuck to the aged timbers; and from that dry fuel a fire was kindled which burnt everything it could reach, however separated from it by the height of the building.

4The same year also, just as winter was approaching, there was a fearful scarcity of water, so that some rivers were dried up, and fountains too, which had hitherto abounded with copious springs. But afterwards they all were fully restored.

5And on the second of December, as evening was coming on, all that remained of Nicomedia was destroyed by an earthquake, and no small portion of Nicæa.

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