The History, 22.2

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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2But while he was thus in suspense, the ambassadors, Theolaiphus and Aligildus, who had been despatched to him to announce the death of Constantius, suddenly arrived, adding that that prince with his last words had named him as his successor in his dignity.

2As soon as he learnt this, being delighted at his deliverance from the turmoils of war and its consequent disorders, and fully relying on the prophecies he had received, having besides often experienced the advantages of celerity of action, he issued orders to march to Thrace. Therefore speedily advancing his standards, he passed over the high ground occupied by the Succi, and marched towards the ancient city of Eumolpias, now called Philippopolis, all his army following him with alacrity.

3For they now saw that the imperial power which they were on their way to seize, in the face of imminent danger, was in a measure beyond their hopes put into their hands by the course of nature. And as report is wont marvellously to exaggerate events, a rumour got abroad that Julian, formidable both by sea and land, had entered Heraclea, called also Perinthus, borne over its unresisting walls on the chariot of Triptolemus, which from its rapid movements the ancients, who loved fables, had stated to be drawn by flying serpents and dragons.

4When he arrived at Constantinople, people of every age and sex poured forth to meet him, as though he were some one dropped from heaven. On the eleventh of December he was received with respectful duty by the senate, and by the unanimous applause of the citizens, and was escorted into the city by vast troops of soldiers and civilians, marshalled like an army, while all eyes were turned on him, not only with the gaze of curiosity, but with great admiration.

5For it seemed to them like a dream, that a youth in the flower of his age, of slight body, but renowned for great exploits, after many victories over barbarian kings and nations, having passed from city to city with unparalleled speed, should now, by an accession of wealth and power as rapid as the spread of fire, have become the unresisted master of the world; and the will of God itself having given him the empire, should thus have obtained it without any injury to the state.

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