The History, 22.5

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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5And although from his earliest childhood he was inclined to the worship of the gods, and gradually, as he grew up, became more attached to it, yet he was influenced by many apprehensions which made him act in things relating to that subject as secretly as he could.

2But when his fears were terminated, and he found himself at liberty to do what he pleased, he then showed his secret inclinations, and by plain and positive decrees ordered the temples to be opened, and victims to be brought to the altars for the worship of the gods.

3And in order to give more effect to his intentions, he ordered the priests of the different Christian sects, with the adherents of each sect, to be admitted into the palace, and in a constitutional spirit expressed his wish that their dissensions being appeased, each without any hindrance might fearlessly follow the religion he preferred.

4He did this the more resolutely because, as long licence increased their dissensions, he thought he should never have to fear the unanimity of the common people, having found by experience that no wild beasts are so hostile to men as Christian sects in general are to one another. And he often used to say, “Listen to me, to whom the Allemanni and Franks have listened;” imitating in this an expression of the ancient emperor Marcus Aurelius. But he omitted to notice that there was a great difference between himself and his predecessor.

5For when Marcus was passing through Palestine, on his road to Egypt, he is said, when wearied by the dirt and rebellious spirit of the Jews, to have often exclaimed with sorrow, “O Marcomanni, O Quadi, O Sarmatians, I have at last found others worse than you!”

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