The History, 26.5

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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5So after the winter had passed off quietly, the two emperors in perfect harmony, one having been formally elected, and the other having been admitted to share that honour, though chiefly in appearance, having traversed Thrace, arrived at Nissa, where in the suburb which is known as Mediana, and is three miles from the city, they divided the counts between them as if they were going to separate.

2To the share of Valentinian, by whose will everything was settled, there fell Jovinus, who had lately been promoted by Julian to be the commander of the forces in Gaul, and Dagalaiphus, on whom Jovian had conferred a similar rank; while Victor was appointed to follow Valens to the east: and he also had originally been promoted by the decision of Julian; and to him was given Ariathæus as a colleague. For Lupicinus, who in like manner had sometime before been appointed by Jovian to command the cavalry, was defending the eastern districts.

3At the same time Equitius received the command of the army of Illyricum, with the rank not of general but of count; and Serenianus, who sometime before had retired from the service, now, being a citizen of Pannonia, returned to it, and joined Valens as commander of the cohort of his guards. This was the way in which these affairs were settled, and in which the troops were divided.

4After this, when the two brothers entered Sirmium, they divided their courts also, and Valentinian as the chief took Milan, while Valens retired to Constantinople.

5Sallust, with the authority of prefect, governed the East, Mamertinus Italy with Africa and Illyricum, and Germanianus the provinces of Gaul.

6It was in the cities of Milan and Constantinople that the emperors first assumed the consular robes. But the whole year was one of heavy disaster to the Roman state.

7For the Allemanni burst through the limits of Germany, and the cause of their unusual ferocity was this. They had sent ambassadors to the court, and according to custom they were entitled to regular fixed presents, but received gifts of inferior value; which, in great indignation, they threw away as utterly beneath them. For this they were roughly treated by Ursatius, a man of a passionate and cruel temper, who at that time was master of the offices; and when they returned and related, with considerable exaggeration, how they had been treated, they roused the anger of their savage countrymen as if they had been despised and insulted in their persons.

8About the same time, or not much later, Procopius attempted a revolution in the east; and both these occurrences were announced to Valentinian on the same day, the 1st of November, as he was on the point of making his entry into Paris.

9He instantly sent Dagalaiphus to make head against the Allemanni, who, when they had laid waste the land nearest to them, had departed to a distance without bloodshed. But with respect to the measures necessary to crush the attempt of Procopius before it gained any strength, he was greatly perplexed, being made especially anxious by his ignorance whether Valens were alive or dead, that Procopius thus attempted to make himself master of the empire.

10For Equitius, as soon as he heard the account of the tribune Antonius, who was in command of the army in the interior of Dacia, before he was able to ascertain the real truth of everything, brought the emperor a plain statement of what had taken place.

11On this Valentinian promoted Equitius to the command of a division, and resolved on retiring to Illyricum to prevent a rebel who was already formidable from overrunning Thrace and then carrying an hostile invasion into Pannonia. For he was greatly terrified by recollecting recent events, considering how, not long before, Julian, despising an emperor who had been invariably successful in every civil war, before he was expected or looked for, passed on from city to city with incredible rapidity.

12But his eager desire to return was cooled by the advice of those about him, who counselled and implored him not to expose Gaul to the barbarians, who were threatening it; nor to abandon on such a pretence provinces which were in need of great support. And then prayers were seconded by embassies from several important cities which entreated him not in a doubtful and disastrous crisis to leave them wholly undefended, when by his presence he might at once deliver them from the greatest dangers, by the mere terror which his mighty name would strike into the Germans.

13At last, having given much deliberation to what might be most advisable, he adopted the opinion of the majority, and replied that Procopius was the foe only of himself and his brother, but the Allemanni were the enemies of the whole Roman world; and so he determined in the mean time not to move beyond the frontier of Gaul.

14And advancing to Rheims, being also anxious that Africa should not be suddenly invaded, he appointed Neotherius, who at that time was only a secretary, but who afterwards became a consul, to go to the protection of that country; and with him Masaucio, an officer of the domestic guard, being induced to add him by the consideration that he was well acquainted with the disturbed parts, since he had been brought up there under his father Cretion, who was formerly Count of Africa; he added further, Gaudentius, a commander of the Scutarii, a man whom he had long known, and on whose fidelity he placed entire confidence.

15Because therefore these sad disturbances arose on both sides at one and the same time, we will here arrange our account of each separately in suitable order; relating first what took place in the East, and afterwards the war with the barbarians; since the chief events both in the West and the East occurred in the same months; lest, by any other plan, if we skipped over in haste from place to place, we should present only a confused account of everything, and so involve our whole narrative in perplexity and disorder.

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