The History, 30.2

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

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2These are the transactions which especially attracted notice in Armenia; but Sapor, after the last defeat which his troops had experienced, having heard of the death of Para, whom he had been earnestly labouring to win to his own alliance, was terribly grieved; and, as the activity of our army increased his apprehensions, he began to dread still greater disasters to himself.

2He therefore sent Arsaces as his ambassador to the emperor, to advise him utterly to destroy Armenia as a perpetual cause of trouble; or, if that plan should be decided against, asking that an end might be put to the division of Hiberia into two provinces, that the Roman garrison might be withdrawn, and that Aspacuras, whom he himself had made the sovereign of the nation, might be permitted to reign with undivided authority.

3To this proposal, Valens replied, that he could not change the resolutions which had been agreed to by both of them; and, indeed, that he should maintain them with zealous care. Towards the end of the winter, letters were received from the king of a tenor very contrary to this noble determination of Valens, full of vain and arrogant boasting. For in them Sapor affirmed that it was impossible for the seeds of discord to be radically extirpated, unless those who had been witnesses of the peace which had been made with Julian were all collected, some of whom he knew to be already dead.

4After this, the matter becoming a source of greater anxiety, the emperor, who was more skilful in choosing between different plans than in devising them himself, thinking that it would be beneficial to the state in general, ordered Victor, the commander of the cavalry, and Urbicius, the Duke of Mesopotamia, to march with all speed to Persia, bearing a positive and plain answer to the proposals of Sapor: namely, that he, who boasted of being a just man, and one contented with his own, was acting wickedly in coveting Armenia, after a promise had been made to its inhabitants, that they should be allowed to live according to their own laws. And unless the soldiers who had been left as auxiliaries to Sauromaces returned without hindrance at the beginning of the ensuing year, as had been agreed, he would compel Sapor by force to perform what he might at present do with a good grace.

5And this embassy would in all respects have been a just and honourable one, if the ambassadors had not, contrary to their instructions, accepted some small districts in this same Armenia which were offered them. When the ambassadors returned, the Surena (the magistrate who enjoys an authority second only to that of the king) came with them, offering the said districts to the emperor which our ambassadors had ventured to take.

6He was received with liberality and magnificence; but dismissed without obtaining what he requested. And then, great preparations were made for war, in order that, as soon as the severity of the winter was over, the emperor might invade Persia with three armies; and with this object he began with all speed to bargain for the services of some Scythian auxiliaries.

7Sapor not having succeeded in obtaining what his vain hopes had led him to reckon on, and being exasperated in an extraordinary degree, because he had learnt that our emperor was preparing for an expedition, nevertheless stifled his wrath, and gave the Surena a commission to endeavour to recover by force of arms (if any one should resist him) the territories which Count Victor and Urbicius had accepted, and to press hostilities with the utmost rigour against those soldiers who had been destined to aid Sauromaces.

8His orders were at once carried out. Nor was it found possible to prevent or resist their execution, because a new cause of alarm suddenly came on the republic; as the entire nation of the Goths suddenly burst into Thrace. The calamities which we experienced from that event shall be related succinctly in their proper places.

9These were the occurrences which took place in the East. And while they were proceeding, as has been related, the unfailing arm of justice avenged the losses we had sustained in Africa, and the slaughter of the ambassadors of Tripoli, whose shades were still wandering about unavenged. For Justice, though a late, is yet a scrupulous and unerring discriminator between right and wrong.

10Remigius, whom we have already spoken of as favouring Count Romanus, who had laid waste these provinces after Leo had succeeded him as master of the offices, retired from office and from public life, and devoted himself to rural pursuits in his own native district near Mayence.

11And while he was living there in security, Maximin, the prefect of the prætorium, despising him because of his return to a tranquil life, as he was accustomed to attack everything like a terrible pestilence, set to work to do him injury by every means in his power. And, in order to hunt out all his secrets, he seized Cæsarius who had formerly been a servant of his, and afterwards had become a secretary of the emperor, and put him to the question, torturing him with great severity to learn from him what Remigius had done, and how much he had received to induce him to countenance the wicked actions of Romanus.

12But when Remigius heard this in his retreat, to which, as has been said, he had retired; being oppressed by the consciousness of his acts, or perhaps letting the dread of false accusation overpower his reason, he hanged himself.

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