The History, 30.3

Ammian  translated by C. D. Yonge

« Amm. 30.2 | Amm. 30.3 | Amm. 30.4 | About This Work »

3The next year Gratian took Equitius as his colleague in the consulship; and Valentinian, after desolating some cantons of the Allemanni, was building a fortress near Basle, which the natives of the country call Robur, when a report was brought to him from the prefect Probus with an account of the disasters which had taken place in Illyricum.

2He read them with a very careful examination, as became a prudent general; and then being filled with anxious thoughts, he sent his secretary, Paternianus, to that country, to inquire minutely into the whole details of the affair. And, as he soon received from him a true account of all that had taken place, he prepared to repair thither himself with all speed, in order to overwhelm with the first crash of his arms (such was his idea) the barbarians who had dared to pollute our frontier.

3But, because, as it was now the end of autumn, there were many serious difficulties in the way, all the nobles in the palace pressed him earnestly to allow the time between that and the beginning of spring to be spent in embassies and conferences. Reminding him, in the first place, that the roads were all impassable through frost—that it was impossible to find herbage to feed the cattle, or anything else that would be useful. In the next place, they dwelt on the ferocity of the chieftains who lay nearest to Gaul, and especially of Macrianus whom they greatly dreaded, as it was quite certain that he was no friend to us, and was inclined to attack even the fortified cities.

4By recapitulating these arguments, and adding others of great weight, they brought the emperor to adopt a wiser plan; and immediately (as was best for the commonwealth) King Macrianus was invited in courteous terms to come to Mayence; and the event proved that he also was well inclined to make a treaty. When he arrived, however, it was marvellous how proud and arrogant he was, as if he were to be the supreme arbiter of the peace. And on a day appointed for a conference he came, carrying himself very loftily, to the very brink of the Rhine, and escorted by a number of his countrymen, who made a great clang with their shields.

5On the other hand, the emperor, having embarked in a boat, such as is used on that river, and likewise escorted by a strong force, came with great confidence up to the eastern bank, being conspicuous through the brilliancy of his glittering standards; and when the frantic gestures and murmurs of the barbarians had been quieted, a long discussion took place on both sides, and at last a firm friendship was agreed on, and ratified with an oath.

6When this was over, the king, who had been the cause of all these troubles, retired, quite pacified, and destined to prove an ally to us for the future; indeed, he afterwards, to the very end of his life, gave proof of his constancy and resolution to preserve his agreement with us, by many noble and gallant actions.

7But subsequently he died in the country of the Franks, which he had invaded and ravaged in a most destructive manner, till at last he was cut off by the manœuvres of Mellobaudes, the warlike king of that nation, and slain. After the treaty had thus been solemnly ratified, Valentinian retired into winter quarters, at Treves.

« Amm. 30.2 | Amm. 30.3 | Amm. 30.4 | About This Work »

Version menu

Table of contents