|4. Ammianus Marcellinus, History, 14.5.6, 14.6, 14.6.5, 15.9, 17.7.9-17.7.12, 18.3.1, 18.3.7, 19.12.14, 19.12.19, 20.2.4, 20.4, 20.8.11, 20.8.20, 20.11.26-20.11.30, 20.11.32, 21.1.6-21.1.14, 21.13.15, 21.14.3, 21.14.5, 21.16.4-21.16.6, 22.5.4, 22.16.17, 23.1.3, 23.1.7, 23.5.5, 23.5.10, 24.8.4, 25.2.3-25.2.8, 25.3.19, 25.4.2, 25.4.4, 25.4.17, 25.10.1-25.10.3, 25.10.15, 26.1.1, 26.3.3-26.3.4, 26.10.15-26.10.19, 27.6.15, 28.1.7, 28.1.15-28.1.16, 28.1.42, 28.4, 28.4.26, 29.1.6, 29.1.31, 29.1.38-29.1.39, 29.2.17, 30.4.3, 30.4.5, 30.5.11, 31.1.2, 31.5.10, 31.16.9 (4th cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)
Tagged with subjects: • Ammianus Marcellinus • Ammianus Marcellinus, • Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae • Ammianus, Greek • Ammianus, and historical tradition • Ammianus, as (failed) philosopher • Ammianus, as critic of Constantius II • Ammianus, as interpreter of Julian’s life • Ammianus, nostalgic' • Ammianus, on Druids • Ammianus, on Gauls • Ammianus, on omens • Ammianus, philosophers • Ammianus, refusal to include trivia • Ammianus, religious toleration • Ammianus, secular' • Ammianus, views on religion of • Ammianus, witness of Julian’s policies • Julian’s centrality in Ammianus’ narrative • Thucydides, Ammianus' debt • advocates, Ammianus Marcellinus types of • audience, of Ammianus • authority, of Ammianus • authority, of Ammianus, of Livy • authority, of Ammianus, priestly • authority, of Ammianus, religious • cited by, Ammianus • digressions, in Ammianus • exempla, in Ammianus • fatum, in Ammianus • pessimism, in Ammianus • prodigies, in Ammianus
Found in books: Ando (2013), Imperial Ideology and Provincial Loyalty in the Roman Empire, 117, 197, 373; Davies (2004), Rome's Religious History: Livy, Tacitus and Ammianus on their Gods, 228, 229, 232, 234, 235, 237, 239, 241, 242, 249, 253, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 264, 271, 273, 274, 275, 278, 279, 280; Edmonds (2019), Drawing Down the Moon: Magic in the Ancient Greco-Roman World, 84, 389; Eliav (2023), A Jew in the Roman Bathhouse: Cultural Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean, 42; Humfress (2007), Oppian's Halieutica: Charting a Didactic Epic, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 73; Isaac (2004), The invention of racism in classical antiquity, 424; Johnston and Struck (2005), Mantikê: Studies in Ancient Divination, 280; Konig (2022), The Folds of Olympus: Mountains in Ancient Greek and Roman Culture, 235, 238, 242; Masterson (2016), Man to Man: Desire, Homosociality, and Authority in Late-Roman Manhood. 25, 77, 83; Niccolai (2023), Christianity, Philosophy, and Roman Power: Constantine, Julian, and the Bishops on Exegesis and Empire. 86, 89, 90, 147, 148, 212, 213; O'Daly (2020), Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn), 11, 12, 13, 14; Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 119; Poulsen (2021), Usages of the Past in Roman Historiography, 269, 291; Ruiz and Puertas (2021), Emperors and Emperorship in Late Antiquity: Images and Narratives, 113, 114, 115, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131; Rüpke and Woolf (2013), Religious Dimensions of the Self in the Second Century CE. 183; Van Nuffelen (2012), Orosius and the Rhetoric of History, 81, 149, 150, 151; Viglietti and Gildenhard (2020), Divination, Prediction and the End of the Roman Republic, 94; Waldner et al. (2016), Burial Rituals, Ideas of Afterlife, and the Individual in the Hellenistic World and the Roman Empire, 77; de Ste. Croix et al. (2006), Christian Persecution, Martyrdom, and Orthodoxy, 222, 247, 260
14.5.6 Prominent among these was the state secretary See Introd., p. xxx. Paulus, a native of Spain, a kind of viper, whose countece concealed his character, but who was extremely clever in scenting out hidden means of danger for others. When he had been sent to Britain to fetch some officers who had dared to conspire with Magnentius, since they could make no resistance he autocratically exceeded his instructions and, like a flood, suddenly overwhelmed the fortunes of many, making his way amid manifold slaughter and destruction, imprisoning freeborn men and even degrading some with handcuffs; as a matter of fact, he patched together many accusations with utter disregard of the truth, and to him was due an impious crime, which fixed an eternal stain upon the time of Constantius.
14.6.5 Thus the venerable city, after humbling the proud necks of savage nations, and making laws, the everlasting foundations and moorings of liberty, like a thrifty parent, wise and wealthy, has entrusted the management of her inheritance to the Caesars, as to her children.
17.7.9 I think the time has come to say a few words about the theories which the men of old have brought together about earthquakes; for the hidden depths of the truth itself have neither been sounded by this general ignorance of ours, nor even by the everlasting controversies of the natural philosophers, which are not yet ended after long study. 17.7.10 Hence in the books of ritual See Cic., De Div. i. 33, 72; Festus, p. 285 M. and in those which are in conformity with the pontifical priesthood, The pontificales libri of Seneca, Epist. 108, 31. nothing is said about the god that causes earthquakes, and this with due caution, for fear that by naming one deity instead of another, The Roman ritual required that in addressing a god, the identity of the god must be made sure and he must be called by his proper name; cf. for example, Horace, Sat. ii. 6, 20, Matutine pater, seu lane libentius audis, and the altar at the foot of the Palatine, sei deo sei deivae sacrum. since it is not clear which of them thus shakes the earth, impieties may be perpetrated. 17.7.11 Now earthquakes take place (as the theories state, and among them Aristotle Meteorologica, ii. 8. is perplexed and troubled) either in the tiny recesses of the earth, which in Greek we call σύριγγαι, Subterranean passages. under the excessive pressure of surging waters; or at any rate (as Anaxagoras asserts) through the force of the winds, which penetrate the innermost parts of the earth; for when these strike the solidly cemented walls and find no outlet, they violently shake those stretches of land under which they crept when swollen. Hence it is generally observed that during an earthquake not a breath of wind is felt where we are, But compare the procellae of § 3, above. because the winds are busied in the remotest recesses of the earth. 17.7.12 Anaximander says that when the earth dries up after excessive summer drought, or after soaking rainstorms, great clefts open, through which the upper air enters with excessive violence; and the earth, shaken by the mighty draft of air through these, is stirred from its very foundations. Accordingly such terrible disasters happen either in seasons of stifling heat or after excessive precipitation of water from heaven. And that is why the ancient poets and theologians call Neptune (the power of the watery element) Ennosigaeos Earthshaker, Juv. x. 182 and Sisichthon. Earthquaker, Gell. ii. 28, 1.
18.3.1 While in Gaul the providence of Heaven was reforming these abuses, in the court of Augustus a tempest of sedition arose, which from small beginnings proceeded to grief and lamentation. In the house of Barbatio, then commander of the infantry forces, bees made a conspicuous swarm; and when he anxiously consulted men skilled in prodigies about this, they replied that it portended great danger, 1 This was not always true. Cf. Pliny, N. H. xi. 55 ff.: Tunc (apes) ostenta faciunt privata ac publica, uva dependente in domibus templisque, saepe expiata magnis eventibus. Sedere in ore infantis turn etiam Platonis, suavitatem illam praedulcis eloqui portendentes. Sedere in castris Drusi imperatoris cum prosperrime pugnatum apud Arbalonem est, haud quaquam perpetua haruspicum coniectura, qui dirum id ostentum existimant semper. obviously inferring this from the belief, that when these insects have made their homes and gathered their treasures, they are only driven out by smoke and the wild clashing of cymbals.
18.3.7 He surely was unaware of the wise saying of Aristotle of old, who, on sending his disciple and relative Callisthenes to King Alexander, charged him repeatedly to speak as seldom and as pleasantly as possible in the presence of a man who had at the tip of his tongue the power of life and death.
19.12.14 For if anyone wore on his neck an amulet against the quartan ague or any other complaint, or was accused by the testimony of the evil-disposed of passing by a grave in the evening, on the ground that he was a dealer in poisons, or a gatherer of the horrors of tombs and the vain illusions of the ghosts that walk there, he was condemned to capital punishment and so perished.
19.12.19 At that same time in Daphne, that charming and magnificent suburb of Antioch, a portent was born, horrible to see and to report: an infant, namely, with two heads, two sets of teeth, a beard, four eyes and two very small ears; and this misshapen birth foretold that the state was turning into a deformed condition.
20.2.4 The accused, exasperated at this injustice, said: Although the emperor despises me, the importance of the present business is such, that it cannot be examined into and punished, except by the judgement of the prince; yet let him know, as if from the words of a seer, that so long as he grieves over what he has learned on no good authority to have happened at Amida, and so long as he is swayed by the will of eunuchs, not even he in person with all the flower of his army will be able next spring to prevent the dismemberment of Mesopotania.
20.8.11 This is a full account of what took place, and I pray that you will receive it in a spirit of peace. Do not suspect that anything different was done, or listen to malicious and pernicious whisperers, whose habit it is to excite dissension between princes for their own profit; but rejecting flattery, the nurse of vices, turn to justice, the most excellent of all virtues, and accept in good faith the fair conditions which I propose, convincing yourself that this is to the advantage of the rule of Rome Cf. Cic. De Rep. I. 49. as well as to ourselves, who are united by the tie of blood and by our lofty position.
20.8.20 Meanwhile the odium of the enterprise had been increased by the flight of the prefect Florentius, who, as if anticipating the disturbances that would arise from the summoning of the soldiers To serve in the Orient; cf. 4, 2, above. (which was the subject of common talk) had purposely withdrawn to Vienne, alleging the need of provisions as his excuse for parting from Caesar, whom he had often treated rudely and consequently feared.
20.11.26 More than this, rainbows were constantly seen; and how that phenomenon is wont to occur, a brief explanation will show. The warmer exhalations of the earth and its moist vapours are condensed into clouds; these are then dissipated into a fine spray, which, made brilliant by the sun’s rays that fall upon it, rises swiftly and, coming opposite the fiery orb itself, forms the rainbow. And the bow is rounded into a great curve, because it extends over our world, which the science of natural philosophy tells us rests upon a hemisphere. The meaning seems to be that the vault of the heavens is therefore a hemisphere. 20.11.27 Its first colour, so far as mortal eye can discern, is yellow, the second golden or tawny, the third red, the fourth violet, Purple varied from scarlet to violet. and the last blue verging upon green. 20.11.28 It shows this combination of beautiful colours, as earthborn minds conceive, for the reason that its first part, corresponding in colour with the surrounding air, appears paler; the second is tawny, that is, somewhat more vivid than yellow; the third is red, because it is exposed to the brightness of the sun, and in proportion to alternation in the air absorbs its brilliance most purely, being just opposite; I.e. the air is so affected by contact with the first two bands that it becomes more receptive of the effect of the sun’s rays. the fourth is violet, because receiving the brightness of the sun’s rays with a thick rain of spray glittering between, through which it rises, it shows an appearance more like fire; and that colour, the more it spreads, passes over into blue and green. 20.11.29 Others think that the form of the rainbow appears to earthly sight when the rays of the sun penetrate a thick and lofty cloud and fill it with clear light. Since this does not find an outlet, it forms itself into a mass and glows from the intense friction; and it takes the colours nearest to white from the sun higher up, but the greenish shades from resemblance to the cloud just above it. The same thing usually happens with the sea, where the waters that dash upon the shore are white, and those further out without any admixture are blue. 20.11.30 And since the rainbow is an indication of a change of weather (as I have said), from sunny skies bringing up masses of clouds, or on the contrary changing an overcast sky to one that is calm and pleasant, we often read in the poets that Iris is sent from heaven when it is necessary to change the present condition of affairs. There are many other different opinions, which it would be superfluous to enumerate at present, since my narrative is in haste to return to the point from which it digressed.
20.11.32 Therefore abandoning his fruitless attempt, he returned to Syria, purposing to winter in Antioch, having suffered severely and grievously; for the losses which the Persians had inflicted upon him were not slight but terrible and long to be lamented. For it had happened, as if some fateful constellation so controlled the several events, that when Constantius in person warred with the Persians, adverse fortune always attended him. Therefore he wished to conquer at least through his generals, which, as we recall, did sometimes happen.
21.1.6 Moreover, now that Gaul was quieted, his desire of first attacking Constantius was sharpened and fired, since he inferred from many prophetic signs (in which he was an adept) and from dreams, that Constantius would shortly depart from life. 21.1.7 And since to an emperor both learned and devoted to all knowledge malicious folk attribute evil arts for divining future events, we must briefly consider how this important kind of learning also may form part of a philosopher’s equipment. 21.1.8 The spirit pervading all the elements, seeing that they are eternal bodies, is always and everywhere strong in the power of prescience, and as the result of the knowledge which we acquire through varied studies makes us also sharers in the gifts of divina- tion; and the elemental powers, Demons, in the Greek sense of the word δαίμονες; of. xiv. 11, 25, substantialis tutela. when propitiated by divers rites, supply mortals with words of prophecy, as if from the veins of inexhaustible founts. These prophecies are said to be under the control of the divine Themis, so named because she reveals in advance decrees determined for the future by the law of the fates, which the Greeks call τεθειμένα; Things fixed and immutable. and therefore the ancient theologians gave her a share in the bed and throne of Jupiter, the life-giving power. 21.1.9 Auguries and auspices are not gained from the will of the fowls of the air which have no knowledge of future events (for that not even a fool will maintain), but a god so directs the flight of birds that the sound of their bills or the passing flight of their wings in disturbed or in gentle passage foretells future events. For the goodness of the deity, either because men deserve it, or moved by his affection for them, loves by these arts also to reveal impending events. 21.1.10 Those, too, who give attention to the prophetic entrails of beasts, which are wont to assume innumerable forms, know of impending events. And the teacher of this branch of learning is one named Tages, who (as the story goes) was seen suddenly to spring from the earth in the regions of Etruria. See xvii. 10, 2, note. 21.1.11 Future events are further revealed when men’s hearts are in commotion, but speak divine words. For (as the natural philosophers say) the Sun, the soul of the universe, sending out our minds from himself after the manner of sparks, when he has fired men mightily, makes them aware of the future. And it is for this reason that the Sibyls often say that they are burning, since they are fired by the mighty power of the flames. Besides these, the loud sounds of voices give many signs, as well as the phenomena which meet our eyes, thunder even and lightning, and the gleam of a star’s train of light. 21.1.12 The faith in dreams, too, would be sure and indubitable, were it not that their interpreters are sometimes deceived in their conjectures. And dreams (as Aristotle declares) are certain and trustworthy, when the person is in a deep sleep and the pupil of his eye is inclined to neither side but looks directly forward. 21.1.13 And because the silly commons oftentimes object, ignorantly muttering such things as these: If there were a science of prophecy, why did one man not know that he would fall in battle, or another that he would suffer this or that : it will be enough to say, that a grammarian has sometimes spoken ungrammatically, a musician sung out of tune, and a physician been ignorant of a remedy, but for all that grammar, music, and the medical art have not come to a stop. 21.1.14 Wherefore Cicero has this fine saying, among others: The gods, says he, show signs of coming events. With regard to these if one err, it is not the nature of the gods that is at fault, but man’s interpretation. Cic., De Nat. Deorum, ii. 4, 12; De Div. i. 52, 118. Therefore, that my discourse may not run beyond the mark (as the saying is) and weary my future reader, let us return and unfold the events that were foreseen.
21.13.15 For, as my mind presages, and as Justice promises, who will aid right purposes, I give you my word that, when we come hand to hand, they will be so benumbed with terror as to be able to endure neither the flashing light of your eyes nor the first sound of your battle-cry.
21.14.3 For the theologians maintain that there are associated with all men at their birth, but without interference with the established course of destiny, certain divinities of that sort, as directors of their conduct; but they have been seen by only a very few, whom their manifold merits have raised to eminence.
21.14.5 Likewise from the immortal poems of Homer Perhaps Iliad, i. 503 ff. we are given to understand that it was not the gods of heaven that spoke with brave men, and stood by them or aided them as they fought, but that guardian spirits attended them; and through reliance upon their special support, it is said, that Pythagoras, Socrates, and Numa Pompilius Referring to the nymph Egeria; cf. Livy, i. 19, 5. became famous; also the earlier Scipio, Africanus, the conqueror of Hannibal. and (as some believe) Marius and Octavianus, who first had the title of Augustus conferred upon him, and Hermes Trismegistus, A surname of the Egyptian Hermes. Here the refer- ence is apparently to a writer of the second century, who under that name tried to revive the old Egyptian, Pythagorean, and Platonic ideas. Apollonius of Tyana, The famous magician of the first century B.C., whose biography was written by Philostratus. and Plotinus, An eclectic philosopher of the third century, whose views entitled τερὶ τοῦ εἰληχότος ἡμᾶς δαίμονος have come down to us (Plot. En., iii, 4). who ventured to discourse on this mystic theme, and to present a profound discussion of the question by what elements these spirits are linked with men’s souls, and taking them to their bosoms, as it were, protect them (as long as possible) and give them higher instruction, if they perceive that they are pure and kept from the pollution of sin through association with an immaculate body. 21.16.5 By a prudent and temperate manner of life and by moderation in eating and drinking he maintained such sound health that he rarely suffered from illnesses, but such as he had were of a dangerous character. For that abstinence from dissipation and luxury have this effect on the body is shown by repeated experience, as well as by the statements of physicians.
22.5.4 On this he took a firm stand, to the end that, as this freedom increased their dissension, he might afterwards have no fear of a united populace, knowing as he did from experience that no wild beasts are such enemies to mankind as are most of the Christians in their deadly hatred of one another. And he often used to say: Hear me, to whom the Alamanni and the Franks have given ear, thinking that in this he was imitating a saying of the earlier emperor Marcus. But he did not observe that the two cases were very different.
22.16.17 And although very many writers flourished in early times as well as these whom I have mentioned, nevertheless not even to-day is learning of various kinds silent in that same city; for the teachers of the arts show signs of life, and the geometrical measuring-rod brings to light whatever is concealed, the stream of music is not yet wholly dried up among them, harmony is not reduced to silence, the consideration of the motion of the universe and of the stars is still kept warm with some, few though they be, and there are others who are skilled in numbers; and a few besides are versed in the knowledge which reveals the course of the fates.
23.1.3 But, though this Alypius pushed the work on with vigour, aided by the governor of the province, terrifying balls of flame kept bursting forth near the foundations of the temple, and made the place inaccessible to the workmen, some of whom were burned to death; and since in this way the element persistently repelled them, the enterprise halted.
23.1.7 Besides these, other lesser signs also indicated from time to time what came to pass. For amid the very beginning of the preparations for the Parthian campaign word came that Constantinople had been shaken by an earthquake, which those skilled in such matters said was not a favourable omen for a ruler who was planning to invade another’s territory. And so they tried to dissuade Julian from the untimely enterprise, declaring that these and similar signs ought to be disregarded only in the case of attack by an enemy, when the one fixed rule is, to defend the safety of the State by every possible means and with unremitting effort. Just at that time it was reported to him by letter, that at Rome the Sibylline books had been consulted about this war, as he had ordered, and had given the definite reply that the emperor must not that year leave his frontiers.
23.5.10 However, the Etruscan soothsayers, who accompanied the other adepts in interpreting prodigies, since they were not believed when they often tried to prevent this campaign, now brought out their books on war, and showed that this sign was adverse and prohibitory to a prince invading another’s territory, even though he was in the right.
24.8.4 And since human wisdom availed nothing, after long wavering and hesitation we built altars and slew victims, in order to learn the purpose of the gods, whether they advised us to return through Assyria, or to march slowly along the foot of the mountains and unexpectedly lay waste Chiliocomum, situated near Corduena; but on inspection of the organs it was announced that neither course would suit the signs.
25.2.3 Moreover, when he was forced for a time to indulge in an anxious and restless sleep, he threw it off in his usual manner, and, following the example of Julius Caesar, did some writing in his tent. Once when in the darkness of night he was intent upon the lofty thought of some philosopher, he saw somewhat dimly, as he admitted to his intimates, that form of the protecting deity of the state which he had seen in Gaul when he was rising to Augustan dignity, Cf. xx. 5, 10 but now with veil over both head and horn of plenty, sorrowfully passing out through the curtains of his tent. 25.2.4 And although for a moment he remained sunk in stupefaction, yet rising above all fear, he commended his future fate to the decrees of heaven, and now fully awake, the night being now far advanced, he left his bed, which was spread on the ground, and prayed to the gods with rites designed to avert their displeasure. Then he thought he saw a blazing torch of fire, like a falling star, which furrowed part of the air and disappeared. And he was filled with fear lest the threatening star of Mars had thus visibly shown itself. Cf. xxiv. 6, 17. 25.2.5 That fiery brilliance was of the kind that we call διάσσων, ἀστὴρ διαίσσων, a shooting star ; of. Iliad, iv. 75-77. which never falls anywhere or touches the earth; for anyone who believes that bodies can fall from heaven is rightly considered a layman, I.e. not versed in astronomy. or a fool. But this sort of thing happens in many ways, and it will be enough to explain a few of them. 25.2.6 Some believe that sparks glowing from the ethereal force, are not strong enough to go very far and then are extinguished; or at least that beams of light are forced into thick clouds, and because of the heavy clash throw out sparks, or when some light has come in contact with a cloud. For this takes the form of a star, and falls downward, so long as it is sustained by the strength of the fire; but, exhausted by the greatness of the space which it traverses, it loses itself in the air, passing back into the substance whose friction gave it all that heat. Cf. Seneca, Nat. Quaest. ii. 14. 25.2.7 Accordingly, before dawn the Etruscan soothsayers were hastily summoned, and asked what this unusual kind of star portended. Their reply was, that any undertaking at that time must be most carefully avoided, pointing out that in the Tarquitian books, So-called from their author Tarquitius, whom some identify with Tages; cf. xvii. 10, 2; xxi. 1, 10. under the rubric On signs from heaven it was written, that when a meteor was seen in the sky, battle ought not to be joined, or anything similar attempted. 25.2.8 When the emperor scorned this also, as well as many other signs, the soothsayers begged that at least he would put off his departure for some hours; but even this they could not gain, since the emperor was opposed to the whole science of divination, I.e. when it opposed his plans. As Montaigne (Book II, ch. 19) rightly says, he was besotted with the art of divination cf. xxii. 1, 1; xxiii. 3, 3; xxv. 4, 17. but since day had now dawned, camp was broken.
25.3.19 And I shall not be ashamed to admit, that I learned long ago through the words of a trustworthy prophecy, that I should perish by the sword. And therefore I thank the eternal power that I meet my end, not from secret plots, nor from the pain of a tedious illness, nor by the fate of a criminal, but that in the mid-career of glorious renown I have been found worthy of so noble a departure from this world. For he is justly regarded as equally weak and cowardly who desires to die when he ought not, or he who seeks to avoid death when his time has come.
25.10.1 After this business had been thus attended to, we came by long marches to Antioch; where for successive days, as though the divinity were angered, many fearful portents were seen, which those skilled in such signs declared would have sad results. 25.10.2 For the statue of the Caesar Maximianus, which stood in the vestibule of the royal palace, suddenly dropped the brazen ball, in the form of the globe of heaven, which it was holding, Cf. xxi. 14, 1, note. the beams of the council hall gave forth an awful creaking, and in broad daylight comets were seen, about which the views of those versed in natural history are at variance. Cf. Pliny, N.H. ii. 91 ff. 25.10.3 For some think that they are so called because they are numerous stars united in one body, Democritus and Anaxagoras, cf. Arist., Meteor. 1, 1; opposed by Sen. Nat., Quaest. vii. 7. and send out writhing fires resembling hair. The view of Aristotle and the Peripatetics; cometa is from coma (Greek κομη ), hair. This opinion, which is nearest the truth, is attributed by Aristotle and Plutarch to Pythagoras. Others believe that they take fire from the dryer exhalations of the earth, which gradually rise higher. Others again think that the rays streaming from the sun are prevented by the interposition of a heavier cloud from going downward, and when the brightness is suffused through the thick substance, it presents to men’s eyes a kind of star-spangled light. Yet others have formed the opinion that this phenomenon occurs when an unusually high cloud is lit up by the nearness of the eternal fires, or at any rate, that comets are stars like the rest, the appointed times of whose rising and setting I.e. their appearance and disappearance. are not understood by human minds. Many other theories about comets are to be found in the writings of those who are skilled in knowledge of the universe; but from discussing these I am prevented by my haste to continue my narrative.
25.10.15 So too he was devoted to the Christian doctrine and sometimes paid it honour. At Antioch he annulled Julian’s edicts against Christianity. He was only moderately educated, of a kindly nature, and (as appears from the few promotions that he made) inclined to select state officials with care. But he was an immoderate eater, given to wine and women, faults which perhaps he would have corrected out of regard for the imperial dignity.
26.1.1 Having narrated the course of events with the strictest care up to the bounds of the present epoch, I had already determined to withdraw my foot from the more familiar tracks, partly to avoid the dangers which are often connected with the truth, and partly to escape unreasonable critics of the work which I am composing, who cry out as if wronged, if one has failed to mention what an emperor said at table, or left out the reason why the common soldiers were led before the standards for punishment, or because in an ample account of regions he ought not to have been silent about some insignificant forts; also because the names of all who came together to pay their respects to the city-praetor On the first of January, when he entered upon his office; cf. Pliny, Epist. i. 5, 11, ipse me Regulus convenit in praetoris officio ; Spart., Hadr. 9, 7. were not given, and many similar matters, which are not in accordance with the principles of history; for it is wont to detail the high lights of events, not to ferret out the trifling details of unimportant matters. For whoever wishes to know these may hope to be able to count the small indivisible bodies which fly through space, and to which we give the name of atoms.
26.3.3 Finally, after many punishments of the kind, a charioteer Such men used poison and magic against the horses of their rivals; cf. xxviii. 1, 27; 4, 25. called Hilarinus was convicted on his own confession of having entrusted his son, who had barely reached the age of puberty, to a mixer of poisons to be instructed in certain secret practices forbidden by law, in order to use his help at home without other witnesses; and he was condemned to death. But since the executioner was lax in guarding him, the man suddenly escaped and took refuge in a chapel of the Christian sect; however, he was at once dragged from there and beheaded. 26.3.4 But efforts were still made to check these and similar offences, and none, or at any rate very few, who were engaged in such abominations defied the public diligence. But later, long-continued impunity nourished these monstrous offences, and lawlessness went so far that a certain senator followed the example of Hilarinus, and was convicted of having apprenticed a slave of his almost by a written contract to a teacher of evil practices to be initiated into criminal secrets; but he bought escape from the death penalty, as current gossip asserted, for a large sum of money.
26.10.15 While that usurper Procopius. of whose many deeds and his death we have told, still survived, on the twenty-first of July in the first consulship of Valentinian with his brother, 365. horrible phenomena suddenly spread through the entire extent of the world, such as are related to us neither in fable nor in truthful history. 26.10.16 For a little after daybreak, preceded by heavy and repeated thunder and lightning, the whole of the firm and solid earth was shaken and trembled, the sea with its rolling waves was driven back and withdrew from the land, so that in the abyss of the deep thus revealed men saw many kinds of sea-creatures stuck fast in the slime; and vast mountains and deep valleys, which Nature, the creator, had hidden in the unplumbed depths, then, as one might well believe, first saw the beams of the sun. 26.10.17 Hence, many ships were stranded as if on dry land, and since many men roamed about without fear in the little that remained of the waters, to gather fish and similar things E.g. shells. with their hands, the roaring sea, resenting, as it were, this forced retreat, rose in its turn; and over the boiling shoals it dashed mightily upon islands and broad stretches of the mainland, and levelled innumerable buildings in the cities and wherever else they were found; so that amid the mad discord of the elements the altered face of the earth revealed marvellous sights. 26.10.18 For the great mass of waters, returning when it was least expected, killed many thousands of men by drowning; and by the swift recoil of the eddying tides a number of ships, after the swelling of the wet element subsided, were seen to have foundered, and the lifeless bodies of shipwrecked persons lay floating on their backs or on their faces. Cf. Pliny, N.H. vii. 77: observatum est. . . virorum cadavera supina fluitare, feminarum prona, velut pudori defunctarum parcente natura. 26.10.19 Other great ships, driven by the mad blasts, landed on the tops of buildings (as happened at Alexandria), and some were driven almost two miles inland, like a Laconian ship which I myself in passing that way saw near the town of Mothone, Called Methone by Thucydides, ii. 25. It was in the southern part of Messenia. There was another Methone in Magnesia. yawning Cf. Virg., Aen. i. 123, rimisque fatiscunt. apart through long decay.
27.6.15 After this, all rose up to praise the elder and the younger emperor, and especially the boy, who was recommended by the fierier gleam of his eyes, the delightful charm of his face and his whole body, and the noble nature of his heart; these qualities would have completed an emperor fit to be compared with the choicest rulers of the olden time, had this been allowed by the fates and by his intimates, who, by evil actions, cast a cloud over his virtue, which was even then not firmly steadfast.
28.1.7 First, because the prophecies of his father were still warm Cf. xxii. 12, 2; xxii. 16, 17. in his ears, a man exceedingly skilful in interpreting omens from the flight or the notes of birds, who declared he would attain to high power, but would die by the sword of the executioner; secondly, because he had got hold of a man from Sardinia who was highly skilled in calling up baneful spirits and eliciting predictions from the ghosts of the dead. This man he himself afterwards put to death, so the rumour went, in a treacherous fashion,—so long as he survived, Maximinus was more yielding and mild, for fear that he might be betrayed—finally, because while creeping through low places like a serpent under ground I.e., while holding offices of minor importance. he could not yet stir up causes for death on a larger scale.
28.1.15 And since I think that perchance some of my readers by careful examination may note and bring it against me as a reproach that this, and not that, happened first, or that those things which they themselves saw are passed over, I must satisfy them to this extent: that not everything which has taken place among persons of the lowest class is worth narrating; and if this were necessary to be done, even the arrays of facts to be gained from the public records themselves would not suffice, when there was such a general fever of evils, and a new and unbridled madness was mingling the highest with the lowest; for it was clearly evident that it was not a judicial trial which was to be feared, but a suspension of legal proceedings. One of Ammianus’ few word-plays; but see Blomgren, pp. 128 ff.
28.1.42 At that time, or not much earlier, the brooms with which the assembly-hall of the nobles was swept were seen to bloom, and this was an omen that some men of the most despised station would be raised to high rank in the offices of state.
28.4.26 In another place a wife by hammering day and night on the same anvil—as the old proverb has it Cf. Cic., De Orat. ii. 39, 162, and xviii. 4, 2. —drives her husband to make a will, and the husband insistently urges his wife to do the same. Skilled jurists are brought in on both sides, one in a bedroom, the other, his rival, in the dining-room to discuss disputed points. These are joined by opposing interpreters of horoscopes, Cf. Lucian, Dial. Mort., 11, 1. on the one side making profuse promises of prefectures and the burial of rich matrons, on the other telling women that for their husbands’ funerals now quietly approaching they must make the necessary preparations. And a maid-servant bears witness, by nature somewhat pale,. . . The rest of this sentence seems hopelessly corrupt and unintelligible. As Cicero says: De Amic. 21, 79. They know of nothing on earth that is good unless it brings gain. of their friends, as of their cattle, they love those best from whom they hope to get the greatest profit.
29.1.6 But when they came to a vigorous investigation of the deed, or the attempt, Palladius boldly cried out that those matters about which they were inquiring were trivial and negligible; that if he were allowed to speak, he would tell of other things more important and fearful, which had already been plotted with great preparations, and unless foresight were used would upset the whole state. And on being bidden to tell freely what he knew, he uncoiled an endless cable of crimes, Cf. Cic., De Div. i. 56, 127, est quasi rudentis explicatio. declaring that the ex-governor Fidustius, and Pergamius, with Irenaeus, by detestable arts of divination, had secretly learned the name of the man who was to succeed Valens.
29.1.31 Then a man clad in linen garments, shod also in linen sandals and having a fillet wound about his head, carrying twigs from a tree of good omen, after propitiating in a set formula the divine power from whom predictions come, having full knowledge of the ceremonial, stood over the tripod as priest and set swinging a hanging ring fitted to a very fine linen Valesius read carbasio, which would correspond to the linen garments and sandals; the Thes. Ling. Lat. reads carpathio = linteo . thread and consecrated with mystic arts. This ring, passing over the designated intervals in a series of jumps, and falling upon this and that letter which detained it, made hexameters corresponding with the questions and completely finished in feet and rhythm, like the Pythian verses which we read, or those given out from the oracles of the Branchidae. The descendants of a certain Branchus, a favourite of Apollo, who were at first in charge of the oracle at Branchidae, later called oraculum Apollinis Didymei (Mela, i. 17, 86), in the Milesian territory; cf. Hdt. i. 1 57. The rings had magic powers, cf. Cic., De off. iii. 9, 38; Pliny, N. H. xxxiii. 8. Some writers give a different account of the method of divination used by the conspirators.
29.1.38 After all these matters had been examined with sharp eye, the emperor, in answer to the question put by the judges, under one decree ordered the execution of all of the accused; and in the presence of a vast throng, who could hardly look upon the dreadful sight without inward shuddering and burdening the air with laments—for the woes of individuals were regarded as common to all—they were all led away and wretchedly strangled except Simonides; him alone that cruel author of the verdict, maddened by his steadfast firmness, had ordered to be burned alive. 29.1.39 Simonides, however, ready to escape from life as from a cruel tyrant, and laughing at the sudden disasters of human destiny, stood unmoved amid the flames; imitating that celebrated philosopher Peregrinus, surnamed Proteus, According to Lucian, who wrote his biography, he was a Cynic; he was born at Parion on the Hellespont, and died in Olympiad 236 (A.D. 165). who, when he had determined to depart from life, at the quinquennial Olympic festival, in the sight of all Greece, mounted a funeral pyre which he himself had constructed and was consumed by the flames.
29.2.17 At the time Valens added this also to the rest of his glories, that while in other instances he was so savagely cruel as to grieve that the great pain of his punishments could not continue after death, ferret . . . dolores, hexameter rhythm. yet he spared the tribune Numerius, a man of surpassing wickedness! This man was convicted at that same time on his own confession of having dared to cut open the womb of a living woman and take out her unripe offspring, in order to evoke the ghosts of the dead and consult them about a change of rulers; yet Valens, who looked on him with the eye of an intimate friend, in spite of the murmurs of the whole Senate gave orders that he should escape unpunished, and retain his life, his enviable wealth, and his military rank unimpaired.
30.4.3 This trade of forensic oratory the great Plato defined as πολιτικῆς μορίου εἴδωλον (that is, the shadow of a small part of the science of government Plato, Gorgias, 463 b. For amplitudo Platonis, cf. xxii. 16, 22, sermonum amplitudine lovis aemulus Platon. ) or as the fourth part of flattery; I.e., the lowest of the four parts. but Epicurus counts it among evil arts, calling it κακοτεχνία. The art of deceiving; cf. Quintilian, ii. 15, 2; 20, 2. Epicurus denied that it was an art. Tisias One of the earliest rhetoricians, a teacher of Gorgias; see Cic., Brut. 12, 46. says that it is the artist of persuasion, and Gorgias of Leontini agrees with him.
30.4.5 Formerly judgement-seats gained glory through the support of old-time refinement, when orators of fiery eloquence, Cf. concitatus orator, xiv. 7, 18. devoted to learned studies, were eminent for talent and justice, and for the fluency and many adornments of their diction; for example Demosthenes, to hear whom, when he was going to speak, as the Attic records testify, the people were wont to flock together from all Greece Cf. Cic., Brutus, 84, 289. ; and Callistratus, According to Xen., Hell. vi. 2, 39; cf. 3, 3; and Diod. Sic., xv. 29, 6, he flourished shortly before the battle of Leuctra (371 B.C.). to whom, when he pleaded in that celebrated case in defence of Oropos (which is a place in Euboea It is really on the frontier of Attica and Boeotia opposite Euboea. The words are probably a gloss. ) that same Demosthenes attached himself, forsaking the Academy and Plato; also, Hyperides, Aeschines, Andocides, Dinarchus, and the famous Antiphon of Rhamnus, who, according to the testimony of antiquity, was the first of all to accept a fee for conducting a defence.
30.5.11 And so the emperor remained at Carnuntum, where throughout the entire three summer months he was preparing arms and supplies, intending, if in anyway fortune favoured, to find opportunity to attack the Quadi, the instigators of the terrible uprising. It was in that town that Faustinus, nephew of Viventius, See xxvii. 3, 11. He succeeded Florentius in Gaul. the praetorian prefect, when serving as a state-secretary, after an investigation conducted by Probus, was first tortured and then put to death by the hand of the executioner. The charge was that he had killed an ass, as some of his accusers alleged, for use in secret arts, but as he himself declared, to strengthen the weakness of his hair, which was falling out. For this meaning of fluentium, cf. Celsus, vi. 1; fluor capillorum, Seren. Samm. 6; and on remedies from asses, Plin., N.H. xxviii. 180; cf. xxix. 106.
31.5.10 And since after many events the narrative has reached this point, I earnestly entreat my readers (if I ever have any) not to demand of me a strictly accurate account of what happened or the exact number of the slain, which there was no way of finding out. For it will be enough to describe simply the main points of events, without concealing the truth through any false statement, since faithful honesty is ever a requisite in giving an historical account.
31.16.9 These events, from the principate of the emperor Nerva to the death of Valens, I, a former soldier and a Greek, have set forth to the measure of my ability, without ever (I believe) consciously venturing to debase through silence or through falsehood a work whose aim was the truth. The rest may be written by abler men, who are in the prime of life and learning. But if they chose to undertake such a task, I advise them to forge For procudere, cf. xv. 2, 8 ( ingenium ); xxx. 4, 13 ( ora ); Horace, Odes, iv. 15, 19. their tongues to the loftier style. The second part, written about 550 in barbarous Latin by another unknown author, under the title Item ex libris Chronicorum inter cetera, covers the period from 474 to 526, and deals mainly with the history of Theodoric. The writer was an opponent of Arianism, and he seems to have based his compilation on the Chronicle of Maximianus, bishop of Ravenna in 546, who died in 556. For this part we have, besides B, cod. Vaticanus Palatinus, Lat. n. 927 (P) of the twelfth century, in which the title appears as De adventu Oduachar regis Cyrorum Apparently for Scyrorum (Scirorum), Exc. § 37. et Erulorum in Italia, et quomodo Rex Theodericus eum fuerit persecutus. The Excerpts as a whole furnish an introduction and a sequel to the narrative of Ammianus.' ' None