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Julianus Caesar is defended against Marcellus before the emperor by Eutherius, his chief chamberlain; and praise of Eutherius.

At that same time Constantius, apprised by approaching rumour that when Caesar was blockaded at Sens, Marcellus had not brought aid, 1 discharged the latter from the army and commanded him to depart to his home. Whereupon Marcellus, as if staggered by a grievous insult, began to contrive a plot against Julian, presuming on Augustus, whose ears were open to every slander. [2] And so, [p. 227] when Marcellus was on his way, Eutherius, the head chamberlain, was sent immediately after him, to confute him in case he should trump up anything. But Marcellus, unware of this, presently came to Milan, blustering and making trouble, being a vain talkative fool and all but mad; and when admitted to the council, he charged Julian with being arrogant and already fitting himself with stronger pinions, so as to soar up higher; for thus he spoke with a mighty movement of his body to match his words. [3] While he was freely forging these accusations, Eutherius (as he requested) was brought in, and being commanded to say what he wished, modestly and in few words showed that the truth was veiled with lies. For while the commander of the heavy-armed infantry (as was believed) deliberately held back, Caesar, who had long been blockaded in Sens, had by his watchful energy driven back the barbarians; and Eutherius staked his own head on the promise that Julian would be a loyal servitor to his superior, so long as he should live.

[4] The subject prompts me to add a few facts about this same Eutherius, perhaps hardly to be credited, for the reason that if a Numa Pompilius or a Socrates should give any good report of a eunuch, and should back their statements by a solemn oath, they would be charged with having departed from the truth. But among brambles roses spring up, and among savage beasts some are tamed. Accordingly, I shall give a brief summary of the chief facts known about him. [5] He was born in Armenia of free parents, but when still very young he was kidnapped by hostile tribesmen in that neighbourhood, [p. 229] who gelded him and sold him to some Roman traders, who brought him to Constantine's palace. There, as he grew up, he gradually gave evidence of virtuous living and intelligence. He received as much training in letters as might suffice for one of that station; conspicuous for his remarkable keenness in devising and solving difficult and knotty problems, he had extraordinary powers of memory; he was eager to do kindnesses and full of sound counsel. And if the emperor Constans had listened to him in times past, when Eutherius had grown up and was already mature, and urged honourable and upright conduct upon him, he would have been guilty of no faults, or at least of only pardonable ones. 2 [6] When he had become head chamberlain, 3 he would sometimes criticise even Julian, as trained in the manners of Asia and therefore inconstant. Finally going into retirement, but afterwards summoned to the palace, always temperate and especially consistent, he so cultivated the noble virtues of loyalty and self-restraint that he was never charged, as the rest have been, with having disclosed a secret, unless it were to save another's life, or to have been kindled with a desire to increase his wealth. [7] The result was, that when he presently retired to Rome and grew old there in a permanent home, he carried about with him a good conscience as his companion; he was honoured and loved by all classes, whereas that type of man, after amassing wealth by iniquitous means, usually seeks out secret lurking-places, like creatures of darkness shunning the sight of the multitude they have wronged. [8] In unrolling many records of the past, to see to which of the [p. 231] eunuchs of old I ought to compare him, I could find none. True, there were in times gone by those that were loyal and virtuous (although very few), but they were stained with some vice or other. For along with the excellent qualities which anyone of them had acquired by studious endeavour or natural ability he was either extortionate or despicable for his cruelty, or prone to do mischief, or too subservient to the rulers, or insolent through pride of power; but of one so well equipped in every direction I confess I have neither read nor heard, although I have relied on the abundant testimony of our age. [9] But if haply any curious student of ancient history should confront me with Menophilus, the eunuch of Mithridates, king of Pontus, let this reminder recall to him that nothing was recorded of Menophilus save this one fact, that in the supreme crisis he made a glorious showing. [10] The aforesaid king, after having been defeated in a mighty battle by Pompey and the Romans, fled to the kingdom of Colchis; he left his grown daughter, Dryptina by name, who was afflicted with a grievous disease, in the fortress of Sinhorium under the charge of this Menophilus. He, resorting to every healing remedy, entirely cured the girl and was guarding her in complete security for her father, when the fortress in which he was beleagured began to be blockaded by Mallius Priscus, the Roman commander's lieutenant-general; and when Menophilus learned that its defenders were thinking of surrender, fearing lest, to her father's reproach, the high-born girl might be taken alive and suffer outrage, he killed her and then plunged the sword [p. 233] into his own vitals. 4 Now let me return to the point from which I digressed.

1 Cf. xvi. 4, 3.

2 Text and meaning are uncertain. On the faults of Constans, cf. Aurel. Victor, 41, and Zosimus, ii. 42.

3 See Introd., xxxv.

4 This action is not mentioned elsewhere, not even by Val. Max., i. 8, 13, where he speaks of Drypetina.

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