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Julianus Augustus, after having enlarged and adorned Constantinople, went to Antioch. On the way he gave the people of Nicomedia funds for the restoration of their ruined city, and found time for holding court at Ancyra.

But Julian, elated by his success, now felt more than mortal aspirations, 1 since he had been tried by so many dangers and now upon him, the undisputed ruler of the Roman world, propitious Fortune, as if bearing an earthly horn of plenty, 2 was bestowing all glory and prosperity; also adding this to the records of his former victories, that so long as he was sole ruler he was disturbed by no internal strife and no barbarians crossed his frontiers; but all nations, laying aside their former eagerness for repeated attacks, as ruinous and liable to punishment, were fired with a wonderful desire of sounding his praises.

[2] Therefore, after everything that the times and the changed circumstances demanded had been arranged with careful deliberation, and the soldiers had by numerous addresses and by adequate pay been roused to greater readiness for carrying out the coming enterprises, exulting in the favour of all men, he hastened to go to Antioch, leaving Constantinople supported by great increase of strength; for it was there that he was born, and he loved and cherished the city as his natal place. [3] Accordingly, having crossed the strait, 3 and passed by Chalcedon and Libyssa, where [p. 245] Hannibal the Carthaginian was buried, he came to Nicomedia, a city famed of old and so enlarged at the great expense of earlier emperors, 4 that because of the great number of its private and public buildings it was regarded by good judges as one of the regions, so to speak, of the Eternal City. 5 [4] When he saw that its walls 6 had sunk into a pitiful heap of ashes, showing his distress by silent tears he went with lagging step to the palace: and in particular he wept over the wretched state of the city because the senate and the people, who had formerly been in a most flourishing condition, met him in mourning garb. And certain of them he recognised, since he had been brought up there under the bishop Eusebius, 7 whose distant relative he was. [5] Having here also in a similar way generously furnished many things that were necessary for repairing the damage done by the earthquake, he went on past Nicaea to the borders of Gallograecia. 8 From there he made a detour to the right and turned to Pessinus, in order to visit the ancient shrine of the Great Mother. It was from that town, in the second Punic war, that at the direction of the Cumaean verses 9 her image was brought to Rome by Scipio Nasica. 10 [6] Of its arrival in Italy, along with other matters relating to the subject, I have given a brief account by way of digression in telling of the acts of the emperor Commodus. 11 But why the town was called by that [p. 247] name writers of history are not in agreement; [7] for some have maintained that since the image of the goddess fell from heaven, the city was named from πεσεῖν, which is the Greek word meaning “to fall.”

Others say that Ilus, son of Tros, king of Dardania, 12 gave the place that name. But Theopompus 13 asserts that it was not Ilus who did it, but Midas, 14 the once mighty king of Phrygia.

[8] Then, after Julian had worshipped the deity and propitiated her with victims and vows, he returned to Ancyra. 15 And as he continued his journey from there, the multitude annoyed him, some demanding the return of what had been wrested from them by violence, others complaining that they had unjustly been forced onto the boards of senators, 16 while some, without regard to their own danger, exerted themselves to the point of madness to involve their opponents in charges of high treason. [9] But he, a judge more severe than a Cassius, 17 or a Lycurgus, 18 weighed the evidence in the cases with impartial justice and gave every man his due, never deviating from the truth, and showing particular severity towards calumniators, whom he hated because he had experienced the impudent madness of [p. 249] many such folk even to the peril of his life, while he was still a humble private citizen. [10] Of his patience in such matters it will suffice to give this single example, although there are many others. A certain man with great vehemence charged an enemy of his, with whom he was at bitter odds, of being guilty of high treason; and when the emperor ignored it, he repeated the same charge day after day. At last, on being asked who it was that he accused, he replied that it was a wealthy citizen. On hearing this, the emperor said with a smile: “On what evidence have you come to this conclusion?” [11] And the man answered: “He is making himself a purple robe out of a silk cloak”; 19 and when after this he was bidden to depart in silence, but unpunished, as a low fellow making a serious charge against another of the same sort, he was none the less insistent. Whereupon Julian, wearied and disgusted with the man's conduct, seeing his treasurer nearby, said to him: “Have a pair of purple shoes given to this dangerous chatterbox, to take to his enemy (who he says, so far as I can understand, has had a cloak of that colour sewn for him), in order that he may be able to learn what insignificant rags amount to without great power.”

[12] But, although such conduct was laudable and worthy of imitation by good rulers, it was on the contrary hard and censurable that under his rule anyone who was sought by the curiales, 20 even though protected by special privileges, by length of service in the army, or by proof that he was wholly ineligible by birth for such a position, could with difficulty obtain full justice; so that many of them [p. 251] through fear bought immunity from annoyance by secret and heavy bribes.

[13] Thus proceeding on his way and arriving at the Gates, 21 a place which separates the Cappadocians from the Cilicians, he received with a kiss the governor of the province, Celsus by name, 22 whom he had known since his student days in Athens, gave him a seat in his carriage, and took him with him into Tarsus. [14] But hastening from there to visit Antioch, fair crown of the Orient, he reached it by the usual roads; and as he neared the city, he was received with public prayers, as if he were some deity, and he wondered at the cries of the great throng, who shouted that a lucky star had risen over the East. [15] Now, it chanced that at that same time the annual cycle was completed and they were celebrating, in the ancient fashion, the festival of Adonis (beloved by Venus, as the poet's tales say), who was slain by the death-dealing tusk of a boar-a festival which is symbolic of the reaping of the ripe fruits of the field. 23 And it seemed a gloomy omen, as the emperor now for the first time entered the great city, the residence of princes, that on all sides melancholy wailing was heard and cries of grief. [16] It was here that he gave a proof of his patience and mildness, slight, it is true, but surprising. He hated a certain Thalassius, 24 a former assistant master of petitions, who had plotted against his brother Gallus. When this man had been prohibited from greeting the emperor and attending at court among the other dignitaries, 25 some enemies of his, with whom he had a suit in the forum, gathered together next day a huge throng of his remaining [p. 253] foes and approaching the emperor, shouted: “Thalas- sius, your majesty's 26 enemy, has lawlesslyrobbed us of our goods.” [17] But, although Julian believed that this was an opportunity to ruin the man, he replied: “I know that the person to whom you refer has given me just cause for offence, but it is proper for you to keep silence until he gives satisfaction to me, his opponent of higher rank.” And he ordered the prefect who was sitting in judgement not to listen to their charge until he himself was reconciled with Thalassius, which shortly happened.

1 Cf. Soph., Ajax, v. 777; Aesch., Septem, 425.

2 Fortuna is commonly represented in art with a ship's helm in her right hand, and in her left the horn of Amaltheia, which was placed among the stars; hence here mundanam.

3 The Thracian Bosporus.

4 Especially Diocletian and Constantine the Great, whose favourite resort it was.

5 The reference is to the fourteen regions into which Rome was divided by Augustus. Nicomedia, in the opinion of good judges of such matters, was worthy to be considered a fifteenth region of Rome.

6 That is of the public buildings and monuments erected by former emperors. The city had suffered from an earth- quake and a fire that lasted for five days and nights; cf. xvii. 7, 1-8.

7 Eusebius of Nicomedia, not the Church historian, Eusebius of Caesaraea.

8 Galatia (Gallacia); cf. Suet., Calig. 29, 2.

9 The Sibylline Verses; see Livy, xxix. 10, 11.

10 In 204 B.C.; see Livy, l.c.

11 In one of the lost books.

12 Herodian, i. 11, 1.

13 Of Chios, a pupil of Isocrates, and a rhetorician and historian. His works are lost.

14 According to Diod. Sic. (iii. 59, 8), he was the first to build a splendid temple to Cybele at Pessinus.

15 Modern Angora.

16 The position of curialis, or local senator, was an honorary office, without pay, and imposing many obligations. Therefore many sought to avoid such positions, and it was necessary to force men to take them. Julian was not always indulgent in such cases; see 9, 12, below, and cf. xxv. 4, 21.

17 Cassius, city praetor in 111 B.C., was feared as a judge; Cic., Brut. 25, 97; Val. Max. iii. 7, 9; cf. xxvi. 10, 10; xxx. 8, 13.

18 Not the celebrated Spartan lawgiver, but the statesman and orator of Athens, a contemporary of Demosthenes. He is often cited as a severe judge, e.g. Plutarch, Vitae X Orat. 541 F.; Plautus, Bacch. 111; Diod. Sicul. xvi. 88, 1.

19 Under Constantius the wearing of such a garment was a serious offence; see xiv. 9, 7; xvi. 8, 8.

20 That is: whom they wished to make a member of their curia, or local senate; see note 5 on 9, 8, above (p. 246).

21 That is, the Cilician Gates.

22 He was a Cilician, a pupil of Libanius.

23 Cf. xix. 1, 11, and Cumont, Syria, pp. 45-49.

24 Not the same as the one mentioned in xiv. 1, 10.

25 Cf. xxi. 6, 2.

26 Pietas tua is one of the numerous titles by which the later emperors were addressed.

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load focus Introduction (John C. Rolfe, Ph.D., Litt.D., 1940)
load focus Introduction (John C. Rolfe, Ph.D., Litt.D., 1939)
load focus Introduction (John C. Rolfe, Ph.D., Litt.D., 1935)
load focus Latin (John C. Rolfe, Ph.D., Litt.D., 1935)
hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (6):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ANTIOCHEIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LIBYSSA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), NICOMEDEIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PESSINUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SANGA´RIUS
    • Smith's Bio, Lycurgus
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