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Valentinian with the consent of the army appoints his son Gratianus an Augustus, exhorts the boy, who is clad in the purple, to brave deeds, and commends him to the care of the soldiers.

Meanwhile, when Valentinian was attacked by a severe illness and was at the point of death, the Gauls who were at court in the emperor's service, [p. 37] at a secret conference demanded that Rusticus Julianus, then master of the rolls, should be made emperor: a man who, as if smitten by a blast of madness, was as greedy for human blood as a wild beast, as he showed when governing Africa with proconsular power. [2] For as prefect of the city, 1 in the administration of which office he died, through fear of the precarious situation of the tyrant, 2 through whose choice he had risen to that high position as if for the lack of worthy men, he was compelled to assume the appearance of mildness and clemency. [3] Against these Gauls some with higher aims strove in the cause of Severus, then commander of the infantry, as a man fitted for attaining that rank; and, although he was strict and feared, yet he was more endurable and in every way to be preferred to the aforenamed aspirant.

[4] But while these designs were being agitated to no purpose, the emperor was restored with the help of numerous remedies; and observing that he was hardly yet rescued from the danger of death, 3 he purposed to bestow the imperial insignia upon his son Gratianus, who had by this time nearly reached the age of puberty. 4 [5] And when everything was ready, when the soldiers had been won over to accept this with willing minds, and Gratianus had appeared, the emperor advanced into the plain and mounted the tribunal; then, surrounded by a brilliant assemblage of men of high rank, he took the boy by the hand, led him into their midst, and commended the future emperor to the army in the following public address:—

[p. 39] [6] “It is a propitious sign of your devotion to me that I parade this robe of imperial rank, by which I have been judged preferable to other men, many and distinguished; so taking you as partners in my plans and favourers of my wishes, I shall proceed to an act of dutiful affection, which is timely since the god, through whose eternal aid the Roman state will endure unshaken, now promises success. [7] Therefore, my valiant men, accept I pray you with friendly minds my heart's desire, convinced that we have wished this action, which the duties of affection sanction, not only to be brought to your knowledge, but also to be confirmed by your approval as agreeable to you and likely to be advantageous. [8] This son of mine, Gratianus, now become a man, has long lived among your children, and you love him as a tie between you and me; therefore, in order to secure the public peace on all sides, I plan to take him as my associate in the imperial power, if the propitious will of the god of heaven and of your dignity shall support what a father's love suggests. He has not been, as we have been, brought up in a severe school from his very cradle, nor trained in the endurance of adversity, and (as you see) he is not yet able to endure the dust of Mars; but, in harmony with the glory of his family and the great deeds of his forefathers, he will forthwith rise (I speak with moderation, in fear of Nemesis) to greater heights. [9] For as I am wont to think, when I consider, as I often do, his character and his inclinations, although they are not yet fully developed: when he enters on the years of youth, since he has been instructed in the liberal arts and in the pursuit of skilful accomplishments, he will [p. 41] weigh with impartial justice the value of right and wrong actions; he will so conduct himself that good men will know that he understands them; he will rush forward to noble deeds and cling close to the military standards and eagles; he will endure sun and snow, frost and thirst, and wakeful hours; he will defend his camp, if necessity ever requires it; he will risk his life for the companions of his dangers; and, what is the first and highest duty of loyalty, he will know how to love his country as he loves the home of his father and grandfather.”

[10] The emperor had not yet ended his address when his words were received with joyful acclaim, and the soldiers, each according to his rank and feeling, striving to outdo the others, as though sharers in this prosperity and joy, hailed Gratianus as Augustus, with loud shouts mingled with the favouring clash of arms. [11] On perceiving this, Valentinian, filled with greater joy and confidence, adorned his son with the crown and the robes of supreme rank, and kissed him; then, resplendent as Gratianus was and listening attentively to his father's words, Valentinian addressed him as follows:—

[12] “Behold, my dear Gratian, you now wear, as we have all hoped, the imperial robes, bestowed upon you under favourable auspices by my will and that of our fellow-soldiers. Therefore prepare yourself, considering the weight of your urgent duties, to be the colleague of your father and your uncle and accustom yourself fearlessly to make your way with the infantry over the ice of the Danube and the Rhine, to keep your place close beside your soldiers, to give your life's blood, with all thoughtfulness, for [p. 43] those under your command, and to think nothing alien to your duty, which affects the interests of the Roman empire. [13] This will suffice for the present by way of admonition; for the future I shall not cease to advise you. Now for the rest I turn to you, great defenders of our country, whom I beg and implore with firm affection to watch over your emperor, not yet grown up, thus entrusted to your loyalty.”

[14] After these words had been ratified with all solemnity, Eupraxius, a Moor of Caesariensis, then master of the rolls, was the first of all to cry out: “The house of Gratianus is worthy of this”; whereupon he was at once advanced to the quaestorship. He was a man who left many proofs of noble self-confidence worthy of imitation by sensible men, one who never deviated from the principles of a fearless nature, but was always firm andresembled the laws, which, as we know, in the manifold cases in court speak with one and the same voice; 5 and he then remained truer to the side of justice which he had espoused, even when the emperor, becoming arbitrary, assailed him with threats when he gave him good advice. [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 [p. 45] and by his intimates, who, by evil actions, cast a cloud over his virtue, which was even then not firmly steadfast.

16. However, in this affair Valentinian overstepped the usage established of old, in that he named his brother and his son, not Caesar, but Augustus, generously enough. For before that no one had appointed a colleague of equal power with himself except the emperor Marcus, 6 who made his adopted brother Verus his partner, but without any impairment of his own imperial majesty.

1 This was later. He was proconsul in 371 and 372, and city prefect in 388.

2 Maximus, who slew Gratian and ruled for five years. His rise and fall are vividly described by Kipling in Puck of Pooke's Hill.

3 And so might be left without a successor.

4 He was nine years old.

5 Cf. Cic., De Off. ii. 12, 41 f., eademque constituendarum legum fuit causa quae regum. Ius enim semper est quaesitum aequabile . . . id si ab uno iusto et bono viro consequebantur, erant eo contenti; cum id minus contin- geret, leges sunt inventae, quae cum omnibus semper una atque eadem voce loquerentur.

6 Marcus Aurelius. Titus is not an exception; see Trans. Amer. Phil. Assoc. xlv. (1914), pp. 43 f.

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