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Valentinian Augustus, after devastating some cantons of the Alamanni, has a conference with their king Macrianus, and makes peace.

In the year following these events, Gratianus was made consul as the colleague of Aequitius; and Valentinian, who after devastating several cantons of the Alamanni was building a fortification near Basle, which the neighbours call Robur, 1 received the report of the prefect Probus, telling of the devastation in Illyricum. 2 [2] On reading this with careful attention, as became a cautious general, he was distracted by anxious reflections and sending the secretary Paternianus, gave the matter the most searching investigation. As soon as he received through him a true account of what had happened, he hastened to set out at once, in order (as he intended) to crush by the first clash of his arms the savages who had ventured to violate our frontier. [3] But since autumn was waning and many difficulties stood in the way, all the principal men at the court strove by entreaties and prayers 3 to hold him back until the beginning of spring. In the first place, they urged that the roads, hardened with frost, where neither any growth of grass would be found for fodder nor anything else fit for the use of the army, could not be penetrated. In the second place, they set before him the alleged savagery of the kings bordering on Gaul, and most of all of Macrianus, who was formidable, and (as was well known) had been left [p. 317] unsubdued, 4 and would actually attack even fortified cities. [4] Calling to mind these things and adding other salutary advice, they led the emperor to a better opinion, and at once (as was for the advantage of the state) the said king was courteously summoned to the vicinity of Mayence, being himself also inclined (as was evident) to accepting a treaty. And he arrived enormously puffed up in every way, as if he expected to be the supreme arbiter of peace, and on the day set for the conference, with head high uplifted, he stood at the very edge of the Rhine while the clashing shields of his countrymen thundered all about him. [5] On the other side the Augustus embarked on some river-boats, 5 himself also hedged by a throng of military officers and conspicuous amid the brilliance of flashing standards, and cautiously 6 approached the shore. Finally, the savages ceased their immoderate gesticulation and barbaric tumult, and after much had been said and heard on both sides, friendship was confirmed between them 7 by the sanctity of an oath. [6] When this was accomplished, the king who had caused the disturbances withdrew pacified, henceforth to be our ally; and after that up to the very end of bis life he gave proof by noble conduct of a spirit of steadfast loyalty. [7] He found his death later in the land of the Franks; for while amid murderous devastation he penetrated that country too eagerly, he was lured into an ambush by the warlike king Mallobaudes and perished. But after [p. 319] the solemn ratification of the treaty Valentinian retired to Treves for winter quarters.

1 Near modern Hüningen.

2 By the Quadi; xxix. 6, 6, 8.

3 Cf. Ter., Andr., 592, gnatam ut det oro, vixque id exoro.

4 Cf. xxix. 4, 2.

5 Perhaps the same as the lusoriae naves of xvii. 2, 3, note; xviii. 2, 12.

6 Cf. cunctator et tutus, xxvii. 10, 10.

7 Cf. in medio, xviii. 5, 7, quodam medio fetiali.

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load focus Introduction (John C. Rolfe, Ph.D., Litt.D., 1940)
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load focus Latin (John C. Rolfe, Ph.D., Litt.D., 1935)
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