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Bono'sus

was born in Spain; his ancestors were from Britain and Gaul. The son of a humble schoolmaster, he displayed a marked inaptitude for literary pursuits; but, having entered the army, gradually rose to high military rank, land was indebted for much of his success in life to the singular faculty which he possessed of being able to drink to excess (bibit quantum hominum nemo) without becoming intoxicated or losing his self-command. Aurelian, resolving to take advantage of this natural gift, kept him near his person, in order that when ambassadors arrived from barbarian tribes, they might be tempted to deep potations by Bonosus, and so led to betray the secrets of their mission. In pursuance of this plan, the emperor caused him to wed Hunila, a damsel of the noblest blood among the Goths, in hopes of gaining early information of the schemes in agitation among her kinsmen, which they were apt to divulge when under the influence of wine. How the husband-spy discharged his task we are not told; but we find him at a subsequent period in the command of troops upon the Rhaetian frontier, and afterwards stationed on the Rhine. The Germans having succeeded in destroying certain Roman vessels in consequence of some carelessness or breach of duty on his part, in order to avoid immediate punishment, lie prevailed upon his soldiers to proclaim him emperor. After a long and severe struggle, he was vanquished by Probus, and hanged himself. The conqueror magnanimously spared his two sons and pensioned his widow. No medals are extant except those published by Goltzius, which are spurious.


Further Information

Vopiscus, Vit. Bonos.

[W.R]

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