This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Punishment is inflicted on the friends and tools of Gallus Caesar.
While these events were taking place at Milan, troops of soldiers were brought from the East to Aquileia together with several courtiers, their limbs wasting in chains as they drew feeble breaths and prayed to be delivered from longer life amid manifold miseries. For they were charged with having been tools of the savagery of Gallus, and it was through them, it was believed, that Domitianus and Montius were torn to pieces and others after them were driven to swift destruction.  To hear their defence were sent Arbetio and Eusebius, then grand chamberlain, both given to inconsiderate boasting, equally unjust and cruel. They, without examining anyone carefully or distinguishing between the innocent and the guilty, scourged and tortured some and condemned them to banishment, others they thrust down to the lowest military rank, the rest they sentenced to suffer death. And after filling the tombs with corpses, they returned as if in triumph and reported their exploits to the emperor, who in regard to these and similar cases was openly inflexible and severe.  Thereupon and henceforth Constantius, as if to upset the predestined order of the fates, more eagerly opened his heart and laid it bare to the plotters, many in number. Accordingly, numerous gossip - hunters suddenly arose, snapping with the jaws of wild beasts at even the highest officials, and afterwards at poor and rich indifferently, not like those Cibyrate hounds of Verres 1 fawning upon the tribunal of only one [p. 121] governor, but afflicting the members of the whole commonwealth with a visitation of evils.  Among these Paulus and Mercurius were easily the leaders, the one a Persian by origin, the other born in Dacia; Paulus was a notary, Mercurius, a former imperial steward, was now a treasurer. And in fact this Paulus, as was told before, 2 was nicknamed “the Chain,” because he was invincible in weaving coils of calumny, exerting himself in a wonderful variety of schemes, just as some expert wrestlers are in the habit of showing excessive skill in their contests.  But Mercurius was dubbed “Count of Dreams,” because, like a slinking, biting cur, savage within but peacefully wagging its tail, he would often worm his way into banquets and meetings, and if anyone had told a friend that he had seen anything in his sleep, when nature roams more freely, Mercurius would give it a worse colour by his venomous skill and pour it into the open ears of the emperor; and on such grounds a man, as though really chargeable with inexpiable guilt, would be beaten down by a heavy burden of accusation.  Since rumour exaggerated these reports and gave them wide currency, people were so far from revealing their nightly visions, that on the contrary they would hardly admit in the presence of strangers that they had slept at all, and certain scholars lamented that they had not been born near Mount Atlas, where it is said that dreams are not seen 3 ; but how that happens we may leave to those who are most versed in natural science.  Amid these dire aspects of trials and tortures there arose in Illyricum another disaster, which [p. 123] began with idle words and resulted in peril to many. At a dinner-party given by Africanus, governor of Pannonia Secunda, at Sirmium, 4 certain men who were deep in their cups and supposed that no spy was present freely criticized the existing rule as most oppressive; whereupon some assured them, as if from portents, that the desired change of the times was at hand; others with inconceivable folly asserted that through auguries of their forefathers it was meant for them.  One of their number, Gaudentius, of the secret service, 5 a dull man but of a hasty disposition, had reported the occurrence as serious to Rufinus, who was then chief steward of the praetorian prefecture, a man always eager for extreme measures and notorious for his natural depravity.  Rufinus at once, as though upborne on wings, flew to the emperor's court and inflamed him, since he was easily influenced by such suspicions, to such excitement that without any deliberation Africanus and all those present at the fatal table were ordered to be quickly hoisted up and carried out. That done, the dire informer, more strongly desirous of things forbidden, as is the way of mankind, was directed to continue for two years in his present service, as he had requested.  So Teutomeres, of the emperor's bodyguard, 6 was sent with a colleague to seize them, and loading them with chains, as he had been ordered, he brought them all in. But when they came to Aquileia, Marinus, an ex-drillmaster 7 and now a tribune, 8 who was on furlough at the [p. 125] time, the originator of that mischievous talk and besides a man of hot temper, being left in a tavern while things necessary for their journey were preparing, and chancing upon a long knife, stabbed himself in the side, at once plucked forth his vitals, and so died.  The rest were brought to Milan and cruelly tortured; and since they admitted that while feasting they had uttered some saucy expressions, it was ordered that they be kept in close confinement 9 with some hope (though doubtful) of acquittal. But the members of the emperor's guard, after being sentenced to leave the country for exile, since Marinus with their connivance had been allowed to die, at the suit of Arbetio obtained pardon.
1 Two brothers from Cibyra, in Phrygia, Tlepolemus and Hiero, tools of Verres; cf. Cic., Verr., iv. 21, 47; iv. 13, 30.
2 xiv. 5, 8.
3 Cf. Herodotus, iv. 184.
4 The principal city of Pannonia; see Index.
5 See note 2, p. 98.
6 See note 3, p. 56.
7 His office was to drill and exercise the soldiers.
8 See Introd., pp. xliii f.
9 Cf. Cod. Just., x. 19, 2, carcer poenalium.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.