This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Theodosius restores the cities of Britain which had been devastated by the savages, repairs the fortresses, and recovers for the island the province which was called Valentia.
But Theodosius, 1 that leader of celebrated name, filled with courageous vigour sallied forth from Augusta, which was earlier called Lundinium, with a force which he had mustered with energy and skill, and rendered the greatest aid to the troubled and confused 2 fortunes of the Britons. He secured beforehand everywhere the places suitable for ambushing the savages, requiring nothing of the common soldiers in which he himself did not smartly take the first tasks. In this way, while he performed the duties of an active common soldier and observed the care of a distinguished general, after having routed and put [p. 133] to flight various tribes which an insolence fostered by impunity was inflaming with a desire to attack the Romans, he completely restored the cities and strongholds which had been founded to secure a long period of peace, but had suffered repeated misfortunes.  But while he was thus engaged, a dread event had taken place, which would have resulted in grave danger, if it had not been crushed in the very beginning of its attempt.  A certain Valentinus, born in Valeria, a part of Pannonia, a man of haughty spirit, brother-in-law of that pernicious vice-governor Maximinus, who was afterwards prefect, had been exiled to Britain because of a serious crime. There, impatient of quiet like a noxious beast, he roused himself to new and destructive plans, nursing a certain grudge against Theodosius, since he perceived that he was the only one who could resist his abominable designs.  However, after a good deal of looking about secretly and openly, driven by the swelling gale of his vast ambition, he began to tempt exiles and soldiers by promising for bold deeds as enticing rewards as his circumstances at the time permitted.  And already the time for carrying out the plans was near at hand, when that leader, 3 eager for deeds of daring, learning of this from a prearranged source, 4 resolved with lofty heart to punish those who were found guilty: Valentinus indeed, along with a few of his closest associates, he had consigned to the general Dulcitius, 5 to be punished with death; but with the military knowledge in which he surpassed all his contemporaries, he divined future dangers, and as to the rest of the conspirators forbade the carrying on of investigations, [p. 135] lest by spreading fear among many the disturbances in the provinces, which had just been lulled to sleep, should be revived.  Then, after the danger had been wholly removed, since it was common knowledge that propitious fortune had failed him in none of his undertakings, he turned his attention to making many necessary improvements, restoring the cities and defences, as we have said, and protecting the frontiers by sentinels and outposts. And so completely did he recover a province which had passed into the enemy's hands and restore it to its former condition, that, in the words of his report, it had a legitimate governor; and it was henceforth called Valentia, 6 in accordance with the emperor's wish, who, one might almost say, celebrated an ovation in his joy on hearing the priceless news. 7  In the midst of such important events the 8 Arcani, 9 a class of men established in early times, about which I said something in the history of Constans, 10 had gradually become corrupted, and consequently he removed them from their posts. For they were clearly convicted of having been led by the receipt, or the promise, of great booty at various times to betray to the savages what was going on among us. For it was their duty to hasten [p. 137] about hither and thither over long spaces, to give information to our generals of the clashes of rebellion among neighbouring peoples.  After the above-mentioned affairs and other similar ones had been so brilliantly managed, Theodosius was summoned to the court, leaving the provinces dancing for joy, after distinguishing himself by many helpful victories like Furius Camillus or Papirius Cursor. And because of his general popularity he was escorted as far as the strait. where he crossed with a light wind, and came into 11 the emperor's company. He was received with joy and words of praise, and succeeded to the position of Jovinus, 12 commander of the cavalry forces, whom the emperor Valentinian considered to be lacking in energy.
1 Here Ammianus takes up his narrative from xxvii. 8.
2 Through the raids of the Picts and Scots.
4 From those ordered to watch Valentinus.
5 Cf. xxvii. 8, 10.
6 This was a fifth province, added to the four into which Britain was originally divided; these were Maxima Caesariensis, Flavia Caesariensis, Britannia Prima, and Britannia Secunda. Valentia means “Health and Strength.”
7 369 A.D.
8 368 ff. A.D.
9 This word occurs nowhere else; the Arcani would seem to be connected with the secret service (agentes in rebus), to judge from the name and the description of their duties. They were perhaps the same as the Angarii, so called from άγγαρος an old Greek word for a Persian mounted courier, and were in charge of the Roman courierservice; see Cod. Theod. viii, de cursu publico, tit. 5.
10 In a lost book.
11 369 A.D.
12 Cf. xxvii. 2, 1, 4. He later, at Rheims, built the basilica loviana, in honour of the Holy Agricola.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.