Julian the Apostate, Oration 1: Panegyric in honour of Constantius (1913) Works vol. 1, pp.2-127
[Translated by Wilmer Cave Wright]
Julian's training in rhetoric left its mark on all his writings, but technically speaking his work as a Sophist is comprised in the three panegyrics (Orations 1-3) and the prose "Hymns" (Orations 4-5). Oration 1 was considered his masterpiece and was used as a model by Libanius. It was written and probably delivered in 355 A.D., before Julian went to Gaul. The excuse of being an amateur is a commonplace in this type of epideictic speech. He follows with hardly a deviation the rules for the arrangement and treatment of a speech in praise of an emperor as we find them in Menander's handbook of epideictic oratory written in the third century A.D. The speech is easily analysed. First comes the prooemium to conciliate the audience and to give the threads of the argument, then the praises of the emperor's native land, ancestors, early training, deeds in war and in peace, and the stereotyped contrasts with the Persian monarchs, the Homeric heroes, and Alcibiades. In the two last divisions the virtues of Plato's ideal king are proved to have been displayed by Constantius, his victories are exaggerated and his defeats explained away. Then comes a description of the happy state of the empire and the army under such a ruler, and the panegyric ends abruptly without the final prayer for the continuance of his reign, recommended by Menander. This peroration has evidently been lost. The arrangement closely resembles that of Oration 3, the panegyric on the Empress Eusebia, and the "Evagoras" of Isocrates, which Julian frequently echoes. Julian's praises were thoroughly insincere, a compulsory tribute to a cousin whom he hated and feared.
I have long desired, most mighty Emperor, to sing the praises of your valour and achievements, to recount your campaigns, and to tell how you suppressed the tyrannies; how your persuasive eloquence drew away one usurper's1 bodyguard; how you overcame another2 by force of arms. But the vast scale of your exploits deterred me, because what I had to dread was not that my words would fall somewhat short of your achievements, but that I should prove wholly unequal to my theme. That men versed in political debate, or poets, should find it easy to compose a panegyric on your career is not at all surprising. Their practice in speaking, their habit of declaiming in public supplies them abundantly with a well-warranted confidence. But those who have neglected this field and chosen another branch of literary study which devotes itself to a form of composition little adapted to win popular favour and that has not the hardihood to exhibit itself in its nakedness in every theatre, no matter what, would naturally hesitate to make speeches of the epideictic sort. As for the poets, their Muse, and the general belief that it is she who inspires their verse, obviously gives them unlimited |7 license to invent. To rhetoricians the art of rhetoric allows just as much freedom; fiction is denied them, but flattery is by no means forbidden, nor is it counted a disgrace to the orator that the object of his panegyric should not deserve it. Poets who compose and publish some legend that no one had thought of before increase their reputation, because an audience is entertained by the mere fact of novelty. Orators, again, assert3 that the advantage of their art is that it can treat a slight theme in the grand manner, and again, by the use of mere words, strip the greatness from deeds, and, in short, marshall the power of words against that of facts.
If, however, I had seen that on this occasion I should need their art, I should have maintained the silence that befits those who have had no practice in such forms of composition, and should leave your praises to be told by those whom I just now mentioned. Since, on the contrary, the speech I am to make calls for a plain narrative of the facts and needs no adventitious ornament, I thought that even I was not unfit, seeing that my predecessors had already shown that it was beyond them to produce a record worthy of your achievements. For almost all who devote themselves to literature attempt to sing your praises in verse or prose; some of them venture to cover your whole career in a brief narrative, while others devote themselves to a part only, and think that if they succeed in doing justice to that part they have proved themselves equal to the task. |9
Yet one can but admire the zeal of all who have made you the theme of a panegyric. Some did not shrink from the tremendous effort to secure every one of your achievements from the withering touch of time; others, because they foresaw that they could not compass the whole, expressed themselves only in part, and chose to consecrate to you their individual work so far as they were able. Better this, they thought, than "the reward of silence that runs no risk." 4
Now if I were one of those whose favourite pursuit is epideictic oratory, I should have to begin my speech by asking from you no less goodwill than I now feel towards yourself, and should beg you graciously to incline your ear to my words and not play the part of a severe and inexorable critic. But since, bred as I have been and educated in other studies, other pursuits, other conventions, I am criticised for venturing rashly into fields that belong to others, I feel that I ought to explain myself briefly on this head and begin my speech more after my own fashion.
There is an ancient maxim taught by him who first introduced philosophy to mankind, and it is as follows. All who aspire to virtue and the beautiful must study in their words, deeds, conversation, in short, in all the affairs of life, great and small, to aim in every way at beauty. Now what sensible man would deny that virtue is of all things the most beautiful? Wherefore those are bidden to lay firm hold on her who do not seek to blazon abroad her name in vain, |11 appropriating that which in no way belongs to them. Now in giving this counsel, the maxim does not prescribe any single type of discourse, nor does it proclaim to its readers, like a god from the machine in tragedy, "Ye must aspire to virtue and eschew evil." Many are the paths that it allows a man to follow to this goal, if he desire to imitate the nature of the beautiful. For example, he may give good advice, or use hortatory discourse, or he may rebuke error without malice, or applaud what is well done, or condemn, on occasion, what is ill done. It permits men also to use other types of oratory, if they please, so as to attain the best end of speech, but it enjoins on them to take thought in every word and act how they shall give account of all they utter, and to speak no word that cannot be referred to the standard of virtue and philosophy. ·That and more to the same effect is the tenour of that precept.
And now, what am I to do? What embarrasses me is the fact that, if I praise you, I shall be thought simply to curry favour, and in fact, the department of panegyric has come to incur a grave suspicion due to its misuse, and is now held to be base flattery rather than trustworthy testimony to heroic deeds. Is it not obvious that I must put my faith in the merit of him whom I undertake to praise, and with full confidence devote my energies to this panegyric? What then shall be the prelude of my speech and the most suitable arrangement? Assuredly I must begin with the virtues of your ancestors through which it was possible for you to come to be what you are. Next I think it will be proper to describe |13 your upbringing and education, since these contributed very much to the noble qualities that you possess, and when I have dealt with all these, I must recount your achievements, the signs and tokens, as it were, of the nobility of your soul, and finally, as the crown and consummation of my discourse, I shall set forth those personal qualities from which was evolved all that was noble in your projects and their execution. It is in this respect that I think my speech will surpass those of all the others. For some limit themselves to your exploits, with the idea that a description of these suffices for a perfect panegyric, but for my part I think one ought to devote the greater part of one's speech to the virtues that were the stepping-stones by which you reached the height of your achievements. Military exploits in most cases, nay in almost all, are achieved with the help of fortune, the body-guard, heavy infantry and cavalry regiments. But virtuous actions belong to the doer alone, and the praise that they inspire, if it be sincere, belongs only to the possessor of such virtue. Now, having made this distinction clear, I will begin my speech.
The rules of panegyric require that I should mention your native land no less than your ancestors. But I am at a loss what country I ought to consider peculiarly yours. For countless nations have long asserted their claim to be your country. The city5 that rules over them all was your mother and nurse, and in an auspicious hour delivered to you the imperial sceptre, and therefore asserts her sole title to the honour, and that not merely by resorting to the plea that has prevailed under all the emperors. |15
I mean that, even if men are born elsewhere, they all adopt her constitution and use the laws and customs that she has promulgated, and by that fact become Roman citizens. But her claim is different, namely that she gave your mother birth, rearing her royally and as befitted the offspring who were to be born to her. Then again, the city on the Bosporus which is named after the family of the Constantii, though she does not assert that she is your native place, but acknowledges that she became your adopted land by your father's act, will think she is cheated of her rights if any orator should try to deprive her of at least this claim to kinship. Thirdly, the Illyrians, on whose soil you were born, will not tolerate it if anyone assign you a different fatherland and rob them of the fairest gift of fortune. And now I hear some even of the Eastern provinces protest that it is unjust of me to rob them of the lustre they derive from you. For they say that they sent forth your grandmother to be the consort of your grandfather on the mother's side. Almost all the rest have hit on some pretension of more or less weight, and are determined, on one ground or another, to adopt you for their own. Therefore let that country6 have the prize which you yourself prefer and have so often praised as the mother and teacher of the virtues; as for the rest, let each one according to her deserts obtain her due. I should be glad to praise them all, worthy as they are of glory and honour, but I am |17 afraid that my compliments, however germane they may seem to my subject, might, on account of their length, be thought inappropriate to the present occasion. For this reason, then, I think it better to omit a eulogy of the others, but as for Rome, your imperial Majesty summed up her praises in two words when you called her the teacher of virtue, and, by bestowing on her the fairest of all encomiums, you have forestalled all that others might say. What praise of mine would come up to that? What indeed is left for anyone to say? So I feel that I, who naturally hold that city in reverence, shall pay her a higher honour if I leave her praise in your hands.
Now perhaps I ought at this point to say a few words about your noble ancestors. Only that here too I am at a loss where to begin. For all your ancestors, grandfathers, parents, brothers, cousins and kinsfolk were emperors, who had either acquired their power by lawful means or were adopted by the reigning house. Why should I recall ancient history or hark back to Claudius and produce proofs of his merit, which are manifest and known to all? To what end recount his campaigns against the barbarians across the Danube or how righteously and justly he won the empire? How plainly he lived while on the throne! How simple was his dress, as may be seen to this day in his statues! What I might say about your grandparents7 is comparatively recent, but |19 equally remarkable. Both of them acquired the imperial sceptre as the reward of conspicuous merit, and having assumed the command, they were on such good terms with each other and displayed such filial piety to him8 who had granted them a share in the empire, that he used to say that of all the safeguards designed by him for the realm, and they were many, this was his master-stroke. They, meanwhile, valued their mutual understanding more than undivided empire, supposing that it could have been bestowed on either of them separately. This was the temper of their souls, and nobly they played their part in action, while next to the Supreme Being they reverenced him who had placed authority in their hands. With their subjects they dealt righteously and humanely, and expelled the barbarians who had for years settled in our territory and had occupied it with impunity as though it were their own, and they built forts to hinder encroachment, which procured for those subjects such peaceful relations with the barbarians as, at that period, seemed to be beyond their dreams. This, however, is a subject that deserves more than a passing mention. Yet it would be wrong to omit the strongest proof of their unanimity, especially as it is related to my subject. Since they desired the most perfect harmony for their children, they arranged the marriage of your father and mother.9 On this point also I think I must say a few words to show that virtue was bequeathed to you as well as a throne. But why waste time in telling how your father, on his father's death, became emperor both by the choice Of the deceased monarch and by |21 the vote of all the armies? His military genius was made evident by his achievements and needs no words of mine. He traversed the whole civilised world suppressing tyrants, but never those who ruled by right. His subjects he inspired with such affection that his veterans still remember how generous he was with largess and other rewards, and to this day worship him as though he were a god. As for the mass of the people, in town and country alike, they prayed that your father might be victorious over the tyrants, not so much because they would be delivered from that oppression as because they would then be governed by him. But when he had made his power supreme, he found that the tyrant's10 greed had worked like a drought, with the result that money was very scarce, while there were great hoards of treasure in the recesses of the palace; so he unlocked its doors and on the instant flooded the whole country with wealth, and then, in less than ten years, he founded and gave his name to a city 11 that as far surpasses all others as it is itself inferior to Rome; and to come second to Rome seems to me a much greater honour than to be counted first and foremost of all cities beside. Here it may be proper to mention Athens "the illustrious," 12 seeing that during his whole life he honoured her in word and deed. He who was emperor and lord of all did not disdain the title of General of the Athenians, and when they gave him a statue with an inscription to that effect he felt more pride than if he had been awarded the highest honours. To repay Athens for this compliment he bestowed on her annually a gift of many tens of thousands of bushels |23 of wheat, so that while she enjoyed plenty, he won applause and reverence from the best of men.
Your father's achievements were many and brilliant. Some I have just mentioned, and others I must omit for the sake of brevity. But the most notable of all, as I make bold to say and I think all will agree, was that he begat, reared and educated you. This secured to the rest of the world the advantages of good government, and that not for a limited time but for a period beyond his own lifetime, as far as this is possible. At any rate your father seems still to be on the throne. This is more than Cyrus himself could achieve. When he died his son proved far inferior, so that while men called Cyrus "father," his successor was called "master." 13 But you are even less stern than your father, and surpass him in many respects, as I well know and will demonstrate in my speech as occasion shall arise. Yet, in my opinion, he should have the credit of this as well, since it was he who gave you that admirable training concerning which I shall presently speak, but not till I have described your mother and brothers. 14
Your mother's ancestry was so distinguished, her personal beauty and nobility of character were such that it would be hard to find her match among women. I have heard that saying of the Persians about Parysatis, that no other woman had been the sister, mother, wife, and daughter of kings. Parysatis, however, was own sister of her husband, since their law does not forbid a Persian to marry his sister. But your mother, while in accordance with our laws she kept pure and unsullied those ties |25 of kinship, was actually the daughter of one emperor,15 the wife of another, the sister of a third, and the mother not of one emperor but of several. Of these one aided your father in his war against the tyrants; another conquered the Getae and secured for us a lasting peace with them; the third16 kept our frontiers safe from the enemy's incursions, and often led his forces against them in person, so long at least as he was permitted by those who were so soon punished for their crimes against him. Though by the number and brilliance of their achievements they have indeed earned our homage, and though all the blessings of fortune were theirs in abundance, yet in the whole tale of their felicity one could pay them no greater compliment than merely to name their sires and grandsires. But I must not make my account of them too long, lest I should spend time that I ought to devote to your own panegyric. So in what follows I will, as indeed I ought, endeavour—or rather, since affectation is out of place, let me say I will demonstrate—that you are far more august than your ancestors.
Now as for heavenly voices and prophecies and visions in dreams and all such portents 17 as are common gossip when men like yourself have achieved brilliant and conspicuous success, Cyrus, for instance, and the founder 18 of our capital, and Alexander, Philip's son, and the like, I purposely ignore them. Indeed |27 I feel that poetic license accounts for them all. And it is foolish even to state that at the hour of your birth all the circumstances were brilliant and suited to a prince. And now the time has come for me to speak of your education as a boy. You were of course bound to have the princely nurture that should train your body to be strong, muscular, healthy, and handsome, and at the same time duly equip your soul with courage, justice, temperance, and wisdom. But this cannot result from that loose indulgence which naturally pampers body and soul, weakening men's wills for facing danger and their bodies for work. Therefore your body required training by suitable gymnastics, while you adorned your mind by literary studies. But I must speak at greater length about both branches of your education, since it laid the foundation of your later career. In your physical training you did not pursue those exercises that fit one merely for public display. What professional athletes love to call the pink of condition you thought unsuitable for a king who must enter for contests that are not make-believe. Such a one must put up with very little sleep and scanty food, and that of no precise quantity or quality or served at regular hours, but such as can be had when the stress of work allows. And so you thought you ought to train yourself in athletics with a view to this, and that your exercises must be military and of many kinds, dancing and running in heavy armour, and riding. All these you have |29 continued from early youth to practise at the right time, and in every exercise you have attained to greater perfection than any other hoplite. Usually a hoplite who is a good infantryman cannot ride, or, if he is an expert horseman, he shirks marching on foot to battle. But of you alone it can be said that you can put on the cavalry uniform and be a match for the best of them, and when changed into a hoplite show yourself stronger, swifter, and lighter on your feet than all the rest. Then you practised shooting at a mark, that even your hours of leisure might not be hours of ease or be found without the exercise of arms. So by work that was voluntary you trained your body to stand the exertions that you would be compelled to undertake.
Your mind, meanwhile, was trained by practice in public speaking and other studies suitable to your years. But it was not to be wholly without the discipline of experience, nor was it for you to listen merely to lectures on the virtues as though they were ballads or saga stories, and so wait all that time without actual acquaintance with brave works and undertakings. Plato, that noble philosopher, advised 19 that boys should be furnished as it were with wings for flight by being mounted on horseback, and should then be taken into battle so that they may be spectators of the warfare in which they must soon be combatants. This, I make bold to say, was in your father's mind when he made you governor and king of the Celtic tribes while you were still a youth, or rather a mere boy in point of years, though in intelligence and endurance you could already hold your own with men of parts. |31
Your father wisely provided that your experience of war should be free from risks, having arranged that the barbarians should maintain peace with his subjects. But he instigated them to internal feuds and civil war, and so taught you strategy at the expense of their lives and fortunes. This was a safer policy than the wise Plato's. For, by his scheme, if the invading army were composed of infantry, the boys could indeed be spectators of their fathers' prowess, or, if need arose, could even take part. But supposing that the enemy won in a cavalry engagement, then, on the instant, one would have to devise some means to save the boys, which would be difficult indeed. But to inure the boys to face the enemy, while the hazard belongs to others, is to take counsel that both suffices for their need and also secures their safety.
It was in this way then that you were first trained in manliness. But as regards wisdom, that nature with which you were endowed was your self-sufficing guide. But also, I think, the wisest citizens were at your disposal and gave you lessons in statecraft. Moreover, your intercourse with the barbarian leaders in that region gave you an acquaintance at first hand with the manners, laws, and usages of foreigners. Indeed, when Homer set out to prove the consummate wisdom of Odysseus, he called him "much-travelled," and said that he had come to know the minds of many peoples and visited their cities, so that he might choose what was best in every one and be able to mix with all sorts and conditions of men. Yes, even Odysseus, who never ruled an |33 empire, needed experience of the many and divers minds of men. How much more necessary that one who was being brought up to guide an empire like this should not fit himself for the task in some modest dwelling apart; neither should he, like young Cyrus in his games, play at being emperor, nor give audiences to his playmates, as they say 20 Cyrus did. Rather he ought to mix with nations and peoples, and give orders to his troops definitely indicating what is to be done, and generally he should be found wanting in none of those things which, when he comes to manhood, he must perform without fear.
Accordingly, when you had gained a thorough knowledge of the Celts, you crossed to the other continent and were given sole command against the Parthians and Medes. There were already signs that a war was smouldering and would soon burst into flame. You therefore quickly learned how to deal with it, and, as though you took as model the hardness of your weapons, steeled yourself to bear the heat of the summer season. I have heard say that Alcibiades alone, among all the Greeks, was naturally so versatile that when he cast in his lot with the Spartans he copied the self-restraint of the Lacedaemonians, then in turn Theban and Thracian manners, and finally adopted Persian luxury. But Alcibiades, when he changed his country changed his character 21 too, and became so tainted with perversity and so ill-conditioned that he was likely to lose utterly all that he was born to. You, however, thought it your duty to maintain your severity of |35 life wherever you might be, and by hard work inuring your constitution to change, you easily bore the march inland from Galatia to Parthia, more easily in fact than a rich man who lives now here, now there, according to the season, would bear it if he were forced to encounter unseasonable weather. I think Heaven smiled on you and willed that you should govern the whole world, and so from the first trained you in virtue, and was your guide when you journeyed to all points, and showed you the bounds and limits of the whole empire, the character of each region, the vastness of your territory, the power of every race, the number of the cities, the characteristics of the masses, and above all the vast number of things that one who is bred to so great a kingship cannot afford to neglect. But I nearly forgot to mention the most important thing of all. From a boy you were taught to govern this great empire, but a better thing you learned, to be governed, submitting, yourself to the authority that is the best in the world and the most just, that is to say nature and law. I mean that both as son and subject you obeyed your father. Indeed, had he been only your father or only your king, obedience was his due.
Now what rearing and education for a king could one find in history better than this? Consider the Greeks. Not thus did the Spartans train the Heracleidae, though they are thought to have enjoyed the best form of government, that of their kings. As for the barbarians, not even the |37 Carthaginians, though they were particularly well-governed by their kings, chose the best method of training their future rulers. The moral discipline and the studies prescribed by their laws were pursued by all alike, as though the citizens were brothers, all destined both to govern and be governed, and in the matter of education they made no difference between their princes and the rest of the citizens. Yet surely it is foolish to demand superlative excellence from one's rulers when one takes no pains to make them better than other men. Among the barbarians, indeed, no man is debarred from winning the throne, so one can excuse them for giving the same moral training to all. But that Lycurgus, who tried to make the dynasty of the Heracleidae proof against all shocks,22 should not have arranged for them a special education better than that of other Spartan youths is an omission for which he may well be criticised. He may have thought that all the Lacedaemonians ought to enter the race for virtue, and foster it, but for all that it was wrong to provide the same nurture and education for private citizens as for those who were to govern. The inevitable familiarity little by little steals into men's souls and breeds contempt for their betters. Though, for that matter, they are not in any sense one's betters unless it was their own merit that earned them the right to rule. This, in |39 my opinion, is the reason why the Spartan kings often found their subjects hard to govern. In proof of what I say one might quote the rivalry of Lysander and Agesilaus, and many other instances, if one should review the history of the Spartan kings
The Spartan polity, however, by securing a satisfactory development of the moral qualities in their kings, even if it gave them a training in no way different from that of the crowd, at least endowed them with the attributes of well-bred men. But as for the Carthaginians, there was nothing to admire even in the discipline that they all shared. The parents turned their sons out of doors and bade them win the necessaries of life by their own efforts, with the injunction to do nothing that is considered disgraceful. The effect of this was not to uproot the evil inclinations of the young, but to require them to take pains not to be caught in wrong-doing. For it is not self-indulgence only that ruins character, but the lack of mere necessaries may produce the same result. This is true at any rate in the case of those whose reason has not yet assumed the power to decide, being swayed by physical needs and persuaded by desire. It is especially true when one fails to control the passion for money-getting, if from boyhood one is accustomed to it and to the trading and bartering of the market-places. This business, unfit for a youth of gentle birth to mention, or so much as hear spoken of, whether the youth finds it out for himself |41 or learns it from those of greater experience, leaves many scars on the soul; and even a respectable citizen ought to be free from all this, not a king or general alone.
But it is not for me to criticise the Carthaginians in this place. I will only point out how different was your education, and how you profited by it and have come to excel in looks, strength, justice, and temperance. By your active life you achieved perfect health; your temperance was the result of obedience to the laws; you enjoy a body of unusual strength by reason of your self-control, and a soul of unusual rectitude because of your physical powers of endurance. You left nothing undone to improve your natural talents, but ever acquired new talents by new studies. You needed nothing yourself but gave assistance to others, and lavished such generous gifts that the recipients seemed as rich as the monarch of the Lydians.23 Though you indulged yourself less in the good things that were yours than the most austere of the Spartans, you gave others the means of luxury in abundance, while those who preferred temperance could imitate your example. As a ruler you were mild and humane; as your father's subject you were ever as modest as any one of his people. All this was true of you in boyhood and youth, and much more about which there is now no time to speak at length. |43
When you had come to man's estate, and after fate had decreed the ending of your father's life 24 and Heaven had granted that his last hours should be peculiarly blest; you adorned his tomb not only by lavishing on it splendid decorations 25 and so paying the debt of gratitude for your birth and education, but still more by the fact that you alone of his sons hastened to him when he was still alive and stricken by illness, and paid him the highest possible honours after his death. But all this I need only mention in passing. For now it is your exploits that cry aloud for notice and remind me of your energy, courage, good judgment, and justice. In these qualities you are unsurpassed, unrivalled. In your dealings with your brothers,26 your subjects, your father's friends, and your armies you displayed justice and moderation; except that, in some cases, forced as you were by the critical state of affairs, you could not, in spite of your own wishes, prevent others from going astray. Towards the enemy your demeanour was brave, generous, and worthy of the previous reputation of your house. While you maintained the friendly relations that already existed, kept the capital free from civil discord, and continued to cherish your brothers who were your partners in empire, you granted to your friends, among other benefits, the privilege of addressing you as an equal and full freedom of speech without stint, and perfect frankness. Not only did you share with them all whatever you possessed, but you gave to each what he seemed most to need. Anyone who wants testimony to all this might reasonably call your friends to witness, but if he does not know your friends, the facts |45 themselves are sufficient to demonstrate the policy of your whole life.
But I must postpone the description of your personal qualities and go on to speak of your achievements. The Persians in the past conquered the whole of Asia, subjugated a great part of Europe, and had embraced in their hopes I may almost say the whole inhabited world, when the Macedonians deprived them of their supremacy, and they provided Alexander's generalship with a task, or rather with a toy. But they could not endure the yoke of slavery, and no sooner was Alexander dead, than they revolted from his successors and once more opposed their power to the Macedonians, and so successfully that, when we took over what was left of the Macedonian empire, we counted them to the end as foes with whom we must reckon. I need not now remind you of ancient history, of Antony and Crassus,27 who were generals with the fullest powers, or tell how after long-continued dangers we succeeded in wiping out the disgrace they incurred, and how many a prudent general retrieved their blunders. Nor need I recall the second chapter of our misfortunes and the exploits of Carus 28 that followed, when after those failures he was appointed general. Among those who sat on the throne before your father's time and imposed on the Persians conditions of peace admired and welcomed by all, did not the Caesar 29 incur a disgraceful defeat when he attacked them on his own account? It was not till the ruler of the whole world 30 turned his attention to |47 them, directing thither all the forces of the empire, occupying all the passes with his troops and levies of hoplites, both veterans and new recruits, and employing every sort of military equipments, that fear drove them to accept terms of peace. That peace they somehow contrived to disturb and break during your father's lifetime, but they escaped punishment at his hands because he died in the midst of preparations for a campaign. It was left for you later on to punish them for their audacity. I shall often have to speak of your campaigns against them, but this one thing I ask my hearers to observe. You became master of a third of the empire,31 that part in fact which seemed by no means strong enough to carry on a war, since it had neither arms nor troops in the field, nor any of those military resources which ought to flow in abundantly in preparation for so important a war. Then, too, your brothers, for whatever reason, did nothing to make the war easier for you. And yet there is no sycophant so shameless and so envious as not to admit that the harmony existing between you was mainly due to you. The war in itself presented peculiar difficulties, in my opinion, and the troops were disaffected owing to the change of government; they raised the cry that they missed their old leader and they wished to control your actions. Nay, more; a thousand strange and perplexing circumstances arose on every hand to render your hopes regarding the war more difficult to realise. The Armenians, our ancient allies, revolted, and no small part of them went over to the Persians and overran and raided the country on their borders. In this crisis there seemed to be but one hope of |49 safety, that you should take charge of affairs and plan the campaign, but at the moment this was impossible, because you were in Paeonia 32 making treaties with your brothers. Thither you went in person, and so managed that you gave them no opening for criticism. Indeed, I almost forgot to mention the very first of your achievements, the noblest of all, or at any rate equal to the noblest. For there is no greater proof of your prudence and magnanimity than the fact that, in planning for interests of such importance, you thought it no disadvantage if you should, of your own free will, concede the lion's share to your brothers. Imagine, for instance, a man dividing among his brothers their father's estate of a hundred talents, or, if you prefer, twice as much. Then suppose him to have been content with fifty minae less than the others, and to raise no objection, because he secured their goodwill in exchange for that trifling sum. You would think he deserved all praise and respect as one who had a soul above money, as far-sighted, in short as a man of honour. But here is one whose policy with regard to the empire of the world seems to have been so high minded, so prudent, that, without increasing the burdens of administration, he willingly gave up some of the imperial revenues in order to secure harmony and peace among all Roman citizens. What praise such a one deserves! And certainly one cannot, in this connection, quote the saying, "Well done, but a bad bargain." Nothing, in my opinion, |51 can be called a good bargain if it be not honourable as well. In general, if anyone wish to apply the test of expediency alone, he ought not to make money his criterion or reckon up his revenues from estates, like those old misers whom writers of comedy bring on to the stage, but he should take into account the vastness of the empire and the point of honour involved. If the Emperor had disputed about the boundaries and taken a hostile attitude, he might have obtained more than he did, but he would have governed only his allotted share. But he scorned and despised such trifles, and the result was that he really governed the whole world in partnership with his brothers, but had the care of his own portion only, and, while he kept his dignity unimpaired, he had less than his share of the toil and trouble that go with such a position.
On that subject, however, I shall have a chance later to speak in more detail. This is perhaps the right moment to describe how you controlled the situation, encompassed as you were, after your father's death, by so many perils and difficulties of all sorts—confusion, an unavoidable war, numerous hostile raids, allies in revolt, lack of discipline in the garrisons, and all the other harassing conditions of the hour. You concluded in perfect harmony the negotiations with your brothers, and when the time had arrived that demanded your aid for the dangerous crisis of affairs, you made forced marches, and immediately after leaving Paeonia appeared in Syria, But to relate how you did this would tax my powers of description, and indeed for those who know the |53 facts their own experience is enough. But who in the world could describe adequately how, at the prospect of your arrival, everything was changed and improved all at once, so that we were set free from the fears that hung over us and could entertain brighter hopes than ever for the future? Even before you were actually on the spot the mutiny among the garrisons ceased and order was restored. The Armenians who had gone over to the enemy at once changed sides again, for you ejected from the country and sent to Rome those who were responsible for the governor's 33 exile, and you secured for the exiles a safe return to their own country. You were so merciful to those who now came to Rome as exiles, and so kind in your dealings with those who returned from exile with the governor, that the former did, indeed, bewail their misfortune in having revolted, but still were better pleased with their present condition than with their previous usurpation; while the latter, who were formerly in exile, declared that the experience had been a lesson in prudence, but that now they were receiving a worthy reward for their loyalty. On the returned exiles you lavished such magnificent presents and rewards that they could not even resent the good fortune of their bitterest enemies, nor begrudge their being duly honoured. All these difficulties you quickly settled, and then by means of embassies you turned the marauding Arabs against our enemies. Then you began preparations for the war, about which I may as well say a few words. |55
The previous period of peace had relaxed the labours of the troops, and lightened the burdens of those who had to perform public services. But the war called for money, provisions, and supplies on a vast scale, and even more it demanded endurance, energy, and military experience on the part of the troops. In the almost entire absence of all these, you personally provided and organised everything, drilled those who had reached the age for military service, got together a force of cavalry to match the enemy's, and issued orders for the infantry to persevere in their training. Nor did you confine yourself to speeches and giving orders, but yourself trained and drilled with the troops, showed them their duty by actual example, and straightway made them experts in the art of war. Then you discovered ways and means, not by increasing the tribute or the extraordinary contributions, as the Athenians did in their day, when they raised these to double or even more. You were content, I understand, with the original revenues, except in cases where, for a short time, and to meet an emergency, it was necessary that the people should find their services to the state more expensive. The troops under your leadership were abundantly supplied, yet not so as to cause the satiety that leads to insolence, nor, on the other hand, were they driven to insubordination from lack of necessaries.
I shall say nothing about your great array of arms, horses, and river-boats, engines of war and the like. But when all was ready and the time had come to |57 make appropriate use of all that I have mentioned, the Tigris was bridged by rafts at many points and forts were built to guard the river. Meanwhile the enemy never once ventured to defend their country from plunder, and every useful thing that they possessed was brought in to us. This was partly because they were afraid to offer battle, partly because those who were rash enough to do so were punished on the spot. This is a mere summary of your invasions of the enemy's country. Who, indeed, in a short speech could do justice to every event, or reckon up the enemy's disasters and our successes? But this at least I have space to tell. You often crossed the Tigris with your army and spent a long time in the enemy's country, but you always returned crowned with the laurels of victory. Then you visited the cities you had freed, and bestowed on them peace and plenty, all possible blessings and all at once. Thus at your hands they received what they had so long desired, the defeat of the barbarians and the erection of trophies of victory over the treachery and cowardice of the Parthians. Treachery they had displayed when they violated the treaties and broke the peace, cowardice when they lacked the courage to fight for their country and all that they held dear.
But lest anyone should suppose that, while I delight in recalling exploits like these, I avoid mentioning occasions when luck gave the enemy the advantage—or rather it was the nature of the ground combined with opportunity that turned |59 the scale—and that I do so because they brought us no honour or glory but only disgrace, I will try to give a brief account of those incidents also, not adapting my narrative with an eye to my own interests, but preferring the truth in every case. For when a man deliberately sins against the truth he cannot escape the reproach of flattery, and moreover he inflicts on the object of his panegyric the appearance of not deserving the praise that he receives on other accounts. This is a mistake of which I shall beware. Indeed my speech will make it clear that in no case has fiction been preferred to the truth. Now I am well aware that all would say that the battle we fought before Singara 34 was a most important victory for the barbarians. But I should answer and with justice that this battle inflicted equal loss on both armies, but proved also that your valour could accomplish more than their luck; and that although the legions under you were violent and reckless men, and were not accustomed, like the enemy, to the climate and the stifling heat. I will relate exactly what took place.
It was still the height of summer, and the legions mustered long before noon. Since the enemy were awestruck by the discipline, accoutrements and calm bearing of our troops, while to us they seemed amazing in numbers, neither side began the battle; for they shrank from coming to close quarters with forces so well equipped, while we waited for them to begin, so that in all respects we might seem to be acting rather in self-defence, and not to be |61 responsible for beginning hostilities after the peace. But at last the leader 35 of the barbarian army, raised high on their shields, perceived the magnitude of our forces drawn up in line. What a change came over him! What exclamations he uttered! He cried out that he had been betrayed, that it was the fault of those who had persuaded him to go to war, and decided that the only thing to be done was to flee with all speed, and that one course alone would secure his safety, namely to cross, before we could reach it, the river, which is the ancient boundary-line between that country and ours. With this purpose he first gave the signal for a retreat in good order, then gradually increasing his pace he finally took to headlong flight, with only a small following of cavalry, and left his whole army to the leadership of his son and the friend in whom he had most confidence. When our men saw this they were enraged that the barbarians should escape all punishment for their audacious conduct, and clamoured to be led in pursuit, chafed at your order to halt, and ran after the enemy in full armour with their utmost energy and speed. For of your generalship they had had no experience so far, and they could not believe that you were a better judge than they of what was expedient. Moreover, under your father they had fought many battles and had always been victorious, a fact that tended to make them think themselves invincible. But they were most of all elated by the terror that the Parthians now shewed, when they thought how they had fought, not only against the enemy, but against the very nature of the ground, |63 and if any greater obstacle met them from some fresh quarter, they felt that they would overcome it as well. Accordingly they ran at full speed for about one hundred stades, and only halted when they came up with the Parthians, who had fled for shelter into a fort that they had lately built to serve as a camp. It was, by this time, evening, and they engaged battle forthwith. Our men at once took the fort and slew its defenders. Once inside the fortifications they displayed great bravery for a long time, but they were by this time fainting with thirst, and when they found cisterns of water inside, they spoiled a glorious victory and gave the enemy a chance to retrieve their defeat. This then was the issue of that battle, which caused us the loss of only three or four of our men, whilst the Parthians lost the heir to the throne 36 who had previously been taken prisoner, together with all his escort. While all this was going on, of the leader of the barbarians not even the ghost was to be seen, nor did he stay his flight till he had put the river behind him. You, on the other hand, did not take off your armour for a whole day and all the night, now sharing the struggles of those who were getting the upper hand, now giving prompt and efficient aid to those who were hard-pressed. And by your bravery and fortitude you so changed the face of the battle that at break of day the enemy were glad to beat a safe retreat to their own territory, and even the wounded, escorted by you, could retire from the battle. Thus did you relieve them all from the risks of flight. Now what fort was taken |65 by the enemy? What city did they besiege? What military supplies did they capture that should give them something to boast about after the war?
But perhaps some one will say that never to come off worse than the enemy must indeed be considered good fortune and felicity, but to make a stand against fortune calls for greater vigour and is a proof of greater valour.
Is a man a skilful pilot because he can steer his ship in fair weather when the sea is absolutely calm? Would you call a charioteer an expert driver who on smooth and level ground has in harness horses that are gentle, quiet and swift, and under such conditions gives a display of his art? How much more skilful is the pilot who marks and perceives beforehand the coming storm and tries to avoid its path, and then, if for any reason he must face it, brings off his ship safe and sound, cargo and all? Just so, the skilful charioteer is he who can contend against the unevenness of the ground, and guide his horses and control them at the same time, if they grow restive. In short, it is not fair to judge of skill of any sort when it is aided by fortune, but one must examine it independently. Cleon was not a better general than Nicias because he was fortunate in the affair of Pylos, and the same may be said of all whose success is due to luck rather than to good judgment. But if I did not claim that your fortune was both better and better deserved than that of your opponents, or rather of all men, I should with reason be thought to do it an injustice, since it |67 prevented the enemy from even perceiving their advantage. For, in my opinion, an impartial judge of my narrative ought to ascribe our reverse to the extreme and insupportable heat, and the fact that you inflicted loss on the enemy equal to ours he would regard as achieved by your valour, but that, though they were aware of their losses, they took no account of their success, he would regard as brought about by your good fortune.
That I may not, however, by saying more on this subject, spend time that belongs to more important affairs, I will try to describe next the multitude of difficulties that beset us, the magnitude of our perils, and how you faced them all, and not only routed the numerous following of the usurpers, but the barbarian forces as well.
About six years had passed since the war I have just described, and the winter was nearly over, when a messenger arrived with the news37 that Galatia38 had gone over to the usurper, that a plot had been made to assassinate your brother and had been carried out, also that Italy and Sicily had been occupied, lastly that the Illyrian garrisons were in revolt and had proclaimed their general39 emperor, though for a time he had been inclined to resist what seemed to be the irresistible onset of the usurpers.40 Indeed, he himself kept imploring you to send money and men to his aid, as though he were terribly afraid on his own account of being overpowered by them. And for a while he kept protesting that he would do his duty, that for his part he had no pretensions to the throne, but |69 would faithfully guard and protect it for you. Such were his assertions, but it was not long before his treachery came to light and he received his punishment, tempered though it was with mercy. On learning these facts you thought you ought not to waste your time in idleness to no purpose. The cities of Syria you stocked with engines of war, garrisons, food supplies, and equipment of other kinds, considering that, by these measures, you would, though absent, sufficiently protect the inhabitants, while you were planning to set out in person against the usurpers.
But the Persians ever since the last campaign had been watching for just such an opportunity, and had planned to conquer Syria by a single invasion. So they mustered all forces, every age, sex, and condition, and marched against us, men and mere boys, old men and crowds of women and slaves, who followed not merely to assist in the war, but in vast numbers beyond what was needed. For it was their intention to reduce the cities, and once masters of the country, to bring in colonists in spite of us. But the magnitude of your preparations made it manifest that their expectations were but vanity. They began the siege and completely surrounded the city41 with dykes, and then the river Mygdonius flowed in and flooded the ground about the walls, as they say the Nile floods Egypt. The siege-engines were brought up against the ramparts on boats, and their |71 plan was that one force should sail to attack the walls while the other kept shooting on the city's defenders from the mounds. But the garrison made a stout defence of the city from the walls. The whole place was filled with corpses, wreckage, armour, and missiles, of which some were just sinking, while others, after sinking from the violence of the first shock, floated on the waters. A vast number of barbarian shields and also ship's benches, as a result of the collisions of the siege-engines on the ships, drifted on the surface. The mass of floating weapons almost covered the whole surface between the wall and the mounds. The lake was turned to gore, and all about the walls echoed the groans of the barbarians, slaying not, but being slain42 in manifold ways and by all manner of wounds.
Who could find suitable words to describe all that was done there? They hurled fire down on to the shields, and many of the hoplites fell half-burned, while others who fled from the flames could not escape the danger from the missiles. But some while still swimming were wounded in the back and sank to the bottom, while others who jumped from the siege-engines were hit before they touched the water, and so found not safety indeed but an easier death. As for those who knew not how to swim, and perished more obscurely than those just mentioned, who would attempt to name or number them? Time would fail me did I desire to recount all this in detail. It is enough that you |73 should hear the sum of the matter. On that day the sun beheld a battle the like of which no man had ever known before. These events exposed the historic boastings of the Medes as only empty conceit. Till then men had hardly believed that Xerxes could have had so huge an armament, seeing that for all its size its fate was so shameful and ignominious; but these events made the fact clearer to us than things long familiar and obvious. Xerxes tried to sail and to march by fighting against the laws of nature, and, as he thought, overcame the nature of the sea and of the dry land, but he proved to be no match for the wisdom and endurance of a Greek whose soldiers had not been bred in the school of luxury, nor learned to be slaves, but knew how to obey and to use their energies like free-born men. That man,43 however, though he had no such vast armament as Xerxes, was even more insensate, and outdid the Aloadae in his infatuation, as if almost he had conceived the idea of overwhelming the city with the mountain44 that was hard by. Then he turned the currents of rivers against its walls and undermined them, but even when the city had lost its walls he could not succeed in taking it, so that he had not even that triumph to boast of, as Xerxes had when he set fire to Athens. So, after spending four months, he retreated with an army that had lost many thousands, and he who had always seemed to be irresistible was glad to keep the peace, and to use as a bulwark for his own safety the fact that you had no time to spare and that our own affairs were in confusion.
Such were the trophies and victories that you |75 left behind you in Asia, and you led your troops to Europe in perfect condition, determined to fill the whole world with the monuments of your victories. Even if I had nothing more wonderful to relate about you, what I have said is enough to demonstrate that in good sense and energy you surpass all those in the past whose fortune was the same as yours. Indeed to have repulsed the whole strength of Persia and remain unscathed, not to have lost so much as a soldier from the ranks, much less a town or fort, and finally to have brought the siege to so brilliant and unprecedented a conclusion,—what achievement I ask in the past could one compare with this? The Carthaginians were famous for their daring in the face of danger, but they ended in disaster. The siege of Plataea shed lustre on its citizens, but all that their valour could do for those unhappy men was to make their misfortunes more widely known. What need to quote Messene or Pylos, since there the defeated did not make a brave defence nor was a vigorous assault necessary to subdue them? As for the Syracusans, they had their famous man of science45 to aid them against the armaments of Rome and our illustrious general,46 but what did he avail them in the end? Did they not fall more ignominiously than the rest, and were only spared to be a glorious monument of their conqueror's clemency? But if I wished to reckon up all the states that could not withstand armaments inferior to their own, how many volumes do you think would suffice? Rome, however, I ought perhaps to mention, because long ago she had just such a fortune, I mean when the Galatians and |77 Celts47 conspired together, and without warning poured down on the city like a winter torrent.48 The citizens occupied the famous hill49 on which stands the statue of Jupiter. There they intrenched themselves with wicker barricades and such like defences, as though with a wall, while the enemy offered no hindrance nor ventured to approach to attack at close quarters, and so they won the day.
It is with this siege that the recent one may well be compared, at least in the issue of its fortunes; for the actual occurrences could not be paralleled in all history. For who ever heard of surrounding a city with water, and from without throwing hills about it like nets, then hurling at it, like a siege-engine, a river that flowed in a steady stream and broke against its walls, or of fighting like that which took place in the water and about the wall where it had fallen in? For my purpose, this is, as I said, evidence enough. But what remains to tell is far more awe-inspiring. And perhaps, since I have undertaken to record, as far as possible, all that you accomplished, it is not fair to break off my narrative at the point where you were at the very height of your activity. For even while you were occupied by the interests I have just described, you arranged your affairs in Europe, despatching embassies, spending money, and sending out the legions that were garrisoning Paeonia against the Scythians, all of which was with the intention of preventing that feeble old man50 from being overpowered by the |79 usurper.51 But how could one, with the best will in the world, present all this in a short speech?
No sooner had you set out for the seat of war, than this very man, who had all along protested that he would loyally continue to guard your interests, though you had reinforced him with money, troops, and everything of the sort, was driven to folly and madness by I know not what evil spirit, and came to terms with the most execrable of mankind, the common enemy of all who care for peace and cherish harmony above all things, and more particularly your enemy for personal reasons. But you were undismayed by the magnitude of his preparations, nor would you admit that a conspiracy of traitors could overreach your own wise purpose. One 52 of the pair you justly accused of treason, the other53 of infamous crimes besides, and deeds of lawless violence, and you summoned the former to trial and judgment before the legions, the latter you decided to leave to the arbitrament of war. Then he met you face to face, that honourable and prudent old man, who used to change his opinions more easily than any child, and, though he had begged for them, forgot all your favours as soon as the need had passed. He arrived with his phalanxes of hoplites and squadrons of cavalry, intending to compel, if he could not persuade you, to take no action and return the way you came. When, then, you saw this man, who had protested that he would continue to be your ally and general, playing an enemy's part and claiming an equal share of your empire, you were not at all dismayed, though his troops outnumbered |81 yours. For you had not brought your whole force with you, since you decided that to fight it out with such odds against you might be courageous but was in every way hazardous, even if you won the battle, because of that other savage usurper54 who was lying in wait for a favourable opportunity55 when you should be in difficulties. You therefore made a wise resolve in preferring to achieve success single-handed, and you mounted the platform with him who for the moment was your colleague in empire. He was escorted by a whole host of hoplites with glittering weapons,56 presenting drawn swords and spears, a sight to make a coward shake with fear, though it inspired and supported one so brave and gallant as yourself. Now when first you began to speak, silence fell on the whole army and every man strained his ears to hear. Many shed tears and raised their hands to heaven, though even this they did in silence, so as to be unobserved. Some again showed their affection in their faces, but all showed it by their intense eagerness to hear your words. When your speech reached its climax, they were carried away by enthusiasm and burst into applause, then eager to miss no word they became quiet again. Finally, won by your arguments, they hailed you as their only Emperor, demanded that you alone should rule the whole empire, and bade you lead them against your adversary, promising to follow you and begging you to take back the imperial insignia. You, however, thought it beneath you to stretch out your hand for them or to take them by force. Then against his will and with reluctance, but |83 yielding at last to what is called Thessalian persuasion,57 he took off' the purple robe and offered it to you. What a heroic figure yours was then, when, in a single day, you became master of all those races, those legions, all that wealth, when you stripped of his power and took prisoner one who, if not in fact yet in intention, had shown that he was your enemy!
Did you not behave more nobly and more generously to him than Cyrus did to his own grandfather? For you deprived your enemy's followers of nothing, but protected their privileges and, I understand, gave many of them presents besides. Who saw you despondent before your triumph or unduly elated after it? Orator, general, virtuous emperor, distinguished soldier, though men give you all these titles, how can any praise of ours be adequate? Long had the orator's platform been wholly disconnected from the general's functions58; and it was reserved for you to combine them once more in your person, in this surely following the example of Odysseus and Nestor and the Roman generals who sacked Carthage; for these men were always even more formidable to wrong-doers whom they attacked from the platform than to the enemy in the field of battle. Indeed I pay all the homage due to the forcible eloquence of Demosthenes and his imitators, but when I consider the conditions of your harangue I can never admit that there is any comparison between your theatre and theirs. For they never had to address an audience of hoplites nor had they such great interests at stake, but only |85 money, or honour, or reputation, or friends whom they had undertaken to assist, yet when the citizens clamoured in dissent, they often, I believe, left the platform pale and trembling, like generals who prove to be cowards when they have to face the enemy in battle-line. Indeed from all history it would be impossible to cite an achievement as great as yours when you acquired control of all those races by judicial pleading alone; and moreover you had to make out your case against a man not by any means to be despised, as many people think, but one who had won distinction in many campaigns, who was full of years, who had the reputation of experience gained in a long career, and had for a considerable period been in command of the legions there present. What overwhelming eloquence that must have been! How truly did "persuasion sit on your lips"59 and had the power to "leave a sting" in the souls of that motley crowd of men, and to win you a victory that in importance rivals any that were ever achieved by force of arms, only that yours was stainless and unalloyed, and was more like the act of a priest going to the temple of his god than of an emperor going to war. It is true indeed that the Persians have a similar instance to quote, but it falls far short of what you did, I mean that on their father's death the sons of Darius quarrelled about the succession to the throne and appealed to justice rather than to arms to arbitrate their case. But between you and your brothers there never arose any dispute, either in word or deed, nay not one, for it was in fact more |87 agreeable to you to share the responsibility with them than to be the sole ruler of the world. But your quarrel was with one who, though his actions had not so far been impious or criminal, was shown to have a treasonable purpose, and you brought proofs to make that treason manifest.
After your harangue there followed a brilliant campaign and a war truly sacred, though it was not on behalf of sacred territory, like the Phocian war, which we are told was waged60 in the days of our ancestors, but was to avenge the laws and the constitution and the slaughter of countless citizens, some of whom the usurper 61 had put to death, while others he was just about to kill or was trying to arrest. It was really as though he was afraid that otherwise he might be considered, for all his vices, a Roman citizen instead of' a genuine barbarian. As for his crimes against your house, though they were quite as flagrant as his outrages against the state, you thought it became you to devote less attention to them. So true it is, that, then as now, you rated the common weal higher than your private interests.
I need not mention all the usurper's offences against the community and against individuals. He assassinated his own master. For he had actually been the slave of the murdered emperor's ancestors, a miserable remnant saved from the spoils of Germany. And then he aimed at ruling over us, he who had not even the right to call himself free, had you not granted him the |89 privilege. Those in command of the legions he imprisoned and put to death, while to the common soldiers he behaved with such abject servility and deference that he ruined their discipline. Then he enacted those fine laws of his, a property tax of fifty per cent., and threatened the disobedient with death, while any slave who pleased might inform against his master. Then he compelled those who did not want it to purchase the imperial property. But time would fail me were I to tell of all his crimes and of the vast proportions that his tyranny had assumed. As for the armament which he had collected to use against the barbarians but actually employed against us, who could give you an adequate report of its strength? There were Celts and Galatians62 who had seemed invincible even to our ancestors, and who had so often like a winter torrent that sweeps all before it,63 poured down on the Italians and Illyrians, and, following up their repeated victories on the field of battle, had even invaded Asia, and then became our subjects because they had no choice. They had been enrolled in the ranks of our armies and furnished levies that won a brilliant reputation, being enlisted by your ancestors, and, later, by your father. Then, since they enjoyed the blessings of long-continued peace, and their country increased in wealth and population, they furnished your brothers with considerable levies, and finally, by compulsion, not choice, they all in a body took part in the usurper's campaign. The most enthusiastic of his followers were, in virtue of their ties of |91 kinship, the Franks and Saxons, the most warlike of the tribes who live beyond the Rhine and on the shores of the western sea. And since every city and every fortified place on the banks of the Rhine was shorn of its garrison, that whole region was left with no defence against the barbarians, and all that splendidly organised army was despatched against us. Every town in Galatia64 was like a camp preparing for war. Nothing was to be seen but weapons of war and forces of cavalry, infantry, archers, and javelin men. When these allies of the usurper began to pour into Italy from all quarters and there joined the troops who had been enrolled long before, there was no one so bold as not to feel terror and dismay at the tempest that threatened.65 It seemed to all as though a thunderbolt had fallen from the Alps, a bolt that no action could avert, no words describe. It struck terror into the Illyrians, the Paeonians, the Thracians, the Scythians; the dwellers in Asia believed it was directed entirely against themselves, and even the Persians began to get ready to oppose it in their country's defence. But the usurper thought his task was easy, and that he would have little difficulty in baffling your wisdom and energy, and already fixed his covetous gaze on the wealth of India and the magnificence of Persia. To such an excess of folly and rashness had he come, and after a success wholly insignificant, I mean the affair of the scouts whom, while they were unprotected by the main army, he ambushed and cut in pieces. So true it is that when fools meet with undeserved success66 they often find it is but the prelude to greater misfortunes. And so, elated by |93 this stroke of luck, he left the fortified posts that protected the Italian frontier, and marched towards the Norici and the Paeonians, taking no precautions, because he thought that speed would serve him better than force of arms or courage.
The moment that you learned this, you led your army out of the narrow and dangerous passes, and he followed in pursuit, as he thought, unaware that he was being outgeneralled, until you both reached open country. When the plains before Myrsa67 were in sight, the cavalry of both armies were drawn up on the wings, while the infantry formed the centre. Then your Majesty kept the river on your right, and, outflanking the enemy with your left, you at once turned and broke his phalanx, which indeed had from the first the wrong formation, since it had been drawn up by one who knew nothing of war or strategy. Then he who so far had thought he was the pursuer did not even join battle, but took to headlong flight, dismayed by the clash of weapons; he could not even listen without trembling when the legions shouted their battle-song. His ranks had been thrown into disorder, but the soldiers formed into companies and renewed the battle. For they disdained to be seen in flight, and to give an example in their own persons of what had hitherto been inconceivable to all men, I mean a Celtic or Galatian 68 soldier turning his back to the enemy. The barbarians too, who, if defeated, could not hope to make good their retreat, were resolved either to conquer, or not to perish till they had severely punished their opponents. Just see the extraordinary daring |95 of the usurper's troops in the face of dangers and their great eagerness to come to close quarters!
Our men, on the other hand, had so far carried all before them and were anxious to retain the good opinion of their comrades and of the Emperor, and were moreover stimulated by their successes in the past and by the almost incredible brilliance of their exploits in this very engagement, and, ambitious as they were to end the day as gloriously as they had begun it, cheerfully encountered toil and danger. So they charged again as though the battle had only just begun, and gave a wonderful display of daring and heroism. For some hurled themselves full on the enemy's swords, or seized the enemy's shields, others, when their horses were wounded and the riders thrown, at once transformed themselves into hoplites. The usurper's army meanwhile did the same and pressed our infantry hard. Neither side gained the advantage, till the cuirassiers by their archery, aided by the remaining force of cavalry, who spurred on their horses to the charge, had begun to. inflict great loss on the enemy, and by main force to drive the whole army before them. Some directed their flight to the plain, and of these a few were saved just in time by the approach of night. The rest were flung into the river, crowded together like a herd of oxen or brute beasts. Thus did the usurper's army reap the fruits of his cowardice, while their valour availed him nothing.
The trophy that you set up for that victory was far more brilliant than your father's. He led an |97 army that had always proved itself invincible, and with it conquered a miserable old man.69 But the tyranny that you suppressed was flourishing and had reached its height, partly through the crimes that had been committed, but still more because so many of the youth were on that side, and you took the field against it with legions that had been trained by yourself. What emperor can one cite in the past who first planned and then reproduced so admirable a type of cavalry, and such accoutrements? First you trained yourself to wear them, and then you taught others how to use such weapons so that none could withstand them. This is a subject on which many have ventured to speak, but they have failed to do it justice, so much so that those who heard their description, and later had the good fortune to see for themselves, decided that their eyes must accept what their ears had refused to credit. Your cavalry was almost unlimited in numbers and they all sat their horses like statues, while their limbs were fitted with armour that followed closely the outline of the human form. It covers the arms from wrist to elbow and thence to the shoulder, while a coat of mail protects the shoulders, back and breast. The head and face are covered by a metal mask which makes its wearer look like a glittering statue, for not even the thighs and legs and the very ends of the feet lack this armour. It is attached to the cuirass by fine chain-armour like a web, so that no part of the body is visible and uncovered, for this woven covering protects the hands as well, and is so flexible that the wearers can bend even their fingers.70 All this I desire to represent in words as vividly as |99 I can, but it is beyond my powers, and I can only ask those who wish to know more about this armour to see it with their own eyes, and not merely to listen to my description.
Now that I have told the story of this first campaign, which was fought at the end of the autumn, shall I here break off my narrative? Or is it altogether unfair to withhold the end and issue of your achievements from those who are eager to hear? Winter overtook us and gave the usurper a chance to escape punishment. Then followed a splendid proclamation worthy of your imperial generosity. An amnesty was granted to those who had taken sides with the usurper, except when they bad shared the guilt of those infamous murders. Thus they who had never hoped even to see again anything that they held dear, recovered their houses, money, and native land. Then you welcomed the fleet which arrived from Italy bringing thence many citizens who, no doubt, had fled from the usurper's savage cruelty. Then when the occasion demanded that you should take the field, you again menaced the usurper. He however took cover in the fastnesses of Italy and hid his army away there in the mountains, wild-beast fashion, and never even dared to carry on the war beneath the open heavens. But he betook himself to the neighbouring town 71 which is devoted to pleasure and high living, and spent his time in public shows and sensual pleasures, believing that the impassable mountains alone would suffice for his safety. Moreover, intemperate as he was by nature, he thought it clear gain to be able to indulge his appetites at so dangerous a crisis, and |101 he evidently placed too much confidence in the safety of his position, because the town is cut off from that part of Italy by a natural rampart of mountains, except the half that is bounded by a shoaling sea, which resembles the marshes of Egypt and makes that part of the country inaccessible even to an invading fleet. It seems however as though nature herself will not devise any safeguard for the sensual and cowardly against the temperate and brave, for when prudence and courage advance hand in hand she makes everything give way before them. Long since she revealed to us those arts through which we have attained an abundance of what was once thought to be unattainable, and in the field of individual effort we see that what seemed impossible for many working together to achieve can be accomplished by a prudent man. And since by your own actions you demonstrated this fact it is only fair, Ο my Emperor, that you should accept my words to that effect.
For you conducted the campaign under the open skies, and that though there was a city of some importance near at hand, and moreover you encouraged your men to work hard and to take risks, not merely by giving orders, but by your own personal example. You discovered a path hitherto unknown to all, and you sent forward a strong detachment of hoplites chosen from your whole army; then when you had ascertained that they had come up with the enemy, you led forward your army in person, surrounded them, and defeated his whole force. This happened before dawn, and before noon the news was brought to the usurper. He was |103 attending a horse-race at a festival, and was expecting nothing of what took place. How his attitude changed, what was his decision about the crisis, how he abandoned the town and in fact all Italy, and fled, thus beginning to expiate his murders and all his earlier crimes, it is not for this speech to relate. Yet though the respite he gained was so brief, he proceeded to act no less wickedly than in the past. So true is it that by the sufferings of the body alone it is impossible for the wicked to cleanse their souls of evil. For when he reached Galatia,72 this ruler who was so righteous and law-abiding, so far surpassed his own former cruelty that he now bethought himself of all the ruthless and brutal modes of punishment that he had then overlooked, and derived the most exquisite pleasure from the spectacle of the sufferings of the wretched citizens. He would bind them alive to chariots and, letting the teams gallop, would order the drivers to drag them along while he stood by and gazed at their sufferings. In fact he spent his whole time in amusements of this sort, until, like an Olympic victor, you threw him in the third encounter73 and forced him to pay a fitting penalty for his infamous career, namely to thrust into his own breast that very sword which he had stained with the slaughter of so many citizens.74 Never, in my opinion, was there a punishment more suitable or more just than this, nor one that gave greater satisfaction to the whole human race, which was now really liberated from such cruelty and harshness, and at once began to exult in the good government that we enjoy to this day. |105 Long may we continue to enjoy it, Ο all-merciful Providence!
I would fain recite every single one of your achievements, but you will with reason pardon me, most mighty Emperor, if I fall short of that ambition and omit to mention the naval armament against Carthage which was equipped in Egypt and set sail from Italy to attack her, and also your conquest of the Pyrenees, against which you sent an army by sea, and your successes against the barbarians, which of late have been so frequent, and all such successes in the past as have not become a matter of common knowledge. For example, I often hear that even Antioch now calls herself by your name. Her existence she does indeed owe to her founder,75 but her present wealth and increase in every sort of abundance she owes to you, since you provided her with harbours that offer good anchorage for those who put in there For till then it was considered a dangerous risk even to sail past Antioch; so full were all the waters of that coast, up to the very shores, of rocks and sunken reefs. I need not stop to mention the porticoes, fountains, and other things of the kind that you caused to be bestowed on Antioch by her governors. As to your benefactions to the city of your ancestors,76 you built round it a wall that was then only begun, and all buildings that seemed to be unsound you restored and made safe for all time. But how could one reckon up all these things? Time will fail me if I try to tell everything separately. |107
The time has now come when it is proper to consider whether your career, so far as I have described it, is at every point in harmony with virtue and the promptings of a noble disposition. For to this, as I said at the beginning of my speech, I think it right to pay special attention. Let me therefore mention once more what I said some time ago, that to your father you were dutiful and affectionate, and that you constantly maintained friendly relations with your brothers, for your father you were ever willing to obey, and as the colleague of your brothers in the empire you always displayed moderation. And if anyone thinks this a trifling proof of merit, let him consider the case of Alexander the son of Philip, and Cyrus the son of Cambyses, and then let him applaud your conduct. For Alexander, while still a mere boy, showed clearly that he would no longer brook his father's control, while Cyrus dethroned his grandfather. Yet no one is so foolish as to suppose that, since you displayed such modesty and self-control towards your father and brothers, you were not fully equal to Alexander and Cyrus in greatness of soul and ambition for glory. For when fortune offered you the opportunity to claim as your right the empire of the world, you were the first to make the essay, though there were many who advised otherwise . and tried to persuade you to the contrary course. Accordingly, when you had carried through the war that you had in hand, and that with the utmost ease and so as to ensure safety for the future, you resolved to liberate that part of the empire which had been occupied by the enemy, and the reason that you assigned for going to war was most |109 just and such as had never before arisen, namely your detestation of those infamous men. Civil war one could not call it, for its leader was a barbarian who had proclaimed himself emperor and elected himself general. I dislike to speak too often of his evil deeds and the crimes that he committed against your house. But could anything be more heroic than your line of action? For should you fail in your undertaking the risk involved was obvious. But you faced it, and you were not bidding for gain, nay nor for undying renown, for whose sake brave men so often dare even to die, selling their lives for glory as though it were gold, nor was it from desire of wider or more brilliant empire, for not even in your youth were you ambitious of that, but it was because you were in love with the abstract beauty of such an achievement, and thought it your duty to endure anything rather than see a barbarian ruling over Roman citizens, making himself master of the laws and constitution and offering public prayers for the common weal, guilty as he was of so many impious crimes and murders. Who could fail to be dazzled by the splendour of your armament and the vast scale of your expenditure? And yet I am told that Xerxes, when he mustered all Asia against the Greeks, spent no less than ten years in preparing for that war. Then he set out with twelve hundred triremes, from the very spot, as I understand, where you gathered your fleet together, having built it in rather less than ten months, and yet you had more ships than Xerxes. But neither his fortune nor his achievements can properly be compared with yours. |111
I fear that it is beyond my powers to describe the magnificence of your outlay for other purposes, nor will I risk being tedious by staying now to count up the sums you bestowed on cities that had long been destitute. For whereas, in the time of your predecessors, they lacked the necessaries of life, they have all become rich through you, and the general prosperity of each city increases the welfare of every private household in it. But it is proper that I should mention your gifts to private persons, and give you the title of a generous and open-handed Emperor; for since there were many who long ago had lost their property, because, in some cases justly, in others unjustly, their ancestral estates had suffered loss, you had no sooner come into power, than like a just judge you set right in the latter cases the errors committed by men in the past, and restored them to the control of their property, while in the former cases you were a kindly arbiter, and granted that they should recover what they had lost, thinking that to have suffered so long was punishment enough. Then you lavished large sums from your privy purse, and increased the reputation for wealth of many who even in the past had prided themselves on their large incomes. But why should I remind you of all this and seem to waste time over trifles? Especially as it must be obvious to all that no king except Alexander the son of Philip was ever known to bestow such splendid presents on his friends. Indeed some kings have thought that the wealth of their friends gave more grounds for suspicion and alarm |113 than did the resources of their enemies, while others were jealous of the aristocrats among their subjects, and therefore persecuted the well-born in every possible way, or even exterminated their houses, and thus were responsible for the public disasters of their cities and, in private life, for the most infamous crimes. There were some who went so far as to envy mere physical advantages, such as health or good looks, or good condition. And as for a virtuous character among their subjects, they could not bear even to hear of it, but counted it a crime like murder or theft or treason to appear to lay claim to virtue. But perhaps someone will say, and with truth, that these were the actions and practices not of genuine kings but of base and contemptible tyrants. Nay, but that other malady which has been known to attack not only those who were irrational, but some even who were just and mild, I mean the tendency to quarrel with friends who were too prosperous and to wish to humble them and deprive them of their rightful possessions, who I ask has ever dared so much as to mention such conduct in your case? Yet such, they say, was the treatment that Cyrus the Persian, the king's son-in-law, received from his kinsman,77 who could not brook the honour in which Cyrus was held by the common people, and Agesilaus also is well known to have resented the honours paid to Lysander by the Ionians.
All these, then, you have surpassed in merit, for you have made their wealth more secure for the rich than a father would for his own children, |115 and you take thought that your subjects shall be well-born, as though you were the founder and lawgiver of every single city. Those to whom fortune has been generous you still further enrich, and in many cases men owe all their wealth to your generosity, so that in amount your gifts clearly surpass those of other princes, while, in security of ownership of what has once been given, you cast into the shade any favours bestowed by democracies.78 And this is, I think, very natural. For when men are conscious that they lack certain advantages, they envy those who do possess them, but when a man is more brilliantly endowed by fortune than any of his fellows, and by his own initiative has won even higher dignities than fate had assigned him, he lacks nothing, and there is none whom he need envy. And since you realise that in your case this is especially true, you rejoice at the good fortune of others and take pleasure in the successes of your subjects. You have already bestowed on them certain honours, and other honours you are on the point of bestowing, and you are making plans for the benefit of yet other persons. Nor are you content to award to your friends the government of a single city or nation, or even of many such, with the honours attaching thereto. But unless you chose a colleague 79 to share that empire on whose behalf you had spared no pains to exterminate the brood of usurpers, you thought that no act of yours could be worthy of your former achievements. That you reached this decision not so much because it was necessary as because you |117 take pleasure in giving all that you have to give, is, I suppose, well known to all. For you chose no colleague to aid you in your contests with the usurpers, but you thought it right that one who had not shared in the toil should share in the honour and glory, and that only when all danger seemed to be over. And it is well known that from that honour you subtract not even a trifling part, though you do not demand that he should share the danger even in some small degree, except indeed when it was necessary for a short time that he should accompany you on your campaign. Does my account of this call for any further witnesses or proofs? Surely it is obvious that he who tells the tale would not be the one to introduce a fictitious account. But on this part of my subject I must not spend any more time.
A few words about your temperance, your wisdom, and the affection that you inspired in your subjects, will not, I think, be out of place. For who is there among them all who does not know that from boyhood you cultivated the virtue of temperance as no one had ever done before you? That in your youth you possessed that virtue your father is a trustworthy witness, for he entrusted to you alone the management of affairs of state and all that related to your brothers, although you were not even the eldest of his sons. And that you still display it, now that you are a man, Ave are all well aware, since you ever behave towards the people and the magistrates like a citizen who obeys the laws, not like a king who is above the laws. For who ever saw you made arrogant by prosperity? Who ever saw you |119 uplifted by those successes, so numerous and so splendid, and so quickly achieved? They say that Alexander, Philip's son, when he had broken the power of Persia, not only adopted a more ostentatious mode of life and an insolence of manner obnoxious to all, but went so far as to despise the father that begat him, and indeed the whole human race. For he claimed to be regarded as the son of Ammon instead of the son of Philip, and when some of those who had taken part in his campaigns could not learn to flatter him or to be servile, he punished them more harshly than the prisoners of war. But the honour that you paid to your father need 1 speak of in this place? Not only did you revere him in private life, but constantly, where men were gathered together in public, you sang his praises as though he were a beneficent hero-god. And as for your friends, you grant them that honour not merely in name, but by your actions you make their title sure. Can any one of them, I ask, lay to your charge the loss of any right, or any penalty or injury suffered, or any overbearing act either serious or trifling? Nay there is not one who could bring any such accusation. For your friends who were far advanced in years remained in office till the appointed end of their lives, and only laid down with life itself their control of public business, and then they handed on their possessions to their children or friends or some member of their family. Others again, when their strength failed for work or military service, received an honourable discharge, and are now spending their last days in prosperity; yet others have departed this life, and the people call them blessed. |121
In short there is no man who having once been, held worthy of the honour of your friendship, ever suffered any punishment great or small, even though later he proved to be vicious. For them all that he had to do was to depart and give no further trouble.
While this has been your character from first to last in all these relations, you always kept your soul pure of every indulgence to which the least reproach is attached. In fact I should say that you alone, of all the emperors that ever were, nay of all mankind almost, with very few exceptions, are the fairest example of modesty, not to men only but to women also in their association with men. For all that is forbidden to women by the laws that safeguard the legitimacy of offspring, your reason ever denies to your passions. But though I could say still more on this subject, I refrain.
Your wisdom it is by no means easy to praise as it deserves, but I must say a few words about it. Your actions, however, are more convincing, I think, than my words. For it is not likely that this great and mighty empire would have attained such dimensions or achieved such splendid results, had it not been directed and governed by an intelligence to match. Indeed, when it is entrusted to luck alone, unaided by wisdom, we may be thankful if it last for any length of time. It is easy by depending on luck to flourish for a brief space, but without the aid of wisdom it is very hard, or rather I might say impossible, to preserve the blessings that have been |123 bestowed. And, in short, if we need cite a convincing proof of this, we do not lack many notable instances. For by wise counsel we mean the ability to discover most successfully the measures that will be good and expedient when put into practice. It is therefore proper to consider in every case whether this wise counsel may not be counted as one of the things you have achieved. Certainly when there was need of harmony you gladly gave way, and when it was your duty to aid the community as a whole you declared for war with the utmost readiness. And when you had defeated the forces of Persia without losing a single hoplite, you made two separate campaigns against the usurpers, and after overcoming one of them 80 by your public harangue, you added to your army his forces, which were fresh and had suffered no losses, and finally, by intelligence rather than by brute force, you completely subdued the other usurper who had inflicted so many sufferings on the community. I now desire to speak more clearly on this subject and to demonstrate to all what it was that you chiefly relied on and that secured you from failure in every one of those great enterprises to which you devoted yourself. It is your conviction that the affection of his subjects is the surest defence of an emperor. Now it is the height of absurdity to try to win that affection by giving orders, and levying it as though it were a tax or tribute. The only alternative is the policy that you have yourself pursued, I mean of doing good to all men and imitating the divine nature on earth. To show mercy even in anger, to take away their |125 harshness from acts of vengeance, to display kindness and toleration to your fallen enemies, this was your practice, this you always commended and enjoined on others to imitate, and thus, even while the usurper still controlled Italy, you transferred Rome to Paeonia by means of the Senate and inspired the cities with zeal for undertaking public services.
As for the affection of your armies, what description could do it justice? Even before the battle at Myrsa, a division of cavalry came over to your side,81 and when you had conquered Italy bodies of infantry and distinguished legions did the same. But what happened in Galatia82 shortly after the usurper's miserable end demonstrated the universal loyalty of the garrisons to you; for when, emboldened by his isolated position, another83 dared to assume the effeminate purple, they suddenly set on him as though he were a wolf and tore him limb from limb.84 Your behaviour after that deed, your merciful and humane treatment of all those of his friends who were not convicted of having shared his crimes, and that in spite of all the sycophants who came forward with accusations and warned you to show only suspicion against friends of his, this I count as the culmination of all virtue. What is more, I maintain that your conduct was not only humane and just, but prudent in a still higher degree. He who thinks otherwise falls short of a true understanding of both the circumstances and your policy. For that those who had not been proved guilty should be protected was |127 of course just, and you thought you ought by no means to make friendship a reason for suspicion and so cause it to be shunned, seeing that it was due to the loyal affection of your own subjects that you had attained to such power and accomplished so much. But the son of that rash usurper, who was a mere child, you did not allow to share his father's punishment. To such a degree does every act of yours incline towards clemency and is stamped with the mint-mark of perfect virtue * * * * *.85
3. Isocrates, Panegyricus, 42 0.
4. Simonides fr. 66. Horace, Odes 3. 2. 25.
7. Constantius Chlorus and Maximianus.
9. Constantine and Fausta.
12. Pindar fr. 46
13. Herodotus 3. 89.
14. Constantine II. and Constans.
17. Isocrates, Evagoras 21.
19. Republic 467 e.
20. Herodotus 1. 114.
21. Cf. Aeschines Against Ctesiphon 78. Horace Epistles 1. 11. 27.
22. cf. Xenophon Rep. Lac. 15. 7.
24. At Nicomedia 337 A.D.
25. Isocrates, Evagoras 1.
26. Constans and Constantine.
27. Defeated at Carrhae b. c. 53: the Roman standards were recovered by Augustus B.C. 20.
28. Emperor 282-283 A.D.
29. Galerius Maximianus, son-in-law of Diocletian, was defeated in Mesopotamia, 296 a. d. , by Narses.
31. The provinces of the East.
32. Regularly in Greek for Pannonia.
33. Tiranus, King of Armenia, was now, 337 A. d., deposed and imprisoned by Sapor. His son, Arsaces, succeeded him in 341. Julian is describing the interregnum. Gibbon, chap. 18, wrongly ascribes these events to the reign of Tiridates, who died 314 A.D.
34. In Mesopotamia, 348 A.D. (Bury argues for 344 A.D.)
36. Sapor's son.
37. cf. Demosthenes, De Corona 169.
40. Demosthenes, De Corona 61.
42. cf. Iliad, 4. 451.
44. Odyssey 8. 49.
46. Marcellus 212 B.C.
47. The Galatians, i.e. the Gauls, and Celts are often thus incorrectly distinguished, cf. 34 c. 36 b. 124 a.
48. 390 B.C. under Brennus.
49. The Capitoline.
55. Demosthenes, De Chersoneso 42.
56. Euripides, Andromache 1146.
57. A proverb for necessity disguised as a choice, cf. 274 c
58. Aeschines, Ctesiphon 74. 18.
59. From the description of the oratory of Pericles, Eupolis fr. 94. Cf. 426 Β.
60. Demosthenes, De Corona 230, a favourite common-place.
63. Demosthenes, De Corona. 153.
65. 351 A.D.
66. Demosthenes, Olynthiac 1. 23.
67. In Pannonia 353 A.D.
70. cf. Oration 2. 57 0.
73. In wrestling, the third fall secured the victory. Cf. Or. 2. 74 c.
74. 355 A.D.
75. Seleucus son of Antiochus.
78. An echo of Demosthenes, Against Leptines 15.
79. Gallus 351 A.D.: then Julian 355 Α.D.
81. Under Silvanus.
84. 355 A.D.
85. The peroration is lost.
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2010. This file and all material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
|Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts|