Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/187
found in one of their scabbards a scrap of parchment written in cipher, which they had been ordered to convey to us by Procopius, whom I have already spoken of as ambassador to the Persians with the Count Lucillianus; its terms were purposely obscure, lest if the bearers should be taken prisoners, and the sense of the writing understood, materials should be found for fatal mischief.
17. The purport was, "The ambassadors of the Greeks, having been rejected, and being perhaps to be put to death, the aged king, not contented with the Hellespont, will throw bridges over the Granicus and the Rhyndacus, and invade Asia Minor with a numerous host, being by his own natural disposition irritable and fierce; and being now prompted and inflamed by him who was formerly the successor of the Roman emperor Hadrian, it is all over with the Greeks if they do not take care."
18. The meaning of this was that the Persian king, having crossed the rivers Anzaba and Tigris, at the prompting of Antoninus was aiming at the sovereignty of the entire East. When it had been interpreted with difficulty, from its great obscurity, a wise plan was decided on.
19. The satrap of Corduena, a province under the authority of the Persians, was a man named Jovinianus, who had grown up to manhood in the Roman territories, and was secretly friendly to us, because he had been detained as a hostage in Syria, and being now allured by the love of liberal studies, he was exceedingly desirous to return among us.
20. To this man I, being sent with a faithful centurion, for the purpose of learning with greater certainty what was being done, reached him by travelling over pathless mountains, and dangerous defiles. And when he saw and recognized me, he received me courteously, and I avowed to him alone the reason of my coming; and having received from him a silent guide, well acquainted with the country, I was sent to some lofty rocks at a distance, from which, if one's eyes did not fail, one could see even the most minute object fifty miles off.
21. There we remained two whole days; and on the morning of the third day we saw all the circuit of the earth,