Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/493
A.D. 369.] 481
PROGRESS OF THE ROMANS.
and collected a strong military force, he began that arduous labour.
3. Day after day large masses of oaken beams were fastened together, and thrown into the channel, and by them huge piles were continually fixed and unfixed, being all thrown into disorder by the rising of the stream, and afterwards they were broken and carried away by the current.
4. However, the resolute diligence of the emperor and the labour of the obedient soldiery prevailed; though the troops were often up to their chins in the water while at work; and at last, though not without considerable risk, the fixed camp was protected against all danger from the violence of the current, and is still safe and strong.
5. Joyful and exulting in this success, the emperor, perceiving that the weather and the season of the year did not allow him any other occupation, like a good and active prince began to apply his attention to the general affairs of the republic. And thinking the time very proper for completing one work which he had been meditating, he began with all speed to raise a fortification on the other side of the Rhine, on Mount Piri, a spot which belongs to the barbarians. And as rapidity of action was one great means of executing this design with safety, he sent orders to the Duke Arator, through Syagrius, who was then a secretary, but who afterwards became prefect and consul, to attempt to make himself master of this height in the dead of the night.
6. The duke at once crossed over with the secretary, as he was commanded; and was beginning to employ the soldiers whom he had brought with him to dig out the foundations, when he received a successor, Hermogenes. At the very same moment there arrived some nobles of the Allemanni, fathers of the hostages, whom, in accordance with our treaty, we were detaining as important pledges for the long continuance of the peace.
7. And they, with bended knees entreated him not to let the Romans, with an improvident disregard of all safety (they whose fortune their everlasting good faith had raised to the skies), now be misled by a base error to trample all former agreements under foot, and attempt an act unworthy of them.8. But since it was to no purpose that they used these