Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/112

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100
[BK. XVI. CH. X
AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS.

4. Accordingly, after long and sumptuous preparation, . . . in the second prefecture of Orfitus, Constantius, elated with his great honours, and escorted by a formidable array of troops, marching in order of battle, passed through Ocricoli, attracting towards himself the astonished gaze of all the citizens.

5. And when he drew near to the city, contemplating the salutations offered him by the senators, and the whole body of fathers venerable from their likeness to their ancestors, he thought, not like Cineas, the ambassador of Pyrrhus, that a multitude of kings was here assembled together, but that the city was the asylum of the whole world.

6. And when from them he had turned his eyes upon the citizens, he marvelled to think with what rapidity the whole race of mankind upon earth had come from all quarters to Rome; and, as if he would have terrified the Euphrates or the Rhine with a show of armed men, he himself came on, preceded by standards on both sides, sitting alone in a golden chariot, shining with all kinds of brilliant precious stones, which seemed to spread a flickering light all around.

7. Numbers also of the chief officers who went before him were surrounded by dragons embroidered on various kinds of tissue, fastened to the golden or jewelled points of spears, the mouths of the dragons being open so as to catch the wind, which made them hiss as though they were inflamed with anger; while the coils of their tails were also contrived to be agitated by the breeze.

8. After these marched a double row of heavy-armed soldiers, with shields and crested helmets, glittering with brilliant light, and clad in radiant breast-plates; and among these were scattered cavalry with cuirasses, whom the Persians call Clibanarii,[1] protected by coverings of iron breast-plates, and girdled with belts of iron, so that you would fancy them statues polished by the hand of Praxiteles, rather than men. And the light circular plates of iron which surrounded their bodies, and covered all their limbs, were so well fitted to all their motions, that in whatever direction they had occasion to move, the joints

  1. The word is derived from κλιβανον, an oven, and seems to mean entirely clothed in iron.