Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/183

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A.D. 359.]
171
URSICINUS IS SENT FOR.

and splendid success, they might have pushed their advantages, especially at that moment, when in consequence of the protracted troubles of their civil wars the blood of the Romans was being poured out on all sides.

8. By these and similar speeches the deserter, preserving his sobriety at the banquets, where, after the fashion of the ancient Greeks, the Persians deliberate on war and other important affairs, stimulated the fiery monarch, and persuaded him to rely upon the greatness of his fortune, and to take up arms the moment that the winter was over, and he himself boldly promised his assistance in many important matters.

VI

1. About this time Sabinianus, being elated at the power which he had suddenly acquired, and having arrived in Cilicia, gave his predecessor letters from the emperor, desiring him to hasten to court to be invested with higher dignities. In fact the affairs of Asia were in such a state that, even if Ursicinus had been at Ultima Thule their urgency would have required him to be summoned thence to set them right, since he was a man of the ancient discipline, and from long experience especially skilful in the Persian manner of conducting war.

2. But when the report of this reached the provinces, all ranks of the citizens and agricultural population, by formal edicts and by unanimous outcries, endeavoured to detain him, almost forcibly, as the public defender of their country, remembering that though for ten years he had been left to his own resources with a scanty and unwarlike force, he had yet incurred no loss; and fearing for their safety if at so critical a time he should be removed and a man of utter inactivity assume the rule in his stead.

3. We believe, and indeed there is no doubt of it, that fame flies on wings through the paths of the air; and she it was who now gave information of these events to the Persians while deliberating on the entire aspect of affairs. At last, after marry arguments pro and con, they determined, on the advice of Antoninus, that as Ursicinus was removed, and as the new governor was contemptible, they might