Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/235

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proclaimed emperor, Julian had mentioned to his most intimate friends that during his slumbers some one had appeared to him in a dream, in the form and habit of the genius of the empire, who uttered these words in a tone of reproach: "For some time, Julian, have I been secretly watching the door of thy palace, wishing to increase thy dignity, and I have often retired as one rejected; but if I am not now admitted, when the opinion of the many is unanimous, I shall retire discouraged and sorrowful. But lay this up in the depth of thy heart, that I will dwell with thee no longer."

VI

1. While these transactions were proceeding in Gaul, to the great anxiety of many, the fierce king of Persia (the advice of Antoninus being now seconded by the arrival of Craugasius), burning with eagerness to obtain Mesopotamia, while Constantius with his army was at a distance, crossed the Tigris in due form with a vast army, and laid siege to Singara with a thoroughly equipped force, sufficient for the siege of a town which, in the opinion of the chief commanders of those regions, was abundantly fortified and supplied.

2. The garrison, as soon as they saw the enemy, while still at a distance, at once closed their gates, and with great spirit thronged to the towers and battlements, collecting on them stones and warlike engines. And then, having made all their preparations, they stood prepared to repel the advancing host if they should venture to approach the walls.

3. Therefore the king, when he arrived and found that, though they would admit some of his nobles near enough to confer with them, he could not, by any conciliatory language, bend the garrison to his wishes, he gave one entire day to rest, and then, at daybreak, on a signal made by the raising of a scarlet flag, the whole city was surrounded by men carrying ladders, while others began to raise engines; all being protected by fences and penthouses while seeking a way to assail the foundation of the walls.

4. Against these attempts the citizens, standing on the lofty battlements, drove back with stones and every kind of