Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/24

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[BK. XIV. CH. V.
AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS.

5. But as long as they live they wander about with such extensive and perpetual migrations, that the woman is married in one place, brings forth her children in another, and rears them at a distance from either place, no opportunity of remaining quiet being ever granted to her.

6. They all live on venison, and are further supported on a great abundance of milk, and on many kinds of herbs, and on whatever birds they can catch by fowling. And we have seen a great many of them wholly ignorant of the use of either corn or wine.

7. So much for this most mischievous nation. Now let us return to the subject we originally proposed to our selves.

V.

§1. While these events were taking place in the East, Constantius was passing the winter at Arles; and after an exhibition of games in the theatre and in the circus, which were displayed with most sumptuous magnificence, on the tenth of October, the day which completed the thirtieth year of his reign, he began to give the reins more freely to his insolence, believing every information which was laid before him as proved, however doubtful or false it might be; and among other acts of cruelty, he put Gerontius, a count of the party of Magnentius, to the torture, and then condemned him to banishment.

2. And as the body of a sick man is apt to be agitated by even trifling grievances, so his narrow and sensitive mind, thinking every sound that stirred something either done or planned to the injury of his safety, made his victory[1] mournful by the slaughter of innocent men.

3. For if any one of his military officers, or of those who had ever received marks of honour, or if any one of high rank was accused, on the barest rumour, of having favoured the faction of his enemy, he was loaded with chains and dragged about like a beast. And whether any enemy of the accused man pressed him or not, as if the

  1. His victory over Magnentius, whom he defeated at Mursa, on the Doave, in the year 351. Magnentius fled to Aquileia, but was pursued and again defeated the next year, at a place called Mons Seleuci, in the neighborhood of Gap, and threw himself on his own sword to avoid falling into the hands of Constantius.