Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/25

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A.D. 353.]
13
CRUELTY OF CONSTANTIUS.

mere fact that his name had heen mentioned was sufficient, every one who was informed against or in any way called in question, was condemned either to death, or to confiscation of his property, or to confinement in a desert island.

4. For his ferocity was excited to a still further degree when any mention was made of treason or sedition; and the bloodthirsty insinuations of those around him, exaggerating everything that happened, and pretending great concern at any danger which might threaten the life of the emperor, on whose safety, as on a thread, they hypocritically exclaimed the whole world depended, added daily to his suspicions and watchful anger.

5. And therefore it is reported he gave orders that no one who was at any time sentenced to punishment for these or similar offences should be readmitted to his presence for the purpose of offering the usual testimonies to his character, a thing which the most implacable princes have been wont to permit. And thus deadly cruelty, which in all other men at times grows cool, in him only became more violent as he advanced in years, because the court of flatterers which attended on him added continual fuel to his stern obstinacy.

6. Of this court a most conspicuous member was Paulus, the secretary, a native of Spain, a man keeping his objectives hidden beneath a smooth countenance, and acute beyond all men in smelling out secret ways to bring others into danger. He, having been sent into Britain to arrest some military officers who had dared to favour the conspiracy of Magnentius, as they could not resist, licentiously exceeded his commands, and like a flood poured with sudden violence upon the fortunes of a great number of people, making his path through manifold slaughter and destruction, loading the bodies of free-born men with chains, and crushing some with fetters, while patching up all kinds of accusations far removed from the truth. And to this man is owing one especial atrocity which has branded the time of Constantius with indelible infamy.

7. Martinus, who at that time governed these provinces as deputy, being greatly concerned for the sufferings inflicted on innocent men, and making frequent entreaties