Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/36

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[BK XIV. CH. VII
AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS.

10. And when, with this object, Domitianus had reached Antioch, having travelled express, he passed by the gates of the palace, in contempt of the Cæsar, whom, however, he ought to have visited, and proceeded to the general's camp with ostentatious pomp, and there pretended to be sick; he neither visited the palace, nor ever appeared in public, but keeping himself private, he devised many things to bring about the destruction of the Cæsar, adding many superfluous circumstances to the relations which he was continually sending to the emperor.

11. At last, being expressly invited by the Caesar, and being admitted into the prince's council-chamber, without making the slightest preface he began in this inconsiderate and light-minded manner: "Depart," said he, "as you have been commanded, O Cæsar, and know this, that if you make any delay I shall at once order all the provisions allotted for the support of yourself and your court to be carried away." And then, having said nothing more than these insolent words, he departed with every appearance of rage; and would never afterwards come into his sight though frequently sent for.

12. The Cæsar being indignant at this, as thinking he had been unworthily and unjustly treated, ordered his faithful protectors to take the prefect into custody; and when this became known, Montius, who at that time was quæstor, a man of deep craft indeed, but still inclined to moderate measures,[1] taking counsel for the common good, sent for the principal members of the Palatine schools and addressed them in pacific words, pointing out that it was neither proper nor expedient that such things should be done; and adding also in a reproving tone of voice, that if such conduct as this were approved of, then, after throwing down the statues of Constantius the prefect would begin to think how he might also with the greater security take his life also.

13. When this was known Gallus, like a serpent attacked with stones or darts, being now reduced to the extremity of despair, and eager to insure his safety by any possible means,

  1. Gibbon here proposes for lenitatem to read levitate, fickleness; himself describing Montius as "a statesman whose art and experience were frequently betrayed by the levity of his disposition." — Cap. xix., p. 298, vol. iii., Bohn's edition.