Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/487
all his engines at work to destroy Aginatius, like a serpent that had been bruised by some one whom it knew.
34. There was another still more powerful cause for intriguing against him, which ultimately became his destruction. For he charged Victorinus, who was dead, and from whom he had received a very considerable legacy, with having while alive made money of the decrees of Maximin; and with similar maliciousness he had also threatened his wife Anepsia with a lawsuit.
35. Anepsia, alarmed at this, and to support herself by the aid of Maximin, pretended that her husband in a will which he had recently made, had left him three thousand pounds weight of silver. He, full of covetousness, for this too was one of his vices, demanded half the inheritance, and afterwards, not being contented with that, as if it were hardly sufficient, he contrived another device which he looked upon as both honourable and safe; and not to lose his hold of the handle thus put in his way for obtaining a large estate, he demanded the daughter of Anepsia, who was the stepdaughter of Victorinus, as a wife for his son; and this marriage was quickly arranged with the consent of the woman.
30. Through these and other atrocities equally lamentable, which threw a gloom over the whole of the eternal city, this man, never to be named without a groan, grew by the ruin of numerous other persons, and began to stretch out his hands beyond the limits of lawsuits and trials: for it is said that he had a small cord always suspended from a remote window of the praetorium, the end of which had a loop which was easily drawn tight, by means of which he received secret informations supported by no evidence or testimony, but capable of being used to the ruin of many innocent persons. And he used often to send his officers, Mucianus and Barbarus, men fit for any deceit or treachery, secretly out of his house.
37. Who then, as if bewailing some hardship which as they pretended had fallen upon them, and exaggerating the cruelty of the judge, with constant repetition assured those who really lay under execution that there was no remedy by which they could save themselves except that of advancing heavy accusation against men of high rank; because