Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/54

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42
[BK. XIV. CH. XL
AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS.

accordingly his hands were bound like those of some convicted thief, and he was beheaded, and his carcass, which but a little while ago had been the object of dread to cities and provinces, deprived of head and defaced: it was then left on the ground.

24. In this the supervision of the supreme Deity manifested itself to be everywhere vigilant. For not only did the cruelties of Gallus bring about his own destruction, but they also who, by their pernicious flattery and instigation, and charges supported by perjury, had led him to the perpetration of many murders, not long afterwards died miserably. Scudilo, being afflicted with a liver complaint which penetrated to his lungs, died vomiting; while Barbatio, who had long busied himself in inventing false accusations against Gallus, was accused by secret information of aiming at some post higher than his command of infantry, and being condemned, though unjustly, was put to death, and so by his melancholy end made atonement to the shade of the Cæsar.

25. These, and innumerable other actions of the same kind, Adrastea, who is also called Nemesis, the avenger of wicked and the rewarder of good deeds, is continually bringing to pass: would that she could always do so! She is a kind of sublime agent of the powerful Deity, dwelling, according to common belief, above the human circle; or, as others define her, she is a substantial protection, presiding over the particular destinies of individuals, and feigned by the ancient theologians to be the daughter of Justice, looking down from a certain inscrutable eternity upon all terrestrial and mundane affairs.

26. She, as queen of all causes of events, and arbitress and umpire in all affairs of life, regulates the urn which contains the lots of men, and directs the alternations of fortune which we behold in the world, frequently bringing our undertakings to an issue different from what we intended, and involving and changing great numbers of actions. She also, binding the vainly swelling pride of mankind by the indissoluble fetters of necessity, and swaying the inclination of progress and decay according to her will, sometimes bows down and enfeebles the stiff neck of arrogance, and sometimes raises virtuous men from the lowest