Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/549

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


and in the first conflict, after the barbarians had been routed with heavy loss, their king Igmazen, who had hitherto been accustomed to be victorious, agitated by fears of the present calamity, and thinking that all his alliances would be destroyed, and that he should have no hope left in life if he continued to resist, with all the cunning and secrecy that he could, fled by himself from the battle; and reaching Theodosius, besought him in a suppliant manner to desire Masilla, the chief magistrate of the Mazices, to come to him.

52. When that noble had been sent to him as he requested, he employed him as his agent to advise the general, as a man by nature constant and resolute in his plans, that the way to accomplish his purpose would be to press his countrymen with great vigour, and, by incessant fighting, strike terror into them; as, though they were keen partisans of Firmus, they were nevertheless wearied out by repeated disasters.

53. Theodosius adopted this advice, and, by battle after battle, so completely broke the spirits of the Isaflenses, that they fell away like sheep, and Firmus again secretly escaped, and hiding himself for a long time in out-of-the-way places and retreats, till at last, while deliberating on a further flight, he was seized by Igmazen, and put in confinement.

54. And since he had learnt from Masilla the plans which had been agitated in secret, he at last came to reflect that in so extreme a necessity there was but one remedy remaining, and he determined to trample under foot the love of life by a voluntary death; and having designedly filled himself with wine till he became stupefied, when, in the silence of the night, his keepers were sunk in profound slumber, he, fully awake from dread of the misfortune impending over him, left his bed with noiseless steps, and crawling on his hands and feet, conveyed himself to a distance, and then, having found a rope which chance provided for the end of his life, he fastened it to a nail which was fixed in the wall, and hanging himself, escaped the protracted sufferings of torture.

55. Igmazen was vexed at this, lamenting that he was thus robbed of his glory, because it had not been granted