Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/67

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A.D. 355.]
55
THE STORY OF SILVANUS.

V

A.D. 355.

§1. After these unhappy circumstances, accompanied as they were with equal calamities in the provinces, a whirlwind of new misfortunes arose which seemed likely to destroy the whole state at once, if Fortune, which regulates the events of human life, had not terminated a state of affairs which all regarded with great apprehension, by bringing the dangers to a speedy issue.

2. From the long neglect with which these provinces had been treated, the Gauls, having no assistance on which to rely, had borne cruel massacres, with plunder and conflagration, from barbarians who raged throughout their land with impunity. Silvanus, the commander of the infantry, being a man well suited to correct these evils, went thither at the command of the emperor, Arbetio at the same time urging with all his power that this task should be undertaken without delay, with the object of imposing the dangerous burden of this duty on his absent rival, whom he was vexed to see still in prosperity. . . .

3. There was a certain man named Dynamius, the superintendent of the emperor's beasts of burden, who had begged of Silvanus recommendatory letters to his friends as of one who was admitted to his most intimate friendship. Having obtained this favour, as Silvanus, having no suspicion of any evil intention, had with great simplicity granted what he was asked, Dynamius kept the letters, in order at a future time to plan something to his injury.

4. Therefore, when the aforesaid commander had gone to the Gauls in the service of the republic, and while he was engaged in repelling the barbarians, who already began to distrust their own power, and to be filled with alarm, Dynamius, being restless, like a man of cunning and practised deceitfulness, devised a wicked plot; and in this it is said he had for his accomplices Lampadius, the prefect of the prætorian guard, Eusebius, who had been the superintendent of the emperor's privy purse, and was known by the nickname of Mattyocopa,[1] and

  1. From κόπτω to cut, and ματτύα any delicate food; meant as equivalent to our cheeseparer, or skinflint.