Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/68

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56
[BK. XV. CH. V
AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS.

Ædesius, formerly keeper of the records, whom this prefect had contrived to have elected consul, as being his dearest friend. He then with a sponge effaced the contents of the letters, leaving nothing but the address, and inserted a text materially differing from the original writing, as if Silvanus had asked, by indirect hints, and entreated his friends who were within the palace and those who had no office (among whom was Albinus of Etruria, and many others), to aid him in projects of loftier ambition, as one who would soon attain the imperial throne. This bundle of letters he thus made up, inventing at his leisure, in order with them to endanger the life of this innocent man.

5. Dynamius was appointed to investigate these charges on behalf of the emperor; and while he was artfully weaving these and similar plans, he contrived to enter alone into the imperial chamber, choosing his opportunity, and hoping to entangle firmly in his meshes the most vigilant guardian of the emperor's safety. And being full of wicked cunning, after he had read the forged packet of letters in the council chamber, the tribunes were ordered to be committed to custody, and also several private individuals were commanded to be arrested and brought up from the provinces, whose names were mentioned in those letters.

6. But presently Malarichus, the commander of the Gentiles, being struck with the iniquity of the business, and taking his colleagues to his counsel, spoke out loudly that men devoted to the preservation of the emperor ought not to be circumvented by factions and treachery. He accordingly demanded that he himself, his nearest relations being left as hostages, and Mallobaudes, the tribune of the heavy-armed soldiers, giving bail that he would return, might be commissioned to go with speed to bring back Silvanus, who he was certain had never entertained the idea of any such attempt as these bitter plotters had imputed to him. Or, as an alternative, he entreated that he might become security for Mallobaudes, and that their officers might be permitted to go and do what he had proposed to take upon himself.

7. For he affirmed that he knew beyond all question that, if any stranger wore sent, Silvanus, who was inclined to be somewhat apprehensive of danger, even when no