Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/84

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72
[BK. XV. CH. IX.
AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS.

and having been escorted on his way by Augustus himself as far as the spot, marked by two pillars, which lies between Laumellum and Ticinum, he proceeded straight on to the country of the Taurini, where he received disastrous intelligence, which had recently reached the emperor's court, but still had been intentionally kept back, lest all the preparations made for his journey should be wasted.

19. And this intelligence was that Colonia Agrippina,[1] a city of great renown in lower Germany, had been carried by a vigorous siege of the barbarians, who appeared before it in great force, and had utterly destroyed it.

20. Julian being greatly distressed at this news, looking on it as a kind of omen of misfortunes to come, was often heard to murmur in querulous tones, "that he had gained nothing except the fate of dying amid greater trouble and employment than before."

21. But when he arrived at Vienne, people of every age and class went forth to meet him on his entrance to the city, with a view to do him honour by their reception of him as one who had been long wished for, and was now granted to their prayers. And when he was seen in the distance the whole population of the city and of the adjacent neighbourhood, going before his chariot, celebrated his praises, saluting him as Emperor, clement and prosperous, greeting with eager joy this royal procession in honour of a lawful prince. And they placed all their hopes of a remedy for the evils which affected the whole province on his arrival, thinking that now, when their affairs were in a most desperate condition, some friendly genius had come to shine upon them.

22. And a blind old woman, when in reply to her question "Who was entering the city?" she received for answer "Julian the Cæsar," cried out that "He would restore the temples of the gods."

IX

1. Now then, since, as the sublime poet of Mantua has sung, "A greater series of incident rises to my view; in a more arduous task I engage,"— I think it a proper oppor-

  1. Cologne