Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/369

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1. In this district a city, which on account of the lowness of its walls, had been deserted by its Jewish inhabitants, was burnt by our angry soldiers. And afterwards the emperor proceeded further on, being elated at the manifest protection, as he deemed it, of the Deity.

2. And when he had reached Maogamalcha, a city of great size and surrounded with strong walls, he pitched his tent, and took anxious care that his camp should not be surprised by any sudden attack of the Persian cavalry; whose courage in the open plains is marvellously dreaded by the surrounding nations.

3. And when he had made his arrangements, he himself, with an escort of a few light troops, went forth on foot to reconnoitre the position of a city by a close personal examination; but he fell into a dangerous snare from which he with difficulty escaped with his life.

4. For ten armed Persians stole out by a gate of the town of which he was not aware, and crawled on their hands and knees along the bottom of the hill, till they got within reach so as to fall silently upon our men, and two of them distinguishing the emperor by his superior appearance, made at him with drawn swords; but he encountered them with his shield raised, and protecting himself with that, and fighting with great and noble courage, he ran one of them through the body, while his guards killed the other with repeated blows. The rest, of whom some were wounded, were put to flight, and the two who were slain were stripped of their arms, and the emperor led back his comrades in safety, laden with their spoils, into the camp, where he was received with universal joy.

5. Torquatus took a golden necklace from one of the enemy whom he had slain. Valerius by the aid of a crow defeated a haughty Gaul and earned the surname of Corvinus, and by this glory these heroes were recommended to posterity. We do not envy them, but let this gallant exploit be added to those ancient memorials.

6. The next day a bridge was laid across the river, and the army passed over it, and pitched their camp in a fresh and more healthy place, fortifying it with a double rampart,