Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/601

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that could happen, and marching on slowly as well in obedience to the commands he had received as to allow time for other powerful kings to join him, came by slow marches to Marcianopolis, arriving later than he was expected. And here another atrocious occurrence took place, which kindled the torches of the Furies for general calamity.

5. Alavivus and Fritigern were invited to a banquet; while Lupicinus drew up his soldiers against the chief host of the barbarians, and so kept them at a distance from the walls of the town; though they with humble perseverance implored admission in order so to procure necessary provisions, professing themselves loyal and obedient subjects. At last a serious strife arose between the citizens and the strangers who were thus refused admittance, which gradually led to a regular battle. And the barbarians, being excited to an unusual pitch of ferocity when they saw their relations treated as enemies, began to plunder the soldiers whom they had slain.

6. But when Lupicinus, of whom we have already spoken, learnt by secret intelligence that this was taking place, while he was engaged in an extravagant entertainment, surrounded by buffoons, and almost overcome by wine and sleep, he, fearing the issue, put to death all the guards who, partly as a compliment and partly as a guard to the chiefs, were on duty before the general's tent.

7. The people who were still around the walls heard of this with great indignation, and rising up by degrees into a resolution to avenge their kings, who, as they fancied, were being detained as prisoners, broke out with furious threats. And Fritigern, being a man of great readiness of resource, and fearing that perhaps he might be detained with the rest as a hostage, exclaimed that there would be a terrible and destructive conflict if he were not allowed to go forth with his companions in order to pacify the multitude, who he said had broken out in this tumult from believing that their leaders had been trepanned and murdered under show of courtesy. Having obtained permission, they all went forth, and were received with cheers and great delight; they then mounted their horses and fled, in order to kindle wars in many quarters.

8. When Fame, ever the malignant nurse of bad news, bruited