Page:The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus.djvu/114

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

him, or, as Xiphilinus puts it, in order to induce them to receive him into their city at all. Had there been time, we might have had another medal, in correspondence with the Parthian fraud, announcing the victory of Macrinus at Immae ; but stragglers began to come in, and with them the news that Antonine would arrive shortly at the head of the whole army, an announcement which caused bloodshed and strife in the city, and decided Macrinus to reconstruct his plans. He would not stay, he decided, where he was not wanted ; he would make his way to Rome, in the hope that his kindness to the Senate would at least secure them as a bodyguard — though what use some 600 portly and middle-aged gentlemen were going to be to him against the legions of a military empire was a question that had not yet occurred to his distracted mind ; but at any rate Antioch was no place for him or his son. The latter he entrusted to Epagathos, one of the few men on whom he could rely, with orders to take him to the King of Parthia for safe keeping ; whilst he himself, having cut off his hair and beard, and laid aside the purple and imperial ornaments for his successor's use, set out for the capital city by the route used for the ordinary post. It is a most significant fact that this man, the acknowledged Emperor, should on the very day of the battle itself have distrusted all his own lieutenants, governors, and civil officials to such an extent that he felt the only safe mode of progress was, disguised as a countryman, to travel by the public carriage. It presupposes that by this time