Page:The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus.djvu/115

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all men were merely waiting for his fall, which was anticipated everywhere as a foregone conclusion, the inevitable result of a weak usurper's unsuccessful attempt.

It is incredible that all the government servants and other accredited agents of Macrinus would have dared to give credit immediately to the ambassadors of an unknown pretender, and only in Alexandria (where the name of Antonine had acquired an unenviable notoriety and there was a personal friend of Macrinus as governor) were Antonine's ambassadors put to death as upstart traitors. True, there have been fugitive kings before and since, but never after one battle and to make way for an utterly unknown child, who by some miracle has got the whole functionaries of imperial government, both civil and military, into his own hands in less than a couple of hours, without even the use of the field telegraph.

From Antioch, Macrinus went on horseback to Aegae in Cilicia, and thence by the public post through Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia, with great expedition, giving out that he was a messenger from the Emperor Macrinus. He intended to cross into Europe by way of Eribolus, and thus to avoid Nicomedia, where the Governor Caecilius Aristo was seeking his life to take it from him, in favour of the new Emperor. The distance that Macrinus travelled was, so we learn from the Itinera Hicrosolymitana, 750 Roman miles, covering in his haste, so Friedlander thinks, about 130 Roman miles per diem, which would bring him to Eribolus