Page:The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus.djvu/122

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The Emperor was alone ; henceforward his will was unopposed. His grandmother tried to make herself felt; on each occasion she had to give way, to retire beaten, till one can well imagine that lady's despair at the unforeseen development,--almost anticipate the final resolve of that crafty old sinner, to rid herself of the grandson whom she had set up, fondly imagining him her mere puppet. Still, advisers were necessary. From what we can see of the available men (and a man would certainly be Antonine's choice) there is but one for whom consistently through his life the Emperor had respect, namely, Eutychianus. He had, so Dion states, conceived the plot of the proclamation, and carried it out by himself, while the women were still unconscious of what was going forward. He was immediately made Praetorian Praefect, later he was Consul, and twice City Praefect, which frequent recurrence of office, being unusual in one person, is put down by Dion as a gross breach of the constitution-—where no constitution existed except the imperial will. The sneer of Xiphilinus at his buffooneries is obviously an untruth, considering the fact that we know of him as a soldier as far back as Commodus' reign. If he had been a mere nonentity or a worthless person, it is incredible that, in the proscriptions and murders that followed that of Antonine, Eutychianus should have been reappointed to the office of Praefect of Rome for at least the ensuing year. Taking all the evidence into consideration, it is probable that from the outset the soldier Eutychianus was chief minister and director of the government, and as such sup-