Page:The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus.djvu/126

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mirabile dictu, will forgive, on the conditions mentioned, of course ; which conditions taken as fulfilled, the Emperor continues with an explanation of the happy auguries for the commencement of his reign. He was come, he said, a second Augustus ; like Augustus he was eighteen years of age (an obvious lie, and they knew it, but an Emperor of fourteen did not sound well) ; like Augustus his reign started with a victory which revenged the murder of his father, and the success, with which both he and Augustus had met, was a good omen for the people, who might expect great things from a prince who proposed to unite the wisdom of Augustus with that of the philosopher Marcus Aurelius, and to rule after these truly admirable examples. Another letter to the soldiers was delivered at the same time, which contained extracts from Macrinus' correspondence with Marius Maximus, Praefect of the City. In this the vacillating duplicity of the late Macrinus and his opinion of the army generally was made the most of, his innate civilian distrust of the military held up to ridicule and scorn.

To crown these admirable productions of literary persuasiveness was a promise to the soldiers of their immediate return to the privileges and conditions existent under Caracalla in the case of each and several of the Emperor's beloved comrades. They were certainly admirable letters, designed to rejoice the hearts of both guards and people, and to leave the Senate in pleasurable anticipation of favours to come, if they took immediate advan-