Page:The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus.djvu/149

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the whole surroundings, entered proudly during either June or July in the year of grace 219.

The date of the imperial family's departure from Nicomedia is uncertain, on the information at present available ; and we can only approximate to the date of their arrival in the city by means of a comparison between the statement of Eutropius that he reigned two years and eight months there, and the statement of Dion that he reigned in all three years nine months and four days, neither of which is definitely certain, as they do not agree with other authorities. If the date, if even the month, of Antonine's death were capable of definite interpretation, the date of his arrival would be clear. As it is, most authorities have placed his entry into the city within the first fortnight of July; Wirth suggests, on the foregoing data, 11th July, to be precise. There are, however, various circumstances which incline us to an earlier period, most probably during the month of June.

It seems incredible that, unless the illness already alluded to was of a most serious nature, the Emperor, with Macrinus' failure before his eyes, should have stayed away from Rome for more than a year. It will be remembered that the Emperor Caracalla had been absent for some years before his death, warring against the Parthians ; that Macrinus had spent the whole of his fourteen months' precarious tenure ot the imperial power in or about Antioch the voluptuous ; and that the restored house of Antonine had ruled with undisputed sway from 8th June 218.