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But they darkly insinuated that the virtues of the Cæsar might instantly be converted into the most dangerous crimes, if the inconstant multitude should prefer their inclinations to their duty; or if the general of a victorious army should be tempted from his allegiance by the hopes of revenge and independent greatness. The personal fears of Constantius were interpreted by his council as a laudable anxiety for the public safety; whilst in private, and perhaps in his own breast, he disguised, under the less odious appellation of fear, the sentiments of hatred and envy, which he had secretly conceived for the inimitable virtues of Julian.
While Julian used the laborious hours of his winter quarters at Paris in the administration of power, which, in his hands, was the exercise of virtue, he was surprised by the hasty arrival of a tribune and a notary, with positive orders from the emperor, which was commanded not to oppose.
Constantius signified his pleasure, that four entire legions, the Celtæ, and Petulants, the Heruli, and the Batavians,4 should be separated from the standard of Julian, under which they had acquired their fame and discipline; that in each of the remaining bands three hundred of the bravest youths should be selected;5 and that this numerous detachment, the strength of the Gallic army, should instantly begin their march, and exert their utmost diligence to arrive, before the opening of the campaign, on the frontiers of Persia.6 The Cæsar foresaw, and lamented, the consequences of this fatal mandate.
Most of the auxiliaries, who engaged their voluntary service, had stipulated that they should never be obliged to pass the Alps.
The public faith of Rome and the personal honour of Julian had been pledged for the observance of this condition. 227, 231 [22, 24]), whom we are now reduced to cherish, misplaces the sally of the Arabs before the death of Valens.
The fourth volume of a 12 volume set of Gibbon’s magesterial history of the end of the Roman Empire, one of the greatest works of history written during the Enlightenment. This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc.