The Ancient Library

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and part of lllyricum, and Hannibalianus over Pontus, Cappadocia, and Armenia Minor, with Caesareia as the capital. The declaration of the army, whether preconcerted between them and the sons of Constantine or not, was agreeable to Constantius, who was apparently resolved to act in accordance with the same views. In a whole­sale murder, where the troops were the execu­tioners, the male descendants of Constantius Ch'lo-rus by his second wife perished through the cruel perfidy of Constantius, who spared the lives of only two princes, Flavins Julius Gallus and Fla­vins Claudius Julianus, the sons of Flavins Julianas Constantius, youngest son of Constantius Chlorus, who himself became a victim of his nephew's am­bition. Besides those princes, the patrician Opta-tus and the praefectus praetorio Ablavius were likewise massacred. Jt would be difficult to ex­culpate Constantius from the part which he took in this bloody affair, even if it were true that his crime was not so much that of a murderer as that of a cool spectator of a massacre which he could have prevented.

After this the three sons of Constantine the Great had an interview at Sirmium in Pannonia, and made a new division of the empire (Septem­ber, 337), in which Constantine, the eldest, re­ceived Gaul, Spain, Britain, and part of Africa ; Constantius, the second and the subject of this article, Thrace, Macedonia, Greece, the Asiatic provinces, and Egypt; and Constans, the youngest, Italy, lllyricum, and the rest of Africa. The an­cient world was thus governed by three youths of twenty-one, twenty, and seventeen years of age. Immediately after the death of Constantine the Great a war broke out with the Persian king, Sapor II., which was chiefly carried on in Mesopotamia and on the frontiers of Syria, and, with short interrup­tions, lasted during the whole reign of Constantius. This war was to the disadvantage of the Romans (Greeks), who were vanquished in many battles, especially at Singara, in 343, where Constan­tius commanded in person, and after having car­ried the day, was routed with great slaughter of his troops in the succeeding night. On the other hand, the Persians sustained great losses in their fruitless attempts to take the strong fortress of Nisibis, the key of Mesopotamia; and as other fortified places in that country as well as in the mountains of Armenia were equally well defended, Sapor gained victories without making any acqui­sitions.

Being thus engaged in the east, Constantius was prevented from paying due intention to the west, and he was obliged to be a quiet spectator of the civil war between his brothers, in which Constan­tine was slain at Aquileia,' and Constans got pos­session of the whole share of Constantine in the division of the empire (a. d. 340). In 350, Constans was murdered by the troops of Magnen-tius, who assumed the purple and was obeyed as emperor in Britain, Gaul, and Spain; at the same time Vetranio, commander of the legions in the extensive province of lllyricum, was forced by his troops to imitate the example of Magnentius, and he likewise assumed the purple. It was now time for Constantius to prove with his sword that none but a son of the great Constantine should rule over Rome. At the head of his army he marched from the Persian frontier to the West. At Heracleia in Thrace ambassadors of Magnentius waited upon



him, proposing that he should acknowledge their master as emperor, and cement their alliance by a marriage of Constantius with the daughter of Magnentius, and of Magnentius with Constantina, eldest sister of Constantius ; they threatened him with the consequences of a war should he decline those propositions. Constantius dismissed the ambassadors with a haughty refusal, and, sending one of them back to Magnentius, ordered the others to be put in prison as the agents of a rebel. His conduct towards Vetranio tended to a reconci­liation ; but while he promised to acknowledge him as co-emperor if he would join him against Mag­nentius, he secretly planned treachery. Having bribed or persuaded the principal officers of Vetranio to forsake their master if it should suit his plans, he advanced towards Sardica, now Sophia, where he met with Vetranio, both of them being at the head of an army, that of Vetranio, however, being by far the stronger. Had Vetranio, a straight­forward veteran, \vho could disobey but was not made for more refined perfidy, now acted in the spirit of Constantius, he could have seized his rival in the midst of his camp ; but the result was very different. On a plain near Sardica a tribune was erected, where the two emperors showed them­selves to their troops, who filled the plain ap­parently for the purpose of being' witnesses of a ceremony by which the empire was to have two lawful heads. Constantius first addressed the armed crowd, and artfully turning upon his " legi­timate'- opinion, that a son of the great Constantine was alone worthy to reign, suddenly met with a thunder of applause from his own troops as well as those of Vetranio, who, either spontaneously or in accordance with the instructions of their officers, declared that they would obey no emperor but Constantius. Vetranio at once perceived his situ­ation : he took off his diadem, knelt down before Constantius, and acknowledged him as his master, himself as his guilty subject. Constantius evinced equal wisdom : he raised Vetranio from the ground, embraced him, and, as he despised a throne, as­signed him a pension, and allowed him to spend the rest of his days at Prusa. (a. d. 351.)

Constantius now turned his arms against Mag­nentius, after having appointed his cousin Gallus as Caesar and commander-in-chief of the army against the Persians. At Mursa, now Essek, a town on the river Drave in Hungary, Magnentius was routed (28th of September, A. d. 351) in a bloody battle, in which Constantius evinced more piety than courage, but where the flower of both armies perished. The conquest of lllyricum and Italy was the fruit of that victory, and Magnentius fled into Gaul. There he was attacked in the east by the army under Constantius, and in the west by another army, which, after having con­quered Africa and Spain, crossed the Pyrenees and penetrated into Gaul. After another complete de­feat at mount Seleucus in the Cossian Alps, and the rebellion of the principal cities in Gaul, Mag­nentius, reduced to extremity, put an end to his life, and his brother Decentius followed his exam­ple. (a. d. 353.) [magnentius.] Constantius became thus master of the whole West. He avenged the murder of his brother Constans, and established his authority by cruel measures, and neither the guilty nor the innocent were exempt from his resentment,

Once more the immense extent of the Roman

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