Ammianus Marcellinus, History

LCL 300: 246-247

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Constantius Et Julianus

incedebat hinc inde ordo geminus armatorum, clipeatus atque cristatus, corusco lumine radians, nitidis loricis indutus, sparsique cataphracti equites (quos clibanarios dictitant) personati thoracum muniti tegminibus, et limbis ferreis cincti, ut Praxitelis manu polita crederes simulacra, non viros; quos laminarum circuli tenues, apti corporis flexibus ambiebant, per omnia membra diducti, ut quocumque artus necessitas commovisset, vestitus congrueret, iunctura cohaerenter aptata.

9. Augustus itaque faustis vocibus appellatus, non montium1 litorumque intonante fragore cohorruit, talem se tamque immobilem, qualis in provinciis suis visebatur, ostendens.

10. Nam et corpus perhumile curvabat portas ingrediens celsas, et velut collo munito, rectam aciem luminum tendens, nec dextra vultum nec laeva flectebat et2 (tamquam figmentum hominis) nec3 cum rota concuteret nutans, nec spuens, aut os aut nasum tergens vel fricans, manumve agitans visus est umquam.

11. Quae licet affectabat, erant tamen haec et alia quaedam in citeriore vita, patientiae non mediocris indicia, ut existimari dabatur, uni illi concessae.

12. Quod autem per omne tempus imperii, nec in consessum vehiculi quemquam suscepit, nec in trabea socium privatum asscivit, ut fecere principes consecrati, et similia multa elatus in arduum supercilium,

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twin lines of infantrymen with shields and crests gleaming with glittering rays, clad in shining mail; and scatt ered among them were the full-armoured cavalry (whom they call clibanarii),1 all masked, furnished with protecting breastplates and girt with iron belts, so that you might have supposed them statues polished by the hand of Praxiteles, not men. Thin circles of iron plates, fitted to the curves of their bodies, completely covered their limbs; so that whichever way they had to move their members, their garment fitted, so skilfully were the joinings made.

9. Accordingly, being saluted as Augustus with favouring shouts, while hills and shores thundered out the roar, he never stirred, but showed himself as calm and imperturbable as he was commonly seen in his provinces.

10. For he both stooped when passing through lofty gates (although he was very short), and as if his neck were in a vice, he kept the gaze of his eyes straight ahead, and turned his face neither to right nor to left, but (as if he were a lay figure) neither did he nod when the wheel jolted nor was he ever seen to spit, or to wipe or rub his face or nose, or move his hands about.

11. And although this was affectation on his part, yet these and various other features of his more intimate life were tokens of no slight endurance, granted to him alone, as was given to be understood.

12. Furthermore, that during the entire period of his reign he neither took up anyone to sit beside him in his car, nor admitted any private person to be his colleague in the insignia of the consulship, as other anointed princes did, and many like habits which in his pride of lofty conceit he observed as

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.amminanus_marcellinus-history.1950