Monthly Archives: April 2015

Saviour from the East: Anthemius and Ricimer


Solidus Obv: DNANTHEMIVSPFAVG – Helmeted, diademed, cuirassed bust facing, holding spear over shoulder and shield. Rev: SALVSREIPVBLICAE Exe: /CORMOB – Anthemius and Leo I standing, facing, each holding spear and together cross on globe. 468

At the close of 467, Rome shut down for a royal wedding. Not just any wedding, this ceremony united Alypia, the young daughter of the recently crowned Western emperor Anthemius (467 – 472 A.D.) and granddaughter of the former eastern Emperor Marcian (ruled 450-457), with the grizzled Gothic Western strongman  Ricimer (ca 405-472).

A former magister utriusqe militiae, consul, and patrician under Marcian, Anthemius’ pedigree and proven military record made him an acceptable choice, at least at first, to Western elites.[1] Anthemius was named Western emperor outside of Rome on April 12 467.[2]Indeed, Anthemius had probably been the expected successor to his father-in-law Marcian in 457. The emperor-maker and Alan generalissimo Aspar most likely preferred the less connected and therefore less dangerous former soldier, Leo.

Anthemius had been sent at the behest of Leo (ruled 457-474) probably in attempt for the low-born Eastern Emperor to rid himself of a formidable rival and to help with the planning and cost (Candidus frag 2.) of his upcoming  ambitious three-pronged invasion of Vandalic Africa in 478. As a naval commander and successful general in the East, Leo hoped that Anthemius would provide  expertise for such a large naval campaign.

While some modern and ancient historians make much of Anthemius’ identity as a “Greek,” it is important to remember that the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II  installed his relative Valentinian III as Western Roman Emperor in 425. Although the East and the West are perhaps best seen as “twin Roman Empires” we should not underestimate the continuing interaction and cooperation between the two realms throughout the fifth century.

At the time of Anthemius’ appointment, Leo I’s star was on the rise. He had taken steps to consolidate his own power by marinalising his own non-Roman generallisimo Aspar, and creating the execubitors in 460 or 461 an elite cadre of soldiers loyal to him alone.[3] One can plausibly posit  that Leo and Anthemius had similar plans for Ricimer who had played a key role in the downfall and (perhaps) deaths of two Roman emperors, Majorian (457-461 executed) and Severus (461-65 probably died a natural death, but we will see below some suspected he had been poisoned). Moreover, Anthemius and Leo had recruited the independant warlord Marcellinus to lead the Western forces. Marcellinus had earned several victories over the Vandals in Sicily in 462-65. Marcellinus was a former Roman general who had gone ‘rogue’ after the assassination of Aetius in 454 (though some scholars posit that this break occured in 461 after Ricimer eliminated Majorian in 7 August 461). Whenever the rift first opened, Ricimer and Marcellinus did not like like eachother, and to rub salt in the wound Anthemius named Marcellinus as patricus in 467 or 468…. an honorific Ricimer had earned in 459, but had never been recognised in the East.

With the marriage of his young daughter to the old General, Anthemius likely sought to bind the dangerous Ricimer—who as noted above had made and broken several recent Western emperors—to his new regime. Both men needed the other. It also made him a threat to the sixty-two year old Ricimer. Yet Ricimer probably also saw an opportunity. Not only could he link his family with a powerful Eastern aristocratic family, but could bind himself to the powerful armies that the Eastern and Western emperors were gathering to punish the Goth’s Vandalic rivals in North Africa.

Westerners seemed hopeful that binding of the two most powerful men in Rome would bring about the end of the factional disputes that had seen Ricimer take down several Western Roman emperors. ) The Gaul, Sidonius Apollonaris recorded both the hopes and the financial consequences of such an elaborate ceremony:

As yet, I have not presented myself at the bustling gates of Emperor or court official. For my arrival coincided with the marriage of the patrician Ricimer, to whom the hand of the emperor’s daughter was being accorded in the hope of more secure times for the state. Not individuals alone, but whole classes and parties are given up to rejoicing… While I was writing these lines, scarce a theatre, provision-market, praetorium, forum, temple, or gymnasium but echoed to the cry of ‘Talassio’! And even at this hour the schools are closed, no business is done, the courts are voiceless, missions are postponed; there is a truce to intrigue, and all the serious business of life seems merged in the buffooneries of the stage. Although the bride has been given away, although the bridegroom has put off his wreath, the consular his palm-broidered robe, the brides woman her wedding gown, the distinguished senator his toga, and the plain man his cloak, yet the noise of the great gathering has not died away in the palace chambers because the bride still delays to start for her husband’s house. When this merrymaking has run out its course, you shall hear what remains to tell of my proceedings, if indeed these crowded hours of idleness to which the whole state seems now surrendered are ever to end, even when the festivities are over“.[6]

Later that year Anthemius and Leo launched their campaign against Gaiseric that could have led to the revitalization of the Western realm, and perhaps the reunification of the realm. The massive logistical efforts behind the ambitious attack offer evidence of the continuing military capabilities of the twin regimes when acting in unison. Although we should discount the figure of 100,000 ships given in one Byzantine source, clearly the attack represented an impressive display of logistical planning and enduring martial puissance.[7] Organised as a three-prong campaign—with his eyes on Carthage—Marcellinus took Sicily. Meanwhile, Basiliskos sailed the bulk of the Roman navy to meet the Vandal naval forces, lastly, a smaller fleet, led by Eastern Comes rei militaris Herakleios, successfully occupied the Vandal stronghold of Tripolis. Herakleios and his army then set out towards Byzacena in order to link up with Basiliskos’ troops when they arrived in Proconsular province. The landing by Basiliskos, however, never occurred. Whether through treachery or (more likely) incompetence, Basiliskos and the Byzantine armada suffered a humiliating and devastating defeat at the hands of the Vandals and their fire-ships at Mercurium.[8]

Although Anthemius had not taken part in the naval failure and continued to seek military victories in Gaul, the defeat led to political difficulties for the “easterner” Anthemius. A combination of Anthemius’ loss of prestige and Alycia’s failure to produce an heir, saw a breakdown in Anthemius and Ricimer’s “partnership”. By 470 the two were engaged in a battle for supremacy that only ended when Anthemius was murdered in July of 472. In contrast as I explained in a previous blog, Leo had assassinated his generalissimo Aspar.

Writing during the reign of Justinian (527-565) the chronicle of John Malalas records a letter supposedly written by Leo to his western counterpart Anthemius[4] that sheds light on how latter Byzantines viewed this action. Leo explains that he had killed Aspar and his sons in order to be the one ‘who gives orders not takes them.’[5] He recommends that to avoid being a mere puppet, Anthemius should assassinate his supreme commander the Goth Ricimer, and also eliminate Leo’s rival (and future western emperor) the Roman noble Olybrius. Unlike, Leo, Anthemius failed to act quickly enough and Ricimer was left to his own devices, which led eventually to disaster for the Western half of the Empire.

Anthemius, could be idealised both as an articulate manly martial aristocratic Roman or a bumbling unmanly Greek. So of course much of the literature surrounding Anthemius is rhetorical, but surely it is important that a high-born man and adopted son of an emperor, like Anthemius, needed to pursue a military career in order to be accepted by Western Romans, like Sidonius, similar to how Procopius idealises militarized men like Majorian, Bonifatius, Aetius, and Belisarius as the only “true” Romans.

What follows below is a copy of a panegyric to Anthemius Sidonius delivered in Rome on 1 January 468. I have copied it from an open domain online version. I have quickly updated some of the “these and thous and added a few notes on sections I found interesting and some of my notes.




When nature established the young Jupiter above

the stars and the new god was entering upon an

ancient sovereignty, all the deities vied in paying

worship to their deity, and uttered in diverse

measures the same ” bravo.” Mars with trumpet’s

blare acclaimed his sire and with thunderous din

lauded the thunderbolts. The Arcadian and the

Archer God sounded the clanging strings, the one

more skilled to strike the zither, the other the lyre.

Castalia’s maiden band proclaimed their plaudits in

varied strains with songs, reeds, thumb, voice and

foot. But after the denizens of heaven, it is said, the

god brooked even the inferior chants of demigods ;

then Dryads in union with Fauns, Mimallones with

Satyrs, a rustic multitude, poured forth a sprightly

song. The Pans that sound the hemlock-reed left

high Maenalus, and after the lyre the hoarse pipe

pleased Jove’s ears. Amid this throng Chiron,

dancing to the sounding quill, moved his unwieldy

horse-limbs elegantly, and that beast-man earned a

hearing and found grace even though he neighed

in the midst of his singing.

So tongues rich and poor made an acceptable

offering, and the greatest tribute in that day’s

sacrifice was song. In like manner, O Caesar,

best hope of our time, I come after great lords

and offer thee humble incense, boldly singing my

lay in presence of the learned Victor, who

speaks either with the voice of Phoebus or with thine,

and who, though he is quaestor in your everlasting

court, will always be my master. So, my

prince, let offering of diverse utterance pay worship

to you ; for you make our hearts new temples for

your habitation.

Raise up, Augustus, your second fasces, seconded

by Fortune ; gleaming with mass of gold upon the

robe do you, an old consul, begin the new year,

and deem it no disgrace to grace the roll of office

Twice with your name. Although you walk with

a diadem surmounting your hair and shoulders

are covered by a Tyrian mantle after the fashion

of you predecessors, yet may the bright purple

of the consul’s gown charm you more ; for repeated

consulships have always been rare. And

you, Janus, to whom a laurel wreath is due every

year, dispel you lethargy, bind thy locks with any

foliage ; and be not affrighted by the sudden radiance

of our prince, nor deem that the elements are in up-

heaval. Nature is making no change ; this day’s

Sun also has come from the East (Anthemius, an Eastern aristocrat was made

Emperor at the Eastern Emperor Leo’s behest)

This, my Lords, is the man for whom Rome’s

brave spirit and your love did yearn, the man to

whom our republic, like a ship overcome by

tempests and without a pilot, has committed her

broken frame, to be more deftly guided by a worthy

steersman, that she may no more fear storm or

pirate (a reference to the Vandal Geiseric who raids on Italian territory provided Leo with the pretext for his invasion of North Africa later in 468). The country-dweller’s prayer, the good-

will of the leagued peoples, the trumpet in the camp,

the plaudits in the senate-house all called for you ;

for you have the tribes recorded their suffrages,

and your colleague have consigned you to us and the

sovereignty to you : all the votes that the whole

world can muster are for you. I confess we were all

sore disquieted lest your honest colleague should

commit to your own decision what all the people

have decided. Will future generations believe it? —

to ensure, O Prince, that this complete power over

us should be yours, full power over yourself was denied

you. Emperor Leo, you surpass the deeds

of your forerunners ; for he who can command a man

to reign towers above regal power. Now your

government shall be more perfectly one, having therefore

becoming a government of two. (The non-Roman and Western Emperor- maker Ricimer may not have liked

this reference to Leo’s growing power ovr Western affairs).

All hail to thee, pillar of sceptred power, Queen of

the East (a reference to Constantinople), the Rome of that region, no longer to be worshipped by the eastern citizen alone, now that

you have sent me a sovereign prince — O home of

Empire, and more precious in that you appear

before the world as Empire’s mother! (What follows is a reference to the Greco-Roman belief that the enviroment that one grew up in influenced the peoples’ charectoristics. Far from a trope it is found in contemporary military manuals)The land of

the Thracians, whereon Rhodope and Haemus rest,

is yours, a region fruitful of heroes. Here children

are born into a world of ice, and their native snow

hardens the soft limbs of infants even from the

mother’s womb. Scarce anyone is reared at the

breast; rather is he dragged from the maternal

bosom to suck from a horse through a wound;

thus deserting milk the whole race drinks in

courage. They have grown but a short time, and

anon they play at battle with javelins; this sport

is prompted by the wounds that suckled them.

The boys, gifted hunters, clear the dens of their

beasts; the young men, enriched with plunder,

honour the laws of the sword ; and when their old

age has reached its fullness not to end it with

steel is a disgrace. Thus do these countrymen

of Mars order their lives. But you, surrounded by

the sea, have imbibeted a tempered blend of Europe’s

and Asia’s air, commingled from two sides;

for the Thracian blasts of Aquilo are gradually

softened by the breath of Eurus’ trumpet, wafted

from Calchis hard by. Meanwhile Susa trembles

before you, and the Persian of Achaemenes’ race

in suppliant guise inclines his crescent-tiara. The

Indian, with hair steeped in fragrant balm, disarms

for your profit the throat of his land’s wild denizens,

that he may make payment of curved ivory ; thus the

elephant takes home ingloriously a mouth shorn of

the tribute yielded to the Bosphorus. You

spread out a great city of spacious walls, yet does the

multitude therein make its bounds too narrow;

so the sea is invaded with massive masonry and new

land cramps the old waters; for the dusty sand of

Puteoli is brought here and made solid by enter-

ing the water, and the hardened mass bears upon it

imported plains amid an alien flood. Thus are you

ordered; on all sides you behold harbours, and,

walled in as you are by the sea, You are surrounded

by all the blessings of earth. You are fortunate in having shared Rome’s triumphs, and now we regret it no longer ; farewell to the division of the

empire ! The twin regimes are poised to become one. (technically the Empire had been divided since 395; though Theodosius II had intervened to name Valentinian III in 425, and play an important role in Western affairs. Eastern and Western emperors had since the 450s frequently failed to accept the others claims to the purple)

A citizen from such a city, thou shines also with

the lustre of thy father Procopius, whose ancient

lineage springs from imperial ancestors (linked seminal fourth-century emperor Constantine), a man

here described took place at various points of the shore when

the -walls of Constantinople were no longer able to contain the

whole population. whom no eloquence could worthily celebrate — not

even if from Avernus that bard should arise who

once with his song swayed rocks and with his tuneful

fingers impelled the woods to hasten, all ears, to the

sounding quill, while the waters of Hebrus stood still

and, its flow held fast, the waves of the entranced

river were strangely athirst for song.

To him once in his youth was committed the

restoring of peace with Assyria. The Parthian was

amazed that he had no power to withstand the aged

wisdom of those youthful years. Every satrap that

sat below the king faltered in terror, so strongly had

the envoy’s genius gripped them. The Median

realms trembled, and Babylon, that had not closed

her gates against the serpent-born foe, now at last

thought herself too widely opened. Then when a

treaty had been established between them on new

terms, recited by Procopius to the Magi, they took

oath by their gods, fire and water, and he called his

divine ancestors to witness that the bargain should

be upheld. An aged Chaldaean over a victim’s

entrails, in the manner of the pontiffs, muttered the

mystic words, and the king himself, holding a jewelled

bowl, stooped and poured out cups over the incense-

burning altar. When the envoy returned, the

eminence of a twofold honour welcomed him;

Patrician now and Master of Horse and Foot, he was

set in command of camps where he must needs hold

the barriers of Taurus and force the roaming Ethi-

opians over the border by the terror of war and

behold Orontes with calmed flood subservient to

his will.

His wife’s father was Anthemius, who, as prefect

and likewise consul, ordered peoples by his judgments

and the year by his name. Men of the purple are

ever attended by Fortune with purple ready to

bestow; the only change that happens to them is

that he who was consul becomes sovereign. But I pass

over all the others : come thou to my lyre, thou whose

hair frayed by the warrior’s helmet came to wear the

diadem, thou who hast laid aside the breastplate to

receive the glowing purple of a Caesar, and whose

hand hath been emptied of the sword to be filled with

the sceptre. Your cradle gleamed with tokens of

imperial power, and the prophetic earth, altering her

progeny, gave promise of a golden age (such portents are seen in the rise of other Roman emperors like Marcial. They are also a feature of hagiography. They tell how, at your birth, honey appeared, making rivers

flow tardily with sweetened waters, and oil ran

through the amazed mills while the berry still

hung upon the bough. The plain brought forth

without seed a waving crop and the vine-branch

looked grudgingly on the grapes brought into being

without her. Roses blushed red in winter and lilies

scorning the cold mocked the surrounding frosts.

When Lucina is bringing such a birth to fulfilment the

order of the elements gives way and a changed

world gives assurance of coming sovereignty. Thus

does nature declare that blessed gods have arrived.

Flames played lovingly round the childish locks of the

staunch lulus ; Astyages, fated to be dethroned by

his grandson Cyrus, shuddered to see the grape-

clusters spreading from the vine that grew from the

womb ; the mother-wolf gave suck to the untroubled

Quirinus ; Julius came into the world whilst a

laurel blazed; Alexander the Great and Augustus

are deemed to have been conceived of a serpent

god, and they claimed between them Phoebus and

Jupiter as their progenitors ; for one of them sought

his sire near the Cinyphian Syrtes, the other rejoiced

that from his mother’s marks he was deemed the

offspring of Phoebus, and he vaunted the imprints

of the healing serpent of Epidaurus. Many have been

encircled by eagles, and a quick-formed ring of

cringing plumage has playfully figured the crown that

was to come. But as for this prince of ours, illustrious

Lords, right early might it be known that he was

destined for the sceptre, when it came to pass that in

his father’s house a severed vine-branch brought

forth shoots no longer its own. That was the

spring-time of his sovereignty ; in the guise of leafate

happy omens burgeoned along that withered branch.

But when the early years of infancy were past he

would clamber over his father’s armour, and gripping

with his two forearms the neck pressed by the

close-fitting metal he would loosen the helmet and

find an entrance for his livid kisses. In boyhood it

was his sport to handle eagerly arrows that had been

seized from the foe, and on captive bows to force

the resisting strings on to the curving horn, or to hurl

with boyish arm the quivering javelin, or with a

leap to throw upon the back of a chafing steed all

his weight of steel chain-armour and heavy lance ;

or at other times to find and chase the wild beasts,

to seek them in their leafy lurking-places and, when

he espied them, sometimes to enclose thein in a

tight net, sometimes to pierce them with cast of

spear. Then would he oft be cheered with great

noise by his comrades, as with gnashing teeth the

beast received the steel and the weapon entered and

passed clean through the shoulders. Now hide your

Thessalian honours, scion of Aeacus, high-mettled

boy and hunter — though, as you bestrode your

master’s compliant back, and so traverse the haunts

of beasts in safety, it was rather you that were con-

trolled by thy steed. Even Paean Apollo did not

aim his shafts better than our prince, as the god stood

over Python and, sore distressed, with quiver well-

nigh emptied, pierced those coils with in-

numerable weapons. And amid all these doings he busied himself no

less in hearkening to the lore of ancient sages ; how

Thales, that son of Miletus, condemned all lawsuits,

how Cleobulus of Lindus sings ” Let moderation be

our ideal,” how Periander of Corinth practices

everything, how Athenian Solon keeps his eye wisely

fixed on life’s end, how Bias of Priene deems the

wicked to be the majority, how Pittacus, native of

Lesbos, advises to mark well the opportune time,

and how Chilon of Lacedaemon would have all men

know themselves. Moreover, he learned new doc-

trines of divers schools — whatsoever in the Scythian

land Anacharsis praised, all the gain that Sparta

got with Lycurgus for her law-giver, all that the

company of Cynics debates in the Erechthean

gymnasium, copying the disciples of Epicurus ; all

that the two Academies loudly proclaim, affirming

naught to be true ; all the wisdom that Cleanthes

has won with much biting of nails; the tears of

Heractus, the laughter of Democritus, or the

silence of Pythagoras ; whatsoever teaching Plato’s

intellect, which dwelt in the citadel, sets forth in

triple array; or again, the snares that Aristotle,

dividing speech into its members, sets for us with

his syllogistic reasoning ; and also whatever has been

bestowed by Anaximenes, Euclid, Archytas, Zeno,

Arcesilas, Chrysippus and Anaxagoras, and by the

soul of Socrates as it lives after his death in the

Pkaedo, a soul that recked naught of the huge fetters

on his wasted leg, while death’s self trembled before

the prisoner and the executioner’s hand was pale

as it proffered the poison, though the master’s heart

was untroubled. Besides these he was wont to

range through all that antiquity strove to inscribe

on Latin pages : the battles and the ocean perils

that Mantua paraded, copying the trumpet-tones

of Smyrna’s bard ; whatever aid to speaking the

consul of Arpinum affords, he who follows without

ceasing that smith’s son who set his father at naught,

deeming more precious a tongue made keen by use

of eloquence ; or again whatever the volumes of the

Paduan* deliver for all time in those Euganean

pages ; the brevity that wins applause in Crispus,

the weightiness of Varro, the wit of Plautus, the

hightning of Quintilian,’ and the majesty of Tacitus,

a name never to be uttered without praise.

By such studies was he moulded, from such lineage

sprung, in such habits nutured ; and the prince to

whom at that time the world from east to west was

giving the sceptre, on whom an only daughter, now

of age for wedlock, must needs bestow grandchildren

that should wear the purple, chose this man for her

husband. Yet he did not rest in slothful luxury,

content with her father’s glory, seeking a life of

ease and owing nothing to himself; nay, receiving

a count’s authority. He traversed the Danube bank

and the whole length of the great frontier-lines,

exhorting, arranging, examining, equipping. Even

so had Pius under his father’s sway ruled his father’s

camps ; thus Marcus, too, while Pius still lived ;

these two, destined later to be lawgivers, then

commanded legions innumerable. When Anthemius

returned, every office was bestowed upon him ; he

shone upon the world as Master of Both Services

and as consul ; to this was added the authority of

Patrician ; and thus with speedy step he ran through

the highest dignities that a subject may reach;

youth though he was, he mounted the curile throne

of the elders, and sat, a young veteran, on the gold

that belongs to the old campaigner.

And now Marcian (ruled 450-457) was numbered with the gods ;

but you did not crave for empire (Anthemius was the expected succesor, when Aspar named the unknown soldier Leo as emperor) ; the diadem

after a long rejection chose out an illustrious man

one whom you could not slight when he in his

turn chose you. Fortune hath given you this

unique honour, that although the order of succession

demanded thee, you are looked on as a prince chosen,

not as a prince by inheritance. You reign after

an Augustus who was your wife’s father (Marcian), but the

purple came not to you by marriage ; your royal

bride has been rather the glory of your royalty than

its cause, for when the commonwealth chose thee to

wield the reins of state it was for your kingly soul,

not for your kin. My judgment errs if the four

quarters of the earth do not approve the choice ; the

West seeks thee, the East sends thee, as ruler;

you fight in the North and are feared in the

South. (This is obviously dangerous political grounds and Sidonius not

Wanting to offend Leo treads carefully)

But I would fain touch on the triumphs that the

Illyrian region beheld before your colleague made

you his partner, when that land, deserted, as it

chanced, through a Roman leader’s fault, was be-

moaning its devastation by the arms of Walamir.

Even so was it in former days when Caepio’s slaughter

had given up Ausonia’s best warriors to the enemy ;

the terrified commonwealth, compelled by that

crashing blow, essayed to choose a leader; ’twas

after the strangling of Jugurtha, and they set

against the frenzied Cimbrian the batman^from

Arpinum who had avenged Calpurnius’ treaty.

Thereupon the province, beholding thine eagles,

ceased of a sudden to shudder at the dragons of the

foe. Straightway crushed in war and reft of their

spoil they in their turn were spoils for thee, lying

prostrate at thy feet.

But such folk I pass by as mere raiders ; rather do

I now relate the exploits of a real war ; which war

no small band contrived, no Spartacus, bondsman

destined for the gladiator’s work, who had burst open

his prison, but a roaming multitude from Scythian

clime, teeming with savagery, frightful, ravening,

violent, barbarous even in the eyes of the barbarian

peoples around them, a race whose leader was

Hormidac, a man of their own nation. Their land,

their habits and their origin were after this manner.

Where the white Tanais, driven down through the

valleys of the far north, falls from the Riphaean

crags, in the region of the Bear ,there dwells a

race with menace in heart and limbs ; for truly

the very faces of their infants have a gruesomeness

all their own. Their heads are great round masses

rising to a narrow crown ; in two hollows beneath the

brow resides their sight, but the eyes are far to seek ;

the light, as it forces its way into the arched recesses

in the skull, can scarce reach those retreating orbs

— retreating, but not shut; for from that vault of

narrow space they enjoy a spacious vision, and pel-

East, but it was from the North that they drove the Goths

down on the Romans.” lucid pin-points in those sunken wells give all the

service that an ampler light ^could bring. Moreover,

the nostrils, while still soft, are blunted by an

encircling band, to prevent the two passages^ from

growing outward between the cheek-bones, that

thus they may make room for the helmets ; for those

children are born for battles, and a mother’s love

disfigures them, because the area of the cheeks

stretches and expands when the nose does not

intervene. The rest of the men’s bodies is comely ;

chest large and firm, fine shoulders, compact stomach

beneath the flanks. On foot their stature is mid-

dling, but it towers aloft if you view them on horse-

back: thus are they often deemed long of frame

when seated. Scarce has the infant learnt to stand

without his mother’s aid when a horse takes him on

his back. You would think the limbs of man and

beast were born together, so firmly does the rider

always stick to the horse, just as if he were fastened

to his place : any other folk is carried on horseback,

this folk lives there. Shapely bows and arrows are

their delight, sure and terrible are their hands;

firm is their confidence that their missiles will bring

death, and their frenzy is trained to do wrongful

deeds with blows that never go wrong. This people

had burst forth in a sudden invasion ; they had come,

crossing with wheels the solid Danube, marking

the moistureless waters with ruts. Straight against

them did you go, as they roamed through the

Dacian fields ; you attacked and vanquished and

hemed them in ; and soon as Serdica * beheld thee with

thine encampment laid out, thou didst straitly besiege

them. The town marvelled at thee as thou didst

tarry thus for long within the rampart, because thy

soldiers went not forth into the fields in regular or

stealthy raids. Though oft they lacked corn and

always >vine, they lacked not discipline ; hence

though the foe was nigh they feared their general

more. So at length it came to pass that he who

chanced to be thine ally then but straightway

played thee false gained nothing when he retreated

before the foe at the first onset ; for when he had

begun to flee, turning aside and laying bare the

wings, thou didst stand thy ground, a host in thyself;

to thee did those warriors rally whom their captain’s

flight had scattered, back to thee came the cavalry

as thou didst toil and sweat, fighting on foot ; and

following thy standards the soldiers felt that they

were not deserted in the fray. (Anthemius had achieved major victories over the Ostrogoths in Thrace sometime during 459-462 and over the Huns in late 466 or early 467.)

Go to now, ancient generation of our fathers!

Proclaim, if you will, the praises of old Tullus, for

that he lied in a noble exhortation and concealed the

collapse of the treaty with the deserter Mettus !

There is nothing like that here ; you, Anthemius,

would not choose to have even your enemy

misled. Those old-time soldiers conquered in the

belief that they would be aided ; but these conquered

in the knowledge that they were deserted. The

captain flees ; with you in pursuit ; he renews the

fray ; you conquer ; he shuts himself in ; you

storm his entrenchment ; he slips away ; you

overwhelm him, and demand his life as the

price of peace with the Sarmatians. Your will is

done, and straightway the deserter has suffered the

death decreed and has fallen — your victim, though

slain by a foreign sword. Come now. Antiquity!

Enter the contest once more, if it pleases you !

When the surrender of the bold Hannibal was claimed

by those that would punish him, though in that last

hour he had not power to live, yet had he power to

determine his death ; and so, when the dark dungeon

awaited him, and the iron hook, and the lictor ap-

pointed to break the prisoner’s neck, he swallowed

the poison, a stauncher man than his Bithynian

host ; but the man that deserted you was cut off

by a death that had been commanded, and it was

a judge’s rather than a victor’s lips that sealed his


Now grant thy presence. Paean Apollo, whose

hook-beaked gryphons the well-schooled curb

constrains with its bond of laurel, whensoever you

wieldest thy leafy reins and guidest their winged

shoulders with double-hued ivy! Hither direct thy

lyre! It is not now the time to sing of Python’s

destruction or to hymn the twice seven wounds of

the Niobids — victims whose dooms are preserved

to thine honour in song, so that their deaths live in

deathless poesy. Ye Muses, likewise, reveal in

brief words by what divine power Anthemius came to

us with a covenant made by the two realms ; an

empire’s peace hath sent him to conduct our wars.

By nature’s law Severus had been added to the

ranks of the gods. Oenotria,’ (Old Goddes of Rome)when from the crags

of towering Apennine she beheld this calamity, hied

her to the glassy abode of blue Tiber. She had not

encased her cheeks in a helmet (and she wore no

hauberk fashioned with stitched rings of tight-

driven hooks), but bared was her head. Instead of

hair there overran her forehead a vine-branch with

clustered grapes, binding fast her many towns , and

along her shapely shoulders and radiant arms

jewelled brooches gripped her flowing robe. The

slowness of old age was in her gait, and she held as

a staff an elm covered with vine-foliage, and guided

her venerable limbs thereby. Yet Abundance

attended her; wherever she drew nigh, with her

coming she spread fruitfulness over her path, and

Vintage, accompanying her steps, joyfully made the

juice rise wherever her feet trod.

So she entered the cave of Tiber’s stream.

There sat the running river. On his green hair

drifted a like-hued clump of tall reeds. The

water sounded as it fell from his chin, though a

beard of shaggy bristles underneath did much to

dull the roar. From his breast he threw out

streams, and falling more rapidly the flood now

furious furrowed his soaking stomach. As the god-

dess drew nigh fear seized him; his hands relaxed,

and the urn and the oar fell from them. He was

devising words of excuse when she broke in: “I

come that through thee, if it please thee, I may sway

by my tears Rome, now bereft of our ruler. I would

have her turn to the region of Dawn ; let her put her

disdain aside and by granting this one thing deserve

even greater love. Teach her what strength she

must enlist, and tell her in what world she must crave

a head for her own stricken world. Whenever

Fortune hath chosen a man born in my home, she

has instantly broken the wheels of his empire. On

this side the Vandal foe presses hard; and every

year he attacks with large navy to destroy us ;

the natural order has been reversed, and now parched

Byrsa launches against me the frenzy of the Cauca-

sus.^ Yea more, unconquerable Ricimer, to whom

the destiny of our nation looks for safety, does

barely drive back with his own unaided force the

pirate (Geiseric) that ranges over our lands, that ever avoids

battles and plays a conqueror’s part by flight. Who

could brook an enemy that refuses both concord and

combat.’ For never does he make a treaty with

Ricimer. Hear now why he hates our leader with

such exceeding hate. His father is unknown, yet

he prates ever of him, since ’tis well known his mother

was a slave-woman.+ So now, to make himself out

a king’s son, he proclaims his mother’s shame. He

is jealous also because two kingdoms call Ricimer to

kingly power, Suevian as he is on the father’s side,^

Gothic on the mother’s. He likewise remembers

this, that Wallia, grandsire of Ricimer, laid low on

Spanish soil the Vandal squadrons and the Alans,

their comrades in the war, and their corpses covered

Calpe in the far west. But why tell of ancient routs,

of the losses of bygone generations ? Nay, he calls

to mind the havoc of Agrigentum’s plain.Madly

he rages because his adversary has amply proved

himself the grandchild of that hero at sight of whom

the Vandal did ever turn in flight. No more

glorious did, Marcellus,nreturn from Sicilian

lands, you through whom our arms did beset the

homes of Syracuse by land and sea ; or Metellus,

whose fortune it was to outdo the triumph of Curius,

when you displayed to us a throng of elephants,

and the dusky herd screened the white chariot-steeds

with their mighty bulk, and the triumphal parade

hid the winner of the triumph. If the Norican is

restraining the Goth, it is that Ricimer is feared ;

if Gaul ties down the armed might of the Rhine, it

is he that inspires the dread ; and because the Vandal

foe plundered me while the Alan, his kinsman,

swept off what remained, this man took vengeance by

the force of his own arms. But he (Ricimer) is only one man;

alone he cannot remove these perils, but only delay

their day ; we need now an armed prince who in the

manner of our sires shall not order wars but wage

them, one before whom land and sea shall quake

when he advances his standards, so that at last with

power regained the Roman war-trump may direct

Rome’s dormant navies.” (Here we see that it was

Anthemius’ military credentals that Sidonius

Emphasised most. This flies in th face of what modern scholars describe as a turning away from martial virtue in imperial ideology)

Father Tiber heard and heeded. To the city he

went and straightway with his own eyes beheld the

goddess, and bowed in humble adoration, so that his

horns touched her breast and her uncovered bosom.

Then he delivered his message of entreaty, and the

goddess, compHant, made ready for the journey.

Stern was her look as she bound up her flowing hair ;

then she shut in her towers and hid them under a

helmet ; laurel formed her fillet. Her belt, rough

with shield-studs taken from enemies, made fast a

sword, which rose high on her left side. Her con-

quering arm was thrust into a shield, whose orb was

filled with the twin sons of Mars, with the wolf and

Tiber and Love and Mars and Ilia. A clasp fixes with

gripping tooth the raiment that retreats back from her

breast. Her threatening spear flashes, and an oak

bowed down with trophies sways and tires the goddess

under its welcome burden. The covering of her sole

is of one piece, ^ but this strip is not carried beyond

the tips of the toes ; the great toe sends two strings

upward from its encircled socket in opposite direc-

tions, so that they bind the sandal tight and, with the

side-loops drawn together, weave a curving mesh of

ties up the leg. In this guise, then, she was wafted

through the clear bright air, seeking the warm

rising-place of the nascent sun.

There is a region by Ocean’s shore, nigh to the

distant Indians, under the eastern sky, stretching

towards the Nabataean wind. Perpetual spring is

there, the ground is not made pale by any invading

seasons of cold; the fields bedizened with ever-

blooming flowers know not the frosts of strange

lands. The countryside is fragrant with roses, and

throughout those unowned and undivided fields a

sweet aroma breathes. The plains ever bring forth

violets, clover, thyme, privet, lilies, narcissus, casia,

culcas, marigold, costum, malobathrum, myrrh,

balm, frankincense. Yea, when old age knocks at

his door, the phoenix that dwells hard by seeks from

hence the cinnamon that brings a new life.^ Here

the home of Aurora, overlaid with plates of flashing

gold, displays withal smooth pearls on its broken

surface. On all sides are things to capture the gaze,

and, thanks to their masterly artistry, whatsoever

meets the eye seems to surpass the rest. But all that

beauty is dimmed in the presence of its mistress,

who with her blushing radiance destroys the diverse

fires of the gems, because she has fires of her own.

Her combed hair poured forth saffron hues ; her arm

was bent as the comb sank in and arranged the

yellow tresses on her temples. Her eyes poured

forth rays ; fiery their hue, but the heat of fire was

not there, although when night is shaken off the

dews received from it are wont to have a semblance

of sweat. Her bosom was girdled by a double

band, and even the fold in her robe mocked the

smallness of her breasts.^ The lower part of the dress

extended its crimson folds down to her rosy knees.

(Aurora), which are diffused from her eyes, have no heat

Thus she sits, a queen on her throne, but instead

of sceptre the shaft of a lamp fills her right hand.

Night stands near the goddess, with her feet already

turning to flee, and behind the dais Light scarce

perceived is beginning to reveal the topmost peak.

When from hence the goddess saw Rome drawing

nigh through the cloudless air, she sprang up in

haste and was the first to speak, thus beginning with

kindly words : ” O head of the world, why dost

thou revisit my kingdom ? What are thy commands ? ‘ ‘

The other was silent for a brief space, then thus

began, mingling harsh and gentle phrase : ^ ” I come

(cease to be thus perturbed, and be not grievously

alarmed), not that Araxes,^ mastered by me, may

have to flow beneath a bridge forced upon it, nor that

in the ancient manner the Indian Ganges ® may be

drunk from an Italian helmet, nor that a consul,

ranging through the fields of tiger-haunted Niphates,

home of archers, may triumphantly despoil Artaxata

by the Caspian Sea. I do not now beg for the realm

of Porus, nor that these arms may thrust a batter-

ing-ram to shatter Erythrae* on the bank of the

Hydaspes. I am not hurling myself against Bactra,

nor are the gates of Semiramis’ town^ laughing to

hear our trumpets starting the fight. I crave not

the palaces of Persian kings, nor is word being passed

in camp of mine to march on Ctesiphon. All this

region ^ we have yielded up to thee. Do I not even

thus deserve that thou protect mine old age? All

that lies between Euphrates and Tigris thou hast

long possessed alone ; yet that possession was bought

by me with the blood of Crassus ; at Carrhae I paid

down the price ; nor did I remain unavenged nor

lose the land thus bought ; if my word is not good,

Sapor 1 hath proved it, slain by Ventidius. Nor is

this enough. I gave up the Armenias and Pontus —

by what martial might assailed, let Sulla tell thee ;

perchance one man’s word is not enough, then ask

Lucullus. I keep silence now about all the Cyclades

— but Crete, which my Metellus won, is thrall to thee.

I made over to thee the Cilicians, yet Magnus had

routed them long ago. To Syria I added the Isaur-

ians, whom thou governest now, yet these likewise

Servilius subdued beneath our arms. I yielded up

to thee Aetolia’s ancient race and the lands where

Achelous flows ; with ill-starred trustfulness I handed

over to thee the bequest of Attalus.^ Thou dost

hold Epirus, though thou knowest who won the title

to it from Pyrrhus. I see thee extending thy rule

to Illyricum and the land of the Macedonians, and

yet descendants of Paulus ^ still live. I gave thee the

corn of Egypt, though Agrippa had conquered the

land for me long since in the strait of Leucas.* Judea

is held beneath thy sway, as if it were you that had

sent there the glorious Titus and his sire. To thee is

the revenue of Cyprus brought, while I in poverty

belaud my warlike Catos.^ The Dorian land and

Achaia’s fields tremble before thee, and thou stretch-

est thy prosperous sovereignty to where Corinth

lies between the two seas : pray tell me this — what

Byzantine Mummius did this work for you?

” But if haply it please thee to lay old grievances to

rest, grant me Anthemius. In these lands let Leo

be emperor, and long may he reign! But let my

laws be in the hands of him whom I have asked of

thee ; and let the star of her deified father rejoice

that Euphemia his daughter is robed in the purple

of her ancestors ! ^ Add also a private compact to

our public one : let a parent who is Emperor be

blessed by having his daughter wedded to Ricimer.

Both shine with the lustre of high rank ; in her ye

have a royal lady, in him I have a man of royal blood.

If thou dost willingly agree to this, thou shalt permit

me to hope for Libya anon. Survey the nuptials

of olden time, and no union such as this event can

offer itself to thy view. Here let Greece bring

forward, unless she be ashamed, those marriages of

her ancients which were won by peril. Let Pisa

bring back her four-horse chariot and revive Oeno-

maus, who fell by a daughter’s guile, when the waxen

linch-pins betrayed him, unloosing the axles ; let

the maid of Colchis^ come forward, who was brought

to her husband’s knowledge by her crime before he

knew her as a woman ; let Atlanta gaze on her

pale suitors from the starting-place in the circus and

no longer gather the apples of the comely Hippomenes

for their gold alone ® ; let Achelous, with the oil of

the wrestling-school upon him, glorify the nuptials of

Deianira,^ and, clasped tightly by the panting Hercules, refresh his wearied a with spiteful spate :

recall as I may the marriages of the olden time, this

man excels all the god-descended heroes, she the

heroines. Valour hath this union in her charge ;

she demands it for thee, Ricimer, and thus the laurel

of Mars bestows on thee the myrtle of Venus. Come

then, deliver to me this man who neither cherishes

lazy ease nor is numbed by indulgence, but who even

now is harassed by the heaving deep,^ by the bay of

Abydos and the shore of Sestos with the tempests of

the Hellespont roaring all around. Not so firmly,

methinks, was this narrow sea held even by him^

who burst through Athos and with his Median oars-

men made his swelling sails rush through wooded

mountains ; nor was this strait so hemmed by

Lucullus’ ships 3 when before famed Cyzicus idly

lingered that enemy who when hunger pressed him

devoured the bodies of his kin and thus lived by the

death of his own. But why do I delay the fulfilment

of my prayer ? Rather deliver him now to me ! ”

Then answered Tithonus’ spouse in these few

words : ” Come, take him, reverend mother, although

I have great need of a mighty and unconquerable

leader, — provided that thou wilt now show thyself

more kindly, and so we may better wield the reins

in joint control. For if haply it please thee to

remember the toils of olden days, I was before thee —

to mention but this — in sending Memnon * hence to

fight for the native land of your lulus.”

They had finished, and Concord united the two

sides, for Rome at length gained the emperor of her

choice. And now, Antiquity, thou who art ever

jealous of the greatest men and greatest benefactors,

prate if thou wilt of choices made by thee with

like eagerness and affection ! Bring Camillus ^ forth

from his exile to confront the arms of Brennus ; give

Cincinnatus the fasces once more after banishing

Caeso, invite the weeping parent from the rake

to the rostra,2 and in miserable discord drive men out,

only to seek their help in thine hour of defeat!

Should the Carthaginian have burst the Alps asunder,

have recourse to men that have been broken and

condemned ; if the insatiate Metaurus is to be

reddened by the defeat of Barca’s son, let a consul

thou hast fined do the work for thee, and as he routs

Hasdrubal’s thousands, let him who has fashioned a

bloody sword for his use himself show an unkempt

head.^ Far different is the graciousness of our

choice ; he has never been wronged, but knows that

he is loved.*

But now too strong are the breezes that drive my

sails before them. Check, O Muse, my humble

measures, and as I seek the harbour let the anchor

of my song settle at last in a calm resting-place.

Yet of the fleet and forces that you, O prince, are

handling and of the great deeds thou doest in little

time I, if God further my prayers, shall tell in order

due in the second consulship of thy daughter’s

affairs until he was compelled to return in 210 B.C. He came

in the guise of disgrace and mourning, with unkempt hair

and matted beard and in shabby attire (Liv. XXVII. 34. 5).

He was made consul for the year 207 with C. Claudius Nero,

with whom he shared in the victory over Hasdrubal at the


nam modo nos iam festa vocant, et ad Vlpia poscunt

te fora, donabis quos libertate, Quirites, 545

quorum gaudentes exceptant verbera malae.

perge, pater patriae, felix atque omine fausto

captives vincture novos absolve vetustos.



Quid faceret laetas segetes, quod tempus amandum

messibus et gregibus, vitibus atque apibus,

ad Maecenatis quondam sunt edita nomen ;

hinc, Maro, post audes arma virumque loqui.

at mihi Petrus erit Maecenas temporis huius ; 5

nam famae pelagus sidere curro suo.

si probat, emittit, si damnat carmina, celat,

nee nos ronchisono rhinocerote notat.

i, liber : hie nostrum tutatur, crede, pudorem ;

hoc censore etiam displicuisse placet. 10

hos inter Chiron, ad plectra sonantia saltans,

flexit inepta sui membra facetus equi ;

semivir audiri meruit meruitque placere,

quamvis hinnitum, dum canit, ille daret. 20

ergo sacrum dives et pauper lingua litabat

summaque tunc voti victima cantus erat.

sic nos, o Caesar, nostri spes maxima saecli,

post magnos proceres parvula tura damus,

audacter docto coram Victore canentes, 25

aut Phoebi aut vestro qui solet ore loqui ;

qui licet aeterna sit vobis quaestor in aula,

aeternum nobis ille magister erit.

ergo colat variae te, princeps, hostia linguae ;

nam nova templa tibi pectora nostra facis.

Auspicio et numero fasces, Auguste, secundos

erige et effulgens trabealis mole metalli

annum pande novum consul vetus ac sine fastu

scribere bis fastis ; quamquam diademate crinem

fastigatus eas umerosque ex more priorum 5

includat Sarrana chlamys, te picta togarum

purpura plus capiat, quia res est semper ab aevo

rara frequens consul, tuque o cui laurea, lane,

annua debetur, religa torpore soluto

quavis fronde comas, subita nee luce pavescas 10

principis aut rerum credas elementa moveri.

nil natura novat : sol hie quoque venit ab ortu.

Hie est, o proceres, petiit quem Romula virtus

et quem vester amor ; cui se ceu victa procellis

atque carens rectore ratis respublica fractam 15

intulit, ut digno melius flectenda magistro,

ne tempestates, ne te, pirata, timeret.

te prece ruricola expetiit, te foedere iunctus

adsensu, te castra tubis, te curia plausu,

te punctis scripsere tribus collegaque misit 20

te nobis regnumque tibi ; suffragia tot sunt

quanta legit mundus. fateor, trepidavimus omnes,

ne vellet collega pius permittere voto

publica vota tuo. credet ventura propago ?

in nos ut possint, princeps, sic cuncta licere, 25 de te non totum licuit tibi. facta priorum

exsuperas, Auguste Leo ; nam regna superstat

qui regnare iubet : melius respublica vestra

nunc erit una magis, quae sic est facta duorum.

Salve, sceptrorum columen, regina Orientis, 30

orbis Roma tui, rerum mihi principe misso

iam non Eoo solum veneranda Quiriti,

imperii sedes, sed plus pretiosa quod exstas

imperii genetrix. Rhodopen quae portat et

Haemum, Thracum terra tua est, heroum fertilis ora. 35

excipit hie natos glacies et matris ab alvo

artus infantum molles nix civica durat.

pectore vix alitur quisquam, sed ab ubere tractus

plus potat per vulnus equum ; sic lacte relicto

virtutem gens tota bibit. crevere parumper : 40

mox pugnam ludunt iaculis ; hos suggerit illis

nutrix plaga iocos. pueri venatibus apti

lustra feris vacuant, rapto ditata inventus

iura colit gladii, consunmnatamque senectam

non ferro finire pudet : tali ordine vitae 45

cives Martis agunt. at tu circumflua ponto

Europae atque Asiae commissam carpis utrimque

temperiem ; nam Bistonios Aquilonis hiatus

proxima Calchidici sensim tuba temperat Euri.

interea te Susa tremunt ac supplice cultu 50

flee tit Achaemenius lunatum Persa tiaram.

Indus odorifero crinem madefaetus amomo

in tua lucra feris exarmat guttur alumnis,

ut pandum dependat ebur ; sic trunea reportat

Bosphoreis elephas inglorius ora tributis. 55

porrigis ingentem spatiosis moenibus urbem,

quam tamen angustam populus facit ; itur in aequor

molibus et veteres tellus nova eontrahit undas ;

namque Dicarcheae translatus pulvis harenae

intratis solidatur aquis durataque massa 60

sustinet advectos peregrine in gurgite campos.

sic te dispositam spectantemque undique portus,

vallatam pelago terrarum commoda cingunt.

fortunata sat es Romae partita triuraphos,

et iam non querimur : valeat divisio regni. 65

concordant lancis partes ; duni pondera nostra

suscipis, aequasti.

Tali tu civis ab urbe

Procopio genitore micas, cui prisca propago

Augustis venit a proavis ; quem dicere digno

non datur eloquio, nee si modo surgat Averno 70

qui cantu flexit seopulos digitisque eanoris

eompulit auritas ad pleetrum currere silvas,

eum starent Hebri latiees eursuque ligato

fluminis attoniti earmen magis unda sitiret.

Huie quondam iuveni reparatio eredita paeis 75

Assyriae ; stupuit primis se Parthus in annis

eonsilium non ferre senis ; conterritus haesit

quisque sedet sub rege satraps : ita vinxerat omnes

legati genius, tremuerunt Medica rura,

quaeque draconigenae portas non clauserat hosti, 80

turn demum Babylon nimis est sibi visa patere.

partibus at postquam statuit nova formula foedus

Procopio dictante magis, iuratur ab illis

ignis et unda deus, nee non rata paeta futura

hie divos testatur avos. Chaldaeus in extis 85

pontificum de more senex arcana peregit

murmura ; gemmantem pateram rex ipse retentans

fudit turicremis carchesia cernuus aris.

suscipit hinc reducem duplicati culmen honoris :

patricius nee non peditumque equitumque magister

praeficitur eastris, ubi Tauri claustra eohereens 91

Aethiopasque vagos belli terrore relegans

gurgite pacato famulum spectaret Orontem.

Huic socer Anthemius, praefectus, consul et idem,

iudiciis populos atque annum nomine rexit. 95

purpureos Fortuna viros cum murice semper

prosequitur ; solum hoc tantum mutatur in illis,

ut regnet qui consul erat. sed omittimus omnes :

iam tu ad plectra veni, tritus cui casside crinis

ad diadema venit, rutilum cui Caesaris ostrum 100

deposit© thorace datiu* sceptroque replenda

mucrone est vacuata manus. cunabula vestra

imperii fulsere notis et praescia tellus

aurea converse promisit saecula fetu.

te nascente ferunt exorto flumina melle 105

dulcatis cunctata vadis oleique liquores

isse per attonitas baca pendente trapetas.

patricius nee non peditumque equitumque magister

praeficitur eastris, ubi Tauri claustra eohereens 91

Aethiopasque vagos belli terrore relegans

gurgite pacato famulum spectaret Orontem.

Huic socer Anthemius, praefectus, consul et idem,

iudiciis populos atque annum nomine rexit. 95

purpureos Fortuna viros cum murice semper

prosequitur ; solum hoc tantum mutatur in illis,

ut regnet qui consul erat. sed omittimus omnes :

iam tu ad plectra veni, tritus cui casside crinis

ad diadema venit, rutilum cui Caesaris ostrum 100

deposit© thorace datiu* sceptroque replenda

mucrone est vacuata manus. cunabula vestra

imperii fulsere notis et praescia tellus

aurea converse promisit saecula fetu.

te nascente ferunt exorto flumina melle 105

dulcatis cunctata vadis oleique liquores

isse per attonitas baca pendente trapetas.

protulit undantem segetem sine semine campus

et sine se natis invidit pampinus uvis.

hibernae rubuere rosae spretoque rigore 110

lilia permixtis insultavere pruinis.

tale puerperium quotiens Lucina resolvit,

mos elementorum cedit regnique futuri

fit rerum novitate fides, venisse beatos

sic loquitur natiira deos : constantis luli 115

lambebant teneros incendia blanda capillos ;

Astyages Cyro pellendus forte nepoti

inguinis expavit difFusum vite racemum ;

praebuit intrepido mammas lupa feta Quirino ;

lulius in lucem venit dum laurea flagrat ; 120

magnus Alexander nee non Augustus habentur

concepti serpente deo Phoebumque lovemque

divisere sibi : namque horum quaesiit unus

Cinyphia sub Sjrrte patrem ; maculis genetricis

alter Phoebigenam sese gaudebat haberi, 125

Paeonii iactans Epidauria signa draconis.

multos cinxerunt aquilae subitumque per orbem

lusit Venturas famulatrix penna coronas.

ast hunc, egregii proceres, ad sceptra vocari

iam tum nosse datum est, laribus cum forte paternis

protulit excisus iam non sua germina palmes. 131

imperii ver illud erat ; sub imagine frondis

dextra per arentem florebant omina virgam.

at postquam primes infans exegerat annos,

reptabat super arma patris, quamque arta terebat 135

lammina cervicem gemina complexus ab ulna

livida laxatis intrabat ad oscula cristis.

ludus erat puero raptas ex hoste sagittas

festina tractare manu captosque per arcus

flexa reluctantes in cornua trudere nervos, 140

nunc tremulum tenero iaculum torquere lacerto

inque frementis equi dorsum cum pondere conti

indutas Chalybum saltu transferre catenas,

inventas agitare feras et fronde latentes

quaerere, deprensas modo claudere cassibus artis,

nunc torto penetrare veru : tum saepe fragore 146

laudari comitum, frendens cum belua ferrum

ferret et intratos exirent arma per armos.

conde Pelethronios, alacer puer et venator,

Aeacida, titulos, quamquam subiecta magistri 150

terga premens et ob hoc securus lustra pererrans

tu potius regereris equo. non principe nostro

spicula direxit melius Pythona superstans

Paean, cum vacua turbatus paene pharetra

figeret innumeris numerosa volumina telis. 155

Nee minus haec inter veteres audire sophistas :

Mileto quod crete Thales vadimonia culpas ;

Lindie quod Cleobule canis ” modus optimus esto “;

ex Ephyra totum meditaris quod Periander ;

Attice quodve Solon finem bene respicis aevi ; 160

Prienaee Bia, quod plus tibi turba malorum est ;

noscere quod tempus, Lesbo sate Pittace, suades ;

quod se nosse omnes vis, ex Laeedaemone Chilon.

praeterea didicit varias, nova dogmata, sectas :

quidquid laudavit Scythicis Anacharsis in arvis ;

quidquid legifero profecit Sparta Lycurgo ; 166

quidquid Erechtheis Cynicorum turba volutat

gymnasiis, imitata tuos. Epicure, sodales ;

quidquid nil verum statuens Academia duplex

personat ; arroso quidquid sapit ungue Cleanthes ;

quidquid Pythagoras, Democritus, Heraclitus 171

deflevit, risit, tacuit ; quodcumque Platonis

ingenium, quod in arce fuit, docet ordine terno,

quae vel Aristoteles, partitus membra loquendi,

argumentosis dat retia syllogismis ; 175

quidquid Anaximenes, Euclides, Archyta, Zenon,

Arcesilas, Chrysippus Anaxagorasque dederunt,

Socraticusque animus post fatum in Phaedone vivus,

despiciens vastas tenuato in crure catenas,

cum tremeret mors ipsa reum ferretque venenum

pallida securo lictoris dextra magistro. 181

praeterea quidquid Latialibus indere libris

prisca aetas studuit, totum percurrere suetus :

Mantua quas acies pelagique pericula lusit

Zmyrnaeas imitata tubas, quamcumque loquendi 185

Arpinas dat consul opem, sine fine secutus

fabro progenitum, spreto cui patre polita

eloquiis plus lingua fuit, vel quidquid in aevum

mittunt Euganeis Patavina volumina chartis ;

qua Crispus brevitate placet, quo pondere Varro,

quo genio Plautus, quo fulmine Quintilianus, 191

qua pompa Tacitus numquam sine laude loquendus

His hunc formatum studiis, natalibus ortum,

moribus imbutum princeps cui mundiis ab Euro

ad Zeph3rrum tunc sceptra dabat, cui nubilis atque

unica purpureos debebat nata nepotes, 196

elegit generum ; sed non ut deside luxu

fortuna soceri contentus et otia captans

nil sibi deberet ; comitis sed iure recepto

Danuvii ripas et tractum limitis ampli 200

circuit, hortatur, disponit, discutit, armat.

sic sub patre Pius moderatus castra parentis,

sic Marcus vivente Pio, post iura daturi,

innumerabilibus legionibus imperitabant.

hinc reduci datur omnis honos, et utrique magister

militiae consulque micat, coniuncta potestas 206

patricii, celerique gradu privata cucurrit

culmina conscenditque senum puer ipse curulem,

sedit et emerito iuvenis veteranus in aiiro.

lamque parens divos : sed vobis nulla cupido 210

imperii ; longam diademata passa repulsam

insignem legere virum, quern deinde legentem

spernere non posses : soli tibi contulit uni

hoc Fortuna decus, quamquam te posceret ordo,

ut lectus princeps mage quam videare relictus. 215

post socerum Augustum regnas, sed non tibi venit

purpura per thalamos, et coniunx regia regno

laus potius quam causa fuit ; nam iuris habenis

non generum legit respublica, sed generosum.

fallor, bis gemino nisi cardine rem probat orbis : 220

ambit te Zephyrus rectorem, destinat Eurus,

ad Boream pugnas et formidaris ad Austrum.

Ante tamen quam te socium collega crearet,

perstrinxisse libet quos Illyris ora triumphos

viderit, excisam quae se Valameris ab armis 225

forte ducis nostri vitio deserta gemebat.

baud aliter, caesus quondam cum Caepio robiu

dedidit Ausonium, subita cogente ruina

electura ducem post guttura fracta lugurthae

ultum Arpinatem Calpurnia foedera lixam ” 230

opposuit rabido respublica territa Cimbro.

hie primum ut vestras aquilas provincia vidit,

desiit hostiles confestim horrere dracones.

ilicet edomiti bello praedaque cardites

mox ipsi tua praeda iacent.

Sed omittimus istos 235

ut populatores : belli magis acta revolvo ;

quod bellum non parva manus nee carcere fracto

ad gladiaturam tu Spartace vincte parasti/

sed Scythicae vaga turba plagae, feritatis abundans,

dira, rapax, vehemens,ipsis quoque gentibus illic

barbara barbaricis, cuius dux Hormidac atque 241

civis erat. quis tale solum est moresque genusque :

Albus H3rperboreis Tanais qua vallibus actus

Riphaea de caute cadit, iacet axe sub Vrsae

gens animis membrisque minax : ita vultibus ipsis 245

infantum suus hon-or inest. consurgit in artum

massa rotunda caput ; geminis sub fronte cavernis

visus adest oculis absentibus ; acta cerebri

in cameram vix ad refugos lux pervenit orbes,

non tamen et clausos ; nam fornice non spatioso 250

magna vident spatia, et maioris luminis usum

perspicua in puteis compensant puncta profundis.

turn, ne per malas excrescat fistula duplex,

obtundit teneras circumdata fascia nares,

ut galeis cedant : sic propter proelia natos 255

maternus deformat amor, quia tensa genarum

non interiecto fit latior area naso.

cetera pars est pulchra viris : stant pectora vasta,

insignes umeri, succincta sub ilibus alvus.

forma quidem pediti miedia est, procera sed exstat 260

si cernas equites : sic longi saepe putantur

si sedeant. vix matre carens ut constitit infans,

mox praebet dorsum sonipes ; cognata reare

membra viris : ita semper equo ceu fixus adhaeret

rector ; cornipedum tergo gens altera fertur, 265

haec habitat, teretes arcus et spicula cordi,

terribiles certaeque manus iaculisque ferendae

mortis fixa fides et non peccante sub ictu

edoctus peccare furor, gens ista repente

erumpens solidumque rotis transvecta per Histrum 270

venerat et siccas inciderat orbita lymphas.

hanc tu directus per Dacica rura vagantem

contra is, aggrederis, superas, includis ; et ut te

metato spatio castrorum Serdica vidit,

obsidione premis. quae te sic tempore multo 275

in vallo positum stupuit, quod miles in agros

nee licitis nee furtivis excursibus ibat.

cui deesset cum saepe Ceres semperque Lyaeus,

disciplina tamen non defuit ; inde propinquo

hoste magis timuere ducem, sic denique factum est

ut socius tum forte tuus, mox proditor, illis 281

frustra terga daret commissae tempore pugnae.

qui iam cum fugeret flexo pede cornua nudans,

tu stabas acies solus, te sparsa fugaci

expetiit ductore manus, te Marte pedestri 285

sudantem repetebat eques, tua signa secutus

non se desertum sensit certamine miles.

I nunc et veteris profer praeconia Tulli,

aetas cana patrum, quod pulchro hortamine mendax

occuluit refugi nutantia foedera Metti ! 290

nil simile est fallique tuum tibi non placet hostem.

tunc vicit miles, dum se putat esse iuvandum :

hie vicit postquam se comperit esse relictum.

dux fugit : insequeris ; renovat certamina : vincis ;

clauditur : expugnas ; elabitur : obruis atque 295

Sarmaticae paci pretium sua funera ponis.

paretur ; iussum subiit iam transfuga letum

atque peregrino cecidit tua victima ferro.

ecce iterum, si forte placet, conflige, vetustas !

Hannibal ille ferox ad poenam forte petitus, 300

etsi non habuit ius vitae fine supremo,

certe habuit mortis : quem caecus career et uncus

et quem exspectabat fracturus guttura lictor,

hausit Bebrycio constantior hospite virus ;

nam te qui fugit, mandata morte peremptus, 305

non tam victoris periit quam iudicis ore.

Nunc ades, o Paean, lauro cui grypas obuncos

docta lupata ligant quotiens per frondea lora

flectis penniferos hederis bicoloribus armos ;

hue converte chelyn : non est modo dicere tempus

Pythona exstinctum nee bis septena sonare 311

vulnera Tantalidum, quorum tibi funera servat

cantus et aeterno vivunt in carmine mortes.

vos quoque, Castalides, paucis, quo numine nobis

venerit Anthemius gemini cum foedere regni, 315

pandite : pax rerum misit qui bella gubernet.

Auxerat Augustus naturae lege Severus

divorum numerum. quem mox Oenotria casum

vidit ut aerei de rupibus Appennini,

pergit caerulei vitreas ad Thybridis aedes, 320

non galea conclusa genas (nee sutilis illi circulus inpactis loricam texuit hamis),

sed nudata caput ; pro crine racemifer exit

plurima per frontem constringens oppida palmes,

perque umeros teretes, rutilantes perque lacertos 325

pendula gemmiferae mordebant suppara bullae,

segnior incedit senio venerandaque membra

viticomam retinens baculi vice flectit ad ulmum.

sed tamen Vbertas sequitur : quacumque propinquat,

incessu fecundat iter ; comitataque gressum 330

laeta per impress as rorat Vindemia plantas.

I licet ingreditur Tiberini gurgitis antrum,

currebat fluvius residens et harundinis altae

concolor in viridi fluitabat silva capillo ;

dat sonitum mento unda cadens, licet hispida saetis

suppositis multum sedaret barba fragorem ; 336

pectore ructabat latices lapsuque citato

sulcabat madidam iam torrens alveus alvum.

terretur veniente dea manibusque remissis

remus et urna cadunt. veniae tum verba paranti 340

ilia prior : ” venio viduatam praesule nostro

per te, si placeat, lacrimis inflectere Romam :

expetat Aurorae partes fastuque remoto

hoc unum praestet, iam plus dignetur amari.

instrue quas quaerat vires orbique iacenti 345

circulus inpactis loricam texuit hamis),

sed nudata caput ; pro crine racemifer exit

plurima per frontem constringens oppida palmes,

perque umeros teretes, rutilantes perque lacertos 325

pendula gemmiferae mordebant suppara bullae,

segnior incedit senio venerandaque membra

viticomam retinens baculi vice flectit ad ulmum.

sed tamen Vbertas sequitur : quacumque propinquat,

incessu fecundat iter ; comitataque gressum 330

laeta per impress as rorat Vindemia plantas.

I licet ingreditur Tiberini gurgitis antrum,

currebat fluvius residens et harundinis altae

concolor in viridi fluitabat silva capillo ;

dat sonitum mento unda cadens, licet hispida saetis

suppositis multum sedaret barba fragorem ; 336

pectore ructabat latices lapsuque citato

sulcabat madidam iam torrens alveus alvum.

terretur veniente dea manibusque remissis

remus et urna cadunt. veniae tum verba paranti 340

ilia prior : ” venio viduatam praesule nostro

per te, si placeat, lacrimis inflectere Romam :

expetat Aurorae partes fastuque remoto

hoc unum praestet, iam plus dignetur amari.

instrue quas quaerat vires orbique iacenti 345

Agrigentini recolit dispendia campi.

inde furit, quod se docuit satis iste nepotem

illius esse viri quo viso, Vandale, semper

terga dabas. nam non Siculis inlustrior arvis 370

tu, Marcelle, redis, per quem tellure marique

nostra Syracusios presserunt arma penates ;

nee tu cui currum Curii superare, Metelle,

contigit, ostentans nobis elephanta frequentem,

grex niger albentes tegeret cum mole iugales 375

auctoremque suum celaret pompa triumphi.

Noricus Ostrogothum quod continet, iste timetur ;

Gallia quod Rheni Martem ligat, iste pavori est ;

quod consanguineo me Vandalus hostis Halano

diripuit radente, suis hie ultus ab armis. 380

sed tamen unus homo est nee tanta pericula solus

tollere, sed differe potest : modo principe nobis

est opus armato, veterum qui more parentum

non mandet sed bella gerat, quem signa moventem

terra vel unda tremant, ut tandem iure recepto 385

Romula desuetas moderentur classica classes.”

Audiit ilia pater, simul annuit, itur in urbem.

continuo videt ipse deam, summissus adorat,

pectus et exsertam tetigerunt cornua mammam ;

mandatas fert inde preces ; quas diva secuta 390

apparat ire viam. laxatos torva capillos

stringit et inclusae latuerunt casside turres ;

infula laurus erat. bullis hostilibus asper

applicat a laeva surgentem balteus ensem.

inseritur clipeo victrix manus ; illius orbem 395

Martigenae, lupa, Thybris, Amor, Mars, Ilia


fibula mordaci refugas a pectore vestes

dente capit. micat hasta minax, quercusque tropaeis

curva tremit placitoque deam sub fasce fatigat.

perpetuo stat planta solo, sed fascia primos 400

sistitur ad digitos, retinacula bina cothurnis

mittit in adversum vincto de fomite pollex,

quae stringant crepidas et concun’entibus ansis

vinclorum pandas texant per crura catenas,

ergo sicut erat liquidam transvecta per aethram 405

nascentis petiit tepidos Hyperionis ortus.

Est locus Oceani, longinquis proximus Indis,

axe sub Eoo, Nabataeum tensus in Eurum :

ver ibi continuum est, interpellata nee ullis

  1. placitoque Drakenborch : placidoque codd., def.


frigoribus pallescit humus, sed flore perenni 410

picta peregrines ignorant arva rigores ;

halant rura rosis, indiscriptosque per agros

fragrat odor ; violam, cytisum, serpylla, ligustrum,

lilia, narcissos, casiam, colocasia, caltas,

costum, malobathrum, myrrhas, opobalsama, tura 415

parturiunt campi ; nee non pulsante senecta

hinc rediviva petit vicinus cinnama Phoenix.

hie domus Aurorae rutilo crustante metallo

bacarum praefert leves asprata lapillos.

diripiunt diversa oculos et ab arte magistra 420

hoc vincit, quodcumque vides ; sed conditur omnis

sub domina praesente decor, nimioque rubore

gemmarum varios perdit quia possidet ignes.

fundebat coma pexa crocos flexoque lacerto

lutea depressus comebat tempora pecten. 425

fundebant oculi radios ; color igneus iUis,

non tamen ardor erat, quamvis de nocte recussa

excepti soleant sudorem fingere rores.

pectora bis cingunt zonae, parvisque papillis

invidiam facit ipse sinus ; pars extima pepli 430

perfert puniceas ad crura rubentia rugas.

sic regina sedet solio ; sceptri vice dextram

lampadis hasta replet ; Nox adstat proxima divae,

iam refugos conversa pedes, ac pone tribunal

promit Lux summum vix intellecta cacumen. 435

hinc Romam liquido venientem tramite cernens

exsiluit propere et blandis prior orsa loquellis

” quid, caput o mundi,” dixit, ” mea regna revisis ?

quidve iubes ? ” paulum ilia silens atque aspera


mitibus haec coepit : ” venio (desist e moveri 440

nee multum trepida), non ut mihi pressus Araxes

imposito sub ponte fluat nee ut ordine prisco

Indicus Ausonia potetur casside Ganges,

aut ut tigriferi pharetrata per arva Niphatis

depopuletur ovans Artaxata Caspia consul. 445

non Fori modo regna precor nee ut hisce lacertis

frangat Hydaspeas aries inpactus Erythras.

non in Bactra feror nee committentia pugnas

nostra Semiramiae rident ad classica portae.

Arsacias non quaero domus nee tessera castris 450

in Ctesiphonta datur. totum hunc tibi cessimus

et nee sic mereor nostram ut tueare senectam ?

omne quod Euphraten Tigrimque interiacet olim

sola tenes : res empta mihi est de sanguine Crassi,

ad Carrhas pretium scripsi ; nee inulta remansi 455

aut periit sic emptus ager ; si fallo, probasti,

Ventidio mactate Sapor, nee sufficit istud :

Armenias Pontumque dedi, quo Marte petitum

dicat Sulla tibi ; forsan non creditur uni :

consule Lucullum. taceo iam Cycladas omnes : 460

adquisita meo servit tibi Creta Metello.

transcripsi Cilicas : hos Magnus fuderat olim.

adieci Syriae, quos nunc moderaris, Isauros :

hos quoque sub nostris domuit Servilius arinis.

concessi Aetolos veteres Acheloiaque arva, 465

transfudi Attalicum male credula testamentum ;

Epirum retines : tu scis cui debeat illam

P)nThus. in Illyricum specto te mittere iura

ac Macetum terras : et habes tu, Paule, nepotes.

Aegypti frumenta dedi : mihi vicerat olim 470

Leucadiis Agrippa fretis. ludaea tenetur

sub dicione tua, tamquam tu miseris illuc

insignem cum patre Titum. tibi Cypria merces

fertur : pugnaces ego pauper laudo Catones.

Dorica te tellus et Achaica rura tremiscunt, 475

tendis et in bimarem felicia regna Corinthon :

die, Byzantinus quis rem tibi Mummius egit ?

*’ Sed si forte placet veteres sopire querellas,

Anthemium concede mihi. sit partibus istis

Augustus longumque Leo ; mea iura gubernet 480

quern petii ; patrio vestiri murice natam

gaudeat Euphemiam sidus divale parentis,

adice praeterea privatum ad publica foedus :

sit socer Augustus genero Ricimere beatus ;

nobilitate micant : est vobis regia virgo, 485

regius ille mihi. si concors annuis istud,

mox Libyam sperare dabis. circumspice taedas

antiquas : par nulla tibi sic copula praesto est.

proferat hie veterum thalamos discrimine partos

Graecia, ni pudor est : reparatis Pisa quadrigis 490

suscitet Oenomaum, natae quem fraude cadentem

cerea destituit resolutis axibus obex ;

procedat Colchis prius agnita virgo marito

crimine quam sexu ; spectet de carcere circi

pallentes Atalanta procos et poma decori 495

Hippomenis iam non pro solo colligat auro ;

Deianira, tuas Achelous gymnade pinguis

inlustret taedas et ab Hercule pressus anhelo

lassatum foveat rivis rivalibus hostem :

quantumvis repetam veteris conubia saecli, 500

transcendunt hie heroas, heroidas ilia,

hos thalamos, Ricimer, Virtus tibi pronuba poscit

atque Dionaeam dat Martia laurea myrtum.

ergo age, trade virum non otia pigra foventem

deliciisque gravem, sed quern modo nauticus urit 505

aestus Abydenique sinus et Sestias ora

Hellespontiacis circumelamata procellis ;

quas pelagi fauces non sic tenuisse vel ilium

crediderim cui ruptus Athos, cui remige Medo

turgida silvosam currebant vela per Alpem ; 510

nee Lucullanis sic haec freta cincta carinis,

segnis ad insignem sedit cum Cyzicon hostis,

qui cogente fame cognata cadavera mandens

vixit morte sua. sed quid mea vota retardo ?

trade magis.” 515

Tum pauca refert Tithonia coniunx :

” due age, sancta parens, quamquam mihi maximus


invieti summique ducis, dum mitior exstes

et non disiunetas melius moderemur habenas.

nam si forte placet veterum meminisse laborum,

et qui pro patria vestri pugnaret luli, 520

ut nil plus dicam, prior hinc ego Memnona misi.”

P’inierant ; geminas iunxit Concordia partes,

electo tandem potitur quod principe Roma.

nunc aliquos voto simili vel amore, vetustas,

te legisse crepa, numquam non invida summis 525

emeritisque viris. Brenni contra arma Camillum

profer ab exilio Cincinnatoque secures

expulso Caesone refer flentemque parentem

a rastris ad rostra roga, miseroque tumultu

pelle prius, quos victa petas ; si ruperit Alpes 530

Poenus, ad adflictos condemnatosque recurre ;

improbus ut rubeat Barcina clade Metaurus,

multatus tibi consul agat, qui milia fundens

Hasdrubalis, rutilum sibi cum fabricaverit ensera,

concretum gerat ipse caput, longe altera nostri 535

gratia iudicii est : scit se non laesus amari.

Sed mea iam nimii propellunt carbasa flatus ;

siste, Camena, modos tenues, portumque petenti

iara placido sedeat mihi carminis ancora fundo.

ai tamen, o princeps, quae nunc tibi classis et

arma 540

tractentur, quam magna geras quam tempore parvo,

si mea vota deus produxerit, ordine recto

aut genero bis mox aut te ter consule dicam.

[1] E.g., SIDONIUS, Carmen 2 193. Anthemius had achieved major victories over the Ostrogoths in Thrace sometime during 459-462 (SIDONIUS, Carmen 2 224-26, 232-35), and over the Huns in late 466 or early 467 (SIDONIUS, Carmen 2 236-42, 269-80).

[2] PRISCUS, frag. 53.3.15-20; MARCELLINUS, Chronicle 467.1; THEOPHANES, Chronicle. AM 5957.

[3] W. TREADGOLD, Byzantine Historians…, cit., p. 157. G. SIEBIGS (Kaiser Leo I…, cit., pp. 478-490), however, suggests that the opening salvos between the two occurred in the first years of Leo’s rule and were concerned with Christological issues.

[4] As we can see from the passage above, the easterner Anthemius had landed in a difficult situation. As ARNOLD (Roman Imperial Restoration…, cit., p. 153) points out, ‘Contemporary western propaganda sought to paint the Gothic Ricimer ‘as a noble Roman protector’ whilst casting Anthemius ‘as an enraged Galatian and Greekling rather than the Roman he claimed to be.’

[5] P. WOOD (Multiple Voices…, cit., p. 303) sees this passage as an instance of Malalas being ironic, maintaining that the chronicler sought to present Leo as a barbarian along the lines of Ricimer. I doubt that the rather clumsy historian Malalas was capable of such subtlety.

[6] SIDONIUS, Epist. 1.5.10-11: Dalton trans., 1.12-13.

[7] A point made by A. MERRILLS and R. MILES, The Vandals, p. 122 on THEOPHANES, AM 5961.

[8] Ivi, pp.122-23.