Ἰουλιανοῦ δὲ ἐν τῷ Παρισίῳ (Γερμανίας δὲ αὕτη πολίχνη) διατρίβοντος, ὡς δὴ πρὸς ἐκδημίαν εὐτρεπεῖς ὄντες οἱ στρατιῶται νυκτὸς ἄχρι βαθείας ἐδείπνουν περὶ τὰ αὐτόθι βασίλεια, τῶν βουλευομένων κατὰ τοῦ Καίσαρος οὐδὲ ἓν λογιζόμενοι. τῶν δὲ ταξιάρχων τινὲς τὸ πάλαι κατ’ αὐτοῦ μηχανώμενον ἐπὶ τῶν πραγμάτων εὗρον ἀληθές, καὶ ἀνώνυμα γραμμάτια τῶν στρατιωτῶν ἐν μέσῳ κατὰ τὸ λεληθὸς διαρρίψαντες ἐδήλουν διὰ τούτων ὡς ὁ Καῖσαρ, ὁ δοὺς ἅπασιν ὡς εἰπεῖν τὸ κατὰ βαρβάρων τρόπαια στῆσαι διὰ τῶν οἰκείων στρατηγημάτων κατὰ μηδέν τε τῶν καθ’ ἕκαστον ἐν τῷ μάχεσθαι διαλλάττων, εἰς ἔσχατον ἥξει κινδύνου κατὰ βραχὺ τοῦ βασιλέως τὴν αὐτοῦ δύναμιν ὑποκλέπτοντος, εἰ μὴ συνδραμόντες ἅπαντες ὁμοῦ τὴν τῶν στρατιωτῶν κωλύσαιεν ἐκδημίαν. ταῦτα τὰ γραμματίδια διεσπαρμένα τινὲς τῶν στρατιωτῶν ἀναγνόντες, καὶ εἰς τὸ πλῆθος τὸ μελετώμενον ἐνεγκόντες, ἐξηρέθισαν ἅπαντας εἰς ὀργήν. καὶ ἀναστάντες ἐκ τοῦ πότου σὺν θορύβῳ πολλῷ, τῶν κυλίκων ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν ἔτι κειμένων, ὥρμησαν ἐπὶ τὰ βασίλεια, διαρρήξαντές τε τὰς θύρας σὺν οὐδενὶ κόσμῳ κατάγουσι δημοσίᾳ τὸν Καίσαρα, καὶ ἐπί τινος ἀσπίδος μετέωρον ἄραντες ἀνεῖπόν τε σεβαστὸν αὐτοκράτορα, καὶ ἐπέθεσαν σὺν βίᾳ τὸ διάδημα τῇ κεφαλῇ. ὃ δὲ δυσανασχετῶν μὲν ἐπὶ τῷ γεγονότι, τὸ δὲ ἀνακαλέσασθαι τὸ πραχθὲν οὐδεμίαν οἰηθεὶς ἔχειν ἀσφάλειαν Κωνσταντίου μήτε ὅρκοις ἐμμένοντος μήτε συνθήκαις ἢ ἄλλην τινὰ τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποις πίστιν φυλάττοντος, ὅμως ἐπειρᾶτο τῆς αὐτοῦ γνώμης, καὶ πρέσβεις ἐκπέμψας παρὰ τὴν αὑτοῦ προαίρεσίν τε καὶ γνώμην ἔφη προβῆναι τὰ τῆς ἀναρρήσεως, οἷς εἰ παράσχοι συγγνώμην, ἕτοιμος ἔφασκεν εἶναι τὴν τοῦ Καίσαρος ἔχειν ἀξίαν, ἀποθέμενος τὸ διάδημα. Κωνστάντιος δὲ εἰς τοσοῦτον ὀργῆς τε καὶ ἀλαζονείας ἠνέχθη ὥστε πρὸς τοὺς πρέσβεις εἰπεῖν ὡς προσήκει Ἰουλιανὸν τοῦ ζῆν ἀντεχόμενον ἀποθέσθαι πρὸς τῇ βασιλείᾳ καὶ τὸ τοῦ Καίσαρος σχῆμα, καταστάντα δὲ ἰδιώτην ἑαυτὸν τῇ προαιρέσει τοῦ βασιλέως ἐκδοῦναι· μηδὲ γὰρ πείσεσθαί τι δεινὸν μηδὲ ἀντάξιον ὧν ἐτόλμησε. ταῦτα ἀκηκοὼς Ἰουλιανὸς παρὰ τῶν πρέσβεων εἰς τὸ ἐμφανὲς ἔδειξεν ἣν εἶχε περὶ τὸ θεῖον προαίρεσιν, ἄντικρυς εἰς ἐπήκοον πάντων εἰπὼν ὡς τοῖς θεοῖς ἄμεινον ἢ τοῖς Κωνσταντίου λόγοις ἑαυτόν τε καὶ τὸν ἑαυτοῦ βίον ἐκδοῦναι. ἐντεῦθεν ἅπασι φανερὰ γέγονεν ἡ πρὸς Ἰουλιανὸν Κωνσταντίου δυσμένεια. καὶ Κωνστάντιος μὲν πρὸς ἐμφύλιον παρεσκευάζετο πόλεμον, Ἰουλιανῷ δὲ δυσχεραίνειν ἐπὶ τοῖς συμβεβηκόσιν ἐπῄει, ὡς, εἰ μέλλοι τῷ τὴν ἀρχὴν αὐτῷ δεδωκότι τοῦ Καίσαρος πολεμεῖν, ἀχαρίστου παρὰ τοῖς πολλοῖς ἀποίσεται δόξαν. ὄντι δὲ περὶ ταῦτα καὶ πᾶσαν γνώμην ἀνακυκλοῦντι, σφόδρα τε ὀκνηρῶς ἔχοντι πρὸς ἐμφύλιον πόλεμον, ἔδειξε δι’ ἐνυπνίου τὸ θεῖον αὐτῷ τὸ ἐσόμενον· ἐν Βιέννῃ γὰρ διατρίβοντι κατ’ ὄναρ ὁ Ἥλιος ἐδόκει δεικνύναι τοὺς ἀστέρας αὐτῷ, λέγειν τε ταῦτα τὰ ἔπη·
Ζεὺς ὅταν εἰς πλατὺ τέρμα πέλῃ κλυτοῦ Ὑδροχόοιο,
Παρθενικῆς δὲ Κρόνος μοίρῃ βαίνῃ ἐπὶ πέντε
εἰκοστῇ, βασιλεὺς Κωνστάντιος Ἀσίδος αἴης
τέρμα φίλου βιότου στυγερὸν καὶ ἐπώδυνον ἕξει.
τούτῳ τῷ ἐνυπνίῳ θαρρήσας εἴχετο μὲν κατὰ τὸ σύνηθες αὐτῷ τῆς τῶν κοινῶν πραγμάτων ἐπιμελείας, ἐπεὶ δὲ ἦν ἔτι χειμών, τὰ μὲν ὅσα περὶ τοὺς βαρβάρους τῆς δεούσης ἠξιοῦτο προνοίας, ὥστε, εἰ δεήσει καὶ τῶν ἄλλων αὐτὸν ἀντιλαβέσθαι πραγμάτων, ἐν ἀσφαλείᾳ πάσῃ τὰ ἐν Κελτοῖς πράγματα μεῖναι, παρεσκευάζετο δέ, Κωνσταντίου κατὰ τὴν ἑῴαν ὄντος, τὴν αὐτοῦ προκαταλαβεῖν ἐπιχείρησιν.
(Zosimus, Historia Nova 3.9)
Julian was at this time staying at Parisium, a little town in Germany. The soldiers, ready to march, were supping late at night near the imperial quarters. They were totally unaware of the plot against Caesar* until certain military tribunes discovered the truth about the designs against him and unobtrusively distributed anonymous notes among the troops. In these they described how Caesar, whose generalship had enabled virtually everyone to win victories against the barbarians, and who always fought like a private soldier without privilege, was in grave danger from the emperor**, who was gradually stealing away his troops, unless they combined to prevent the soldiers’ departure. When some of the soldiers read the notes and informed the rest of what was happening, all were inflamed with rage. Thereupon they rose from their drinking in uproar, and going to the imperial quarters with the cups still in their hands, they burst open the doors without ceremony and led Caesar forth. Raising him aloft on a shield, they declared him Imperator Augustus and forced a crown onto his head. Julian was indeed distressed at what had happened, but realised there was no safety in undoing it, since Constantius did not abide by oaths or agreements or any other human pledge. Nevertheless, he decided to try him, so he sent ambassadors saying that his elevation had been contrary to his own wishes and judgement, and that if he would pardon him, he was content to have the honour of Caesar alone and to put aside his diadem. Constantius flew into such a fit of rage and arrogance that he told the ambassadors that, if Julian wanted to
live, he must renounce the rank of Caesar as well as the emperorship, and, thus degraded to private rank, submit himself to the emperor’s pleasure: only in this way would he escape the terrible punishment his audacity deserved. When Julian heard this from the envoys, he openly showed his religious opinions by declaring outright in the hearing of all that he would rather entrust himself and his life to the gods than to Constantius’ assurances. Henceforth Constantius’ enmity to Julian was clear to everyone and he prepared for a civil war. Julian, however, was displeased at how things had turned out, realising that if he fought the man who had given him the position of Caesar, he would gain a reputation with many people for being ungrateful. While he was thus engrossed in considering every possibility in his anxiety to avoid a civil war, the gods revealed the future to him in a dream; for while staying at Vienna he dreamed that the Sun showed him the stars and spoke these verses:
‘When Jupiter reaches the edge of noble Aquarius, and
Saturn comes to Virgo’s twenty-fifth degree, then emperor Constantius, king of Asia, will reach the hateful, painful end of sweet life.’
Heartened by this dream, he devoted himself as usual to public business, and since it was winter time, took the necessary precautions with the barbarians, so that if he should have to undertake any other business, Gaul would be quite secure; at the same time, while Constantius was still in the East, he prepared to anticipate his attack.
** Constantius II.
(tr. Ronald T. Ridley)