Nam quid ego de ceteris civitatis illius regionibus loquar, quibus illacrimasse te ipse confessus es? vidisti enim non, ut per agros aliarum urbium, omnia fere culta aperta florentia, vias faciles, navigera flumina ipsas oppidorum portas adluentia, sed statim ab eo flexu, e quo retrorsum via ducit in Belgicam, vasta omnia, inculta squalentia muta tenebrosa, etiam militares vias ita confragosas et alternis montibus arduas atque praecipites, ut vix semiplena carpenta, interdum vacua transmittant. ex quo saepe accidit ut obsequia nostra tarda sint, cum paucarum frugum nobis difficilior sit evectio quam ceteris plurimarum. quo magis, imperator, pietati tuae gratias agimus, qui cum scires internum regionum nostrarum habitum atque adspectum tam foedum tamque asperum, tamen illo deflectere et urbem illam sola opis tuae exspectatione viventem inlustrare dignatus es. boni principis est libenter suos videre felices, sed melioris invisere etiam laborantes. di immortales! quisnam ille tum nobis illuxit dies (iam enim ad praedicanda remedia numinis tui ordine suo pervenit oratio), cum tu, quod primum nobis signum salutis fuit, portas istius urbis intrasti!—quae te habitu illo in sinum reducto et procurrentibus utrimque turribus amplexu quodam videbantur accipere.
(Panegyrici Latini 5.7)

For why should I speak about the other districts belonging to that community, over which you yourself confessed to have shed tears? For you did not see, as throughout the territory of other cities, almost everything cultivated, cleared and flowering, with easy roads and navigable rivers washing the very gates of the towns, but right from that turnoff from which the road leads back to Belgica you saw everything devastated, uncultivated, neglected, silent and gloomy, and even the military roads so rough and steep and precipitous, with such a succession of mountains, that half-full wagons, and sometimes even empty ones, may scarcely travel along them. As a result, it often happens that our obligations are discharged late, since the transport of a small harvest is more difficult for us than that of a bountiful one is for others. For this reason, we are the more disposed to give thanks to your piety, O Emperor*, who, although you knew that the internal condition and appearance of our region was so vile and so rough, nonetheless were good enough to turn aside to it, and bring light to that city which lived solely in anticipation of your help. It is the mark of a good ruler that he is happy to see his subjects  prosperous, but of a better one that he visits them even when they are suffering. Immortal gods! What a day then shone upon us (for now my speech has reached in its course the celebration of your divinity’s assistance), when you entered the gates of this city**, which was the first sign of salvation for us. And the gates, drawn back in the likeness of a curve, with towers projecting on either side, seemed to receive you in a kind of embrace.

* Constantine.
** Autun.

(tr. Charles E.V. Nixon and Barbara Saylor Rodgers)


Rome, Arch of Constantine. Sacrifice to Apollo. Relief on the Ar
Sacrifice to Apollo on the Arch of Constantine

Quod quidem nobis sempter optandum est ut prosperos habeas etiam ultra tua vota successus, qui omnem spem in gremio maiestatis tuae ponimus et tuam ubique praesentiam, quasi dari possit, expetimus. ecce enim, dum a limite paulisper abscesseras, quibus se terroribus barbarorum perfidia iactaverat, scilicet dum sibi illa proponunt: quando perveniet? quando vincet? quando fessum reducet exercitum? cum repente audito reditu tuo velut attoniti conciderunt, ne tuum pro re publica votum aplius quam unius noctis cura tetigisset. postridie enim quam accepto illo nuntio geminatum itineris laborem susceperas, omnes fluctus resedisse, omnem quam relinqueras tranquillitatem redisse didicisti, ipsa hoc sic ordinante Fortuna ut te ibi rerum tuarum felicitas admoneret dis immortalibus ferre quae voveras, ubi deflexisses ad templum toto orbe pulcherrimum, immo ad praesentem, ut vidisti, deum. vidisti enim, credo, Constantine, Apollinem tuum comitante Victoria coronas tibi laureas offerentem, quae tricenum singulae ferunt omen annorum. hic est enim humanarum numerus aetatum quae tibi utique debentur ultra Pyliam senectutem. et—immo quid dico ‘credo’?—vidisti teque in illius specie recognovisti, cui totius mundi regna deberi vatum carmina divina cecinerunt. quod ego nunc demum arbitror contigisse, cum tu sis, ut ille, iuvenis et laetus et salutifer et pulcherrimus, imperator. merito igitur augustissima illa delubra tantis donariis honestasti, ut iam vetera non quaerant. iam omnia te vocare ad se templa videantur praecipueque Apollo noster, cuius ferventibus aquis periuria puniantur, quae te maxime oportet odisse.
(XII Panegyrici Latini, 6.21)

What we must always hope for, indeed, is that you prosper and succeed even beyond your prayers, we who put all our hopes in the lap of your majesty, and wish for your presence everywhere, as if that boon were feasible. Take for instance the short time you were way from the frontier. In what terrifying fashion did barbarian perfidy vaunt itself! Of course all the while they asked themselves: “When will he reach here? When will he conquer? When will he lead back his exhausted army?” when all of a sudden upon the news of your return they were prostrated, as if thunderstruck, so that no more than one night’s anxiety should lay its claim on your pledge to save the commonwealth. For on the day after that news had been received and you had undertaken the labor of double stages on your journey, you learnt that all the waves had subsided, and that the all-pervading calm which you had left behind had been restored. Fortune herself so ordered this matter that the happy outcome of your affairs prompted you to convey to the immortal gods what you had vowed at the very spot where you had turned aside toward the most beautiful temple in the whole world, or rather, to the deity made manifest, as you saw. For you saw, I believe, O Constantine, your Apollo, accompanied by Victory, offering you laurel wreaths, each one of which carries a portent of thirty years. For this is the number of human ages which are owed to you without fail—beyond the old age of a Nestor. And—now why do I say “I believe”?—you saw, and recognized yourself in the likeness of him to whom the divine songs of the bards had prophesied that rule over the whole world was due. And this I think has now happened since you are, O Emperor, like he, youthful, joyful, a bringer of health and very handsome. Rightly, therefore, have you honored those most venerable shrines with such great treasures that they do not miss their old ones, any longer. Now may all the temples be seen to beckon you to them, and particularly our Apollo, whose boiling waters punish perjuries—which ought to be especially hateful to you. (tr. Charles E.V. Nixon and Barbara Saylor Rodgers)