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)