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Julian received inspiration with equal impartiality from the poets and thinkers of ancient Greece, from the mystical doctors of Neo-platonic philosophy as well as from vulgar quacks and thaumaturgists; and his theology was a vessel into which every liquid, good, bad and indifferent, had been indiscriminately poured. The centre of his system was the worship of the sun-god, who was regarded as the supreme embodiment of the energy, spirit and intellect by which the Universe is ruled. Monotheism was in the air; and Julian, who was sensitive to the spiritual currents of his time, acknowledges the force of its appeal. But the gods of the ancient mythology were not to be dispossessed by an Oriental intruder; and place was found in the new system for the traditional polytheism of Greece, Rome and the Nearer East.

All this religious side of Julian's activity was indifferent, if not distasteful, to Ammianus. He was by nature a politique, with an ingrained distrust of ecstasy and enthusiasm; and it is like his Roman love of reserve to single out among the defects of Julian's character his volubility and not infrequent converse with persons of low degree, and to comment with some asperity upon the extremes of his sacrificial zeal. So, although he makes a hero of Julian, he is discriminating in praise and does not try to slur over defects. He comments, for instance, unfavourably upon his habit of asking litigants to what religion they belonged, and denounces in the strongest terms the cruel edict which forbade Christian masters of rhetoric and grammar to teach in the schools. In general it may be said that his portrait is fully substantiated by Julian's written remains, and that this singular body of literature affords the best proof of the discernment which Ammianus brought to bear upon the characters of his history. We read the letters, the orations and the satires, and then return to Ammianus to find that the strength and weakness of the writer's curious and attractive temperament have been duly noted. Perhaps a modern historian would see more to admire in the religious nature of this Crusader against the Cross and less in his military achievements. But in essential points, there will be no disagreement from this, one of the most remarkable studies of character in the whole range of history.

But, however highly we may be disposed to rate the gift of personal portraiture, it is not the principal treasure of the historical mind. A series of cameos, be they as delicate and true as you will, does not, of itself, constitute a history. We ask for more-for nothing less than the intelligent interpretation of a vanished age, so that we may understand not only the motives of the leading actors on the stage, but the general tendencies of the time, the essential springs of change, the elements of strength and weakness, of progress, recuperation or decay, which may be inferred from the recital of political transactions or from the analysis of the social and economic fabric, and above all so that we may form a just view of the political and social problems of the age. In the highest sense of the term, Ammianus is no philosophic historian. He has neither the moral depth nor the intellectual grasp which is necessary to the grand style in history; and, if we were compelled solely to rely upon his evidence for our knowledge of the life of the Romans during the later half of the fourth century, some essential elements would be wanting to the picture. But at least it may be said that he enables us to realise, through his own vivid feeling of their importance, two contrasted and portentous facts, the power of the barbarian world and the decay of Roman society. His graphic and vigorous sketches of the Isaurians, the Persians, the Saracens and the Huns, his admirable story of the Gothic invasion of Thrace and of the terrific fighting at Adrianople-where Rome experienced a defeat more crushing than any since Cannae-the care with which he enumerates and characterises the barbarian tribes who were pressing everywhere upon the Roman defences, and more particularly the attention which he devotes to the various manifestations of the military art to be found among the antagonists of the Empire-all this side of his work was not only relevant to immediate political needs, but has an enduring importance as throwing light upon one of the greatest changes in recorded history.

We are always a little distrustful of the critic who denounces the decadence of his contemporaries, for every generation can be shown to be corrupt on a careful selection of the facts, and every society takes a morbid pleasure in the recital of its own manifest degeneracy.

It is not surprising that a veteran from the provinces, trained at the ascetic court of Julian, should have found much to reprehend in Roman society. And, as Juvenal was still one of the most popular authors of the day, we may well imagine that a lecture on contemporary history would gain vogue through a spice of moral denunciation. But the real strength of the indictment of Ammianus does not consist so much in his portrayal of the profligate manners of the Roman people as in the crushing evidence which he adduces of a general infection of cruelty, incompetence and disorder, poisoning the whole body politic of the Empire. The strongest Roman fortress on the Tigris was sacrificed through a palace intrigue directed against Ursicinus, the ablest commander in the East. And such an incident does not stand alone. When the armies of the Goths were pouring over the Balkan Peninsula 'like the lava of Mount Etna,' the generals selected to oppose them were not only ignorant and rash, but actually sacrificed an important military advantage in order that they might traffic in slaves with the enemy. But perhaps the most signal evidence of the disease in the body politic is supplied by the conduct of the emperors themselves. Constantius was in some ways above the average level of conduct. He was chaste, temperate, laborious, a diligent cultivator of learning and scrupulous in his distribution of patronage. But his tyranny was terrific. The faintest suspicion-and the atmosphere of his Court was poisoned by the breath of traducers-was enough to set in motion the machinery of the most awful persecution. The same evil mania, resulting in the same wild orgy of Asiatic cruelty, afflicted the sluggish and illiterate Valens. Even the better emperors interfered with the course of justice, and were assailed by the voices of intriguers who wished to use the machinery of government for plunder or revenge. And the most sinister feature in this sombre story of panic and savage violence is that the voice of protest is silent. There are epigrams, there are breadriots and wine-riots and military revolts, but there are no organs of liberty. The Senate of Rome is a powerless shadow. There are no parties formed on a common basis of political principles. The civilised world is governed by an Oriental tyranny.


'We might censure the vices of his style, the disorder and perplexity of his narrative; but we must now take leave of this impartial historian, and reproach is silenced by our regret for such an irreparable loss.' So does Gibbon wave his stately adieu to the accurate and faithful guide,' whose steps he has followed with punctuality, sarcasm and profit. The records of the Roman Empire are lamentably imperfect; and one of the most curious features in literary history is the complete disappearance of a series of autobiographies written by some of the most famous of the emperors. What would we not give for the memoirs of Augustus and Vespasian, for the autobiographies of Hadrian and Severus, or the Commentaries of Constantine? They have perished; and no fragment has been quoted sufficiently substantial to enable us to estimate our loss. For centuries, too, the work of Ammianus was lost to Europe; and it was not until Poggio's discovery of the Hersfeld manuscript that this invaluable writer was restored to European scholarship.

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The 15th century was a Ciceronian age; and in the circle of Italian purists the solecisms of the Syrian veteran were felt to stand in need of apology. The editio princeps by Sabinus (Rome, 1494) is prefaced by a letter to the Bishop of Bergamo, in which the editor craves that his author may not be entirely condemned for his use of the Latin word for deacon.' We do not know whether the Bishop was able to condone so grave a departure from classical usage. But to the modern eye it is one of the chief merits of this honest writer that his Latinity is not too pure, that it bears traces of the mingling of Greek, Latin and Christian elements, and that it reflects with care and fidelity the conditions and transactions of the age in which he lived.



'I vow to thee, my country-all earthly things above-
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love—
The love that asks no question; the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

'And there's another country, I've heard of long ago--
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that

We may not count her armies; we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently, her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are



Jan. 12, 1918.

C. A. S. R.

THESE lines were written by Sir Cecil Arthur Spring-Rice, His Majesty's Ambassador to the United States, on the eve of his final departure from Washington. The vow recorded in them had been kept long before he put it into words, for he had served his country for a quarter of a century with 'the love that never falters'; and, though he knew it not, he was already a dying man. With his singular clarity of vision he had realised from the beginning of the war that its issue might well depend in the last resort on the attitude of the great American Republic; and so acute a sense as his of the awful responsibility that rested in such circumstances upon a British Ambassador during the prolonged period of American hesitation and neutrality, would have told severely on a much more robust constitution. If diplomacy may be compared to active warfare, he had fought for two years in the most dangerous and important salient of the British lines-had fought, as diplomatists must ever fight, silently and patiently but indomitably under the poisoned shell-fire of German intrigues; and when, with the entry of the great American democracy into the war, he had done his bit' and was free to quit the post he had held with unswerving tenacity through

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