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A History Of The Church In Five Books by Theodoret

THE imprudence of the emperor was manifested by the mode of his death. When he and his army had passed the river which separates the Persian from the Roman dominions, he burnt his ships, in order that the soldiery might fight not by persuasion but by compulsion. The most distinguished commanders have always inspired their troops with alacrity, and when discouragements have arisen, they have roused their expectations and animated their hopes. But this emperor, on the contrary, discouraged his soldiers by burning the vessels, and destroying their hopes of returning to their own country. In addition to this act of imprudence, the wise emperor neglected to provide the requisite supplies of food for his army; for he neither directed provisions to be brought from the provinces of his own empire, nor did he take measures to obtain them by making depredations on the enemy’s territories. He led his troops far away from all inhabited places, and made them march through a desert. Oppressed by hunger and by thirst, and without any efficient guide, the soldiers were compelled to wander about in the desert, through the imprudence of this wisest of emperors. In the very midst of their consequent complaints and lamentations, they beheld him who was madly contending with his Creator fall down wounded: he was unaided by the warlike Mars who had promised his support; unassisted by Apollo who had given so false and perplexing an oracle; and even Jove the thunderer did not hurl one of his thunder-bolts against him by whom he was slain. Thus were his threats overthrown, and shown to be vain. No one knows even to this day, by whom this mortal blow, which he had so justly deserved, was inflicted. Some say that it was by one of the invisible order of beings, others that it was by the hand of an individual belonging to one of the nomadic tribes generally called Ishmaelites; others say that he was killed by a soldier reduced to despair by hunger, and by wandering in the desert. But whether the sword were that of an angel or of a man, certain it is that whoever committed the deed was but the instrument of the Divine will. It is said that, directly after he had received the wound, Julian took some of the blood in his hand, and threw it up towards heaven, saying, Galilean! thou hast conquered!” So great was his stupidity, that thus, at one and the same instant, he acknowledged his defeat, and gave utterance to blasphemy.








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