After Valens had crossed the Bosphorus and come into Thrace he first spent a considerable time at Constantinople, in alarm as to the issue of the war. He had sent Trajanus in command of troops against the barbarians. When the general came back beaten, the emperor reviled him sadly, and charged him with infirmity and cowardice. Boldly, as became a brave man, Trajanus replied: “I have not been beaten, sir, it is thou who hast abandoned the victory by fighting against God and transferring His support to the barbarians. Attacked by thee He is taking their side, for victory is on Gods side and comes to them whom God leads. Dost thou not know,” he went on, “whom thou hast expelled from their churches and to whose government these churches have been delivered by thee?” Arintheus and Victor, 802 generals like Trajanus, confirmed the truth of what he said, and implored the emperor not to be angered by reproaches which were founded upon fact. 803
Gibbon (chap. xxvi) records the conduct of the war by “Trajan and Profuturus, two generals who indulged themselves in a very false and favourable opinion of their own abilities.” “Anhelantes altius. sed imbelles.” Amm.
The battle alluded to is presumably the doubtful one of Salices. Ammianus does not, as Gibbon supposes, imply that he had himself visited this particular battlefield, but speaks generally of carrion birds as “adsuetæ illo tempore cadaveribus pasci, ut indicant nunc usque albentes ossibus campi.” Amm. xxxi. 7. 16.
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