History of the Empire From the Death of Marcus/Book VI


1. THE fate which Elagabalus suffered I have described in the preceding pages. When Alexander received the empire, the appearance and the title of emperor were allowed him, but the management and control of imperial affairs were in the hands of his women, and they undertook a more moderate and more equitable administration. 2. First, they chose from the senate, to be the emperor's advisory council, sixteen men who because of their age seemed most dignified and temperate in their conduct. Nothing was said or done unless these men had first considered the matter and given unanimous approval. The fact that the character of the imperial government was changed from an arrogant autocracy to a form of aristocracy pleased the people, the army, and especially the senators. 3. To begin with, the statues of the gods which Elagabalus had moved or transferred were returned to their original positions in the ancient temples and shrines. The unqualified men whom Elagabalus had promoted to positions of trust or honor or who were notorious for their crimes were deprived of what they had received from the emperor and were ordered by the councilors to return to their former occupations. 4. In all government business and matters of state, the emperor's council entrusted political matters and public affairs to those who were competent lawyers and skillful orators, while they put in charge of military affairs experienced men who were skilled in the arts of war.

After the empire had been governed in this manner for some time, Maesa, then an old woman, died; receiving the imperial honors, she became, as the Romans believe, a deity.

5. Now left alone with her son, Mamaea tried to govern and control him in the same fashion. Fearing that his vigorous young manhood might plunge him into the errors of adolescence because his power and position were assured, Mamaea kept the palace under close guard and allowed no one suspected of debauchery to approach the youth. She was afraid that his character would be corrupted if his flatterers aroused his growing appetites to disgraceful desires. 6. She therefore induced him to serve as judge in the courts continually and for most of each day; occupied with important matters and the necessary business of the empire, he would have no opportunity to indulge in scandalous practices. Alexander's deportment was governed by a character naturally mild and civilized, and much inclined to benevolence, as was made clear when the youth grew older. 7. At any rate, he entered the fourteenth year of his reign without bloodshed, and no one could say that the emperor had been responsible for anyone's murder. Even though men were convicted of serious crimes, he nevertheless granted them pardons to avoid putting them to death, and not readily did any emperor of our time, after the reign of Marcus, act in this way or display so much concern for human life. Indeed, over a period of many years, no one could recall that any man had been condemned to death by Alexander without a trial.

8. Alexander blamed his mother for her excessive love of money and was annoyed by her relentless pursuit of gold. For a time she pretended to be gathering funds to enable Alexander to gratify the praetorians readily and generously, but in truth she was hoarding it for herself. And her miserliness in some measure reflected discredit upon his reign, even though he personally opposed it and was angry when she confiscated anyone's property and inheritance illegally.

9. Mamaea secured for Alexander a wife from the aristocracy. Although he loved the girl and lived with her, she was afterward banished from the palace by his mother, who, in her egotistic desire to be sole empress, envied the girl her title. So excessively arrogant did Mamaea become that the girl's father, though Alexander esteemed him highly, could no longer endure the woman's insolence toward him and his daughter; consequently, he took refuge in the praetorian camp, fully aware of the debt of gratitude he owed Alexander for the honors he had received from him, but complaining bitterly about Mamaea's insults. 10. Enraged, Mamaea ordered him to be killed and at the same time drove the girl from the palace to exile in Libya. She did this against Alexander's wishes and in spite of his displeasure, but the emperor was dominated by his mother and obeyed her every command. One might bring this single charge against Alexander, that his excessive amiability and abnormal filial devotion led him to bow to his mother in matters he personally disapproved.

And so for thirteen years he ruled the empire in blameless fashion so far as he personally was concerned.


1. IN THE fourteenth year, however, unexpected dispatches from the governors of Syria and Mesopotamia revealed that Artaxerxes, the Persian king, had conquered the Parthians and seized their Eastern empire, killing Artabanus, who was formerly called the Great King and wore the double diadem. Artaxerxes then subdued all the barbarians on his borders and forced them to pay tribute. He did not remain quiet, however, nor stay on his side of the Tigris River, but, after scaling its banks and crossing the borders of the Roman empire, he overran Mesopotamia and threatened Syria. 2. The entire continent opposite Europe, separated from it by the Aegean Sea and the Propontic Gulf, and the region called Asia he wished to recover for the Persian empire. Believing these regions to be his by inheritance, he declared that all the countries in that area, including Ionia and Caria, had been ruled by Persian governors, beginning with Cyrus, who first made the Median empire Persian, and ending with Darius, the last of the Persian monarchs, whose kingdom was seized by Alexander the Great. He asserted that it was therefore proper for him to recover for the Persians the kingdom which they had formerly possessed. 3. When the Eastern governors revealed these developments in their dispatches, Alexander was greatly disturbed by these unanticipated tidings, particularly since, raised from childhood in an age of peace, he had spent his entire life in urban ease and comfort. Before doing anything else, he thought it best, after consulting his advisers, to send an embassy to the king and by his letters halt the invasion and disappoint the barbarian's hopes. 4. In these letters he told Artaxerxes that he must remain within his own borders and not initiate any action; let him not, deluded by vain hopes, stir up a great war, but rather let each of them be content with what was already his. Artaxerxes would find fighting against the Romans not the same thing as fighting with his barbarian kinsmen and neighbors. Alexander further reminded the Persian king of the victories won over them by Augustus, Trajan, Verus, and Severus. By writing letters of this kind, Alexander thought that he would persuade the barbarian to remain quiet or frighten him to the same course. 5. But Artaxerxes ignored Alexander's efforts; believing that the matter would be settled by arms, not by words, he took the field, pillaging and looting all the Roman provinces. He overran and plundered Mesopotamia, trampling it under the hoofs of his horses. He laid siege to the Roman garrison camps on the banks of the rivers, the camps which defended the empire. Rash by nature and elated by successes beyond his expectations, Artaxerxes was convinced that he could surmount every obstacle in his path. 6. The considerations which led him to wish for an expanded empire were not small. He was the first Persian to dare to launch an attack on the Parthian empire and the first to succeed in winning back that empire for the Persians. Indeed, after Darius had been deprived of his kingdom by Alexander of Macedon, the Macedonians and Alexander's successors divided up the territory by countries and ruled the nations of the East and all Asia for many years. 7. When these governors quarreled and the power of the Macedonians was weakened by continual wars, they say that Arsaces the Parthian was the first to persuade the barbarians in those regions to revolt from the Macedonians. Invested with the crown by the willing Parthians and the neighboring barbarians, Arsaces ruled as king. For a long time the empire remained in his own family, down to Artabanus in our time; then Artaxerxes killed Artabanus and took possession of his kingdom for the Persians. After easily subduing the neighboring barbarian nations, the king began to plot against the Roman empire.


1. WHEN the bold actions of this Eastern barbarian were disclosed to Alexander while he was passing the time in Rome, he found these affronts unendurable. Though the undertaking distressed him and was contrary to his inclinations, since his governors there were calling for him, he made preparations for departure. He assembled for army service picked men from Italy and from all the Roman provinces, enrolling those whose age and physical condition qualified them for military service. 2. The gathering of an army equal in size to the reported strength of the attacking barbarians caused the greatest upheaval throughout the Roman world. When these troops were gathered in Rome, Alexander ordered them to assemble on the usual plain. There he mounted a platform and addressed them as follows:

3. "I wished, fellow soldiers, to make the customary speech to you, the speech from which I, speaking to the popular taste, receive approval, and you, when you hear it, receive encouragement. Since you have now enjoyed many years of peace, you may be startled to hear something unusual or contrary to your anticipations. 4. Brave and intelligent men should pray for things to turn out for the best, but they should also endure whatever befalls. It is true that the enjoyment of things done for pleasure brings gratification, but good repute results from the manliness involved in setting matters straight when necessity demands. To initiate unjust actions is not proof of good intentions, but it is a courageous deed to rid oneself of those who are troublesome if it is done with good conscience; one may expect good results if he has done nothing unjust but has avoided injustice. 5. The Persian Artaxerxes has slain his master Artabanus, and the Parthian empire is now Persian. Despising our arms and contemptuous of the Roman reputation, Artaxerxes is attempting to overrun and destroy our imperial possessions. I first endeavored by letters and persuasion to check his mad greed and his lust for the property of others. But the king, with barbarian arrogance, is unwilling to remain within his own boundaries and challenges us to battle. 6. Let us not hesitate to accept his challenge. You veterans remind yourselves of the victories which you often won over the barbarians under the leadership of Severus and my father, Caracalla. You recruits, thirsting for glory and honor, make it clear that you know how to live at peace mildly and with propriety, but make it equally clear that you turn with courage to the tasks of war when necessity demands. 7. The barbarian is bold against the hesitant and the cowardly, but he does not stand up in like fashion to those who fight back; it is not in close-quarter combat that they battle the enemy with hope of success. Rather, they believe that whatever success they win is the result of plundering after a feigned retreat and flight. Discipline and organized battle tactics favor us, together with the fact that we have always been taught to conquer the barbarian."


1. WHEN Alexander finished speaking, the cheering army promised its wholehearted support for the war. After a lavish distribution of money to the soldiers, the emperor ordered preparations for his departure from the city. He then went before the senate and made a speech similar to the one recorded above; following this, he publicly announced his plans to march out. 2. On the appointed day, after he had performed the sacrifices prescribed for departures, Alexander left Rome, weeping and repeatedly looking back at the city. The senate and all the people escorted him, and everyone wept, for he was held in great affection by the people of Rome, among whom he had been reared and whom he had ruled with moderation for many years. 3. Traveling rapidly, he came to Antioch, after visiting the provinces and the garrison camps in Illyricum; from that region he collected a huge force of troops. While in Antioch he continued his preparations for the war, giving the soldiers military training under field conditions.

4. He thought it best to send another embassy to the Persian king to discuss the possibility of peace and friendship, hoping to persuade him or to intimidate him by his presence. The barbarian, however, sent the envoys back to the emperor unsuccessful. Then Artaxerxes chose four hundred very tall Persians, outfitted them with fine clothes and gold ornaments, and equipped them with horses and bows; he sent these men to Alexander as envoys, thinking that their appearance would dazzle the Romans. 5. The envoys said that the great king Artaxerxes ordered the Romans and their emperor to withdraw from all Syria and from that part of Asia opposite Europe; they were to permit the Persians to rule as far as Ionia and Caria and to govern all the nations separated by the Aegean Sea and the Propontic Gulf, inasmuch as these were the Persians' by right of inheritance. 6. When the Persian envoys delivered these demands, Alexander ordered the entire four hundred to be arrested; stripping off their finery, he sent the group to Phrygia, where villages and farm land were assigned to them, but he gave orders that they were not to be allowed to return to their native country. He treated them in this fashion because he thought it dishonorable and cowardly to put them to death, since they were not fighting but simply carrying out their master's orders.

7. This is the way the affair turned out. While Alexander was preparing to cross the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and lead his army into barbarian territory, several mutinies broke out among his troops, especially among the soldiers from Egypt; but revolts occurred also in Syria, where the soldiers attempted to proclaim a new emperor. These defections were quickly discovered and suppressed. At this time Alexander transferred to other stations those field armies which seemed better able to check the barbarian invasions.


1. AFTER thus setting matters in order, Alexander, considering that the huge army he had assembled was now nearly equal in power and numbers to the barbarians, consulted his advisers and then divided his force into three separate armies. One army he ordered to overrun the land of the Medes after marching north and passing through Armenia, which seemed to favor the Roman cause. 2. He sent the second army to the eastern sector of the barbarian territory, where, it is said, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers at their confluence empty into very dense marshes; these are the only rivers whose mouths cannot be clearly determined. The third and most powerful army he kept himself, promising to lead it against the barbarians in the central sector. He thought that in this way he would attack them from different directions when they were unprepared and not anticipating such strategy, and he believed that the Persian horde, constantly split up to face their attackers on several fronts, would be weaker and less unified for battle. 3. The barbarians, it may be noted, do not hire mercenary soldiers as the Romans do, nor do they maintain trained standing armies. Rather, all the available men, and sometimes the women too, mobilize at the king's order. At the end of the war each man returns to his regular occupation, taking as his pay whatever falls to his lot from the general booty. 4. They use the bow and the horse in war, as the Romans do, but the barbarians are reared with these from childhood, and live by hunting; they never lay aside their quivers or dismount from their horses, but employ them constantly for war and the chase.

Alexander therefore devised what he believed to be the best possible plan of action, only to have Fortune defeat his design. 5. The army sent through Armenia had an agonizing passage over the high, steep mountains of that country. (As it was still summer, however, they were able to complete the crossing.) Then, plunging down into the land of the Medes, the Roman soldiers devastated the countryside, burning many villages and carrying off much loot. Informed of this, the Persian king led his army to the aid of the Medes, but met with little success in his efforts to halt the Roman advance. 6. This is rough country; while it provided firm footing and easy passage for the infantry, the rugged mountain terrain hampered the movements of the barbarian cavalry and prevented their riding down the Romans or even making contact with them. Then men came and reported to the Persian king that another Roman army had appeared in eastern Parthia and was overrunning the plains there. 7. Fearing that the Romans, after ravaging Parthia unopposed, might advance into Persia, Artaxerxes left behind a force which he thought strong enough to defend Media, and hurried with his entire army into the eastern sector. The Romans were advancing much too carelessly because they had met no opposition and, in addition, they believed that Alexander and his army, the largest and most formidable of the three, had already attacked the barbarians in the central sector. They thought, too, that their own advance would be easier and less hazardous when the barbarians were constantly being drawn off elsewhere to meet the threat of the emperor's army. 8. All three Roman armies had been ordered to invade the enemy's territory, and a final rendezvous had been selected to which they were to bring their booty and prisoners. But Alexander failed them: he did not bring his army or come himself into barbarian territory, either because he was afraid to risk his life for the Roman empire or because his mother's feminine fears or excessive mother love restrained him. 9. She blocked his efforts at courage by persuading him that he should let others risk their lives for him, but that he should not personally fight in battle. It was this reluctance of his which led to the destruction of the advancing Roman army. The king attacked it unexpectedly with his entire force and trapped the Romans like fish in a net; firing their arrows from all sides at the encircled soldiers, the Persians massacred the whole army. The outnumbered Romans were unable to stem the attack of the Persian horde; they used their shields to protect those parts of their bodies exposed to the Persian arrows. 10. Content merely to protect themselves, they offered no resistance. As a result, all the Romans were driven into one spot, where they made a wall of their shields and fought like an army under siege. Hit and wounded from every side, they held out bravely as long as they could, but in the end all were killed. The Romans suffered a staggering disaster; it is not easy to recall another like it, one in which a great army was destroyed, an army inferior in strength and determination to none of the armies of old. The successful outcome of these important events encouraged the Persian king to anticipate better things in the future.


1. WHEN the disaster was reported to Alexander, who was seriously ill either from despondency or the unfamiliar air, he fell into despair. The rest of the army angrily denounced the emperor because the invading army had been destroyed as a result of his failure to carry out the plans faithfully agreed upon. 2. And now Alexander refused to endure his indisposition and the stifling air any longer. The entire army was sick and the troops from Illyricum especially were seriously ill and dying, being accustomed to moist, cool air and to more food than they were being issued. Eager to set out for Antioch, Alexander ordered the army in Media to proceed to that city. 3. This army, in its advance, was almost totally destroyed in the mountains; a great many soldiers suffered mutilation in the frigid country, and only a handful of the large number of troops who started the march managed to reach Antioch. The emperor led his own large force to that city, and many of them perished too; so the affair brought the greatest discontent to the army and the greatest dishonor to Alexander, who was betrayed by bad luck and bad judgment. Of the three armies into which he had divided his total force, the greater part was lost by various misfortunes—disease, war, and cold.

4. In Antioch, Alexander was quickly revived by the cool air and good water of that city after the acrid drought in Mesopotamia, and the soldiers too recovered there. The emperor tried to console them for their sufferings by a lavish distribution of money, in the belief that this was the only way he could regain their good will. He assembled an army and prepared to march against the Persians again if they should give trouble and not remain quiet. 5. But it was reported that Artaxerxes had disbanded his army and sent each soldier back to his own country. Though the barbarians seemed to have conquered because of their superior strength, they were exhausted by the numerous skirmishes in Media and by the battle in Parthia, where they lost many killed and many wounded. The Romans were not defeated because they were cowards; indeed, they did the enemy much damage and lost only because they were outnumbered. 6. Since the total number of troops which fell on both sides was virtually identical, the surviving barbarians appeared to have won, but by superior numbers, not by superior power. It is no little proof of how much the barbarians suffered that for three or four years after this they remained quiet and did not take up arms. All this the emperor learned while he was at Antioch. Relieved of anxiety about the war, he grew more cheerful and less apprehensive and devoted himself to enjoying the pleasures which the city offered.


1. ALEXANDER did not believe that Persian affairs would remain permanently quiet and peaceful, but he did think that the barbarian had provided him with a temporary respite from campaigning. The barbarian army, once disbanded, was not easily remustered, as it was not organized on a permanent basis. More a mob than a regular army, the soldiers had only those supplies which each man brought for himself when he reported for duty. Moreover, the Persians are reluctant to leave their wives, children, and homeland. 2. Now unexpected messages and dispatches upset Alexander and caused him even greater anxiety: the governors in Illyria reported that the Germans had crossed the Rhine and the Danube rivers, were plundering the Roman empire, and with a huge force were overrunning the garrison camps on the banks of these rivers, as well as the cities and villages there. They reported also that the provinces of Illyricum bordering on and close to Italy were in danger. 3. The governors informed the emperor that it was absolutely necessary that he and his entire army come to them. The revelation of these developments terrified Alexander and aroused great concern among the soldiers from Illyricum, who seemed to have suffered a double disaster; the men who had undergone many hardships in the Persian expedition now learned that their families had been slaughtered by the Germans. They were naturally enraged at this, and blamed Alexander for their misfortunes because he had betrayed affairs in the East by his cowardice and carelessness and was hesitant and dilatory about the situation in the North. 4. Alexander and his advisers, too, feared for the safety of Italy itself. They did not consider the Persian threat at all similar to the German. The fact is that those who live in the East, separated from the West by a great continent and a broad sea, scarcely ever hear of Italy, whereas the provinces of Illyricum, since they are narrow and very little of their territory is under Roman control, make the Germans actually neighbors of the Italians; the two peoples thus share common borders. 5. Although he loathed the idea, Alexander glumly announced his departure for Illyria. Necessity compelled him to go, however; and so, leaving behind a force which he considered strong enough to defend the Roman frontiers, after he had seen to the forts and the walls of the camps with greater care and had assigned to each fort its normal complement of troops, the emperor marched out against the Germans with the rest of his army.

6. Completing the journey quickly, he encamped on the banks of the Rhine and made preparations for the German campaign. Alexander spanned the river with boats lashed together to form a bridge, thinking that this would provide an easy means of crossing for his soldiers. The Rhine in Germany and the Danube in Pannonia are the largest of the northern rivers. In summer their depth and width make them easily navigable, but in the cold winters they freeze over and appear like a level plain which can be crossed on horseback. 7. The river becomes so firm and solid in that season that it supports horses and men. Then those who want drinking water do not come to the river with pitchers and bowls; they bring axes and mattocks and, when they have finished chopping, take up water without using bowls and carry it in chunks as hard as rock.

8. Such is the nature of these rivers. Alexander had brought with him many Moroccan javelin men and a huge force of archers from the East and from the Osroenian country, together with Parthian deserters and mercenaries who had offered their help; with these he prepared to battle the Germans. The missile men were especially troublesome to the Germans: the Moroccans hurl their javelins from a distance and attack and retreat nimbly, while the archers, far removed from their targets, easily fire their arrows into the bare heads and huge bodies of the Germans; but when the Germans attacked at full speed and fought hand to hand, they were often the equal of the Romans.

9. Alexander was thus occupied with these matters. He thought it wise, however, to send an embassy to the Germans to discuss the possibilities of a peaceful settlement. He promised to give them everything they asked and to hand over a large amount of money. The avaricious Germans are susceptible to bribes and are always ready to sell peace to the Romans for gold. Consequently, Alexander undertook to buy a truce rather than risk the hazards of war. 10. The soldiers, however, were not pleased by his action, for the time was passing without profit to them, and Alexander was doing nothing courageous or energetic about the war; on the contrary, when it was essential that he march out and punish the Germans for their insults, he spent the time in chariot racing and luxurious living.


1. THERE was in the Roman army a man named Maximinus whose half-barbarian family lived in a village in the most remote section of Thrace. They say that as a boy he was a shepherd, but that in his youthful prime he was drafted into the cavalry because of his size and strength. After a short time, favored by Fortune, he advanced through all the military ranks, rising eventually to the command of armies and the governing of provinces. 2. Because of his military experience, which I have noted above, Alexander put Maximinus in charge of training recruits for the entire army; his task was to instruct them in military duties and prepare them for service in war. By carrying out his assignments thoroughly and diligently, Maximinus won the affection of the soldiers. He not only taught them their duties; he also demonstrated personally to each man what he was to do. As a result, the recruits imitated his manliness and were both his pupils and his admirers. 3. He won their devotion by giving them all kinds of gifts and rewards. Consequently, the recruits, who included an especially large number of Pannonians, praised the masculinity of Maximinus and despised Alexander as a mother's boy. Their contempt for the emperor was increased by the fact that the empire was being managed by a woman's authority and a woman's judgment, and by the fact that Alexander had directed the campaigns carelessly and timidly. They reminded each other of the defeats in the East which had resulted from the emperor's negligence and of his failure to do anything courageous or vigorous when he faced the Germans. 4. The soldiers were therefore ready for a change of emperors. They had additional reasons for discontent: they considered the current reign burdensome because of its long duration; they thought it profitless for them now that all rivalry had been eliminated; and they hoped that the reign which they intended to institute would be advantageous to them and that the empire would be much coveted and highly valued by a man who received it unexpectedly. They plotted now to kill Alexander and proclaim Maximinus emperor and Augustus, since he was their fellow soldier and messmate and seemed, because of his experience and courage, to be the right man to take charge of the present war. 5. They therefore assembled on the drill field for their regular training; when Maximinus took his position before them, either unaware of what was happening or having secretly made prior preparations for the event, the soldiers robed him in the imperial purple and proclaimed him emperor. 6. At first he refused the honor and threw off the purple, but when they pressed him and, waving their swords, threatened to kill him, he preferred the future risk to the present danger and accepted the empire; often before, he said, dreams and prophecies had predicted this good fortune. He told the soldiers, however, that he accepted the honor unwillingly; he did not really want it and was simply obeying their wish in the matter. 7. He then directed the soldiers to put their thoughts into action, to take up arms and hurry off to attack Alexander while he was still unaware of what had happened. By reaching the emperor before the news of their approach came, they would surprise his soldiers and his bodyguards too. They would either persuade Alexander's forces to join them, or would overcome them with no difficulty, since the imperial forces would be unprepared and anticipating nothing of this nature. 8. After arousing great enthusiasm and good will among the troops, Maximinus doubled their rations, promised them lavish gifts, and revoked all sentences and punishments. He then marched out, for his camp was not far from the headquarters of Alexander and his companions.


1. WHEN these developments were reported, Alexander, panic-stricken by the incredible nature of the message, was in complete confusion. Bursting from the imperial headquarters as if possessed, weeping and trembling, he denounced Maximinus for his disloyalty and ingratitude, and listed all the favors he had done the man. 2. He castigated the recruits for their recklessness and promised to give them everything they asked and to set straight anything that displeased them. The soldiers guarding the emperor on that day cheered his words; forming an escort, they promised to defend him to the death. 3. When the night had passed, men came at dawn to report that Maximinus was approaching; they said that a cloud of dust could be seen in the distance, and the shouting of a huge throng was audible. Then Alexander came again to the drill field, summoned his troops, and begged them to fight to preserve the life of a man whom they had reared and under whose rule they had lived well content for fourteen years. After this effort to move the soldiers to compassion, Alexander ordered them to take up arms and go forth to battle. 4. At first the soldiers obeyed him, but they soon left the field and refused to fight. Some demanded for execution the commanding general of the army and Alexander's associates, pretending that they were responsible for the revolt. Others condemned the emperor's greedy mother for cutting off their money, and despised Alexander for his pettiness and stinginess in the matter of gifts. 5. For a time they did nothing but shout this barrage of charges. When the army of Maximinus came into view, the clamoring recruits called upon Alexander's soldiers to desert the miserly woman and the timid, mother-dominated youth; at the same time they urged his soldiers to join them in supporting a brave and intelligent man, a fellow soldier who was always under arms and busy with military matters. Convinced, Alexander's troops deserted him for Maximinus, who was then proclaimed emperor by all. 6. Trembling with fear, Alexander was scarcely able to retire to his quarters. Clinging to his mother and, as they say, complaining and lamenting that she was to blame for his death, he awaited his executioner. After being saluted as emperor by the entire army, Maximinus sent a tribune and several centurions to kill Alexander and his mother, together with any of his followers who opposed them. 7. When these men came to the emperor's quarters, they rushed in and killed him with his mother; they also cut down those whom he had honored or who appeared to be his friends. Some, however, managed to flee or to hide for the moment, but Maximinus soon rounded up these fugitives and put them to death.

8. Such was the fate suffered by Alexander and his mother after he had ruled fourteen years without blame or bloodshed so far as it affected his subjects. A stranger to savagery, murder, and illegality, he was noted for his benevolence and good deeds. It is therefore entirely possible that the reign of Alexander might have won renown for its perfection had not his mother's petty avarice brought disgrace upon him.