After this incident there appears to have been some coldness in the relations between Theodosius and Ambrose. It was, perhaps, partly to remove himself from the neighbourhood of the overbearing Bishop that the Emperor, in the summer of the following year, A.D. 389, made a prolonged stay in Rome. On the 13th of June he entered the city in state, accompanied by his five-year-old son, Honorius. Soon after his arrival he listened complacently in the Senate-House to the fulsome outpouring of the sycophantic rhetorician, Latinus Pacatus Drepanius, who had come from Gaul to congratulate him on his victory over Maximus. With the lack of reserve and good taste which marked this period of decadence, the orator laid on his flatteries superabundantly--launching out into an interminable eulogy of his illustrious auditor, first as a man, and then as a monarch, and not shrinking even from characterizing him as 'the visible God'. After portraying in lurid colours the desperate condition of affairs under Maximus, and sketching the course of the campaign which terminated in the usurper's death, he went on to describe the visit of the conqueror to Rome--his triumphal entry into the venerable city, his charming affability in the Forum and the Senate-House, his condescension in honouring private dwellings with his 'divine' presence, and the fearless confidence with which, unattended by imperial guards, he used to stroll on foot about the streets. The orator could hardly find words wherewith to express his own felicity in having been an eye-witness of such marvels. He pictured himself, on his return to Gaul, surrounded by a multitude of envious fellow countrymen, to whom it would be his privilege to say, 'I have seen Rome; I have seen Theodosius; I have seen the father of Honorius; I have seen the avenger of Gratian; I have seen the restorer of Valentinian.' 'Distant cities', he cried in conclusion, 'will flock to me; men of letters will take down from my lips the story of all that Theodosius has done; poets will receive from me a grand subject for their verses; historians will compose their narratives, using me as their authority. Fear not, Sir, that I shall be unequal to your fame; even if I myself have uttered concerning you nothing worthy of being studied by posterity, I shall at least supply material to others whose writings will be read.
Quondam © 2014.11.29