Chapter XXXVIII.—The Emperor Valens is ridiculed by the People on Account of the Goths; undertakes an Expedition against them and is slain in an Engagement near Adrianople.
The Emperor Valens arrived at Constantinople on the 30th of May, in the sixth year of his own consulate, 676 and the second of Valentinian the Younger, and found the people in a very dejected state of mind: for the barbarians, who had already desolated Thrace, were now laying waste the very suburbs of Constantinople, there being no adequate force at hand to resist them. But when they undertook to make near approaches, even to the walls of the city, the people became exceedingly troubled, and began to murmur against the emperor; accusing him of having brought on the enemy thither, and then indolently prolonging the struggle there, instead of at once marching out against the barbarians. Moreover at the exhibition of the sports of the Hippodrome, all with one voice clamored against the emperors negligence of the public affairs, crying out with great earnestness, Give us arms, and we ourselves will fight. The emperor provoked at these seditious clamors, marched out of the city, on the 11th of June; threatening that if he returned, he would punish the citizens not only for their insolent reproaches, but for having previously favored the pretensions of the usurper Procopius; declaring also that he would utterly demolish their city, and cause the plough to pass over its ruins, he advanced against the barbarians, whom he routed with great slaughter, and pursued as far as Adrianople, a city of Thrace, situated on the frontiers of Macedonia. Having at that place again engaged the enemy, who had by this time rallied, he lost his life on the 9th of August, under the consulate just mentioned, and in the fourth year of the 289th Olympiad. Some have asserted that he was burnt to death in a village whither he had retired, which the barbarians assaulted and set on fire. But others affirm that having put off his imperial robe he ran into the midst of the main body of infantry; and that when the cavalry revolted and refused to engage, the infantry were surrounded by the barbarians, and completely destroyed in a body. Among these it is said the emperor fell, but could not be distinguished, in consequence of his not having on his imperial habit. He died in the fiftieth year of his age, having reigned in conjunction with his brother thirteen years, and three years after the death of the brother. This book therefore contains [the course of events during] the space of sixteen years.