Chapter XXVIII.—About Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata.
The admirable Eusebius mentioned above, who was entrusted with the common resolution, when he beheld the violation of the covenant, returned to his own see. Then certain men who were uneasy about the written document, persuaded Constantius to dispatch a messenger to recover it. Accordingly the emperor sent one of the officers who ride post with relays of horses, and bring communications with great speed. On his arrival he reported the imperial message, but, “I cannot,” said the admirable Eusebius, “surrender the deed deposited with me till I am directed so to do by the whole assembly who gave it me.” This reply was reported to the emperor. Boiling with rage he sent to Eusebius again and ordered him to give it up, with the further message that he had ordered his right hand to be cut off if he refused. But he only wrote this to terrify the bishop, for the courier who conveyed the dispatch had orders not to carry out the threat. But when the divine Eusebius opened the letter and saw the punishment which the emperor had threatened, he stretched out his right hand and his left, bidding the man cut off both. “The decree,” said he, “which is a clear proof of Arian wickedness, I will not give up.”
When Constantius had been informed of this courageous resolution he was struck with astonishment, and did not cease to admire it; for even foes are constrained by the greatness of bold deeds to admire their adversaries success.
At this time Constantius learned that Julian, whom he had declared Cæsar of Europe, was aiming at sovereignty, and mustering an army against his master. Therefore he set out from Syria, and died in Cilicia. 594 Nor had he the helper whom his p. 94 Father had left him; for he had not kept intact the inheritance of his Fathers piety, and so bitterly bewailed his change of faith.
Constantius died at Mopsucrene, on the Cydnus, according to Socrates and the Chron. Alex., on Nov. 3, 361. Socrates (ii. 47) ascribes his illness to chagrin at the successes of Julian, and says that he died in the 46th year of his age and 39th of his reign, having for thirteen years been associated in the empire with his Father. Ammianus (xxi. 15, 2) writes, “Venit Tarsum, ubi leviore febri contactus, ratusque itinerario motu imminutae valetudinis excuti posse discrimen, petiit per vias difficiles Mopsucrenas, Cillciae ultimam hinc pergentibus stationem, sub Tauri montis radicibus positam: egredique sequuto die conatus, invalenti morbi gravitate detentus est: paulatimque urente calore nimio venas, ut ne tangi quidem corpus eius posset in modum foculi fervens, cum usus deficeret medelarum, ultimum spirans deflebat exitium; mentisque sensu tum etiam integro, successorem suae potestatis statuisse dicitur Julianum. Deinde anhelitu iam pulsatus letali conticuit diuque cum anima colluctatus iam discessura, abiit e vita III. Non. Octobrium, (i.e. Oct. 5—a different date from that given by others) imperii vitaeque anno quadragesimo et mensibus paucis.” His Father having died in 337, Constantius really reigned 24 years alone, and if we include the 13 years which Socrates reckons in the lifetime of Constantine, we only reach 37. He was born on Aug. 6, 317, and was therefore a little over 44 at his death.
“Constantius was essentially a little man, in whom his fathers vices took a meaner form.” “The peculiar repulsiveness of Constantius is not due to any flagrant personal vice, but to the combination of cold-blooded treachery with the utter want of any inner nobleness of character. Yet he was a pious emperor, too, in his way. He loved the ecclesiastical game, and was easily won over to the Eusebian side.”
Gwatkin. “The Arian Controversy.” p. 63.