Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Valens Says, ""Julian, Are You Friggin' Nuts?"

What a fantastically ironic (indirect) quote, delivered by the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate in 361 A.D., as per Ammianus Marcellinus:
While [Julian] was so arranging these matters, tolerating no slackness in action, his intimates tried to persuade him to attack the neighbouring Goths, who were often deceitful and treacherous; but he replied that he was looking for a better enemy; that for the Goths the Galatian [slave] traders were enough, by whom they were offered for sale everywhere without distinction of rank.

Seventeen years later, at the terrible Battle of Adrianople in 378 A.D., those Goths would destroy the cream of the Roman Eastern army and kill its leader, the Emperor Valens.

Hat tip to Michael Kulikowski, whose wonderfully opinionated yet balanced and transparent book Rome's Gothic Wars is highly recommended.

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