Antonina HTML version

vapour rose slowly to the stone roof of the building, now blackened with smoke.
The priests looked eagerly for the corpse of the Pagan; they saw two dark, charred
objects closely united together, lying in a chasm of ashes near the gate, at a spot
where the fire had already exhausted itself, but it was impossible to discern which
was the man and which was the idol.
The necessity of providing means for entering the temple had not been forgotten
while the flames were raging. Proper implements for forcing open the gates were
now at hand, and already the mob began to dip their buckets in the Tiber, and
pour water wherever any traces of the fire remained. Soon all obstacles were
removed; the soldiers crowded into the building with spades in their hands,
trampled on the black, watery mire of cinders which covered what had once been
the altar of idols, and throwing out into the street the refuse ashes and the stone
images which had remained unconsumed, dug in what was left, as in a new mine,
for the gold and silver which the fire could not destroy.
The Pagan had lived with his idols, had perished with his idols!--and now where
they were cast away, there he was cast away with them. The soldiers, as they dug
into fragments the black ruins of his altar, mingled him in fragments with it! The
people, as they cast the refuse thrown out to them into the river, cast what
remained of him with what remained of his gods! And when the temple was
deserted, when the citizens had borne off all the treasure they could collect, when
nothing but a few heaps of dust was left of all that had been burnt, the night- wind
blew away before it the ashes of Ulpius with the ashes of the deities that Ulpius
had served!