The following excerpts come from a collection of Latin complimentary speeches by rhetoricians of the late 3rd and the 4th centuries A.D. in honor of the emperors of their time, chiefly Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius, and Constantine. They were composed in the rhetorical schools of Gaul.
Adventus of Diocletian and Maximian in Milan in 291:
...The power of your majesty protected you against the rigors of place and climate, and while other men and regions were hard pressed by frost, you alone were accompanied on your path by gentle winds and the breath of spring, the clouds were pierced and the sun shone upon you....
Now for the first time your holiness radiated from the eastern and western peaks of the Alps, and all Italy was covered in a more luminous light; all who watched this were affected by both wonder and doubt, asking themselves what gods were rising on those mountain peaks, and descending in such steps from heaven. And when you were recognized more closely at hand, all the fields were filled, not merely with men hastening forward to behold you but also with herds of animals which left their remote pastures and forests. The farmers ran towards each other, and announced to all their villages what they had seen. Altars were lit, incense was placed on them, wine was poured in libation, victims were slain and all were warmed with joy and danced to acclaim you, and hymns of praise and thanks were sung to the immortal gods. People invoked, not the god familiar with hearsay, but Iuppiter close at hand, visible and present, they adored Hercules, and him not a stranger, but the emperor....
What a sight did your piety grant to us, when in the palace of Milan you were both beheld by those who were given admission to adore your sacred countenances, and when of a sudden by the fact of your holy presence being twofold you bewildered our custom of venerating one divinity at a time!...And this secret worship rendered to you, as it were within the innermost sanctuary stunned and amazed the minds of those to whom their rank granted access. And when, crossing the threshold, you drove together through the city, the very roofs, so I am told, were almost set in motion, when children and old people either rushed out into the open, into the squares, or else leaned out of the upper windows of buildings. All shouted with joy, indeed without any fear of you, and showed it openly with their gestures: 'Can you see Diocletian? Can you see Maximian? They are two, yet they are together! How amicably they converse with each other! How quickly they are passing!' None in their eagerness were equal to looking on you as much as they desired...none were able to see enough of either of you.
Adventus of Constantius in London in 297 after his reconquest of Britain:
As soon as you approached that shore as the long desired avenger and liberator, a triumphal procession came to meet you, and the Britons, dancing with joy, came before you with their wives and children, paying worship not only to you, whom they beheld as one fallen from the heavens, but also to the sails and oars of that ship which had conveyed you holiness; and they were ready to acknowledge your arrival by prostrating themselves before you. It is not surprising that they were transported with such joy when after so many years of most abject captivity... they were at last recreated as free men and Romans, in the true light of empire. For, apart from your well-known clemency and piety, which are celebrated with one voice by the nations, they saw on your very face the signs of all the virtues.
Adventus of Constantine in Autun in 311:
You were so gracious as to illumine the city [of Autun] which lived in the abundance only of expecting you....Immortal gods, what a day shone upon us...when you entered the gates of this city, which was the first token of our salvation, and when the gates, curved inwards and flanked by twin towers, seemed to receive you in a kind of embrace.... We decorated the streets leading to the palace, although only poorly, yet we carried forth for your welcoming the standards of all the colleges, and the images of all our gods, accompanied by the clear sounds of some few instruments.... We saw your moistened eyes expressing your compassion. Through your countenance healing tears came to us and...we wept with joy. For, just as the fields thirsting after a long drought, are made fertile by rain solicited by prayers, so your tears watered our breasts with rejoicing, since, although it is wrong to be glad of your weeping, yet our gratitude overcame our sense of reverence for you and those tears were tokens of piety, not sorrow.
Panegyric of 297:
Setting aside the interests of the respublica, and your care for it, that majesty which is Iuppiter and Hercules, demanded on behalf of the emperors Iovius and Herculius an approximation to the order of the world and the heavens. And hence everything that has greatness is adorned with and rejoices in that number four which is yours. There are four elements and as many seasons, there are four parts of the world divided by a twofold ocean, there is the lustrum which returns after four revolutions of the sky, there is the quadriga of Sol, and to the two lights of heaven are joined Vesper and Lucifer. But not the sun himself nor all the stars look upon human affairs with as lasting a light as you look, who shine upon the world without setting night apart from day.
John Chrysostom, excerpt from An Address on Vainglory (c. 400):
The theater is filling up, and all the people are sitting aloft presenting a splendid sight and composed of numberless faces, so that many times the very rafters and roof above are hidden by human bodies. You can see neither tiles nor stones, but all is men's bodies and faces. Then, as the ambitious man who has brought them together enters in the sight of all, they stand up and as from a single mouth cry out. All with one voice stretch out their hands in salutation. Next, betweenwhiles they liken him to the greatest of rivers, comparing his grand and lavish munificence to the copious waters of the Nile; and they call him the Nile of gifts. Others, flattering him still more thinking the simile of the Nile too mean, reject rivers and seas; and they instance the Ocean and say that he in his lavish gifts is what Ocean is among the waters, and they leave not a word of praise unsaid.